Seasonal Soundscapes

Pinkfeet arriving to join their brethren at Sand Villa

Jane and I went to Potts Corner at Heysham so seaglass searching and beach birding could be combined. This corner of Morecambe Bay was pretty quiet shorebird wise even though the tide wasn’t too far out. So I decided to lend a hand and was very pleased to find a marble on the tideline with an opaque finish from the action of tides and pebbles. Unfortunately I was also then in the doghouse as a marble is on Jane’s list of seaglass targets she has not turned up yet!

The distinctive northern vista from Potts Corner

On the way back I planned to do some swan and goose watching. There was a group of 82 Whooper Swans just below the A588 at Thurnham, I scanned half-heartedly for the dozen Bewick’s Swans that have been in the vicinity but I knew they were further east towards Cockersands as the news had been broadcast earlier in the day.

Whooper Swans (and one Mute) at Thurnham

Sometimes Whoopers join the Mute Swans on the fishing lakes at Cockerham Quarry. When we pulled in there there were ten or so and they were putting on a good show for such a small group, moving between the water and nearby fields serenading us with their trumpeting calls.

I noticed one of the most distant birds in the fields was sporting a colour ring. I expected it to be unreadable given how far back in the field it was, and was pleasantly surprised when it was easily deciphered as TSH.

I received excellent service from the Wildfowl Trust team who process swan ring recoveries, and got the life history back this morning. It’s a relative youngster at three and a half years old.

Extract from the life history of TSH

I scanned through a few more swans at Braides west of Cockerham but was increasingly distracted by a large number of Pink-footed Geese landing on pasture at Sand Villa. Quickly heading there I spent an absorbing half hour or so scanning through them as they ‘wink winked’ at each other bustling through the grass with sewing machine rhythm pecking.

Skeins arriving near and far, the close birds beginning to ‘whiffle’ as they come in to land

Whilst it feels like the depths of the winter these cold climate calls will soon be memories. The Whoopers will start out for Iceland in about six weeks. Some Pinkfeet will already be heading north in stages, though others will still be on the Pilling marshes well into May. Enjoy them while you can.

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