There was more rain and dreary skies today but by 11am the rain eased even though the grey was set in for the day.
Determined to get some birding in I headed towards Pilling where the geese have been fairly obliging this week. At Damside and Backsands Lane there’s been anything up to 4500 Pink-footed Goose and where two days ago I spotted a lone Barnacle Goose amongst the legions of pinkies.
Initially today I counted 250 geese, the Barnacle amongst them; when I looked an hour or two later the count had risen to about 2500 with the Barnacle still there. After “grilling” the geese for in total a couple of hours this week the Barnacle Goose is the only oddity discovered although a darvic marked pinkie proved too distant to read the inscription. Whilst the Pink-footed Goose is a very abundant winter visitor to this part of Lancashire, the Barnacle Goose occurs fairly commonly but in very small numbers only.
Pink-footed Goose and Barnacle Goose
I set off for Fluke Hall on Monday only to discover the shoot day had changed and saw 4x4s littering the road alongside the flooded fields. Hi-Fly charge £500 for a full day’s shoot at three locations with breakfast, lunch and dinner included in the day’s entertainment. That’s the problem with us tight birders. Although we think nothing of spending four or five grand on camera gear and optics we expect the actual birding provided for free whereas other folk invest money in their chosen pursuit.
Today the same roadside fields were stacked with waders with a count of 650+ Lapwings, 130+ Redshank, 30 Oystercatcher, 14 Curlew and 2 Black-tailed Godwit. The unseen Whooper Swans out on the marsh were very vocal with I suspect many more than the seven I saw flying out that way. In the trees and at the car park - 1 Kestrel, 1 Buzzard, a single Jay and 40+ Twite.
This autumn’s Twite seem to have split into three or four flocks, spending their time roaming the coast and likely to be encountered anywhere between Knott End and Pilling Lane Ends, a distance of three or four miles. Twite can be hard to locate just feeding quietly on the salt marsh and it’s often only as they fly off in a tight buzzing pack that they are noticed.
I drove to Conder and Glasson for a check of the usual spots and to make sure I’d missed nothing in recent days. The Glasson ducks were distant across the basin requiring a scope whereby the apparent “lots” realised a good count of 72 Tufted Duck but only 2 Goldeneye, a single Little Grebe, 8 Cormorant and a lurking Grey Heron.
At Conder Green I found the regular Spotted Redshank, failed miserably with Common Sandpipers and a big fat zero but gained 8 Black-tailed Godwit and 25 + Curlew by way of fly arounds.
Also, 2 Little Egret, 90+ Teal and a little flock of 25+ Chaffinch towards the car park.
Tomorrow there’s a ringing session with Andy pencilled in for Oakenclough where up in the hills it can often be raining when down below all is fine.
Fingers crossed for a bright day for a change.