Thursday, May 2, 2019

Mayday, Mayday!

For the hills of Oakenclough one weather forecast predicted rain for Wednesday. The other promised 50/50 of showers and cloud. Both were sure of there being less than  5mph wind so we simply had to go for it. I met Andy at 0600 to a light drizzle that came and went for the next two hours. We had two hours simply because there were no birds to be had other than the 2 Lesser Redpoll and a single Willow Warbler that found the nets; the overnight 100% cloud and another easterly waft did us no favours. 

Willow Warbler

 Lesser Redpoll

Otherwise we heard and a few Siskins overhead and then a single Swallow that flew quickly north. This really has been a very unproductive spring up here where the temperature has been consistently lower than the coast some 10 miles downhill and where most migrant birds, perhaps with the exception of Swallows, appeared to arrive on time. 

This was probably our last post-winter/spring session here at Oakenclough with just 154 captures. Leading the tallies were respectable totals of 33 Lesser Redpoll, 28 Goldfinch, 20 Siskin and 12 Chaffinch. Much more disappointing were just 10 Goldcrest, 6 Willow Warbler, 5 Blackcap and 2 Chiffchaff for the spring period that was dominated by cold easterly winds. Just one of those Willow Warblers was a female, suggesting that the females are still on their way here.

As I motored down to sea level the distant coast looked much clearer and a little inviting so I called into Conder Green for a look. 

Waders are pretty numerous there now that there is exposed mud and lots of places for nests. I counted 6 Avocets as three pairs, one pair of Little Ringed Plover, 22 Oystercatcher, 14 Redshank, 12 Black-tailed Godwit , 1 Greenshank, 2 Little Egret and 1 Grey Heron. While both Black-tailed Godwit and Greenshank are migrants, the Redshanks and Oystercatchers are pretty much paired for breeding. 

Little Ringed Plover  

Eurasian Avocet

At least one pair of Shelduck are about to breed as I watched a male vigorously chase a second male off a prime spot from the island habitat. Likewise the Tufted Ducks are mostly paired up with 14 counted. 


As I stood at the viewing screen a Blackcap sang in my left ear with both Dunnock and Robin present. Further along the coastal path I found Common Whitethroat and a lone Willow Warbler, but very few Swallows or House Martins on the move. 

We are due cold northerlies this weekend. Luckily I will be somewhere slightly warmer by Friday lunchtime.


Rhodesia said...

Love the shot of the Eurasian Avocet but then I am a sucker for photos with reflections as well! We are also due a cold spell this weekend, will have to move a few plants back into the greenhouse!! Have a good day Diane

eileeninmd said...


Wonderful birds and sightings. The Redpoll is a favorite. I love the Plover and Avocet. Great photos. Enjoy your day!

eileeninmd said...


Wonderful birds and sightings. The Redpoll is a favorite. I love the Plover and Avocet. Great photos. Enjoy your day!

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

Good birding Phil but my favourite shot is the Avocet

italiafinlandia said... the graceful Avocet.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Good morning Phil: Sounds like a good time for you and Sue to escape the fierce winds and gloom of Lancashire and jet off to the warm embrace of the Mediterranean. Have a great time. Perhaps when you return the weather will be first class, and the birds will be lining up to be fitted with their bling. Safe travels, my friend.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Lovely birds....the shelduck is a stunner and the avocet with reflection is great. Enjoy your vacation in warmer climes!

Tanza Erlambang said...

shelduck looks interesting for me.....
great shots

Sharon said...

Love your photo of the Avocet!

Angie said...

Phil - love the avovet with the reflection! Hope you are enjoying better weather in the Med. Skyped with my in-laws today and they said it was still pretty brisk today in the Northeast!

natalia20041989 said...

These are so cute, especially the first one ☺

Lowcarb team member said...

Beautiful birds and I love the reflection in the water of the Eurasian Avocet.

All the best Jan

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