Showing posts from November, 2008

Local birding

Following Bill's sightings of an Iceland Gull at Fishmoor, I decided to head there after I'd checked the football pitches for the weekend games. I arrived about 4pm an already there were a huge number of gulls on the reservoir and on eth roof of Walkersteel. Soon after setting up my scope in the lee of the car, I picked up an adult Yellow-legged gull in amonst the Herring and Lesser Black-backs. These quickly moved onto the roof but more birds were streaming in. In the half hour I was there I estimated that there were around 10,000 gulls in the area with over 6,000 Black-headed's, 2,500 Herring as well as hundreds of Common and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. There were around 50 Greater Black-backs as well.
It was getting rather dim when I picked out an Iceland Gull - a first winter - looking pinky in the receding light with a full dark bill. Elated at that, I decided to call it a day.
On Sunday, it was back to Atlas work. My second square is around Hoddlesden - nothing much to …

A twitching day

The news of a Steppe Grey Shrike in Lincolnshire along with plenty of other good birds on that coast was far too tempting so it was east I headed with Billy, Phil and Neil early on Saturday morning. We arrived at a very blustery Horseshoe Point and was immediately given alternative directions to the bird that negated the walk in excess of a mile each way. After a wrong turn we eventually found the right track which led us to a crowd of birders watching the bird. After about ten minutes it decided that it was far too far away from us and gave a great show, feeding actively. The hush of the assembled throng spoke volumes for the appreciation of this star performer.
We then decided to head for the Two-barred Crossbill in North Yorkshire - a bit of a trek! Two hours later we were yomping up the track to the isolated house that sat nestled amongst a stand of Larch. The bird hadn't been seen for ages but just as we arrived there was a bit of commotion - I moved myself away from the crow…

A Buzzard at last!

November 1st and the start date for the winter bird survey. I've chosen a couple of tetrads to do this year - Rishton Reservoir/Whitebirk and Hoddlesden. I did my first two hour count on the former - as I set off, I could hear the distinctive calls of Pinkeet overhead - a skein of 210 headed south-east over the house. As it was a bright and cold morning, birds were active. A couple of drake Wigeon were unexpected as was a Kingfisher - a bird that keeps turning up on my count days!
There was nothing else out of the ordinary so I headed back home to do some work in the garden. One thing I have noticed was the lack of finches in the area - Redwings and Fieldfares have arrived or are passing through, but the number of finches has dropped dramatically. Anyway it was mid-afternoon when I heard a bit of a commotion from some Crows overhead - I looked up and saw a large raptor being mobbed. I dashed for my binoculars and was rewarded with wonderful views of a Common Buzzard right over the …