Sunday, October 29, 2017

Lazing On A Sunday Afternooon

This year no two days are ever the same. Saturday was a day of dark clouds and drizzle in the air. Today just the opposite - bright and sunny. 

I set off over the moss roads where in the half-light of dawn I saw two Barn Owls and a Kestrel, but with the light pretty poor for pictures. The first Barn Owl flew rapidly alongside the road and towards a regular hangout 100 yards away, an open barn at the rear of an empty house, a quiet location where the owl could rest undisturbed for an hour or two. Half-a-mile away I watched a second Barn Owl hunt a rough grass field that held a water-filled ditch and where there would surely be voles, rats and mice. The owl’s method seemed erratic and fast. It flew here, there and everywhere, dived into the grass occasionally and then restarted its frantic flight, but with none of the slow quartering or watch and wait meant to typify a Barn Owl hunt. After a while this one too flew across the road ahead of me and into some farm buildings seemingly without its breakfast but ready for a rest from all that nervous activity. 

Barn Owl

I joined up with the main road the A588 or Death Row as it is otherwise known, and north towards Pilling and Cockerham. A huge illuminated sign informed me that average speed calculators were now in force for the next two miles. All this cost of hundreds of thousands, possibly a million quid, just as a deterrent to lunatics who insist on using this road on four wheels or two as their personal race track. Mind you, if this works it’s a good thing for birders who like to drive at normal speeds and if the road is not too busy, stop and view the fields alongside the sea wall. 

As luck would have it, tens of thousands of Pink-footed Geese had just left their roost and flew directly overhead my passing car and then headed inland. There were small parties of Whooper Swans too more or less flying parallel to the coast. Some landed quite quickly in the fields of Sand Villa, an area which they seem to be making their winter home along with a number of Mute Swans, Curlews, Lapwings, Starlings, a Grey Heron and a small number of Golden Plover.  Other Whoopers flew off towards Moss Edge, an area of fields they wintered in several years ago with up to 450 individuals plus several Bewick's Swans.

Whooper Swan and Mute Swan

I stopped at Gulf Lane to check out and feed the Linnets. It was 23rd September, and due to constant wind and rain that we were last able to ring at this rather exposed site. This left our ringing total here stuck for five weeks on 163 Linnet and 9 Goldfinch. I suspect the bad weather has been a major factor in limiting the number of Linnets to a fairly constant 60 birds during count visits only during October. There was an improvement in numbers today with a count of approximately 100 Linnets, 2 Wrens, 1 Kestrel and a totally unexpected first for the site - a Goldcrest. The ‘crest was moving along the roadside vegetation that borders the field. Promised colder weather should see larger counts of Linnets and hopefully a chance to continue with the Linnet ringing project. 

Linnets

Linnets

A stop at Braides Farm revealed more Whoopers and Mutes, uncountable as they partly or mostly hid in the ditch behind the sea wall. Also, approximately 400 Lapwings, a Kestrel and a Mistle Thrush. At Conder Green I found the wintering Common Sandpiper in the creeks along with 180 Teal, 30+ Redshank, 6 Little Grebe, several Curlew, 1 Goosander and 1 Kingfisher. At Jeremy Lane and down towards Cockersands were a dozen or more newly arrived but flighty Fieldfares, Blackbirds and even a Song Thrush, all searching this year’s rather thin crop of hawthorn berries. 

Song Thrush

 Fieldfare

There wasn’t a lot doing along Slack Lane, a Kestrel, 15/20 mobile Linnets near the cottage and 2 Reed Buntings along the hedgerow. Better were 30 or more Skylarks hidden in the field until they lifted into the air at some unknown signal as some called, flew a few yards and then just as quickly drifted back to earth, invisible in the straw coloured stubble. 

That’s me done with birding for a day or two. This afternoon I'm lazing around because next week is school half-term and time for treats from Nana and Granddad.

Linking today with Stewart's World Bird Wednesday



12 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Love the Barn Owl, great sighting and photos. We have a few roads around here that could be called Death Row, the lunatics need to slow down. The Song Thrush us beautiful. Great birds and sightings. Happy Monday, enjoy your day and new week ahead!

David Gascoigne said...

Lazing? Lazing you say? Gotta try that myself, especially if I can have the kind of great morning of birding you had before you decided to laze. Have a great time with the grandchildren, Phil.

NC Sue said...

A beautiful collection of photos here, as always.
Thanks for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/10/seasonal-fun-at-duke-homestead-in.html

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

The barn owl is beautiful. The swans made me smile too.

Louise Watson said...

Always interesting and great photos that make me want to draw immediately so thanks for keeping a wonderful blog and have a good half-term.

Bill Nicholls said...

Do like that owl shot

Prunella Pepperpot said...

The Fieldfare is magnificent!
Did you watch the Peregrine Falcon teaching it's young to hunt in Woking on the One Show last night? It was amazing!
Have a wonderful week :)

Jocelyn Thurston said...

I enjoyed reading your detailed and lovely written post. I always like to compare the birds in different countries to see which we share. I do love themm and always enjoy the sightings be them every so fleeting sometimes!

Lady Fi said...

Lovely shots. That barn owl is amazing!

mick said...

Great photos as usual plus I always find your description of where and how you bird fascinating - so different from out here.

Lea said...

Beautiful birds!
The Song Thrush is my favorite
Have a wonderful day!

Lowcarb team member said...

That barn owl is lovely ...

All the best Jan

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