Pollen Horns

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
It was my first ringing session at the Obs this morning for the Spring after the lifting of the ringing suspension in the area due to the avian influenza outbreak at HyFly hatcheries near Pilling. At first light I was greeted with clear skies, a ground frost and it was calm. It felt quiet and I wondered whether it was too clear!The first birds on the move were a hundred Pink-footed Geese that headed north and they were high, positively stratospheric! This would reflect the rest of the vis (all north) that I would record and all I had was two Carrion Crows, a Woodpigeon, two Linnets, 31 Meadow Pipits and three Siskins.I didn't detect any grounded migrants other than the Chiffchaff that I ringed. Talking of ringing my totals were as follows:Meadow Pipit - 8Robin - 1Chiffchaff - 1Long-tailed Tit - 2Greenfinch - 1The Chiffchaff that I ringed ha...
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Vis – the Variety of (Bird) Life

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I headed to the Point this morning for a couple of hours birding, and based on the weather I predicted that there would be quite a lot of vis this morning and there was! The weather has been pretty awful these past few days with strong winds and rain, and this morning was the first decent morning for a while and the flood gates were certainly opened. I joined Ian before seven (Ian had been there since six), and spent a pleasurable couple of hours. We had 6 oktas cloud cover with a 10 - 15 mph east-northeasterly wind.All of the birds moving on vis were heading between east and northeast and we had 502 Meadow Pipits, 51 Carrion Crows, six Linnets, 40 Whooper Swans, three Jackdaws, nine Alba Wags, eleven Goldfinches, a Rook, a female Sparrowhawk, 32 Woodpigeons, a Pied Wagtail, a male Kestrel (at sea), a female Merlin (at sea), three Magpies, ...

In Only Seven Days…

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
...is a brilliant song by Queen, but it also only a short period of time when your blog can become out of date! In the past seven days I have been busy with lots of things 'birdie' but haven't seemed to have the time to update my blog!Last weekend I had a look on the farm fields on the coast hoping for an early Wheatear, but that wasn't to be. In fact grounded migrants were a bit thin on the ground and all I could muster was a male and two female Stonechats and a single Goldcrest. I suppose I would class the Meadow Pipits that had gathered on the fields as grounded migrants too, as they were certainly migrants and weren't going anywhere at present; in total I had 66!Vis was virtually non-existent as well with just two Alba Wags north. It was murky out at sea and as a result was very quiet other than the 25 Whooper Swans that I picked up on ...

Yesterday

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
It was a tad cool on the coast yesterday as there was some northerly in the westerly, and with full cloud cover no sun to warm things up! It was also murky out at sea and as a result the sea passage was even slower than the day before, and the vis was nearly non-existent!The sea produced six Common Scoters, eleven Eiders, a Red-throated Diver, seven Shelducks, a Great Crested Grebe, three Red-breasted Mergansers and two Cormorants.Grounded migrants were restricted to three males and a female Stonechat, but it won't be long until the first Sand Martins, Wheatears and Chiffchaffs appear! Roosting waders included twenty Sanderlings, eleven Oystercatchers, eight Ringed Plovers and three Turnstones (all the Turnstones were at the Marine Lakes). Stonechatsanderlings The near non-existent vis was just a single Alba Wagtail, a Meadow Pipit and...
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It’s All In The Flex!

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
It was a beautiful spring-like day yesterday when I headed to the Point for a sea watch. I had 3 oktas hazy cloud cover with a 5 mph westerly wind. High tide was about an hour before I got there and the tide was just starting to turn.Spring seawatching is one of my favourite disciplines within the broader umbrella of birding, and I particularly like the spring Red-throated Diver passage when birds are travelling in to the bay at height to cross over land to the North Sea! There was some diver passage this morning with five 'Red-throats' in and two out, but none of the birds moving in to the bay were high. Some of the divers were close in and I always enjoy watching them 'motor' along with that long neck of theirs flexing up and down; superb!The supporting cast on the sea included twelve Eiders, 28 Common Scoters, a Shelduck, a Great Crested...

Chiffie

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
It was a glorious spring-like day today with lots of warm sunshine. I went to the water treatment works to top my feeders up and the first bird I had was a fly-catching Chiffchaff! It is likely that it is an over-winterer as we've had Common Chiffchaff and Siberian Chiffchaff wintering close by. Nevertheless it made it seem even more spring-like!The feeders were empty so they are obviously busy at the moment. We still have ringing suspended because of the avian influenza outbreak and I hope it gets lifted soon because March can be quite busy ringing wise at the Obs!The willows where moments before a flycatching Chiffie delivered it's sorties from! ...
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It’s Starting To Get Early

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
My latest survey in deepest, darkest Merseyside required a 4:00 am alarm call to enable me to get on site one hour before sunrise and I thought to myself "it's starting to get early"! On the morning in question I had three oktas cloud cover with a 10 - 15 mph south-southwesterly wind.It was probably one of my quietest surveys to date at this site and there wasn't really any highlights. Of moderate interest I recorded four Song Thrushes, 21 Goldfinches, a Kestrel, eleven Chaffinches, nine Lapwings, ten Skylarks, three Goldcrests, two drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a female Sparrowhawk, eleven Blue Tits, eleven Blackbirds, 226 Black-headed Gulls and 19 Carrion Crows.I tell a lie there was a highlight, well for me anyway, and that was three Red Squirrels! Always a pleasure to see!...

Garden Mega!

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
This is just a really quick post to say that I had a 'mega' in the garden this morning in the form of a Tree Sparrow, yes a Tree Sparrow! I can hear you all saying that they're not that rare and that you get them in your garden all the time, but round here they are scarce!The nearest population is some miles away, so I can only assume that this bird was a migrant. Every spring we get a few birds moving over the coast on vis. This 'smart dressed individual' was associating with the House Sparrows, but wasn't a full member of their gang as it was always on the edge of the group.Funnily enough my sister-in-law, Kim, was visiting last Saturday and over breakfast she said to me "is that a Tree Sparrow"? Now I have to admit that I didn't look up and said "no it'll be a House Sparrow". Whoops! So, who knows it might have been around since weekend!...
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Tyto

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I recently completed one of my wintering bird surveys in Merseyside and it was probably the quietest of the winter so far. The weather was fairly good with four oktas cloud cover and a 10 mph southwesterly wind, so it was probably just the time of year influencing the results.Of interest I had 34 Goldfinches, a Kestrel, 14 Linnets, ten Long-tailed Tits, five Buzzards, two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, two Stock Doves, five Song Thrushes, seven Lapwings (including a displaying bird), two Barn Owls, two Goldcrests, a calling Tawny Owl, 48 Woodpigeons, 32 Carrion Crows, eleven Robins and 14 Blue Tits.The Barn Owls were of most interest as I had expected to record Barn Owl at the site but hadn't all winter until this survey, when I had two. One bird came flying towards me and then dropped on to a vole quite close to me! I managed to get a shot of ...
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White Winger

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
High tide was in the early hours yesterday morning so I decided to have a look at the river at first light. As I set off along the edge of the saltmarsh I had 7 oktas cloud cover with a 10 mph southerly wind. A number of 'Pink-feet' were leaving their riparian roost, 174, and I also had 280 go over high north; some early vis.As I walked, or should I say slid, along the muddy path a flock of 19 Twite flew over my head calling away, and I soon reached my watch point over the river. There were large Gulls coming and going to bathe and their numbers were quite spectacular, in fact my counts didn't represent the true numbers. I counted 990 Herring Gulls, 17 Great Black-backed Gulls, 32 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (starting to move through now and looking immaculate in breeding plumage) and 115 Black-headed Gulls. In reality there is probably 3,000...
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