Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thursday 17th August

The forecast was OK for later in the day but no good for early birders like me. Rain spotted the windscreen as I stopped off at Lane Ends, Pilling, hoping for another look at the Marsh Harrier that us three ringers saw on Tuesday, possibly the same harrier one that’s been around for a week or two. 

Lots of local farmers have all seen the mystery bird but can’t put a name to the thing that’s “not a Buzzard and much bigger”. Our local farmers aren’t too good at bird ID but they are red hot at counting sheep & cattle or making a bob or two. 

Anyway I didn’t see a harrier but I did see and hear more than 25 Little Egrets leaving the island roost and 70 or more Greylags coming off the marsh and flying south. A couple of Willow Warblers tuned up ready for the day ahead, not singing but contact calling. 

I called next at Gulf Lane where I stayed for a while to count the Linnet flock. Three days ago they numbered about 50, but today there was an increase with 140+ Linnets, 8/10 Goldfinch and 4 Tree Sparrows. What a shame that once again there was sufficient breeze to put paid to any hopes of a ringing session. The Linnets are really homing in on the natural food now but it’s hard to see what they eat when they drop deep into the cover and feed either very low or actually on the ground. Linnets eat a whole variety of mainly “milky” seeds, too many to list, but many from the cabbage family. The list of their food items takes up almost a full column of The Birds of The Western Palearctic.


The local Kestrel was about. It sits atop a roof or a roadside post from where it keeps an eye on the field and the feeding Linnets. Although Kestrels eat mainly mammals they are very opportunist and on a couple of occasions last year we encouraged a Kestrel to spend less time watching our ringing of Linnets. 


I made my way to Conder Green where Sand Martins and Swallows fed over the pool and along the hedgerows. I counted 50+ Sand Martins and 10+ Swallows. The Kingfisher put in another fly-by appearance as it headed off towards the road bridge and the quiet upstream of the River Conder. The tide ran into the creek and brought 4 Goosander, 4 Teal and 5 Little Egret alongside the road. Goosanders are such handsome birds but as a species targeted by anglers, they are very wary of anyone pointing a lens in their direction. 


There’s not much variety in the waders for now with 30 Redshank, 3 Oystercatcher, 2 Curlew and 1 Common Sandpiper. A good count of Lapwing though as more than 200 put on the occasional flying display as they spooked from their island retreat. A Sparrowhawk spooked the Lapwings once but of the other half a dozen “dreads” I saw nothing to cause the panic. An overhead Raven seemed to have no effect on the Lapwings but then a Raven is probably a threat to Lapwing chicks only and not to adults. 


A female Tufted Duck still has four youngsters in tow while Little Grebes were back down to two. Otherwise small birds were few and far between except for a flock of 40 Linnets, 6 Goldfinch, 2 Pied Wagtail and 1 Willow Warbler in quiet sub-song. 

Stop Hare Coursing

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow hopefully.  

Linking today to Anni's Birding Blog and Eileen's Saturday.


eileeninmd said...

Hello, I hope ou get to see the Harrier. Wonderful sighting and photos. The Lapwings are one of my favorites. Enjoy your day and the weekend ahead.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Hello Phil: The sentence that sticks out for me in this report is "I did see and hear more than 25 Little Egrets leaving the island roost." It is not so many years ago that there would not have been twenty-five Little Egrets in the whole of the UK. The species has become so common as a breeding resident that this remark just slides off your keyboard. How soon will it be before Cattle Egrets and Great Egrets are treated in the same way? I was fortunate to spend some time on Saturday with Dr. Glyn Young, Head of the Bird Department at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey, and he told me that European Bee-eaters have bred in Britain this year as well as European Spoonbills. It makes you wonder whether these will be one-off occurrences or are other species expanding their range.

Linda said...

Lovely birds, and I like the Linnet's markings and patterns, Phil!

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) Your new header of the Wheatear is gorgeous. It's such a lovely understated looking bird, and it's been a long time since I have seen one. Great IF capture of the Lapwings. This is the first time I have seen their underwings. I hope you do manage to see the Harrier, and then you can share it with us. Happy birding!:)

eileeninmd said...

Hello, these are all wonderful bird sightings. Awesome photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Goosander, I love the name and the bird has gorgeous colouration. All of the entries are lovely as usual Phil. The banner image of the Wheatear is a winner! Have to see some of your older posts now too ;)

Linda aka Crafty Gardener said...

Lovely sightings.

Prunella Pepperpot said...

Lovely bird sightings Phil.
I hate hare coursing. A very cruel sport as is fox hunting. I've had whippets all of my life and they have never killed a bunny. In fact they lived quite happily with our 2 pet rabbits for many years.
Have a lovely weekend.

sandyland said...


A Colorful World said...

Loved seeing the lapwings in flight! What is Hare Coursing...just chasing the hares for sport?

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

Phil Like david say, It is amaing the spread of Little Egret over the Uk The yar i started bu=irding we had out first3 arrive in N.Ireland. I believe Bee Eaters breed on the I.O.W last year at Newtown reserve. Have a good week ahead.

Anni said...

I actually think this is the first time I've seen the Lapwings in flight...what a gorgeous bird....even the underbelly and wing pattern is great.

I think I read something of the Harrier on Findley's Wilde About Birds blog.

The Goosander looks so much like our Mergansers. Yes, they are VERY attractive.

Thanks once again for doing your narration and sharing the wonderful photos this weekend. We birders at I'd Rather B Birdin' are always appreciative.

A Colorful World said...

Loved your comment on my post about Elvis being alive and well! :-) I passed it on to my daughter, Elvis's "Mom."

When I was growing up my Dad was a fox hunter. He always owned a number of Walker hounds. It wasn't fox hunting like in the old days in England, but a bunch of guys would sit around a campfire and listen to the sound of their dogs baying (they could recognize their own, each one) while the hounds ran. I learned as I grew up that if the hounds got to the fox, they would kill it which made me very sad. I didn't judge my Dad for this though...he was raised fox hunting and it was his only real hobby and relaxation. But I have always had a soft spot in my heart for foxes, and for Walker hounds, too who were always kept in a pen and never got to be pets, of course. I had no idea people hunted hares with hounds. I have heard of "coon dog" (they tree raccoons) and other forms of hound hunting, but had never heard of the hare hunting. It's all sad. Thanks for clarifying the term for me. I suspected as much.

Lowcarb team member said...

Some lovely birds here Phil.
I do particularly like the goosander and the one of the lapwings in flight.

All the best Jan

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