Monday, 31 August 2009

Aldcliffe and beyond

Monday midmorning. Steve W.

Freeman’s Pool
Little Grebe with chick top pool.
Usual Coot

Wildfowler’ Pools
Common Sandpiper 1
Teal 18/20
Usual Moorhen
Grey Heron 2

Flood saw Green Sandpiper 2, Curlew 4
Black-headed Gulls 200+ in field near walled meadow.

Peregrine 1 possibly 2
Sparrowhawk 1
Kestrel 2
Wheatear 4
Little Egret 2
Reed Bunting 3

Plenty of Swallow throughout area.
Goldfinch 25


Finally had a bit of time on my hands for a while today and had a trawl around the patch and on to Conder late morning - mid afternoon.

Freeman's Pools
Little grebe on the upper pools still with growing chick. 2 adults on the main pool.
14 coot, 3 grey heron, 8 snipe, 6 mallard, 4 moorhen plus nearby kestrel, sparrowhawk and raven.
2 lesser whitethroat were in the hedgerow.
Female roe deer.

Wildfowlers' Pools
3 green sandpiper, 10 teal, 2 shoveler.

A little egret was on the marsh and an adult winter Med gull was amongst 150ish BH gulls at Gull Bank.

Steady trickle of swallows through plus the odd house martin.

Went through the few gulls from behind Glasson bowling green but couldn't see any yellow-legged or Med gulls. Nothing amongst the 300ish dunlin feeding on the shore here either.
A peregrine kept spooking the waders, which made looking for anything amongst the commoner species all that bit easier (in theory!)
4 greenshank, 2 spotted redshank and 2 common sandpiper were on the Conder. Water levels on the river were high and consequently there were no edges on the east side of the road bridge for any waders, though a reed warbler was heard grunting away here.

Jon C.


Sunday, 30 August 2009

Last swifts?

Met up with Aldcliffe veteran and old birding chum Greg Potter on Saturday and had a blast around the patch.

Not too much going on...

Freeman's Pools: Usual stuff, though up to 5 swift moving through with mixed hirundines was notable.

Three newly-hatched moorhen chicks were a bit of a surprise on Darter Pool - wasn't even aware of a second nest!

Just a lone green sandpiper seen at the Wildfowlers' Pools, plus a shoveler.

2 little egret and a single wheatear on the marsh but little else of note.

Common buzzard, sparrowhawk and kestrel seen.



After a morning trying to flog 30-odd year's worth of accumulated crap at a car boot sale near Milnthorpe (2 tree pipits south @8.20am - an obvious highlight) I managed a mid afternoon visit but it was even quieter than yesterday.

A common sandpiper was at Freeman's upper pools area - no sign of little grebe & sprog for the second day...

Two green sandpipers at the Wildfowlers' Pools (looks like the others have moved on, unless high water levels has just displaced them temporarily) plus 5 shoveler & 6 teal.

1 legret on Aldcliffe Marsh.

Gave the gulls on the Lune a good grilling but found nothing amongst them.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

August gets gusty

A quick blast around after work just as the wind got up and the rain piled in. Well, it wasn't quite as bad as all that but it did suddenly turn very autumnal...

Freeman's Pools were quietish - the usual coot, odd mallard & moorhen plus the 2 adult little grebes (minus young, it appears that our celebrations were short-lived) while an adult on the top pond was still in the company of one chick.

Good numbers of swallows around.

A single green sandpiper was visible at the Wildfowlers' Pools, as were a pair of teal but little else.

Five green sandpiper & 2 pied wagtail were feeding on the Flood.

Nothing of note seen on Aldcliffe Marsh.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Wet, Windy Wednesday....

Aldcliffe am. A wet and blustery morning. There was a number of Wheatear on the marsh today.

Freeman’s Pool
Usual Coot
Little Grebe with chick upper pool.
Quite a number of Swallow, gathering on new fenced areas.

Reed Bunting 2
Goldfinch 8
Wren, Dunnock, Blackbird, Robin.

Wildfowler’ Pool
Teal 17
Snipe 4
Green Sandpiper 2
Little Grebe 1
Little Egret 1
Pied Wagtail 1

Mallard 4
Curlew 11 in field

Raven 1
Wheatear 7
Lapwing, Canada Geese, Curlew etc.


Monday, 24 August 2009

A taste of things to come..?

Met Steve W at the patch after work and we had a quick check of the main areas.

Around 200 Canada geese were on the main Pool at Freeman's - pushed off the marsh at the very high tide earlier? Do Canadians eat Canada geese? It's Thanksgiving there in October...
Coot numbers were much the same and 2 little grebe were on the main pool, again no young were seen.
A lone adult dabchick was in the company of its sole chick at the upper pool.
A pair of little egret circled the pools a few times then headed off, over our heads, to the estuary.

At least 4, possibly 5, green sandpiper were visible at the Wildfowlers' Pools where there were also 3 snipe and a common sandpiper.

Just a pair of pied wags & a lapwing on the Flood and nothing of note on the marsh.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Better late than never...

Far too many pressing commitments prevented me from getting down the patch for a few days so a brief early evening blast around was much needed. Despite the rain...

8 swift were feeding over Freeman's Wood and Pools with good numbers of sand martin plus the odd house martin a few swallows.
16 coot were on the pools but little else. 2 adult little grebes were seen but no young.
A sparrowhawk was being mobbed by a magpie.

3 green sandpiper were at the Wildfowlers' Pools.

An further 3 green sandpiper were on The Flood along with 5 snipe and a redshank.

3 little egret were on Aldcliffe Marsh.

No Meds amongst the birds at Gull Bank.


Midday, walked past Freeman’s Pool, on my way to do WeBS, and there was a Little Grebe with one chick on the upper pool.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

All About Grebe

There was nothing left of the little grebe nest on Freeman's Pools this evening though the good news was that the birds do have 2 chicks. A bit of a repair job was going on in the sunken nest vicinity.
There was no sign of the single chick with the pair on the upper pool, one of the adults was diving frequently while the other was snoozing - I suppose its possible that the youngster was on this birds back? Do little grebes do that in the way larger grebes do?
4 swift were over the pools and the female roe deer was again grazing by the water's edge.

3 green sandpiper & 2 snipe were visible at the Wildfowlers' Pools plus the kingfisher was still present and successfully catching small fish.

Another green sand was on The Flood with a further 4 snipe.

1 little egret was on the marsh.

A good number of swallow were moving through.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Little egrets & more grebelets

Post-work blast around started, as usual, at Freeman's Pools where the coot numbers seem to be building slowly with 14 there this evening.
The 'new' little grebe nest had one very newly hatched dabchick - hopefully more to come. The pair on the upper pools were still attending to their lone offspring.
A doe roe deer was showing very well.

Could only see 2 green sandpiper on the Wildfowlers' Pools from the gate and the kingfisher seen earlier (see below) was still present, as were 3 teal - surely a garganey should drop by soon?

A greenshank was on Aldcliffe Marsh and a snipe was on The Flood.

At least 2 adult Med gulls were amongst the many common and black-headed at Gull Bank.

I picked a very young bank vole up off the road near Keyline and deposited it into the verge.

Jon C.

Aldcliffe AM

Bumped into Guy and we had a trawl round.
Wildfowlers’ Pools
Green Sandpiper 4/5.
Common Sandpiper 1
Snipe 4
Moorhen, 15+ with juveniles.
Kingfisher 1
Raven 2 fly over.

Snipe 2
Green Sandpiper 2
Pied Wagtail 1

Track by meadow.
Long-tailed Tit 20+
Chiffchaff 1
Whitethroat 2

Little Egret 4
Kingfisher 1, probably same as above.
Green Sandpiper 1, farmers in Wildfowlers’ at this point, I noticed still 3 Green Sandpipers present.
Dunlin opposite side of river.
Scanned Gulls, no med that we saw.

Frog Pond
Little Grebe 1

Freeman’s Pool
Coot usual
Mute Swan 1
Goldfinch 25
Swift, still half a dozen along with Swallows and House Martins.

SteveW Guy McC


Monday, 17 August 2009

Really little little grebe

After slumming it down in Norfolk with my old chum Adrian 'Ziggy' Dawson for a few days it was good to back to the patch.
The birds might not be anywhere as near as 'good', or seen in such numbers, but there's nothing quite like local patch birding.

Freeman's Pools held a bit of a surprise in the form a newly hatched little grebe, though not from the main pool nest (still going strong) but from the pair on the upper pools. I'd assumed they'd failed, but the tenacious little beggars seem to have battled on!
Otherwise 7 swift provided the only other diversion.

Frog and Darter Pools were bereft of avian life though the Wildfolwers' Pools held an impressive 6 green sandpiper. This is the highest number so far this year, I believe.

A sparrowhawk was hunting along the seawall hedge but the marsh seemed pretty quiet.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Oh, what a Circus Take 2

Aldcliffe AM
Call off Guy at 09.20 re another Marsh Harrier on the patch. Got down there, Guy was still watching, and it was in tree at Heron Pool, juvenile, great view and in a tree! It then went airborne reason being some fool walking along the embankment, couldn’t believe it!
We continued and the raptors came thick and fast, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Peregrine and Kestrel, brilliant. Ravens 2.
Guy had also seen Snipe 4 and Green Sandpiper 2 and later I saw Common Sandpiper 1 and Gadwall 2, at Wildfowlers’ Pool.
Our day continued with double patch tick for us a Med Gull, silver ring, on the river mud down from The Channel (Cadaver Corner), along with a flock of Lapwing was also a single Dunlin. Freeman’s Pool quiet with mainly Coot. Darter Pool Little Grebe.
SteveW Guy McC

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Oh, what a Circus

Received a call from Guy McC this morning, the long-eared owl was again roosting in the same area as a few days ago and a marsh harrier came over the pools before heading over to hunt on Colloway Marsh. As far as I am aware this represents the 3rd record of marsh harrier for the patch.

A post-work visit failed to relocate the owl, (though it must be said that Guy does possess an unusually good owl-radar...) despite my knowing exactly which elder it was in.
At least 4 green and 2 common sandpiper were at the Wildfowlers' Pools.
2 swift were over Freeman's Pools. There were the usual little grebes and coot present here (including a new late coot chick).

I was pleased to meet up with Reuben Neville from Lancs Wildlife Trust who filled me in with details of what they were currently doing at the site and what they planned to do in the future.
The Freeman's Pools site really is going to blossom in the coming years - it should be interesting to see how it develops.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Can't see the wood for the greens

A single wood sandpiper was with a common and 4, possibly 5, green sandpiper at the Wildfowlers' Pools at c.6.15pm.
Picked it up on call, then got flight views only and didn't manage to age it. It seemed to be keeping with the greens and was still in the area when I left.
6 teal now here too.

All else was pretty quiet with just the usual suspects at Freeman's Pools. Even yesterday's visiting gadwall had moved on...

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Lots of sunshine this morning, but few birds.

Freeman's Pools still on the quiet side - 1 common sandpiper, 12 coot, little grebe on nest, 1 moorhen, 5 mallard, 1 grey heron.

Darter Pool, the moorhen family and a little grebe.

A common buzzard was being mobbed by lesser black backs as it hunted over one of the top fields.

4 green sandpiper were visible at the Wildfowlers' Pools plus 5 teal.

A little ringed plover was on the Flood.

A willow warbler was along the cycle track.
Whether it has been anyone's experience elsewhere, I am still absolutely convinced that this species has been in very short supply at Aldcliffe this year. Normally there will be a good half dozen singing males along the track between Freeman's Wood and Railway Crossing Lane (aka Aldcliffe Hall Lane) and this summer there hasn't been one bird on territory. Is this a peculiarly localised event?

Plenty of butterflies and common darters around plus a couple each common and brown hawkers.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Cut and run

Not sure who's been doing what but it looks as if Lancs Wildlife Trust have been doing some management work down at Freeman's Pools today.
A large area has been cut (good owl/vole area methinks!) and some planting has been done at the upper pools. I had a message from Steve Wallis earlier today (see his posting below) to say that the work was being done and he suspected reed planting - I'll see what I can find out...

Consequently, these pools were pretty quiet with just the usual coot and little grebes on the main water.

A lot of grass cutting had been, and was still, going on in the fields too so the whole Aldcliffe area was fairly birdless. Not even any tractor-following gulls to go through, darnit.

2 green sandpiper were visible at the Wildfowlers' Pools plus a lone teal. (Steve had a kingfisher here earlier).

Around 60 Canada geese have reappeared on the marsh.


Thursday 6th Aug.
An abundance of various species of butterfly were definitely the highlight at Aldcliffe today, amongst the dozens of Painted Ladies was a Red Admiral. Also, a Kingfisher at the Wildfowlers’ Pool, Kestrels at least four present. Many Swallows and House Martins throughout the patch. Little Egret 2 on the marsh along with geese, gulls and waders all on the opposite side of the river! Darter Pool had Moorhen, and Little Grebe. Saw 150 or so Black Headed Gulls in the grass on the rim of Frog Pond.
Freeman’s Pool has had some work done, not sure what, maybe planting of some sort, as there is a number of fenced off areas near the top end, also today 2 Green Sandpipers present.


Monday, 3 August 2009

Summer doldrums...

A quick post-work dash - not much to report really.

Freeman's Pools were quiet with just a common sandpiper and a little ringed plover to break the monotony of coot and little grebes! The tufted duck wasn't even around...

Frog Pond still held the duck mallard and her one surviving offspring, plus 2 moorhen.

Darter Pool's moorhen family were the only things there.

At the Wildfowlers' Pools at least 2 green sandpiper and Tom Wilmer were present.

Other than that, a few swifts, the odd lesser whitethroat and a couple of kestrels were noted along the cycle track.
Jon C

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Utterly butter(f)ly

Had a late morning/early afternoon stroll with Jenny and the Aldcliffe area was awash with butterflies. Lots of painted ladies were in evidence, as expected given the caterpillar count earlier. Also good numbers of speckled woods and a few commas though only a couple of small tortoiseshell and peacock.

Bird-wise, the juv little-ringed plover was on the Flood, then latterly the marsh.

Two family parties of lesser whitethroat were heard and seen along the cycle track and lots of groups of goldfinch and greenfinch were noisily buzzing about.

At the Wildfowlers' Pools a shoveler was new in. 5 green sandpiper were visible from the metal gate.

The Frog Pond mallard brood has shrunk to 1 - I wonder what's been predating those? That particular pool seems to have a terrible track record for the successful fledging of wildfowl.

At Freeman's Pools it was business as usual: 11 coot, 3 little grebe, 4 heron, 5 mallard & 2 common sandpiper. Up to 30 swift were feeding here.

Evening visit

Quick blast round on the bike just to see if anything new had dropped in.
The tufted duck was back on Freeman's Pools though there was little else there of note.

3 green sandiper, 1 snipe and the LRP were seen at the Wildfowlers' Pools.

A couple of kestrel were hunting around the area.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Long-eared reprise

Guy McClelland made something of a surprise discovery this morning when he came across a long-eared owl in the Aldcliffe area.
As an optimist, I was always rather hopeful that the birds present near Freeman's Pools earlier this year may have stuck around (they were certainly still in the area well into April) either to breed or, perhaps more likely, as non-breeding 1st year birds. I had a couple of reasons to believe that there were still LEOs around but hadn't found any hard evidence. So, does this individual imply that to be true or is today's birds a post-breeding 'local' migrant? Whichever, it's a great mid-summer record!
The bird wasn't showing nearly as well as on the pic (courtesy of Guy) when I went down later in the morning and it seemed quite settled in its roost.

Other sightings included 2 green sandpiper and 1 juv LR plover at the Wildfowlers' Pools - where a juv kestrel was also present, sat in the water...?!

A whimbrel and a pair of stock dove were on the marsh.

Lesser whitethroat were much in evidence along the cycle track.

The roe deer pair were showing well at Freeman's Pools and a kestrel and sparrowhawk were engaged in something of a fracas there.