Tag: peregrine

Raptorous

Wednesday morning at Cockerham began ok. Not perfect but a cool 10mph southerly wind. A couple of sheltered nets meant ringing might be possible. By Wednesday early evening the heavens opened to a downpour and my decision to go ringing had been absol…

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Blog Post: ‘My Latest Marshside Highlights’ by Martin Campbell

What are my birding highlights over the last few weeks at RSPB Marshside ? Well, there have been spectacular displays of thousands of Black-tailed Godwits , Lapwings and Golden Plovers which make an incredible sight when flushed from the ground by a hunting raptor. This has notably been a Peregrine, which had a real go at them! However, this time has provided me with close-up portraits of both male and female Kestrels , a useful opportunity to compare. There I was photographing my first ever Grey Phalarope (rare bird!), when this male Kestrel flew towards me, landed on the most perfectly placed fencepost and posed coyly for several minutes. His blue-grey head and tail and lighter, less speckled back separate him from all other British falcons. Top moment! This female Kestrel was waiting patiently for me to photograph her. Immediately I’d finished, she bobbed a couple of times and flew off fast and low, causing mass panic among the ducks. Its grey-brown head separates it from the male (with blue-grey head). It’s also paler brown on the head and back than the female Merlin and has streaks rather than the Sparrowhawk’s bars on the front. The Grey Phalarope is quite a rarity, as only a few make landfall during their southwards migration which is mostly over the Atlantic Ocean. About the size of a Starling , this winter bird is identified mostly by its head pattern, which to me makes it look like a balding old man with a black eye! There is also a distinctive dark stripe down the back of its neck. This Water Rail was only the second I have ever seen! I know most of you realise how rare and privileged a sight this is, as these birds generally stay well out of sight in the reedbeds. They are rather like a small, attractively marked Moorhen, with longer red beak. The beak was covered in mud in the first two photos, which made me think it might be a young one. However, young ones have a paler straw-coloured beak and much paler neck and breast. They have a beautiful dark blue-grey neck and breast, chestnut-brown back heavily speckled with black and bold black-and-white barring on their underparts. This one held its tail permanently upright, like a Wren . The final joy for me at this time of year are the incredible Marshside sunsets, which give a whole new perspective on bird photography. Here is a small selection of photographs featuring Greylag and Pink-footed Geese , which I feel speak for themselves.

Little Surprise

Birders with eyes on the skies and ears to the ground will not be surprised by a RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) report that raptor persecution shows no signs of slowing down across the UK.  Are we also shocked to learn that while…

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Twitching up north – Again!

The Safari was picked up by CR on dreary wet November morning last Tuesday and off we set north-bound on a twitch for a Yankee duck that had been resident on Pine Lake for a week or so. A convenient early port of call on the way to Leighton Moss. The d…

Blog Post: Raptors rule the skies

Ribble Reserves blog w/c 04.11.19 Our new Ribble Reserves blog combines news from all of our RSPB Ribble estuary sites; Marshside, Hesketh Out Marsh and the Ribble Discovery Centre providing you with all the latest up to date information about sightings, events, shop offers and educational visits! Ribble Discovery Centre The kingfisher continues to be spotted flitting over the lake, it continues to evade us in the centre however! Redshanks and oystercatchers are spotted frequently on the edge of the lake and over 30 mute swans were counted this week. Educational visits With #OutdoorClassroomDay today we thought we would look at our education season so far. This season since April we have delivered our learning sessions to schools and youth groups, engaging 1500 children. That’s a lot of mud dipping! We offer a suite of sessions linked to the Science National Curriculum and our coastal beach sessions also match the Cornerstones curriculum. We undertake sessions in and around the lake and gardens such as plant detectives and living things and their habitats, but one of our most popular sessions is the mud habitat study. Awe and wonder is rife in this session. Children have the opportunity to not only discover and identify the invertebrates living beneath this highly nutritious mud but they also have the chance to understand their wider relationship within the food chains and ecosystem of the habitat. The opportunity to use wide scientific vocabulary is there and this was commended in our Council for Learning Outside the Classroom Quality badge inspection. Brownies mud dipping photo credit Jo Taylor Our feedback this season has also been excellent with 100% of respondents stating their session was “outstanding” or “very good”. This is with great thanks to the huge contribution of our many learning volunteers who are so vital to our team. If you are interested in booking an educational visit at the Ribble Discovery Centre at any time of year please contact our learning officer Jo Taylor at jo.taylor@rspb.org.uk Visitor Centre and family events Our Autumn Explorer trail was very popular over half term with over 70 families taking part. The winner has now been drawn and will be collecting their family prize from the Ribble Discovery Centre this weekend. Well done! Shop Alongside our Christmas cards, wrapping and calendar offers there’s currently a fantastic 20% off 12.75kg boxes of Buggy Nibbles (R402649) and High Energy Suet Sprinkles (R403130). Normally £39.99, now £31.99 too. In our centre we sell a wide range of books, including some great wildlife identification guides and also a range of natural history novels. Great for that special Christmas gift. Ray, one of our centre volunteers has written the following book review for us: “This book is a must – sensitive, inspiring and told in such a way it gives you feeling you are being told a story by someone who genuinely cares. It is well researched and factual interspersed by humour. If you love birds, history or just a thoroughly good story then this is a must read for you. I would recommend this nook to anyone interested in birdwatching and the history of the conservation movement, anyone wanting a good read and anyone interested in the history of the Second World War.” Marshside Skies We have been treated to displays from a suite of raptors present at Marshside of late. Peregrine , hen harrier , merlin , sparrow hawk , marsh harrier hunt over the inner and outer marshes, often agitating their quarry into amazing evasive displays. The black tailed godwits below are were filmed at Marshside (Rimmers Marsh) keeping ahead of a peregrine. https://vimeo.com/371079332 Out and About A the days get shorter and the first few frosts reach in, the marshes colour palette is finding its winter hues. Dusk at Sandgrounders hide: Marshside Record breaking cows This cow broke the coveted ‘interference record’ – with an outstanding heavy scratch test of a freshly repaired stile …. 45 seconds is going to be hard to beat From the Web Visitors have been enjoying the nomadic band of cattle egrets as they move from site to site along the Ribble. These thirteen were photographed by Janice Sutton as they headed to roost. Its incredible to see this species increase its footing on the Ribble. Janice also caught up with the growing flock of twite now enjoying the saltmarsh. This image was taken by the pier, but they have been spotted at Marshside and along the fence line at Hesketh Out Marsh .

Over Wyre and back

The Safari had a wont to have a peek at the rarer geese that had been found last weekend in the fields and marshes Over Wyre. Our first port of call was the farmland bird feeding area where there were numerous Tree Sparrows, always good to see them, an…

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Bleasdale video footage finally released

Peregrine persecution on a grouse moor: Bleasdale video footage finally releasedBy RaptorPersecutionUK 65 Comments Categories: 2016 persecution incidents, News and Persecution Incidents in England Tags: peregrine, shooting, sprin…