Spent a couple of hours around the patch this morning, thankful that the forecast wind and rain had held off.
There was quite a bit of activity at Freeman's Pools with plenty of teal, wigeon and gadwall present along with smaller numbers of goldeneye and tufted duck plus a single little grebe.
A couple of grey partridge were in the fields but the pinkfeet had all cleared out.
The flooded Wildfowlers' Pools were quiet with just moorhen, coot, mallard and another little grebe on the water. A couple of oystercatcher were feeding on the edges.
40-plus curlew were busy probing in the wet fields by the Flood. A large concentration of gulls was roosting by the Flood itself. The majority were black-headeds with a few common gulls mixed in. A scan through revealed a smart adult winter Mediterranean gull while in the fields behind a 2nd winter little gull was flying around with more black-heads. A handful of herring gulls and a couple of lesser black-backed gulls joined the throng and a great black-backed gull even flew by just to complete the set.
Aldcliffe marsh was carpeted with waders; golden plover, lapwing, dunlin and curlew were all present in good numbers. Just 4 common snipe were seen at Snipe Bog.
All this talk of gulls reminds me - as I arrived at Bay View Garden Centre at Bolton-le-Sands on Sunday morning I spotted a 1st winter little gull in the fields by the shore. It was with a small flock of black-headed gulls briefly, before taking off and heading into Morecambe Bay. It was then that I thought to myself, I really should be out birding today...
Later that day I received a message from Jenny to say that my mate Rich Moonie had called from Woking, Surrey to tell me that there was a Ross's gull at Leighton Moss! I was 10 minutes away and unable to leave until 4pm at the earliest!
I hurtled along to Leighton as soon as I could only to arrive minutes after all the gulls had flown off to roost. Arse.
Now, I'm not too disposed to twitching but I do like to see rare birds within the Lancaster & District recording area and the last time I saw a Ross's gull was 20 years ago at Rossall Point, Fleetwood so this would have been a real treat to see locally. And now that I've seen Chris Batty's excellent photos of this bird (it was a cracking pink adult) I'm even more gutted to have missed it!
Ironically, I had just emailed off my Birdwatch column copy to The Visitor newspaper in which I remark upon the lack of unusual birds currently in the area this winter.
The sharp-eyed among you may have spotted the new tab at the top of the page 'Goa & Karnataka, 2014'. On this page you will find some bird and critter pics from mine and Jenny's recent trip to India. A written report will be added to the page shortly.