Quiet a day on the old patch. Following a tip-off I checked Pete Woodruff's blog and saw a photo of a VERY interesting stonechat taken yesterday in the Aldcliffe area. However, despite a lot of searching in the same, and other favoured stonechat, areas I drew a total blank. Could have been this year's bluethroat!
Otherwise some good stuff around including:
My first trawl of the day around Freeman's Pools revealed a slight increase in gadwall with 3 pairs present plus 2 tufted duck, 1 goldenenye, 1 little grebe, 14 coot, 3 moorhen and a pair of mute swans. A pair each of lapwing and oystercatcher were looking cozy on the island as was a shelduck. 3 snipe there too.
The other pools were a bit quiet though some 800 pinkfeet were in the Trigg Point field and although distant it was clear that nothing too noticeable was amongst them. I'll come back to that later!
A little owl was in its usual roost at Admiralty Wood.
After trampling around looking (and failing) for jack snipe, though flushing 2 common snipe I checked The Flood where a green sandpiper and water rail were showing.
Checking through the carpet of feeding passerines I was chuffed to notice a white wagtail with 10 pieds, 26 meadow pipit and 3 reed bunts.
The geese had move a bit nearer by late afternoon and were in the fields adjacent to the upper track. Scanning through with just my bins I soon picked out a bean goose. Nice one. It was probably about 170m distant and I could make out what I thought was all I needed to be sure of its specific ID. After a chat with Dan and Pete I was relatively happy that it was a 'probable' taiga, but being cautious by nature I wanted to check the literature before declaring anything positive. That didn't entirely work, though I think I'm still inclined toward it being fabalis - I'll be happily disproved though if someone tells me otherwise!
Checking the time, my mind then turned to owls and I headed back to Freeman's Pools where the long-eared owl did its best to defy convention and failed to turn up either in the place it usually does or at the time it has been reliably doing all week.
It took some locating - and around 5.20pm I discovered it sat on a post between the new flood defence bund and the Freeman's Wood pathway. It then gave a bit of a runaround (flushing 2 green sandpipers as it went) before settling into its routine of showing well around the pool edges. I left at 5.45pm with it still being enjoyed by a small gathering.