As we all know, these elegant waders were once like the proverbial rocking horse dung but in recent years have become relatively common with breeding colonies now being found at Leighton Moss, Marshside and a few other north west locations.
So, not only was this a patch tick for Ray but also something well worth following up as far as I was concerned!
Consequently I headed off down there this morning, first checking the pools. Following an absence of several weeks a pair of little grebe were back in residence - they have bred this late at Aldcliffe in the past, so you never know.... The tufted duck pair remain but I have abandoned any thoughts of late nesting by this duo. Otherwise it was pretty unremarkable until a flock of 5 wigeon came flying over the pools before turning around around and heading back toward the river.
Once at Marsh Point I did a thorough scan of the river but alas no black-and-white bentbills were to be seen, though a little egret was prowling along the water's edge.
Along the cycle track things were fairly quiet until I bumped into the aforementioned Ray Hobbs and his hound at the Wildfowlers' Pools. We had a chat and after a while went our separate ways, me heading to Stodday.
I checked the Flood as I passed but it was birdless.
Looks like little ringed plover have had a dud year as I suspected, with no sign of any chicks at all so far and now not even any adults to be found in the Aldcliffe area. It's pretty depressing that with 3 pairs we didn't even get a single bird fledged...
|Six of the seven avocets on the Lune|
Before heading home I checked the river at Marsh Point one more time and bingo! The magnificent seven avocets were feeding along the receding tide opposite Snatchems. I got a couple of distant shots, as you can see here. Let wader migration begin!