Sunday, October 1, 2017

This And That - Sunday October 1st

A run around the block on Saturday before the rains came didn’t produce too much in the way of birds. Sunday and it's still raining. 

I checked out the Linnet flock at Gulf Lane in the hope of a ringing session soon but a glance at the weather for the coming week doesn’t hold out much hope. While I was away in Greece Andy added another 25 Linnets and a handful of Goldfinch to the totals. Looking today most of the Goldfinch seemed to have moved on with the flock of 100+ birds almost exclusively Linnet. October is the peak migration time for Linnets so we expect the flock to increase again soon and also that those birds will include Linnets from further afield. 

Of course in Greece I’d missed the mid-September first arrivals of Pink-footed Geese to Lancashire but rather made up for it with many skeins flying off the marsh and over my head towards an inland destination. I’d counted more than 1700 in dozens of flocks before the movement died off and I too moved on. 

Pink-footed Geese

There was a Wheatear on the gateposts at Braides Farm with approximately 90 Lapwing and 100 Curlew scattered across the long grassy fields. 


A good find on a flooded field at Pilling/Rawcliffe Moss was a single Ruff feeding amongst a flock of 95 Lapwing but little else with a Saturday shoot with its accompanying noise and disturbance about to begin. 


So in the absence of local news, and not much prospect for the coming week against the tail ends of two hurricanes, here’s more from Greece, 14-28 September 2017. 

A friendly horse - Platanias, Skiathos
Alonisos, Skiathos

The Yellow-legged Gulls of Skiathos are quite unlike our large UK gulls in exploiting the process of rubbish disposal and the British love of feeding birds. The Yellow-legged Gulls of Skiathos rarely come ashore but spend their time feeding offshore and sitting on the mostly flat sea, apart from on windy days. It was along the shore here at Alonisos that we had super views of an Eleonora's Falcon as one dashed left to right and quickly out of sight after being chased off by a Kestrel. 

Yellow-legged Gulls, Alonisos, Skiathos

I didn’t get any new birds this year but had a butterfly “tick” by way of a White Admiral Limenitis arthemis, a woodland species that we found along the margins of an olive grove near Alonisos. It took me a while to find this on Google because perhaps naturally enough, I searched for “black butterfly”. Doh! Seemingly, this species occurs in the UK and is increasing. 

White Admiral

We saw many, many Swallowtails this year, probably hundreds - a very beautiful butterfly that we also see during May in Menorca. “Papilio demoleus is an aggressive and very common butterfly. It is perhaps the most widely distributed swallowtail in the world.” – Wiki. 


Below is yet another Red-backed Shrike and then a Whinchat. We saw very few Whinchats this year due to the lack of migrant birds as a whole. Also, not a single Wheatear and very few Yellow Wagtails. 

Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike


I knew that Spotted Flycatchers occasionally eat fruit but never witnessed it until this year in Skiathos. In the dry summer of Greece blackberries aren’t nearly as plump as those from a UK hedgerow but clearly good enough for a Spotted Flycatcher. 

Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher


The Boat Yard, Skiathos

Stay tuned for more news, views and photos soon.

Linking today to Stewart's World Bird Wednesdasy.


Linda said...

Such a glorious series, Phil! The geese in flight, the variety of beautiful birds...and a majestic, gorgeous and friendly horse!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, what a nice variety of birds. I like the geese in flight and would love to see a Ruff up close. Pretty butterflies. Skiathos is a beautiful place! Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and new week ahead!

Jane said...

Some wonderful photographs, thanks for sharing :)

Lessandra said...

Beautiful bird and butterfly pixs. Wish we had more of those gorgeous ones you posted!

Teresa Kindred said...

I love geese. No matter where I am if I hear them I stop and search the sky for them!

mick said...

All great photos and I especially like the Ruff which is not a bird we see out here.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

That flycatcher is cute with his blackberry lunch! I'm glad you didn't miss all of the pink-footed geese, but even if you had, Skiathos would have been worth it -- what a beautiful place. And wonderful butterflies and birds too.

NC Sue said...

I believe I've fallen in love - the ruff is beautiful. What lovely markings, and its form is graceful.
Thanks for linking up at

carol l mckenna said...

Gorgeous bird photos and the butterflies are beautiful too ~ Happy Week to you ~ ^_^

A ShutterBug Explores aka (A Creative Harbor)

Lady Fi said...

A wonderful series of shots.

Lea said...

Great bird photos, and I love the butterflies, too!

Judee Algazi said...

I enjoyed seeing all the birds and butterflies- great lovely shots

Anu said...

Hello Phil. Great serie of photos. Spotted Flycatcher and Red-backed Shrike are awesome and beautiful birds.

Prunella Pepperpot said...

When you said a run around the block I thought that you may have taken up jogging?
Beautiful birds both home and abroad. The butterflies are gorgeous!
The spotted flycatcher is topping up on one of its five a day, or is it ten now!
Have a wonderful Wednesday :)

A Colorful World said...

The Skiathos shots, with the beautiful water are just lovely! Love the geese and those cute photos of the flycatcher with the berries. Looks like a wonderful stay in a beautiful place.

Molly said...

Never been to Skiathos but I have heard it is beautiful


Mary Cromer said...

A beautiful set of shares Phil, from the beauty of the island to your migrating birds. I just went through them one by one and tried to imagine the aromas, and the sounds of the sea as well as the birds...had to be a magnificent journey~

Lowcarb team member said...

Some wonderful photographs.
Always good to see a variety of birds, and I do like the geese in flight.
I can see why you like Skiathos ...

All the best Jan

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