The sharp-eyed among you may have noticed that little poll thing in the upper right column of this page. I'm inviting everyone to make a prediction as to what the next 'new' bird for the Aldcliffe recording area will be...
Turtle dove was my first choice for a number of years and that species finally made it onto the list in 2014 (though much to the disappointment of the regular patch watchers it was only seen by a visiting birder who was here to twitch, unsuccessfully as it turned out, the woodchat shrike in the spring!).
My new choices are bittern and Cetti's warbler (the sensible money surely going on the latter) with hen harrier a well-overdue longshot. One could argue that if they never turned up when there were actually numbers of harriers breeding in England, what likelihood now? But then, you could have used that same argument for taking the ever-declining turtle dove out of the equation...
Please add your vote, or choose something that you think far more likely by simply adding a comment to the most recent post.
In The Pink
My first bout of birding Aldcliffe for 2015 got off to a fairly slack start today. I was joined by Aldcliffe ex-pat Greg Potter who had traveled over from Leeds to see what was about.
Wildfowl numbers had changed slightly on Freeman's Pools with an increase in tufted duck (7) and goldeneye (5) but otherwise it was the same old same old.
3 little egrets looked somewhat incongruous as they stalked in the fields, joined by mistle thrushes and moorhens. 12 skylark were in the stubble fields.
The steady, stiff breeze was keeping passerine activity to a minimum and the hedgerows were pretty quiet.
A dozen redshank were seeking shelter on the Flood.
We looked out over a seemingly goose-free marsh and headed along Dawson's Bank back toward Marsh Point. Other than a couple of reed buntings and a handful of goldfinch there was nothing feeding along the tideline. Out on the saltmarsh the regular mute swans were grazing away but only a lone Canada goose and 7 or so greylags were seen.
As to be expected there were curlew, redshank and lapwing, as well as the familiar gulls. A single female red-breasted merganser was on the river near The Golden Ball.