Saturday, 7 February 2015

Larking Around

The highlight from my morning visit to Aldcliffe was the reappearance of a green sandpiper which was at the Wildfowlers' Pools. 

Skylark in the stubble fields
The thawing waters around the patch had also enticed some other birds to return to the area. At Freeman's Pools a dozen gadwall were back in residence along with 4 wigeon plus several teal, coot and mallard.
Along with the sandpiper, the Wildfowers' Pools also hosted several mallard, teal, moorhen and a lone snipe.

Out on the marsh a flock of c550 pink-footed geese were grazing until spooked by the aerial equivalent of jetskis overhead. I did get time at least to confirm that nothing else was among them before they took flight.

The only notable thing amongst the large number of gulls, predominantly black-headed, was a white darvic ringed black-head but it was just too distant to read to digits.

Later, I had to pop into the RSPB office at White Cross and as I walked along the canal I got great views of a kingfisher and was able to point it out to a dad with his young son - the kid was made up! 

On Wednesday morning, I'd spent a good 3 hours scouring the patch. At that point the pools were all completely frozen and totally devoid of birds.
The gadwall and teal had mostly moved onto the Lune where they joined 4 goldeneye and a huge number of greylags, Canada geese and approximately 600 pinkfeet. A great crested grebe and a handful of shelduck drifted along on the incoming tide.

As the tide rose, large flocks of lapwing, curlew, redshank, golden plover and dunlin wheeled around - even more so when bothered by the antics of a pair of peregrine and a female merlin.
A single rock pipit was pushed out from a rapidly filling channel, and a kingfisher zipped along the saltmarsh.
Around 20 skylark were feeding in the stubble fields.
I got great views of a stoat hunting along the upper cinder path in the morning sunlight.


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