Tuesday, 29 April 2008

It's oh so quiet...

Not much doing this evening with just the following highlights:
Pair of tufted duck still on Freeman's Pools along with the usual coot, moorhen, mallard etc.
Singing lesserthroat nearby and another near the Wildfowlers' Pools, which were quiet due to some 'habitat management' going on.
Handful of swifts whizzing around though notably fewer swallows and sand martins. A 'flock' of 9 house martin came through just ahead of an ominous thundery cloud.
Single wheatear was on the tideline and a whimbrel was on the estuary.
Pair of grey partridge were in fields near Low Wood.
Perhaps most interesting was the sighting of a weasel carrying a field vole on the cycle track shortly followed by a stoat on the path by Freeman's Pools - not often I see both on the same day...

Monday, 28 April 2008

Good selection of new birds in

Better than I expected this evening with the following of note:

Freeman's Pools
Pair each of gadwall & tufted duck plus a mallard with ducklings.
Single LR plover, pair each of oystercatcher and lapwing on the island.
Lesser whitethroat and sedge warbler, plus a garden warbler feeding with a pair of blackcap in the perimeter hedgerows.

A further 3 lesser whitethroat were singing along the cycle track between Freeman's Pools and railway Crossing Lane (the one in the hawthorns near the gate overlooking the Wildfowlers' Pools has been showing well, with a little patience).

Wildfowlers' Pools - 9 black-tailed godwit, drake teal.

Around 70 swallow buzzing around the various ponds and fields with maybe a dozen sand martin, 3 house martin and 8 swift.

6 wheatear by Walled Meadow.

6 wheatear, 1 meadow pipit and a stunningly bright male whinchat in the Low Wood paddocks.

2 pairs of eider were on the river.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Late weekend updates

Managed a brief late afternoon trawl (once my decorating duties were completed) which coincided perfectly with the afternoon's only sustained period of rain. It started just as I left the house and finished as I arrived home an hour and a half later, after which the sun came out. Cheers. I'm sure without it however, I wouldn't have added swift to my yearlist!

2m, 1 f pochard on Freeman's Pools (mega!) plus tufted pair and drake shoveler consorting with 2 male mallard.
Approx 40 swallow, 1 house & 1 sand martin feeding over Frog Pond, then 2 swift came in.
40 or so wheatear were by Walled Meadow and adjacent tideline with a female redstart also there.
A pair of skulking lesser whitethroat were by Low Wood paddocks.
Another hefty downpour dropped another 40 swallow, 3 house martin and 12 swift by the Wildfowlers' Pools. 15 black-tailed godwit here today.

Saturday 26th highlights:
2 com. & 1 lesser whitethroat singing at the back of Freeman's Wood plus pair of linnet.
Ald Marsh: skylark, 2 pinkfeet, 1 Arctic tern .
Wildfowlers' Pools: 9 blk-tailed godwit, 1 little egret, pair teal, lesser whitethroat, blackcap.
Another lesser whitethroat by the cycle path.
Snipe Bog: 1 whimbrel.
Grey partridge pair near Walled Meadow.

Friday pm - 2 green sandpipers on the Wildfowlers' Pools

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Quick whizz round...

Post-work visit highlights:
LR plover at Freeman's Pools plus oystercatcher pair on the island.
Not much visible on the other pools, though 6 black-tailed godwit were at the Wildfowlers' Pools.
2 lesser whitethroat were singing along the cycle path.
3m & 1f eider were on the river with 3 whimbrel nearby.
A flock, in 'v' formation, of 62 curlew passed high north.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Morning's sightings care of Guy McClelland

3 lesser whitethroat in bushes along sea wall.
Female redstart in the same area.
Gropper true to form when it hopped out of the grass from under my feet and started to reel in bush 50 m south of Marsh Point.
6 house martin feeding over Darter pool.
Whimbrel in field south of railway crossing .
3 wheatear along the high tide mark.
3 linnet in Freemans close to their nest site last year.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

More migrants

Post-work circuit and a few bits to report.
A common sandpiper and 2 teal were on Freeman's Pools.
Lesser whitethroat still on the upper path.
2 wheatear were on the marsh.
A pair of green sandpiper were on the Wildfowlers' Pools as were 5 black-tailed godwit and 3 teal.
The tufted duck trio have been hiding on the Wildfowlers' Pools for a few days, as have the gadwall pair, but tonight they took a visit to Darter Pool where they were hastily encouraged to reconsider by the resident father-to-be coot. They headed back to Freeman's Pools pretty sharpish.

A quick visit this morning (7.05am-8am) revealed the following:
Pair common whitethroat near Reedy Corner.
Single lesser whitethroat on the upper path.
Tons of willow warblers around singing from everywhere, 2 pairs of silent feeding blackcap in Freeman's Wood.
Little egret on Frog Pond.
Little grebe on Darter Pool.
Light vis (swallow, sand martin, mipit)

Followed by my daily pre-work jaunt to Morecambe Stone Jetty where the vis was far more notable. Steady flow of swallow, sand martin, meadow pipits plus linnet (9), 'alba' wagtail (1) & goldfinch.
Pair whimbrel on the Jetty rocks and adjacent beach area.
Numbers of Arctic tern moving through - I saw 2 distant-ish groups of 15 & 12
Handful of eider, 13 GC grebe etc offshore.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Weather stops play

Getting a bit fed up with the unhelpful weather but at least it stayed dry while I was seeing hardly any birds this morning.

Two white wagtails were feeding along the edge of the larger body of water at Freeman's Pools, with the pair of LR plover and 1 com. sandpiper also present. Mute swan pair and 3 Canada geese there too plus 2 coot pairs.
Little grebe on Darter Pool.
A pair of goldeneye were on the Lune.
Single Peregrine over Heaton Marsh.
Male silent blackcap in Freeman's Wood.
A pair of goldcrest were with a feeding 'flock' of 4 willow warbler at the cutting.
Loads of willow warbler, chifchaff, swallow, sand martin in now so I'll stop posting them unless something really unusual is involved. Whatever that could be...

A lesser whitethroat was on the cycle track yesterday (via John Bateman)

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Ex-pat visits & morning round-up

A quick blast, mainly to Freeman's Pools, this morning revealed the LRP pair still present plus a single common sandpiper. The tufted pair were absent. A green sandpiper & a pair of teal were on the Wildfowlers' Pools.
The coot have abandoned their initial nest and built a new one on Darter Pool. Likewise, the mutes (the cob being darvic-ringed JIF) have given up and moved elsewhere.

Once-regular Adlcliffe birder during the 80s with Zig & myself, Greg Potter, crossed the Pennines for a snoop round the old haunt on Wednesday 16th and bagged the following:
3 chiffchaff, 2 willow warbler, 1 blackcap, pair LRP on Freeman's Pools plus 2 common sandpiper there. Cheers for the info Greg.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Green Day

2 green sandpipers were on the Wildfowlers' Pools this evening.
A single common sandpiper, 2 little ringed plover, the tufted duck pair, and rather unusually, 20 redshank at Freeman's Pools.
Good numbers of swallow and a couple of sand martins kicking about but otherwise little new. Common buzzard over Low Wood.

Easterlies forecast for the next couple of days so maybe we'll see some changes... redstart anyone?

Monday, 14 April 2008

First common sandpiper of the year...

A common sandpiper was on the river just upstream of Marsh Point this evening. One, or it, had also been seen in the vicinity earlier in the day by Jeff Butcher.
Otherwise it was business as usual really...
Approx 15 swallow, 2 sand & 2 house martins were feeding over the Wildfowlers' Pools.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Nice day, few birds...

Managed a quick blast round this morning but there was notably little going on! It was quite warm and pretty still and I was hoping for something in the form of a new migrant or two...

Regular little owl was in 'Admiralty' Wood and a raven was circling nearby. Great spots were drumming and birds aplenty were singing.
A little egret was on Aldcliffe Marsh
Sparrowhawk by Freeman's Wood
Otherwise pretty quiet - all the hirundines had moved through though a willow warbler was still singing on the upper track, presumably on territory.

Of note: a pair of tawny owls were heard and, one, subsequently seen at the top of Milking Stile Lane last night. Made the walk home from the pub a bit more interesting than usual...

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Highlights from a four hour trawl this morning included:
Freeman's Wood - 2 silent male blackcap, 7 singing chiffchaff, 1 singing willow warbler, a snipe(!), 10 linnets plus other stuff such as a couple of GS woodpecker, treecreeper etc.
Freeman's Pools - 2 little ringed plover, pair of oystercatcher & the 3 tufted duck plus 4 coot.
The gadwall pair were on Frog Pond
A little grebe was on Darter Pool (being harassed by one of the nesting coot pair) and another 'singing' on the Wildfowlers' Pools.
Two more willow warblers were in song along the cycle track plus 6 swallow & 3 sand martin were buzzing about.
Three snipe were flushed from Snipe Bog & a great crested grebe was on the river.
Pair of peregrine back on territory after some lengthy absence. They were not in the area at all last summer (or indeed with any regularity over the winter) and their nest site was occupied by a pair of carrion crows, however this year the same site has been taken by a pair of ravens. It'll be interesting to see what the peregrine pair do. While I was watching they did a bit of joint hunting, bringing down a pigeon over Heaton Marsh.
A common buzzard came over & a male kestrel was hunting the tideline.

Friday, 11 April 2008

House martin & green sandpiper new in

A quick blast round after work turned up a few bits and bobs.
A green sandpiper was showing well on Freeman's Pools (seen earlier too by Dan H). The male little ringed plover was busy displaying to the seemingly ambivalent female. The noisy display flight of this species is always a joy to witness. A wheatear was also here.
Elsewhere a group of 40 or so hirundines around the Wildfowlers' Pools was made up mainly of swallows with a dozen-ish sand martins and a lone house martin - my first of the year. A stunning summer plumaged black-tailed godwit was feeding in the pools.
54 woodpigeon were feeding in the stubble field.
A little egret was feeding in Snipe Bog.
A water rail showed exceptionally well on The Flood.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

In Other News

This morning in the NORTH of the ARA (Aldcliffe recording area!)..

A 10 til noon vantage point for ospreys failed to turn up the target species! However, I noted common buzzards on thirteen occasions, involving a minimum of four birds.

'Vis mig' would have been non-existent if not for six swallows.

The real big news for Aldcliffe is that there are now 3 tufted ducks on Freeman's Pool! (an extra drake, Jon..)

A male and female little ringed plover were there too.

Warbler-wise I saw as many skulkers as singers, with only two of nine willow warblers in the Freeman's area being vocal. Two male blackcaps there were also quiet throughout.
8-10 chiffchaffs were being more far more territorial.

Yesterday's bluethroat continues to entertain near Cadaver Corner (fox carcass showing well)..

'Parishioner Dan'

late news...

Bluethroat still present, though elusive, 6.30pm - 7.10pm at least.
An osprey was, perhaps inevitably, picked up over the river mid-afternoon by visiting birders.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Bluethroat, white knuckles

Got a call from Dan H about 2.10pm saying he'd just found a bluethroat by the deep cutting behind cadaver corner. Always a vigilant chap, he'd been patiently sat on the bank overlooking the Lune hoping for a passing osprey when the bird appeared, and promptly disappeared, by his side. I would describe the tone in his voice as incredulous.
Forty five long minutes later and the bluethroat was relocate and the thing stayed put, showing off to all and sundry for the remainder of the day.
I had a very long afternoon at work and a rather record-breaking white-knuckle cycle ride from Morecambe, finally seeing the gorgeous critter just before 6pm.
Thanks Dan, this is one of those once a decade birds! (I think this is only the 11th record of bluethroat, and only the 3rd white-spotted, for the county?) Thanks also to Stuart Piner for the cracking pics!
Returning home from seeing the white-spotted beauty I noticed a couple of sand martins, 1 swallow and little-ringed plover on Freeman's Pools.
Dan had also picked up during his lengthy vigil:
A jack snipe being bothered by the tide.
50 black-tailed godwits flew from the marsh, ending up in fields by Heaton.
Pink-footed geese- 54 north.
22 swallows and 8 sand martins through 1430-1645.
A male and a female wheatear along the tideline.
Two chiffchaffs and two willow warblers noted away from Freeman's Wood.
An influx of goldfinches to the area. A common buzzard and a sparrowhawk circling Arna Wood area.
OOA- five little egrets Colloway Marsh.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Goosey, goosey gone-der.

Only around 20 pinkfeet still on the marsh today, so it looks like the Ross's et al may well have have cleared out.
Willow warbler still singing along the cycle track and another 2 along the edge of Freeman's Wood.
Pair of stock dove, my first at Aldcliffe for some time, were in the stubble fields by Heron Pool.
Couple of buzzards came over, one in particular very much acting like a migrant.
Small group of sand martins were buzzing around the Wildfowlers' Pools.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Displaying LRP, willow warbler in and more geese...

Highlights from a good morning's trawl included the following:
5 singing chiffchaff in Freeman's Wood.
Little ringed plover in display flight over the gravel island at Freeman's Pools plus copulating oystercatchers there. The tufted duck pair were joined by a pair of goldeneye and a little grebe was also present.
The gadwall have moved onto the Wildfowlers' Pools and a pair of black-tailed godwit remain there - a further 3 were on the marsh.
A singing willow warbler was pretty much on cue by the pools.
3 linnets were in the stubble fields, where a number of lapwings seem to be on territory.
Single female wheatear on the marsh.
In small influx of pinkfeet boosted the numbers to 740, the Ross's (seemingly that last one left in the country of the 4 this winter) and barnacle were still amongst them though nothing else of note. As I was leaving (at around 11.40) all the geese got up and started to gather in skeins, circling wide and gaining height until they all flew off west. The Ross's was visible amongst the last large group to go - did I witness its departure or were they simply flushed elsewhere by jet skiers?

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Another swallow and geese remain

The Ross's goose was again amongst 450-500 pinkfeet, as was the barnacle goose this evening. The geese were spread very thinly over the marsh this evening and many were feeding in furrows.
A lone swallow (my second this year) was feeding near Freeman's Pools before it headed off up river and two small flocks of sand martin moved through as did half a dozen meadow pipit.
2 little egrets were around the marsh and pools.
A sprinkling of pied wags were in the stubble fields though there were no whites among them.
The pair of grey partridge were still near the Walled Meadow.
A couple of chiffchaff were singing in Freeman's Wood and the tufted duck pair remain on the pools.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

First swallow and surprise seabird...

My first swallow of the year bombed over Darter Pool at approx. 6.40pm and a surprise came in the shape of a 1stw kittiwake over the stubble fields. It headed off over Dawson's Bank in the direction of the marsh.
Ross's goose still on the marsh with c.440 pinkfeet & the whoopers this evening. The gadwall pair had moved on to the Wildfowlers' Pools where there were also 2 little egret.
Pair of little ringed plover seen at Freeman' s Pools yesterday by Pete Crooks but I couldn't find any this evening. They bred successfully at the site last year, so hopefully we'll be in for a repeat performance.