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Showing posts from April, 2011

Birding royalty - a very obliging flock of Dotterel

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At Rishton Reservoir this morning there was nothing out of the ordinary - the three Grebe nests were still intact if not a bit buffeted by the gusty easterly wind and the two drake Tufted Ducks were still hanging around. Over 70 Sand Martins were wheeling around in the breeze but there are still no House Martins. Yesterday I had my first ever Water Vole on the site.

A flock of 74 Carrion Crows had assembled in the field next to the small res where a dead sheep pointed its legs skywards. This however wasn't the reason the gang of crows was in the field as there have been quite a number there for the past week or so - don't think the Lapwings and Curlews will have much chance!

As I headed back, the news of a flock of Dotterel on Champion Moor found by a TTV'ing Tony Cooper (well done Tony!) sprang up on my phone - the perfect distraction from the wedding. Bernie and I headed out only to be told that they'd flown so we limited our trip to the local garden centre to get th…

Short-toed Lark - a Lancashire first

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It may not have the mega-rarity or even moderately rare status but in the north-west, Short-toed Larks are extremely rare and one found at Fleetwood Marsh NP yesterday was a first for Lancashire. I had got the news last night but couldn't get there so there was anxious wait for news this-morning. I'd just about given up hope when the alarm bells rang. I made up the forty or so miles in pretty good time!

The bird gave really good scope views but was too far off for decent images (I really should try digiscoping again). Anyway, here are some record shots.

There has been a previous report of this species in the May 76's from Marshside when I was a youthful starter at birding. I wish I could recall more details as the bird caused some controversy. Anyway, that was then, this is now on my Lancashire list.

And there was more on the way home in the shape of a Wood Sandpiper and singing male Pied Flycatcher in Bowland.

A Glorious Spring

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The last couple of days has seen me over in east Yorkshire doing some survey work and very pleasant it has been too! Lots of Yellow Wagtails on territory were the highlights of my wanderings but also getting my first Common and Lesser Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers of the year was good if not unexpected. The weather has been very warm and sunny like elsewhere in England and I got the distinct feeling that some of the early migrants such as Chiffchaffs have given up singing and got down to brass tacks as it were.

Today Bernie and I had a leisurely journey back via Bempton Cliffs. It was ridiculously busy, even at 9am but that didn't distract from the sensory experience! First the smell, then the cacophony and finally the views - brilliant! All the usual suspects were on show, Kittiwakes, Gannets, Guillemots, Razorbills, Fulmars and a few Puffins on the sea.
There were lots of flowers emerging but Red Campion has special significance to Bernie and me and memories of our youth!
Back i…

Whimbrel at Ardmore Point 17th April

We've been up visiting relatives in Glasgow this weekend but that allowed a morning's sortie along the Clyde. I normally head around the south shore - we'd been to Gourock yesterday and besides a rather large submarine, we saw a single Gannet and Shag as well as several Red-breasted Mergansers and a few Red-throated Divers.

So this-morning I headed along the north side past Dumbarton to Ardmore Point, a peninsula that juts out into the Clyde opposite Port Glasgow/Greenock. The sound of Willow Warblers filled the air wherever I went. A Song Thrush was pounding out its song in competition with 'kleep'ing Oystercatchers whilst Shelducks flew around laughing at each other.

Out in the Clyde, I picked up on three Slavonian Grebes - just a bit too far away to appreciate their summer finery - and loads of Red-breasted Mergansers. A single Shag, a couple of Red-throated Divers and several Common Gulls were floating around off the southern end of the peninsula where I also f…

More sounds of summer

A sunny day here as in most of the rest of the country meant that migrants were either arriving or passing through relentlessly searching for their summer quarters. At the reservoir, two pairs of Grebes are on nests and coots are busy bolstering their own. A few Sand Martins and a single Swallow passed north but with no 'edge' there was nothing brought down. I thought we might get a few White Wagtails but there was just a single Pied Wagtail flycatching almost hirundine like over the water - most unusual.
The Curlews and Lapwings are displaying around the fields and a pair of Oyestercatchers still adorn the far bank. The only things of note were a pair of Shelduck that dropped in.
At home, most of the finches seemed to have gone with the fine weather.  My first Swallow of the year went overhead as did a Sparrowhawk. Chiffchaff and Blackcap are singing now and we should get Willow Warblers soon. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Not two but four

Checking the feeders each morning before work and there have been at least four Bramblings in the garden - three males and a female. As if they didn't want to be outdone, the Lesser Redpoll numbers have increased markedly with at least 25 in teh garden at one point on Monday.

A bit of survey work on the wrong side of the Pennines :) regaled me with a few new birds for the year, best of which were two splendid male Yellow Wagtails. Lots of hirundines as well.

Now back trying to read rings on some of these birds, especially after Marks 'finds' of late.

Not one Brambling, but two

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It was a dark and miserable morning here but after an abortive visit to Rishton Reservoir (just one Sand Martin but nothing else due to fishermen on the far bank) I came back home to be greeted with the songs of Chiffchaff and Blackcap. There were several Lesser Redpolls calling around the place but my eye was drawn to a flash of colour near the shed, sorry, observatory.

I reached for the bins and sure enough, a lovely female Bramling soon followed by a male. There was only one thing for it, I had to get a photo or two. These were only the third and fourth Bramblings to visit my garden in all the years I've been here. Anyway, I made my way down to the shed and managed a few shots of them and the redpolls.