Monday, 28 September 2009

Last orders?

Managed to get an hour in round the patch today - the first time I've looked through a pair of bins in a week! An utter disgrace...

Anyhoo, the highlights were relatively few - though it may just turn out to be my last visit (eek).

Freeman's Pools
20 wigeon
3 tufted duck (1stw m, 2f)
6 mute swan
15 coot
1 little grebe
Usual other bits and pieces

Marsh Point
What looked like a 3rd yr yellow-legged gull was on the river briefly, though the drizzle reduced views somewhat. Structurally convincing (large & 'square' headed), darker mantled than the herring gulls and light than any of the LBBs wit no visible mirrors in the primaries. Streaky headed with a dark eye effect. Legs looked pinkish.

Frog Pond
2 pinkfeet with Canada geese in the field

Wildfowlers' Pools
1 green sandpiper
6 snipe
20+ teal
4 shoveler

Aldcliffe Marsh
4 little egret and a further 3 on the river by the pylons plus another at the back of Colloway Marsh.

4 swallows seen.

Very few passerines noted in general with nothing of note amongst the singe tit flock I came across.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Pluvialis apricaria, couldn’t resist……

Met up with Guy and we had a trawl round the patch. Highlight was a flock of Golden Plover with a wonderful Latin name that rolls off the tongue, and a flock of Dunlin, all seen on mud just beyond Cadaver Corner. Other birds today……
Golden Plover 50
Dunlin 25
Lapwing, Curlew, Redshank.
Greenshank 1
Little Egret 4

Flood saw Snipe 3/4,Redshank 1, Moorhen, numerous finch in hedgerows.
Frog Pond, Mallard and Mute Swan 4
Darter Pool couple of Moorhen.
Wildfowlers’ Pool Green Sandpiper 1, Kingfisher 1, Snipe 4, Teal 5/6
Track, Reed Bunting 6/8, numerous Green Finch and Chaffinch, Robins 12/15. Woodpigeon 25 in fields. Kestrel 1,
Peregrine 1, Raven 1.

Freeman’s Pool
Wigeon 11, Tufted Duck 2, Gadwall 2, large number of Greylag and Canada’s, usual Coot and Moorhen. Linnet 12/15 in dead tree’s, Goldfinch 100+. In the wood, Sparrowhawk 1, Blackcap 1.

Pink-footed Geese, 2 skeins over 30/40 in each.
Swallow 1

Monday, 21 September 2009

Lune Surfers......

Just arrived at Gull Bank to watch everything flushed by the Lune Bore, a big tide racing in as it did yesterday, great sight. Initially some birds, especially geese, attempted to surf the wave but then gave up and took flight. A Peregrine was hunting along with a Sparrowhawk on the Marsh pursued by Ravens. Three Green Sandpipers at the Wildfowlers’ Pools along with a Kingfisher, more below......
Freeman’s Pool
Canada Geese 150/170
Greylag Geese 45
Gadwall 2
Mallard, Coot and Little Grebe.

Peregrine 1
Sparrowhawk 1
Raven 3
Curlew 80/90
Little Egret 3

Snipe 2
Moorhen 3
Redshank 1
Grey Wagtail 1

Track, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tits.

Wildfowlers’ Pool
Kingfisher 1
Green Sandpiper 3
Snipe 2
Usual Moorhen etc.

Swallow 15/18

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Having a gander

Took a hangover-easing walk with Jenny round the patch over the hightide today. And what a tide!

A green sandpiper was again in the wet field at Fairfield and a pair of jay were nearby.

9 little egret were visible on the marsh and a mobile flock of 24 teal were whizzing around. A peregrine was busting up the waders and a kingfisher was on the Wildfowlers' Pools.
Another kingfisher was at Freeman's Pools, where there was also a 500+ mixed flock of Canada and greylag geese (plus 3 scabby white things).
The female tufted duck was still on the main pool.

A handful of swallows were feeding in the area.

A few common darter were seen and a common/migrant hawker briefly put in an appearance as did a couple of red admirals.


I returned for an early evening visit where the following were among the highlights:

A very high common buzzard over the tip

3 raven were honking about.

40+ swallows were feeding over Freeman's Pools with the gadwall pair, a little grebe and a female sparrowhawk present plus the other usual suspects.

Half a dozen snipe were feeding on the Flood along with 4 teal and a grey wagtail.

2 shoveler and another couple of snipe were visible on the Wildfowlers' Pools.

Noticed lots and lots of long-tailed tits in the hedgerows throughout the area.

A stoat ran across the path near Frog Pond.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Owl, osprey & others...

Guy McLelland's Saturday morning posting:

Decent morning down here.
Short-eared owl, high over the tip and being mobbed by a crow at 8am
Decent selection of migrant common warblers in Freeman's Wood.
Wheatear on high tide mark, 2 reed buntings at Bank Pool and 5 little egrets on the marsh.
Kingfisher at wildfowlers' Pools.
2 kestrels, 2 gadwall and tufted duck on Freeman's Pool.
Highlight was an osprey flying down the Lune at 11am.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Pain in the (wry)neck

Thought high tide would be a good time to catch sight of the Little Egrets, I was not disappointed, saw maximum of 10 after various counts over 30 mins, and possibly one or two more present as they were quite active. The Lapwing and Starlings being flushed by a Peregrine added to the atmosphere. 2 Greenshank very busy feeding on a shallow pool, they kept circling round a Grey Heron, which seemed totally unfazed. The hedge by Freeman’s Pool produced some goodies.

Marsh, high tide.
Little Egret 10.
Greenshank 2
Peregrine 1
Lapwing, Redshank, Curlew, Mute Swan.
Raven 2

Teal 8
Lapwing 1
Moorhen 3
Snipe 2

Wildfowlers’ Pools
Kingfisher 2
Green Sandpiper 1
Shoveler 1

Freeman’s Pools
Canada Geese 170/180
Greylag 30/35
Gadwall 1
Little Grebe 1
Usual Coot
Lesser Whitethroat 2
Chiffchaff 3
Great Spotted Woodpecker 2 in dead tree’s
Swallow, some heading south down river, others
seemed to be hanging around.


Today I made my last ever post-work visit to the patch, given that I am now officially unemployed.

A pair of gadwall and a female tufted duck were on Freeman's Pools along with all the usual suspects. A kingfisher was on the upper pools.
40+ swallow were feeding in the area.

Very little at the Wildfowlers' Pools mainly due to a hare-seeking lurcher and its attendant 'gent'.

8 egret were visible on the marsh, as were the 2 greenshank as seen by Steve earlier.

15 teal & 5 snipe were on the Flood.

Met a fellow birder who visits Aldcliffe infrequently (but given that he lives in Lincolnshire he still gets there more often than a lot of 'local' birders...) by the name of Matthew Strahan who, as well as reporting another kingfisher at the Wildfowlers' Pools and a sparrowhawk at Freeman's Wood, mentioned a wryneck that he and his father had seen at Walled Meadow last September - I later bumped into his dad by the marsh gate who also recounted the tale!
And I was only thinking the other day how nice it would be to see another wryneck at Aldcliffe - it's 20 years since I last saw one there! (03/09/89)

Jon C.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Egrets, I've had more than a few...

11 little egrets (largest ever recorded at Aldcliffe?) on Aldcliffe Marsh at 7.45am today.
Thanks to Joy for the report.


Excellent count, though we had 14 on October 10, 2008 on the marsh, earlier that day they were all on the Wildfowlers' Pool according to a dog walker.


Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Pishing about...

10.00am - 11.30am
Work happening on Freeman’s Pools.
Freeman’s Wood saw plenty of activity today. Spent an hour wandering around the bottom end where a number of warblers responded to a bit of varied pishing.
Chiffchaff 4
Willow Warbler 1
Linnet 1
Plenty of Chaffinch, Goldfinch.
Good number of Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits all responded to my pishing noises!
Blackbirds 12/15
Robins 5/7
Wren 3/4

Reed Bunting 2
Still a few Swallow in area.
Raven 2

Wildfowler’ Pool
Teal 12
Little Egret 3
Snipe 2
Usual Moorhen.

Flood saw just a few Mallard and Pied Wagtail 4.


Seems that the same group of birds were present in what is currently my favourite hedge this evening, as I too pulled out 4 chiffchaff and a willow warbler amongst a healthy tit flock. There were at least 40 birds in the flock feeding in the cycle track trees and aforementioned hedge near the viewpoint overlooking Freeman's Pools. The highlight amongst them was a rather late lesser whitethroat.

A flock of 22 swallow were buzzing about, presumably in advance of roosting in the maize field.

A green sandpiper was visible at the Wildfowlers' Pools as was a female shoveler and a handful of teal.

15 teal were on The Flood along with 5 snipe.

A little egret was on Aldcliffe Marsh.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Gadwall's well that ends well.

After a weekend without any visits to the patch I managed an hour after work this evening.

All the usual gubbins (coot, snipe, little grebe etc) was at Freeman's Pools though a small increase in wildfowl was evident, the highlight being a fine drake gadwall.

A green sandpiper was flushed by a dog walker doing the rounds at the Wildfowlers' Pools, as were a dozen teal and a female shoveler.

A bit of pishing drew a female blackcap out from a tit flock along the cycle track.

2 more teal, 3 snipe and few redshank were on The Flood.

Friday, 11 September 2009


Today saw an exceptional count of Buzzards 14 in total in just over 2 hours, one group of 8 over Jon’s house, followed by 3,1,2 and all followed the same route, climbed high then speeded south. My hope of an Osprey was satisfied as one passed fairly high overhead speeding south, it then appeared to join 2 further raptors way down river, but at that distance I could not identify, though they were of similar size.

Also of note,
Freeman’s Pool was busy with some grass cutting, not much around other than the usual Coot etc.
Rook 1
Meadow Pipit 4
Swallow, though less numbers than yesterday.
Sparrowhawk 1
Kestrel 1
Raven 2/3
Crow 40+
Lesser Whitethroat 2
Finch, seemed to be more around today, Green, Gold and Chaffinch.
Wood Pigeon 14/16

Darter Pool
Moorhen 2
Coot 1

Wildfowlers’ Pool
Green Sandpiper 3
Teal 5

Little Egret 3
Canada Geese.
Butterflies Comma, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell.


Excellent stuff Steve.
Just one more week to go and I'll be unemployed and able to get there during the day myself (for a couple of weeks anyway)!

My post-work visit was, by contrast, unremarkable with the following highlights...
A greenshank flew into the upper pools at Freeman's for a brief preen and nose about before heading back to the estuary.

2 green sandpiper were visible (and audible) at the Wildfowlers' Pools where an impressive, by Aldcliffe standards, 23 teal were also present plus a single shoveler and 4 snipe.

A pair of ravens were honking around over the Trig Point Hill.

A kestrel was hunting the area, as usual.



Thursday, 10 September 2009

Black Rook in 'Sunny' Weather...

Aldcliffe AM
An unusual pair of visitors to Aldcliffe, 2 Rooks, they were flying along the tidal bank.

Freeman’s Pool quiet, Coot, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Mallard.
Sparrowhawk in dead trees.
Chiffchaff in wood,
Jays 2.
Buzzard flying over.

Darter Pool saw Coot 1 and Moorhen 1

Wildfowler’ Pool
Usual Moorhen.
Grey Heron 1
Green Sandpiper 3
Teal 17
Kingfisher 1

Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Greenfinch a good number in area 8+.
Goldfinch 20+
Long-tailed Tit 7/8
Blue and Great Tit

Rook 2.
Raven 2
Snipe 12
Willow Warbler 1, Whitethroat 1, Greenfinch 3, Reed Bunting 2 in hedge’s.

Plenty of Swallows still in area. Also today quite a number of butterflies about, including 2 Red Admirals. Plus a number of Dragon Flies and Common Darters.


My post-work jaunt wasn't half as productive as Steve's, somewhat predictably.

Freeman's Pools was as could be expected until, that is, a tractor and mower turned up and started cutting some overgrown areas around the main pool. Most birds seemed alert but generally tolerant of the noisy site management, apart from the 5 snipe and teal which revealed themselves in panic.

A coot was with 2 moorhen on Darter Pool and 2 mute swan were on Frog Pond.

A kingfisher was at Wildfowlers' Pools - a pair of teal were the only other birds of interest present.

A little egret briefly popped its head out of a creek on the marsh but it was otherwise quiet there.

I bumped into Ray Hobbs who mentioned, amongst other things, that he'd seen the adult winter Med gull at Gull Bank a couple of days ago.

He also, like me, thinks that Bat For Lashes should really have won the Mercury.



Monday, 7 September 2009

High flyin' baby and other Groovies...


A quick post-work dash meant just a check of Freeman's Pools.

An increase in the number of mallard was evident - presumably as a result of shooting on the other pools? These 'protected' waters may well prove the essential bolt-hole for fleeing wildfowl in coming weeks.
2 little grebe, usual coots & moorhens etc.
A kingfisher was on the upper pool again, using the new fenced-off areas as a convenient perch.
Two green sandpiper dropped in from the north.
There were hundreds of swallows moving through, feeding high.


Early afternoon.
Started off well with a very exciting moment over the Marsh. All the Lapwing and Starling flushed by Peregrine and scanning above I noticed 2 Buzzards and just above them an Osprey climbing. Then all calmed down and the rest of the afternoon was fairly quiet.
Osprey, circling ascending high.
Buzzard 2
Peregrine 1
Sparrowhawk 1
Raven 2
Little Egret 2
Curlew 150/160
Canada Geese

Goldfinch 5
Reed Bunting 2
Blackcap 1
Plenty of Swallow

Wildfowler’, Flood and pools quiet.


Sunday, 6 September 2009

More of the same...

Sunday AM - Steve W
Ravens 2
Little Egret 2
Curlew 150/160
Pied Wagtail 2

Reed Bunting 4/5
Chaffinch 6/7
Goldfinch 8/9

Freeman’s Pool
Coot 13
Grey Heron 3
Mute Swan
Little Grebe 2


Had a walk with Jenny & our visiting friend Mark early afternoon.

A green sandpiper was in a wet field near the Fairfield Orchard and a little owl was showing well at the Admiralty Wood. Nuthatch and GS woodpecker here too.

4 little egret were on Aldcliffe Marsh but it was fairly routine stuff otherwise (lots of human activity).
Wildfowlers were building some new shooting blinds at Frog Pond... Looks like Aldcliffe may see an increase in shooting activity this season.

A later afternoon trawl around the patch was still quiet, though the adult winter Med gull was at Gull Bank.
2 egrets were still on the marsh and a single teal was on The Flood.

Jon C


Saturday, 5 September 2009

Kings & greens

Couple of hours trawling the patch this morning threw up the following:

Freeman's Pools
2 kingfisher
11 coot
2 little grebe
3 moorhen
1 heron
22 mallard
2 house martin & numerous swallows (plenty throughout the area)

Frog Pond
2 mute swan
6 mallard

Darter Pool
1 moorhen
2 reed bunting

Wildfowlers' Pools (very high water levels)
1 little grebe
2 teal
6 moorhen
16 mallard

The Flood (very flooded)
1 snipe

Aldcliffe Marsh
1 greenshank
2 green sandpiper
(obviously 'flooded out' of the pools)
5 dunlin
1 raven
usual high numbers of lapwing, redshank, curlew etc.

No sign of any Meds amongst the commoner gulls on the river.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


Managed a very quick & damp blast around the main sites on the patch after work this evening.

All as normal (coot, little grebe, heron, mute swan etc) at Freeman's Pools with the exception of a kingfisher, on the upper pools.

3 green sandpiper were visible from the cycle track at the Wildfowlers' Pools along with numerous mallard and 6 teal.

A redshank and curlew were the only birds on The Flood and a quick scan of the marsh revealed nothing of note.