Friday, 3 January 2014

Lapwings, Rings & Other Things...

Ringed Canada geese
The forecast rain didn't materialise today and I was able to get out for about 3 hours and give the patch a good bashing in relatively bright, if blustery conditions.
Things started off well at Freeman's Pool where a water rail showed nicely along the southern edge.
Although annual winter visitors to the Aldcliffe area these secretive birds usually only get seen during prolonged periods of cold and icy weather when they are forced out into the open to search for food.
Otherwise the pools were hosting the expected goldeneye, tufted duck, teal, mallard, wigeon and gadwall. A couple of little grebe were also present along with the usual handful of moorhen and coot.
A smart covey of 11 grey partridge were showing nicely in the fields but there was little else to be seen all along the cycle path until I got to the Wildfowlers' Pools.
Here, a couple of hundred Canada geese were bathing in the rather flooded pools.
Scanning through I noticed that a few of the geese were sporting red / orange darvic rings. After a fair amount of scrutiny I was able to read the numbers on all 7 of the rings that I could see.
5 of these I had read previously but it was good to able to add another couple to the total.
The birds were ringed by the RSPCA at Lake Windermere in early July where they had gathered to moult.

The wet fields had also attracted good numbers of lapwing and a few redshank. Later as the tide rose yet more birds settled in the fields and around the nearby Flood, including large numbers of curlew and black-headed gull.
Five rooks, uncommon in the Aldcliffe area, were still hanging around with the local carrion crows and jackdaws.
I spent quite a bit of time 'scoping over the estuary as the tide continued to rise, covering the entire marsh. A small number of snipe were pushed off the marsh but no jack snipe were seen. Equally disappointing was the very small number of rock pipits. Ordinarily a high tide pretty much guarantees decent opportunities to get good looks at these cryptic birds as the feed on the floating tide-rack and debris but I only saw three all day and none were settling within range.
Over the River Lune the impressive sight of thousands of lapwing, hundreds of golden plover and 10s of dunlin were wheeling around with mixed gulls (though nothing 'interesting' in with them) while a couple of cormorants and a single great-crested grebe bobbed along in the choppy waters.


1 comment:

Paul Maxwell said...

Hi Jon
I have sent you an Email!