Showing posts from May, 2010

White-tailed Lapwing/Plover at Seaforth

After a morning surveying Lapwings, the news of this White-tailed Lapwing was one hell of a bonus! I was just finishing my second visit of the morning when the bews came through. It was a little like deja vu as I had been in virtually the same spot ten years ago when the news of a Blackpoll Warbler at Seaforth was received.

Anyway, after a quick check with Billy to see if it was still there, I set off for the M6 and a second visit to Seaforth in a week.

As I pulled up, Steve White was playing the car attendant role with a beam from ear to ear having resisted the temptation to twitch the one at Leighton Moss a couple of years ago. And he was right to be smiling - what a bird! It performed in front of the screen to the right of hide A allowing me (and others) to get some decent shots. The scene was a world away from the frantic, jostling crowds at Caerlaverock though I pity those without permits as they cut a forlorn sight behind the fence looking at little more than a dot to them.


Was that summer?

It was far too hot to do anything much at all last weekend - well after 11 or so. I just find it so hard to sleep when it is warm at night so getting up at a reasonable time, I headed for the local sites but absolutely nothing new apart from a lot more House Martins and Swifts. The Temminck's Stint at Stocks was a one evening affair which I couldn't attend unfortunately so I settled down to make plans for this weeks work in the Midlands.

On Monday, I just had to pop into Seaforth to catch up with the Wilson's Phalarope that had obligingly hung around for me to see it.
Though not near enough for crippling images like some I've seen, this bird was an absolute stunner and possibly the same bird that was here in 2008 and Martin Mere in 2009. Whilst I was there a first year Spoonbill flew north after considering whether to drop down on to the pools for a few seconds. I could have easily stayed longer scanning through the terns and gulls but I had an appointment to make so I …


Some heat in that sun this-afternoon and it fels like summer is nearly here. Yesterday I noticed a large increase in the number of House Martins around Rishton, congregating around traditional nesting sites in the hope that the 'lucky' home owners will tolerate the not insignificant mess they leave in return for eating all those flying insects around the place. There were also parties of Swifts screaming over Harwood Road near the school - definitely a sound of summer.

The Blackbirds in the garden are very busy fetching food but this brave female decided to have a sun-bathe on the back lawn (fortunately no cats around!). The Starling broods either side of our house are getting very vocal and will soon be fledging a little earlier than normal.

Spotted Sandpiper at Stocks

I greeted the news of the Spotted Sandpiper on Monday evening with a mixture of feelings having been at Stocks Reservoir for an hour or so yesterday and not even seeing any Common Sandpipers (though I could hear them). I had honestly thought to myself - it would be a good time for a rare wader like an adult Spotted Sandpiper to turn up and later that evening I wasn't all that surprised when the news came through - spooky!

Anyway, I rolled up at 8am to find the car park empty. Had the bird gone? Was this all a ruse? I headed for the first hide and scanned the near shore that Common Sands favour but to no avail. I switched my attentions to the far bank and almost immediately picked up the presence of a couple of Dunlins and ... the Spotted Sandpiper - its yellowy orange bill with dark tip, bright supercillium and dark eyestripe, yellow legs and, of course, covered in spots! I headed for the second hide where I might get a better view and it performed well but out of range for my cam…

Bowland 17th May

A fine day was forecast and so I thought I'd spend the morning out in the Bowland Fells looking for some of the special birds there. Of course, first stop had to be Rishton Reservoir where something had finally dropped in - a Dunlin. OK, so not the height of rarity but around here they're not so common! The two male Little Ringed Plovers were still present as the water level had dropped even further.

Anyway, on to Croasdale Fell; I parked up near the gate to the bridleway that makes its way over the fells to Wray and set off in the hope that I might find the Whinchats that seem to favour the bracken area of the valley. Lapwings and Curlews called from the nearby fields and soon I could hear the 'go-back go-back' calls of the Red Grouse. Almost immediately after, I had a displaying Merlin above the road - a good start!

A little further along and a Short-eared Owl was quartering the rushy fields below me making occasional plunges into the grass. From my vantage point I c…

A dearth of House Martins

Not a great deal happening over the weekend. We took a walk down to the Reservoir and around the canal to see if we could log breeding evidence for some species - with the exposed area of the bank increasing, you'd have thought a wader or two would drop in, but no luck (other than the LRP's). Along the canal, a Moorhen was feeding a youngster and Coot and Mute Swan were on nests. Not all that many Mallard ducklings around which is quite surprising. I guess a lot may still be sitting on nests.

What was nice to see were Lapwing chicks in one of the fields - little balls of fluff feeding around the feet of cattle - whilst Meadow Pipits sang from the rushy edges. However I only came across three House Martin pairs on our route through Rishton whereas I would normally have at least half a dozen - surely that can't be it for the summer? Anyway, Starlings and House Sparrows were extremely active bring food to roof-edge nest sites and a couple of newly fledged Sparrows were in the…

Some more Oriental Pratincole pictures

Here are a couple more flight shots that show off the bird rather well.

A Two-lifer Day - Oriental Praticole and Iberian Chiffchaff

What a good day's birding/twitching yesterday. I had started down on my local patch, checking the reservoir and Whitebirk where there wasn't much out of the ordinary, though three territorial Sedge Warblers and two Whitethroats were good news. Up at Parsonage Reservoir, the water level was full (being pumped from elsewhere) so it looks like the Little and Great Crested Grebes should have a chance. I called in at Tim and Janet's for a coffee and the news that the Oriental Pratincole had been seen, so we packed up our stuff and headed east.

We hadn't gone far when we got the news of an Iberian Chiffchaff at Potteric Carr, Doncaster - well that was just a mile from the A1 so I decided that we should call in there first. The last time I was here was ages ago - a pair of Little Bitterns nested there in the eighties. At that time you had to take you life in your hands and avoid the trains but nowadays it's a huge, managed reserve. The bird in question was a two mile hik…

White Wagtails at Rishton

Somehow, we've missed the huge numbers of White Wagtails that passed through the coastal part of the county a few weeks ago but one or two have been dropping in this past week including two today along with the usual couple of Pied Wagtails.

Nothing else of great note - the Grebes are loafing in the middle of the water but a Little Ringed Plover was on the far bank. On the reservoir wall, this Dunnock was taking a dust bath whilst a Robin was feeding its recently fledged young.

Back in Cut Wood, there's plenty of activity with Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Blackcap all singing. A Great Spotted Woodpecker is habituating the same area as their successful nest last year so the signs are good there. Just wish we could eliminate all the Grey Squirrels!
There are still not many House Martins around and the numbers of Swallows in the area is very poor still. Hopefully these northerlies will not last too much longer and we can finally get the rush of migrants that are waiting to come t…

I elect to ..... go birding!

Well I would go a bit further afield if I hadn't injured myself at tennis the other evening. A couple of trips down to the Reservoir today, just in case something had dropped in amongst the murk. Well nothing had unless all the hirundines were newly in. Six Swifts probably were along with an increase in the number of swallows and as the weather got distinctly chilly, the Sand Martins arrived en-masse.

The Grebes' nest may have come a cropper as an adult Grey Heron was patrolling the shallows where one of them was situated and a pair was building a new nest nearer the yacht club. The Common Sandpiper was still here but the three LRP's that I had on Monday had disappeared.

A Robin was busily bringing food to a nearby nest in a bramble thicket - the same, small thicket had Dunnock, Great Tit, Wren, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Reed Bunting in the time I was there! A Chiffchaff half-heartedly gave a snatch of song.

In Cut Wood, the Chaffinches are leading the singing - they se…

Feeding time!

The sounds of young can be heard in several places around Rishton now. At Cut Wood this morning, the thrushes were busy collecting worms including this Mistle Thrush.

On the Reservoir, the Grebes were still sitting patiently on their nests and it's looking good for success. At least 72 Sand Martins were hawking over the water as well as a couple of House Martins and Swallows. Lapwings continued to stand guard over territories on the far bank - there must be chicks soon - and a single Little Ringed Plover was present.

There were just a couple of gulls. The almost resident second year Greater Black-back was attempting to swallow the reamins of a rather large fish whilst a third year Herring Gull and adult Lesser Black-backed Gull watched on hoping it would give up. I had thought that the change in weather might have brought something different along - you can always hope for a migrant tern to drop into the place at this time of year, though quite often these occurances tend to be ra…

First juvenile of the year

Yesterday I took a quick trip to Rishton Reservoir where I had my first Swifts of the year - 8 screaming overhead along with several hirundines. A Blackcap was singing, another new arrival, along with an increase in the Willow Warbler population.

A Common Sandpiper 'sang' over the water near the promenade and a pair of Little Ringed Plovers was on the far bank again (now that there were no fishermen).

I needed to go over to set up a computer at my Mum's in Ainsdale so that meant a call in at Marshside beforehand. But try as I might, I just could not find the Dowitcher on the marsh - it came along later I believe and was there this morning. Still,, my first Reed Warblers and Whitethroats were singing around me.

Today, the Jays have been coming to the garden more regularly and we had our first juvenile Blackbird of the year feeding in the freshly hoed border. The first Lesser Redpoll in ages came to the feeders and the Greenfinches are displaying in the back garden. There…