Posts Tagged ‘Golden Plover’

Nearly a full squad of “A” Teamers for a trip to the seaside, with the promise of some different birds and a couple from last year, who seemed to be wintering. We left a snowy Norden around 7-30am after a few “local difficulties”, well put Chris, who took the wheel. We got through the various belts of icy fog and as we reached the coast it was cold but the sun was shining at times. Calling firstly at Knott End slipway for a nice Twite. Our second call was to see the first winter dark morph Pomarine Skua that had been blown into Cockers Dyke in the recent gales. The bird appeared to have an injured wing and was being supplied with some carrion / food by the local birders. We searched the bird filled coast and salt marsh and could not pick up the Pomarine Skua. I didn’t have my telescope with me, having hoped for some pictures of the close feeding skua, so, as I scanned the area with my binoculars, I kept being drawn to a strange shape in the distance, a clod of salt marsh surely? A birder said, ” I have the skua”, yes it was the clod, tip:-always take your scope with you! The bird eventually got to its feet to repel the attentions of 2 Carrion Crows, who looked like undertakers weighing up their next victim! The hoped for close up of this bird did not materialise, but 2 Mediterranean Gulls were seen. Lots of godwits,Curlews and a large skein of Pink Footed Geese flew over the bay, very nice. A trip along the coast towards Thurnham to see the Whooper & Bewick`s Swans was enjoyed, helped by one of the Flyde bird clubs members,many thanks. Golden & Grey Plovers feeding in roadside fields in large number were also noted. At Bradshaw Lane End & Eagland Hill the small feeding stations are usually filled with small finches, but only Tree Sparrows were seen and no evidence of any food for the birds. The Shore Lark was enjoyed at Rossall Point though it was still quite cold on this part of the coast, smart little bird this one. At Marton Mere the hoped for Iceland Gull, Firecrest, Long Eared Owl or Cetti`s Warbler were not located, a couple of Shoveller and a smart female Sparrowhawk were our reward. The trend continued as the regular Great Grey Shrike on Lytham Moss had not been seen for 2 hours prior to our arrival and was not located. A dash up to Parsonage Reservoir near Rishton to see a wintering Great Northern Diver was to be our last stop on a wintry birding day. Around 20 new species were enjoyed by all our team and a little more knowledge gained about Pomarine Skua`s that are on the ground!

Dave O.


Our annual trip came around again and it did not disappoint. There were new birds for the year, a twitch, sunny weather and finally a loss which has become a found!  Me and Bob K left Rochdale early in dreadful weather on Friday and it looked good for, “bad weather,good birds” etc. By Hull the rain had stopped and as we reached Stonecreek the clouds were breaking up. We met up with John from Leeds, as we always do and he told us of the local bird news. The walk to Sunk Island Battery was a little uneventful, but we always do it and pay homage to the place were the Mugimaki Flycatcher was found (get a life, I hear you say) Why have they not accepted that bird yet? A colony of Tree Sparrows are now well established in the area. We did not call at Patrington Haven as the tide was out, so we pushed on to Easington. There had been a Yellow Browed Warbler and a Ring Ouzel earlier and despite searching and help from some friends from York, we drew a blank. We headed for Spurn and Chalk Bank hide, seeing a Little Tern and a Purple Sandpiper and a flock of Brent Geese along with lots of waders as the tide began to turn. There was a few people around and the news about a strange Locustella warbler was just breaking. We headed for our caravan and after a meal my phone rang, it was Mark from York with the news of a possible Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler near Chalk Bank!  We headed at great speed to the area until we saw the tide crossing the “road”. This was decision time, luckily our minds were made up for us by 4 vehicles coming in the opposite direction. Reversing in wet sand between sticks with vehicles pushing us along with the tide lapping at the doors certainly beats one or two of our exploits! The Spurn warden told us the bird would be trapped Saturday morning and its identity established. Time for the pub, now that all six of us were here, great to see you all. Met the warden and a few of the regulars in the “Crown & Anchor” and had a chat about the new arrivals etc. At 7-15am in the morning, we all headed for Chalk Bank area to see if the possible would turn into a definite. Around 8-30am and after seeing the bird in flight, the bird was captured and the expectancy could be felt, then the words,”Well that a mystery solved, it’s a Grasshopper Warbler”, at that point about 50 birders feelings went downhill rapidly!  Me and Bob wandered off and saw two Firecrests, what nice birds they are. Breakfast time for us all now. A walk to Beacon Lane pools was not to good and the sea did not reveal anything at all. A Red Breasted Flycatcher had been found in the church yard in Kilnsea and showed really well in bright sunshine, also, Firecrest, Pied Flycatcher. In the Canal Scrape a Jack Snipe was seen and a couple of Redstarts completed the days birding. Sunday was nice and sunny and we all walked to the churchyard and found Firecrest, Lesser Whitethroat (thanks Martin) and finally a Yellow Browed Warbler. Time to plan for the journey home and after our goodbye’s the Rochdale boys headed for Old Moor RSPB reserve. Upon reaching there, Bob revealed that his telescope was not in the car, were was it? Lots of people here but no sign of an American Golden Plover. Curlew Sandpiper and a few waders in amongst a lot of Golden Plover who earlier had been spooked by a Peregrine. Our last call was at Edderthorpe Flash, but nothing new was found. By this time, Bob had spoke to lots of people about his missing scope, but it was not found. We all got home by 5-30pm and all enjoyed the trip.

P.S. Bob returned to Spurn on Tuesday and guess what? He found his scope under the caravan curtains in the main room, result or what!

Dave O.

One of our most eagerly awaited trips of the year to the uplands of England to see the Black Grouse was last Sunday, what a day it turned out to be. A quick call on the way up to see a few Hawfinch at Sizergh Castle got the show on the road. With the clocks having sprung forward, a few dissenting voices about the early start could be heard. But never the less we passed through a valley bottom that was completely white with frost with lots of Common Gull shivering with the cold, car outside temperature guage read 1 degree, upon return in the same valley the guage read 19 degrees! As the sun came up we began to climb and were soon rewarded by sight of a Ring Ouzel heading up a gully close to the road and a male Wheatear sat out on a favourite rocky perch. We were also serenaded by “chipping” Snipe and displaying Golden Plovers and a few Curlew, Skylark and Meadow Pipits for good measure and with the complete lack of any other humans except a farmer or two it seemed like heaven! Our next call had about 10 Ring Ouzel, busily feeding and chasing each other around with a few Redshank for company. The cameramen amongst us went and got some pictures of the birds. We headed for our “regular” place to see Black Grouse and, after about half an hours searching, we managed to see a male bird walk across a field and promptly disappear into the undergrowth, much to the dismay of Steve B, who had wandered off and missed the bird. Chris B. knew another location and we headed for it. After 10 minutes another male bird showed really well and Steve was happy. We called in at an area that had been “clearfelled” and managed to see a pair of Woodcock that had been disturbed by a couple who were collecting wood ? Also a couple of cameramen who were covered in camouflage gear and hated our presence as they tried to take pictures of some Crossbills, boring bastards I think. We now paid homage to a little railwayana in the form of a trip to the site of an old British Transport film called, “Snowdrift at Bleath Gill” about a steam loco getting stuck in bad weather and how they got it out. Next stop Leighton Moss to twitch a few Chiff-Chaff`s and meet up with “Ginger” a regular at these parts who had no news about owt good in the area. Then we decided to visit a new area in the form of Longridge Fell to see/or not to see, a “Lancashire” Great Grey Shrike. What is it with me and GGS in Lancashire? as we searched all the area and came up with my regular score on this species, nowt! But the area was nice but next to no birds though. Time to head for home on what had been a lovely sunny day that we will all remember. Called in at Kingsway “puddle” in Rochdale on the way home as one of our locals had seen 4 Ruff along with Little Ringed Plover and these birds were all still present when I arrived at 6pm. What a day!