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).