Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Sibe Of The Times

For the past week I've either been working during all daylight hours or I have been out of the area, so I haven't had chance to get down for any birding around Aldcliffe.
With a day off, that was swiftly rectified today. I really wanted to see if the Siberian chiffchaff was still around as there had been no posts on the LDBWS site referring to it for almost a week.
I wonder what it is about some scarce birds that generate such little interest from local birders?
I bet if there was a much commoner bird such as a smew on the pools or if that firecrest had proven reliable the patch would have been inundated with bino-wielding tourists. But alas, a long-distance migrant lacking in flashy plumage is clearly off-putting to many modern birdwatchers. Shame.

Anyhoo, I spent a good while rooting around and failed to locate the blighter, finding just one solitary common chiffchaff there. I'd also spent a bit of time searching for the aforementioned firecrest but again, came away somewhat disappointed.
Freeman's Pools continues to attract tufted duck with 16 there today, along with a very welcome drake pochard and the usual multiple gadwall, teal, goldeneye and little grebe.
A further 14 goldeneye were on the flooded Wildfowlers' Pools but little else was seen.

The fields to the east of the upper cinder path are absolutely awash with birds at the moment; hundreds of black-headed gulls, lapwing, redshank and starlings are feasting away on the muddy edges of the vast floods. Smaller numbers of common gull, curlew and oystercatcher plus double-figures of pied wagtail can also be seen, making for quite a spectacle.
If a rare wader's going to turn up anywhere in the next few weeks, my money's on these fields!
Given the many 1000s of black-headed gulls seen today I couldn't find a single Med gull among them.

Spot The Greenshank
As I made my way to Stodday, the tide was coming in and a large redshank roost was forming near Sluiced Channel. Included among them was a greenshank. It can be seen at the far right of the pictured group (about 5 birds in from the end).
En route I counted a measly 3 rock pipits. It would seem that the days when there would be well into double figures feeding on the tideline are well and truly behind us. It was great fun to sift through the birds trying to identify littoralis (Scandanavian) vs petrosus (British) pipits and keeping an eye out for the almost annual water pipits. Sigh.

The track leading from the Stodday picnic area to the sewage works is well flooded; I just about made it through in my wellies. An un-ringed grey wagtail was in the works but I couldn't see much else in there - not helped by the recently added wall extension panels between the tanks.
As I waded along the path a pair of chiffchaff appeared in the rank vegetation by the track side. They were both common collybita birds. A couple of goldcrests showed well, but eluded good photography (as proven here by my fuzzy shot).
Unfortunately I found no lingering yellow-browed or Pallas's warblers...


1 comment:

Pete Marsh said...

I don't think there are any petrosus types around this winter. The odd dark/ sullied underparts/dirty outer tail feathered types, of which you get literally the odd one or two along the 'rocky' coast like the Stone Jetty and Heysham harbour, have been absent this winter. See LDBWS posting a few minutes ago re-ringed littoralis