Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Green For Go

Wednesday morning - “The Met Office has issued an 18-hour warning for strong winds in Somerset as Storm Ellen batters Britain and the West Country. The storm contains the remnants of Tropical Storm Kyle and will bring gales as it hits Ireland, before striking the rest of the UK all week.” 

With that gloomy forecast in mind I set off for a spot of birding and maybe even a ringing session if the wind held off long enough. 

I was an early bird at Conder Green where the sun shone and the threatened storm seemed far away. The shy and wary Green Sandpiper is one of those species we often hear before we see. Their unmistakable, sharp, high pitched crazy calls alert us to their presence, like someone stepped on their toes and made them fly off cursing. Often, all you see is their pure white rump disappearing into the distance. Listen to their call to hear the wildness within.


I saw at least two ‘green sands' but thought there may have been three because one flew off calling loudly towards the creek and didn’t return. 

Green Sandpiper

In total contrast the Common Sandpiper can be quite amenable, just bobbing along the water margins without a care in the world. I saw two Common Sandpipers. In these parts it is most unusual to see more Greens than Commons in a morning’s birding. On the other hand the Common Sandpiper is an early migrant both coming and going with the peak of their autumn migration in early July whereas the Green Sandpiper is later by two or three weeks. 

Common Sandpiper

Early doors saw the Lapwing roost on and around the islands as 150 plus departed noisily for the River Lune at some unknown prompt. In the creeks were 3 Greenshank together and just singles of both Curlew and Redshank. 


Teal are back in small numbers with 25 in the roadside creek as a Kingfisher flew through. The Kingfisher, or another, was on the pool soon after where it used the level marker from which to hunt the shallows below. Apologies for the long-distance shot; 600mm is as near as the Kingfisher comes when water levels remains low, even after the voluminous rains of June, July and now August. 


Little Grebes numbered eight with Tufted Duck the same. Two Stock Dove and 8 to 10 Pied Wagtail fed around the pool margins. One Grey Heron and one Little Egret completed an hour or so of looking before I headed for Cockerham and Sand Villa. 

By now 1000 the breeze was too stiff for a net through the seed plot. I birded for a while. Fifty or more Linnets along the sea wall joined with a gang of Swallows to mob a passing Sparrowhawk while in the copse a Willow Warbler, 3 Greenfinch and 4 Goldfinch. Richard’s midden with its puddles, rotting vegetation and hive of insects is popular with Pied Wagtails. 

At least ten wagtails around today but no sign of the recent Corn Bunting or the Grey Wagtail of late. 

Pied Wagtail

On dear. Looks like I won't be going anywhere on Thursday. Or Friday.

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


Mike Attwood said...

Nice images Phil, including the kingfisher. Stay safe. Mike.

The Padre said...

Classic Weather Girl - Stop, In The Name Of Love - Such Beautiful Little Birds There


Stevenson Q said...

My dear friend Phil, first of all thank you for sharing that beautiful Sandpiper audio! It was very relaxing for me in the middle of work and I kept playing it a couple of times more. That lapwing was super cool as usual but the Kingfisher stole the show for me! Look at how poised it is perched on that metre thing! And its colors, wow!!!

Wishing you a great weekend coming my dear friend!

Elkes Lebensglück said...

The singing is so beautiful and all of your photos with the explanations are great. The weather doesn't mean anything good with the wind
Stay safe Elke

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil

Beautiful captures of the Sandpipers, my favorite the Lapwing and the beautiful Kingfisher. The Pied Wagtail is a cutie. I hope you will be safe from the storm. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your day, have a great weekend.

Anu said...

Hello Phil.
Fantastic photos. I wish you good weather for birding.

italiafinlandia said...

Nice to hear the uncommon voice of the Green Sandpiper.
Thaanks for sharing.

Mae Travels said...

Again your photos are just a joy to look at, and we wish we could go birding with you1

be well... mae at

Wally Jones said...

Nice work getting out before the weather turns nasty! Perhaps the storm will blow some unusual migrants off course and they'll land on your doorstep.

Green Sandpiper! Nice.

Don't apologize for the photograph of the Kingfisher. They are notoriously difficult to photo and, besides, any view of your colorful European version (compared to its relatively drab American cousin) is most welcome.

We hope your weather passes quickly and won't cause any damage.

Turns out we have our own weather drama - TWO (2) potential hurricanes headed for the Gulf of Mexico next week at the same time. Yikes!


RedPat said...

Your Kingfishers are so colorful! I love hearing the Green Sandpiper.

Anni said...

Thanks so much for linking in for us birders this week! Loved the audio ... such a calming sound wave.

Rain said...

Hi Phil :) I hope you are safe during the storms!! The birds are lovely, thanks for the audio, I don't think I've ever heard a Green Sandpiper before. The Lapwing is gorgeous! Love his hairdo! :)

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Beautiful little birds Phil

NCSue said...

Great post as always, Phil.
Thank you for sharing at

judee said...

Such great photos and especially that kingfisher which I have never seen in nature.

Veronica Lee said...

My first time hearing the Green Sandpiper, Phil!

Your Kingfishers are gorgeous!

The Padre said...

Popping Back In To Send Some Vibes - Cheers

Stevenson Q said...

My friend Phil! I am so happy you joined Timeless Thursdays this week. Thank you so much for sharing your post and I am happy to hear the Sandpiper song again :) I hope you are doing well there in the UK. One of the Londoner that I follow in instagram has been posting better weather now and his houseplants are doing better now as well.

Lowcarb team member said...

Great photographs, especially the Kingfisher.

Stay safe and dry in the storms we are currently experiencing.

All the best Jan

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