Monday, 13 April 2015

Seeing Red

Male redstart at FAUNA
Mid April? Southerly winds forecast? A day off? Sounds like an opportunity not to be missed!
However, the three or so hours I spent birding Aldcliffe this morning were sadly, not as productive as I'd have liked...

The only really obvious change since my last visit was the increase in willow warblers; they were all over the place along with multiple chiffchaffs.
A few swallows moved through at leisurely pace in ones and twos and a few meadow pipits were grounded here and there. A single sand martin flitted over the marsh heading steadily north.
Three pristine male wheatear were out on the marsh while another was in the stubble fields. Just three little ringed plover were on the Flood along with a pair of smart white wagtails.

Freeman's Pools were curiously quiet with the majority of the regular ducks and little grebes absent; oddly replaced by 'scarce-to-these-pools' visitors - a great crested grebe, a red-breasted merganser and 2 frantically fishing cormorant.
Nearby, on the Lune 5 goosander were seen with a couple of lingering goldeneye.
Presumably feeling left behind following the departure of the Cockerham whoopers the black swan was back on Aldcliffe Marsh again, hanging out with non-breeding mutes. The c50 pinkfeet still seem reluctant to leave.
Two pairs of grey partridge were seen.

A last minute decision to walk home via the Fairfield Orchard and FAUNA reserve rewarded me with a cracking male redstart. A lovely sight poorly captured on my compact point-and-shoot camera and heavily cropped for your viewing pleasure.

Butterflies included peacock, small tortoiseshell and comma.

A late afternoon revisit to Aldcliffe revealed little change bar the sudden arrival of around 30 hirundines (roughly 2/3 sand martin to 1/3 swallow) at Freeman's Pools as a light shower blew through. Within a couple of minutes of the rain ceasing, the birds were gone.  


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