Wet in Wigan

The Safari shouldn't trust the weather forecasts so far in advance! We'd arranged to have a day out on safari with CR this week and at first it was looking like Monday was the best day then the forecast changed to Tuesday being better so we booked Monty in at the sitters and made the necessary pick up arrangements only to find that as the weekend drew to a close the forecast had changed again and Monday was back to being the better day. But now Tuesday it was for the further flung safari.Monday was chilly but bright and we headed out to Marton Mere for the morning.With nothing to stop for at the feeding station we went straight round to the  viewing point at the south west bay where our old cabin used to be. As soon as we raised the bins we spotted a small flock of Pintail (MMLNR #52). Great to see, even if a little distant across the ...
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First Trickle Of Vis

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I headed to the southern section of the Obs recording area and had a walk over the farm fields and a brief look on the sea. I had 6 oktas cloud cover with a 10 mph southeasterly wind..There was quite a few Magpies around this morning and in total I had 15. If any of them had been flying a little higher I would have said that they were on vis. However, I did have the first trickle of vis this morning in the shape of 13 Woodpigeons, five Skylarks and two Siskins. All were high and heading S/SE into the wind. Ian had a similar mix of species at the Point with the addition of Grey Wagtail and Mistle Thrush.Pink-footed Geese were dropping in to the farm fields across the road from first light. I could hear them, but not see them, other than a group of 97 and another skein of 50 heading north.I just go to the sea wall as the tide was turning and ...
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Chough shunned by the media

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
Given the fact that it has been seen and/or known about by more people than possibly any other bird ever seen in North Lancashire i.e. the whole of Heysham for a start, attempts to get Lancaster and Morecambe Newspapers and BBC Northwest to do a feature have failed miserably.  Weird - no doubt for wildlife issues they are presumably used to dealing with e.g. RSPB or Wildlife Trust press officers and anyone who contacts them privately is filed under 'oddball- use as last resort'Chough - mainly in the second field north of half moon bay cafe all day.  I wonder how many pics are in existence!Iceland Gull - 3rd winter on the incoming tide then had returned to the waterfall at 1515hrs.  Advice to birders tomorrow - go and see this first on the incoming tide before the ChoughThanks to Mark and Margaret BreaksBlack-tailed Godwit - t...

VP Red Kite and Raven

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Yesterday morning I was out at one of my wintering bird survey plots on some Lancashire mossland carrying out a Vantage Point (VP) and transect survey. It was a lovely clear day, for a change, with a light southwesterly wind and Gail had joined me for a bit of fresh air and exercise. Gail does occasionally join me and in addition to providing me with some most welcome company, another pairs of eyes is useful. She is very good at picking birds up at a distance, even though she might not be able to identify them, and sometimes gets on birds before me! I had quipped on Facebook yesterday that it was a belated Valentine's Day treat for her, but in reality the treat was the sighting of a Red Kite.Anthony McGeehan in his book 'Birds Through Irish Eyes' says Red Kites are big, lanky basketball players. Gangly at rest, with long limbs and a loping ...

Another Good Year

Posted on - In
With all the data now in it was another successful year for the group with total handlings of 15,940 made up of 9152 new fully grown, 2950 nestlings and 3838 retraps or recoveries.Top of the pile as usual was Blue Tit with 2399 handlings of these 994 were nestlings from our various nest box schemes and 472 retraps. Our RAS schemes featured highly with Pied Flycatcher having their best year ever with 944 handlings made up of 754 nestlings, 115 retraps and 75 adults. Sand Martins had a reasonable year with 757 handlings but Reed Warblers  at 389 were down due to access difficultiesWe have five colour ringing schemes. Nuthatch with 773 records of which 651 were re-sightings was the most productive. Bearded Tits with 437 records of which 405 were sightings. These are both local species with only very occasional movements out of the ar...
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Brents back and extra Iceland near miss

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
Pale-bellied Brent - returned to skeer off horse paddocks by 1400Thanks MattChough - first two fields all dayThanks MattIceland Gull - 3rd W SW corner harbour (and juv last seen heading for Heysham from Battery Groyne early pm)Med Gull - ad fishers roof, ad off horse fields...

A Photo Or Two

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
I didn’t get many photos this morning. As each week passes the adult birds and those born last year get older and wiser about birders and keep out of the way of cameras and bins. An early morning Barn Owl is pretty much guaranteed at the moment when food is scarce and the owls spend longer on the hunt. So it was this morning as the owl stayed alongside the moss road but hidden by distance and the straggly hedge at eye level. I made do with a Kestrel and then a Buzzard just sat in the opposite field but keeping a wary eye on passing cars. It looked like last year’s bird. BuzzardAlong Lancaster Road a farmer was out early taking the tops off and shaping the hedgerow. It rather stopped my looking for finches and much else but the flood at Rawcliffe/Pilling held 4 Fieldfare, 1 Kestrel, 180 Lapwing, 10 Pied Wagtail and 8 Meadow Pip...
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On Thursday – A presentation called CELEBRATING OUR SWIFTS by Tanya and Edmund Hoare (Sedbergh)

Posted on - In I Love Arnside & Silverdale
Please come along to this very special presentation by the local Swift enthusiasts who are also National Swift experts - you will enjoy it.

Hutton Roof Catch Ups (bits and pieces)

Posted on - In I Love Arnside & Silverdale
Friday 16th February 2018 - Dalton Crags to Hutton Roof Common Trig PointNice and Sunny and bitterly cold, but such a joy to get out and check things out.  My initial thoughts were to wonder if the Great Grey Shrike had made an appearance, its quite obvious odd ones are now being seen throughout the Country at various Shrike haunts, yet ours (when and if he/she arrives) is pretty good at choosing about the 4th of March as a regular return date. First thing that caught my eye was down in lower Dalton Crags when I was watching a Green Woodpecker for some twenty minutes whilst it was examining a nearby tree, he seemed to go around the back of the tree in the opposite direction to me, so at sometime in the next few days I will need to check out the tree to see if there are any holes etc.Oh! just the ticket! to hear "Sky" singing away ...

Brent failure

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
Cant find them on their usual high spring tide routine!Iceland Gull - 3rd W harbour area on and off all dayThanks Matt for the mobile phone picChough - seemingly ever-present (dangerous word or two!) in the first two fields north of half moon bay cafe Med Gull - ad Knowlys roadJack Snipe - two OE saltmarsh edgeSnipe - 6 OE saltmarsh edgeStonechat - female OE saltmarsh edgeKittiwake - didn't actually see any as there was no seawatching carried out, but it was typical Kittiwake flock weather in the morning tide and John Webb intercepted about 120 off JBP which would have come past here...
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