On Sunday I did my old WeBS count from Aldcliffe to Conder. This stretch is now ably managed by Steve Wallis but he was unable to do it this month and so I was quite happy to reacquaint myself with the survey that I spent around 20 years doing.
And what a day! The horrendous winds had dropped and it was bright and quite sunny. A rare thing these days...
I first did my count at Freeman's Pools, which was pretty unremarkable, before starting the Aldcliffe to Conder stretch. Kicking off at Marsh Point, I walked along Dawson's Bank to Aldcliffe Hall Lane, beyond the Walled Meadow and from then on along the cycle track to Conder.
A pair of adult Mediterranean gulls, including one almost in full breeding garb, were among a large group of roosting gulls on Aldcliffe Marsh. A couple of 1st winter birds were seen further along; one at Gull Bank and another on the river at near Ashton Hall.
The most notable bird of the count was the wigeon that I had hoped to find - that hybrid yank that Dan had last week!
|Hybrid Eurasian / American wigeon (far right)|
Thankfully Ian Hartley came along and between us we pretty much determined that it was likely iffy.
A flying visit by Stuart Piner confirmed our thoughts and we left at least happy to have seen such an instructive bird.
Looks like I should have paid more attention to the many 1000s I saw while living in Canada!
Anyway, here's a rather crappy snap that I managed to get of it before my camera batteries helpfully ran out...
The count in full:
Mute swan 36
Pink-footed goose 732
American wigeon hybrid 1
Little grebe 2
Little egret 14
Grey heron 2
Golden plover 462
Spotted redshank 1
Black-t godwit 3
Black-headed gull 1188
Common gull 18
Mediterranean gull 4
Herring gull 8
Lesser black-backed gull 35
Great black-backed gull 2