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Showing posts from March, 2010

Rishton Reservoir 27th - 28th March

All quiet still though seven Tufted Ducks present on Saturday is a good number for the site - there were six on Sunday morning but as these contained five males and only 1 female, this means there are at least two now birds or a completely new set. Still no Sand Martins yet and no further sign of the LRPs.

Rishton Reservoir 22nd March

A brief visit to the reservoir this morning produced the first Little Ringed Plovers of the spring with three on the far bank as well as a Redshank and two Oystercatchers. Three Tufted Ducks were on the Reservoir itself along with two pairs of Great Crested Grebes.

The Song Thrush in the back garden has been waking us up earlier and earlier and good numbers of Chaffinches are visiting the feeders along with a single female Siskin. A couple of Redpolls popped in briefly.

The first Swallow of Spring

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As it happened, I didn't get a lot of birding done in Girvan but on the way back today, I stopped off at a couple of places to take in the local avifauna. First stop was Lendal foot where the usual throng of Herring Gulls was present with a few Greater black-backs and one or two Lessers. A couple of Black-throated Divers fished their way north as Gannets plunged into the sea nearby.

On the way into Ballantrae, I passed a Swallow heading north - my earliest ever I reckon. I don't hold out much hope for its chances but you never know. Loch Ryan was quite choppy - the regular Greater Scaup flock was assembled around the Bishop Burn outflow but scanning the loch surface was difficult so I decided to look at the flood at Kildrochat. A large flock of Pink-footed Geese were in the fields behind the houses and several duck were on the flash. I was looking into the sun so I made my way around to a what could have been the best viewing point possible and immediately picked up the drake…

Off to Scotland again

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Just a few days being spent north of the border. I called in at Leighton Moss on the way up and heard one of the now resident Cetti's Warblers near the public hide - I wonder if we'll get Lancashire's first breeding record this year?

Just a short distance from Junction 12 of the M8 is Hogganfield Loch in Glasgow. I've had a few goodies here in the past and I hoped to see the Lesser Scaup that's been here.

Having parked up and had the usual quips from three passing youths, in a dialect I can understand but most people south of Lesmahagow wouldn't, I scanned the nearby ducks - all tufties. Then there were a couple of rafts of Goosanders further out as well as several Goldeneye. A Little Grebe called. Training the scope on the far side f the loch, I could pick out a few more Tufted Ducks and Pochard and  - ta da! - the Lesser Scaup. I reluctantly left the car (no that's harsh really but the area is not the most salubrious) and headed off to the far end of the …

Bowland magic

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Having missed out on a few nice days in Bowland recently, a quick look at the weather forecast suggested that today was the day for a bit of raptor watching before wind and rain hit.

I made my over to the Dunsop Valley via Whalley and Mitton and coming over the top road into Whitewell because if I had to choose one view in the whole world that I adore, it's the one as you reach the sharp bend above Whitewell looking up the Hodder towards Dunsop Bridge. It's just great at any time of year but getting out of my car and hearing the songs of the Skylark, Curlew and Lapwing is bliss. No photo can do it justice.


At Burholme Bridge, I met Glenn who was searching for the Red Kite he'd seen yesterday. The Lapwings displayed in the fields as the sun came out and all was well with the world. There was no sign of any Sand Martins yet.

I parked up at Dunsop Village to the songs of Goldfinches and Siskins. A Great Spotted Woodpecker called and a pair of Dippers were busy collecting nest…

American Wigeon

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I had a couple of hours before Rovers midday kick-off so I headed to Banks Marsh in the vain hope that I might find the Dowitcher again. There was a good flock of Black-tailed Godwits as usual together with several Dunlin and the usual supporting cast of Redshanks and Curlews but no matter where I searched, I couldn't find the target bird. A flock of around 150 Golden Plover took flight as did the blackwits but there was still no sign.

The distant, snow-capped mountains of the Lake District looked impressive as a backdrop to the assembling Black-headed Gull colony far out on the marsh. A large flock of Meadow Pipits fed in field just inland and the skylarks were giving it plenty.

From here I nipped over to Martin Mere where I was more successful with teh American Wigeon. This splendid male was a little too far away for my SLR but at least I got a blog record shot as it fed with the flock of Eurasian Wigeon. Sixteen Avocets sat on the pool and the few Ruff included a very small bir…

Garden Ringing - 11th March

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Having unwrapped my birthday prezzies, I headed out to Newton to collect Mark for a day's ringing session in the garden. We briefly called in on the Great Grey Shrike on Waddington Fell as we were passing - it sat in the top of a tree in the glorious morning sunshine - not the best weather for ringing as the birds can see the nets more easily.

In spite of the very fine weather, we trapped 37 birds in all including Great Spotted Woodpecker female, Treecreeper (probable female as the male was singing away nearby and was probably the bird we trapped earlier in the year), Reed Bunting and Siskin (one of a flock of 6 that so nearly went into the net). There haven't been any Redpolls for a few days now but the Goldfinches kept popping in the nets bringing the total to 45 and now the most commonly rung bird in the garden closely followed by the expected Blue and Great Tits. We've had a good run of Robins and this morning there are three more unringed ones not to mention the large…

Rishton Reservoir 10th March

After the run of fine days, I thought that it may have been possible to get an early summer migrant, but no.

However, 30 Curlews on the far bank along with 36 Lapwings and 4 Oystercatchers were signs of things to come. The grbe count was down to seven but a pair were starting to display in the middle of the reservoir and the Black-headed Gulls are starting to get their full dark hoods.

Great Spotted Woodpeckers drummed regularly in Cut Wood and by the yacht club and one was in the garden. We're going to have the final ringing session tomorrow before Mark heads to the Farnes for six months - no trees there!

Post AGM birding

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The AGM of the Lancashire and Cheshire Fauna Society  is held on the first Saturday of March every year at Mere Sands Wood and as my presence is most definitely required, it always give me an excuse to do some biring in the area. Having set the room out, I turned my attention to the feeders and the Tree Sparrows and Reed Buntings visiting them. Nuthatches were calling away and, as usual, there was a feeling of Spring in the air with the Dunnocks wing-signalling.

Once the meeting had fiinished I headed home via the mosses (yes - a bit circuitous, I know) to catch up with a couple of Tundra Bean Geese with a small flock of Pinkfeet on Plex Moss. I managed to pick them out OK though they were more distant than they had been earlier in the day.

The trip home was made via the M62 and Bolton where the some Waxwings had taken up residence. Having driven round the ASDA car park, I found the Range and a flock of nine in a tree. I love the calls of Waxwings and they're so photogenic. Howeve…

Glorious Spring Sunshine

A quick trip to Grindleton Fell for another view of the Great Grey Shrike was the order of the day. Chaffinches and Coal Tits were singing as I made my way up the hill only to be met by some others coming down the other way with the news that it was on Waddington Fell now!

It's only a mile away so I decided to spend a little while on the edge of the forest. Three Buzzards drifted in from the east and circled away; Red Grouse called 'go back, go back' as if to tell me something. The views and the tranquility were wonderful!

Anyway, after an hour of seeing very little , I made my way back to the car and drove around to the Waddington Fell road where the bird was showing well. However it was still quite distant and so I still don't have any record shots for the blog. I might just have to come up again tomorrow!

A tide of birds

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It was the highest tide of the year on the north west coast and so, with a good forecast, I set off for Marshside to witness what was a morning full of birds. It was a bit foggy when I pulled up and there was a distinct chill in the air  - the marsh was already full of  flooded pools from the overnight tide and large flocks of Wigeon were floating around with a few Teal and Shoveler mixed in.
It was two hours before the peak and Crossens channel was pretty full already. Flocks of Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwits, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Oystercatchers, Redshank and Knot came in at regular intervals whilst an adult Peregrine surveyed the scene from its vantage point out on the marsh.

Thankfully the sun came out to augment the spectacle, highlighting the flocks of gulls and Shelduck strewn across the marshes. Black-tailed Godwits started arriving and six Little Egrets came out of the more dense cover.
As the tide pushed higher, another Peregrine took flight along with at least thre…