Thursday, 15 September 2011
Ful Mars for Trying
A calm and mellow day with moderate use of Aldcliffe airspace and a nice mix of species.
Visible migration was dominated by meadow pipits and the first pink-footed geese of the Autumn.
Around 450 of the former were heading South, East and even North-East between 0945 and 1345
The geese, fresh from Iceland, came through South in skeins of 42, 32 and sixteen.
Otherwise, 'vis' was limited to single figure counts of skylark, grey wagtail and linnet. Hirundine (martin) passage seemed non-existent.
An out-of-habitat nuthatch and coal tit were by the walled meadow and evidenced some seasonal dispersal of some kind. A few whitethroats, chiffchaffs and a goldcrest were also in the hedges.
Clearly haven been driven inland by recent high winds, a fulmar (pictured thru the heat haze above) was both a welcome patch-tick and a rather sorry sight at the same time.
It was sat on the mud at Gull Bank amid lapwings and starlings, two species that these seafaring tubenoses must seldom come into contact with.
Other estuary birds included a juvenile ruff, 40 juv. dunlins, a goosander and an eider.
Singles of greenshank and green sandpiper were lurking elsewhere. A kingfisher was diving into the flood and up to five common buzzards were circling.
This one looked mortified, not only at being photographed, but also at having been caught running from a tiny stoat.