Showing posts from September, 2009

Scoter still present

Well this is very unusual. The Common Scoter was still present on Rishton Reservoir at lunchtime today (the briefest of brief visits!) though not much else was. There was a Tufted Duck, two Teal and five adult Pied Wagtails yesterday.
The weather is definitely turning - "it's that fine rain that wets you through".

Early morning Diver

Buoyed by the Common Scoter the previous morning, I paid an early visit to Rishton Reservoir again in the hope that there wouldn't be any disturbance. The morning was very dull and overcast with a low cloud-base and mist. There must have been at least five Robins singing in the woods as I made my way to the promenade.
A bird was flying around - I thought it looked like one of the grebes until I got my bins on it - Red-throated Diver! I couldn't believe my luck - "Now come down" I thought to myself. And it did. A moulting adult with the remnants of a red throat patch. It fished actively in front of me though it was mobbed by a couple of Black-headed Gulls - how I wished I'd brought my camera for a record shot. I hadn't bothered as the light was so poor and birds are generally too far off fo a decent image anyway.
I was surprised to find the drake Common Scoter still present and a large flock of Swallows heading south-west was another sign of the change of seas…

Incident at the Reservoir

I decided that an early visit to Rishton Reservoir was in order this morning but as I arrived I was dismayed to see a guy and Alsatian dog on the far bank - well that's that then, or so I thought. Obviously there was little on the far bank but the guy was acting rather suspiciously and as I viewed the railway I couldn't help but notice Gosse decoys in the field - clearly he was what I thought - a shooter after the geese.

The few Canada Geese that there were, were sat on the Reservoir along with the family of Great Crested Grebes and - a drake Common Scoter! Unexpected but welcome.

Anyway, I was watching this when there was a shot and a Black-headed Gull fell out of the air. Now that's something they shouldn't be doing so I called the Police. They responded after I gave them dierections to the location not one mile from the police station!
I settled back to look for some other signs of activity. A pair of Ravens flew over and landed on the pylons. A Common Sandpiper called…

A Great White one

Talk about good timing. I'd just set foot outside work when I received the text from Billy - Great White Egret on the River Ribble at Brockholes.  Fortunately I had the necessary optical equipment (unfortunately that didn't include the camera) in the car so off I went, pulling up on site as Billy was 15 minutes later. We hopped out of the cars to see the splendid bird flying high above the river and heading downstream. We watched patiently as it seemed to drop by the M6 bridge and then it was up again circling around until it dropped out of sight in one of the back ponds. Now matter where we tried from the paths, we couldn't see it on the ground but it eventually took flight right over us and back onto the river.
Now this bird had been on Banks Marsh yesterday and it brought back memories of the Glossy Ibis and its wanderings from the coast and up the Ribble - quite extra-ordinary. Don't supoose the Long-billed Dowitcher might do that? (It wasn't at Marshside when …

Spurn R & R

It was just after 6am when John turned up outside my house ready for a day's birding. I was expecting some other company but it seemed everyone was busy. Even John was having second thoughts about a trip to the east coast, suggesting that the weather may have been too good in the early hours and many migrants might have left. Should we stay in Lancashire? Nah! As I've learned from quiz nights at the local cricket club, if you change your mind from your initial well thought out answer, there's an 80% chance of getting it wrong. We're going to Spurn!
As we approached the coast around 8:30, we could see the thin cloud dissipating but John's pager had bleeped with some good news. We parked up at the Crown and Anchor and set off down the canal bank in search of migrants. The garden on the corner held a couple of Blackcaps, Willow Warbler and Song Thrush whilst the adjacent field was full of Meadow Pipts together with a few Reed Buntings and a single Wheatear. On the estu…

Nightjar! In Lancashire!!!

I finally decided that the grass had grown long enough and it was bound to rain soon - two completely dry weeks had changed the back lawn from bog to lawn at last. The Plums are over now - wonder what the wasps are going to feed on now. Well the apple tree is heaving with fruit - great big Bramley apples ready for tuning into various yummy puds!
There were very few finches aboutbut Coal Tits were very much in evidence but wouldn't pose for the camera.
Meadow Pipits called overhead as a cople of parties flew over. A couple of Grey Wagtails were probably local birds but you never know really. Unexpectedly, a Chiffchaff sang briefly.
I was just contemplating starting on the pile of ironing when a text message came to my rescue - Nightjar roosting on the grit trays at Leighton Moss. What? I couldn't believe what I was reading - the only Nightjar I've ever seen in Lancashire was 34 years ago - a corpse picked up off Plex Moss Lane one spring.
A quick call to John Wright and we arra…

All quiet on the western front

With the benign weather over the country there has been little of note locally. I've 'done' the reservoir every couple of days but there's just been a single Common Sandpiper and a few Lapwings. A Spotted Flycatcher last week was a pleasant sight as it did its stuff from the hedgerow next to the playground.
At home, the finches are pigging out on the seed - a pair of very tatty, pale looking Bullfinches have started to put in an appearance after their moult but there's been no sign of any Redpolls. Juvenile Green and Goldfinches are very much in evidence as is the Sparrowhawk that regularly perches on the shed (sorry, observatory/ringing hut).
Blackcaps are still around and the odd Willow Warbler puts in an appearance. The Swallows and House Martins are still busying themselves but soon it will be time for them to head off too.
Anyway, the peace and quiet has enabled me to get on with the Lancashire Bird Report for 2008; it should be ready to go to the printers today …

No petrels :-(

I was really chuffed when Bernie said she'd accompany me to the Mersey this morning in the hope of getting a couple of Leach's Petrels and perhaps a Sabines Gull.
The weather had been perfect over the past couple of days and although there hadn't been many Leach's around, there had been plenty of other seabirds, several of which are rarely seen in Lancashire waters.
Unfortunately, the wind had veered westerly and so when we got to New Brighton, we found that nothing was being seen in the mouth of the river nor out to sea. We stayed until 11 (an hour before high tide) and decided to try watching from Leasowe as birds would make their way out of the bay that way. We watched there for an hour an a half for two Kittiwakes, two Fulmars and a few Sandwich Terns. Then came the news - Wilson Petrel at Seaforth and Sabines on the beach at Hoylake. Though the former was tempting we thought it might be on the move but half an hour later, with no further news we headed for Hoylake.