Wednesday, January 26, 2011

For Locals Only

With the wind picking up to cancel out any ringing I turned to a spot of birding this morning and headed up to Conder Green as the first stop, where I picked up a decent little list of birds from the car park, the pool and the creeks.

The highlight was finding 3 Spotted Redshank together with the wintering Common Sandpiper in the creek below the bridge. It seemed that many Common Redshanks Tringa totanus left the area in the early winter cold but these spot-reds were an agreeable birding bonus today. The more predictable stuff was in low numbers with just 3 Curlew and 4 Redshank, but an increase in Teal to 65, 24 Wigeon, and on the pool a single Goldeneye. Up at Glasson Dock I counted 32 Tufted Duck, 2 Goldeneye, 46 Coot, 2 Cormorant, and 8 Mute Swan, with passerines represented by 3 Pied Wagtails and 12 Goldfinch.

Spotted Redshank

Common Sandpiper


From the top of Hillam Lane a quick look west revealed that many of the local waders were on either side of the road feeding in the saturated fields, with approximately 900/1000 Curlew and 180 Redshank. Down alongside the marsh in the hawthorn scrub I counted 40 Chaffinch and 8 Tree Sparrows plus a single Pied Wagtail.

Heading back towards Lane Ends a brief look at Braides proved that the Buzzard is now a regular, sat on a post below the sea wall again, but apart from a few more Curlews, the fields here, whilst appearing equally wet don’t seem to hold the same attractions as the flashes less than a mile away.

At Lane Ends I clocked the 2 now regular Goldeneye than took a a wander around the old ringing site, hoping to find maybe a Long-eared Owl. I settled instead for 4 Woodcock that flew off from my feet, each of them in quick succession from the now brambly, overgrown paths. The Woodcock that arrived in our area back in December seemed to have moved on south and west, and I wondered if these were birds new in ahead of the promised cold weather for the weekend?

More wet fields at Backsands Lane held just 3 Golden Plover and 1 Black-tailed Godwit amongst 700 Lapwing, 4 Curlew and a hundred or so Pink-footed Geese, the geese increasing as I watched when more turned into the stiff northerly before they dropped into the field.

Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew

Pink-footed Geese

It was an enjoyable morning proving the point that even the most well-worn of paths turn up welcome surprises now and again, but also that it’s hard to beat a bit of local birding.

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