Sunday, November 12, 2017

Bright And Breezy

The forecast said bright and breezy and it was spot-on for birding if not for ringing at our exposed sites. I travelled over the moss roads where I hoped for a Barn Owl or two; but no luck this morning, just a pair of Buzzards leaving their overnight roost.

At Gulf Lane the Linnet flock has increased to 200+ birds but no sign of the Stonechat from earlier in the week. With luck we’ll get a crack at catching more Linnets this coming week. Lapwings and Curlews filled the wet fields alongside the A588 with several hundred of each before I even reached Braides Farm.

Here at the farm were 500+ Lapwing and similar numbers of Curlew, and on the flood itself, 80+ Black-tailed Godwit. A mile away I stopped on the rise of Bank End Lane and viewed the fields below. Here were several hundreds more of both Lapwing and Curlew, dozens of Redshank, and once again a large number of Black-tailed Godwit, 130 or more.

The area around Chris the farmer’s midden/slurry pond is holding a good number of insects as well as small birds, mainly pipits and wagtails, but also a few Tree Sparrows and Reed Buntings. After a while the count came to 120 Meadow Pipit, 8 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 4 Tree Sparrow, 2 Reed Bunting and a good number of Starlings.

Pied Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit
Pied Wagtail


There is a huge southerly migration of Meadow Pipits during August to October, a movement involving birds from Scotland, Scandinavia and Iceland, after which the UK wintering population is quite small. No one is quite sure of the origins of any wintering birds and their numbers can vary enormously according to the severity of the winter. While the weather is mild at the moment whereby there is plenty of insect food, cold and especially frosty weather will see the birds quickly depart south and west.

Meadow Pipit

Conder Pool is pretty much off the boil for now although the cold northerly appeared to have increased the Teal count to 230 together with the first Wigeon (15) for some weeks. Otherwise - approximately 30 each of Lapwing, 30 Redshank and Curlew, 3 Little Grebe, 2 Goosander, 2 Little Egret and 1 Kestrel. Two Ravens flew over heading inland and in a north easterly direction.

There is such a spectacle of noise and activity that it is hard not to drive up Moss Lane where the Whooper Swans have made their winter home. With 450+ Whoopers and a few dozen Mutes there’s enough action to satisfy most observers, the only problem being to isolate a single photo subject  or small group from the multitude packed into the field.

Whooper Swan
Just along Slack Lane there was quite a lot of activity around the now redundant set aside field and hedgerow with more Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails, Linnets, and even half-a-dozen Greenfinch. It’s not so many years ago that most birders, me included, didn’t bother to record the overly common Greenfinch in their notebooks. Look at it now – a sharp population decline, a now scarce sight and a rare visitor to many a garden.

Greenfinch - BTO


On the way back up Moss Lane and around Jeremy Lane were hundreds of very mobile Fieldfares. They tried to feed in the roadside hedgerows but fled as each vehicle whooshed by. My estimate of 3/400 is just that. There could have been lots more but they weren’t in the mood for stopping.



A successful morning then!  I really should get out more often.

Linking today to World Bird Wednesday.


Lowcarb team member said...

We too had a fantastic morning, in fact the day has been good weather wise ... although I did appreciate my thicker winter coat when out walking!
Unlike you I didn't see so many wonderful birds - you did so well - and as always I've enjoyed your photographs.

Here's to a good new week

All the best Jan

David Gascoigne said...

Good morning Phil: Every time I see wagtails in your posts I have a little twinge of envy. I find them very appealing birds, and we don't have a one here! My "dream" bird is a Citrine Wagtail. I have been in several areas where it has been possible to find it, but I have never succeeded. Based on pictures and photographs it seems particularly elegant, perhaps the prince of all the wagtails!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, it does look like you had a successful morning. Great variety of birds. Lovely photos too. I love all the different Wagtails. Happy Monday, enjoy your day and new week!

Santi Dominguez said...

Thank you Phil. Nice post. Specially I like Meadow Pipit. Nowadays we are recording too many Meadow Pipits in our city. Linets too.

Fun60 said...

I had forgotten how beautiful a grey wagtail is. Haven't seen one for ages.

Photo Cache said...

You had a productive walk.

Worth a Thousand Words

Joyful said...

Pied Wagtail is my favourite. You have seen a lot of great birds on your walk.

Lady Fi said...

What lovely shots.

mick said...

Those seem like huge numbers of birds to me, It would be wonderful to see them, Both Wagtails are lovely birds - so different from what we call a wagtail out here. It really does make me wonder what the first settlers out here were thinking of to name such different birds by names that were familiar to them.

Prunella Pepperpot said...

Oh no not another bird in sharp decline. i feel so priviledged to have the occasional greenfinch visit.
The meadow pipit is lovely, it looks like a miniature thrush.
Your whooper swans are grgeous!
Have a great end to the week.

A Colorful World said...

Love the wagtails and pipits! And that last photo of the fieldfare is really wonderful. Plus, seeing the whooping swans...what a joy!

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