Saturday, November 7, 2020

If You Don’t Go, You Don’t Know

Friday morning was another 0600 start. I’d set off in clear conditions with the usual trouble free drive until close to Oakenclough a slight mistiness turned all too quickly into a pea-souper. 

Andy arrived and as we’d made the effort to rise early and the forecast was OK, we decided to continue. It was not until 0900 that the fog lifted to reveal a rather nice morning. 

But it was too late for much to happen. In the three hours we’d seen and heard 130+ Fieldfares, 30+ Redwings, and 90 Woodpigeons on the move south but caught very little, so processed a miserly 9 birds – 2 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Coal Tit, 1 Redwing, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Treecreeper, 1 Blue Tit and 1 Goldcrest. Some you win, some you lose. We recited to ourselves The Ringer’s Mantra - “If you don’t go, you don’t know”. 

Lesser Redpoll




Saturday saw my escape from captivity with mental stimulation and physical exercise via a spot of birding up along Cockerham way. 

The pool/lake at Conder Green is full of a month of rain, so much water that leaves little mud for waders and gives a count dominated by wildfowl - 300 Teal, 34 Wigeon, 14 Tufted Duck, 10 Little Grebe, 8 Curlew, just 6 Redshank and a single Snipe. The highlight this morning was a Kingfisher which didn’t stop to fish. 

I found 90 or more Fieldfares along Jeremy Lane in their usual location amongst the hawthorn bushes. They were mixed with very flighty Starlings so when the Starlings flew, so did the Fieldfares. It’s noticeable how few hawthorn berries are left now in what has been a very poor year for berries after the hot, dry April, May and part of June. Two Jays and uncounted Tree Sparrows in the roadside trees added to the mix. 

On a flash flood rear Cockersands were about 30 Whooper Swans with some still flying in from out on the River Lune. Most of the Whoopers here in recent weeks seem to have moved 20 miles south of here with about 250 on floods near to up-market Lytham St Annes. I rather miss the swans’ loud greeting calls that are audible from hundreds of yards away so I hope they come back this way soon. 

Whooper Swans
Turn the sound up loud to experience the magical calls of Whooper Swans.

At Cockersands Marsh were small flocks of Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Twite. At the farm buildings, Grey Wagtail, House Sparrows, Tree Sparrows, Collared Dove, Stock Dove, and a good number of Starlings. 

Grey Wagtail.
Meanwhile, in the wider world of Lockdown Crazy Britain, three more weeks.

“You can shoot ducks, but you can’t feed them. You can sleep with your wife or husband, but you can’t play tennis with them.

You can buy a pint to take away using an app on your mobile phone, but can’t drink it inside or immediately outside a pub.

Marks & Sparks can sell you a prawn sandwich, but not a pair of socks. Knickers are ‘non-essential’ on the High Street, but freely available on the internet.

We are urged to exercise and keep fit to boost our immune systems but gyms and swimming pools are closed, by law.

In Greater Manchester, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins appealed for people to snitch on their neighbours if they suspect they are having friends of family over during lockdown.”

Daily Mail

Linking this post to Anni In Texas Birding.


The Padre said...

Treecreeper, Right On - Dig The Yellow In The Goldfinch - But The Markings Of That Lesser Redpoll Takes The Cake - So Much Character In Those Eyes - Enjoy Your Weekend


eileeninmd said...


Love the Whopper Swan sounds, great video. Your closeups of the birds are just beautiful. I love them all. I am getting most of my exercise by walking outside in nature, it is peaceful. Take care, enjoy your weekend!

jp@A Green Ridge said...

I've heard and seen on nature programs the Swan dancing, but the photo of them in flight is amazing! I find similarities between our birds and yours...distant cousins!..:)jp

Jean said...

Loved listening to the whooper swans. Your goldfinch is so colorful. The fieldfare is an interesting looking bird as well. Hope the three weeks pass quickly for you (a lot of the "rules" here don't make a lot of sense either; you'll drive yourself crazy trying to figure it out). Have a healthy & happy rest of your weekend!

Mike Attwood said...

I dunno Phil, all the birds that are missing from my patch seem to be up your way. Must be the weather. Stay safe.

Anni said...

Oh don't get me started on this crap about the stay at home rules...especially when very large crowds gather everywhere not even heeding the social distancing etc.etc.etc.

As always, Phil, I found your post and photos to be superior. I like them all, but seeing the Creeper as extraordinary...the pattern & colors are so different than the one and only one I saw here.
This week, I want to send my thanks to you for sharing your post with us birders!

Wally Jones said...

We are happy to hear you were able to get out for a bit considering your current prison --- ummm --- lockdown --- ummm --- "health and safety" guidelines.

Although you only scored a relatively few birds to ring, your overall numbers of birds observed sounds great to me. The sounds of the swans immediately evoked a memory of a distant place, bitter cold, being with my son - thank you.

Activity here at Rebel Alliance HQ has increased, with forays into vast prairies, dank swamps and remote coastlines.

Gini and I hope you find ways to retain a positive outlook.

This, too, shall pass.

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

Love the Treecreeper shot Phil I have not seen on in any of our woods for ages.

Rhodesia said...

Great set of photos, I wish a Treecreeper would visit us here sigh. Sounds like you saw a lot of birds even though the ringing number was not as high as you may have hoped.

Wish I could watch the video, one day they may give us a decent connection and we can see these things again. We are not very much better than the old dial-up!!!

Stay safe, Diane

Karen said...

Terrific photos Phil! The Goldfinch is very pretty and so different from ours here in Canada. I enjoyed the swan video.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

lovely birds Phil - the Goldfinch is really colorful

Fun60 said...

As you were unable to photograph the kingfisher my favourite would be the goldfinch.

Stevenson Q said...

Oh my friend Phil! Look at the colors on that Treecreeper! It looks like a painting! Plus love the swans! The first time I saw a swan for real was just last year in Amsterdam. It was just near a dock on my boat hotel and I can't help but stare at it because it's so white and big and I can't help but think that it's like a fake mascot or something, it's so beautiful!

NCSue said...

The video of the swans is amazing! How beautiful!
Thanks for sharing at

Veronica Lee said...

I enjoyed the swan video, Phil.

Fantastic captures as always!

Happy Tuesday!

Angie said...

Phil - your outings may not have delivered all you would like, but I am happy for you that those outings have been possible!!! Maybe we are starting to settle (in a negative sense), but I choose to look at each small joy as a blessing. (And as an aside, I am still basking in Biden's win for at least another week before I allow myself to get sucked back into worrying about the pandemic.)

Lowcarb team member said...

Wonderful birds, and I enjoyed the video, thank you.

All the best Jan

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