Monday, 29 December 2014

White-front Wonderland

Another cold night meant more frost and iced-over pools, so I got out nice and early today.

At Freeman's Pools many of the birds were hugging the banks. These included 8 wigeon, 41 teal, 22 mallard, 17 gadwall, 3 tufted duck and 2 little grebes. Coot numbers remain steady at around the 40 mark. The upper pools were frozen over so there was nothing there.

I've been half-expecting a wandering bittern or Cetti's warbler to appear in the reed areas lately; they're my new favourite candidates in the 'Next New Bird For Aldcliffe' sweepstake...

White-fronted geese with greylags & Canada geese
The sound of geese coming off the estuary had me rolling my eyes - I'd decided to give my back a rest and leave the 'scope at home today, given the total absence of such birds over the past two days.
Walking along Dawson's Bank I soon spotted a group of c450 greylag and Canadas grazing on the river's edge.
A quick scan through with binocs and I could just about pick out the 5 Eurasian white-fronted geese among them. Even at range they stood out reasonably well among the larger greylags.
There were few other geese around initially, though a decent sized skein of pinkfeet dropped in later.

The ice cover meant that most of the smaller areas of water were frozen and bird-free. Just a few waders including curlew, lapwing, redshank and dunlin were feeding in the fields near the Flood.
Songbird activity along the cycletrack was fairly minimal with a handful of fieldfare joining the numerous blackbirds in the hawthorns. A party of 5 bullfinch were near the Wildfowlers' Pools along with a scattering of goldfinch, chaffinch and greenfinch.

A real sign of cold-weather movement was the flock of 31 skylarks in the stubble field - it's quite a rare sight to see numbers like this on the patch in winter these days!


Sunday, 28 December 2014

Winter Of Discontent

Following sightings of the 5 white-fronted geese on Christmas Day (Pete Crooks) and Boxing Day (Graham Jones) I headed off to Aldcliffe Marsh yesterday with expectations of getting a few snaps of the birds. Unfortunately, someone had seemingly pre-warned them and the Aldcliffe area was completely bereft of ansers.
Well, not completely - there were 5 Canadas and single greylag. Great.
In fact I probably spent two-and-a-half of the most boring birding hours I've endured for ages. This has got to be the dullest winter since, well, last winter. Even the drop in temperature hasn't been significant enough to drive anything in and the number of birds on the pools has barely altered in weeks.
A few redwing and fieldfare brightened up the morning as they flitted about the hawthorns.
The recent high tides had thrown up a decent rack of stuff for smaller birds to forage in and tideline feeders included goldfinch, chaffinch, pied wagtail, meadow pipit and a couple of reed bunting.

Minus 0 temperatures overnight had me stepping out again this morning, as always in the hope that there might be something 'new in' on the patch. Freeman's Pools were much as I'd left them the previous day; the only 'good' bird was a woodcock flushed from the pathside in Freeman's Wood.
I met Pete Crooks at Marsh Point and we headed along Dawson's Bank once again noting the absence of geese. A couple of small groups of pinkfeet and a small skein of greylags were the only geese seen. Presumably the whitefronts have moved off with the large groups of Canadas and greylags - maybe into the Lune Valley? I expect they may yet return...
On the estuary and the surrounding fields were good numbers of lapwing, golden lover, curlew and redshank plus a few dunlin here and there. We couldn't dig out any Meds from the assembled black-headed gulls and had to make do with getting excited about a couple of sparrowhawks and the occasional little egret


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Good News For Freeman's Wood

The following (in italics) is a summary from a Green Party leaflet posted to Marsh area residents earlier this week.

In 2012 the Friends of Freeman's Wood & Coronation Field (FFW) submitted an application to Lancashire County Council for three footpaths across the field which have been fenced off. The group had gathered evidence from local people who had been using these paths 'as of right' for decades.
Last week (17th Dec) the County Council's Regulatory Committee agreed to take the first step toward adding these paths to their definitive map of public rights of way.
Obviously the land-owner will object and will certainly attempt to prevent the footpaths from being approved. 
The FFW want to hear from others who have used this now fenced-off area for recreational purposes prior to 2011.

I have many years' worth of birding and general wildlife records from this area dating back to the late 1980s. I will be summarizing this info and making it available in an attempt to prevent this land from being developed and would urge anyone who has accessed this great area over the years to also provide details.
Not only has this plot of land attracted such cracking birds as subalpine warbler, yellow-browed warbler, hobby and great grey shrike but also holds a host of nesting species including tawny owllesser whitethroat and sedge warbler plus amber listed breeders including whitethroat and bullfinch. Wintering short-eared owl and woodcock also occur frequently. Mammals include brown hare and roe deer.

If you wish to add your voice to the weight of this campaign to keep the area open for public use you can email the FFW secretary Emily Heath at


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Geese Are Getting Fat

Eurasian white-fronted geese
Following the discovery of 5 Eurasian white-fronted geese on the Lune on Friday, I headed off to Aldcliffe Marsh this morning with the hope that they may still be around. Initially seen from the Golden Ball on the Oxcliffe side of the river, the quintet were apparently associating with greylags, rather than pinkfeet.
I eventually discovered the whitefronts grazing toward the river's edge about halfway between Marsh Point and Aldcliffe Hall Lane.
They were distant, but I managed a couple of digi-scope record shots. Also among the usual mass of Canada geese and greylags were just a handful of pink-footed geese plus at least 6 orange-collared greylags.

Whooper swans
The expected groups of mute swan on Aldcliffe Marsh had attracted a pair of whooper swans - earlier a flock of 7 had passed over but continued on toward Glasson.
Good numbers of redwing and fieldfare were feeding in the hawthorns. In the maize fields 7 stock doves continue to be a regular sight.
In the wet fields black-headed and common gulls were feeding but there no Med gulls among them.
A few oystercatcher and redshank were scattered among 112 curlew, all busily probing the soft earth.

Collared greylag
At Freeman's Pools there was a slight increase in the number of tufted duck, now numbering a barely impressive seven. Half a dozen wigeon, 19 gadwall and the usual teal and mallard were also joined by a single goldeneye.
Several of the little grebe seemed to have moved out, leaving just a couple on the pools.
The lone Canada goose with the pink ring seems to have succumbed; its lifeless form was being methodically picked over by a couple of carrion crows on the island.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Distant Drum(lin)s

With an eye of the high mid-day tide I headed off for a spot of Aldcliffe birding late morning.
The most two most notable things today were the numbers of winter thrushes and finches and the presence of several hundred pink-footed geese in the fields.
For the first time in quite a while I was coming across actual flocks of chaffinches; starting with 20+ along the footpath from the Millenium Orchard up to the Admiralty Wood near Aldcliffe hamlet. There was a report of brambling from here yesterday on the FAUNA blog but I couldn't locate any today. I did notice that that were 3 linnet and a couple of greenfinch among the chaffinches and that they were feeding in the weedy areas of the arable field. An area well worth keeping an eye on over the winter.
All the way down Aldcliffe Hall Lane and along the cycle track and into Freeman's Wood there were yet more chaffinches, linnets and greenfinches in varying numbers. More notable still were the many blackbirds, along with smaller numbers of song thrush, redwing and fieldfare.

Pink-footed geese on the Aldcliffe drumlins
Up on the drumlins there were around 800 or so pink-footed geese but as I only had my bins with me a thorough scrutiny was out of the question. At that range, in good light, at least I could see that there was nothing as obvious as a barnacle goose lurking among the ranks, but the odd beans or even whitetfront would be tricky to say the least. If they stick around I may get chance to 'scope them tomorrow...

At Freeman's Pools it was business as usual with no new arrivals to excite a local patch birder.
Nearby 6 skylarks were buzzing around the maize fields while 4 grey partridge were feeding in an adjacent field. Another small covey of 4 partridge were also in fields up nearer the village.
Just a lone common snipe was at Snipe Bog and the dearth of rock pipits was in no way compensated by the single meadow pipit by The Channel.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Red Rings Read

Freeman's Pools at Dusk
For a number of weeks now I have been making regular dusk visits to Freeman's Pools in search of owls. So far, I haven't had any success but it's still early days. At the very least I'm hoping for a wintering barn owl, while short-eared owl also has a good track record at the site. And of course, a repeat of the long-eared owl action we witnessed back in 2009 would be most welcome!
Dusk is an interesting time even still with many species still very active into darkness. A kingfisher was attempting to catch one last meal of the day in very poor light and both kestrel and sparrowhawk were putting in plenty of effort. The kestrel struck lucky with a field vole, while the sparrowhawk failed an attempt to snatch a starling from the mini-murmuration taking place over the pools. Meanwhile a stoat was snaking its way through the waterside vegetation.
A few more cold nights and we may well see an migrant owl or two appearing on the patch as they head for food-rich coastal areas.

Frosty Freeman's Pools
The frosty start to the day made quiet a welcome change this morning. However, I think we'll need a few more days of sustained cold conditions if we're going to see much wildfowl movement in the Aldcliffe area.
Things were much the same on the ponds and pools this morning, with the usual number of coot, gadwall, mallard, tufted duck, teal and little grebe present. A single goldeneye was on one of the upper ponds and a kingfisher was again at the sluiced pool. A pair of reed bunting were busy extracting seeds from the reed heads.
Elsewhere, a great-crested grebe was on the Lune off Marsh Point and the wintering greenshank was out on the marsh.
Four grey partridge were feeding in the fields and a common buzzard was cruising around searching for something to eat. 3 siskins flew over toward Freeman's Wood and a party of 4 bullfinch were in the hawthorns along the cycle track. All the expected winter thrushes were seen in varying numbers.
Several hundred geese, presumably pinkfeet, were wheeling around in the distance somewhere over Oxcliffe / Heysham, while the usual gaggle of greylags and Canada geese were scattered around the marsh. The bar-headed goose was among these.

Talking of geese, there were two Canadas on Freeman's Pools today, each sporting both a BTO metal and a red darvic ring. Whether the original lone goose of recent weeks has been joined by another ringed individual, or the lone goose has gone and been replaced by two 'new' ringed birds I cannot say. Regardless, I was able to read the letters on these two birds' rings and will doubtless discover their origins to be no further than than Windermere, where a ringing project has been in place for some time. 


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Snooping For Snipe

FAUNA Nature Reserve, Lancaster
On Monday morning I joined in with the monthly snipe flush at the FAUNA nature reserve in Lancaster.
During the winter months a small number of volunteers (usually just 2-3 people) systematically walk the boggy areas of the reserve in order to put up any snipe so that they can get an accurate count of the number of birds using the site.

We started off well, flushing 3 woodcock in an area of Upper Sowerholme where this species has been seen in the past. The presence of three woodcock here strongly suggests that this could be a regular wintering area for a small number of these elusive birds.
Next we worked our way through School Pond, putting up an impressive 47 common snipe and a single jack snipe. There were also 20 teal here.
A further 23 common snipe and another jack snipe were flushed from Big Meadow.

As temperatures drop and winter sets in, it seems likely that could see notable increases in the number of snipe roosting here. It will certainly be interesting to see how many birds are found on counts in January and February. I for one, will be more than happy to join Graham, Glenys and Paul on their future snipe quests.


Sunday, 30 November 2014

Sunny Delights

A quick blast around the patch yesterday revealed little to add to the previous day's sightings.
The pochard (pictured) was still present at Freeman's Pools, though there was no sign of it there this morning (Sunday).
A kingfisher was present on the upper pools today, but otherwise things were pretty much as normal with half a dozen wigeon (pictured), 3 tufted duck, 19 gadwall, 27 teal, 7 little grebe, and 30 coot.

Snoozing pochard
3 grey herons were on the gravel island and a little egret was fishing on the sluiced pool.
A kestrel was doing the rounds as was a female sparrowhawk, scattering the handful of fieldfare and a couple of mistle thrush in the process.
Yesterday's passerine highlight was the single siskin that came over from the other side of the river and headed for Freeman's Wood.

A raven was circling over the Lune late morning; all I could make out on the saltmarsh were the usual mix of greylags, Canada geese and mute swans.
On the river I searched through the black-headed, common and herring gulls but found nothing of note among them, unless one counts the odd wintering lesser black-backed gull.
Grey partridge continue to feed in the fields in and around the maize stubble.

That Canada goose was again hanging around the island at Freeman's Pools but on both of my visits today and yesterday it stayed either partly, or fully, in the water.
As can be seen in the pic, the top of the darvic ring on its left leg is just visible.
Despite my being armed with a 'scope its 'pinkie' ring remains unread.


Friday, 28 November 2014

Diving Duck Debut

Highlights from a morning visit included my first pochard of the season on Freeman's Pools. Also there were 3 tufted duck, 19 gadwall, 7 little grebe and an increase in coot number to 38.

The lone Canada goose that has been in residence on the pools for a couple of weeks now was out of the water and I could see that it was sporting a pinky/orangey darvic ring on its left leg.
I've been curious as to why this bird stays on the pools while hundreds of Canadas and greylags hang out on the marsh. My first impressions of this goose were that it was slightly smaller and more delicately built than the usual gang and perhaps this ring indicates that it is of captive origin? I couldn't see any other rings or whether the coloured ring bore any digits as I only had my binocs - maybe it's a genuine North American vagrant? (I'm not holding my breath...). Hopefully I'll get to 'scope it and see something more definitive in the coming days or weeks.

A green sandpiper was on the Wildfowlers' Pools with good numbers of teal, and 4 grey partridge were in the stubble fields.

Otherwise it was a pleasant enough morning, but ultimately there was little to set the pulse racing.


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Obese Geese

Hi. Dan again.

Just a quick visit today.

Yesterday's Greenshank and Chiffchaff were still around. A male Blackcap was eating haws near Stodday.

A female Merlin was in the north of our patch (as per Pete Marsh- probably the same one as yesterday) and the Bar-headed Goose was with Greylags on the marsh.

The injured white-morph Snow Goose was on the river's edge of Colloway Marsh in some insalubrious company-- a limping Greylag and some baggy-bellied white farmyard types.


Saturday, 22 November 2014


Dan here.

Of course the blog title refers not to the type of precipitation (it was drizzle) but to that time of year when I wonder about the provenance of snow geese.

I spied one over on Colloway Marsh this afternoon. Mostly feeding on its Todd (goose joke!) it was joined by a single Greylag for a while. The white-morph appeared to have a damaged wing.

There was a fair bit of goose activity in general, with a good few hundred pinkfeet flying around at high tide. Some appeared to land over the river at Oxcliffe. Many feral geese were mobile on the Aldcliffe side.

A brown Merlin in hunting mode was my first of the season here. A late (or wintering) Greenshank was a pleasing sight.

Highlights at Freeman's Pools were a Kingfisher, Water Rail (sounds), 19 Gadwall, 30 Teals, two Wigeon and a Goldeneye. A Rock Pipit flew overhead, as did two Golden Plovers and a rather late male Common Darter dragonfly.

Goldcrests numbered three at Freeman's Wood and three at Stodday. A Chiffchaff (pictured below) was near the sewage works where four Grey Wagtails, twenty Redshank and a Raven were present.

Around fifteen Fieldfares were moving to and fro (often harried by Sparrowhawks) and two Redwings, two Song Thrushes and 20 Blackbirds were in evidence.


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

More Of The Same

A glorious sunny morning saw me scouting around Aldcliffe once more but there wasn't a great deal to be added to yesterday's tally.
Once again several goldcrests were in Freeman's Wood along with the usual bullfinch, long-tailed tits, treecreeper, etc.
A green sandpiper was on the upper ponds at Freeman's Pools, while the main water had attracted a trio of tufted duck (1 drake, 2 ducks). 3 meadow pipit were zipping around.
Four stock doves were feeding in the stubble fields but finch / bunting / sparrow numbers remain incredibly low there. A couple of skylarks passed over.

Darter Pool
Darter Pool was hosting a surprising mix of wildfowl with a pair of goldeneye and 2 female tufted duck among a gang of mallard and a lone teal.
There were good numbers of teal at the Wildfowlers' Pools but The Flood was only hosting a pair of redshank and half a dozen moorhen.
A quick scan of the marsh revealed the bar-headed goose in-residence and a sizeable, if distant, gaggle of pinkfeet.


Monday, 17 November 2014

I'm Alright Jack

Managed a good 3 hours or so trawling around the patch this morning where conditions were, on the whole, reasonably mild, calm and bright.
I came across at least 6 goldcrests in Freeman's Wood along with the usual common stuff including jay, great-spotted woodpecker and treecreeper.
At Freeman's Pools there were 23 gadwall, 24 coot, 7 little grebe and single each of goldeneye and tufted duck as well as the expected other bits and pieces. Around 50 lapwing were on the island.
The usual mass of greylag and Canada geese were out on Aldcliffe Marsh where I once again spotted the bar-headed goose (pictured).

 Among the many greylags I was able to read the letters on all 4 of the collared geese I could find. As I've mentioned previously on these pages, these birds were fitted with these distinctive orange collars at Windermere. Researchers are trying to determine the movements of this particular group of birds and it will certainly be interesting to find out what these geese get up to at various times of the year.

 A flock of c140 pink-footed geese came in (presumably from grazing in the Oxcliffe area? - or further afield?) and settled on the marsh.

As yet I haven't seen any common snipe in Snipe Bog this autumn / winter, but a single jack snipe was a nice find there today.

Other stuff seen around the area included peregrine, sparrowhawk, kestrel, fieldfare, little egret and skylark.  


Saturday, 15 November 2014


Hello. Dan here.

Spent a couple of hours at the western viewpoint for Freeman's Pools this afternoon.

While I was there I noted singles of Water Rail, Green Sandpiper, Kingfisher and Siskin. A Goldeneye was the pick of the ducks.

A Rock Pipit was heard, 10 Pinkfeet dropped onto the marsh (where Jon's Bar-headed Goose is still in residence), and two Goldcrests were at the edge of Freeman's Wood.


Friday, 14 November 2014

You're Barred.

I learned two new things this morning. My new wellies are fully waterproof as expected, and my old 'waterproof' trews are way past their best...

Other exciting revelations while birding Aldcliffe in the downpour included the discovery of a bar-headed goose among 400 or so greylags on the marsh by The Creek.

Now, my memory is a bit leaky at the best of times so I'm not entirely sure whether I've seen this species on the patch before. Aldcliffe has an unenviable list of dodgy fence-hopping wildfowl to its credit and while this commonly kept exotic honker has certainly occurred here in the past (in 2012 during my 'Canada years' at least) but I'd probably have to trawl through hordes of old notebooks to confirm whether I've clocked one myself.

Bar-headed goose on the loose. Pic by Swati Kulkarni
Of course the bar-headed goose is rightly famed for its amazing migratory prowess. This species is known to fly higher than any other bird on the planet, crossing the Himalayas and even passing over Everest. However, I expect our friend on Aldcliffe has traveled no further than from Grange duck pond...

Other highlights were very few - in fact the only thing really worthy of mention were the pair of kingfishers on the upper ponds at Freeman's Pools. 


Photo courtesy of Swati Kulkarni's Flickr page

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Love A Duck

Howdo, Jon here.
After yet another involuntary absence of sorts I managed to squeeze in a couple of visits to the patch this week for some much-needed Aldcliffe birding. It's good for my soul...

On Sunday I spent a good couple of hours checking all the usual haunts, but other than a few semi-notable birds-of-strictly-local-interest it was fairly standard fair.
Highlights included:
2 pink-footed geese were among the many hundreds of greylags and Canada geese on Aldcliffe Marsh. Also on the marsh were good numbers of lapwing, golden plover and redshank, alongside smaller groups of dunlin and curlew and 2 black-tailed godwit.
21 gadwall, 2 wigeon, 3 tufted duck and my first 'patch' goldeneye of the season were on Freeman's Pools. The usual multiple little grebe, coot, moorhen, mallard and teal were also present, as was a young male roe deer.
At least 5 grey partridge were being very active, flying around the maize fields and constantly calling.  
A water rail was heard squeeling in Reedy Corner but remained typically unseen.
A couple each of skylark and rock pipit were the only passerines of note other than a handful of redwing and a lone fieldfare feasting in the hawthorns.

Following an enjoyable hour and a half leading a bird walk around the FAUNA reserve and area on Monday morning I headed off to Aldcliffe once again to see if anything much had changed in the past 24 hours.  (Click HERE for species list).
There were 4 snipe on the Flood and a small flock of 18 linnet nearby, while a couple of small flocks of fieldfare bounced from hedgerow to hedgerow.
A kestrel was hunting around the area and a sparrowhawk was patrolling the pathway hedges.
On Freeman's Pools a fourth tufted duck had dropped in as had 5 shoveler.
A kingfisher was on the upper pools. 

Monday, 3 November 2014

Sylvan Scenes



Dan here. Happy November!

A quick walk around Freeman's Wood today turned into a two-hour session.

Highlights were a party of six Bullfinches (eating rather decayed blackberries), one or possibly two Chiffchaffs, a female Blackcap, two Goldcrests and two Coal Tits.

Thrushes comprised 12 Redwings, two Song Thrushes and 25 Blackbirds.

Also noted were a Jay, a pied pecker, 10 Long-tailed Tits and one each of Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. A skein of 65 Pink-footed Goose headed S overhead.

Freeman's Pools was hosting a Goldeneye (my 1st of the season) plus 15 Gadwall, 12 Little Grebes and a Snipe.


Friday, 24 October 2014

Aldcliffe BO


Dan here.

For no good reason, my Aldcliffe sightings from this morning will summarised in the Walney Obs style.

Goose Passage to the Fore

24th October 2014- light cloud and sunshine SW 2/3/4

Observations off the bank of the Lune on the rising tide revealed no auk species, 3 Cormorants and some seagulls.
Grounded Migrants
 4 Goldcrest, 3 Redwings, 6 Song Thrush and a Chiffchaff were logged.
Diurnal Migration
1,100 Pink-footed Goose, 3 Whooper Swan, 2 Grey Wagtail and small numbers of Skylark, Tree Sparrow and Siskin were on the move.
Wildfowl and Waders
Freemans Pools Gadwall numbers continue to build with 19. A Green Sandpiper continues to linger. Other waders included 160 Golden Plover, 2200 Lapwing and 50 Dunlin.
A Peregrine and a Kestrel were menacing Redshank and a Rock Pipit was heard. Also seen were a Red Admiral and 20 Linnet.


Monday, 20 October 2014

Super Duper Whooper Troop Scoop

The clear highlight from a trundle around the Aldcliffe patch today was the sight and sound of 6 whooper swans moving steadily through parish airspace. The half dozen honkers carried on in a SSW direction and were presumably heading for the more glamorous environs of Glasson or Cockersands...
Once again I grilled every tit and finch flock, and once again found nothing to get the pulse racing. One long-tailed tit gang along the cycle track was dragging along a single goldcrest and a treecreeper but the sizeable mixed flock in Freeman's Wood was made up solely of the expected commoner species.
There were a few more redwing around today, with ones and small groups scattered around the patch, primarily in the many well-fruited hawthorns.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Swift Surprise

Yesterday I spent a fair chunk of time scouring the area around Stodday ETW; once again in the vain hope of locating a yellow-browed warbler. With several scattered around the country, and individuals being found recently at Heysham Obs, Sunderland Point and Leighton Moss, it seems only reasonable that one could be flitting around somewhere on this side of the river.
Problem is, if they don't call (as neither of the two I saw on the Scillies did last week) these tiny wee sprites can be very difficult to locate, especially when it's it breezy. Which, I think it's fair to say, it has been.
With the mission failed I headed over to Conder to meet Stuart Meredith from Ribble Bird Tours, who had generously lent me his pager when he left the Scilly Isles last week. The theory was that should a mega show up somewhere on the islands we'd at least get to hear about it straight away, as opposed to several hours later in the pub.
Birds at Conder included a spotted redshank and a ruff.

Today (Sunday), I concentrated my efforts back in Freeman's Wood and around Aldcliffe. Despite coming across a couple of decent tit-flocks I couldn't pull any phylloscs out of the bag. In fact I didn't even find any goldcrests today.
Five herons were on the island at Freeman's Pools while the water held a couple of tufted duck, 6 gadwall, 11 little grebes, 5 snipe and 23 coot. A green sandpiper was on the upper pools.
Among the large numbers of jackdaw and carrion crow in the maize fields I picked out just one rook, and 6 stock doves were a nice sight. 3 grey partridge were seen nearby.
The title of Most Unexpected Bird of the Day went to a common swift, battling against the winds. Of course swifts at this time of year are well worth a thorough checking, but there was nothing to suggest that this bird was anything out of the ordinary (beyond the very late date).


Friday, 17 October 2014

A-maizing Greys

After a week on the Scillies, desperately trying (and spectacularly failing) to find some heart-stopping vagrants, it was back to the old routine and a couple of hours spent birding Aldcliffe this morning.
Since I last had a root about the patch just over a week ago, the number of teal and mallard have increased notably. The other big change is that the maize has been harvested and the resulting stubble was attracting plenty of avian attention.

 Among the many greylag and Canada geese picking through the dropped corn were 6 pink-footed geese. Another group of 21 pinkfeet were flying around, but decided not to put down in the fields. The number of corvids was through the roof; all carrion crows and jackdaws.
Smaller grain gobblers included around a dozen each of chaffinch and reed bunting, plus 8 skylarks and 6 tree sparrows.
On Freeman's Pools there remain at least 11 little grebe and 6 gadwall along with the regular resident coots, moorhens, mallard etc.
Despite my best efforts I couldn't find a yellow-browed warbler in Freeman's Wood. A non-calling bird would be very tricky to locate at the moment with the amount of leaves still gracing the sycamores and other deciduous trees. The only things of note that I did come across were a couple of redwing and 3 goldcrests. Oh, and a snipe. And 3 roe deer.



Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Turdus for Birders

Hi. Dan here.

A fleeting visit today revealed that the first Redwings of the season have arrived. Five were in Freeman's Wood.


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Hard To Swallow

An hour or so trawling around the patch yesterday morning certainly felt different. Up until 3 days ago there were still numbers of common darters and migrant hawkers zipping around, while red admirals and a painted lady were busy cruising the brambles.  It felt like summer was drawing to a very lazy close. Then POW.
Yesterday was the first time in months that I didn't see a single swallow, the wiser birds having legged it before things turned nasty. There were of course still a few chiffchaffs tagging along with the tit flocks and a handful of goldcrests were also in and out of the hedges.
Gadwall numbers on Freeman's Pool had risen to 10 but otherwise duck numbers seem to be slow in building up.
A few meadow pipits were on the move but more significantly I had my first rock pipits (2) of the season near the Creek.
The small flock of 19 pink-footed geese present on the marsh late last week had moved on, presumably to join the 40-odd thousand at Martin Mere...
The lapwing, golden plover and starling flocks on the estuary were kept exercised by hunting peregrine, sparrowhawk and kestrel.
The green sandpiper was on Frog Pond, before moving on to the Flood.

That's it for me for several days now. It's now up to the other regular Aldcliffe birders to find a yellow-browed warbler or Richard's pipit - I'm off to the Scillies where my chances of coming across either of those scarce birds (and many others) will be significantly improved...


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Birding Aldcliffe Catches On...

The following birds were noted on Sept 29th by new regular Aldcliffe patcher Jonny Scragg, who will be contributing to this site frequently. 

A very nice morning spent around Aldcliffe, my first visit to the patch after moving into my new house in Lancaster yesterday. Highlights between 8:30-13:00 included:

Vis-mig (all south)
93+ Pink-footed Geese (16, 26, 51 and a heard only flock)
2 Grey Wagtail
5 Alba Wagtail
3 Chaffinch
5 Skylark (seem to be migrants rather than local)
12 Swallow
1 Reed Bunting
11 Meadow Pipit (surprisingly few)

2 Oystercatcher over
2 Snipe over
2 Mistle Thrush

Freeman's Wood
2 Goldcrest

Freeman's Pool
Tufted Duck
2 Wigeon
4 Teal
8 Little Grebe
1 Pheasant

female Goosander upriver of Marsh Point
c10 Little Egret

2 Wheatear and a Stonechat along the tide edge

Gull Bank
173 Golden Plover
4 Little Egret

Stodday Sewage Works
Chiffchaff singing
2 Goldcrest
9 Tree Sparrow

Wildfowlers' Pool
Little Grebe
5 Swallow
2 Goldcrest along hedgerow

Frog Pond
Tufted Duck
5 Teal

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Reed On

Hello-- Dan again.

I was able to give the parish more attention this morning, but not a lot seemed to be happening.

Best find was a Reed Warbler feeding in hawthorn bushes by the sewage works-- it's been a good autumn for this species.

Golden Plovers on the estuary mud numbered 130. Eighteen Black-tailed Godwits flew south and 5 Snipe flew east.

Vis was quite limited, with just 70 Meadow Pipits S in four hours. 32 pinkfeet went south and 22 headed north. Two Jays flew N over Stodday.

Today was my first blank visit for vis mig Grey Wagtails for four weeks, but at least five were feeding in and around the sewage works, including two clambering around the interior of a bush, snapping at small flies.

Five Goldcrests and five Chiffchaffs were found, and a Treecreeper was calling in Freeman's Wood. Twenty Swallows were perching by the Wildfowlers Pools.


Saturday, 27 September 2014

Flying Vis-it

Dan here.

An all-too-brief visit mid-morning revealed that a fair bit of mid-autumn vis was ongoing.

Several small skeins of pinkfeet were seen heading S over Heaton and Overton, and 150 Meadow Pipits, 18 alba wags, 2 Grey Wagtails, 7 Chaffinches, 6 Skylarks and a Song Thrush all headed SSE in the space of an hour.

Not much time to bash the bushes but 3 Chiffchaffs, 12 Long-tailed Tits and a Jay were quite conspicuous.


In The Pink

A quick post-work dash around the patch yesterday (Friday) late afternoon had me connecting with my first pink-footed geese of the autumn. A skein of approximately 100 birds passed over, heading in a south-westerly direction.
There have been several sighting of pinkfeet in the local area in recent days, and Aldcliffe stalwart Dan H had a flock of 21 barnacle geese over at Sunderland Point a few days ago. At Aldliffe we usually have good numbers of geese passing over at this time of year with very few bothering to land on the Lune salt marshes or adjacent fields. However, in the late winter when birds are heading back north from East Anglia we get thousands touching down for often prolonged periods.
The only other birds of note were a couple of green sandpiper, one each at the Flood and Frog Pond.


Monday, 22 September 2014

A Bit Aukward Down Aukliffe

Hello. Dan here.

Every year we have a few Guillemots that tire of the monotony of the Irish Sea and drift up the Lune estuary on the rising tide to gaze upon our beautiful parish.

So I was blasé when I saw an auk doing the same today. Reviewing shots it looks like I fumbled a first-winter Razorbill-- which is a patch first.

Please accept my dodgy photo as penance for not being at all razor-sharp.

Aside from this rather passive auk movement, there was a little bit of visible migration this morning with an eastbound Rock Pipit the pick of the lot, and a creditable 10 Grey Wagtails. A similar number of alba wags went SE as did 5 Skylarks. Meadow Pipit vis. scarcely registered, with a mere 30 or 40.

More dramatic were the first skeins of Pink-footed Goose, with 50+20 N and 26 south, and the attractive circumzenithal arc pictured above.

Songbirds on the deck included 2 Stonechats, 5 Song Thrushes, 17 Chiffchaffs and 8 Goldcrests.

Wader interest included a Greenshank, a late-ish Common Sandpiper, 48 Golden Plovers and a Green Sandpiper.


Friday, 19 September 2014

Quiet Patch

Jon here.
I've had a busy few weeks and opportunities for birding Aldcliffe have been scarce, to say the least. Thanks as ever to Dan for covering the patch so diligently and for regularly updating the blog!

Last week I was on Jersey, visiting my brother Paul. I didn't get much time for birding but of course I had my bins with me wherever I went on the island.
I stumbled across plenty of common migrants including several spotted flycatchers, reed warblers, blackcaps and such, plus regular marsh harriers and the occasional hobby. Highlights included great white egret, cetti's warbler and black-necked grebe at St Ouen's Pond while a couple of birds I quite fancied running into totally eluded me. These were Dartford warbler, which unlike good Victorian children were heard but not seen, and short-toed treecreeper, which despite being a common resident proved otherwise during my visit.

Yesterday, I actually found a couple of hours to get down to Aldcliffe and have a good kick around. It seemed pretty quiet on the whole, though I suspect my arrival around 9am meant that I'd missed the best window of activity.
Freeman's Pools were hosting an impressive 10 little grebes, though not much else bar a trio of tufted duck and the usual other bits and pieces (plus a dead juv great black-backed gull on the island). A small increase in common teal numbers was evident but still no sign of any garganey - are we going to have a totally blank year?
7 wigeon were on Frog Pond along with the expected mallard & teal.
The maize fields continue to attract good numbers of chaffinch and reed bunting plus a single goldcrest was in the hawthorn hedge there.

A small number of chiffchaff were evident throughout the area but on the whole common migrants were very thin on the ground. The only other warbler seen was a lesser whitethroat by the Flood.
At the Wildfowlers' Pools a single green sandpiper was still in residence. Another pair of little grebe were also here as was a kingfisher and couple of snipe.
Out on the estuary a group of c40 golden plover were mixed in with the roosting lapwing on Gull Bank. There was nothing of note among the throng of black-headed gulls along the river, just the usual dozen or so little egrets.
A greenshank was feeding on the Lune by Cadaver Corner and another kingfisher was also seen here.
Good numbers of swallows were on the move throughout the morning; the only other 'vis' included small numbers of meadow pipit (compared with the huge movements a short distance away at Heysham & Sunderland Point), 2 skylarks and 7 grey wagtails.
Butterflies were out in force including the comma pictured here and dragonflies included common darter and migrant hawker (also pictured).     

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Reed-only File

Dan here.

A quick (doubtless too quick) poke around the parish this morning yielded little to pique my interest other than 2-3 Reed Warblers- including the extrovert pictured above.

In my ignorance, I'd thought that acros were strictly insectivorous but two RW were gobbling Hawthorn berries like there was no tomorrow. A fruit hard to come by to the south of the Sahara, happen...

Aside from these, I only managed to scrape together 15 Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest in terms of warblers and allies.

The giraffe-pattern skies were more conducive to visible migration passerines than yesterday, and I counted 110 Meadow Pipits heading SSE between 0800 and 0930. In the same period I noted 3 southbound Chaffinches (first CH vis of the autumn here!) and a Grey Wagtail. There were plenty of Swallows milling about but no clear signs of passage.

This morning's miscellany contains a Kingfisher, a Green Sandpiper, two Jays, 5 Snipe and a Stock Dove.


Monday, 15 September 2014

Damp Patch

Hi-- Dan once again.

Lancaster was drizzly this morning and so was the patch. I made an all-too-brief visit as the rain was letting up.

Dunlin cries greeted my arrival and I looked up to see 4 heading ENE and away over the city. Greenshank sounds emanated from the Marsh Point area but I couldn't locate the creature itself.

Freeman's Pools was hosting 12 Wigeon, 17 Teal, 5 each of Gadwall & Little Grebe, and a piping trio of Kingfishers.

Two Wheatears were present as were 19 Chiffchaffs, 3 Goldcrests, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and 3 Song Thrushes. Chaffinches in and around the maize field numbered 40.

Unsurprisingly given the damp and gloomy conditions, vis mig seemed quite limited with just 2 Grey Wagtails and 5 Meadow Pipits noted making their way south in the space of an hour and a bit-- plus 2 northbound Tree Sparrows. A few airborne Skylarks were heard but not seen.

Around one hundred Swallows were congregating near the Wildfowlers Pools.

A Stoat was seen bounding down the path with a shrew in its jaws.


Saturday, 13 September 2014

Wrong type of Migrants

Dan here. Hello.

A brief afternoon visit wasn't too inspiring, with 5 or 6 Chiffchaffs, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Rooks and a heard-only Kingfisher the pick of the aves. Four Snipe were also noted.

Six or seven Migrant Hawker dragonflies were on the wing despite overcast skies, including 3 at Freeman's Pools.


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Foxy Greyday

Dan here. Hello.

As well as having a few Grey Wagtails over, this morning was literally grey for the first couple of hours. 2+1+1 of the aforementioned went SSE under low dark cloud.

Vis limped on with just 8 Meadow Pipits until about ten o clock, when the sun came out, a light breeze got up and the sky cleared to the north. At this point the floodgates opened.... or rather another Grey Wag headed south and 2 Tree Sparrows and 2 alba wagtails went over, W!

While there wasn't much on the deck, it was perhaps a little better than last time and with persistence my Chiffchaff count got to 22. It was very still first thing and in the hush Chiffchaff beaks snapping shut on flies were perfectly audible.

Goldcrests were easier heard than seen but five or six were listed. A Willow Warbler juv, an adult Blackcap and one each of juv Common and Lesser Whitethroat all surrendered so reluctantly you'd think they were big rares. All good practice, I suppose...but bird of the day was nevertheless a fox (pictured).

In the miscellaneous paragraph are a family party of six Grey Partridges, two roving GS Woodpeckers, 2 Stock Doves, a Green Sandpiper and a Snipe.


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Grey Day

ST near the maize field.
Dan here.

Blue skies this morning but little to excite bird-wise. The bushes were emptier than they have been in days (if not weeks) and the vis (c50 Mipits per hour, a party of 5 Tree Sparrows, 4 Grey Wagtails and some unseen Skylarks) was a little too high and sparse to be very engrossing.

Four Grey Wagtails were at the flood for a time, with another quartet at the sewage works.



I can only add that 2 green sandpiper were on the Wildfowlers' Pools around midday. Just OOA was a smart little stint at the Conder estuary (thanks to Paul Ellis & Paul Slade) and a fishing common tern there too.


Saturday, 6 September 2014

No Rain, No Gain

The early morning rain had me all excited and I headed out to Aldcliffe with high expectations. To be honest, I always head out with high (some may say, unrealistic) expectations but morning rain during migration time never fails to get the optimism-ometer really revved up.
It was soon pretty clear that there were loads of grounded chiffchaffs around, I must have seen well in excess of 40 around the patch. The largest number involved a lively tit-flock that was actually more of a chiffchaff flock and contained 18 chiffs plus a single willow warbler.
After yesterday's acro-fest, I didn't come across a single reed or sedge warbler today but I did find 3 common whitethroat, 1 lesser whitethroat and a lone blackcap.
There were 3 wheatear at the Flood and a further 8 (at least) on the Marsh.
When the rain finally stopped things changed quite rapidly with northbound skylarks, meadow pipits and 5 grey wagtails audibly announcing their presence. Hirundines too started to move and along with birds stopping to feed small gangs of swallow and house martin passed through at height.
Alas, there were no wrynecks or even whinchat or redstart to get the pulse racing but nonetheless it's always a thrill to get out when things are clearly on the move.
Other stuff around the Aldcliffe patch included an increase in the number of gadwall on Freeman's Pools (now 6), the kingfisher in-residence at the Wildfowlers' Pools and at least a dozen reed bunting  and a pair of linnet by the maize fields.
I had ace views of a stoat along the cycle track and a couple of roe deer were up by Freeman's.


Friday, 5 September 2014

Acro Batty


Dan again, reporting on another morning visit with one eye on the bushes and another on the sky.

A long-billed warbler clambering around treetops dwarfing a couple of Chiffchaffs had my pulse racing early on, till I got better views and saw it was just a Reed Warbler.

It flitted into a more photo-accessible elder where I got this snap which shows that it had been fitted with a ring.

Twenty minutes went by and I was looking at a second RW foraging in some thistles close to the maize fields. Later Mr. Carter had this or a third bird near the sea of not-so-sweetcorn (I've sampled it). No doubt the reed-alike maize cover is what has been attracting these night migrants.

Who knows what might be lurking in there? Perhaps Mr. Draper would like to come down with some nets. I'll assist!

Though hardly super-exciting, the Reed Warblers (which are fairly scarce here and do not breed) nevertheless show that passerines are on the move and that Aldcliffe can pull them in.

Two or three (late-ish?) juv Sedge Warblers were also encountered, but warbler numbers seemed down on yesterday with 18 Chiffchaffs, 2-3 Lesser & one Common Whitethroat, a Willow Warbler and 4 Goldcrests noted.

Songbird numbers seemed lower in general, with far fewer Robins, tits and finches at large.

Visible migration was more steady than yesterday but hardly heavy, with c30 per hour of Meadow Pipits (mainly SE) and 4 southbound Grey Wagtails early on. Later a further three GLs dropped in to the flood for a short time and 3 were also noted at the more regular haunt of the sewage works.

A flock of five Skylarks headed E, but they seemed a little early in the morning and a little too low in the air for bona fide migrants.

The soft sounds of House Martins were heard at times but when I found them they were very high and somewhat directionless-- so whether it was a leisurely exodus or local birds (or both) was unclear.

In the miscellaneous bracket today were two Jays moving back and forth along Dawsons Bank-- perhaps caching acorns, two Kestrels, a Kingfisher and a lone Green Sandpiper.

This Sparrowhawk paused for a photo... it too seemed to be lamenting the paucity of tasty migrants


Thursday, 4 September 2014

Nice Spot

Dan here.

A humid early to mid-morning session was spent bush-bashing (with occasional sky-watching and balsam-pulling breaks) in hopes of finding a rare passerine.

No such luck, but a migrant Spotted Flycatcher near the wildfowlers pools was a very welcome sight.

Goldcrest passage has started a little early, with a creditable 6 moving through the hedgerows, as well as 5 Lesser Whitethroats, a Whitethroat, a Blackcap, 2 Willow Warblers and c30 Chiffchaffs.

Robin numbers seemed to be elevated (20+ noted), and Blue Tit (30) and Dunnock (15) seemed particularly numerous  today too.

A male Wheatear was hopping around on the marsh.

Thirty bramble-, haw- and sloe-stained Greenfinches were present and a flock of Goldfinches feeding on saltmarsh plants just topped a hundred.

Visible migration was quite thin on the sky, with 18 southbound Meadow Pipits all I could detect. Three Skylarks flew low W, but a copse blocked my view of how far they went and they might not truly belong in this paragraph. 4 southbound Snipe possibly fit the bill.

Two adult summer Common Terns were seen to fish beneath the estuary pylons- no doubt to feed offspring at Conder Pool.

In the miscellany paragraph are a sewage works Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker and 5 Grey Wagtails... and one each of Painted Lady and Red Admiral broke the Speckled Wood monotony.


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Subtly Autumnal

Chiffchaff and Mediterranean Gull, today. DH.

Hello. Dan here.

In the summery sunshine this morning, it was deceptively quiet. I had to strain my eyes and ears to find out that autumn passage was well underway overhead-- the faintest of squeaks alerted me to specks of Meadow Pipits heading south (about 50 between 0800 and 1000) and similarly high Swallows migrating S and E (around 80).

A southbound Grey Wagtail was only a little more conspicuous, and a lost-looking, restless trio of Tree Sparrows was heading north.

On close inspection, the hedgerows were seen to full be of Chiffchaffs (at least 30 along the main drag today) with smaller numbers of Whitethroats and Lesser Whitethroats, but no matter what the throughput may be, this has been the case for some weeks.

A juvenile Sedge Warbler was my first here for a while...but looking past warblers a few small  flocks of Chaffinch, a Jay hopping around the walled meadow before heading W and an increase in Robins were all positively Octoberish.

I couldn't connect with any quality vis (some Tree Pipits would've been nice) or skulkers (a Jynx torquilla or even just a Redstart) and indeed the best birds-- a Green Sand and a Med-- are three-season species, but under the sunny surface, the morning was distinctly autumnal.


Thursday, 28 August 2014

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Clouded Yellow Delight

After the sudden appearance of 'autumn', it was nice to get out this morning and feel the August sun beating down once again.
Highlights from my birding trawl around Aldcliffe included the following:
Marsh harrier (juv) hunting over Heaton Marsh. I didn't see any here in spring, so this bird represents the first patch record for the year.   
2 green sandpiper. 1 on the Flood, another on the upper ponds at Freeman's Pools.
A single wheatear was also by the Flood along with half a dozen pied wagtails.
The lone wigeon from a few days ago was on Frog Pond.
Again, there were phylloscs all over the place, the majority being chiffchaff but a few willow warblers were still hanging around.

The sun had brought plenty of common butterflies out but I was thrilled to find a clouded yellow near Marsh Point. I'm pretty sure I must have seen one or two in the Aldcliffe area over the years but without going through all my old notebooks I can't actually recall when I last saw one on the patch...


Same Site, Same Day, Different Sightings!

Hello Jon!

Dan here.

I too had a look around today, and though I wish I could have connected with your Marsh Harrier it was a bird-filled visit nonetheless.

My best bird was a Tree Pipit which was quietly sitting in a bush before heading off to the E. Also eastbound were 35 migrating Sand Martins with perhaps four times that number of Swallows seen on the move mid-morning.

Six House Sparrows and two Mediterranean Gulls flew south. A few Whitethroats and two Lesser Whitethroats were loosely associating with the Chiffchaff hordes.

A Holly Blue (some way from any foodplants) was my best butterfly. Wel jel of your Clouded Yellow. My last Aldcliffe sighting was eight autumns ago.

Pictured above is a Brown Hawker. Pleased to finally get a decent snap of what is a common, but very camera shy insect!


Thursday, 21 August 2014

All The Fun Of The Fair

Once again I trudged down to the estuary this morning for a spot of optimistic birding at Aldcliffe...
It was blustery with occasional showers and to be frank, it was a little bit grim. 
First off, I checked Freeman's Pool where the excitement was limited to a pair of tufted duck, 3 gadwall a lone wigeon and 8 little grebes, one of which was feeding a pair of recently hatched fluffy chicks.
Darter Pool and Frog Pond were quiet, bar the regulars. 
The Wildfowlers' Pools were slightly more interesting with an influx of 18 teal, a couple of snipe and a kingfisher dashing around.
The Flood was hosting a pair of green sandpiper, a single redshank and 15 alba wagtails. 
The gusty winds made scanning the estuary all but impossible, but even through my watering eyes I could tell there wasn't much going on.

Last time I came down, on Tuesday, it was actually rather lovely; bright sunshine and calm conditions. Quite a contrast.   
The highlights included 2 whimbrel and a couple of common sandpiper on the river. A distinctive and immediately recognisable call alerted me to the presence of a golden plover in amongst a flock of descending lapwing at Gull Bank.  
Two green sandpipers were on the Wildfowlers' Pools.

The hedgerows were positively jumping with common migrant passerines, chiefly chiffchaffs plus a couple of willow warblers and a female blackcap.  

The RSPB stand at Birdfair 2014
Last weekend I was down at Rutland Water for the annual Birdfair.
This massive event attracts thousands of birders, and hundreds of people who wish to sell stuff to thousands of birders.
As well as an enormous array of stalls flogging selling everything imaginable including optics, books, outdoor clothing, holidays and original artwork there are also lots of conservation organisations there to raise profiles and funds.
For many visitors to Birdfair, a main focus of the 3-day event is the broad range of lectures and talks by a wide variety of speakers. 'Celebs' such as Chris Packham and Bill Oddie will often pack them in, while numerous authors, scientists and all manner of professional-hobby-birders deliver myriad talks to the masses.
Me and Rich get photo-bombed by a hen harrier...
It really is a great event and although I was working on the RSPB stand for most of the 2 days I was there I still manged to find time to catch up with some old chums, including my mate Rich Mooney who I met while living in Canada.
If you have never been to Birdfair, make a note in your calendar for next year. 


Monday, 11 August 2014

High Winds and High Tides

Rising Tide - Aldcliffe
With high winds and high tides, my optimism-ometer has been on overload for the past couple of days. Surely I could hope to find some gale-blown waif in the Aldcliffe area? Turns out, not.
Yesterday's meager highlights were a trio of green sandpiper (1 on the Flood, and 2 at the Wildfowlers' Pools where there were also 3 snipe) and a single adult Mediterranean gull on Gull Bank. Other stuff of note included several dunlin and just 1 common sandpiper on the river & 19 little egret fishing on the dropping tide. Another common sandpiper was at Freeman's Pools, as were 8 little grebe. One of the adult grebes was tending a nest; this species has a track record for late breeding at this site.
The doe roe deer was also seen, along with her fast-growing triplet fawns.

Painted lady
Today was slightly better, but there were still no little gulls or breeze-buffeted terns to excite this easily-bored birder. A female tufted duck was cream of the crop at Freeman's Pools, while Darter Pool and Frog Pond drew blanks. A trio of golden plover flew over - my first patch post-breeders of the year.
There were at least 4, though possibly 6, green sandpiper at the Wildfowlers' Pools. The Flood was bereft bar a scattering of pied wagtails and a couple of ubiquitous moorhen.
The incoming tide provided some interest including a tight flock of 7 common sandpiper but once again there was nothing unusual lurking among the mass of commoner birds.
A lone rook probing in the fields to the east of the cinder path was notable - these characterful crows are pretty scarce visitors to Aldcliffe.
Non-avian additions included a painted lady (pictured) and stoats at Freeman's Pools and along the track near Walled Meadow.

Common lizard
Last Friday I paid a visit to Foulshaw Moss with Gav Thomas, where we not only saw up to 3 of the ospreys present but also a marsh harrier, lots of stonechats and a single migrant whinchat.
We also spied a few common lizards. These highly variable reptiles were sunning themselves along the boardwalk and were quite approachable with patience. The photo here was taken using my phone.