Saturday, 3 April 2010

A Few More Summer Migrants

It's a real problem relying on the forecast to plan ringing activities for the following morning as it is often so very wrong. Last night the forecast for this morning was for rain and a southeasterly wind between 10 and 15 mph. Not conducive to the erection of 'coastal' mist nets. Driving home after the Bad Company gig in Manchester I could see it was clear and thought that if any rain came in overnight/into the early hours it might drop a few 'bits and pieces'. So even though it was a late night, the alarm was set for an early start.

And as you might expect at first light this morning the wind was southeasterly and it was barely 5 mph, so we could have done some ringing after all! I was at Rossall School and gave the 'obs' a good grilling. There was some 'vis' this morning but the passage wasn't as heavy as yesterday, perhaps due to the front that was coming in from the south. Heading north I had 97 Meadow Pipits, five alba Wagtails (on call I thought they were all Pieds this morning), Siskin and three Sand Martins.

During my walk some light drizzle came in from the south and Mipits and Pied Wagtails were coming in from the sea and dropping in to some wet fields. Later when Ian looked at these wet fields Mipits numbered around 200.

Unlike yesterday the Barn Owl was out hunting and it had its Larus escort as usual. What threat a Barn Owl is to a Herring Gull I don't know! The only grounded migrants I had were a single male Wheatear that appeared on the sea wall after the rain shower.

I then moved on to the cemetery, but it was very quiet, and my visit was cut short when I got a phone call from Ian saying "sorry to grip you mate but after you left the 'obs' I had an Osprey go over low hugging the coast and heading north". I dashed to 'the point' and waited around for a while, but no sign of the Osprey. To add insult to injury I got another call from Ian after I got home to say he had another Osprey high over Rossall Point heading north out over 'the bay'!

I decided to have walk down the old railway line that forms part of Lancashire Wildlife Trust reserve Fleetwood Marsh (not to be confused with Fleetwood Marsh Dog, err sorry, Nature Park!). I had a single singing Willow Warbler, two Swallows zipping north and a calling Water Rail from the reed bed.

After that I did have a look at the Nature Park and I made it a flying visit to avoid any confrontations with dogs or dog walkers! On the pools, in addition to what I had yesterday, were two female Goldeneyes and a Chiffchaff sang from some scrub along the causeway.

I got a phone call from my mate Nigel in Canada the other night asking me jokingly if I was going 'owling' with him. He phoned up for a catch-up and informed me that he was coming to the end of the spring owl banding season and I thought I would post a few pictures here that he has sent me over the years of some of the owls he has caught. Lucky b*gger!

Barred Owl

Eastern Screech Owl

Great Grey Owl

Great Horned Owl

Northern Hawk Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Short-eared Owl

Snowy Owl

Aren't owls brilliant?! Thanks Nigel.


Birding Sometimes said...

Cracking Owls!

Birdringal-andalus said...

Canadian Precious those owls.
Now we are in spring, good time to ring ...
Greeting Fernando.

Anonymous said...

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Steve Monty said...

I visited said Fleetwood Dog Reserve and besides the overwhelming number of semi wild dogs and their hollering keepers I was delighted to see a Little Egret fly past (last week three were in Fairhaven), a Little Grebe and Shoveler on the enclosed pool and an Eider out on the wash. Perhaps we could build a bird reserve out there somewhere?