Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Maybe A Little Twitch?

It should have been a ringing session but Will phoned to say the inland site was too windy. As I was up early I set off for birding instead, but no rush as it was an overcast morning and not quite the best sort of birding light.

I knew I was early enough to spend some time at Lane Ends to watch the Pink-footed Geese off the roost while trying to count them. It’s not easy as the parties tend to go off in different directions, some setting off and passing overhead whilst trying to count the first lot going off in another direction etc, etc. then at the same time keeping a tally. But this morning there were thousands flying off and more remaining on the marsh when I left. My total count was 6500.

I think there are about 220 geese in the above picture, but there’s some good bird counting practice at:

The rest of the site was very quiet but I did notice a couple of newly arrived Reed Buntings calling from the tree tops.

Nowadays I have to stop at the Braides Farm gateway, if only to let the line of work bound traffic fly past me. Don’t they realise I’m driving at 30mph because I’m birding and if they insist on driving up my arse I will go even slower? There was a single Redshank on the nearest pool and a lonely Mute Swan on the other but the most exciting thing was 2 Little Egret, refugees from the Bank End crew I guess.

Up at Conder Green I nearly got to the magical figure of 10 Little Grebe, but fell short by one today. Most of the action was on the pool with 3 Goldeneye, 2 superb drakes and a single female, with 2 Tufted Duck, 4 Snipe and a Kingfisher. A Kestrel spent some time sat atop the far hawthorns before circling over the area of the canal then disappearing from view.

Round at the car park behind the café I walked part of the cycleway towards Glasson where I found the usual 15-20 Chaffinch with a number of the very mobile Goldfinch, some days a few but today 20+. Some of the Blackbirds about now certainly look “continental” with their scaly feathers, just like one that grubbed through the fallen leaves near the picnic tables.

I really do not “twitch” much these days but as I was in the area I thought I might as well take a look for the Black Redstart, calling in to the lighthouse car park first. Highlights here were 5 Snipe and a Greenshank on the marsh with of course plenty of common waders which I admit to neglecting to count or look through to any degree.

Near the caravan park I saw the redstart briefly before it went off towards the farm buildings but I had other passerines in the form of 15 Meadow Pipits, 12 Greenfinch, 2 Pied Wagtails and 3 Skylark. More Little Egret out here plus masses of Wigeon and Lapwing out on the shore but as usual the light here was fairly awful whatever the weather.

As I didn’t get a picture of the Black Redstart, for compensation I searched out an old slide of American Redstart to see how that compares with a UK “start”. Sorry about the quality of the picture but the bird itself is not bad looking.

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