The combination of fine weather and an early finishing practical meant I was able to get down to Aldcliffe for the last hour of light yesterday evening. This was my first visit to the patch in nearly a month so I was hoping that birds would have moved about a bit since my last visit, however on this front I was a little disappointed.
The highlights from a quick trawl round the sites included a smart Grey Wagtail on the canal, a single Black-tailed Godwit on the Flood, 3 Snipe in Snipe Bog and a flock of 30 Meadow Pipit in the adjacent field. The rest of the area was a bit disappointing unfortunately, there were no Jack Snipe in the bog, no Whooper Swans with the Mutes on the marsh (a report of 1 a couple of days ago), no out of the ordinary waders or ducks on the river and nothing of interest amongst the 500 or so Pink-footed Geese on the marsh.
Luckily for me patch birding is nothing if not unpredictable and Aldcliffe decided to remind me why it is worth all the time put into patching it. As I was walking along the cycle path in near darkness a beautiful ghostly Barn Owl flew across the path ahead of me and started quartering up and down the hedgerow in the stubble field, my first owl of any kind on patch. In the process of hunting the owl flushed a flock of 30+ Fieldfare from the field. I was also surprised to see my first dabbling ducks on Darter Pool, 2 each of female Goldeneye and Tufted Duck, with a further 9 of the former being present on Freemans Pool including several displaying males.