An early morning visit to the patch yesterday (16th) proved to be very productive and yielded a few surprise species amongst the regulars. The walk to the patch got off to a good start with a pair of Coal Tits feeding in the pine trees along the canal, the first time I've seen the species on patch this year. Another first for the year was a pair of Tree Sparrows calling loudly in Aldcliffe village itself, a further 2 were seen flying north later. The mornings highlight came soon after as one of those great spring calls was heard as I walked down the lane, a Tree Pipit heading north, my first of the year.
Down at the Flood there were just 2 Little Ringed Plover present, and just across the path the marsh was pretty quiet however the wintering Greenshank put in an appearance and 8 Pink-footed Geese were feeding near the river. The river itself was quickly filling up with tidal water and it was here that the biggest surprise of the day appeared. I had been hoping for an Eider on patch since January but had failed to find any, so was very surprised to see a group of 18 resting on the river bank including 14 males. 3 Red-breasted Mergansers were also feeding on the river and further down towards Glasson 4 Goldeneye could be seen. The regular pair of Ravens were making their presence known overhead and a pair of Stock Dove were spotted on one of the barns on the far side of the river.
Walking up the cycle path revealed an abundance of singing Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs and the first of what turned out to be a constant stream of Swallows barrelled its way north overhead. Over the course of the next hour at least 75 Swallows headed straight through north, being overshadowed be an even stronger passage of Sand Martins with over 100 logged during the same period. In the Stubble Field the wintering flock of Linnet were showing well with about 60 birds present, unfortunately I couldn't find any Twite amongst them, perhaps a little late in the season.
Freeman's Pool was quiet due to work taking place around the margins so I headed up to Marsh Point. The tide was fully in now and a fresh in Common Sandpiper was flying around over the river. 2 Little Ringed Plover appeared from the south and circled the river for a short while before returning back south and appearing to land near the Flood, perhaps the same pair as earlier? A Stoat briefly emerged onto the path before spotting me and scuttling back into the undergrowth.
My patch yearlist now stands at a very respectable 96 species (and I've miss 15-20 species recorded by Jon and Dan!).