Monday, 11 August 2014

High Winds and High Tides

Rising Tide - Aldcliffe
With high winds and high tides, my optimism-ometer has been on overload for the past couple of days. Surely I could hope to find some gale-blown waif in the Aldcliffe area? Turns out, not.
Yesterday's meager highlights were a trio of green sandpiper (1 on the Flood, and 2 at the Wildfowlers' Pools where there were also 3 snipe) and a single adult Mediterranean gull on Gull Bank. Other stuff of note included several dunlin and just 1 common sandpiper on the river & 19 little egret fishing on the dropping tide. Another common sandpiper was at Freeman's Pools, as were 8 little grebe. One of the adult grebes was tending a nest; this species has a track record for late breeding at this site.
The doe roe deer was also seen, along with her fast-growing triplet fawns.

Painted lady
Today was slightly better, but there were still no little gulls or breeze-buffeted terns to excite this easily-bored birder. A female tufted duck was cream of the crop at Freeman's Pools, while Darter Pool and Frog Pond drew blanks. A trio of golden plover flew over - my first patch post-breeders of the year.
There were at least 4, though possibly 6, green sandpiper at the Wildfowlers' Pools. The Flood was bereft bar a scattering of pied wagtails and a couple of ubiquitous moorhen.
The incoming tide provided some interest including a tight flock of 7 common sandpiper but once again there was nothing unusual lurking among the mass of commoner birds.
A lone rook probing in the fields to the east of the cinder path was notable - these characterful crows are pretty scarce visitors to Aldcliffe.
Non-avian additions included a painted lady (pictured) and stoats at Freeman's Pools and along the track near Walled Meadow.

Common lizard
Last Friday I paid a visit to Foulshaw Moss with Gav Thomas, where we not only saw up to 3 of the ospreys present but also a marsh harrier, lots of stonechats and a single migrant whinchat.
We also spied a few common lizards. These highly variable reptiles were sunning themselves along the boardwalk and were quite approachable with patience. The photo here was taken using my phone.


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