Saturday, 14 November 2015

Gale Fail

I had a good check around the patch yesterday (in the rather windy weather) and again this morning but notable highlights were somewhat lacking. Unfortunately I wasn't blessed with the discovery of some exciting wind-blown oddity...

Obviously there's a lot of standing water around and both The Flood and Wildfowlers' Pools are particularly deluged. The former has only attracted a dozen or so moorhen while the latter pools are teeming with teal.
Also at the Wildfowlers' Pools there were a couple of little grebe and the usual scattering of mallard and today there were 40-odd greylag geese having a paddle in the wet edges.
Aldcliffe Marsh has yet to attract any wild swans or geese but there are quite impressive numbers of waders on the estuary. Admittedly there are far fewer curlew and lapwing than there used to be but numbers of golden plover seem to be up on this stretch of the river. Scatterings of redshank & dunlin and all the expected gulls were also seen.

Freeman's Pools seems pretty consistent on the whole with up to 18 gadwall, 30+ coot and varying numbers of little egret, grey heron, teal, mallard, tufted duck and wigeon present most days.
Yesterday a drake red-breasted merganser put in an appearance - not an especially frequent visitor to the site. The female goldeneye that I first saw on Tuesday was still busily diving away on the main pool.
Along the track hedgerows it has been pleasing to note lately what can only be described as flocks of greenfinch. Now, they're no where as near as numerous as they were a few years back but after significant population declines it looks as if there might be some sign of a bounce-back. I do hope so.
The almost-expected trio of stock dove were again by the flood defense bunds.   

A quick visit to the patch on Tuesday was pretty good with yet another sighting of a short-eared owl.
The same as on my previous visit or another bird altogether? With something of an influx of the species into the region in recent weeks I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if these were two different owls.
Incidentally, the pic here is not of either of the Aldcliffe SEOs, but 'one I prepared earlier' and included here for illustrative purposes only. 
Another notable sight on what was a very blustery Tuesday was the flock of 18 pintail that came barreling over and heading downriver.  This handsome duck is a pretty scarce beast on the patch, and is most regularly associated with gales.


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