Friday, March 6, 2020

What’s Birding?

Birding? What’s that? I’d done virtually none during Fearsome February when all we had was rain, more rain and constant strong winds. 

Today I set off over the moss into the rising sun, past the farmer’s still steaming muck heaps and on the way north for a spot of birding.  

Rawcliffe Moss 

Good thing I stopped for a picture because yards away and along the fence line was the now almost obligatory morning owl. The Barn Owl was looking for breakfast while I had to shoot at ISO1600. 

Barn Owl 

A little later about a mile away I stopped to witness a mixed flock of Redwings and Fieldfares feeding in a still wet field. As the car stopped both species flew to the nearest hedgerow and mostly out of sight.  Fieldfares and Redwings are on their way north now; it will be a faster trip than their leisurely autumn migration. 


A single Yellowhammer called out from overhead wires. I hope he finds a mate soon because there aren’t too many Yellowhammers around nowadays. 


By the time I arrived at Gulf Lane there was enough light to see and count the arriving Linnets at 45 and to note a single Blackbird and a male Reed Bunting in the bramble bushes. About 20 Linnets soon fed on our recent seed so I topped up with a fresh half bucket and left the birds alone. At the moment Saturday looks marginal for another ringing session but a series of Internet weather forecasts will record countless hits tonight.  

The whole of February with its horrendous weather saw no visits from me to Conder Green. By all accounts, due to continuous winds and record water levels, any birding here was “pretty grim" with very few birds on view. 

Things had definitely picked up today with hints of spring territories and much better numbers of birds on the water and surrounding areas. On the far island I counted over 120 Black-headed Gulls and 2 Mediterranean Gulls. 

Mediterranean Gull 

I have a feeling that the Black-headed Gulls will begin to dominate Conder Pool and that the year will see a good number of breeding pairs; perhaps to the detriment of other species? More so if the boisterous Greylags also stay around. We’ll soon see. 

Black-headed Gull 

Water birds and waders: 4 Shelduck, 30 Greylag 14 Tufted Duck, 42 Teal, 22 Wigeon, 18 Oystercatcher, 8 Redshank, 8 Curlew, 5 Black-tailed Godwit. Bringing up the rear: 2 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron and 1 Little Grebe. 

At the far island a Cormorant flew in, a very striking individual with an all-encompassing white head. The Cormorant had a very distinctive appearance, a sign of full breeding plumage and imminent departure. The literature states that such striking birds may be from the Continent or South East England but that it’s difficult to assign one to either of the two races Phalacrorax carbo carbo or Phalacrorax carbo sinensis. 


Cormorant - Britain's Birds 

That was me done for the morning. 

The afternoon had been assigned to making two trays of onion bhajis. 

Onion Bhajis

Let me know if you need a good recipe.  Or see any good birds.

Linking today to Eileen's Saturday and Anni in Texas.


italiafinlandia said...

Yellowhammers are very common in Finland - they live here all around the year - they like oats.
The Barn owl is awesome... the way that it can turn its head.
Have a nice weekend!

eileeninmd said...


The weather has not been the best for birding here, I was just taking short walks around my neighborhood. I love your Barn Owl. The Yellowhammer is a beautiful bird. The Fieldfare and gulls are pretty, great photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend. PS, thanks for the visit and comment on my blog.

Anu said...

Hello Phil.
Spring and beautiful weather are coming.
The photos of Barn Owl is wonderful.
Have a nice weekend!

Wally Jones said...

Trying to catch up a little as I seem to remain behind in reading blogs. Your last post ("Signs of Spring") and this one give hope that bad weather is a thing of the past.

Hopefully, you will be able to become reacquainted with "birding".

Superb photographs! I remain jealous of your Barn Owl, but we have had good fortune lately with other owl species. The Yellowhammer impressed us when we lived in Europe about a hundred years ago. Here's hoping it thrives.

Thank you for sharing your signs of spring, your return to "birding" and that delicious image of your Bhajis!

Fingers crossed here for balmy days ahead!

Rhodesia said...

I am very jealous that you manage to see so much. I went out for a longish walk yesterday and all I managed to see was a very fleeting glance of a woodpecker (I am not even sure which one), and a jay that was equally as fleeting. A few unrecognisable little birds were also only seen at a great distance. The only photos I got were of insects and even they were not plentiful!! The Onion Bhajis look delicious.
Have a good week, Diane

Anni said...

That dish of onion bhajis looks mighty tasty!

And your nice array of birds is fantastic today...even some long awaited sunshine!
Thanks for joining us today at I'd Rather B's always appreciated!

Tanza Erlambang said...

I just "birding" by listening bird sound from my backyard...

Thank you for sharing photos of gulls and owl...beautiful photos

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I love the sunrise but it's even better with the owl looking for breakfast.

Elkes Lebensglück said...

wonderful birds photos and delicious meal!
Greetings Elke

Veronica Lee said...

How delightful to see these beautiful birds that we don't find in our corner of the world.

Yuummmmm! That dish of onion bhajis looks amazing!

Arenapublik said...

wow nice article!

Chittagongbirdclub said...

nice article about birding

Birds of indian subcontinent

likeschocolate said...

Lovely photos this week. I am not a birder, but I can see how it could be addicting.

Angie said...

Phil - good riddance to February! Glad to see that rewarding birding might be returning for you in March. Always brightens my day to see those owl photos. And do send on the onion bhaji recipe!

Angie said...

Phil - thanks for putting the recipe into your comment on my blog. Unfortunately, it cut off the comment at Placed the sliced onions into ...

Related Posts with Thumbnails