Solway Sojourn. Sunday 13th March 2016

Posted: March 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

With the recent elevation of Richardson`s Cackling Goose to full status on the B.O.U. species list and with one being present on the Solway, we thought of a trip up to see the bird. One of our number also, wanted the species for a British lifer. So at 6am nearly a full A Team left Rochdale with Bob K at the wheel. Our first call was at Sizergh Castle to try to see/ photograph the Hawfinch that are present there. The birds are being fed in the area and if you try to stay in your vehicle will give you a chance of a good picture. The birds showed fairly well in the poor morning light.
We soon headed north up the M6 passing through the beautiful Lune Valley, with Sweetheart Wood getting a mention. The distant fells still had plenty of snow on their peaks, giving us a reminder that winter is not quite over yet. We left the motorway at Carlisle and headed west on the B5307 towards Kirkbride, passing Kingmoor ,that had been more famous to ourselves as a mecca for steam trains heading into Scotland. We reached the area that the Richardson`s Cackling Goose had been in on Saturday and began a two hour search for the bird. Lots of Pink Footed and Barnacle Geese were present but, the hoped for bird, was not seen at all. A rather smart Merlin was seen sat on a post and in flight. There did not seem to be much interest in this goose as only around 10 bird watchers were there when we were.
Time for a bit of site seeing, at Bowness on Solway we soon found the almost mythical “viaduct” famous for skua passage in spring. It needed a bit of jungle training to reach the end as it has been rather taken over by nature. At the end of the raised banking, you look north across the Solway to Annan in Scotland were you can see what was the other end of the viaduct. The tide was out and a sad lack of birds, I’m afraid. We went through Wallsend (the end/ beginning of Hadrian’s Wall) and decided to head south for Leighton Moss.
A nice look at the Peregrine Falcons in a local quarry in beautiful sunshine was really nice. The Eric Morecambe hide revealed Avocet, Greenshank, Redshank, Stonechat and lots of noisy Black Headed Gulls. The causeway & public hide had Pintail, Marsh Harrier & Snipe. No real spring migrants as yet, but I’m sure they are on their way. Nice trip to blow the winter cobwebs away, we reached home by 5-45pm

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