Making Hay

Thursday. Sitting in the shade of the old apple tree with a cup of PG Tips while reading more of Unnatural Selection felt like a good plan.

But then the dawn of yet another sunny day set me off on a trip over the meandering lanes of Stalmine moss. Eight weeks of this fine weather means we’ll pay big time when it finally breaks but in the meantime it’s “make hay” for birders and sun-worshippers alike.

Stalmine, Fylde 

There’s been a Corn Bunting or two singing of late but no firm evidence of breeding intent, and I know from experience the Corn Bunting is very secretive when it comes to giving away their ground nest hidden in an expanse of monoculture. A needle in a haystack has nothing on a Corn Bunting nest. But, there was a bunting singing from directly above the road only 40 yards away from the regular song post; if it’s the same male of course!

Corn Bunting 

Another car came along and then as it whizzed by, the bunting flew off. So yet again there’s real no evidence that this species has bred in our area or that it ever will again.

I’d briefly seen a Little Owl a few days ago in a location new to me. Early July and Little Owls have all finished breeding now so I reckoned this was a young one that might let me take a little look. As it shuffled along the ledge of the broken down shed it wasn't for letting me too close but made a mental note for year listing. Not.

Little Owl 

 During the winter most birders, including me complained that Conder Pool was too full of water, overflowing almost. Well now there’s very little and a fair bit of green algae on the surface but it looks ideal for a wader or two. Good shout as I spotted a single Snipe patrolling the muddy margin and then two black-bellied Dunlin.

Dunlin 

Oystercatchers were busy with their usual piping and running along the margins plus several Redshanks. But they all know to stay away from the mud nearest the public viewing spot, except any little ones that can’t yet fly and/or choose to hide away from the hot sun.

Oystercatcher with chick 

Otherwise things: dozens of Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron, 14 Tufted Duck, 3 Little Grebe, 12 Lapwing, 2 Curlew and 2 Teal, the latter the first of the “autumn” arrivals. And there were the usual Common Terns but no Avocet today.

Sedge Warblers got off to a slow with reduced numbers start this year but I've seen and heard half-a-dozen of them on every look around Moss Lane, Jeremy Lane and up to Cockersands.

It was the same today with both Whitethroat and Reed Bunting on view but very quiet and unobtrusive. My theory is that the reduced numbers of singing males results in wider territories than normal years  with less need to sing.  That’s my notion so shoot me down in flames if necessary.  It’s not quite the same with Reed Warblers which do seem to be in small numbers even now – just two singing males at Conder Green but none along the reed fringed lanes. We can but hope that the record breaking weather of 2018 allows birds to produce lots of youngsters.

Sedge Warbler 

Sedge Warbler

Reed Bunting 

That male Reed Bunting is already showing signs of post-breeding moult, black head losing colour, wear on feather tracts and tail. I wonder where it’s been to get that ring on the right leg? It may have come from our own ringing at Glasson, half a mile away last winter.

That’s all for now folks. I'm off to sit in the sun for a while.

Linking today to Anni's Birding Blog and Eileen's Saturday Blog.