Winter wildfowl and a Happy New Year.

Posted on - In Leighton Moss (RSPB)
With water levels gradually dropping, wildfowl on the reserve are back in excellent numbers. Particularly shovelers and pintails, with Causeway hide overlooking a view that is absolutely fantastic for gadwalls, wigeons, teals and tufted ducks that are rafting on the waters surface. Sometimes they will be spooked by an otter or marsh harrier and erupt in spectacular formation before returning and settling again shortly after. Snowdrops (previous spring) by Mike Malpass Spring is already showing signs, with the first snow drops starting to bloom on the reserve already. Birds are singing more frequently with the sound of great tits, coal tits, robins and dunnocks filling the air on a morning as the daylight hours grow longer. Although rather early the mild conditions and increased day length is changing the activity of the wildlife. Can you n...

Glaucous surprise

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
Sometimes the rubbish you talk comes back to haunt, although you don't mind when it is a top notch patch year tick.  I said to Peter Sharples and his wife that there was no point in checking Fisher's Roof (now a walk 'cos of road closure) as "there wont be any new big gulls because its calm".  So they go and just beat the WeBs counters to it on Red Nab with a fine huge pale juvenile Glaucous Gull.  Unfortunately, didn't risk getting the car stuck on the sodden grass to use window clamp phone-scope and balancing it on the fence produced farcical results before the bird was flushed by an off-lead dog.  Thanks to Bill Aspin for managing to sort out a video grab of sorts where "at least you can see the bill"!Coastal stuffGlaucous Gull - Juv on Red Nab from at least 1305 to about 1320 then flew north along the seawall and was...
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A week of wild wet n windy safaris

The Safari has been busy 'enjoying' the wintry weather as storm after storm lashes our coast. We've had a day out with CR and then LCV came to stay for the best part of last week so we've been out every day far and wide in search of the commonplace and the exotic for our 2018 Year Bird Photo Challenge with varying degrees of success. We've had a sunny frosty day or two but mostly dull days with strong gales and heavy showers.A crisp day at Marton Mere gave us some good views across the mostly frozen mere TealBut the feeding station is in deep shade DunnockChaffinchFrom there we headed south on to the beach at Starr Gate to try to find the Snow Buntings, it didn't take long they were only a few yards away along the beach as we dropped off the dunes. Carefully walking past them out further down the beach we were able to watch them at a safe d...

Another Field Day.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
The field waders at Cockersand were reduced in number yesterday, but still a few hundred birds in all fifteen fields I checked there, including 420 Black-tailed Godwit which never fail to impress me, similar number of Curlew and uncounted Redshank, Dunlin, and Turnstone, with Golden Plover reaching four figures still in their favoured field viewed off Slack Lane, and of 3 Grey Plover seen, one was also unusually in a field, and 2 Snipe flushed out of the ditches.Red-throated Diver off Plover Scar 18 January. John Whittle.The bird of the day with Mega status at Cockersands, was the Red-throated Diver off Plover Scar around the high tide, excellent views though difficult to keep up to as it was diving constantly.Up to 225 Oystercatcher were the only waders on Plover Scar at near high tide, and notably odd, not a single one of them m...
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Very unexpected Fulmar

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
A few decent bits and bobs including a Fulmar heading out pretty quickly at c1115 which didn't appear to have an all-white head and certainly not a paler tail, but views were brief and at a poor angle.  Certainly not an obvious dark morph e.g. the underwing coverts were pale and it stays as "a Fulmar".  Next best were two Little Gulls seemingly related to the incoming ferryChoughEarthworm sequence in field next to half moon bay cafe (thanks Janet)Sea on and off 1050-1245Fulmar - one out c1115Little Gull - ad and 1st W slowly out - picked up soon after ferry arrivedKittiwake - moribund looking 1st W in harbour entrance, just one ad behind ferryMed Gull - ad behind ferry - flew back out straight away (not Czech bird)MiscellanyBrent Goose - two pale-bellied Red Nab on incoming tideMed Gull - ad Knowlys road field HT roostRinged Plove...

Temporary Conservation & Landscape Operative

Posted on - In Lancashire Wildlife Trust
Quick summary:  Due to volume of work, the Contract Service Department at The Lancashire Wildlife Trust requires individuals who have the skills and abilities to undertake practical labouring tasks as directed by the Contracting Manager. Previous experience of working in a similar position would be a distinct advantage as would the ability to carry out manual tasks on a daily basis. Training and licences for the use of equipment such as chainsaw, brushcutter or excavator is desirable, but not essential. A driving licence is essential. This post is available for an immediate start if you have the experience and skills we are looking for. The post will be offered on a fixed term basis until the 13th April 2018. Salary:  S...

Woodcock joins the year list

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
Middleton NRMute 8 (4 pairs)Moorhen 3Tufted 4 (3 male)Gadwall 16 (11 male)Teal at least 50Mallard 8Ware Rail 1 (two heard)Common Snipe 1No Cettis - two observers checking in calmish conditionsWoodcock 1. This was in strip along golf club, but there is some wood management going on in wood behind Tradebe, so I suspect it originally came from there.Goldcrest 1.Ocean Edge saltmarshPale-bellied Brent Goose - two at HT exactly as yesterday (see pic)Stonechat - female in corner as yesterdayHeysham half moon bayChough(ish) - seen from moving car at same time as two Carrion Crows were flushed off Half Moon Bay fields c1320hrs when in hurry - flight silhouette looked fine!...

Skylark added to the year list!

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
Ocean Edge incoming tide2 x Pale Bellied Brent on salt marsh by 11:00. But were not on Red Nab earlier. Suspect it was too rough.There was also a drake Eider with them today.Stonechat still easily located in NE corner where all the last storm's jetsam is now decaying.Skylark 1 behind OE foreshore bund .I have attached a location shot, taken from slipway area. It shows were the Brent typically are, but also shows the corner where the Stonechat frequents. Directly behind them where the wooden fence ends.Thanks MalcolmChough - on Half Moon Bay fields mid-pm and seen earlier along the headlandStonechat - female along half moon bay beachMed Gull - Czech ad north wall...

Rockpool rummage

Posted on - In Lancashire Wildlife Trust
Date / Time Start date:  Wed, 28/03/2018 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm Come along to this Rockpool Rummage as we explore the weird and wonderful rockpools of Half Moon Bay, Heysham. Prepare to be mystified by the intriguing lives of the creatures we discover, during an afternoon of rock pooling! There will be plenty of ID guides to help you learn about your finds and also a marine themed Easter hunt along the beach. Dress for the weather and wear wellies or other sturdy footwear, as it can be slippery under foot! Meet on the beach at Half Moon Bay, Heysham, LA3 2QH. (Free car parking off Smithy Lane).   Summary:  Come along to this Rockpool Rummage as we explore the weird and wonderful rockpools of Half Moon Bay, Heysham. ...
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New Year…Barn Owl

It had been a long time since I had seen a barn owl so it was a nice surprise to find a hunting barn owl during my recent travels.I was travelling the back roads and quiet lanes in the Pilling and Cockerham area.The barn owl was very active and it was a challenge to follow and anticipate where it might perch in between flights.I was quite pleased with my efforts the best of which are shown below.The weather recently has been awful with very dull conditions and very cold as well.I was lucky with the lighting on the day below and the barn owl was also taking advantage of the dry and bright conditions.I will definitely be back to see the owl again but meantime am confined to barracks as it has once again turned very wintry.Thanks for looking in and lets hope for a happy and healthy New Year....
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