Full Spooner

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I headed to the Point first thing this morning and joined Ian and Howard, and boy was it cold! The skies were clear and the wind was a sharp 15 mph northwesterly! It was a toss up between standing on the bank and in the wind, but with the sun on your back, or standing behind the tower out of the wind, but with no sun; I opted for the windier but sunnier option.There was some vis this morning and the direction of passage was anywhere between north and east. My vis totals were 25 Goldfinches, 165 Pink-footed Geese, 248 Meadow Pipits, nine Swallows, 19 Linnets, two Sand Martins, four Carrion Crows, eleven Lesser Redpolls, four Siskins, three Tree Pipits, two Alba Wagtails, a Rook and amazingly a Blue Tit that came high over the dunes and was lost from sight as it headed out to cross Morecambe Bay!The best bird offshore was undoubtedly the 'ful...
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A Hoodie and a GNOD

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
The weather has been a bit mixed this week, or perhaps more to the point I haven't been able to get a forecast I could rely upon for my breeding bird surveys in north Cumbria, so there hasn't been any more birding north of the border for me this week sadly!This morning I headed to the Point for a bit of sea watching and 'vis mig' at the Obs. I had full cloud cover with a 10 - 15 mph west-northwesterly wind. It was just about warm enough, or not too cold, to stand on top of the dunes to count vis and look at the sea. The vis was really quiet with blocking low cloud to the south and to a certain extent out in the bay. Nevertheless I did record a bit of vis in the form of a Meadow Pipit, nine Swallows, six Linnets, 19 Goldfinches, a Kestrel that headed due north across the bay until out of sight and a Lesser Redpoll.The sea was relatively quie...
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Both Sides Of the Solway

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Yesterday morning I did get up before first light with the intention of ringing at the Obs as I said in my previous blog posting, but it was raining! I waited and waited, and it didn't stop. I drifted off to sleep and awakened again at 7:00 am and still it rained; so I tried!It was an even earlier start this morning, but for some reason I had a spring in my step when the alarm went off at 0345! Maybe it was because I was heading to the Solway! I had a bird survey to do for work in north Cumbria overlooking the Solway and afterwards it was my intention to spend a few hours birding the Scottish side. As I headed over Faulds Brow the thermometer on my car read a chilly minus 4! However, as I dropped down to my survey site thankfully the temperature lifted, but it was still hat and gloves weather this early in the day!I was surveying some newly...

March Ringing Totals

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Over on the right you will see that I have updated the ringing totals for Fylde Ringing Group up until the end of March. As you will know we were unable to carry out any ringing within 10 km of a recent avian influenza outbreak and this suspension has only recently been lifted, so we are just getting back in to our stride. This means that our ringing totals so far this year are 319 behind where we were last year; hopefully we can catch up!In March twelve new species were added to the list of species ringed so far in 2017 and these were Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Blackbird, Blackcap, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Bullfinch and Reed Bunting.Below you will find the top three ringed during March and the top seven 'movers and shakers' for the year:Top 3 Ringed in March1. Goldfinch - 272. Meadow Pipit - 14&nb...
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Cold Northwesterly

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I set off at first light with my fold-up chair in hand to a spot where it is possible to sea watch at the Obs even at low tide. I hunkered down in a sheltered spot and prepared myself to not see a great deal in the cold northwesterly! The skies were clear so it gave the impression of being a nice day.Amazingly there was some vis, mainly I think because birds have been held up. Some birds went east, others northeast and even some went north straight across the bay. Visibility was good so even those taking the direct northerly route would have no difficulty in keeping the first land fall of Walney Island, some 17 km away, in their sight. My vis totals were 73 Meadow Pipits, 73 Linnets, five Carrion Crows, an Alba Wag, five Swallows, 50 Goldfinches and a Lesser Redpoll.The sea was pretty quiet too, but then it was a northwesterly wind. I am ex...
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Not This Morning

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
It was forecast for some light rain round about first light this morning, so I thought I would check a few coastal hot spots at the Obs for some grounded migrants. But it wasn't to be this morning! The rain had obviously had a blocking effect preventing any migrants getting through from the south.It was actually quite depressing after checking two good coastal sites and drawing a blank! It wasn't until I walked the dunes that I recorded a soggy male Wheatear! There was a little bit of vis, mainly in the form of Meadow Pipits, and they were setting off across the bay in a northwesterly direction. Some of them were turning round and coming back, and others were continuing on as Walney Island was just visible. I had 43 Meadow Pipits and two Swallows that headed west.It's going to be a better day tomorrow weather-wise, but still northwesterly. ...
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Close To Home

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
It made a change to be doing a bird survey close to home yesterday morning and my alarm call was still early, but not ridiculously early as it often is! It was still very cold and for me at least this has made the Spring very slow so far. I had 7 oktas cloud cover with a 10 - 15 mph northwesterly wind.I am surveying an area of farmland with associated hedges and ponds. It's not an area that I have ever birded in the past, and it's always interesting to go somewhere new. Talking of the slow Spring, there were a few migrants around during the four hours I was on site, but they were thin on the ground. Highlights included five Lapwings, four Reed Buntings, three Buzzards, two Willow Warblers, three Chiffchaffs and a Stock Dove. This isn't my complete list of course, but just a few bits and pieces that were moderately interesting.We're on day o...
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Velvet Morning

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I was at the Obs for first light again yesterday morning and perched on top of the dunes it was still cold until the sun was high in the sky. I had clear skies with a 10 mph southeasterly wind.There was a good selection of vis and I had my first Tree Pipits of the Spring. My vis totals (all northeast) were four Tree Pipits, 46 Lesser Redpolls, 49 Linnets, seven Goldfinches, 91 Meadow Pipits, a Chaffinch, 24 Carrion Crows, a Wheatear, five Alba Wags, a Sand Martin, a Siskin, two Swallows, a Tree Sparrow, a Grey Wagtail and a Reed Bunting.This morning was just the same as the past few mornings in terms of my levels of frustration because of the high flying vis, particularly the Redpolls. Once again they were so high that I couldn't see them, only hear them!As the tide pushed in there was a few waders on the beach including 79 Ringed Plovers, ...
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Registrations

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
At first light at the Obs there was a ground frost and I also had a heavy dew in my beard! The skies were crystal clear and it was flat calm. From the outset it was obvious that Redpolls were on the move, but sadly they were up in the stratosphere. It's difficult recording the vis when conditions are this clear as what you are really recording is just registrations. You hear a bird calling high up, you can't see it, so it is just a registration; it could be a single bird, but it could also be a small flock.There was a supporting cast to the Redpolls and my totals were 100 Lesser Redpolls, 29 Meadow Pipits, seven Goldfinches, eight Linnets, two Woodpigeons, two Carrion Crows, a Greenfinch, five Alba Wags, two Swallows and three Siskins.The most surprising observation of the morning was two Red-legged Partridges, that were a new species to be...
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A Quick Scamper

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I only had time for a quick scamper around the Obs yesterday morning, so I had a quick look on the sea and a search of a couple of spots for grounded migrants. The weather was 4 oktas cloud cover with a west-northwesterly wind about 10  - 15 mph.Stood on top of the dunes so I could look over the sea and keep an eye out for any passing migrants there was a little bit of vis going on, and everything was heading northeast. I only watched for about an hour and a quarter, so my totals only included a Siskin, 172 Meadow Pipits, eight Carrion Crows, a Goldfinch, five Linnets, four Alba Wags and a Sparrowhawk.The sea was equally as quiet, or a combination with me not spending long enough, anyway my totals were 25 Common Scoters, four Red-breasted Mergansers and two Whooper Swans. At first I couldn't get a feel as to whether it was a 'grounded'...
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