Thursday, 31 March 2011

Windy Migger

Out with the italics, because it's Dan reporting on his windy watchpoint:

1200-1700 vis comprised

1+3+5 sand martins and 1 swallow, all battling NW.

All starlings noted (c400 in small parties) were Eastbound. Migrating flocks?

To summarise? Nowt about!


Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Pointing stuff out.....

An early start made a quick walk through Freeman’s Wood worthwhile, Treecreeper, Chiffchaffs, Great spotted Woodpecker, Linnets, Greenfinch, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Wrens, Robins, Jays all singing. The pool saw 2 LRP’s, a dozen or more Shelduck, Shoveler new in, Little Grebe which was good to see. Met up with Guy and we had a stroll along the river bank and didn’t see much apart from Dan on trig point hill! We had a wander up and joined in the vismig! Guy spotted a Swallow, our first this year. Other stuff was on Dan’s list, maybe it will appear here, some interesting birds.
On the Flood were a handful of Meadow Pipits and 2 Pied Wagtails; the LRP’s couldn't be located. 

Dan's vis-mig efforts:

Today: movement was minimal during my stint 0800-1100, the highlights being a northbound merlin, and a party of 23 fieldfare high to the N.E. Otherwise just 8 MP per hour (!) 4 redpoll sp and four 'alba wags'.

Yesterday afternoon was better with an 1130-1630 vigil producing 575 meadow pipits, 155 sand martins and a few siskins and redpoll spp.

A pre-vis stroll yesterday yielded an early-ish willow warbler, two tree sparrows and passage chats comprising a stonechat and six wheatears.


Tuesday, 29 March 2011


6 LRP's were in the Aldcliife area yesterday evening. Thanks to Mick and Tom for putting it on the LDBWS site.

5 were still at the flood this evening with approx 100 meadow pipits. 20 linnet were on the stubble fields. The lbbgs have moved on from the island on freemans pool allowing the oiks and c. 8 shelduck to reoccupy it.


Monday, 28 March 2011

Is it a bird, is it a plane..........

Hardly "divine wind"!!!

After an early frost the sun warmed up and another fresh spring morning ensued. I began at Freeman’s Pool, a Chiffchaff or two was heard, Tufted Duck 7, Shelduck 7, Gadwall 2 and numerous Coot, 2 Little ringed Plover were on the island. A Kestrel flew over. Grey Partridge, a pair nearby.

Wildfowlers’ Pool had a number of Teal and Moorhen etc. The Flood saw another 2 Little ringed Plover, looks promising. Was hoping for a Wheatear but none seen, a few Meadow Pipits flew north. A Buzzard flew east. Peregrine 2 near the pylons and Ravens heard, the sound coming from the corner pylon. Mistle Thrush 2 in the meadow, Chiffchaff at least 3 heard and a Goldcrest seen. A Sparrowhawk was also seen. There was a number of Shelduck sorting each other out, see film. On the opposite bank were 1160 Pink footed Geese, which were disturbed by a very low flying microlight, dangerously flew up river under pylon wires, totally bonkers! See film!



Friday, 25 March 2011

Ploughing on

3 LRP's were on the flood this afternoon. A territorial arguement ensued and one of the birds flew off and was later relocated at Freemans pools. This bird was quite restless. The presence of 30 LBBG's may have had something to do with this. Some of these birds flew off west, presumably to Walney. It upsets the balance of the patch having these beasts around, even the oiks had temporarily vacated the island.  4 meadow pipits and a pied wagtail were grounded at the flood. A sand martin was seen flying through and a chiffchaff was heard near wildfowlers. 12 teal were also in that  area. it was good to see the field being ploughed. This was a maize field about 4 years and was a breeding site for lapwings and also drew tree sparrows to it in the autumn. Hopefully it's change of use will be permanent this time.


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Times they are a changin'.......

Freeman’s Pools were busy, Shelduck present and all the usual, the highlight was a pair of Little-ringed Plover, fingers crossed! The gulls appear to have gone elsewhere, let’s see. There were 8 Linnet in the hedge feeding in the stubble field. The track had a few Dunnock, Long-tailed Tits and Greenfinch present. Wildfowlers’ Pool was quiet, a couple of Teal, and equally quiet was the flood with just 2 Pied Wagtails and a pair of Teal.
A farmer was busy ploughing which attracted some big gulls, about 160 mainly LBB with up to 30 Herring Gulls, great to watch. A Buzzard was seen flying over the fields and then the marsh. I forgot to mention 3 Eiders were seen on Sunday when doing the WeBS.
The pylon had the usual Peregrine and Ravens. Brimstone was fluttering down the track near the sewage works and a Chiffchaff was heard along with a number of Skylarks.


Managed a quick walk round yesterday. My visit conincided with a high tide and was hoping for the first wheatear of the year or the last rock pipit of the year to be squeezed next to the sea wall but the visit drew a balnk. Strange how things have changed down here. Multiple rock pipits would have been seen a couple of years ago. The LRP was on Freemans pool island and two pairs of oiks were arguing over the island for their breeding site. Other birds included LBBG's, lapwings, and singles of gadwall, goldeneye and tufted duck. Mute swans are nest making at Darter pool on the far bank and these have displaced the resident coots from theie usual nesting spot to the opposite side of the pool. 10 fieldfares were near the Wildfowlers.


Friday, 18 March 2011

Spring has arrived.......

It really felt like spring has arrived today down the patch. My first Brimstone on the patch, also 3 Small Tortoiseshell present. The pools were a carbon copy of the other day, even the 6 Shelduck still present plus Goldeneye. I was hoping for a Chiffchaff and was not disappointed, took a bit of finding as there were none singing. Also along the track to marsh point were 4 Linnet. In the woods I was chuffed to find a Goldcrest and a pair of Treecreepers along with all the usual Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Chaffinch etc, I ventured onto the open field and 2 Kestrels were giving an aerobatic display.
Wildfowlers’ Pools saw 1 Little Egret and a handful of Teal, a pair of Shelduck were grazing. The track was fairly quiet. However, on the marsh were a few thousand Pink-footed Geese, and more on Collaway Marsh, they were quite wrestles which made for an impressive show! A Raven was sounding off from the pylon. I wanted to stay longer but had other things to do, another day tomorrow!

 Little Ringed Plover - 1 on the Flood at the end of Railway Crossing Lane, seen by Pete Crooks
Visible, just, through the rain and murk! 

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


Freeman’s Pool was much the same as the other day, exception being 6 Shelduck. The BH Gulls, 65 still showing interest here. A Kestrel was also present and a noticeable amount of Chaffinch in the area. Had a stroll through the woods, nothing special, what I was expecting, Dunlin, Tits, Robins, Wrens etc. The track saw a few finches including a pair of Greenfinch. Wildfowlers’ Pool was quiet, a few Teal and a couple of Shelduck. Further down, a Buzzard was perched on a fence post. 
The marsh still had a few hundred Pink-footed Geese quite away out. Hopefully things will pick up over the next week or so. It seems to have been a hard slog looking for birds this winter. I think the unusual pre-xmas freezing spell has had an impact, the Water Rail and Snipe appear to have vanished months ago. There has been no Linnets, Tree Sparrows, Reed Bunting, Skylarks etc compared to last winter, though Waxwings recorded, which I annoyingly missed!   I was hoping for Sand Martins or a Chiffchaff today but no luck, but that's not to say they are not here! Spring can't come soon enough. 

Monday, 14 March 2011

In Anticipation........

Good to get down Aldcliffe, lovely day but still a chill in the air. Freeman’s Pools were fairly busy with the usual suspects, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Shelduck, Lapwing, Coot, Mallard, BH Gull, Goldeneye, Little Grebe and Mute Swan. Someone has a couple of horses grazing the bund, as a consequence everything plant wise has gone, so no cover for passerines!
Aldcliffe marsh had approx 600 Pink-footed Geese present. The track seemed surprisingly quiet; a pair of Dunnock chasing each other, the odd Robin and that was it. Wildfowlers’ Pool had a Little Egret, Teal, Shelduck and the usual Coot/Moorhen. A handful of Lapwing were displaying over the stubble field, there were 20 here last Thursday.
The Flood was bird less, the fields around had a number of Oystercatchers and Curlews wandering about. I made my way to the picnic area, and was hoping for something exciting, maybe I’m a bit early! There is a pair of Ravens in the pylon and it appears as though the Peregrines are also still hanging about, one showing well as usual in the tall pylon. A Sparrowhawk flew along the hedge, and 2 Buzzards climbed the thermals above me.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Winter Hangs On......

Cold down Aldcliffe today with an icy wind to boot, I got down there as the tide was rising. Freeman’s Pool was much the same, Goldeneye, Moorhen, Coot, Little Grebe, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Teal, Oystercatcher pair, Swan and BH Gulls. A pair of Lapwing were displaying over the stubble fields. Wildfowlers’ Pool had a pair of Oystercatchers, Coot and Teal. The flood was quiet a pair of Teal and a Pied Wagtail. The track had a few Chaffinches and a pair of Greenfinch. A small flock of Long-tailed Tits at the sewage works along with a Reed Bunting and Skylark. The pylon was host to two Peregrines showing well, I watched them for some time while hearing Ravens honking from the corner pylon in the fields opposite.
There were approx 5000 Pink-footed Geese over the other side of the river, and another 1500 on Aldcliffe Marsh. A Great Crested Grebe came up river with the tide.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


Yesterday, Monday, had a cycle through the patch. Freeman’s Pools were much the same, the exception being a Shelduck on the island. A Song Thrush was singing from the hedgerow along the track, with Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Long-tailed Tit all active. Pink-footed Geese, 900, were on the marsh, 2 Little Egrets were also present. There was a few hundred gulls in the fields as well as about 35 Curlew. The stubble fields had roughly 25 Woodpigeon feeding. A Buzzard was seen circling over Lunecliffe, while a Peregrine was on the pylons.

Wednesday 2nd March
Much the same as the other day, beautiful and spring like. Of note was a Raven hanging about the pylons, also heard the Peregrine, so I am now questioning which birds, if any, will attempt to nest here? Also, a Peacock Butterfly seen.