Sunday, 17 August 2008

New hawk compensates for drenching...

Did my WeBS count from Aldcliffe to Conder on foot and back, some good birds and some very mixed weather. Set off at 11.30am, got home a bit knackered at 5.45pm.
Notable highlights were 2 green sandpipers at the Wildfowlers' Pools and another on Freeman's Pools, the garganey pair again on Frog Pond and an adult yellow-legged gull (presumably the Sunderland/Bazil Point bird on walkabout) at Gull Bank, though surprisingly no Meds amongst the many black-headeds there. 10 snipe were flushed from the river edge by jetskiers.
A peregrine was on the pylons at Stodday.
5 little egrets were seen on the estuary. 3 golden plover were amongst the lapwing and single whimbrel & spotted redshank were at Conder as well as 4 common sandpiper .
A wheatear was near Waterloo and singles of both whitethroat along the cycle track were the only notable passerines.

The biggest surprise of all came in the form of a goshawk which drew attention to itself by flushing everything off Bazil Point and the adjacent bit of the marsh as it passed low-ish over and on across to Conder giving excellent views as I sat at looking toward the Conder mouth south of Waterloo. It then climbed a little more and did a couple of tight circular flights in good light to emphasise the upperpart colouration and then drifted off over Long Plantation and away to the east. Judging from its size (it absolutely dwarfed the BH gulls and lapwings that scattered around it), and having consequently checked dimensions, it was an adult female.
Where it came from (although it wasn't wearing any jesses) may be another matter for discussion! Stunning.
Just a shame it was out of the Aldcliffe parish!!

Late news from yesterday - again just outside the Aldcliffe area, a juv yellow wagtail was feeding with a small group of pieds, on the Girls' Grammar School playing fields in Fairfield, briefly yesterday afternoon (as I was on my way to get a haircut...).

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