Polly’s puddle

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
A quick visit to Marshside before work, and the site is now very dry with Polly’s reduced to just a puddle in the far corner. There were 1,000 Dunlin on there on Friday morning, none today! The waders have been pushed on to the pools by Sandgrounders where 300+ Dunlin were feeding. The flock held single figure numbers of juvs and 2 birds in non-breeding plumage (why do all of these grey birds look large and long billed? Is it an illusion or a ssp difference?). In with the Dunlin was a newly arrived full breeding plumage Spotted Red. It kept its head in most of the time, but briefly popped its bill out for a preen – I can’t really ever see enough of these, they’re great! Also creeping around in the mud were several young Redshank and Avocet of various ages and a Common Sand. Got to be a good chance of a Pec San...
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Black Flag

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
An early start at Hesketh to beat the heat. A Barn Owl as I arrived on the car park was a good start, and Shelter Pool had quite a few birds on it as I peered over the sea wall. Dunlin, Avocet, Curlew, Redshank and Avocet all feeding on the fringes, but best of all was a full breeding plumage Spotted Red at the bank edge of the pool – what a stunner! Managed a short video and popped it on YouTube – not too bad if you watch in HD given distance. The rest of the reserve was less busy, but still held singing Corn Bunting, Yellow Wagtail, Common Sand, Eider, Greenshank, Snipe and the usual Terns. All distant as you can see! There had been a small influx of Teal with 11 birds on one of the pools. On to Marshide, where Nels is now just a sludgy puddle, perfect for Plovers and only really Lapwing and an LRP now present. 2 Gr...
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No stone unturned

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Hardly been birding on the Ribble since my holiday, so it was nice to get out early this morning for a walk along the bank at Hesketh. There might be a heatwave coming next week, but it was decidedly chilly this morning in the stiff breeze. A great start when I came across a group of waders on shelter pool and they turned out to be Knot – 25 in total, the most I’ve ever seen on the deck here. Even better was a full patch tick Turnstone hunkered down in the middle of them – it only stayed a couple of minutes and was off calling, but thankfully I managed a record shot as it took to the air. The other highlight was only my 2nd local Hobby of the year having a half hearted go at a Starling pack before heading off towards the Fylde across the marsh. Great to see that both Arctic and Common Terns have got chicks, but there s...
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Nairn better

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Just come back from a fantastic family holiday in Nairn near Inverness, where we managed to see most of the Highland and Speyside specialities in just one full day birding plus some stop offs after days out. An extended stop at Killiecrankie on the way up saw 2 singing Wood Warbler – what a great place to have lunch and stretch your legs. The caravan park that we stopped at was great, right by Nairn’s lovely beach and surrounded by Gorse, Broom and some forest full of Yellowhammer and Redpoll. A few pure(ish) looking Hoodies were around with various intergrades and pure Carrions. The days birding was mostly spent walking in Golden Eagle territory and we saw 3 different birds – an adult and a young bird together and a lone young bird that gave fantastic views overhead – the pics with the Buzzard are quite nice as a s...
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Catcher in the rye

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
After searching for and expecting Black Terns at Marshside all week, I noticed that 5 had been seen this afternoon at Nels so I drove over for a look. There were still 3 there distantly from Marshside Road when I got across so I parked up at the Sandplant for a walk and a closer view. A quick look from Junction Screen at the wader flocks and a nice Spotted Fly popped up in the trees to the side – looping out from time to time to snatch its afternoon tea. Smart birds and always brighten up a days birding. A walk down to Nels gave better views of the Terns, but too far for my camera. Ken Morrison then sent a message saying the other 2 were by Sandgrounders so I nipped there hoping they were in range. Always on the move, twisting and turning they were not easy, but I got a couple of images that you can at least see what they are! A Dr...
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Double DiStint

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
An early morning visit to the golf course was a non event again – tough year for me on there. A Hare was sunning itself by Fairclough’s but I could see that most of the birds were at the far end of Rimmers. A scan from the Junction Screen showed that yesterday’s new influx of waders were still feeding in the muddy grass fringes of the pool. 3 Curlew Sands (all in breeding plumage) fed in a squadron, plenty of Dunlin and Ringed Plover plus best of all I found a breeding plumage Little Stint. They’ve been rarer than Temminck’s this Spring, in fact this is the only one I know about in the area so it was great to see – a bit like a mini Sanderling in this plumage. A quick wander up to the Halfway Screen and I picked up a Greenshank calling overhead which then settled in with the Godwit. Never an easy bird ...
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Tern it in

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
An early start again to see  yesterday’s reported Wood Sand near Stanley High School at Marshside. It didn’t disappoint and was feeding away close to the public footpath on the pools. It had disappeared by the time I’d done the golf course and returned, but maybe it was just hiding in some of the rushy edges – cracking bird in the early morning light. I left Marshside as the loud speaker system cranked up for the Triathlon, and decided to head for Hesketh Out Marsh. The 5 pairs of Arctic Tern were putting on a good show, as were 2 day flying Barn Owl at the far west end. There had been a mini influx of Eider with 5 on the reserve (2m, 3f), also singing Corn Bunting and a couple of fly past Yellow Wags The Terns made me think about the Docks, so I headed over to have a look how the Common Tern colony was shapi...
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Ding dong the Spring is gone

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Around 8 hours of birding at Marshside and the surrounding area over the last 2 days, and the going has been tough. The waders have all but disappeared and there doesn’t seem to be much on the move, but a couple of highlights none the less. First was a site first for me in the form of a Red Kite moving through early Friday morning – it caused havoc with the Godwits on Rimmers and then bedlam in the Gull colony on Suttons – great birds. The 2nd was 2 Spotted Flycatchers on the Golf Course found by Pete Allen this morning – they were mobile and difficult to get close to, but provided some entertainment with their aerial acrobatics. The Cattle Egret was still around, Crossens Inner yesterday, Suttons today. A few Corn Buntings at Banks and plenty of Reed Warbler singing around the marsh. Try again t...

As you were

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
The weekend’s been a bit of an anti climax after Friday, despite some promising weather over Friday night. Although it’s hard to be disappointed when birds over Saturday and Sunday have included the Temminck’s again on Saturday (although more distant – 1st pic from Friday), Garganey, 2 Glossy Ibis, 4 Curlew Sand, 2 Eider, 10 Arctic Tern, my first Whinchat of the year (finally), 2 LRP, 4 Yellow Wags, 8 Wheatear, GWE and a few stunning Ruff’s still knocking about (pic courtesy of my dad). It was nice to see my first Avocet chicks of the year today – 3 on Rimmers. You can just about make them out in this pic! ...
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Morning Stint

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
An early morning visit to Marshside paid off today when I found a Temminck’s Stint feeding along the mud edge on Rimmers Marsh. Originally picked up distantly from Hesketh Road Platform doing its mini Common Sand impression, I walked up to the bench at the junction with Marine Drive for a better view. After 10 minutes of desperate searching (my record images thus far were not ID’able), It picked its way into view again feeding on the grass and mud edge. Not the most striking wader in the world, but they have a subtle beauty, and I spent a thoroughly enjoyable 20 minutes with the bird before I had to leave for work. There was also still 6+ Curlew Sand in the Dunlin by Marshside Road. Earlier in the week they had crept in to double figures with 11 on Tuesday morning, with a few Ring Plover mixed in and a single LRP. ...
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