Tuesday, 31 January 2012


Dan here.

My vestiges of hope that the trio of snow geese might be wild vagrants melted as I snapped them at close range at Marsh Point today. We were all a bit too cosy.

I'd bet that the closest they've been to Greenland is the Iceland in Morecambe. A while after I took this they were to be seen grovelling at the foot of the tip with those huge baggy-bellied farm geese and the tamest of the greylags.

Anyway... enough of this hilarity. Some wild honkers were about with 300 pink-footed and 3 Eurasian white-fronted geese dropping onto Aldcliffe Marsh about midday, with several hundred more pinks seen on Colloway Marsh, and a thousand more seen in flight over the Oxcliffe area.


Monday, 30 January 2012

Knot my cup of tea...........

Brilliant cold sunny day. Freeman’s much as it was last visit, Tufted Ducks, Gadwall, Coot etc. Marsh Point was a treat with hundreds of birds, Knot 27 unusual for here,  Canada Geese 162, Greylag 110, Snow Geese 3 flew in had a quick look about then flew off down river, Lapwing 720, Golden Plover 4, Redshank 60, Oystercatcher 40, Curlew 1, Black-tailed Godwit 8,  BH Gull 60, Comm Gull 19, Herring Gull 16, LBB Gull 4.
The track was quiet with just a few Chaffinch. Wildfowlers’ Pool Coot and teal. The Flood saw Redshank 65, Shelduck 2, Mallard 8. The Marsh had 45 Curlew and 1 Little Egret. Gull Bank had Mediterranean Gull 1, BH Gull 160, Golden Plover 87, Dunlin 48, Lapwing 800 and a flock of 120 Starling flying over. Opposite bank were Little Egret 2, Pink-footed Geese 750 approx and did see 4 European White fronts possibly more. A pair of Goldeneye on the river. Found a dead bird looked like a Guillemot will have picture checked. Sewerage works Grey and Pied Wagtail.

Yesterday Little Owl Admiralty Wood and Redwing 6.

Update on dead bird, confirmed Guillemot. 


Saturday, 28 January 2012

Pink-Collar Worker

Dan here.

Five species of geese were using the saltmarshes this afternoon, including around 450 pink-footed geese.

One PG had been fitted with a collar, which, after a bit of 'scope-work was seen to read 'TNV'. No doubt this will have been collared on breeding grounds in Iceland. I'll forward the sighting and report here if any info comes back.

The touring threesome of white-morph snow geese were conspicuous, while five European white-fronts on Heaton Marsh and a further three on Aldcliffe Marsh blended in a little better.


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Think Pink...

Quick jaunt through the Parish today. Freeman’s Pool was quite lively with 20 or so Teal, 6 Tufted Duck, 6 Goldeneye, Mallard, Coot, Little Grebe, Heron and BH Gulls. The track was quiet, today a brisk wind was blowing and heavy rain sleet showers. On trig point hill sheltering from the very high tide were 125 Pink-footed Geese I separated out 5 European White-fronts amongst them. The Flood saw Curlew 48, Shelduck 3, dozen Mallard and 26 Redshank. A Buzzard, local, landed in the field.


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Snow Geese and Rockets..........

After a week ill and cabin fever well and truly set in I thought Aldcliffe is my best remedy. Thankfully all was still as it was, apart from the hedges which have been savagely cut back, cyclists be warned! Freeman’s Pool had Goldeneye 4, Little Grebe 2, Tufted Duck 6, Gadwall 5, Mallard, Coot and a Grey Heron, Kestrel did a fly by. A juicy pile of fresh manure had been dumped by the maize field entrance, more to come hopefully, and will attract more than the Chaffinch which I saw there today. The Flood was busy Shelduck 3, Redshank 10, Curlew 28, Pied Wagtail 2 and BH Gull 60. In the field next door a flock of 20 Pink footed Geese were joined by 15 Greylags and 3 Snow Geese giving excellent views, Dan had texted me earlier having seen them and 5 European White-fronted Geese.
As it was a big tide I predicted Rock Pipits and was pleased to find 4 near the walled meadow and a few at the sewage works. Wildfowlers’ Pool had Little Egret 1, Shelduck 2, Teal 5 and Moorhen 17. A Buzzard was circling above. Near the old snuff mill were Greenfinch and a flock of up to 25 Redwing.  A very enjoyable hour,  just the tonic.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Cold Fronts

Dan here.

Checked Aldcliffe Marsh from the Heaton side of the river this chilly afternoon, and was pleased to see sixteen European white-fronted geese (three 1st-winter birds) in the company of 80 pink-footed geese and 200 greylags.

I've been wondering whether we might see some white-fronts in the early weeks of 2012 given the influx we had in November. Nice birds.

A few waders were on the former tip throughout the day including 32 black-tailed godwits and around 200 lapwings.

It seems that the recent glossy ibis was last seen on the morning of the 12th.


Saturday, 14 January 2012

A Winter's Tale........

                                              Admiralty Wood. 

Great winter weather and had a trawl around the Parish with daughter Molly today. We made our way through Fairfield Orchard where a great number of volunteers busied themselves,  the path is now open, was chatting to one of the main organisers and he had seen a number of Snipe. It looks a bit bare at the moment and will come into its own in a few years when everything grows.  They have created three scrapes, planted hedges and more.
Making our way down to the river we saw Nuthatch near the village. In the field was a mixed flock of gulls, Lapwing and Starlings. We walked along the river bank towards Marsh Point and made a note of birds, Little Egret 2, Shelduck 17, Curlew 14, Redshank 8, Mute Swan 32, Greylag Geese 143, Canada Geese 84, Oystercatcher 69, Lapwing 335, Grey Heron 3, Cormorant 2, BH Gulls 49, LBBG 6, HerrG 5, CommG 6, Black-tailed Godwit 23, Goosander 4, Mallard 7, Starling 130.
No sign of the Glossy Ibis the area was frozen. Freeman’s Pool had a few Gadwall of note.
Yesterday Redwing 16 near Lunecliffe. Buzzard, Kestrel and Ravens 2 at river.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Glossy Display.....

Got the news last night, via Mike Lynch LDBWS site, that a Glossy Ibis was feeding at the back of Keyline builder’s merchants. Popped down at 10-ish to find Dan already getting excellent views of the bird. The bird tended to be just by the fence and looked superb. Dan mentioned it was an adult, speckled neck, and no ring. Great patch tick, and then I got thinking about roost potential and headed to Skerton Weir Heronry at dusk, and after dozens of Cormorants had flown in the Ibis appeared, double patch tick, great day.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Hello Kitty!

Dan here.

A 2nd calendar-year kittiwake was feeding on the river with a few black-headed gulls off Marsh Point late morning.

This attractive maritime gull can be numerous at Heysham in times of strong onshore winds (a respectable 44 today), but Aldcliffe kitts are a much scarcer proposition. My first here, at least.

Around four hundred pink-footed geese were on the marsh, along with over six-hundred lapwings.

A great black-backed gull was making a baleful noise as it mobbed a buzzard near Freeman's Wood.


Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Hunkering for better weather.......

Happy 2012 to all,  here’s to a prosperous birding New Year.
Freeman’s Pool had six Gadwall, Coot, Mallard, Swan, 2 Wigeon, 1 Oystercatcher and a few gulls. At Marsh Point a Little Egret was making slow headway in the very windy conditions, eventually giving up and landing opposite. Fields saw a few Crows, Magpies and Chaffinch. Hedges were quiet with only Wren, Blackbird seen in the foul weather. On the marsh were a further 2 Little Egret, Curlew and on the mud flats a couple of thousand Lapwing. The Flood had 1 Redshank and 42 BH Gulls. Further down river towards the pylons it was much the same, quiet as the weather deteriorated. 9 Blackbirds near sewage works.  Hunkered down Buzzard perched on fence post.