Saturday, 15 December 2012

The Tide Is High

European white-fronted goose
With a midday tide forecast at over 10 metres today, I trundled off down to Aldcliffe to see what might get pushed out of the creeks and into plain view.
The fields either side of the cycle track were filled with hundreds of squabbling geese, the vast majority being greylags. A reasonable number of pink-footed geese and a couple of decent sized flocks of Canadas were also present. Scanning through I managed to find the previously reported European white-fronted goose and rattled off a couple of dodgy-scope pics.
The fields were also hosting good numbers of lapwing and redshank. Ever the optimist, I was hoping that the post-thaw returning redshank would bring back the yellowlegs and wood sandpiper but so far that doesn't appear to be the case. Have these two strays moved on altogether, or might they still reappear? Only time will tell.

Little egret
The Wildfowlers' Pools were pretty quiet, with the exception of a couple of dozen redshank, lots of moorhens, a few teal and 5 shelduck. A single little egret was creeping around the pool edge (pic).
The Flood was awash with roosting black-headed gulls and yet more redshank, plus a couple of dunlin and common gulls.
The distinctive squeal of a water rail alerted me to the presence of two birds lurking in the vegetation on the flooded lower path, with one showing well briefly. A couple of little grebe were also fishing here.

High tide
Back up on the Lune, the tide finally peaked around noon and I walked the high water line in the hope of flushing a jack snipe or two. I didn't. I did, however flush a few common snipe and come across at least 4 rock pipits.
Talking of jack snipe, I found the fresh remains of an expertly picked-apart bird up by the Wildfowlers' Pools a couple of days ago, so there are (or, perhaps were) some around...
Scanning over the river to Colloway Marsh large numbers of gulls, wigeon and roosting waders including dunlin, redshank, curlew, lapwing and golden plover were being occasionally bothered by a couple of peregrines and a sparrowhawk
A small flock of 15 pintail flew down river, not a particularly numerous bird on this part of the estuary. 
Plenty of blackbirds and song thrushes continue to feed in the hawthorns throughout the area with smaller numbers of redwing and fieldfare joining them from time to time.  Other common passerines include the dwindling chaffinch flock in the stubble fields plus occasional pied wagtails, robins, dunnocks and wrens.
Freeman's Pools were bereft of birds, presumably due to the fact that it is still pretty much frozen over.


ray said...

Jon... if you are reading this, did you know there is a play on Radio 4 on Thursday ( 2:15pm) about Joe Strummer? Well, there is. I don't know how to get in touch with you. ray

Jon Carter said...

Cheers Ray! I shall listen in.