Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wednesday 2nd August

The forecast for Wednesday wasn’t good. Dry, dull and cloudy for the morning before yet more rain. Luckily I managed a couple of hours birding before dark clouds rolled in from the West and rain spotted the windscreen. It was just eight-fifteen so I was home in time for morning coffee after clocking up an agreeable list of birds in short time. 

I stopped first at Gulf Lane where Linnets in the wild bird seed crop numbered more than fifty. We plan a ringing session on the first suitable morning to kick off Linnet Project 2017/20018. The latest forecast points to next Tuesday or Wednesday before the weather becomes anything like. 

A feature of the last few weeks has been the number of Sand Martins at Conder Green. This morning I again noted a large number of martins feeding over the water and along the hedgerows. Mixed in with the martins were lesser numbers of both Swallows and Swifts, a mass of fast moving birds that I estimated at 140 Sand Martins, 40 Swallows and 10 Swifts. This appears to be an early morning phenomenon linked to the post-dawn emergence of many thousands of insects from the immediate area. A visitor later in the day will see very few of the same bird species. 

A mile away is the now highly successful Sand Martin colony at Bank Lane where on Monday I counted 350 Sand Martins but today less than 50. If I were a Sand Martin I too might be tempted to head for Africa rather than persist with an English summer. 

Meanwhile, and back at Conder Green  2 Common Terns continue to loaf around the floating pontoon where the species bred this year. Whether some three weeks after breeding these two birds are the self-same pair is anyone’s guess; probably not, as the species is both widespread and as common as the name implies. 

Four Goosanders floated across the water and took turns to dive for fish. As is often the case here, autumn sightings consist of a female and three or four offspring but rarely a male. 


Wait long enough and Lapwings that roost on the island show themselves by “spooking” at something unseen. The Lapwings seemed especially nervous and took to the air several times before returning to the island a minute or so later, their worries over for now.  I counted 160+ today.

Other waders and wildfowl today: 22 Redshank, 14 Curlew, 10 Oystercatcher, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Dunlin, 5 Little Grebe, 3 Little Egret, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Cormorant. 

Common Sandpiper

“Bit and bobs” were few and far between and limited to 6 Linnet, 4 Goldfinch, 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Stock Dove, 1 Tree Sparrow and 1 Willow Warbler. 

It was a little too breezy for the regular Kingfisher to sit around so I drove up to look on Glasson Dock where the water is protected from the wind by buildings, tallish boats and the walls of the dock. My luck was partially in with a brief view of a Kingfisher on mooring ropes and a Grey Heron fishing the shallow edges. A small fishing boat gave out voices and then an outboard motor sparked into noisy life to ripple the water. Both birds fled the scene and I cursed that I hadn’t been there earlier. 

Grey Heron
Grey Heron


Lesser Black-backed Gulls

On the larger expanse of water I saw a Great Crested Grebe, a second Grey Heron, a Common Tern and four Cormorant.

Linking today to Eileen's Saturday Blog.


Prunella Pepperpot said...

Glasson Dock looks a great place to visit. Such a shame the boat spooked the grey heron and the kngfisher. Such beautiful captures especially of the kingfisher's colouring.
It is pretty bleak down South too. The weather forecast doesn't look too good for August.
Have an enjoyable, hopefully dry week :)

Mary Cromer said...

Goosander...I am thinking that may be new to me, for the name certainly does not hit any chord in my memory bank...What a beautiful bird and the image has a little misty quality going, which is quite pleasing to my eye. Hope that you enjoy your weekend~

eileeninmd said...

Hello, it must be a sight to see all the Sand Martins having a feast early in the morning. Love the Merganser, Sandpiper and Heron. The Kingfisher is my favorite, gorgeous bird. Happy Birding! Enjoy your day!

Linda said...

Beautiful series of species, Phil! Wonderful photos!

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) It's nasty weather you are having, but your early morning visits to your local hot spots paid off,... especially when you saw the drove of Sand Martins, Swifts and Swallows, and later, sightings of the Heron and Kingfisher, both great shots in spite of the grey skies. The Lapwings seem to be doing well.

David Gascoigne said...

Good evening Phil: Sounds like despite the crappy weather you had a pretty decent morning of birding, with a pleasing range of species. Sometimes, in fact, I find that foul weather from a human perspective is conducive to seeing birds, which may have to hunker down for a while, or in coastal areas are driven inshore by unfavorable winds. I bet your coffee tasted all the better for having gotten out and about so early. And for Mary above, a Goosander is just a different name for what we call a Common Merganser on this side of the Atlantic.

Patrycja P. said...

I see that you had a succesfull trip. It was nice to see your wonderful photos. This Kingfisher is fantastic!

Lowcarb team member said...

Wednesday was a wash out ... awful weather!
Lovely to see your photographs, what a great selection.

All the best Jan

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, great variety of birds. I like the cute Sandpiper. The Kingfisher will always be a favorite, it is beautiful. Great sightings and photos.

Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

sandyland said...

love them all , one of these particular shore birds not seen here in Fl and I miss them

bettyl-NZ said...

What a fantastic series of lovely creatures! Your photos are so crisp and clean, awesome clicks!

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