Tuesday, 3 January 2017

New Year, New List

The past couple of days couldn't have been more different.
Yesterday (Mon 2nd) was sunny, crisp and cold while today was damp, overcast and with a biting chill in the air.
This difference however didn't seem to have much of an impact on the birds around the estuary or the wider Aldcliffe area.

I spent about 3 hours yesterday morning crunching through the icy puddles, hoping for some serious cold-weather movement in wildfowl but alas, it wasn't to be.
Highlights at Freeman's Pools included the usual small numbers of goldeneye, tufted duck, gadwall, wigeon and the like. A little grebe was the first I'd seen there for a while and a buzzard wheeled over, pursued by a garrulous black-headed gull.
The fields held feeding curlews, redshank and lapwing plus the flock of wigeon remained faithful to Frog Pond.
Other than the semi-resident greylags & Canada geese the area appeared goose-free.
The most notable thing was the lack of thrushes - a few blackbirds were all I could find. The once-fruit-filled hawthorns have been well stripped and consequently the winter thrush flocks have moved on.
A couple of birds of interest included a jack snipe at Snipe Bog and a great-crested grebe on the Lune.
One particularly active tit-flock in Freeman's Wood had a single goldcrest in the mix. Still no chiffchaffs anywhere on the patch this winter (compared with last year when they were relatively easy to find, along with the site's first Siberian chiffchaff).

Today, the ponds were even quieter. One new-comer was a female shoveler hanging out with the wigeon at Freeman's.
A skein of pink-footed geese came over but carried on north. By contrast a trio of adult whooper swans came south passing overhead by the Flood.
the best birds of the visit were on the river; a greenshank at Marsh Point and good numbers of mixed waders including plenty of dunlin and golden plover.

So, without making a massive effort, the Aldcliffe 2017 yearlist currently stands at 66 species. We finished 2016 on 126.


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