Tuesday, 29 January 2013
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Sat sitting at home, twiddling my thumbs this morning when news came out of the reappearance of the "elusive Common Crane" at Martin Mere. Sure is elusive and didn't show in the short time I had to spare at lunchtime today.
No time to check the hides at the Wetland Centre today but I noticed that one of a small group of Pink-footed Geese with several Whoopers in the fields outside Martin Mere had a neck collar. Turned out to be LBH again and she must be getting worried by now as I seem to be her stalker of late. Kane Brides at the WWT sent me the updated LBH history with my latest sightings straight away.
Beginning to look a bit creepy eh? Older LBH records can be seen here.
I tracked a larger flock down on the way home but failed to find anything else in the 493 Pinks on the deck. Barn Owl and 3 Buzzards over the WWT grounds as I scanned the geese.
Must be an interesting goose around down here with a few Tundra Beans, Greenland White-front and a Snow Goose seen on the Fylde of late.
They looked nice in the snow though - see Graham Clarkson's blog for more recent Anser appreciation.
Sunday, 20 January 2013
|Longton Brickcroft Nature Reserve 18 January 2013.|
|Goosander, Hesketh Out Marsh 19 January 2013.|
Hesketh Out Marsh did produce a couple of good birds though. The redhead Goosander there Saturday morning was only my second HOM record, despite frequenting the River Douglas nearby. The adult European White-fronted Goose on the outer edge of the RSPB reserve with a few Greylags was a welcome sight too, especially as there are no Pink-footed Geese feeding in the area at the moment. The likelihood of me finding a Bean or even a Barnacle Goose at HOM looks slim unless some Pinks come to feed in the next few weeks. Ringtail Hen Harrier, 3 Merlins, a few winter thrushes (at last), a pair of Gadwall and 120 Golden Plover looking for some soft ground were the only other noteworthy birds at HOM.
Here's hoping for better .....
Thursday, 17 January 2013
I spent a couple of hours trawling around the Martin Mere area this morning. During the morning there were very few Pink-footed Geese at the WWT wetland centre but my short journey home was delayed a little when I came across a flock of around a thousand birds feeding in grassland next to the road.
Most were in binocular scanning distance although it took a sweep with the 'scope to find the single Barnacle Goose at the back of the field. Great shame that the geese were disturbed by the farmer but I did see a couple of interesting things before they flew off.
The majority of the Pink-footed Geese we get here in Lancashire are Icelandic birds. However today I saw a bird with a white neck collar with I40 on it. I40 is a Svalbard bird (green peg on the map) and like O23 that I saw nearby in November 2012, normally spends its winters in the Low Countries (see here).
Unlike O23 this is the first time that I40 has been recorded in the UK though, normally wintering in the Netherlands, Belgium or Denmark (as would be expected for a Svalbard bird).
I entered my sighting on the www.geese.org database this afternoon to see what I40 has been up to:
I didn't get a photo of I40 but LBH (an Icelandic female ringed by the WWT) was in the same flock and a bit closer. I saw her about ten days ago nearby too (see here).
Here she is showing off her neck bling nicely.
|Great Spotted Woodpecker, Martin Mere WWT, 17 January 2013.|
Tuesday, 15 January 2013
Did my bit of the estuary counting wild swans this afternoon. Just the one big herd near the Douglas - 277 Whoopers, only 26 juv's in them but nice to see 2 adult Bewick's with them.
I had a bit of spare time to check Hesketh Out Marsh after checking all likely swan sites but it was a bit quiet really. Water Rail squealing from the ditch is always a good HOM bird with the autumn accounting for most of my records there so good to get one now. Otherwise there were two or three Merlins, a Peregrine, six Barwits in the two hundred or so Oycs on the Ribble and 700+ Golden Plover and 200+ Dunlins with Lapwings on the eastern fields, all pushed off the estuary by the high tide.
Monday, 14 January 2013
I ended up at Martin Mere WWT for a couple of hours this afternoon after an aborted trip to Hesketh Out Marsh. For once the hides seemed inviting in the wintry weather in preference to the exposed HOM seawall. Surprisingly quiet at the wetland centre - very few people around but loads of birds. The Pink-footed Geese were offsite and the best I could find during my brief stay was this adult Mediterranean Gull that dropped infront of the Harrier Hide with BHGs to bathe briefly.
At least 500 Whoopers on the mere with more to arrive after I left no doubt as there were 180 with a Black Swan along Curlew Lane outside the wetland centre. At least 50 Ruff flying around, plenty of Tree Sparrows and Treecreeper with a tit flock.
Sunday, 13 January 2013
|Hesketh Out Marsh RSPB, 12 January 2013.|
|Great Crested Grebe, Longton Brickcroft NR, 13 January 2013.|
Not much to shout about but I think this is the fourth winter I've watched this local site and its my first record of Pochard. The downside of this is that in Foot It terms it just replaces the female Goldeneye that did a bunk just after Christmas. The next stop produced Water Rail in the reeds, Jays, some very vocal Bullfinches and I noticed the Great Crested Grebe has started collecting nest material on the southern pit. That little platform should be collecting snow quite nicely as I write.
|Longton Brickcroft NR, 13 January 2013.|
I then set off for Longton Marshes, hoping to be on the seawall as the ten metre tide covered the marshes. My route is above - south along Liverpool Rd with a little detour through the park and the reserve; head west towards the Douglas; meet Mrs B and the dogs by the Dolphin PH (no time for booze) and head north towards the Ribble, returning home in time for the Arsenal game.
My highlights were Corn Buntings (two flocks - 51 and 21), a flock of 25 Stock Doves, 45 Whooper Swans (Hutton Marsh), 2 Little Egrets, 2 Gadwall, a Brambling with 25 Chaffiches, 8 Grey Partridges and 2 Grey Plovers with Dunlins as the tide flooded the marsh and pushed them close to the bank.
The snow started as we neared home and I arrived indoors just in time to see Koscielny sent off in the game against City.
Walked over 7 miles today and spent 6 hours looking. I'm up to 74 Foot It species now. I predicted 80 for January.
Thursday, 10 January 2013
|Whooper Swans near Martin Mere WWT, 10 January 2013.|
|Pink-footed Geese near Martin Mere WWT, 10 January 2013.|
No swans at Hundred End, just a few Whoopers commuting between the Douglas and the mosses, 56 of which I found later on Holmes Moss on the way to lunch at TC's.
Post sausage and bacon barm birding included sifting through a couple of thousand Pink-footed Geese outside the Wetland Centre at Martin Mere WWT. Neck-banded bird TUH was with them (detail above). Interestingly we heard Pink-footed Geese over the house this morning well before light and there appears to be more around the area at the moment than over the last few weeks.
After watching a Barn Owl I drove across the mosses taking in the big herd of 200+ Whoopers on Curlew Lane (seeing a second Barn Owl near Rufford) and then a brief stop on Bretherton Moss for Peregrine and a Brambling and 2 Yellowhammers in a flock of 200+ Chaffinches.
Tuesday, 8 January 2013
|Feeding Pink-footed Geese near Martin Mere, 7 January 2013.|
Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in the car outside Martin Mere counting Pink-footed Geese (LBH was there - see above) when news broke of a Crane on the WWT reserve. Despite being just two minutes away I managed to miss it but had great views of Barn Owl from the UU hide. I could see about 2000 Pink-footed Geese off Woodend Marsh to add to the 2900 just outside but couldn't find anything in them (again).
|Woodend Marsh, WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre, 7 January 2013.|
Friday, 4 January 2013
|Pale-bellied Brent Geese at Wig Bay on Loch Ryan, 3 January 2013.|
We spent the morning checking the Southerness area of Dumfries & Galloway for the Red-breasted Goose and Todd's Canada Goose seen the previous day. It was late morning before we found the Red-breasted Goose near the golf club, but the geese were very flighty and after a few hours of intense goose-spotting (we did have time to watch a Short-eared Owl briefly) we decided to move on for a bit of variety.
|Dave and Graham watching Pale-bellied Brent Geese at Loch Ryan.|
A few flocks of Pink-footed Geese totalling over 1300 reminded us that we still had time to look for the Greenland Whitefronted Geese so we headed to West Freugh, finding just eleven birds. However this section of the trip turned out to be the highlight of the day for me personally as we counted no less than seven Hen Harriers over the MOD grasslands, three were stunning male birds, the last arriving to roost at 16.30 hours. Merlin, 400+ Greylag Geese and some Roe Deers were seen here too. Large flocks of geese could be seen heading to roost somewhere at Luce Bay at dusk (I presume they were Pink-footed), 4 Whooper Swans and 60 more Greenland Whitefronts flew over calling just as we were leaving for the long journey back to Lancashire.