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.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Save Freeman's Wood

For decades, the area of mixed woodland and scrub (known locally as Freeman's Wood) to the south west of the Lune Industrial Estate off Willow Lane, Lancaster has been a well-used and popular space for local residents.

Children have built dens, dog walkers have exercised their pets and, for me and many other Lancastrians, it has been a great area to connect with nature.

It is a significant nesting site for an array of nationally declining woodland and garden birds, an important wintering site for long-distance migrants from the north and an essential stopping-off place for summer visitors freshly arrived from Africa and continental Europe.

Once again, this prime piece of wildlife habitat is under threat. An application to build 250 houses on the land has been submitted. Obviously, if this goes ahead we will not only lose the space for our own recreational use but it will also destroy a vital area of rare biodiversity within the city boundaries. 

Campaigners are asking for your help to save this invaluable local resource.

You can object to the proposal:
Visit and place an objection online.

Write to Planning, PO Box 4, Lancaster Town Hall, LA1 1QR or email

Quote the reference number 18/01520/OUT

There will be a public meeting at Hornets Function Room (off Willow Lane, behind the Spar shop) on Feb 26 at 7.30pm where the proposal will be discussed. 

Freeman's Wood as viewed from Marsh Point overlooking Freeman's Pools