Friday, June 28, 2019

Bygone Times

We’re already planning the autumn Linnet ringing so with that in mind I set out to check Richard the farmer’s bird seed plot at Cockerham. Although we like to complain about the weather the year has been a good one for plant growth with a good mix of showery rain and now a spell of hot weather that should ripen the seeds.

Bird Seed Plot- Cockerham 

There was a Linnet singing from the stretch of bramble that lines the adjacent ditch. Hopefully it has found a mate. As a breeding species the Linnet is now pretty scarce around here so let’s hope this is an omen but I suspect not – more like a relic of times gone by. It’s not so many years ago that close to here were two loose breeding colonies of Linnets - one in gorse at Lane Ends 750 yards away and the other in a larger clump gorse at Braides farm half-a-mile away. Now we have none. 


As we have discovered through ringing here, the autumn and winter Linnets are not our own but originate much further away, some from the Northern Isles of Scotland.  They come here to bask in the relative winter warmth of the Lancashire coast.   

At the monoculture of Braides Farm I saw very little over or in the expanse of green except for a couple of distant Skylarks and a single Red-legged Partidge walking the farmer's track. 

I motored towards Conder Green and to compare notes now that early autumn is here. Already we have passed the longest day, the summer solstice.

There was evidence of early returning waders by way of 2 Greenshank, 4 Common Sandpiper, 24 Lapwing, 70+ Redshanks, and a handful of Curlews. Resident waders had changed little with 2 Avocet, 15 Oystercatcher and a single adult Little-ringed Plover. There have been a number of sighting of Little-ringed Plovers this year, sometimes one, often two, but it appears that no breeding occurred with zero young reported. 

Little Ringed Plover 

Little-ringed Plover Charadrius dubius is named via Charadrius a Latin word for a yellowish bird and dubius, Latin for “doubtful”, via Sonnerat a French naturalist, writer and explorer who in 1776 thought this bird might be a variant of the common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula. We now know of course that the two birds are related but totally different species. 

Wildfowl and herons have changed little in recent weeks and continue as 6 Tufted Duck, 4 Shelduck, 1 Teal, 3 Little Egret and 1 Grey Heron. There’s little change on the crowded nesting platform with what looks like two chicks each for both Common Tern and Black-headed Gull.  
Common Tern

It appears that any breeding success of both Oystercatcher and Redshank here has been poor; my own sightings consisted of a single young Oystercatcher some weeks ago. Small birds and “others” were limited to 12 Pied Wagtail, 3 Reed Bunting, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap and 2 Stock Dove. 

Swallows continue to be scarce other than an unexpected posse of 35 or more at Gardner’s Farm along Moss House Lane. First broods are on the wing now so let’s hope the fine weather continues and allows the Swallows another go. A feeding party of 30 Swifts over the hedgerows was rather fine to witness. 


 On the way home I chanced upon a single Corn Bunting, another rarity relic of times gone by.

 Corn Bunting

Back soon. Don't go away and have a super weekend.

Linking today to Eileen's Blogspot.


Lowcarb team member said...

Always enjoyable to see the variety of birds in your photographs.
It doesn't seem possible that we've had the longest day and the nights will begin to draw in again. Well done for already planning the Autumn Linnet ringing.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend and in the hot temperatures expected here in the UK I think I may enjoy some ice-cream :)

Enjoy your weekend.

All the best Jan

italiafinlandia said...

I hope you will have a good ringing season to come!

Jutta.K. said...

Great shots !
Especially I love the swallow.
My contribution:

eileeninmd said...


Beautiful variety of birds and photos. I love the cute Plover and Swallow. The Tern is a favorite too. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend.

sandyland said...

i want to go with you - a group of silts scurried across the road in front of me this morning near a small canal no camera

Jo said...

Hi Phil, always so lovely to see your variety of birds. I loved the Little Ringed Plover. And enjoyed seeing the Corn Bunting. Have a great weekend. Jo

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Hello Phil: There is always a sense of sadness when birds lose their breeding territories, but I think the loss is magnified when familiar species that used to breed locally no longer do so. I can only hope along with you that the Linnet does indeed find a mate and perhaps it is an augury of a population recovery. I am sure you will keep us posted.

Jo said...

Hi again Phil, thanks for thinking about me and being concerned for my welfare. South Africa is a mess. Murder, robbery and hi-jacking is the order of the day. Fortunately I live in a very peaceful Valley and there is no crime here. Please do tell: how far up the tree must I place the peanut butter for the woodpeckers? I first hear and then see them in the large trees in the neighbor's garden and would love to treat the birds. Enjoy the rest of your day. Jo

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

You saw a nice variety of birds and got good photos too...not an easy task! I'm wishing you success with the ringing too! Enjoy your weekend!

Tanza Erlambang said...

Common Tern looks so the colors.

Success with your works.

Have a wonderful weekend

Stewart M said...

I used to assume in my youth that birds like Corn Buntings were mythical! Good to see there really are still a few out there - and may their numbers grow.

Stewart M - Jakarta airport, Indonesia!

Jenn Jilks said...

The header of the curlew is amazing. YOu sound like you really enjoy the ringing!

Rhodesia said...

Glad you have some swallows. Every year the phone lines outside our home were full of them, this year there is nothing!!! Sad, Diane

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I always enjoy your posts filled with such beautiful birds. Today is no exception. Loved the curlew.

NCSue said...

Like Carol just before me, I've fallen hard for that curlew. But all of you photos are grand - as usual! I always enjoy your shares. Thanks for joining us at

betty-NZ said...

Thanks for taking us along! You always share wonderful images of the creatures around you.

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