Thursday, December 2, 2021

Good Morning

I set off in the dark and drove towards Lancaster. The temperature hovered around zero under a clear starry sky that hinted at a sunny day. As it does so often, the morning began with a Barn Owl, but not in the usual spots. 

The owl was at Conder Green where it hunted over the areas of rough grass areas that surround the pools. I watched the owl for a while as it played hide & seek with the camera until it flew off towards Glasson Dock’s roadside barns. 

Barn Owl

The light wasn’t perfect yet but good enough to clock the wildfowl and waders where scans and counts revealed 28 Wigeon, 4 Little Grebe, 1 Goldeneye, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret and 48 Teal. There was no sign of the recent Green-winged Teal but my overall count of teal species was below recent averages whereby Teal are good at hiding in the reedy margins with the result that some remained unseen. 

Goldeneye

Waders were the expected handful of species that rarely changes in winter composition but fluctuates in numbers. Today all of them proved to be in a flighty mood - 65 Lapwing, 22 Redshank, 6 Curlew and a single Oystercatcher. 

Curlew
 
A Kingfisher obliged by sitting at the water spillway but briefly. Within a few seconds it was gone, skimming across the flat water to an unknown spot at the other end of the pool. 

Kingfisher
 
The few passerines around numbered 11 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Blackbird, 1 Dunnock, 1 Wren along the hedgerow, hawthorns that hold few birds, probably because there is constant disturbance from vehicles large, small and inevitably noisy in using the parking spot. 

Perhaps local birders can answer this question – where are all the unglamorous Dunnocks this autumn and winter? I have seen, heard and ringed very few all year. The species is even absent from the garden, most unusual. Theories please.

Dunnock
 
I took a drive up to Cockersands and picked up a few extra species that included a small flock of mixed Redwings and Fieldfares, about 30 birds in all that flew between tall trees and a single hedgerow. Near here and Gardner’s farm a Kestrel sat atop a roadside pole and approximately 130 Whooper Swans stayed noisy and distant. There are very few berries left now following a quite average berry crop this autumn. 

Redwing

Fieldfare

On the way back home a stop at Braides Farm found a rather decent if somewhat approximate number of Lapwings (500), Golden Plover (750) and 40 or more Redshank. I wondered why all were so difficult to count, very flighty and taking to the air for “nothing”, flying around and then dropping back into the fields. It was a Sparrowhawk, a large female sat on a broken down post in the centre of the mayhem where it watched for the opportune moment and a meal. 

I let the birds be then drove to Gulf Lane and the feeding spots we cannot work for ringing purposes because they are close to a case of Avian Flu in Preesall/Pilling. 

I dropped more seed on the ground for the count of 125 Linnet, 12 Chaffinch, 4 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Great Tit, 1 Robin and 1 Moorhen. It's very frustrating that we are barred from catching and ringing these small passerines. Let’s hope we can return to our ringing quite soon.  

Linnets

Back soon with more news, views and photos on Another Bird Blog. 

Linking this weekend to Eileen's Blogspot and Anni in Texas

 

18 comments:

Gill Arbuthnott said...

I'm glad to read that you are able to keep the feeding regime going for Project Linnet - almost a bird welfare issue at this time of year, if the birds have been used to the supplementary food.
Tom Dougall

Rhodesia said...

You have some great photos here, I wish I could see a Fieldfare, but would I recognise it if I saw it?

I have so much to catch up with due to a few mishaps. I did update the photodiarydps today but everything else is far behind. Next year I just might have time to catch up if the cold continues!

Have a great weekend, Diane

Mike Attwood said...

That was a nice trip out Phil. Lovely pictures. I wish I was up to that but at my age it makes me think twice. Stay safe.
Mike.

Shiju Sugunan said...

You showed some very beautiful photos from your trip. Pretty impressive number of birds.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil,
What a great outing, beautiful bird sightings. Your photos are all awesome.
One of my favorites is the Barn Owl. I would love to see the Kingfisher, Curlew and the Lapwings. The Goldeneye is a handsome duck. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend! PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I enjoyed your post but then went right back to the beginning to see that gorgeous Barn Owl! WOW! It is perfect...how I would love to see one! Enjoy your weekend!

RedPat said...

I love that Barn Owl too!

Linda said...

Excellent photos!

Anni said...

Phil...all your photos are incredible! Love the composition of the owl. Picture post card perfect. Too bad about the flu. But, I guess the birds haven't been vaxxed (just kidding). The number of species is terrific!

I wish for you a good birding week ahead,and thanks for linking in!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

You had me with the barn owl. For some reason owl faces attract my attention. I just love them.

NCSue said...

The beak on the curlew is amazing. I don't know anything about them - they aren't native to our area - but it appears he could excavate quite effectively for insects burrowed in trees or the ground.
Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2021/12/the-blacksmiths-shop.html

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I loved seeing the barn owl and the elusive kingfisher.

It was so unusually warm where I live this summer that a lot of birds seems to be hiding most of the day or migrated north. I wonder if the birds you are missing have done the same for some reason?

Fun60 said...

That's a great photo of the kingfisher, one of my favourite birds.

Veronica Lee said...

I enjoyed these stunning photos from your trip, Phil.

I especially love the barn owl.

Wally Jones said...

Wandering through your post reveals you had, in my very humble opinion, a really good birding day!

You found a terrific variety of birds and any day which starts with seeing a Barn Owl would be quite special for me.

Now, if you could just teach those reckless birds how to social distance and the efficacy of wearing little masks - oh! - I may have struck upon a marketing idea ......

Sorry for our absence. We have just returned from almost three weeks of visiting family members and put over 2,000 miles on the vehicle. Great trip! (Even if no birding was involved.)

A new week is half done already! Gini and I hope the remainder of it will be good for us all.

Valerie said...

Fabulous capture of the Kingfisher! Love the colours.

Angie said...

Phil - so sorry that I have been 'round to comment lately. But I'm back! Love the Barn Owl, Curlew in flight and the Kingfisher!

Lowcarb team member said...

What a fabulous post Phil. Such a lovely outing. I did enjoy seeing all of your photographs, my two favourites are the Barn Owl and the Kingfisher.

All the best Jan

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