Friday, July 6, 2018

Making Hay

Thursday. Sitting in the shade of the old apple tree with a cup of PG Tips while reading more of Unnatural Selection felt like a good plan.

But then the dawn of yet another sunny day set me off on a trip over the meandering lanes of Stalmine moss. Eight weeks of this fine weather means we’ll pay big time when it finally breaks but in the meantime it’s “make hay” for birders and sun-worshippers alike.

Stalmine, Fylde 

There’s been a Corn Bunting or two singing of late but no firm evidence of breeding intent, and I know from experience the Corn Bunting is very secretive when it comes to giving away their ground nest hidden in an expanse of monoculture. A needle in a haystack has nothing on a Corn Bunting nest. But, there was a bunting singing from directly above the road only 40 yards away from the regular song post; if it’s the same male of course!

Corn Bunting 

Another car came along and then as it whizzed by, the bunting flew off. So yet again there’s real no evidence that this species has bred in our area or that it ever will again.

I’d briefly seen a Little Owl a few days ago in a location new to me. Early July and Little Owls have all finished breeding now so I reckoned this was a young one that might let me take a little look. As it shuffled along the ledge of the broken down shed it wasn't for letting me too close but made a mental note for year listing. Not.

Little Owl 

 During the winter most birders, including me complained that Conder Pool was too full of water, overflowing almost. Well now there’s very little and a fair bit of green algae on the surface but it looks ideal for a wader or two. Good shout as I spotted a single Snipe patrolling the muddy margin and then two black-bellied Dunlin.

Dunlin 

Oystercatchers were busy with their usual piping and running along the margins plus several Redshanks. But they all know to stay away from the mud nearest the public viewing spot, except any little ones that can’t yet fly and/or choose to hide away from the hot sun.

Oystercatcher with chick 

Otherwise things: dozens of Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron, 14 Tufted Duck, 3 Little Grebe, 12 Lapwing, 2 Curlew and 2 Teal, the latter the first of the “autumn” arrivals. And there were the usual Common Terns but no Avocet today.

Sedge Warblers got off to a slow with reduced numbers start this year but I've seen and heard half-a-dozen of them on every look around Moss Lane, Jeremy Lane and up to Cockersands.

It was the same today with both Whitethroat and Reed Bunting on view but very quiet and unobtrusive. My theory is that the reduced numbers of singing males results in wider territories than normal years  with less need to sing.  That’s my notion so shoot me down in flames if necessary.  It’s not quite the same with Reed Warblers which do seem to be in small numbers even now – just two singing males at Conder Green but none along the reed fringed lanes. We can but hope that the record breaking weather of 2018 allows birds to produce lots of youngsters.

Sedge Warbler 

Sedge Warbler

Reed Bunting 

That male Reed Bunting is already showing signs of post-breeding moult, black head losing colour, wear on feather tracts and tail. I wonder where it’s been to get that ring on the right leg? It may have come from our own ringing at Glasson, half a mile away last winter.

That’s all for now folks. I'm off to sit in the sun for a while.

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



11 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Hello, great series and wonderful variety of birds. I love the Little Owl. The Male Reed Bunting is beautiful. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

David Gascoigne said...

You really are enamoured of this book. Can't wait to receive my own copy for review. I must confess this is a new author for me so I am especially looking forward to it. Now back to your tea, Phil.

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, just stopping back to say thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your day and weekend!

Latane Barton said...

Love your pretty birds. You have quite an assortment.

sandyland said...

oystercatcher fascinates me so different from any of our birds

Wally Jones said...

Happy to hear you are having a spell of decent weather and are taking advantage of it! Once can sip tea any time, but searching for birds must take priority when the weather permits!

I do hope you are eventually able to confirm that Corn Bunting are breeding in the area. That Little Owl would certainly have made my day. Perhaps he'll remain in the area?

Thank you for the excellent photos and summary of birding activity. At first, I felt pity as you seemed to describe a very meager listing and then I saw your "otherwise" summary and realized you had quite a good outing!

Our rains continue and I shall have to shop for a pair of waders just to leave the front yard if this keeps up. Gini and I hope your weekend is off to a pleasant start.

Back to your tea. As for me, time to make hay …..

Patrycja P. said...

You live in really wonderful place with lots of birds. Good to see the Little Owl, species that is endangered in my country. Your photos are very nice, I especially love the Oystercatcher. Regards!

Anni said...

I could really go for some promising weather such as yours!! This morning I awoke to flooded streets. Rain, rain, rain. Shouldn't complain tho, at least it's not hurricane weather.

Beautiful photos. Love all the birds...AND your header photo of the snipe. Well done, Phil.

Thanks for joining us this week at I'd Rather B Birdin'.

Jean @sonotorganized.com said...

I always enjoy reading your posts and seeing the wonderful variety of birds. Really love the photo of the little owl!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I am glad you put the book down and went birding. Even I could read a book, but I would never get that many lovely bird sightings and pictures in one day. Thanks for these, but that being said, I will scroll down and read more about "Unnatural Selection."

Lowcarb team member said...

Isn't it so nice to sit with a cuppa and enjoy the sunshine!
Lovely selection of birds in your post Phil, so nice to see them all.
Thanks.

All the best Jan

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