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Showing posts from September, 2010

A tour of the reserves

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Yesterday, we had a solar panel array fitted to our SE facing roof to harness the energy and feed it into the grid. I was wondering what we'd done as the rain poured down but today, a fine morning and a cloudy afternoon we've produced our first 14 KWh of energy!

So to completely trash my green credentials, I needed to visit several reserves around the county in order to drop off their supplies of the county Bird Report. After a brief stop at the deserted Rishton Reservoir and Cut Wood, I headed for my first port of call, Mere Sands Wood NR and then onto Martin Mere WWT. Having dropped off the reports with Jim to the sound of Pinkfeet overhead, I had a brief chat to Bernie in the In Focus shop before heading to Marshside RSPB. It was a lovely morning but tempting as it was to have a wander it was off to Seaforth NR and a chat with Steve White over a cuppa.
Still no birding time, I headed up the motorway for my final port of call, Leighton Moss. Finally with the job done, I decide…

Bird report is published

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We're getting a few jobs done on the house this week before I start a contract next week so the expected run of north-easterlies left me chomping at the bit - I'll just have to find a local Yellow-browed Warbler! Anyway, I took advantage of the scaffold to go up and get a better view of the surrounding area but very little has been passing overhead other than Canada Geese - not even any Pink-footed Geese.

All the feeders are out and tempting down several finches. Chaffinch numbers have increased over the past couple of days and there are lots of Goldfinches around. Coal Tits are actively caching sunflower hearts all over the place and Long-tailed Tits have become more noticeable.

Nothing much has been happening down at the Reservoir - three Teal yesterday on the small res (yes it has water in it now) along with a good number of Mallard. There is still only one Great Crested Grebe and precious little else. The Swallows and House Martins seem to have gone now and soon we'll …

What will the weekend bring?

After the wind-blown excitement of last week, this has been much more sedate locally though some very nice bits and pieces have been turning up around the country and the north-easterly blast is bound to bring stuff to the east coast. Mark's already started with an Arctic Redpoll on the Farnes - just practising for a ringing session in the garden soon.

I've been mostly doing the Reservoir in the mornings - the only birds of note on the water were a Tufted Duck on Monday an a Teal on Wednesday! The water level is rising quite quickly now but still has another two meters or so before it's full. Even the grebes gave got fed up and only one remained today.

Still, on Wednesday, there was a good flock on Linnets on the bank - 46 accurately counted before heading off west - the same flock that's been around for a while probably. Meadow Pipits have been passing overhead in dribs and drabs and Pied Wagtail numbers have dropped off. Just a few Swallows remained on Wednesday but …

Leach's heaven

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Having been chomping at the bit at the news of the birds on the coast during the very nasty weather on Wednesday, I guessed that Thursday might be the best day to get out and try for some images of Leach's Petrels. The weather was meant to be finer and the wind slightly less so I headed for New Brighton.

A drive through Liverpool to the Wallasey tunnel wasn't too busy but I should have set off earlier and may have connected with a Sabine's Gull. Though the tide was falling rapidly, I could see a Leach's straight away on the shoreline so I made my way down and spent a wonderful hour or two enjoying these enigmatic birds at close quarters.

The odd one pattered over the sand and fed in the surf - all giving great views. The only disappointment was the lack of much else though things started to pick up a little later with a Fulmar in the River, and adult and Juv Little Gull, several Common Terns, a few Arctics and one Sandwich Tern.

I decided to get something to eat whilst …

It's an ill wind that brings good birds!

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The sound of the wind and rain hammering at the windows last night resulted in a lack of sleep - not due to the noise but the anticipation of some wind-borne waifs on the coast somewhere. I decided that I'd try Rossall Point as the wind had been in the SW, hopefully driving birds into Morecambe Bay but first I had to make a visit to Rishton Reservoir.

I swear that the rain was completely horizontal as I made my way down to the promenade. I managed to find a modicum of shelter behind my brolly as a particularly heavy downpour came across the reservoir. After fifteen minutes, the rain abated so I took the chance to see if there was anything unusual - an Arctic Tern was flying over! I watched it for all of ten seconds when the next squall hit and it appeared to move through. However, half and hour later, the bird or possibly another was present before flying off west.

Buoyed by that sight, I set off for the Fylde coast. I arrived to bright sunshine and the wind turning more into the …

Linnets reach new peak

I've finally sorted everything out with the Lancashire Bird Report and it's now at the printers - an envelope stuffing session required in a couple of weeks time I reckon. I debated long and hard about whether to go for the Bonelli's Warbler at Bempton yesterday but after the session on Monday I decided to stay local.

There wasn't much to shout about unfortunately; and influx of Lesser Black-backs to the reservoir with 50 birds split 50/50 adults to juveniles was the only thing of note. However today, as I arrived, a juvenile Sparrowhawk headed over the reservoir so I thought it would be a good opportunity to count the small birds that were flushed up on the far bank. To my delight, a flock of at least 90 Linnets went up - a very good number in these parts as they tend to disappear from the region for the winter. A few Swallows, four Jackdaws and a single Redpoll passed overhead.

The reservoir level is finally rising slightly. The culvert from the small res under the r…

Local birding September 7th - 11th

After Monday's abortive Bempton jaunt, it's been back to local birds each morning. Considering the humongous passage over Spurn yesterday, very little turned up over here.

Though numbers of common birds around Rishton have been similar, I reckon there is a turnover of birds around the reservoir. The eight Pied Wagtails this morning were nearly all juveniles, none of he adults of the previous days. The Black-headed Gull flock numbered 255 this-morning and was nearly all adults whereas a couple of days ago, around 50 juveniles were present. Mallard numbers have reached peaks of 72 on Wednesday and 113 today - the highest number I've seen there since 2002.

A largish flock (35+) of Swallows moved over the reservoir heading south but House Martins are still feeding nestlings in the village.

There were still Willow Warblers about on Wednesday and I had two Chiffchafffs, one in the Norden Valley and one giving a rather strident 'swee' call in my garden. On Thursday I was …

Double dip flycatchers

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Well, it had to happen sooner or later - the successful twitching of lifers this year came to an abrupt end yesterday in the gale force winds of Bempton where the Brown Flycatcher had been reported earlier in the morning.

The day started off quite well as I strolled around Rishton Reservoir, noting a reduction in the Meadow Pipit numbers but delighted to see two Yellow Wagtails with a few Pied as well as a flock of 28 Linnets. Swallows and House Martins are still present and a Willow Warbler fed in the bushes.
I got back to unexpectedly hear that the Brown Flycatcher had been seen. I missed the one three years ago placing my (misguided) loyalty to work so to get an opportunity to see this species whose name belies what seems to be a distinctive bird, was most welcome. Unfortunately, everyone else had seen the 2007 one so I drove to the east coast again on my tod.

I wasn't until I'd got to the dell where it had been when I was informed that it had only been seen once and that &qu…

Arrival of Meadow Pipits

A stiff south-easterly breeze meant that conditions at Rishton Reservoir were rather benign this morning. No waders at all but a sizeable flock of small birds was in the far corner. Scanning through then , I estimated there must have been at least 30 Meadow Pipits, 20 Linnets and 6 Pied Wagtails.

I was very happy when a Yellow Wagtail walked into view - I don't know if this was the bird that Steve saw a week or so ago. Probably not as it interacted with the Mipits. A Sparrowhawk caused some consternation briefly as it circled over the reservoir and the call of a couple of Goldcrests next to the promenade suggested that there were more migrants around.

I had a good long chat with the Angling Club's Water Bailiff about the amount of rubbish discarded by overnighters (including a discarded umbrella upside down in the middle of the reservoir!). He was also dismayed about the situation and would see what he could do. The water level's still low but mill probably start to rise i…

Olivaceous calling

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Following on from the success of the Sykes's twitch a couple of weeks ago, the news of an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler at Flamborough Head had me salivating at the prospect of another good day's birding on the east coast. It wasn't until yesterday, however, that people were available to come along so with the news that it had been seen, Billy, Janet and I headed off to Flamborough.

Having picked up Billy from Brockholes at 9 it took us till nearly midday to get to the east coast but we parked up in the field that was used for the Brown Shrike a couple of autumns ago, paid our dues and headed down the Old Fall Hedge to the south side of the wood.

A line of birders indicated that we'd got the right place but the bird hadn't shown for a while, however, after about ten minutes I heard a tchacking sound that I though must have been the bird and a couple of minutes later, out it popped - only briefly at the base of the nearby hedge. It continued to tantalise over the next …