A good day for a red-neck

I was up early on Saturday to do my second visit to the Hoddlesden Atlas square. The morning was calm and sunny and lots of birds were bisy feeding their young. There seemed to be busy parents everywhere. Highlights of the morning were two wonderful family parties of Long-tailed Tits, the second wone well into double figures, a Barn Owl and a Little Owl (gave the Swallows something to shout about) and an immature male Mandarin Duck was completely unexpected.

All that diligent atlassing meant I was a little late for the Lancashire Rarities Committee meeting where 2008's description birds were discussed. It's always an interesting time and a difficult one as you don't want to put people off from submitting descriptions of what are rare birds in Lancashire by rejecting them but that we have to do occasionally as there just isn't enough supporting evidence. I was just there in my secretarial capacity as the top birding minds debated the intricacies of separating first winter Caspian Gulls and the like!

Once the meeting drew to a close, I decided to take a trip to Seaforth as the Roseate Tern was still there and performing well. It didn't disappoint; sat in front of the hide most of the time occasionally displaying to a Common Tern (of which there were several hundred). There was a good supporting cast that included one Arctic Tern, a couple of LRP's and an interesting Common Tern with a predominantly dark bill.

From there it was off to Mum's for a cuppa and a chat but as I was about to leave a message came through - Red-necked Phalarope on Martin Mere. Wonderful - on my way back!

The light conditions weren't all that good from the In-focus shop - you could tell it was a RNP and got a hint of the colours and a trip round to the Raines Hide proved to be equally frustrating as you have to peer through windows that are not exactly top optical quality nor clean! The bird fizzed around the water, occaisionally stopping to preen but never moved from the same area which was rather a shame.


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