If You Don’t Go, You Don’t Know

Friday morning was another 0600 start. I’d set off in clear conditions with the usual trouble free drive until close to Oakenclough a slight mistiness turned all too quickly into a pea-souper. 

Andy arrived and as we’d made the effort to rise early and the forecast was OK, we decided to continue. It was not until 0900 that the fog lifted to reveal a rather nice morning. 

But it was too late for much to happen. In the three hours we’d seen and heard 130+ Fieldfares, 30+ Redwings, and 90 Woodpigeons on the move south but caught very little, so processed a miserly 9 birds – 2 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Coal Tit, 1 Redwing, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Treecreeper, 1 Blue Tit and 1 Goldcrest. Some you win, some you lose. We recited to ourselves The Ringer’s Mantra - “If you don’t go, you don’t know”. 

Lesser Redpoll




Saturday saw my escape from captivity with mental stimulation and physical exercise via a spot of birding up along Cockerham way. 

The pool/lake at Conder Green is full of a month of rain, so much water that leaves little mud for waders and gives a count dominated by wildfowl - 300 Teal, 34 Wigeon, 14 Tufted Duck, 10 Little Grebe, 8 Curlew, just 6 Redshank and a single Snipe. The highlight this morning was a Kingfisher which didn’t stop to fish. 

I found 90 or more Fieldfares along Jeremy Lane in their usual location amongst the hawthorn bushes. They were mixed with very flighty Starlings so when the Starlings flew, so did the Fieldfares. It’s noticeable how few hawthorn berries are left now in what has been a very poor year for berries after the hot, dry April, May and part of June. Two Jays and uncounted Tree Sparrows in the roadside trees added to the mix. 

On a flash flood rear Cockersands were about 30 Whooper Swans with some still flying in from out on the River Lune. Most of the Whoopers here in recent weeks seem to have moved 20 miles south of here with about 250 on floods near to up-market Lytham St Annes. I rather miss the swans’ loud greeting calls that are audible from hundreds of yards away so I hope they come back this way soon. 

Whooper Swans
Turn the sound up loud to experience the magical calls of Whooper Swans.

At Cockersands Marsh were small flocks of Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Twite. At the farm buildings, Grey Wagtail, House Sparrows, Tree Sparrows, Collared Dove, Stock Dove, and a good number of Starlings. 

Grey Wagtail.
Meanwhile, in the wider world of Lockdown Crazy Britain, three more weeks.

“You can shoot ducks, but you can’t feed them. You can sleep with your wife or husband, but you can’t play tennis with them.

You can buy a pint to take away using an app on your mobile phone, but can’t drink it inside or immediately outside a pub.

Marks & Sparks can sell you a prawn sandwich, but not a pair of socks. Knickers are ‘non-essential’ on the High Street, but freely available on the internet.

We are urged to exercise and keep fit to boost our immune systems but gyms and swimming pools are closed, by law.

In Greater Manchester, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins appealed for people to snitch on their neighbours if they suspect they are having friends of family over during lockdown.”

Daily Mail

Linking this post to Anni In Texas Birding.