Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Life On Marsh

Despite the many pressing things that I find myself having to do as Jenny and I continue our repatriation, I am still finding a couple of hours most days to get out and refamiliarise myself with the neighbourhood birds.
On Monday I was on Aldcliffe Marsh for the high tide once again and it was another big one.
As on Sunday, lots of geese were grazing in the adjacent fields along with good numbers of curlew, lapwing (pictured), redshank and black-headed gulls.
The tideline by Walled Meadow had attracted a decent little feeding flock that contained chaffinch, greenfinch, goldfinch, robin, wren, pied wagtail and 11 rock pipits. As I walked along the seawall up to Marsh Point and Freeman’s Pools I came across at least another 9 rock pipit. Checking through them, there was nothing to suggest they were anything but petrosus types, although one bird with a distinctive supercilium was certainly suggestive of littoralis
The European white-fronted goose was with greylags on the marsh opposite Snatchems.
Freeman’s Pools, now thawed, were starting to attract a few birds including common goldeneye, tufted duck and a pair of mute swans.

Bits of a little owl
On Tuesday I visited the marsh again, though walked via Aldcliffe village and down Railway Crossing Lane. As I passed Admiralty Wood I checked for little owls and eventually located a snoozing bird (pictured here). Nuthatch, treecreeper and great-spotted woodpecker also put in appearances.
I bumped into Steve Wallis in the village; he was on his way home having completed his WeBS count. After a good chat about what Aldcliffe birds I’d missed in the 3+ years I’ve been away and what changes had been observed around the patch we continued on our respective ways.

Late afternoon at Aldcliffe Marsh
The tide peak was considerably lower today and as a result there wasn’t much pushed off the main river. A handful of little egrets were scattered around the saltmarsh and once again there were loads of redshank and lapwing, plus a few dunlin, feeding around The Flood.
I can’t recall ever seeing quite so many moorhen as seem to be around at the moment – have they just been steadily increasing or are there simply a lot in the Aldcliffe area this year? Coot have certainly colonized in recent years (my first record was in the late 1980s and concerned a freshly dead bird along the seawall. I was quite excited.)
Talking of modern additions to Aldcliffe’s avifauna, as I bumbled along the pathway back to Willow Lane alongside Freeman’s Wood I noticed a little egret on the path ahead of me. It was searching for prey in the wet ditch and looked a bit out of place so close to the edge of town. They’ll be nicking koi carp out of garden ponds before we know it…   

This afternoon (Wednesday) I had to go to Morecambe and managed a quick walk down the Stone Jetty. There was nothing much going on offshore, and wader numbers were pretty unremarkable around the shore. Species present included the expected curlew, dunlin, redshank, turnstone, oystercatcher and knot.

No comments: