One Of Those Mornings

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
It was one of those mornings where it wasn't brilliant, nor was it poor. It seemed to have promise, but failed to deliver. Perhaps frustrating would be a better description.I headed to the coastal farm fields at the Obs at first light to be greeted with 4 oktas hazy cloud with a 15 mph southeasterly wind. By 0800 the cloud had increased to 7 oktas, and as I found out when I tried to do a short sea watch it was pretty murky out at sea with poor - moderate visibility at best!The first bird I recorded was a singing Chiffchaff as soon as I got out of my car and this gave the feeling that there might be more grounded migrants. And there was, but not that many. In total I had three Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest, a Willow Warbler and best of all a singing, or should I say reeling, Grasshopper Warbler. Grasshopper WarblerThere was some 'vis' but it...

A Murky Short List.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
The damp murky weather did nothing to enthuse me on Friday, but undaunted off I went to find 2 Avocet on Conder Pool loafing at the left edge of the island, one preening the other dozing. Otherwise 13 Tufted Duck, 7 Black-headed Gull, a few Redshank, and noisy Oystercatcher with their resounding shrill calls, a Greenshank was in the creeks.At Cockersand, at least 1,000 Golden Plover seen from the road, in flight over the abbey and appeared to go down onto the shore, Five White Wagtail were on a flood, 35 Linnet seen, c.30 Meadow Pipit, 2 Dunnock, a Stock Dove, Skylark seen/heard, and a pair of Shoveler still on the flood. A casual count resulted in at least 20 Brown Hare seen today.I called in at Glasson Dock to find just 5 Eider of note on the Lune Estuary, and to find birds of the day which wer...
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Unfinished Business

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
An excellent day on the Ribble – an early start, a few migrants, re-found the Brant and some good company. Started early on the golf course and sand plant which were pretty quiet apart from the newly arrived Willows, Blackcaps and Chiffs. The sand plant had a nice pair of Ringed Plover, a Sprawk and the start of what became a huge movement of White Wags. Ruff continue to don their summer garb. Really, I was killing time to start the search for the presumed Grey-bellied Brant I found last week. The poor images and limited views felt like unfinished business so that was the main priority of the day. Crossens Outer had the resident 2 Barnacles, but nothing else so I moved on to Banks. After a couple of scans, I picked up the Brant distantly towards Hesketh Out Marsh so set off down the bank for closer views. The bird showed well in...
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Early Pipit Late Owl

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
A 6 am start beckoned and I met Andy at Oakenclough in near perfect conditions - a light southerly, and compared to recent weeks, a temperature that felt quite agreeable. Once again newly in birds were rather limited so we struggled to reach double figures with just 10 birds ringed but the emphasis on quality rather than quantity: 5 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Goldfinch and 1 Tree Pipit. In most years April 1st is around the normal date for the arrival of the first Willow Warblers so the two males caught today are approximately ten days “late”. Maybe they picked a good time to arrive with predicted temperatures of up to 64°F and fine days for next week. In so many recent years Willow Warblers have arrived into cool and wet weather that continued throughout May and had a detrimental effect upon their breeding success.&...
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Woodland and Waders

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
It was part two yesterday of the wader project I'm involved in and the morning was spent assessing some of the less suitable land to see if it could be brought into positive management for a suite of breeding waders, mainly Curlew, Lapwing and Redshank. We didn't see as much as before, but it was pleasant to be out amongst displaying Curlew and Lapwing. LapwingOne thing that was very obvious was how far behind Spring is so far this year. It's still cold and we didn't come across any bids on eggs. There was a distinct feeling that there is more to come!Talking about Spring being behind, I was in north Cumbria today and it is at least a week behind the balmy south of Lancashire. Close to home lots of trees are in buds, Blackthorn is flowering and Hawthorn is coming in to leaf, but there was none of that in the north of Cumbria today.Once...
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Out At Last

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
What with half-term, car service & MOT and pretty poor weather, I’d been out of birding action for a week. Thursday morning and as is often the case I wasn’t sure where to go on my local patch while allowing sufficient time to spend at each. There’s nothing more annoying than birding at one place and seeing not very much to then hear later of birds seen in the same spot soon after. It’s a form of Sod’s Law that applies to birders and probably other obsessives. Through Pilling village was the first Chiffchaff singing from an annual location but as I drove past I spotted a hunting Barn Owl ahead. The owl was on a fast, large circuit that took it over fields, behind tall hedgerows and through farmyards so I quickly lost sight. Barn Owl I drove up to Conder Pool, the first time for a couple of weeks. Very evid...
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Migration….What Migration!

Posted on - In Birds2blog
When I read....'no more than a small flurry' and 'a day to forget in a hurry'....on a website like Portland Bird Obs, it came as no big surprise that it took me three hours birding to see just a lone Sand Martin heading north at Cockersand on Monday. Also at Cockersand, a Wheatear was on the embankment by Plover Scar, 4 White Wagtail were with similar Pied Wagtail, a Shoveler pair were also on the flood, not seen here since 22 March, a few barely double figure Meadow Pipit and Skylark seen, and a Reed Bunting.I made no attempt at assessing the all distant swans today, but if the Mute Swan stand at the same number as my last count, I'd suggest there was no more than 50 Whooper Swan remaining at Cockersand on Monday.  On the Lune Estuary, 7 Eider, 5 Goldeneye, a Greenshank, and a Goosander. By...

Waders

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I spent a pleasant day yesterday working with Gavin at a site looking to improve the habitat for breeding waders, although to be honest with you the site is already very good! I left my house in fog, then on my journey through Bowland it cleared, and when I got to the site it was foggy again! However, the sun soon burned the mist off and it became a glorious sunny day!I do an annual breeding wader survey at this site and today I wasn't surveying the waders, but as a crude estimate I would say that we recorded one pair of Snipe, at least six pairs of Curlews (more to come) and eighteen pairs of Lapwings. Even though it was a relatively warm day, it felt like it was earlier in the year, and I don't doubt there will be more birds arriving over the coming weeks. Lapwing. Look at the colours on this bird!The highlight of the morning was whe...
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Cockersand Gold Again.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
I was at the end of my visit to Cockersand on Thursday heading back to the Lighthouse Cottage, but I had an underlying feeling the day was going to end well with what I was hoping to find in the field SW of Crook Cottage. The field has been favoured by the GP's for several weeks in the second half of this winter, though recent numbers have fallen and fluctuated, at least 3,000 Golden Plover again today was pretty impressive.In the field at my back on Slack Lane while I was watching the GP's, I reckon up to 120 Meadow Pipit with a few Skylark and Linnet seen, also in another field close by, 3 White Wagtail were with 7 Pied Wagtail. The 252 Whooper Swan here today represents a closer and more accessible group for once, with a little more effort to count on my part.The Cocke...

Brentertainment

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Found a confusing Brent on Crossens Outer this afternoon. I first put it out as a Pale-bellied, but then its dark breast and belly seemingly going beyond the legs c/w gleaming white flank put doubts in my mind. I’ve changed my mind on it 5 or 6 times during the day, feeling that it at least has some Brant in it and even considering the mythical “Grey-bellied Brant” – I’m now nearly back in the very dark Pale-bellied camp. Still not sure, but I’ve enjoyed researching it and speculating. Any comments welcome. Didn’t geese used to be easy??? Also found a Spoonbill this morning and a few more migrants including Redpolls, Siskin, Blackcap, big influx of Willow Warbler etc. ...
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