Thursday, 30 September 2010

Pea Brained Earwigs................

Bright idea!
Who gets the bill!
Exciting and crazy morning at Aldcliffe. As I was approaching Railway Crossing I noticed a bespoke camper/traveller van, which I have seen a few times down here, with a bloke (pea brained earwig) entering the van with what looked like a petrol container. I stood at the gate looking across over the marsh; the bloke then got in a car and drove off. I did think it looked all a bit odd. I then noticed the flames, rang 999, and prevented a fire which would have been much worse; the fire brigade were here in no time. There were vehicles parked nearby, how stupid or what! The van was half burnt out.
Bird wise, I noticed a few Skylarks and Meadow Pipits flying over, heading south. I struggle with identifying vismig, there was a very interesting bird flying high over the river, but hadn’t a clue! There were a number of Chaffinches, nothing like the numbers seen over Caton Moor and Heysham see LDBWS. Reed Buntings in the hedge and a good number of ticking Robins. A Little Egret was on the Marsh along with Curlews and Lapwings. At Gull Bank there were a few hundred Lapwing, a scan with the scope revealed 1 Grey Plover and 6 Golden Plover. A Grey Wagtail was on the track. Freeman’s Pool had the usual and the Wildfowler’ Pool had a Kingfisher, still a large amount of flood water throughout the area.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Water, water everywhere

visit at dusk
I hadn't realised how much rain came down last night until I saw the flood. It is at typical late autumn levels and the lower path is covered also. If we get a November like last year then most of the patch will be under water.
6 pied wags were at the flood..
30 black headed gulls and 2 common gulls were feeding on the fields with roughly the same proportions of lapwing to curlew
c. 30 swallows where in the Freemans pool area. Wonder if the roost in the maize?
2 kestrels looking for supper in Freemans pool area
Numerous robins ticking along the cycle track. Easily my favourite sound of the autumn....well except for goldcrests.


Wednesday, 22 September 2010


As with yesterday's rooks (only two seen today) this morning was about contenting oneself with locally scarce species in the absence of any tasty migrants.

Ringed plovers are hardly mindblowing but occur only rarely on our patch, so a party of 7 on the near riverbank by the pylons was a bonus of sorts.

Green sandpiper is a wader far more regularly encountered here, but none were on show today.

Around 800 lapwings were on Gull Bank, when not being scattered by peregrines, and a great crested grebe floated past on the incoming tide.

Best passerine was a lesser redpoll near Stodday, which later flew South with goldfinches and chaffinches. Indeed, there seemed to be a fair bit of finch passage mid-morning, more usual in late October.

Warblers comprised five chiffchaffs and a lesser whitethroat.

Three shovelers and a tufted duck were by the Wildfowler's Pools.


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The Rook of Rove.

Conditions were mild and mellow down the patch today. By midday warm sun broke through and dozens of black headed gulls began insect- feeding over Freeman's Wood and up to 10 migrant hawkers were hunting and pairing.

Rooks are not easy to come by at Aldcliffe, so a noisy roving party of 40 mainly 1st-winter birds are worth a mention.

I arrived late morning, seemingly at the tail end of an OK morning for visible migration. Meadow pipits were airborne and Southbound and a party of seven skylarks went over too.

A little later a common buzzard drifted over to the South.

Passerine-wise I couldn't find anything better than two tree sparrows, six chiffchaffs, a blackcap and a goldcrest.

And in terms of waders the highlights were a lone bar-tailed godwit, 4 greenshanks and two green sandpiper.


Saturday, 18 September 2010

Pishing in the wind

Amazed at what a week of westerlies does to the patch. I spent a good half hour pishing the  bushes round the abandoned football pitch. The only "quality" was a female blackcap and 2 coal tits.
The juvenile little grebes are still with their parents on Freemans pools.
A mystery wader flew off the flood and over the cycle track. It looked slightly rakish but a bit too small for a greenshank. I'll check it out again tommorrow. The blackberries make the place worth a visit even if the birding is a disappointment..


Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Wind stops play......

Wild week weather wise has slowed things down. Had a wander through the patch, Tuesday, and not a great deal to be seen. The flock of Wigeon on Freeman's Pool is steadily growing, 12, a couple of Gadwall and Tufted Ducks also present. The woods were particularly quiet compared with the weekend, I did notice about 40 Swallow flying about. The Flood had a single Green Sandpiper. There were plenty of gulls anchored down at various spots. A Raven flew over the empty main Wildfowler' Pool. There was also a couple of what I think were Common Hawkers on the track, near Darter Pool.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

A good spot

I set off from the car park near the flood at about 8 this morning.
2 green sandpipers were on the Flood.
1 juvenile lesser whitethroat was associating with a tit flock near wildfowlers where a kingfisher was sat over the pool. This is a good spot for breeding lesser whitethroat so I can't be sure if this was a local bird or a migrant.
1 chiffchaff and 1-2 willow warblers were with a seperate flock in the same area.
The little grebe pair were each feeding a chick on Freemans pool.
c. 20 snipe were about the area.
The area round the abandoned football pitch in Freemans had 6-8 blackcap, 5 chiffchaff, 2 goldcrest and a spotted flycatcher. With it's combination of elderberry, hawthorn and blackberry bushes and 2 apple trees and high sycamore which keep their leaves well in to November, this is the place to be on an autumn morning.
A coal tit was on the path down to Marsh point.
Raptor interest was provided by a kestrel over the maize fields, a sparrowhawk in Freemans and 2 peregrines down by the pylons.

Also, a few Wigeon on Frog Pond and a Raven over marsh.
Freeman's Pool 6 or so Wigeon and 3 Tufted Duck new in. There was also 3 Greenshank. A Merlin did a quick flyby before off over the Marsh, along with the Greenshank and the 45 Lapwing that were on the island!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Thursday Morning.....

Very high tide today, and good sized bore seen from Marsh Point, though not much bird wise happening. There were 6 Skylark on the sea defence and 1 Whimbrel near the pylons, a Common Sandpiper flew past. There was a Little Egret on the Flood and a few Snipe. Wildfowlers’ had 3 Little Egret and a Kingfisher. Freeman’s Pools were quiet, a Kestrel was hunting near the trees and the island had a mixture of Canada Geese and Lapwing.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

On a Whim

A warm sunny afternoon at Aldcliffe, but bird-wise it was no great shakes.

A tittering whimbrel using the marsh was the highlight. A species easy to connect with here during Spring passage, less so in Autumn.

A juvenile plumage sedge warbler was skulking around in some rushes and two green sandpipers were at the Wildfowler's Pools.

Odonata was more in evidence in the Indian Summer weather: Around 20 migrant hawkers were about, including two copulating pairs, a brown hawker and 20-25 common darters (one of which pictured above).


Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Our Bon 'Mot

Hello again. Dan here.

Not a bad morning in the parish, with the lovely wood sandpiper still gracing the pools. Green sand here too.

Three greenshanks were on Freeman's Pools, along with 3 gadwall and a kingfisher.

3 tree sparrows were near Darter Pool.

A bonny guillemot swam up with the rising tide as far as Stodday, where 2 green sandpipers and a wheatear were to be had.

A  little further upstream a stock dove was drinking, a little owl was squawking and a lesser whitethroat was in full song!

A rare expedition South of the pylons with Steve W followed, the highlight of which being 5 curlew sandpipers and a shoveler near the mouth of the Conder. Other warblers today comprised 5 chiffchaffs, 2 willow warblers, a whitethroat and a blackcap.

Sunday, 5 September 2010


Was initially disgruntled to have missed the Wood Sandpiper, as I had been visiting regularly and hoping for one. So I was very pleased when today, after a bit of a search, the Wood Sandpiper showed up on The Flood giving excellent views. There was also a Green Sandpiper and a few Snipe present. On the Wildfowlers’ Pool there were 2 Green Sandpipers and a Kingfisher, a Collared Dove was also present.

The Marsh was busy with all the usual birds, Greylag, Canada, Curlew, Redshank, Little Egret, Grey Heron and plenty of Snipe and good numbers of Lapwing. Freeman's Pool was quiet, usual Coot, Little Grebe and 2 Gadwall flew in. A female Kestrel was on the fence. Still a number of Swallows about.

Friday, 3 September 2010


Hello. Dan reporting.

My two best birds today were both sporting striking supercilia.

First was a gorgeous wood sandpiper, which was stalking the pools of the parish. I managed to get a couple of shots by poking my lens through the branches of a hedge.

Jon 'Canuck' Carter had 5 or 6 wood sands down Aldcliffe over the years, but this was only my second in 12 years. I phoned it in to RBA to be told that it had already been logged- three hours earlier. Old news!

Anyhoo, the second set of eyebrows was on a pleasant whinchat which was hunting the juncus by Freeman's Pools. Two kingfishers there also.

Other highlights included a merlin, three green sandpipers, thirty common snipe and the continued plague of juv willow warblers.