Sunday, 30 November 2008

Weekend lowlights

Saturday's visit was somewhat marred by the fact that I couldn't see beyond 50 metres at best thanks to the blanket of fog shrouding the whole lower Lancaster area.
A pair of grey wagtail and some coot shaped birds were just about visible on Freeman's Pools and a rather remarkable 84 mallard were crammed onto Darter Pool. 9 teal were at the Wildfowlers' Pools. Hardly anything else of note except a lone bullfinch along the cycle track.

Sunday - after a failed attempt to add cattle egret to my recording area list, and missing waxwings at Booth's car park at Carnforth for the second consecutive Sunday, I decided to waste my time nearer to home and headed for Aldcliffe mid-afternoon.
Highlight was the 1stw fem scaup still present on Freeman's Pools along with 16 coot, 2 shoveler, 3 wigeon, 2 goldeneye, 2 little grebe, about a dozen mallard, 2 mute swan and a snipe. A grey wag flew over.
9 twite and a reed bunting were in the stubble field hedgerow and good numbers of fieldfare were around.
Nothing of note at the iced-up Wildfowlers' Pools, or visible on the marsh. A small group of meadow pipit were feeding at The Flood with a single pied wag.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Shrike a light!

A message came through via LDBWS website (posted by Pete Woodruff) that a great grey shrike was seen at the junction of the upper cinder path and the main, lower, cycle track (near the Wildfowlers' Pools) on Sunday. At the risk of sounding mental, was it specifically identified as GREAT grey given the Steppe grey in the east of the country!!?

Unfortunately I was arseing about chasing waxwings yesterday (that'll teach me...) , so I didn't do my regular Sunday check of Aldcliffe.

Any news of further sightings (plus details of the original one please, Pete's friend!) would be very welcome... my contact details can be found in the right hand panel.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Weekend winter wonderland

Ahh, the good old weekend and time during daylight hours to have a mooch around the patch.
Bloody freezing, though...!

Freeman's Pools still seem to be attractive to a number of birds, notably: Juv. female scaup, 6 tufted duck, 2 goldeneye, 9 wigeon, 7 mallard, 2 little grebe, 16 coot, 4 mute swan & 33 woodpigeon.
Darter Pool: 1 coot
Frog Pond: 2 mute swan
Wildfowlers' Pools: 2 goldeneye, 3 shoveler, 1 little grebe, 3 teal, 2 coot & numerous mallard & moorhen. A group of c.30 redshank were commuting to feed in the wet field areas here and at The Flood where there were also 5 shelduck, 6 mallard and 7 moorhen. 1 fly-over snipe.
A couple of egrets were kicking around though there was little else of note visible on the Marsh.
Loads of blackbirds around plus reasonable numbers of redwing and fieldfare along with 3 bullfinch along the cycle track.

Noted a Portuguese vagrant in the form of Ricardo, a student currently residing in the area and a keen birder - welcome!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Time and tide...

A rather knackering WeBS today, though at least the weather was rather stunning!
Walked from Aldcliffe (well, home actually - started counting from Aldcliffe) to Conder and back again with the following highlights noted:
Freeman's Pools - 2 Green sandpiper, female scaup, 2 goldeneye, 4 tufted, 3 wigeon, fem goosander.
Aldcliffe Marsh - 8 little egret, 275 Canada geese, 430 greylag, 230 golden plover, 2 rock pipit, 4 adult Med gulls amongst 800+ BH gulls on the river.

(Remainder of WeBS 'out of the parish' but highlights included kingfisher, peregrine, 2 spotted redshank, 1 greenshank, at least 45 tufted duck on Conder Pool plus 3 flyover tree sparrows there.)

On the walk back, accompanied by a spectacular sunset, noted some shooting going on at the Wildfowlers' Pools and a very vocal tawny owl was sat out in the open in Freeman's Wood, easily viewable from the footpath and equally easily audible from Willow Lane.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Out for a duck

A bit of a brief visit to the parish today, with Mrs C, so casual birding all the way!
The juv female scaup was on Freeman's Pools (where does this bird 'disappear' to?) plus a pair of tufteds, just 3 wigeon, 2 little grebe and 1 goldeneye plus the usual stuff.
A further 3 goldeneye (2f, 1stw m) were at the Wildfowlers' Pools and a single little egret was on the marsh.
Plenty of blackbirds about but no other thrushes of note.

First grey partridge I've see in the Aldcliffe area for ages (I'd rather gloomily summised that they'd possibly finally disappeared as breeding birds in the area) - but NO! A pair of adults with 3 1st year birds were seen in an area where they traditionally breed. But for how long?

A little owl was in Admiralty Wood.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

November Rain

Dan signing in.

After hearing of Guy McC's intriguing little'un of yesterday, me and Steve W gave Freeman's Wood a soggy 3-hour bash today.

Couldn't find owt scarce- but there were a fair few birds about, the highlights being two blackcaps, a chiffchaff, and a lesser redpoll.

There were also circa fifteen goldcrests, 25 redwings and four-and-twenty blackbirds.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Scaup 'scoped.

Unfortunately my only window of birding opportunity for the whole weekend coincided with a horribly persistent wet and windy spell which started soon after me leaving the house and stopped withing seconds of my arrival home. Thanks for that.
Anyhoo, through the mizzle and falling leaves I bagged the following:
Freeman's Pools - 1st w f scaup, 10 wigeon, 1 tufted duck, 9 coot, 2 little grebe, 4 mute swan, 3 moorhen, 7 mallard.
Stubble fields: 2 tree sparrow, 3 reed bunting, 11 chaffinch feeding together.
Wildfowlers' Pools: green sandpiper, 120+ redshank, 10+ black-tailed godwit, 3 teal, 1 female goosander, 2 mute swan.
Marsh: Quick scan through the soggy haze - 2 little egret, 40+ Canada geese.
Cycle track: 1 water rail, good numbers LT tit, approx 60 fieldfare, pair bullfinch.

Monday, 3 November 2008


Daniel here.

What few birding skills I had have deserted me so far this month, after getting into a good rhythm a few weeks back.

For example- my October-style pishing is of NO interest to the callous birds of November.

Today I stumbled around the wood doing little but terrifying the thrushes.

Couldn't find any warblers...I could hear goldcrests, but saw few... The best wingbars I could manage were those on a red admiral.

Feeling rather adrift, I thought I'd finally twitch the Freeman's Pool scaup- but couldn't locate it. (It had last been noted by Guy McLelland...this morning!).

If anybody finds my Aldcliffe mojo-- could you please let me know? You'll find me at Heysham.

Accidental highlights were a nice pair of stonechats on the sliver of land just 'upstream' of Keyline (one pictured-just O.O.A.A.!) and six tree sparrows in Freeman's Wood.

Saturday, 1 November 2008


The main thing about this morning's trawl through Freeman's Wood and into Aldcliffe was the overwhelming number of thrushes - fieldfare in particular. Well, just the number of birds in general was enough the set the pulse racing!
Almost every hawthorn held redwings, song thrushes and blackbirds with associating flocks of mobile fieldfare being quite impressive.
The stubble fields were attracting good numbers of finches (mainly chaffinch) plus a few reed buntings, tree sparrows and the odd meadow pipit & pied wag. At least 12 skylark passed over.
c. 370 greylag were feeding in the cut maize fields.
On the flooded Wildfowlers' Pools there were at least 500 redshank, 36 black-tailed godwit, 9 snipe, 4 teal and 14 coot. A water rail squeeled nearby and another showed well by the flooded Bank Pool. A green sandpiper was seen over the fields by Guy McC. (cheers Guy)
Just 1 little egret was noted the Marsh and around 100 Canada geese were on the river.
Freeman's Pools held 4 mute swan, 11 shoveler, 9 wigeon, 2 tufted duck, 1stw f scaup, 10 coot & 2 little grebe.

Superb numbers of winter thrushes about.

Heading north over Fairfield and adjacent areas of west Lancaster this afternoon were:

C.550 fieldfares and 1200 redwings over between 1400h and 1545h, mostly in single-species flocks. The largest flock was 320 fieldfares N at ten past two.

The hawthorns in Fairfield paddocks were pulling down scores of thrushes from on high too. Parties were having a quick re-fuel and re-orientating north in double-figure parties.

This corner of the parish had around 300 fieldfare, 600 redwings, 150 blackbirds (mainly 1st- winters) and 50 continental-looking song thrushes knocking about at one point mid-afternoon.

A stock dove was near Pony Wood.

Smaller numbers of blackbirds, redwings and 4 goldcrests were noted in Freeman's Wood.