Monday, 20 October 2014

Super Duper Whooper Troop Scoop

The clear highlight from a trundle around the Aldcliffe patch today was the sight and sound of 6 whooper swans moving steadily through parish airspace. The half dozen honkers carried on in a SSW direction and were presumably heading for the more glamorous environs of Glasson or Cockersands...
Once again I grilled every tit and finch flock, and once again found nothing to get the pulse racing. One long-tailed tit gang along the cycle track was dragging along a single goldcrest and a treecreeper but the sizeable mixed flock in Freeman's Wood was made up solely of the expected commoner species.
There were a few more redwing around today, with ones and small groups scattered around the patch, primarily in the many well-fruited hawthorns.

Jon

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Swift Surprise

Yesterday I spent a fair chunk of time scouring the area around Stodday ETW; once again in the vain hope of locating a yellow-browed warbler. With several scattered around the country, and individuals being found recently at Heysham Obs, Sunderland Point and Leighton Moss, it seems only reasonable that one could be flitting around somewhere on this side of the river.
Problem is, if they don't call (as neither of the two I saw on the Scillies did last week) these tiny wee sprites can be very difficult to locate, especially when it's it breezy. Which, I think it's fair to say, it has been.
With the mission failed I headed over to Conder to meet Stuart Meredith from Ribble Bird Tours, who had generously lent me his pager when he left the Scilly Isles last week. The theory was that should a mega show up somewhere on the islands we'd at least get to hear about it straight away, as opposed to several hours later in the pub.
Birds at Conder included a spotted redshank and a ruff.

Today (Sunday), I concentrated my efforts back in Freeman's Wood and around Aldcliffe. Despite coming across a couple of decent tit-flocks I couldn't pull any phylloscs out of the bag. In fact I didn't even find any goldcrests today.
Five herons were on the island at Freeman's Pools while the water held a couple of tufted duck, 6 gadwall, 11 little grebes, 5 snipe and 23 coot. A green sandpiper was on the upper pools.
Among the large numbers of jackdaw and carrion crow in the maize fields I picked out just one rook, and 6 stock doves were a nice sight. 3 grey partridge were seen nearby.
The title of Most Unexpected Bird of the Day went to a common swift, battling against the winds. Of course swifts at this time of year are well worth a thorough checking, but there was nothing to suggest that this bird was anything out of the ordinary (beyond the very late date).

Jon

Friday, 17 October 2014

A-maizing Greys

After a week on the Scillies, desperately trying (and spectacularly failing) to find some heart-stopping vagrants, it was back to the old routine and a couple of hours spent birding Aldcliffe this morning.
Since I last had a root about the patch just over a week ago, the number of teal and mallard have increased notably. The other big change is that the maize has been harvested and the resulting stubble was attracting plenty of avian attention.

 Among the many greylag and Canada geese picking through the dropped corn were 6 pink-footed geese. Another group of 21 pinkfeet were flying around, but decided not to put down in the fields. The number of corvids was through the roof; all carrion crows and jackdaws.
Smaller grain gobblers included around a dozen each of chaffinch and reed bunting, plus 8 skylarks and 6 tree sparrows.
On Freeman's Pools there remain at least 11 little grebe and 6 gadwall along with the regular resident coots, moorhens, mallard etc.
Despite my best efforts I couldn't find a yellow-browed warbler in Freeman's Wood. A non-calling bird would be very tricky to locate at the moment with the amount of leaves still gracing the sycamores and other deciduous trees. The only things of note that I did come across were a couple of redwing and 3 goldcrests. Oh, and a snipe. And 3 roe deer.

Jon

 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Turdus for Birders

Hi. Dan here.

A fleeting visit today revealed that the first Redwings of the season have arrived. Five were in Freeman's Wood.

DH.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Hard To Swallow

An hour or so trawling around the patch yesterday morning certainly felt different. Up until 3 days ago there were still numbers of common darters and migrant hawkers zipping around, while red admirals and a painted lady were busy cruising the brambles.  It felt like summer was drawing to a very lazy close. Then POW.
Yesterday was the first time in months that I didn't see a single swallow, the wiser birds having legged it before things turned nasty. There were of course still a few chiffchaffs tagging along with the tit flocks and a handful of goldcrests were also in and out of the hedges.
Gadwall numbers on Freeman's Pool had risen to 10 but otherwise duck numbers seem to be slow in building up.
A few meadow pipits were on the move but more significantly I had my first rock pipits (2) of the season near the Creek.
The small flock of 19 pink-footed geese present on the marsh late last week had moved on, presumably to join the 40-odd thousand at Martin Mere...
The lapwing, golden plover and starling flocks on the estuary were kept exercised by hunting peregrine, sparrowhawk and kestrel.
The green sandpiper was on Frog Pond, before moving on to the Flood.

That's it for me for several days now. It's now up to the other regular Aldcliffe birders to find a yellow-browed warbler or Richard's pipit - I'm off to the Scillies where my chances of coming across either of those scarce birds (and many others) will be significantly improved...

Jon

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Birding Aldcliffe Catches On...

The following birds were noted on Sept 29th by new regular Aldcliffe patcher Jonny Scragg, who will be contributing to this site frequently. 

A very nice morning spent around Aldcliffe, my first visit to the patch after moving into my new house in Lancaster yesterday. Highlights between 8:30-13:00 included:

Vis-mig (all south)
93+ Pink-footed Geese (16, 26, 51 and a heard only flock)
2 Grey Wagtail
5 Alba Wagtail
3 Chaffinch
5 Skylark (seem to be migrants rather than local)
12 Swallow
1 Reed Bunting
11 Meadow Pipit (surprisingly few)

FAUNA
2 Oystercatcher over
2 Snipe over
2 Mistle Thrush

Freeman's Wood
2 Goldcrest

Freeman's Pool
Tufted Duck
2 Wigeon
4 Teal
8 Little Grebe
1 Pheasant

River
female Goosander upriver of Marsh Point
c10 Little Egret

Marsh
2 Wheatear and a Stonechat along the tide edge

Gull Bank
173 Golden Plover
4 Little Egret

Stodday Sewage Works
Chiffchaff singing
2 Goldcrest
9 Tree Sparrow

Wildfowlers' Pool
Snipe
Little Grebe
Kingfisher
5 Swallow
2 Goldcrest along hedgerow

Frog Pond
Tufted Duck
5 Teal

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Reed On

Hello-- Dan again.

I was able to give the parish more attention this morning, but not a lot seemed to be happening.

Best find was a Reed Warbler feeding in hawthorn bushes by the sewage works-- it's been a good autumn for this species.

Golden Plovers on the estuary mud numbered 130. Eighteen Black-tailed Godwits flew south and 5 Snipe flew east.

Vis was quite limited, with just 70 Meadow Pipits S in four hours. 32 pinkfeet went south and 22 headed north. Two Jays flew N over Stodday.

Today was my first blank visit for vis mig Grey Wagtails for four weeks, but at least five were feeding in and around the sewage works, including two clambering around the interior of a bush, snapping at small flies.

Five Goldcrests and five Chiffchaffs were found, and a Treecreeper was calling in Freeman's Wood. Twenty Swallows were perching by the Wildfowlers Pools.

DH.