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Wind, Wheatears, Whimbrels.

Posted by on May 5, 2014 8:03 PM | 

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Still about a dozen Wheatears on Plex this afternoon in a stiffening wind that whipped up the top soil.
Could only see 18 Whimbrels today, whereas an early morning visit yesterday at 0730 (after a 5am Dawn Chorus event on the coast - ouch) produced 23 of 'em and similar numbers of Wheatears.
Came across this clown strutting his stuff today, while two of his mates broke into territorial fighting that turned them into a blur of feathers through the dusty windscreen.

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Surprised I don't see more of this given the huge numbers of Red Legs put down on the mosses....nearby Buzzard looked suitably unimpressed by the handbags at high noon.

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Perhaps the nicest thing I've come across in these tough Dotterel-free days is this brilliant plant I couldn't put a name to...

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Only thing to do was consult the oracle, and luckily he was in.
Phil Smith duly responded: "Super plant isn't it! This is Perennial Cornflower Centaurea montana, native to mountains in southern and central Europe but not Britain, where it is a fairly widespread garden-escape. You can see its distribution, etc. on http://www.southlancsflora.co.uk/Flowers/C/Centaurea%20montana.htm "
Many thanks Phil.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...

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3 Comments

Marshside/Crossens, 0940-1410
Passage seems to be dwindling to its end for this year: totals today 35+ Swallows, 1 Sand Martin, 18 Wheatears, 1 Swift.
Count of territorial males between SSSI ditch and Crossens Sewage Works (almost all probably on territory by now, not on passage): 24 Whitethroats, 18 Sedge Warblers, 6 Reed Warblers. 5 each Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs on territory on HGC/SSSI ditch, but no Willow Warblers for the second season in succession.
Very few Ruffs/Reeves now left on Rimmer's Marsh.

Trespassed on your Plex Moss patch this morning in search of some Scottishness. Wheatears, Whimbrels, Whassocks in white vans appearing behind me whenever I stopped and then, that heart-stopping moment.... there, crouched down in the
most likely ploughed field with furrows the size of Pendle Hill itself, were 11 brown-backed Plovers.
Elation! ... rapidly turning to deflation as an annoyed Lapwing put them to flight, revealing them as a very handsome flockette of Arctic-bound Ringed Plovers (tundrae race, darker backed, perhaps a bit smaller than ours).
Never seen groups of them on Plex's black peaty fields before.
Never mind if they can make it, so can the 'other ones'.
Strictly speaking, they should be monikered as the 'Viking birds' as our Caledonian friends have been back on territory for several weeks already.
These May birds are without doubt bound for the Norwegian fjells, on which we have trodden, have we not?
Noses to the furrows!
Go well
JKB

Nice one Mad Dog. The occasional flock of northward-bound Ringed Plovers do drop onto Plex, but they are by no means regular there.
Happy memories of the Norwegian tundra buddy...
Rain and westerlies are often the conditions that bring Dotterels down onto Plex, so fingers crossed.

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