Monday, May 4, 2020

Finding The Rares

May 3rd with once again a zero count of House Martins over the weekend, not even a fly by as often happens when early arrivals stop off and examine last year’s breeding sites under the neighbours’ eaves. The lack of martins is very noticeable because Sue and I have spent so much time in the garden recently without seeing and hearing the twittering arrival of House Martins. 

There was nothing for it but to check this out elsewhere on Monday to see if martins had arrived at other regular spots, even though there isn’t much information around during these stay at home times. After all, House Martins are not seen in too many gardens. 

I set out for my Monday stroll from one of my long-time workout spots at Cockerham. But first a spot of stood-still birding with lots to see on Conder Pool where most birds are now paired up but still a number of migrants. 

There are a decent number of pictures today so please “click the pics” for a closer look. 

The Avocets were both active and noisy with 5 pairs for sure and maybe an extra one or two individuals. Some are clearly sat on eggs while one pair spent time on the marsh clattering loudly as the tide rose to their feet. They were precisely where a pair bred last year, as if these two were weighing up the tidal rise and fall. 



Four pairs of Oystercatcher appeared to be on eggs with probably one pair of Redshank and 3 pair of Shelduck. Otherwise wildfowl – a pair of Canada Goose, a single drake Gadwall and 8 Tufted Duck. 

 Shelduck- female, male

There was no sign of recent Spotted Redshank or Little Ringed Plover today but 76 or more Black-tailed Godwit came in many shades from grey/brown to the dark brick red of the Icelandic race. A little distant but you get the picture. 

Black-tailed Godwit 

Bang on cue Common Terns are back on site, four today, where as usual they compete with the Black-headed Gulls for the likeliest spots. 

Common Tern 

Two Yellow Wagtails stayed but briefly where at one point they shared the outflow wall with a White Wagtail and a Pied Wagtail. Apologies for the poor picture; it’s an attractive but small bird some 35 yards away. A single Grey Heron and five Little Egrets seen - one or two of the latter in full summer adult plumage. 

Yellow Wagtail 

Little Egret 

I wasn’t seeing any House Martins and just 15/20 Swallows fed briefly before they too flew off into the distance. Zero Swifts too, but as one might expect, lots of Sand Martins (100+) at the quarry half-a-mile away. 

Other small birds arrived as 1 Wheatear, 1 Blackcap and 2 Whitethroat only, the early Wheatears now mainly moved on inland. Seemingly Whitethroats have yet to arrive in any numbers. 

Along Jeremy Lane I found a few Swallows hanging around the usual farms, waiting to be let in the buildings, and where yet again the Swallow numbers are severely depleted. 



It was soon after taking a picture of an obliging Pheasant that I found what may prove to be the rarity of the month - a pair of Grey Partridge. 


 Grey Partridge

A little distant I know but a good find. 

If only the WhatsApp Rare Bird Forum was up and running I could post it on there, together with a zero count of House Martins. 


Lowcarb team member said...

I did enjoy this Monday post, so many lovely birds to see, thank you.

Eddie and I are shortly going for our allotted exercise break, I wonder what we may see? Perhaps I should take a camera!

Enjoy the week ahead and stay safe and well.

All the best Jan

Stevenson Q said...

Now these little angels greeted me a Happy Monday indeed! When you told me to click the photos for a closer look, it's like I went on a field trip Phil. They are all so beautiful. I was even so proud of myself when I told myself (Oh this one looks like an Egret, not sure) then continued reading and confirmed that it is indeed an Egret! I'm not very good with species so Yay me! haha The pheasant looks so beautiful too and those are regarded as medicinal birds in Ancient Oriental Medicine. Learned it from a Korean drama series I have watched before :)

Happy Monday my dear friend Phil and I hope this new week will be good to you and me and all of us.


NCSue said...

I agree with Jan - lovely birds in this post!
Thanks for joining the linkup at

Wally Jones said...

Judging by your narrative and fantastic photographs, I would say your Monday outing was a great success!

Perhaps the House Martins received word you were out and about and deliberately foraged elsewhere. I am convinced birds do such things.

That's quite a Godwit gathering! The Yellow Wagtail almost blends in with the yellow coloring (lichen?) on the outflow wall.

Here's hoping for a day when the Grey Partridge may become more common. Any chance the ban on heath burning will have such a positive effect?

All remains good here at Rebel Alliance HQ. Local parks are re-opening today and state parks should follow suit next week. No problems with grocery shopping although toilet paper is still a black market item and sellers are only taking gold or precious gems in trade for guaranteed 2-ply product.

Sunny days, coolish mornings and we are out early each day scouring the countryside for spring migrants. With minor success.

Let me know if I need to work on the "link" issue.

Take care, stay safe, social distance at every opportunity and under no circumstances let them see you smiling underneath that mask! (It makes them angry.)

Elkes Lebensglück said...

beautiful fascinating photos !!!
Greetings Elke

A Bit of the Blarney said...

Very beautiful and amazing photos! Thank you! Have a wonderful week!

Please visit me at

Ella said...

You have photographed beautiful birds, but my heart enjoys the little swallow!
It is always a great pleasure to see her!
Enjoy the week ahead!

italiafinlandia said...

The Avocet is awesome.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

You sure know your birds and how to get great photographs of them!

eileeninmd said...


Gorgeous birds Phil! I love them all. The Godwit group is awesome, cool sighting. Your pheasant and partrdige remind me of the Grouse I've seen in the USA. I love the cute Swallows and the Avocet. Great photos! Take care! Enjoy your day, have a happy new week ahead.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Wonderful post, I always enjoy your birds

Fun60 said...

Always enjoy your photos. The avocet was my favourite.

Shiju Sugunan said...

So many beautiful birds. I liked the avocet.

Veronica Lee said...

Always a pleasure to swing by your blog to enjoy your fascinating bird photos, Phil!

Happy Tuesday!

s.c said...

Wow a great collection of birdshots. I love them.

Rhodesia said...

Lucky you and what a lovely post. I wish we had water close by, the only dams are on private farms and I can not get near them. I have yet to see a swallow this year, we used to get a lot of them, but last year and this they seem to have vanished. Still only hearing the owls, no sightings, but then it has not stopped raining now for over a week so I have not been out very much!
Keep well Diane

Angie said...

Phil - a wonderful selection of birds in this post, and so glad for you that you saw the two partridge. My favorite picture is the pheasant. Left me wondering what has happened to the martins!!!

Zain said...

what a lovely post. I wish we had water close by, the only dams are on private farms and I can not get near them. I did enjoy this Monday post, so many lovely birds to see, thank you.

Zain said...

Wonderful article. I really enjoyed.

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