Saturday, 23 February 2013

Winter Limps On...

It's been a funny old week. I've ventured out down to Aldcliffe most days, but it's been a spectacularly unremarkable few days.
I haven't see the redhead smew since last Saturday, despite others having spotted it on a couple of occasions. Lancs Wildlife Trust staff are continuing with the habitat management work, which is of course great but does tend to spook the majority of birds from the pools. Most days there have been just a few coot, mallard and teal present. The wigeon have relocated to Frog Pond, though seem to return to Freeman's Pools to roost in the evening.
Down at the Wildfowlers' Pools, up to 6 snipe have been showing well feeding on the water's edge. A female goosander has joined the mallard and teal for the past couple of days and up to two little egrets have been feeding there.
The Flood continues to dry out as a result of several days without rain but it's attracting little bar black-headed gulls, shelduck and lapwings. Dunlin numbers have dwindled a bit, barely reaching 30 birds most days. Nearby, golden plovers continue to join the lapwings and curlews in the fields. Several of the goldies are starting to moult nicely into breeding plumage.

Reed bunting
Chaffinch numbers have increased slightly in the stubble fields, but so far the only other species to be seen with them was a single male reed bunting this morning. I haven't taken any photos worth posting this week (nothing new there then...) so I dug out an old drawing I did of a reed bunting many, many moons ago.
The stock dove pair continue to appear in the same maize fields periodically.
Out the marsh it's pretty quiet, with up to 500 pink-footed geese hanging around for most of the week. This morning I counted 12 little egrets in one fairly casual sweep, but there was no sign of the recent spoonbill - presumably it's moved on?

On Thursday I cycled over to Morecambe where I had a wander down the Stone Jetty with Shaun Coyle. We couldn't locate any purple sandpipers, but there were around 40 or so knot roosting on the rocks below the jetty end, where a dozen or so turnstone fed busily on the water's edge.      
There were c.190 black-tailed godwit feeding on the beach near the Eric Morecambe which made for a pretty cool sight.
I have to say, I'd forgotten how dull February can be and I really can't wait for the first spring migrants to start trickling in in a few weeks...

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