Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Easy Ansers

Pink-footed geese
Spent a bit of time pre-high tide rooting around the Aldcliffe area this morning.
To my delight the goose numbers had continued to build and there were approximately 1600 pink-footed geese grazing in the fields. For a change I'd actually bothered humping my 'scope along with me and I was able to scan through the mass of barely-honking birds pretty thoroughly, thanks in part to the fact that they were relatively close.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find any other species mingled in amongst them. That's not strictly true, there were 6 greylags in the gaggle but sadly no stringy (or otherwise) bean geese, white-fronts, barnacles or anything else. Not even a dodgy snow goose...
Equally disappointing was the lack of rings or neck-collars on any of the birds.
Hopefully we'll see yet larger numbers moving through in the next few weeks, and among them something to make scrutinising the flock a little more worthwhile.

Elsewhere around the parish it was business as usual. The expected ducks and waders were all evident in varying numbers. Oystercatchers and curlews are especially numerous at the moment and lapwing have finally started showing an interest in displaying over the stubble fields.
Similarly, a skylark was singing over Aldcliffe Marsh further adding to that feeling that spring is definitely a step closer.

Spotted redshank (left) & common redshank
At high tide I headed to Conder where I first had a look on Conder Pools to see if any waders were roosting there. It was pretty quiet really, with a few redshank snoozing on the far bank. Close by, however was the over-wintering common sandpiper, picking its way slowly along the shoreline.
A female goosander was asleep while the usual assortment of ducks and a couple of little grebe were bobbing about on the water. 
Scanning through yet more redshank huddled around the flooded estuary I picked out a single spotted redshank. Later I saw another, or perhaps the same one having moved, from the bridge.

Sunset on the Lune: looking towards Heaton
With the very welcome calm, clear days we've been having lately I've been making a point of making a few dusk visits to Freeman's Pools. My main focus has been on trying to determine whether there are any eared or barn owls, or woodcock in the area this winter. So far, I've drawn a blank only hearing the occasional tawny owl calling from within the wood.
The best things I've seen during my crepuscular visits involved a kingfisher coming in to roost in the reedmace, a grey partridge pair getting rather amorous and the sight of roe deer emerging from the dense vegetation to graze in the twilight.

No comments: