Terned out nice again

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
A midday walk along Ainsdale beach with Claire for the high tide was a real spectacle – I’d forgotten just how fantastic it is here when the waders get pushed in by a big one. A couple of stubborn dog walkers/bird flushers disturbed the birds, but the poor forecast probably put plenty off even though it actually turned warm with a haze of sunshine. Nice to see some Ribble birding regulars out as well. The terns screeched and floated around in circles, settling on the beach when they got chance. Several hundred Sandwich, fewer Common and the highlight being an adult and juv Little – beautiful birds with such a distinctive call, it was great to watch this pair at fairly close range. A short video of the adult here – it was ringed, would really like to have known the origin of it. I’d actually come looking for g...

Shear luck

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Started the Dorset holiday with a 4 hour sea watch off Portland on Sunday afternoon as the weather looked good for bringing in some birds. Better than I could have expected with the highlight being finding a west bound Great Shear that gave a decent view as it shot through. Also managed to get the other 2 birders on site on to it as well, smiles all round. The Balearic Shears gave some amazing views feeding in with a close Gannet group and some close in Sooty’s added to the excitement. Final counts – 1 Gt Shear, 34 (min) Balearic, 3 Sooty, 8 Bonxie, 12 Fulmar, lost count of Meds (mostly juvs) plus plenty of common stuff like Kittewake, Manx, etc. A superb afternoon! Yesterday I went back at dawn to see if there was anything still coming through, but the wind had died down so just a single Balearic west of any note. However there wer...
Continue Reading » Shear luck...

Musical youth

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
A very early start at a murky Hesketh Out Marsh this morning. It felt great to bird in conditions other than “scorchio” although the reduced visibility provided by the light drizzle had a knock on effect with the photo quality! Up to 3 juvenile Arctic Tern were perfecting their fishing techniques on shelter pool and it was very relaxing watching them dancing through the air and splashing down in an almost rhythmic motion – I managed a quick video of one touch down after learning their training route. The other juveniles of note were 3 Yellow Wagtails using the reserve fence to bound down into the water logged grass and probe for insects. They were constantly calling, but never came close enough for good pictures. Great to know that these 2 species have both been successful in the area again this year. Waders were repr...
Continue Reading » Musical youth...

Polly’s puddle

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
A quick visit to Marshside before work, and the site is now very dry with Polly’s reduced to just a puddle in the far corner. There were 1,000 Dunlin on there on Friday morning, none today! The waders have been pushed on to the pools by Sandgrounders where 300+ Dunlin were feeding. The flock held single figure numbers of juvs and 2 birds in non-breeding plumage (why do all of these grey birds look large and long billed? Is it an illusion or a ssp difference?). In with the Dunlin was a newly arrived full breeding plumage Spotted Red. It kept its head in most of the time, but briefly popped its bill out for a preen – I can’t really ever see enough of these, they’re great! Also creeping around in the mud were several young Redshank and Avocet of various ages and a Common Sand. Got to be a good chance of a Pec San...
Continue Reading » Polly’s puddle...

Black Flag

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
An early start at Hesketh to beat the heat. A Barn Owl as I arrived on the car park was a good start, and Shelter Pool had quite a few birds on it as I peered over the sea wall. Dunlin, Avocet, Curlew, Redshank and Avocet all feeding on the fringes, but best of all was a full breeding plumage Spotted Red at the bank edge of the pool – what a stunner! Managed a short video and popped it on YouTube – not too bad if you watch in HD given distance. The rest of the reserve was less busy, but still held singing Corn Bunting, Yellow Wagtail, Common Sand, Eider, Greenshank, Snipe and the usual Terns. All distant as you can see! There had been a small influx of Teal with 11 birds on one of the pools. On to Marshide, where Nels is now just a sludgy puddle, perfect for Plovers and only really Lapwing and an LRP now present. 2 Gr...
Continue Reading » Black Flag...

No stone unturned

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Hardly been birding on the Ribble since my holiday, so it was nice to get out early this morning for a walk along the bank at Hesketh. There might be a heatwave coming next week, but it was decidedly chilly this morning in the stiff breeze. A great start when I came a group of waders on shelter pool and they turned out to be Knot – 25 in total, the most I’ve ever seen on the deck here. Even better was a full patch tick Turnstone hunkered down in the middle of them – it only stayed a couple of minutes and was off calling, but thankfully I managed a record shot as it took to the air. The other highlight was only my 2nd local Hobby of the year having a half hearted go at a Starling pack before heading off towards the Fylde across the marsh. Great to see that both Arctic and Common Terns have got chicks, but there seemed t...
Continue Reading » No stone unturned...

Nairn better

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Just come back from a fantastic family holiday in Nairn near Inverness, where we managed to see most of the Highland and Speyside specialities in just one full day birding plus some stop offs after days out. An extended stop at Killiecrankie on the way up saw 2 singing Wood Warbler – what a great place to have lunch and stretch your legs. The caravan park that we stopped at was great, right by Nairn’s lovely beach and surrounded by Gorse, Broom and some forest full of Yellowhammer and Redpoll. A few pure(ish) looking Hoodies were around with various intergrades and pure Carrions. The days birding was mostly spent walking in Golden Eagle territory and we saw 3 different birds – an adult and a young bird together and a lone young bird that gave fantastic views overhead – the pics with the Buzzard are quite nice as a s...
Continue Reading » Nairn better...

Catcher in the rye

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
After searching for and expecting Black Terns at Marshside all week, I noticed that 5 had been seen this afternoon at Nels so I drove over for a look. There were still 3 there distantly from Marshside Road when I got across so I parked up at the Sandplant for a walk and a closer view. A quick look from Junction Screen at the wader flocks and a nice Spotted Fly popped up in the trees to the side – looping out from time to time to snatch its afternoon tea. Smart birds and always brighten up a days birding. A walk down to Nels gave better views of the Terns, but too far for my camera. Ken Morrison then sent a message saying the other 2 were by Sandgrounders so I nipped there hoping they were in range. Always on the move, twisting and turning they were not easy, but I got a couple of images that you can at least see what they are! A Dr...
Continue Reading » Catcher in the rye...

Double DiStint

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
An early morning visit to the golf course was a non event again – tough year for me on there. A Hare was sunning itself by Fairclough’s but I could see that most of the birds were at the far end of Rimmers. A scan from the Junction Screen showed that yesterday’s new influx of waders were still feeding in the muddy grass fringes of the pool. 3 Curlew Sands (all in breeding plumage) fed in a squadron, plenty of Dunlin and Ringed Plover plus best of all I found a breeding plumage Little Stint. They’ve been rarer than Temminck’s this Spring, in fact this is the only one I know about in the area so it was great to see – a bit like a mini Sanderling in this plumage. A quick wander up to the Halfway Screen and I picked up a Greenshank calling overhead which then settled in with the Godwit. Never an easy bird ...
Continue Reading » Double DiStint...

Tern it in

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
An early start again to see  yesterday’s reported Wood Sand near Stanley High School at Marshside. It didn’t disappoint and was feeding away close to the public footpath on the pools. It had disappeared by the time I’d done the golf course and returned, but maybe it was just hiding in some of the rushy edges – cracking bird in the early morning light. I left Marshside as the loud speaker system cranked up for the Triathlon, and decided to head for Hesketh Out Marsh. The 5 pairs of Arctic Tern were putting on a good show, as were 2 day flying Barn Owl at the far west end. There had been a mini influx of Eider with 5 on the reserve (2m, 3f), also singing Corn Bunting and a couple of fly past Yellow Wags The Terns made me think about the Docks, so I headed over to have a look how the Common Tern colony was shapi...
Continue Reading » Tern it in...