….And Memories Of ’95.

A pair of Siskin visited our garden Wednesday this week, the male a brilliant individual, briefly on the feeders before flying off together. I was jumping for joy at the sight of these two birds and was tempted to call them rare for our garden, but looking through past records, I was surprised to discover 13 records here, the first being a pair on 2 March 2013 nearly 12 months after we moved in here, followed by 6 on 5 April 2013 which remains the best count in the garden to date....This means this weeks Siskins have been reduced from rare to scarce.

Thanks to Martin Jump for the excellent header image of a pair of Siskin at loggerheads.

Looking in on the Portland Bill Obs website for an update, showed a mainly negative feel on the sightings page in relation to spring migration, with 20 Wheatears being the first double figure arrival there to date this year. Comments went on to say, 'other passerines were few and far between'. Sea passage has yet to be anything meaningful, though a little taster for it on Wednesday turned out to be wide of the mark the following day, with 'no more than a dribble of routine early season offerings' on Thursday. A 'handful' of Sand Martins was as good as it got on 17 March, and just one Swallow was mentioned on Wednesday last.

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Black Stork.

Twenty six years ago, was a memorable year for me in the early days of my birding whilst delivering car parts over a c.50 mile radius from Lancaster.

Black Stork. Bury Antoine.

On 24 April 1995, having looked in on Blea Tarn Reservoir during my lunch break between runs. I was driving along Littledale Road, when I saw a large heron sized bird flying quite low over the Quernmore Valley in the direction of the Lune Valley. The bird was initially in silhouette, but as I drew nearer its identity was revealed.

There was what was regarded as a secondhand rumour of this bird being seen on the floodplain in the Lune Valley later the same day, and one was also reported two days later in the area around Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire.

Status: The Black Stork is regarded to be a vagrant which has turned up with surprising regularity in our recording area, this one was the 5th or 6th record.

Lesser Yellowlegs.

Lesser Yellowlegs. Martin Lofgren.

I had gone into the Eric Morecambe Hide at Leighton Moss on Wednesday 18 October 1995. Two birders already in the hide, asked me if I would join the attempt to ID a wader which was with 2 Greenshank and several Redshank, but noticeably smaller in size, and a more delicate build than the two other species.

The birds were all resting and required patience until they eventually became alert. The puzzling bird soon revealed long yellow legs, and a fine straight all dark bill. I took advantage of a fourth birder who arrived later to join us, he soon agreed that my suggestion was correct when I claimed the wader as a juvenile/1st winter Lesser Yellowlegs.

Status: A vagrant. This was the first record for our area, and the first of six for me seen over the years.

Thanks to Bury Antoine and Martin Lofgren for their contributions, with images of the Back Stork and Lesser Yellowlegs.

And Finally.

Some decent atmospherics made for good views of the Lakeland mountains over Morecambe Bay from Williamson Park recently. With some instability in the footage, short of a tripod on zoom.