Got a call from from my old chum and ex-Aldcliffe local-patcher Greg Potter who was in the area this morning, so I went to the patch to meet him. He hadn't seen too much though he'd had a small group of twite in the stubble field - where I too had seen some recently - and 3 male bullfinch along the upper track.
We checked out Freeman's Pools - 3 little grebe, 3 shoveler, 3 gadwall, 2 mute swan, 1 Canada goose, 7 coot, 1 moorhen. Greg had had a sparrowhawk here a little earlier. We went to see the tawny owl (Allowing Greg to complete the resident owl species' for his year-list). We had a look for woodcock but failed to find it, though we had stunning views, in brilliant sunshine, of a female roe deer in the wood.
I did a check of the various pools and the marsh but it was pretty quiet.
As I'm going to be 'retiring' from WeBS counts shortly, and also fully relinquishing my role as count co-ordinator for Morecambe Bay South, I thought I'd have a root around in my old notebooks to see if I could find reference to the first one I did.
Rather coincidentally, my first entry for what was then called a BOEE count was 8th Jan 1989, therefore confirming that I've been doing the count from Aldcliffe to Conder for exactly 20 years. That really makes me feel quite old!
Looking at the figures, there's not a huge difference though a few things are notable. There were no greylag or Canada goose flocks back then and Lapwing numbers were often somewhat higher than in recent years. Back in '89 the count included a female smew (it was on the river near Snatchems) which was probably the last time I saw one in the Aldcliffe area!