Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Birdy Tuesday

There was quite a lot of activity around the patch this morning and I enjoyed a great couple of hours birding Aldcliffe; there was certainly the feeling that things were starting to move around a little...

Freeman's Pools, now ice-free, was a little livelier than of late though a few regulars had yet to return. Five tufted duck were present along with just 6 gadwall, 3 wigeon, 5 teal and 8 mallard. Coot numbers were a sullen 16. A little egret and 2 grey herons were stalking the pool edges while a single oystercatcher was on the gravel island.

Neck-collared pink-footed goose (centre)
Scanning from Marsh Point, there was nothing too interesting among the preening Lune gulls and lapwings.

In the distance, large numbers of geese were wheeling around over the Heysham / Sunderland area and after a while some 3,500 or so came to alight on Aldcliffe Marsh. I 'scoped through them but found nothing but pinkfeet.
After some time grazing on the saltmarsh groups took to flying into the nearby fields where I later got another opportunity to scan through them. Still, there were no orange legs to be seen but I did find a neck-collared bird (pictured).
I'll post details of this goose's travels on here when I hear back...

Also out on the marsh were several little egrets (some already sporting breeding plumes) and the often elusive over-wintering greenshank (pictured) - a scarce bird in the Aldcliffe area outside of migration.
A trio of black-tailed godwit were feeding on one of the marsh scrapes too (also pictured). A fourth godwit was on The Flood along with a dozen teal and a handful of redshank.
Black-tailed godwits

The Wildfowlers' Pools held another egret, 10 or so teal, a couple of snipe and little else.
50+ curlew were feeding in the fields immediately east on the upper cinder path.

A pair of grey partridge were in the stubble field, where there was also a brown hare lolloping about.

On Frog Pond there was a pair of tufted duck and 16 wigeon

After being escorted by two garrulous jays along the footpath, I was pleased to discover a flock of 14 siskin feeding in the alders by Willow Lane.


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