Sunday, 24 February 2019

Annual Aldcliffe goose fest

As to be expected in later winter / early spring, Aldcliffe saw an arrival of good numbers of pink-footed geese in mid-February. Peaking at around 3,000 birds (relatively low by some years standards) the flock included one or two other species of note.
So far, both subspecies of greater white-fronted goose have been seen - 3 Russian birds (1 adult and 2 juvs) were found by Dan Heywood (pic of adult by Dan) on the 10th, and a Greenland bird on the 19th while a fine tundra bean goose was discovered by Matt Jackson on the 18th. This latter scarcity had the decency to hang around for a few days and was seen by many local birders.

Of course there were also plenty of greylags and Canada geese around too.
Other birds of note in recent weeks include water pipit, up to two great white egrets, merlin, barn owl, black-tailed godwits and pintail.
Dan came across a yellowhammer - very much a rarity in North Lancashire these days - on the morning of 24th in the Fairfield stubble fields. The last Aldcliffe area record (I think) concerned a fly-over in the autumn of 2011!
If the decent weather continues we can hope for some early migrants in the next few days and weeks; first to appear are usually little ringed plover, sand martin, wheatear and chiffchaff. Last year's famously late spring saw many delayed arrivals, so fingers crossed this year gets off to a better start.

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