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Showing posts from May, 2009

Woodchat controversy

On Friday 29th May, I took a trip to the Trough of Bowland for the Woodchat Shrike that had been reported earlier. Suffice to say I eventually saw the bird (though all too briefly) but no thanks to the actions of a couple of photographers who, in my opinion, flushed the bird by trying to get far too close and then tried to pin the blame on me. I’ve related my story privately to others in the know and this has been completely verified from another account on an independent Blog. I’m not one to stir up trouble but I made my thoughts clear at the site and would have left it there if the scurrilous accusations hadn’t been made. Though not mentioning me by name (as the more outspoken photographer didn’t know me), aspersions were cast upon my actions and as several friends and acquaintances know I was there, I needed to put the record straight.Anyway, great views of Cuckoo, as well as singing Siskin, Redstart and Tree Pipit were a nice accompaniment on a very warm afternoon as we searched h…

Incessant Song Thrush

It's been a weekend of R&R - it's had to be because of our early morning alarm clock, namely a Song Thrush that sits right outside our bedroom window singing its head off at 3:30 in the morning until late! It has a rival about 6 houses up and so they're constantly singing.

There are plenty of migrants around. I can hear a Whitethroat in the distance (as the Song Thrush takes a breath!) as well as Willow Warbler and Blackcap. The Swifts have returned in reasonable numbers this year to Rishton and there seem to be good numbers of House Martins.
A couple of Ravens croaked gruffly as they flew west over the garden yesterday - my second garden record of this species.
There are a few good birds around at present - very tempting to go for the Laughing Gull but I'll wait until tomorrow - Blackpool on a sunny Bank Holiday should be avoided at all costs! Perhaps a trip over the border methinks.

Collared Flycatcher

I wasn't expecting to any birding this weekend. The football club presentation evening went to plan on Friday evening with England's No 1 goalkeeper, Rachel Brown, handing out the prizes for us. I hadn't slept well but Saturday morning we headed up to Glasgow for a brief visit to Bernie's sister.As they caught up, Graham and I went out to the Clyde at Gourock for a walk - the weather was kind and the showers only fleeting. Nothing much to see so we watched the local Herring Gulls plunge diving rather successfully for whelks. There were a few drake Eiders around, no doubt their mates sitting tightly tucked away in the vegetation. We had not been back for long when my text alert went off - OMG - Collared Flycatcher in Fife. Well it's just over one and a half hours driving if the roads are clear and as it hould be light until late, I decided to twitch it. At 7:30, I pulled up in Crail with the rain just about abating and made my way into Denburn Wood. I noticed a birde…

Local Spring twitching

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The last few days have certainly been eventful in birding terms. Last Thursday there were some Dotterel on the top of Pendle so I managed to persuade Bernie to accompany me to the top of the hill that evening. The wind was rather blustery on the top and we soon found a few birders searching for the birds that hadn't been seen for ages. We searched the favoured habitat just south of the trig point but to no avail. As we were working our way back up I got the call - they were on the northern slope - I could see the assembled throung (less than ten hardy souls) in the distance so we set off apace. However half way there we could see the group disband and we got the news that we were dreading - they'd flow off. Ah well, my first dip in 25 years of going up Pendle in May.
Sunday was a day that I was let out - Bernie was busy decorating a wedding cake - and so I decided to do some local birding. First stop was a favourite place of mine - Upper Hodder Bridge. I remember coming here ne…

Bank holiday birding

Sunday was another lovely day so Bernie and I set off for a local walk around Roddlesworth Woods. Tree Pipits were singing close to the car park but the rest of the woods were surprisingly quiet. Just a few of what you might expect to be there. I only heard a single Blackcap!
As we started to return from Upper Roddlesworth Reservoir, I heard the distinctive song of a Wood Warbler - a beautiful bird and a lovely song.
After a bacon butty at the cafe, we headed off to get some garden supplies but a message from Billy told us of a Smew at Black Moss, just below Pendle. So, with the car laden with all sorts, we headed for Pendle and soon found the female Smew on the far bank of the reservoir. I can't remember when I last saw a Smew in Lancashire let alone East Lancs; they're becoming rather scarce these days.
Back to the garden and a couple of Redpolls (unringed) are coming to the niger seed still and today (Monday) a male Siskin again. The Blackbirds are busy nest building in the co…

My 300th Lancashire bird

The unexpected news of the return of the Pallid Swift to Seaforth and Crosby got me very twitchy last night as it would be a new British bird for me. At 7pm I decided I'd go for it. I arrived at Seaforth 45 minutes later only to be told that it had departed north about five minutes previously. I hung around and scanned the remaining Swifts but to no avail and then noticed a rather large concentration of Swifts over the Marine Lake.
So off round there I went, first to the nearest car park, where other birders had no joy, and then to the furthest one where two birders were actually watching it at a distance - over Seaforth! Grrrrr!
The light was still good but the sun was beginning to dim. I managed to pick the bird up even at that distance through the scope so decided that a stint at the fence would be the best course of action - and indeed it was. The bird zoomed around the area where I was standing half an hour previously which was thankfully near the fence. We found an elevated po…