Sunday, 7 July 2013

Baby Birds & Dragons Delight

With the weather so warm and wonderfully sunny I thought I'd concentrate my efforts today on looking for Aldcliffe odanata.

Little ringed plover chick
I set off, walking through the glamorous environs of the Lune Industrial Estate where my attention was drawn to the alarm calls of a little ringed plover. I soon found the bird, on a large patch of gravel in the heart of the estate. Thinking back, this was adjacent to where I saw a male displaying several weeks ago... As I scanned around the still calling adult, obviously agitated by the magpie patrolling the gravel patch, I spotted first one, then a further three chicks. They were pretty young and quite a way from fledging so I'm guessing they're a second or even third brood.
Given the apparent lack of LRP chicks elsewhere in the Aldcliffe area this year, it was good to see this little family party, and in such an unusual location.

I then checked Freeman's Pools where 4 wigeon were dabbling around. The tufted duck pair were still in residence as were the mute swan family and little grebes. The coots on the upper pool have finally got a couple of chicks off the nest, and two newly hatched moorhens were dashing around the water's edge with a parent bird.
Sedge warblers seem to have had a good season with quite a few youngsters kicking around and a fledged brood of 4 reed buntings were a pleasant sight.
The river was quiet thanks to the tedious antics of a gaggle of jet-ski bores.

Black-tailed skimmer
I finally spotted some dragonfly action on Frog Pond and on closer inspection saw that they were what I suspected to be black-tailed skimmers. A quick call to Pete Marsh to confirm their presence in this part of the world satisfied my cautious identification. This species is a relatively recent colonist to these parts and they have become established locally only in the years that I was away in Canada. As a result, I'd never actually seen any at Aldcliffe - hence my caution.
I then had a peek at Darter Pool where I saw my first emperor dragonfly of the year.

Moving on to the Wildfowlers' Pools I was pleased to discover another family of little ringed plovers. This time an adult female was accompanying two fully fledged young while a lone adult male was nearby. Whether these birds were local nesters or off passage migrants I wouldn't like to say, but given the fact that I haven't seen any evidence of successful breeding at these pools this year I'd probably plump for the latter.
Better still was my first post-breeding green sandpiper. This site is just about the most reliable place in the Lancaster & District recording area for this species and we can expect multiple green sands to make an appearance here in the coming weeks.

The Flood and Aldcliffe Marsh had nothing much of note, and other than a few common and lesser whitethroat and a pair of bullfinch in the hedgerows it was fairly routine stuff on the way back.
Passing through the Fairfield Orchard I noticed another black-tailed skimmer and a brown hawker concluding my odanata hunt for the day.


1 comment:

Paul Brady said...

C'mon JC where's your gull special report ... mine is here!