Monday, 26 September 2016

Ducktastic Day

Dodging the odd showery bursts this morning, I spent a couple of hours birding around the Aldcliffe area for the first time in a while.
The combined forces of a bust work schedule and a few days visiting family on Jersey have meant that I've had little time to get out and see what's occurring on the patch.
I did manage to see a few birds while on Jersey; migration was in full swing when I first arrived and I was treated to what is a rare sight in North Lancashire these days - flocks of yellow wagtails. 'Vis-miggers' on the south of the island had been logging literally hundreds of these lovely migrants, along with other classic autumn fayre, as they passed over en route to the continent and beyond.
My encounters were more modest but even so, finding groups containing double figures as they fed around the hooves of Jersey cows was quite a treat.
I also came across redstarts, whinchats, wheatears, spotted flycatchers, marsh harriers and other common migrants. Jersey is also home to a few species that are otherwise rare or absent from much of the UK mainland including cirl bunting, Dartford warbler and short-toed treecreeper and all are relatively easy to find if you look in the right places!
Find out more about Jersey birds and the latest sightings from there by visiting the website here.

Now, back to Lancaster and my morning's trawl... a few highlights included an obvious arrival of wildfowl since my last visit.
At Freeman's Pools there were 12 wigeon, 3 tufted duck and 7 gadwall plus the usual little grebes, mallards and teal.
Frog Pond was positively heaving with birds and a further 8 wigeon were there with half a dozen gadwall and teal, a lone tufted duck plus an impressive 12 shoveler.
The Wildfowlers' Pools were quiet; the highlight here was a single wheatear.
The Flood was covered in teal with 62 present (and STILL no garganey!) but only a redshank, snipe and lapwing as far as waders were concerned.
A pair of greenshank were out on Aldcliffe Marsh (later flying on to the Flood) and the only other things of note were a pair of golden plover with the mass of lapwings roosting the edge of the Lune and another 4 wheatear. The adult whooper swan was on Colloway.

The hedges were very quiet with just single blackcap and chiffchaff found among the tit and finch flocks. Chaffinch numbers were certainly up and a couple of reed buntings were kicking around. Four skylarks flew over, as did just one meadow pipit and a small number of swallows and house martins.


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