Sunday, 24 January 2010

Local birding: 2 of 4 Smew, River Ribble - 24th Jan 2010.

This Camcorder videograb was taken on c400x magnification at close to 1/2 mile range in dull conditions on the stretch of River Ribble, c1km NE of Brockholes LWT at Lower Hall, viewed distantly from Bezza Lane early afternoon, hence the very poor quality, but those of us old enough to remember pre-digiscoping technology shouldn't lose sight of how remarkable it is to achieve any sort of record image at this distance!

Zac Hinchcliffe put the time in this morning arriving at Alston No1 Res for first light where all four Smew had obviously roosted. Having noted the E/SE flight direction when they left the roost at 08:18, Zac then relocated them at Jackson's Bank Wood. They went missing from 10:00 as they moved downstream along poorly viewable reaches of the river before eventually all four were relocated by observers at Lower Hall early-mid afternoon.

Tantalisingly these birds have so far been as close as 1/2km from the local patch, Brockholes LWT. Lets hope they actually grace the waterbodies onsite, adj River Ribble or are seen by somebody onsite in distant flight at some point.

Many thanks to the so far unknown finder of these birds for sharing his/her good fortune and putting the news out on the 20th Jan.

In an ELOC context, this flock of four represent a record-equalling flock for the ELOC recording area (Lancs avifauna states four present on Clowbridge Reservoir in the winter of 1995/1996).

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Local birding: Hungarian colour ringed 1stw Med Gull - Fishmoor Res, Blackburn, Lancs, UK - 10th Jan 2010.

Details as follows:

Left Leg: Metal ring - Budapest 382723

Right Leg: Red darvic HE79

The bird was ringed in the nest at Rétszilas (Örspuszta), Fejér, Hungary (HG31 46°51'N 18°34'E) on 31st May 2009.

Distance from the ringing site in Hungary - Fishmoor Res, Blackburn, Lancs, UK: 1677km (297 degrees W-NW).

Time elapsed since ringing date: 7 months, 12 days.

This is the first report since the ringing date.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Local birding: 8th Jan 2010.

Above: 1stw Med Gull, Fishmoor Res, Blackburn - 8th Jan 2009. One of two Med Gulls this week, but i'm damned if I have been able to find anything else in 4 visits. The distortion in the image is either my aged and deteriorating camcorder or 'cold haze' or both! 50-70% of Gulls, large and small, coming in to Fishmoor over the past two nights have at some point departed purposefully to the west, coastwards, suggesting they are also having a hard time of it even on landfills. The first Fylde record of Caspian Gull in recent days is probably connected to this I think.

Lancs: Fylde birding - 3rd Jan 2010.

An enjoyable day's birding on the Fylde with Cllr John F. Wright began to the south of the Blackpool end of the M55 in the wider vicinity of Lytham Moss searching for Pink-footed Geese flocks. After over an hour we could only locate c150 Pink-feet on the deck, a flock of 11Whooper Swan and c400 Lapwing plus c100 Golden Plover in fields around Great Plumpton.

Zac Hinchcliffe kindly texted me with news that he had relocated the drake Ring-necked Duck at Marton Mere, so that was our next stop and a quality three hours birding followed.

The drake Ring-necked Duck was easily found amongst a horde of wildfowl which included numbers of Tufted, Pochard, Goldeneye, Gadwall, Shoveler and Teal. A Water Rail showed for 15 minutes sunning itself amongst some Mallard on the reed edge.

Mutliple Water Rails were heard in the reedbeds along the walk to the Long-eared Owl roost where three LEOs were just about visible.

4 vocal Cetti's Warbler's were noted calling from the reedbed/scrub, but mostly frustrated by giving only brief glimpses as they crept amongst the bases of the vegetation.

JW located a Bittern at the very far end western of the Mere. Whilst we watched this, another appeared only metres away, with both in view at the same time. Later one of the two or a third bird gave an excellent close flight view at the eastern end and some decent scope views on the deck whilst Cetti's warblers continued to call in the reed in front of us, rounding off a quality visit.

We were keen to grill some Goose flocks so headed Over Wyre for the final 2.5 hrs of light. c2000 were located in the Pilling area in two areas, but no other species could be found amongst them despite much searching, save for two neck collared Pink-feet CHT & PVF for which I have emailed the details and will add to this post when received.

From Pilling Lane Ends car park, single Merlin & Peregrine were noted, both sat distantly out on the saltmarsh, with the Merlin flying close by east a short while later. The same or another Merlin was seen perched on a fencepost in fields inland of PLE a short time later. A few Pintail were distantly offshore amongst numbers of Teal and Wigeon and two Little Egret fed in the saltmarsh creeks.

Above: Merlin. Below: Peregrine
Pilling Lane Ends - 3rd Jan 2010.

Final stop of the day was Eagland Hill, where two Barn Owl showed, one distant, one close. A Little Owl was perched on a hedge and two Little Egret flew over presumably heading to roost at Fluke Hall. The evocative calls of Grey Partridge filled the freezing, still air over the Mosses as darkness fell providing a very atmospheric end to the day.