Wednesday, 28 April 2010

2 Days in the Parish......

Had a walk in the woods and plenty of warblers singing, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Sedge Warbler. Four Linnets along with a pair of Jays and Mistle Thrush was also present.
In the stubble fields there are Lapwing with chicks, not sure of their chances, apart from all the predators around the farmer will be cultivating any day!
The track to the pylons had numerous Whitethroats, Chiffchaff and finches as well as the usual Wrens, Tits and Blackbirds. A Kestrel was drawing attention from the Ravens while a Stoat was causing a loud response from a number of birds.
The tide was up to the bank though not much was showing today, I saw 9 Wheatear and spotted 6 Common Sandpiper along the river bank.

Freeman’s Pool was quiet, though did see 1 Green Sandpiper and 2 LRP. The wood had 2 Jays, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush and half a dozen Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat. 3 Swifts were seen in the area.
Dan had 2 Sedge Warblers on the track before I met up with him. We made our way along the track and saw good numbers of warblers. 2 Skylarks. There were 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and 2 Eiders on the river. A Peregrine was hunting near the pylons.  

Sunday, 25 April 2010


Text from Dan this evening mentioned a grasshopper warbler reeling at the Lucy Brook. I investigated must didn't manage to locate the little critter. It's a while since I have looked round Freemans Wood and it is easy to forget what a productive part of the patch it is with blackcap, willow warbler and chiffchaff singing. It is often the place to head on an October morning and has pedigree for records of scarce and rare migrant passerines.

5 swift were in the area, with an lrp at the pool and 3 lesser whitethroat on the cycle track near the wildfowlers.


Friday, 23 April 2010

Raving on........

Had a visit to the patch this aft, started off on a lively note with Ravens on the pylons making quite a racket and a peregrine screeching about the place. There was 1 Wheatear, Mistle Thrush and a Pied Wagtail on the field at the stables. There was a couple of Song Thrush on the track, plenty of Greenfinch and Goldfinch with a few Blackcaps adding to the birdsong. On the Wildfowlers’ there was a pair of Gadwall and the usual Coot, Moorhen, Mallard and 2 Shelduck. There are a number of Lapwings on the stubble fields. Freeman’s Pool had Tufted Ducks, Oystercatcher, Shelduck and 2 Little Ringed Plovers on the island. Singing in the woods were Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Just Passing By.....

Did WeBS today and some good birds made there way up river to the patch. On the marsh were 11 Wheatears, 3 Skylark and 45 Meadow Pipits, and on the river were 5 Eiders with a further 13 beyond the pylons. 2 Ravens and a Peregrine were flying about the place along with a dozen or so Whimbrel. Interesting were 2 Treecreeper in the railway cutting. There was a Little Ringed Plover on the flood. Saw 1 Whitethroat, and plenty of Blackcaps about the place, and still a good number of Greenfinch present throughout the area.

Friday, 16 April 2010

New Kind of Blue......

The highlight today was the sky, a truly clear blue sky. Thanks to the volcanic activity on Iceland, blasting out a huge ash plume which is drifting high over Europe, all planes are grounded in the UK. As a consequence the skies are clear of all the crap associated with aviation, and what a beautiful sight. In the blue were 6 Buzzards all circling higher until out of range. Other birds of note were 2 Little Ringed Plovers on Freeman’s Island, not so happy as there were 14 Lesser black backed Gulls, 6 Canada Geese, 4 Shelduck and numerous Mallard, Moorhen and 2 Oystercatchers all jostling for space. Peregrine, Kestrel and Ravens all present near the pylons. 5 Meadow Pipits were on the riding school meadow.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Thanks for your Osp-vitality

Morning visit.NE 1, later NNE 3. 1-3 oktas.

Today was a bit cool and clear, with more song at eleven than at nine. But small numbers of common migrants seem to be making it up here in spite of the mildly unfavourable conditions.

A male common redstart was flitting about the Fairfield side of the patch early on. This area (the millennium orchard and environs) seems to have a better track record for this species than the better-watched estuary drag.

Visible migration was highlighted by 16 redpoll sp. (and a few more heard-only) making their way NE in twos and threes.

Aside from these, vis. seemed to be limited to two sand martins and a handful of swallows, linnets and meadow pipits.

One, perhaps two lesser whitethroat were back in typical hedgerow haunts today. Aldcliffe is a bit of a stronghold for this little sylvia. Other warblers included around fifteen male blackcaps.

There was a reasonable list for pool-watchers including two little-ringed plovers, a green sandpiper, five gadwall and two each of goldeneye and teal.

I've felt a bit hard done-to on the osprey front this spring ( I shouldn't do really-- I haven't put the time in) so I was pleased to get on a probable female (pictured) heading over Colloway Marsh, over my head and on ENE over Aldcliffe village, at about 100 metres of height.

 I was talking to an off-duty ringer when I heard a clamour of waders which suggested an approaching OP, and rudely broke off our conversation to scan. Sorry Alan. At least I was right!

We're maybe a couple of days past peak osprey passage. But four whimbrels frequenting the mudflats were quite early by Aldcliffe standards. I rarely note them till about the 20th down here.


Saturday, 10 April 2010


              Greenshank on Freemans

Raven pair harrassing a buzzard in the area of the pylons.
Pairs of teal and shoveller on the Wildfowlers.
Pairs of greylag, mute swan, gadwall and LRP's at Freemans pools with singletons of greenshank and green sandpiper. 8 shelduck also.
4 willow warblers singing in various places.
5 swallows and 6 meadow pipits through the parish.


Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Knot what we Wanted

Late morning to mid afternoon visit.  NW 1-2 at first, increasing to NW 4-5.   1-3 oktas.

A lengthy vigil for osprey from Marsh Point was a bit osprey-less, even with back-up from eagle-eyed health professional Guy McC.

However, thirty black-tailed godwits and a few knot were roosting beside the Point.

Knot are pretty scarce this far up the estuary. Probably moreso than migrating raptors, irrespective of this session's blank!

A trickle of hirundines was about it for passage, with about 40 swallows and 12 sand martins seen heading north.

Two little ringed plovers were at Freeman's Pools for a while, as were three pairs of shelduck and a little egret.

Forty-five linnets were foraging on the stubble fields, keeping company with four pairs of lapwing and two singing skylarks.

Guy's water rail was a good record for April.

Three or four willow warblers, two blackcaps and seven chiffchaffs were more seasonal. But no wheatears were to be found.


Sunday, 4 April 2010

Knowing me, knowing you, aha!

Managed a patch tick in the shape of 2 red legged partridge on the high tide mark below the pylons.
A walk along the sea wall revealed only 12 meadow pipits.
Met up with Steve at Freemans. 2 oiks were on the island with only 1's and 2's of tufted duck, little grebe and a shoveller. A coot looked like it was making a nest on one of the bottom pools.
4-5 singing chiffchaff in Freemans wood. This areas is getting more grotty with plastic overspliing from the "recycling company " at the end of the quay.
1 green sandpiper on the wildfowlers.
Spent an hour or so watching out for ospreys but I suspect the wind was too westerly and too strong for this species. A peregrine and kestrel were seen.
1 swallow battling up the estuary from the sewerage picnic site.


Saturday, 3 April 2010

Buzz Off...........

Picture by Dan.
A few new in warblers around today. Met up with Dan and we spent a while at the pylons looking for Osprey, alas we were out of luck though we had our first Blackcap of the day. Also a Raven and Buzzard were scrapping it out and giving a good aerial display. Plenty of Meadow Pipits, Wheatear 1 and Swallow 3 a few a Sand Martin.

After a bout of heavy rain we headed back to Freeman’s, where we saw a Willow Warbler, possibly 2, and another Blackcap, plenty of Chiffchaff in the woods. On the pools were a couple Gadwall, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Shelduck and a few Lapwing and Oystercatcher earlier. Other raptors seen were Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Peregrine and another Buzzard.