Monday, 20 July 2015

Gulls Med My Day

Common sandpiper
I spent a good three hours or so rooting around the patch this morning.

First I checked Freeman's Pools where 40 or so of the recently returned greylag were busily and noisily bathing. Among this group were a couple of orange-collared birds from the Windermere project (both were present last winter).
In the past week up to 300 greylag have reappeared on the Lune estuary; this large post-breeding flock returns each year, along with Canada geese, having spent the summer in the Lake District. I managed to read another 2 collars later on, on birds on the marsh.

A single common sandpiper was on the main Freeman's Pool island, while another was in the company of a green sandpiper on the upper pools.
A single little grebe chick was my first sign of any successful breeding here this year. 
A fox was making the mute swan family very nervous indeed... It soon scarpered once it spotted me watching it.

Ruddy shelduck, Wildfowlers' Pools
Having heard nothing of the ruddy shelducks since I came across them on Friday, I'd assumed they'd disappeared but I was pleased to see that they were again at the Wildfowlers' Pools.
I managed to dash off a couple of shots through my 'scope, just for the record. 4 snipe were feeding in the muddy channel but there wasn't much else present bar the usual bits and pieces. After a while the shelduck took off and headed toward Freeman's Pools, where I assume they came down.
An hour and a half or so later, as I walked along Dawson's Bank, the trio came up from the Wildfowlers' Pools again but this time headed out to the estuary.
They appeared to go down somewhere in the Gull Bank area.
I checked previous records for ruddy duck at Aldcliffe and I can only find reference to the pair that I saw flying down river in July 2009.  

Adult Mediterranean gull
Talking of Gull Bank, I had a check to see if anything interesting was on the river and found 3 Mediterranean gulls among the black-heads.
One was an adult moulting out of summer plumage while the other two were second calendar year birds (one of these was metal-ringed).

2CY Med gull (metal-ringed)
Nearby, up to 5 common sandpiper were feeding along the shore. Lapwing, redshank and curlew numbers continue to build but other than a small flock of black-tailed godwit flying around near the pylons there weren't any other waders to be seen.
The expected cormorants, goosanders, grey heron and little egrets were all busy fishing away on the incoming tide.

At Marsh Point I 'scoped through the large gulls gathered in the river and came across a ringed adult herring gull. It had a yellow darvic on its left leg. After some time I managed to read the digits on the ring - I'll post the info on here when I get it.

Narrow bordered 5-spot burnet.
Despite the lack of sun, there were a few butterflies around. A couple of commas were along the path by Freeman's Wood while a single painted lady was seen along the bunds.
As always there were loads of meadow browns around and I came across a lovely 5-spot burnet (now confirmed as narrow-bordered 5-spot burnet - thanks Pete & Jonny) along the seawall path.
Dragonflies were conspicuous by their absence, just 2 emperors and a single female darter sp. were seen.




Simon said...

Thanks for the Ruddy Shelduck info; David Talbot and I much enjoyed seeing them on Wildfowlers' Pools, then flying off towards Freeman's. Got good photos too, so thank you!

Out of interest, do you know what the nesting material in wire cages on posts are? Assume some form of nesting boxes?

Simon Williams
21st July

Jon Carter said...

Hi Simon - the straw bales on the posts are for mallards to nest in. The Wildfowlers put them out and have had significant success with them at a number of sites.
Glad you caught up with the shelducks!