Saturday, 29 January 2011

The Aldcliffe cycle.........

Friday. Ventured down the parish hoping for buntings and larks, alas not on my watch, but not all gloomy as I saw 3 Rock Pipits and a flock of 20 Linnet near the sewage works. A Peregrine appeared to be dozing on the pylon, must have had its fill. A Red breasted Merganser was on the river. A good 2500 Lapwing on the mud along with Golden Plover and Curlew mixed in.

Wildfowlers’ Pool was sparse apart from Moorhen. On the marsh, far side, were a good couple of thousand Pink footed Geese. Freeman's Pool had Tufted Duck 2, Goldeneye 4, Wigeon 2, Swan 2, Gadwall 2 and increasing numbers of Coot 15.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Roll on Spring.......

People busy with ground maintenance at the pools, though still plenty of birds on the water, with Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Shoveler, Little Grebe, Coot, Mallard, Swan and a dozen BH Gulls all present. I seem to remember last year the gulls looked like they were going to colonise the island, wonder what they will do this year? Wildfowlers’ Pool saw 300 Pink footed Geese and a dozen Canada's, a Little Egret was near the bank.

The track was quiet along with The Flood with only 3 Redshank present. On Aldcliffe Marsh were a good 2000 Lapwing, mixed in were Dunlin and Starling. Near the pylons was another Little Egret.
Some figures for the patch from WeBS on Sunday,
Swan 24
Lapwing 478, about 1500 over bypass fields, been 2500 on aldcliffe marsh this week.
Shelduck 5
Cormorant 7
Curlew 44
Canada 113
Greylag 300
Bh gull 44
Herr gull 2
Com gull 6
Mallard 20
Peregrine 2
Rock Pipit 2
Skylark 2
Blackbird 25
Starling 55
Dunnock 2
Robin 1
Great/Blue Tit up to 8 of each.
Pheasant 5
Reed Bunting 2 day before! (Guy)
Raven 1
Crow 7
Woodpigeon 30
Magpie 6

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


I mentioned just below, Crime Watch........, about Roe Deer being hunted by some unscrupulous morons with dogs, and asked anyone who witnesses a crime or has any information regarding a crime to contact Wildlife Liaison Officer, sadly, no doubt due to cutbacks, the post has seemingly ceased to exist. However, any information can still be passed on by ringing the numbers below and of course ring the police as normal if you witness a wildlife crime in progress.

Popped down yesterday for a short time, all more or less as it was on Monday, apart from 2 Peregrine Falcons, fingers crossed!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Dry but Wet.........

Had a cycle through the parish in the dry after the weekend deluge. Freeman's continues to get busier with......Gadwall 6, Tufted Duck 6, Lapwing 33, Little Grebe 2, Mute Swan 2, Coot 5, Goldeneye 6, Mallard 25, Shoveler 2, BH Gull 5, Comm Gull 1 and Grey Heron 2.
Water levels on the Wildfowlers' Pool were high after all the rain, still fairly quiet on here mind, today only saw 2 Shoveler and the usual Moorhen.

On the track were Bullfinch 2, Dunnock 2 and a number of Great/Blue Tits. Woodpigeons appear to building in numbers, up to 40 today. Starlings 60, with a good number of the far side of the river which were too mobile to count.
On the mud from Gull Bank up towards Snatchems were at least 2000 Lapwing, roughly 120 Golden Plover and 75 Dunlin. Gulls present 275 BH Gulls with a handful of Common Gull. On the far marsh was 1 Little Egret, 2 Raven, 6 Curlew and a dozen Shelduck. There was a Peregrine keeping a watchful eye on everything from the excellent vantage point of a pylon.

Barnacle geese

An irresponsible dog walker on the marsh flushed the barnacle geese during the late afternoon. The plus side of this was to allow me to get an accurate count of them in flight which showed that we now have 21 birds in residence. The rest of the patch was quiet with only a couple of goldeneye and tufties at Freemans pools and 2 shoveller on frog pond.


Friday, 14 January 2011

On the move.........

Quick cycle round the top end of the patch, things moving about with the pools all now ice free.
Freeman's Pool
Coot 3, Mallard 28, Pochard 1, Gadwall 3, Shoveler 3, Tufted Duck 1, Mute Swan 2, Goldeneye 3. Also, about 35 Woodpigeon feeding at various places. 
Marsh Point
 Saw BH Gull 250, LBB Gull 5, Comm Gull 15, Herr Gull 15, Lapwing 107 and a welcome return of 19 Oystercatchers. Starlings 114 also present. 
On the track was a flock of 8 Long-tailed Tit, Greenfinch 1 and 2 Bullfinch. All the geese were on the opposite side of the river, but there was 700 Lapwing to view. Curlew 5.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Crime Watch........

Freeman’s Pool was almost ice free and a number of birds present which was great to see, Gadwall 3, Teal 2, Goldeneye 2, Shoveler 1, Coot 1, Mute Swan 2, and Mallard 9. Grey Partridge 5 in the field next door, and the stubble fields saw plenty of Lapwings, approx 200 with a small flock of 40 Starling. The track was quiet with a couple of Greenfinch. I then noticed that the dead tree near the trig point had gone, shame as was often used as a vantage point for various birds such as Kestrel. Again the Wildfowlers’ Pool was empty apart from a Teal and Moorhen. The Flood was also dead; in the fields nearby were more Lapwings and a flock of 60 Starling. The hedge cutters were out in force again!
I was talking to a regular dog walker about the Roe Deer, which I tend not to mention on here so as not inform the bad guys of their presence, he was telling me of two deer recently killed by dogs, and he witnessed three blokes with dogs cornering a deer at the pools. If anyone sees poaching/wildlife crimes in progress please ring the police straight away, and any information/non-emergency can be passed onto the wildlife crime officer by telephoning 01524 63333 or 0845 1253545.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Thaw Blimey..........

Actual signs of a thaw today with the small pools free of ice. At the far end of Freeman's were 3 Shoveler, 2 Mute Swans and 15 Mallard. Good number of Blackbird and 2 Song Thrush. Marsh Point were 33 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. The track had a flock of Long-tailed Tits hurrying through the hedgerow and 3 Dunnock with 2 Bullfinch and a few Chaffinch hanging about. Last Tuesday I counted 9 Bullfinch on the track. Lapwings were busy in the stubble fields, 250, along with a few Redshank, Moorhen and Mallard. Darter Pool saw another 4 Shoveler, all male. Wildfowlers despite the thaw was quiet with just a handful of Teal, the field towards the marsh had about 120 Greylag. A Snipe flew over. A Sparrowhawk was also making its presence known.
The Flood was void of bird life while the fields towards the hill saw a good number of Lapwing. rough estimate 350, and gulls, mainly Black-headed 175. A few Shelduck were on the marsh and the usual geese/swan numbers. A Kestrel was hunting near the railway cutting. 
I popped down late one evening last week and managed to see Uranus which is in conjunction with Jupiter as well as the giant planets four main satellites Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, Jupiter has 63 confirmed moons to date!

Where did they come from?

2 common buzzards were seen just before dusk being mobbed by crows over trig hill. They looked like they were trying to find a quiet roost spot. Although buzzards are seen fairly frequently during spring and autumn and a couple seem to be resident at Lunecliffe/Deep Cutting it is fairly unusual to see them down here at this time of year.


Sunday, 2 January 2011

Happy New Year..............................

Waxwing yesterday, 21, courtesy of Dan, no sign this morning.
Barnacle Geese still present along with Greylags, Canada and Mute Swans. Freeman's Wood saw Treecreeper 2, Wren, Bullfinch, Robins, Great/Blue/Long-tailed tits, Song Thrush, Dunnock.
All fairly quiet really, pools all still frozen, lots of bikes, dogs and walkers, many managing to wander off the paths! Few Fieldfare, lots of Blackbirds, Chaffinch and an influx of Magpies, about 30 something.
Two Peregrines were at the pylons.
From LDBWS, 7 Grey Partridge in the field south of the bund at the Freeman's Wood crossroads, courtesy of eddybayton.
I seem to be missing quite a few good birds last few days, such is life!
Happy New Year all. Dan here!

A friend tells me there were at least four waxwings in hawthorns along the track today, but a little nearer Stodday than yesterday's larger flock. They were even flitting down to the high tide flotsam to glean something or other.

I think I might be right in saying that these are the first waxwing records for Aldcliffe proper. Waxwings seem to prefer to be close to amenities like supermarkets, schools and hospitals in Winter!

Here is my chum's record shot from this morning (almost as bad as one of mine!)