Monday, 5 August 2013

Partridge Family

It's almost incomprehensible that last week I was concerned about the lack of water in the various smaller pools around the patch. The Wildfowlers' Pools for example had been sunbaked to the point where only a trio of tiny puddles remained.
The last few days have seen something of a change of fortune and normal service has resumed, with wet weather ensuring that water levels have returned to an acceptable level.
Unfortunately, I was in the Peak District all day when Guy contacted me with news of the wood sandpiper on Friday, and Saturday saw me working in West Yorkshire.
With a day off today (Monday) I headed out in the pouring morning rain for a check around the Aldcliffe area.
Arriving at the Wildfowlers' Pools it was immediately apparent that there wasn't too much going on. The mute swan family were still very much in evidence but other than a few coot, moorhen, mallard and a couple of little grebe there was little to see on the pools. Of note, three stock dove were around the reserve.
I was delighted to come across a family party of grey partridge near Frog Pond, comprising two adults and 7 fledged young. This nationally declining species is just about hanging on at Aldcliffe, but we're going to need some new blood in the area if they are going to continue to survive locally.

Frog Pond itself was hosting a soggy looking little egret and 5 snipe
Multiple snipe were also around the Wildfolwers' Pools with flighty groups of 9, 7 and 2s here and there moving around the site.
A small group of teal were dabbling in the wet grass.
Just one green sandpiper was seen here along with 2 little egrets, 3 black-tailed godwit and several curlews feeding in the fields. (In the absence of any photos taken today here is a drawing of a curlew that, as they almost used to say on Blue Peter, I prepared earlier...)
More curlews were in the fields near The Flood.
A single adult Mediterranean gull was in among 70 or so black-headed gulls on The Flood edge, as was another green sandpiper, a couple of oystercatcher and a dozen lapwing


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