Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday Circuit

The week has been mixed - more of our very special English summer and the longest days when wind and rain battle for supremacy and winner takes all. It’s hard to say which came out on top this week but let’s just say that my suntan didn’t improve and birding was left on hold for a day or two. 

Sunday morning dawned dull and cloudy but I was determined to have a go so set off on the usual circuit. A Barn Owl hunted over Stalmine moss but then dived into the farmyard as the car got closer. Never mind, I saw another one later on the way back home and in broad daylight hunting next to the busy main road. 

Barn Owl

I guess most Barn Owls have mouths to feed at the moment and are spending more time in hunting, even in the daylight. Just three weeks ago Andy and I had a brood of four Barn Owls at an ideal stage to ring but had to call it off as the owls were in an avian flu zone where ringing was suspended. 

Ringing restrictions have been lifted but it seems that the source of last winter’s major outbreak, a game bird hatchery, is now up and running again after receiving Government (taxpayer) compensation rumoured to be around £1,000,000. Now if we could just spend the same amount of money on protecting a few of our local sites for birds and people? 

I stopped at Gulf Lane to survey the set-aside field and where we hope to restart our Linnet ringing project in August. The field is looking good with tremendous growth on the wild bird and wildflower mix and a few birds in evidence by way of 4 Skylark, 4 Whitethroat, 3 Tree Sparrow, 4 Stock Dove and a Kestrel. A Grey Heron flew over – on the way to Pilling duck pond from the direction of flight. 

Whitethroat

 Kestrel

At Conder Green I donned a jacket against the cold north wind and spitting clouds. Likewise and on on the floating pontoon the tern chicks huddled against the plastic cladding and waited for the adults to arrive with breakfast. 

Common Tern

There have been good counts of Avocets in recent weeks. The best I could manage again today was 4 adults and just one half-grown youngster so the overall survival rate here seems very low given that up to five pairs may have bred or partly bred. 

Lapwings are back in some numbers with a combined count of 36 ensconced on the island or feeding in the channels. Redshanks are on the increase too with a count of 30+, also 2 Common Sandpiper, 15 Oystercatcher and 3 Curlew. Duck counts are restricted to just two species at the moment until the Wigeon and Teal arrive, so 6 Tufted Duck, 15 Shelduck and 22 Mallard. 

Tufted Duck

Feeding around the pool and over the hedgerows I counted 10+ Sand Martin, a handful of Swallows and a single Swift. In the creeks - 2 Grey Heron and 1 Little Egret. 

That was about my lot when the rain returned and I headed home. I’m out birding in the week so call in to Another Bird Blog soon and see what you’ve missed.

Linking today to World Bird Wednesday



13 comments:

David Gascoigne said...

Wow, you are really having some crappy weather, Phil. It has been quite the opposite here of late, although there was local flooding caused by abnormal rainfall in some areas last week. Today is a pleasant 23 degrees. This morning I ran a "Birding for Beginners" programme at a land trust in Cambridge and it was perfect weather for it. There were several young kids out with their parents and I was impressed with how much they knew. Rewarding indeed.

Linda said...

We have been having a pattern of varied weather here in Montreal, Phil. Hot and humid (which I hate), warm and comfortable, (which I love) and rainy (which I don't mind, and thankfully the birds don't mind it, either). :) Your photos are beautiful, and I especially love the whitethroat!

Prunella Pepperpot said...

Beautiful bird images Phil. Loving the Kestrel. Could you send some of your rain down South please as our water butts are almost empty!
Have a wonderful birding week :)

Gordon said...

Hi phil, as you say we are having a typical English summer. if you put a coat on its too hot, if you don't it rains, good to look at a good set of pics again.
Have a good week, Gordon.

Patrycja P. said...

The Barn Owl! I'd love to see this wonderful bird, but at the moment I know I just be dreaming. Great photos. Greetings!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, great birds and photos. I love the Barn Owl, it is high on my list of birds to see in the wild. I am glad the restrictions were lifted, sad to hear the game bird hatchery is back up and running. Happy Birding! Enjoy your day and new week!

Photo Cache said...

The birds are so beautifully captured.

Worth a Thousand Words

carol l mckenna said...

Love the Kestrel shots and wonderful bird photography as always ~ sorry for the bad weather ~ nature is topsy turvy ~ ^_^

Lea said...

Great bird photos!
Love the Kestrel!

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) The bad weather has reached us too, but we needed the rain, so I won't complain. Lovely bird captures as usual. I must say that I was sorry when I saw that your Whitethroat header had been replaced by the Redshank, although it's a wonderful image, I miss seeing the Whitethroat header!:=) I was pleased to see it again today in your post, and the beautiful Kestrel, and Owl images of course.

Breathtaking said...

Phil, Thank you for your comment and info about the small bird, and Tern. We saw the juvenile bird practically hidden away in the long grass in April. I only noticed it because of it's pleasing song. You are probably right about the ID, because I saw what I think are adult
Speckled Warblers in the same area, and intend to post them soon.

Lowcarb team member said...

Rain is so welcome but it never seems to be shared equally!!!

Loved the photo of the Whitethroat, and I never tire of seeing barn owls - wonderful.

All the best Jan

Mary Cromer said...

Beautiful Whitethroat and Tufted Duck. I wish we had Barn Owls having young, or even showing adults around here. I did see a report from the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife recently where the Barn Owl numbers in KY are beginning to slowly creep back up. Now if only I could see one for the first time in the wild since 1981, that would be grand~

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