Killdeer and Osprey provide a distraction from ringing activities

I think the title is putting it mildly. After a couple of hours ringing in the garden catching another 13 new Redpolls taking the winter total to over 70, my phone rang - it was Bill Aspin - there must be something at Brockholes I thought! Close. A Killdeer at Alston Wetlands found by ace Kildeer finder Gavin Thomas was a first for Lancashire and a first for me in Britain if I saw it so the nets were furled and the remaining birds processed before Mark and I leaped into the car and headed for Longridge around 15 miles away.

There was no playing it cool like the Solitary Sandpiper a couple of years ago so Mark reminded me! However our velocity was somewhat hampered by Sunday drivers and a tractor between Ribchester and Hothersall but we arrived at the parking spot just before 11 and legged it across the field only to be greeted by a (smug?) pair of birders - Bill and John Wright. "It's flown high south" - Bill clearly wanted it on his Brockholes list but we carried on to scan the pools rather disconsolately.

About ten minutes passed before Gavin said he'd scan the nearby fields from a private vantage point but en-route, a familiar call was heard. It was back and gave great views for half an hour as it fed along the far bank.
A rather distant but very lovely Killdeer
By this time most of the local Lancashire birders had arrived and seen the bird but all too soon, it took off and headed out west to be found on someone elses local patch hopefully.

Back to Rishton and we got a few more birds but not a tantalising Siskin that had a ring on the left leg (we ring on the right).

Yesterday had been spent at Mark's where we ringed 40 new birds - lots of Siskin and Chaffinches but several Blackbirds and Redpolls too. In between net rounds, we'd scan the skies for raptors - plenty of Buzzards up there but as a flock of Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew overhead, Mark picked out and Osprey! It was gliding very high north but as soon as it saw the River Hodder, it turned upstream towards Stocks Reservoir.

Back on my favourite subject of Redpolls, three of the birds we caught this weekend had wing lengths of over 75mm - well above whats quoted for Lesser, but we believe them to be Lessers all the same.

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