Monday, 24 March 2014

The Flood Mud Comes Good

Spent a couple of hours this morning trawling around the patch in search of early migrants. It was pretty quiet on the ground, with just multiple singing chiffchaffs to imply that spring is on the way. A very light trickle of meadow pipits in 1s and 2s were passing over plus a grounded feeding flock of 8 near Freeman's Wood.

Little ringed plover
Skylarks were singing over the marsh and the stubble fields and lapwings were half-heartedly displaying in the morning sunshine.
On the Flood, single little ringed plover, green sandpiper and black-tailed godwit were alongside several feeding redshank and oystercatcher.
Out on Aldcliffe Marsh there were still c700 grazing pinkfeet.
With the weather forecast looking unhelpful for the next few days, it looks likely that we'll have to wait a little longer for any major arrivals. Evens so, the odd wheatear and hardy sand martin or swallow should still battle through, so it's always worth getting out and having a look.

Late morning, I decided to head out to RSPB Leighton Moss as I had a marquee to drop off there. Of course I made the short detour to the Allen Pools where I enjoyed the sight of multiple avocets and a mass of feeding black-tailed godwits. I'm still not completely used to seeing so many avocets at Leighton; it's not all that long ago that this species would have caused a great deal of excitement among local birders...
After a spot of lunch in the cafe I had a quick walk down to Lilian's Hide. Scanning out beyond the squabbling black-headed gulls I could see the long-staying female long-tailed duck mucking about with a handful of goldeneye. A cracking male marsh harrier soon drifted by causing alarm among the teal and as I watched a couple of sand martins zipped through.

I quick return visit to Aldcliffe around 5pm revealed the green sandpiper and little ringed plover still on the Flood. An optimistic scan over the marsh and around the Walled Meadow alas proved fruitless as far as wheatear were concerned... several have been seen along the nearby coast today (Heysham, Carnforth, etc) but it would seem that none have filtered up the estuary as yet.         


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