Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Fishkillers In the Mist, or Haliaetus Highway

Osprey over Aldcliffe


Hello Dan here. Happy April.

This morning was rather still, grey and murky. I was considering doing another Osprey vis vigil from the trig point, but with of all of its 33 metres ASL it was in the clouds at times, and I opted to lie in and go out if and when visibility improved.

Just as I was preparing to leave the house at I got a text from a plucky Fylde birder saying that he'd just been watching an Osprey circling over Crook Farm a few miles down the estuary.
I rushed out to try and intercept it-- which I wouldn't have attempted had it not been for the encouraging word 'circling'. If the Osprey had been straight-ahead shifting like my bird of last week it would have been half way to Speyside by the time I'd tied my laces. With a leisurely circler, I thought I stood a chance.

Eight minutes later I was scanning from the bund part of the track, and couldn't see any raptors at all. Worst still, there were none of the clamouring gulls and crazed waders that accompany any decent Osprey visitation. But a minute or two later the ghostly outline of a Pandion haliaetus materialised  out of the swirling base of the cloud. I lifted my bins only to see it enshrouded once more. Luckily, the leisurely circler reappeared right above me and got two maize field Oystercatchers, two Freeman's Pools LBBs and my camera zoom agitated.

It was probably only 100 feet (imperial-looking bird!) up as it lazily headed NE over the wood and over towards the quay road.

Other birds noted in the parish included 3 male Wheatears, two Willow Warblers in the hedgerows, 2 Green Sandpipers and 4 Goldcrests. Several volleys of Sand Martins amounted to about 25 by 11AM.
'The' Blackcap was singing in the sewage works Aspens, while another male was 200m down the track. About 400 Pink-footed Goose were on Colloway Marsh.

From just south of the pylons I noticed another hefty bird of prey swiftly flapping N over Lades Marsh at a height of about 30m. It could well have been another seahawk (it even had a few gulls chasing it) but it was a bit too distant-- and fleeting-- to say for sure.

As I type, I notice that another Osprey was seen heading N near Blackpool this teatime. They must really be piling in at present. Do any readers know whether a percentage of passage Ospreys in England are thought to be heading for Sweden or Finland? Or are they all assumed to be heading for Scotland?


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