Friday, November 24, 2017

After The Deluge

We’ve had a lot of rain. On Thursday we had a month’s average rainfall in less than a day. Fifteen miles from here the River Conder burst its banks just south of Lancaster and flooded the village of Galgate. The story made the national TV news. 

When I set off birding this morning I ran into still partially flooded roads that criss-crossed acres of waterlogged fields. Three miles south of Lancaster and on the other side of the River Lune the fields surrounding Cockersands Abbey (circa 1184) were some of the worst. That’s the tiny ancient abbey in the centre of the picture with Mute Swans installed on the flood. 

Slack Lane, Cockersands

B&W of Slack Lane

 Cockersands Abbey

As might be expected the floods held lots of birds looking for food washed from the ditches, dykes and already saturated ground following historic summer rain. Too many to count and scattered far and wide were Starlings, Lapwings, Golden Plovers, Curlews, Redshanks, Mallards, and a couple of Grey Herons. 

A stop and look found 40 Meadow Pipit, 14 Goldfinch, 8 Tree Sparrow, 4 Greenfinch, 3 Chaffinch, 3 Pied Wagtail, 2 Reed Bunting and 2 Skylark. The Golden Plovers spooked at nothing and then wheeled around, twisting and turning in unison before they settled again among Lapwings, Redshanks and paddling Starlings. The morning sun lit up the plovers' pale bellies against the shower filled sky.


Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit

Grey Heron

Golden Plover

The herd of Whooper Swans picked a well-drained field in which to spend their days. They are more scattered across the field but still in excess of 400 individuals and ever wary to passing cars that slow or stop for photographs. The now well-trodden field grows muddier by the day but the swans’ method of feeding leaves them looking less than white. 

Whooper Swans
After the Deluge

I called at our Linnet field, waded along the net ride and dropped seed into the nearby vegetation. With a little luck the 140+ Linnets will stay around and we’ll get a ringing session when it stops raining and our seed stops washing into the adjacent ditch. 


Back home I was greeted by a calling Nuthatch, one of the few birds in the garden just lately. 


Even the Goldfinches have mostly deserted us after weeks and weeks of cascading water.

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


Prunella Pepperpot said...

We have had some horrendous weather and I watched with dismay the flooding on the News.
I see you too have flooding.
Lovely birds you have shown us today. How privileged you are to have a beautiful Nuthatch visit your garden!! I watched one the other week in Wales but sadly didn't get a photo.
Have a wonderful, warm, dry weekend.

KL said...

Such beautiful pictures. The Meadow Pipet has a body that looks so much like sparrows and finches that we see here; only the beak is different. And, that Linnet looks exactly like a sparrow. Do you provide bird-feeder in your garden during winter?

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, it is nice seeing the landscapes even with the floods. Pretty scenes with the sky reflecting. I love the Curlew, it is on my list of want to see birds. Neat capture of the Golden Plovers in flight. The Whooper Swans are beautiful, we see plenty of the Mute Swans here. The Nuthatch is another cute bird, one of my favorites. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend.

sandyland said...

many favorites nuthatch curlew,but the colors in photo 1 awesome

carol l mckenna said...

Wow! Lots of rain and lots of birds out afterward ~ Lovely bird photography ~ favorite are the 'birds on the wire' ~

Happy Weekend to you,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

Jane said...

Great photos, hope the floods don't reach you. Thanks for sharing :)

Dragonstar said...

What a delightful post, but I'm sorry about your flooding. Lovely reflections in your black and white.

Anonymous said...

I Like it very much

A Colorful World said...

Boy, that was a LOT of rain! Loved the "After the Deluge" photo. Glad you had quite a few sightings. Looks like a soggy but successful day.

Schotzy said...

Phil, you never disappoint.. the photos are just spectacular I,too, was taken with the curlew.. such a romantic bird to me.. it is written of so much in the English novels I read. I long to see and hear one!! I love the gorgeous photos of the reflective water, and flocks of birds... just wonderful! Thanks for posting!!

Rajesh said...

Beautiful shots of birds. Nice variety.

Jim said...

Beaut shots

rupam sarma said...

Beautiful photos.

Lea said...

Love the Meadow Pipits - very pretty little birds
Have a wonderful day!

Betty Crow said...

You sure did have some flooding. Love the gray heron!

♥ Anni ♥ said...

Flooding? As long as the birds stay around & no hunan life is lost we can deal with it. All your birds are fantastic the flooded fields. You were brave to drive over/thru the flooded road criss-cross.
Thanks for linking in with us birders at I'd Rather B Birdin' this weekend!

Robert Nicolaescu said...

Beautiful post.

Wally Jones said...

Looks as if you are trying to keep up with Florida in the wet and soggy department!

I'm very sorry to hear about the widespread damages caused by the flooding. We hope you suffered no losses.

Our own countryside is finally returning to normal following Hurricane Irma. Lake and river levels are still above average, but most fields have drained although some "new" wetlands have appeared. As you noted in your post, all that water, and subsequent mud, attracts a lot of bird activity. And just in time to feed all those migrants!

Your pipit photo reminded me to head out tomorrow to a local sod farm to see if any American Pipits have arrived yet.

We hope you're drying out sufficiently to perform a bit of ringing this week.

All here is good, although I am still too lazy to blog regularly. Okay, I'm too lazy to do anything regularly!

All the best, Phil!

Jean said...

Your photo of the birds in flight is stunning! All your photos are beautiful. We had a nuthatch in our backyard just today. They don't like to stay still for long do they?

Lowcarb team member said...

You certainly had a lot of rain but your photographs look so lovely!
It's turned quite chilly now, not too sure what the weather will be like in December, but not long to wait now! We shall see!

All the best Jan

Lilli & Nevada said...

Beautiful capture of the birds, wish i could get photos like that.

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