April 15th – Keeping it local

Posted: April 21, 2012 in Bird Watching, Rochdale, Rossendale, Twitching
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Our latest trip out involved staying within our own county of Lancashire. With four of us present and myself driving we left Rochdale at 7am and headed for Ewood Bridge WTW near Rawtenstall. We first heard and then saw Blackcap and Willow Warbler, now we all know its spring. Next stop Longridge Fell for the difficult Great Grey Shrike, we had a good search of the area, but were once again resigned to “dip-out” on the bird again when Steve K said,”Well I have at least got my first Wheatear of the year”, upon closer inspection the bird was indeed the Great Grey Shrike sat in a tree waiting for its breakfast to fly by.

Great Grey Shrike - Longridge

Well, we had a good laugh at the identification efforts of Steve K but little did we know he would redeem himself within the hour! Lots of Siskin and a Marsh Tit were also seen. Down at Alston Wetland we met a man called Ian Walker who was very helpfull and explained the area etc to us. Sand Martins and Swallows in small numbers were passing through and a solitary House Martin that I managed to miss also. Then Steve K said very calmly, “There’s a White Stork over there”, what might this be we all thought?. But the man was right a White Stork appeared to be losing height and dropped out of view behind the reservoir. I hastily went to see Ian who was suitably unimpressed by our news! After we left the area the White Stork flew again and promptly left the area. It had been seen over Preston earlier in the morning. Clifton Marsh was our next call and a mixed flock of Curlew and Whimbrel were grazing in the field along with Grey Partridge and a few breeding species of our more common ducks. We then called into Lytham Crematorium and had no trouble locating 3 Ring Necked Parakeets, nice exotic bird in a rather sombre place! As we were passing the area a call into Eagland Hill to again fail to locate any Yellowhammer or Corn Buntings, we must try harder. With one of the lads needing to get Water Pipit on his list, we headed of for Conder Green as 2 had been seen in the area recently, but no joy. A single Spotted Redshank was nice though. We headed up through Lancaster bound for Leighton Moss with the chance of adding Garganey, Bittern, Avocet and Osprey to our day lists,but as the place was besieged by dudes and day trippers our chances were slim and only managed to see Avocet, this is 2 trips on the trot to the “Moss” that have been, in the main ,disappointing.

Nuthatch - Leighton Moss

To end the day in style what about a nice gentle strole up Langden Valley, in the Trough of Bowland ,to the “Castle”. Now this is a beautiful walk but is about 2 miles long, mostly uphill, not to be taken lightly. We met a few birders  coming down who mentioned a distant passage Osprey and a few Ring Ouzel and lots of Red Grouse, so we gave it a go and after we nearly got to the end of the path we managed to see just 2 Ring Ouzels having a right “ding-dong”, 2 Raven and a solitary Buzzard with many Red Grouse being seen. Time was pressing on now so a hurried downward decent was made. On the way home a single Little Owl was perched on roadside wires also waiting for its evening meal, as we all were by now. We managed to get home by 7pm. We all got at least 7 new birds for the year and all in our own fair county!


Dave O.


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