Thursday, 21 August 2014

All The Fun Of The Fair

Once again I trudged down to the estuary this morning for a spot of optimistic birding at Aldcliffe...
It was blustery with occasional showers and to be frank, it was a little bit grim. 
First off, I checked Freeman's Pool where the excitement was limited to a pair of tufted duck, 3 gadwall a lone wigeon and 8 little grebes, one of which was feeding a pair of recently hatched fluffy chicks.
Darter Pool and Frog Pond were quiet, bar the regulars. 
The Wildfowlers' Pools were slightly more interesting with an influx of 18 teal, a couple of snipe and a kingfisher dashing around.
The Flood was hosting a pair of green sandpiper, a single redshank and 15 alba wagtails. 
The gusty winds made scanning the estuary all but impossible, but even through my watering eyes I could tell there wasn't much going on.

Last time I came down, on Tuesday, it was actually rather lovely; bright sunshine and calm conditions. Quite a contrast.   
The highlights included 2 whimbrel and a couple of common sandpiper on the river. A distinctive and immediately recognisable call alerted me to the presence of a golden plover in amongst a flock of descending lapwing at Gull Bank.  
Two green sandpipers were on the Wildfowlers' Pools.

The hedgerows were positively jumping with common migrant passerines, chiefly chiffchaffs plus a couple of willow warblers and a female blackcap.  

The RSPB stand at Birdfair 2014
Last weekend I was down at Rutland Water for the annual Birdfair.
This massive event attracts thousands of birders, and hundreds of people who wish to sell stuff to thousands of birders.
As well as an enormous array of stalls flogging selling everything imaginable including optics, books, outdoor clothing, holidays and original artwork there are also lots of conservation organisations there to raise profiles and funds.
For many visitors to Birdfair, a main focus of the 3-day event is the broad range of lectures and talks by a wide variety of speakers. 'Celebs' such as Chris Packham and Bill Oddie will often pack them in, while numerous authors, scientists and all manner of professional-hobby-birders deliver myriad talks to the masses.
Me and Rich get photo-bombed by a hen harrier...
It really is a great event and although I was working on the RSPB stand for most of the 2 days I was there I still manged to find time to catch up with some old chums, including my mate Rich Mooney who I met while living in Canada.
If you have never been to Birdfair, make a note in your calendar for next year. 


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