Thursday, 18 February 2016

Roe Deer Buck The Trend

After a couple of recent visits with little to report, yesterday I spent a couple of hours scratching around the Aldcliffe patch in search of something worth blogging about.

Birding's a funny old game. Relatively common birds in an unusual location can make one's day and even a slight increase in the number of regular birds can prove quite exciting. And so it was that I counted a mighty 24 gadwall on the flooded Wildfowlers' Pools. An increase of 5 birds!
Conversely at Freeman's Pools the number of tufted duck had gone down by 50% while wigeon had increased to an impressive 62 birds. Teal were thinner on the ground that of late and the coot at the Wildfowlers' Pools had peaked at a laudable 53.

Female roe deer
A dapper kingfisher on the upper pools at Freeman's was a pleasant sight as always, and it was good to see a pair of roe deer in the reserve after quite a spell with no sign (or reports from the regular dog-walkers).
I failed to relocate that bloody firecrest again, and I couldn't even find any chiffchaffs along the cycle tracks despite the calm conditions.

Spring certainly seemed to be in the air and a couple of chaffinches were tuning up with the occasional burst of song, along with the odd song thrush (though they've been at it for a while).
It's hard to believe that in a few short weeks we will be welcoming the return of our first long-distant migrants - chiffchaffs, little-ringed plovers, wheatears & sand martins will doubtless lead the charge. The first avocets have already been seen at the Allen Pools at Leighton Moss RSPB reserve.  

The post-flood fields to the east of the upper cinder track was still attracting feeding waders and there were 60+ curlew along with 80-odd redshank picking around the muddy patches.

Lesser redpoll
Highlights from the walk along Dawson's Bank back down to Marsh Point included a small finch flock which I rather hoped were twite.
As I got closer I could see along with a couple of goldfinches and a linnet or two the majority were actually lesser redpoll - around a dozen or so.
Unfortunately they were a bit flighty and didn't allow for particularly good views. Or, as you can see, photographs...

Kingfisher fans might also be interested to hear that I saw a fine one on the canal just by Penny Street Bridge, near White Cross, this morning. It sat perfectly still just a few metres away.
Of course I didn't have a camera with me...


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