Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Freeman's might not be free.....

Heard a rumour a while ago that the estate holder of Freeman’s Wood was planning to fence it off, well it’s started. Not sure about the access, will hopefully find out asap. Could mean very bad news if we can’t have access, I’m hoping that there might be stiles etc.
The pool was much the same as the other day, with a Treecreeper. No geese around that I could see. Little Egrets on the marsh, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Curlew, Redshank all present. On the track were Blackbird, Song Thrush, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Wren, Dunnock, Robin. Had a scan through all the gulls, mainly Black headed, with up to 30 Herring Gull.  A fairly quiet hour.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Geese and Gales...

Started off at the sewerage works but not much to see, very windy. A pair of Grey/Pied Wags and 9 Redshank. On the track same, a blustery wind kept me cycling along. When I reached the flood I saw Greylags in the fields beyond, and scanning with bins found a dozen or so Euro white-fronted geese.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Egrets there was a few........

Enjoyable plod around the Parish this morning. High tide saw large numbers of birds on the marsh, mainly Lapwing. The Greylags still on or near the cut maize fields. 14 Little Egrets, at least, spread about the place. 5 Skylark and 2 Ravens near the pylons, in the horse field were 6 Meadow Pipits and 2 Mistle Thrush, plus a few Pied wags.

Freeman’s Pool saw Gadwall 10, Tufted 4, Goldeneye 4, Coot 9, Little Grebe 2 and Mallard, Grey Heron and a Jay on the fence. Wildfowlers’, plenty of Teal and half a dozen or so Fieldfare.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Freeman’s Pool/Wood shoveler, goldeneye, tufted, mallard, shelduck, grey heron, coot, little grebe. 60 chaffinch, goldfinch, bullfinch, greenfinch, and mistle thrush, kestrel and large stoat. Marsh Point 34 oystercatcher, lapwing and gulls. Maize field still occupied by hundreds of greylags. Wildfowlers’ Pool mainly teal of interest plus a handful of fieldfare. 
Met up with Guy and Ola made our way to the sewerage works. Goldcrest 3, bullfinch 6, blackbird 15+, single fieldfare, meadow pipit, merlin chasing small bird, which escaped. Little egrets 3, curlew, widgeon, cormorant, lapwing, golden plover, canandas etc. red admiral at the cutting. 

Monday, 21 November 2011

Start of the week.....

Brilliant start to the week. Black redstart was a new patch tick found at the sewerage works. The lack of this bird around Aldcliffe has been spoke about a great deal over the years and now finally on the record list. Dan came down and ticked it.  The sewerage works is ideal for this bird, and still plenty of insects around, midges especially! Lets hope it stays for a while. Also present were Grey/Pied Wagtails, Meadow Pipits and Redshank. 
Finally caught up with the Euro white-fronted geese, 17 on the far side of the river. Hundreds of Greylags around the patch, many being on the cropped maize fields. 3 Little Egrets on the marsh. Freeman’s Pool saw Gadwall, Goldeneye, Shoveler, Little Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Tufted Ducks and a couple of deer. A Kestrel was scanning from the dead tree.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

On The Front Line

Dan here.

My recent attempts to sniff out a late rare passerine (please hume-our me) have been scuppered by plagues of distracting geese, and my attempts to get passable photos of them.

At least thirty-four Euro white-fronted geese were in evidence in the murk today, with three seen on the maize stubble fields, and a flock of 33 on Aldcliffe Marsh, which featured just 4 juveniles.

Sadly this group was scared by some ne'er-do-wells and it re-located to stubble fields near Overton.

I'd reckon there have been more white-fronts here in the past week (a nationwide influx) than there have been over the preceding twenty years or forgive my gruesome photos...I'm just a bit excited to see this species here.


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Gazing at Greys Grazing

Dan here.

Went out this morning with geese on my mind.

However, Aldcliffe Marsh was almost devoid of grey geese, with just five pink-feet in the midst of a whole mess of Canadas.

I heard a distant clamour of greylags and tracked down the regular flock which was feeding in the centre of Colloway Marsh (a few hundred metres south of my jurisdiction, actually!) and also using improved and muddy maize stubble fields NE of Overton.

Associating with them were at least nine european white-fronted geese so I was glad I sat down and 'scoped them.
There's been an interesting and welcome movement of this species across Britain in the past couple of weeks. Bean geese too-- so with a lot of luck a nice little herd of taigas might drop in for a day or two soon.

Fingers crossed.

Passerines highlights within the parish (!) included a group of four goldcrests, three southbound skylarks and a few rock and meadow pipits.

merlin (arch enemy of pipit-kind) was also seen.


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Quick tour...

Freeman’s Pool Gadwall, Goldeneye, Little Grebe, Coot etc. Frog Pond a number of Wigeon. Track saw a few Linnet, plenty of Chaffinch a single Fieldfare feeding on berries. Also, plenty of Crows around today. The fields behind the upper track were being sprayed with manure and attracted a few hundred mainly Black-headed Gulls I found one Med amongst them. Wildfowlers’ Pool had a number of Teal. The geese were some distance away and couldn’t make them out other than Canada none Canada! At least eight Little Egret, eleven yesterday, on the marsh.
I took a quick look on the mud bank near Gull bank and found a Green Sand and Snipe. A Peregrine spooked a huge flock of Lapwing/Golden plover. Sewerage works had a few Rock Pipits and Linnets present.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Full Frontal

Dan here.

It was a bit of a goosefest this morning, with four adult european white-fronted geese initially on Heaton Marsh-- reassuringly aloof from the greylag hordes. A little disappointingly, they decamped to mingle with a motley crew of greylags and Canadas on Aldcliffe Marsh.

Then I was surprised to find 7 Greenland white-fronted geese at the southern end of the marsh. These much more handsome birds were also all adult.... and also very much at ease with the feral honkers (feeding with them, bathing in the river with them-- even playing cards with them).

Mind you, there were at least a hundred more greylags than usual today, so maybe even they weren't all feral after all.

A skein of 58 pink-footed geese circled over the marsh for a while, before continuing east.

In passerine news, 5 rock pipits were at Stodday sewage works and the recently-harvested maize fields had attracted over 70 chaffinches, six bullfinches, (two sparrowhawks) and a few tree sparrows, mipits and reed buntings.

A lesser redpoll was at the Willow Lane end of Freeman'sWood. A third goldeneye is now at Freeman's Pools.


Saturday, 12 November 2011

Green Back

Just a fleeting look on my way elsewhere today.... but a female merlin and a green sandpiper were noted.


Friday, 11 November 2011

In the Euro Zone

Dan here.

A few decent birds today, with wildfowl heading the list.

A faint yip-yip-yipping, then distant views of a few sturdy medium-size geese culminated in good views of these five european white-fronts heading South. Perhaps these Baltic breeders were en route to the Severn estuary where the majority winter.

Euro White-fronted Geese: appearing to be 4 adults and a juv. 

My first two goldeneyes of the season were on Freeman's Pools. A scan of the estuary at high water revealed five shovelers, six gadwall and a pochard mingling with wigeons and teal near Gull Bank.

A nice female merlin was panicking the saltmarsh lapwings and starlings (around 2000 and 500 birds respectively). Merlins can be a regular sight here in winter.

A woodcock flew over the water from Heaton Marsh, dropping into cover near the cutting.

The hedges and bushes held a few each of goldcrest, song thrush and fieldfare, with around 50 (mainly 1st- winter male) blackbirds, including a dozen or so loudly mobbing an ivy roosting little owl by Stodday sewage works.


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A maize in....

One maize field harvested. In the hedge plenty of action 2 Tree Sparrow, Reed Buntings, Linnets, Brambling 1, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Blue Tits, on the track Blackbirds, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Wren, Robin, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush. Heading east Fieldfare 20, at the cutting Redwing and more Blackbirds. Freeman’s Pool Gadwall, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Coot, Little Grebe and a Kestrel. Flood Shoveler and a Shelduck. 
Shooting on the opposite side spread the birds out a bit. Little Egret 1, Lapwing numerous, Curlew, Redshank. Ravens 2, Peregrine Falcon 1 near the pylons.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Fair Fieldnotes

Dan here.

Work on the brand nature area in Fairfield  (top right corner of the parish!) is in full flow.

This morning I met some of the Fairfield Association (who have acquired the land) on site and the landscapers, hedge specialists and conservation officers helping them with the project.

Among many other changes to this sliver of wet farmland, scrapes have been excavated in the juncus areas, aswell as deeper ponds where reeds are to be planted.

It's all going to look impressive. As we walked around I pointed out the manic noise of water rails emanating from cover along Lucy Brook. Overhead, a sparrowhawk was chasing goldfinches and I could hear a nuthatch calling near the orchard.


Saturday, 5 November 2011

Outside, Looking In

Today I cruelly abandoned Aldcliffe for the other side of the Lune for the second weekend running.

I didn't have so much luck this time, and in fact one of the nicer sights was while wistfully looking back East towards the parish, when eleven whooper swans flew South down the estuary at some considerable height.

Several large skeins of pink-footed geese were also noted using Aldcliffe airspace just after dawn as they dispersed Northward from their Fylde coast roosts.


Friday, 4 November 2011

Roving Reporter

Dan here.

Just a short trip out hand deliver a copy of the latest birdwatching society bird report to a member in Aldcliffe village.

I've been thumbing through my copy and as usual Aldcliffe gets many mentions.

On my way there and back saw a few fieldfares and goldcrests, five little egrets and two ravens.


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Gulls On Film

Dan here.

Although we have a few Mediterranean gulls at Aldcliffe now and again, these are the first pics I've taken that are almost worthy of public consumption. I managed to creep up on this attractive beast this morning as it fed in a field and got these eye-level shots..

I'm often mocked by my girlfriend for finding this species devilishly handsome. Happen she's jealous. Readers--am I alone in this?

 Vestiges of vis mig were in evidence this morning. The following were noted heading over- mostly South:
17skylarks, 6 meadow pipits, 50 fieldfares, one redwing, 30 chaffinches and 35 woodpigeons.

Four tree sparrows were lurking near the maize fields, as were a goldcrest and forty greenfinches.


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Online Meds

Dan again.

A sunny afternoon dawdle was pleasant but unspectacular bird-wise.

The warmer clearings in Freeman's Woods held at least 12 common darter dragonflies and a migrant hawker. Several red admiral butterflies were also noted.

Two adult Mediterranean gulls were with field-feeding common and black-headed gulls. Fifteen pink-footed goose went over to the South. Ten more were with feral geese on the marsh.

Only a few goldcrests were found today, and so far this Autumn Aldcliffe has been poor for chiffchaffs and other tit-taggers.