Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Solitary Sandpiper

The Lune at low tide
Had a half-decent morning on the patch today thanks to some dry, bright weather and a few new birds trickling through.
Frustratingly, still no passage waders or post-breeding garganey at Freeman's Pools but it was great to see that the lone tufted duck duckling was still doing well.
Both parents are still in attendance and this constitutes the first ever breeding of this species (to my knowledge) in the Aldcliffe recording area.
Also present were a pair of moulting wigeon and 5 eclipse gadwall. Winter's here folks...
Other succesful breeders included a couple of little grebe chicks and just one cygnet with an adult mute swan. Newly hatched moorhens were in evidence along with several well-grown youngsters from earlier broods.
A reed warbler was sen foraging in the waterside vegetation.

Black-tailed godwit
I walked south along Dawson's Bank, noting good numbers of little egret along the way. A juvenile peregrine was having a go at hunting on the other side of the river and was soon joined by an adult.  This experienced bird soon snatched a starling and gave it to the youngster in a nifty aerial pass.
An adult Mediterranean gull flew up from the river and headed inland. A scan of the gulls loafing on the Lune sands revealed a further 4 Meds (3 ads & 1 second winter).
Also seen here were 5 common sandpiper and a fine breeding-plumaged black-tailed godwit (pictured).
A flock of approximately 30 wigeon flew through heading toward Glasson.

The Flood was quiet - the 3 remaining lapwing chicks all seem in good shape.

A common sandpiper and a solitary green sandpiper were at the Wildfowlers' Pools.

Insects were relatively low in number (with the exception of those lovely horseflies), despite the sunshine.
As far as dragonflies were concerned I just saw singles of emperor, brown hawker and common darter plus the usual damselflies.
Common butterflies (peacock, small tortoiseshell, red admiral, meadow brown, speckled wood etc) were all present but not in any great number.
Brown hare was the only wild mammal.



Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Great Weather For Ducks

Had a quick spin around the patch after work this evening.First stop was at Freeman's Pools where I noticed a drake tufted duck moulting into eclipse plumage. That in itself wasn't especially notable - but with it was a small duckling.
A few weeks ago I noticed a pair of tufted ducks arrive at the pools but they soon disappeared - have they simply been keeping a low profile while nesting at the site? If so, I think that this may be the first record of successful breeding of this species in the Aldcliffe recording area.
In other bay bird news; the four lapwing chicks at the Flood continue to thrive while a couple at the Wildfowlers' Pools seem to be in rude health. A brood of at least 5 shelduck were also at the Wildfowlers' Pools along with 1 common and 2 green sandpipers.

Earlier in the day I had visited the common tern colony at Preston Docks (video from today attached) in advance of spending the day there tomorrow.
I'll be there chatting about how these amazing birds have been encouraged to breed at this inner city site and I'll hopefully be encouraging local people to want to learn more about the wildlife on their doorstep!
Fylde Bird Club's Paul Ellis and Paul Slade were instrumental in providing nesting areas for these birds at the marina and a joint project that includes input from the local council, Preston Docks and the RSPB has enabled the growing colony to exceed 130 pairs in 2016.
It's well worth a visit if you're in the area in the next couple of weeks.


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Wading In...

Highlights from a few hours birding around Aldcliffe yesterday included my first green sandpipers of the season. These migratory waders usually arrive back on the patch from July and are best looked for around the various pools and the Flood.
Yesterday's birds were found at Freeman's Pools and the Wildfowlers' Pools.
Other waders of note included at least 6 common sandpipers on the Lune near Gull Bank and a single adult little ringed plover on the Flood.
The two lapwing broods continue to be doing well.
On the estuary post-breeding curlews are staring to gather with a flock of c50 on Colloway Marsh.  

Other notable sightings around the area included a pair of stock doves and a singing reed warbler at Freeman's Pools.
The breezy conditions kept dragonflies down but there were plenty of butterflies around including speckled wood, meadow brown and a single comma.

At Conder the avocet pair were present with their single chick while the common terns were very active - both adults and their two fledged young showed well.


Saturday, 9 July 2016

Little Wonders

Highlights from a couple of hours getting drenched around Aldcliffe this morning included a 'new' little ringed plover chick at the The Flood.
The plover was with an adult and appeared to be fairly recently fledged. Also present were 2 adults with a well-grown youngster - presumably the same ones that have been around for a while. A lapwing with two sizeable chicks made for a pleasant sight.
I could only see two of the lapwing chicks at the Wildfowlers' Pools but the vegetation was pretty dense and could easily have been hiding one or two others.
Little grebe breeding success seems unremarkable thus far with just a single chick being fed by an adult at Freeman's Pools. A lone stock dove and little egret were the only other birds of note there.
It was fairly quiet all around the patch, as is to be expected at this time of year, with this kind of weather.
Hopefully we'll start to see more post-breeding waders starting to move through in the coming weeks; green sandpipers have usually made an appearance by now and there's always the chance of a wood sandpiper or something scarcer still. And it's worth checking the gulls on the estuary as Mediterranean and yellow-legged gulls could show up among the commoner species.

I spent a couple of days up at the Malham Cove peregrine watchpoint earlier this week. The two youngsters have now fledged and they often put on a great show as the adults show the growing falcons how to hunt. A decent supporting cast includes multiple redstarts, spotted flycatchers and green woodpeckers among other things.