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Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Down at t'marsh

A quick drive-by.

I am afraid you may need to go to other blogs for those super, super photos of birds and wildlife. This site isn't about that.  How often do you see something so close, or is it a glimpse here, a glimpse there, and seeing what things look like in all conditions,  for me shape, activity and behaviour, sometimes I would like to try and capture that too.

Here are a few Godwits feeding and Grey Partridge, going to ground so I didn't hang about too long... couple of shots. I can't help but feel there were some youngsters about somewhere, but at the time I didn't look long or hard enough.

Quite a few Small Tortoiseshell were about feeding on the thistle. 

Common Tern Family

Down at the Docks again I thought I'd check on 'the family'

That includes the extended family as a number of Common Terns now appear to have nests, difficult to see if they have eggs. However the pair from last year have three youngsters at various stages, with the youngest still left in the 'tyre nest', two juveniles out and about stretching their wings and flying a yard or two. Indeed as it is now a few days since I was there, they may be on their maiden flight. Interestingly Dad brought home a fish which was taken but not eaten. The Cormorant and usual suspects, Gulls, Mallard, Coot etc are still about.

I've included the image of the bird preening to illustrate how relaxed they appear to be, reassuring to know one isn't disturbing them.

I understand the juveniles have been ringed and it is probably 'the boys from the Fylde Bird Club'.

In just eight days they appear to have gone from 'bundles of fluff' to sub adults. By the time I re tern, they will probably have gone!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Daily constitutional

Female Blackcap, Chub, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Cinnabar Moth.

Emperor Dragonfly and 4 Spotted Chaser, but try photographing those rascals! Mind you try photographing any of them! Female Blackcap was deep undercover and wouldn't sit still, I couldn't focus before she was off again. Had to anticipate her movements. Chub, gone in a flash with the wrong move, butterflies... they are always flying and if they sense you, off and gone. And then they hide in the grass! Cinnabar moth I tripped over!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Ahoy there

I haven't seen Large Skippers before, yet again this year they have turned up, not one to sit for long they can be difficult to track down.

As this another test, here's one pic to be going on with.

Monday, 21 June 2010

One Good Tern...

I wanted to check in and see if it was the same chap as last year... it certainly looks like it, he's wearing the same ankle jewelry. The Mrs is the one without.
I had run out of DVD's to burn, so a run down to the Docks, checking on the progress of the Common Terns, especially after last year, one of the birds (an old friend) is ringed and has returned from 2009 (must be lost or mad). Has three youngsters this year. Again. I did wonder if any of the others that have terned up this year are related?

How can you tell the difference between the sexes? Well she seem to be staying at home looking after the kids and he is doing all the fishing! (hey don't blame me, that's the way it is! See the pics below — it was just the same last year. Oh and yes he takes his tern at looking after the kids too).

Despite being called 'Common' there are only about 15,000 pairs in the UK and they migrate every year from west Africa, arriving in the UK in April before departing in September(ish).

Going... going... gone!

Gives me indigestion just looking at these!
(not that I need to look at anything to get indigestion)

While Tern watching — I reckon that eel must be pushing 2lb (in old money). See photos
I knew Cormorants ate fish... but eels do seem to be on the menu locally, not the first example I have seen. Looking at the length of the eel and the size of the cormorant in this pictures— where did it all go? But worst of all, if you ever tried despatching an eel — takes some doing, especially as they survive in air — yet this cormorant is feeding on this 'live'... imagine that rolling about in your stomach while slowing extinguishing life! Perhaps an autopsy and cormorant bile can be used to kill 'all known germs'!

Stocks of Anguilla Anguilla (eels to you and me) are plummeting and down over 75% in the last 40 years, while baby eels have dropped more than 95% since 1980. Eels in the River Thames (the ol cockney — 'jellied eels mate?') and down 98% and in 2009 only 50 were caught in the River Thames.

Did you know the eels is thought to migrate to the east coast of the Atlantic Ocean, around Bermuda to breed? That's quite a trip.

The eels is now on the Endangered Species list and Britain has implemented a voluntary export ban.
Meanwhile in France, they export 14.5 tonnes of baby eels, that's about 60 million a year.
Now there's a surprise!
C'est la France!

And gone!

For the more observant of you —

wonder why the Cormorant was going around in circles?
BANDITS at 11 o' clock!

Klaxon sounds...

Common Terns were attacking ANYTHING that came within 50 yards (funnily enough, not people, unless you get too close I guess) including this cormorant. They don't like dogs!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Marshside Avocets — a la Gene Kelly

I couldn't help but think of Paul Simon's song 'Mother and Child Reunion', but just showing my age.

Yes another fine summers day on the coast in North West England.

With a half hour lunch managed a few bandits in the rain (I'm a laugh in, I'm a sing in... in the rain, hence the title! Nevermind).

A family of young Avocets (3) growing up and feeding for themselves while mum and dad went ballistic with aerial gymnastics if any gull dared to approach. So Avocets in the rain, sedge warbler singing his head off, Swifts bombing the footpath (looking for insects in a sheltered location), Linnet and Meadow Pipit, (near the car park) while a Grey Heron took on an eel for lunch. Eventually being pursued by another. Godwits, Redshank and a lone Wigeon. Swallows and of course Black-Headed Gulls et al. There was a Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint apparently, but I couldn't really see it, even through the RSPB scope in the grey, sodden, overcast conditions. There was a smudge on the horizon... does that count?

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Spotted Flycatchers

As a pair turned up on my local patch, it was worth taking a look...

a look that started at 05.30am and ended at 08.30am! Oh and took four visits at different times of the day...

Spotted Flycatchers have declined over the years and are on the 'red list' so to have this pair on the doorstep was heartening. It is amazing what is out there when you know when and where to look... and take the time and trouble.

While I know many people like to see the whole frame filled with the image of a bird, I like to see the context too. A small bird and easily 'lost' in foliage.