Friday, 30 August 2013

Dabchick Late Brood News

Juvenile barn swallow
I've been making a point of checking the patch every morning this week but sadly my efforts have gone mostly unrewarded, as far as unusual off-passage species are concerned.
Given the volume of ace birds being seen elsewhere in the recording area (eg yesterday I dropped in at Leighton Moss and saw 24 curlew sandpiper, at least 4 ruff and a couple of spotted redshank) it seems only natural that Aldcliffe will have a few waders passing through, right?
Nonetheless, it's been interesting to see the daily changes regarding common birds. Chiffchaffs and willow warblers have been moving through in numbers, and the swallows and house martins have been gathering in increasingly larger flocks.    
The first wigeon arrived early in the week and the number of teal continue to build. I've been scrutinising the latter for the odd garganey but alas none have yet shown up.

The number of little grebe on Freeman's Pools have peaked at 6 birds and today (Friday) I was able to confirm my suspicions of a late breeding attempt with one grebe in the company of a recently hatched youngster. This seems to be a regular occurrence at Aldcliffe with this species. They clear out completely in the spring, returning late in the summer and have a crack at a late brood. Perhaps the habitat just isn't good enough early on and only once the vegetation has grown up significantly does the site offer suitable nesting habitat?
Another bird really increasing in number as the days go by is little egret; I saw at least 8 today without even really looking.

Green sandpipers continue to show both on the Flood and at the Wildfowlers' Pools. The week's high count came this morning with 6 present.
A juvenile little ringed plover had remained on the Flood throughout the week, but it looks as though it may have finally moved on as I couldn't locate it today.

When I went out to see if I could see last weekend's wood sandpiper on Sunday morning I missed it, arriving at Aldcliffe too late. Pete Crooks has seen it on the Flood at 7.30am but it was flushed by a dog walker seemingly engaging in practice for the Noisiest Man In The World competition.

All was not lost however, and I did see an adult female marsh harrier hunting along Dawson's Bank and I also spied my first post-breeding wheatear out on the marsh.


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