Monday, 31 January 2011

Local birding: Common Redpolls & Iceland Gull - 31st Jan 2011.

Quality local birds began firstly with a call from Dave Bickerton who kindly invited me over to his garden at Petre Crescent, Rishton, where He and Mark Breaks had caught two Common (Mealy) Redpoll during a ringing session in DB's back garden (referred to hereafter as Rishton Bird Obs - RBO).
Above: 2x 1stw male Common Redpoll - Rishton Bird Observatory, 31st Jan 2011.

Above & below: 1stw male Common Redpoll (left) and 1stw Lesser Redpoll - RBO - 31st Jan 2011.

Dave Bickerton (centre, RBO President/Chariman/Owner) and Tony Disley (right) photograph the Common Redpolls. Much to my annoyance, I forgot to get some shots of the undertail coverts.

MkB extracts a Bullfinch: Rishton Bird Obs, 31st Jan 2011.

A good number of Gulls were noted from the moving car as I passed Rishton Reservoir enroute to RBO. Thankfully the majority were still present over an hour later. A juv Iceland Gull was noted on the first scan, probably the same bird as found by Steven Grimshaw c5 days previously at Whinney Hill Tip, and a different individual to the juv present a few weeks previously, being darker and more coarsely patterned than that bird.

Despite disturbance by the eternal scourge that is the dog walker (two in this case), the Iceland remained for c2 hours when it flew in the direction of Whinney Hill Tip at 14:22. Against the odds in foggy conditions, I briefly saw the bird at the Fishmoor Reservoir roost at 16:48.

Left-Right: Myself, Mark Breaks, Dave Bickerton, Geoff Turner & Steven Grimshaw - Rishton Reservoir, Lancs - 31st Jan 2011.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

White-billed Diver, Scotland: 28th Jan 2011.

I had the good fortune to find this magnificent (untwitchable) adult winter White-billed Diver at a confidential site in Scotland on 28th Jan.

Friday, 21 January 2011

North Ribble sites, Lancs: 21st Jan 2011.

Above : 1stw Red-necked Grebe, Fairhaven Lake, Lytham St. Annes, Lancs, 21st Jan 2011.
Below: Ring-necked Parakeet. One of six at Lytham Crematorium late afternoon.

Pam decided she wanted to go for a walk somewhere, so I suggested Fairhaven Lake. The route from Blackburn saw us drive right past Preston Dock, site of the long-staying juv Iceland Gull. A quick pull-in onto the car park by the McDonalds at 14:50 produced instant results, the Iceland was on the water below the car park. Moments later a Eurofighter from nearby BAE Warton flushed everything sending the Iceland over to the other side of the dock, so no token record shot for the blog. Fingers crossed this bird decides to return to overwinter here in the years to come.

Onwards to Fairhaven Lake where the Red-necked Grebe was instantly located, actively feeding in the centre of the lake at the eastern end. The low winter sun was a nightmare, but eventually the Grebe came in close enough for a few record shots for the blog. Several skeins of Pink-footed Geese were moving between the estuary and sites north of Lytham, with more skeins overflying our route back to Preston on their way to roost on the Ribble.

With fog rolling in, a quick nip into Lytham Crematorium produced 6 Ring-necked Parakeets at dusk.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Over wyre, Lancs: 13th Jan 2011.

The same adult Bewick's Swan on the right in both photos is ringed, yellow darvic on right leg, metal ring on left, but way too distant to read unfortunatley.

Four hours driving along the lanes of Over Wyre today failed to produce any other Goose species amongst the couple of thousand or so Pink-feet I was able to go through with the scope, a 'leucistic' PG the Goose 'highlight'.

Sighting of the day had to go to the wonderful herd of 16 Bewick's Swan (8xad, 8x1stw) with 42 Whoopers at Eagland Hill. A Merlin showed well on a post at the same location and a Barn Owl was quartering fields along Bradshaw Lane at 14:50.

26 Corn Bunting, 4 Yellowhammer and 3 Tree Sparrow were in the vicinity of the feeding station.

Back to Blackburn for the Fishmoor Res Gull roost, but nothing of interest for the third successive evening. I haven't seen the juv Iceland Gull since the 10th, the roost being both unsettled and reduced in size from the week before.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Iceland Gull - Fishmoor Res, Lancs: 9th Jan 2011.

The juv Iceland Gull came in to roost for the 6th consecutive evening, from 16:10.

With the ice now gone, the Gulls have reverted back to their normal pattern of roosting on the large factory roof to the south of the site.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Fishmoor Res, Blackburn, Lancs: 8th Jan 2011.

Above: Mike Watson (second left) , Myself (centre) abs Janos Olah (right).

With the Wife in tow, I only had time to call in at Fishmoor briefly on two occasions during the afternoon for a quick check of any Gulls present. A great surprise on the second brief call-in was the arrival of Mike Watson who brought with him Janos Olah of Hungarian based 'SAKERTOUR' Birding Company plus two friends on a brief visit to the UK. Mike, Janos and friends were keen to see the Iceland Gull which has roosted the past few evenings, and it duly obliged for them at 16:28.

I enjoyed a fabulous long weekend's birding in the Hortobagy, Hungary, with Sakertours and Janos as our guide back in mid-February 2008. A fantastic few days. Trip report can be read HERE .

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Iceland Gull - Whinney Hill Tip, Lancs: 6th Jan 2011.

Very distant shot of the juvenile Iceland Gull at Whinney Hill Tip, before it roosted for the third evening at Fishmoor Reservoir from 16:08. Also to roost was an unringed adult Med Gull.

A brief visit to Chapel Lane, Darwen, early pm resulted in a meagre 7 Waxwings at the site where a whopping 168 had been counted a couple of hours earlier.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Iceland Gull - Rishton Reservoir, Lancs: 5th Jan 2011.

Having failed to get a record shot of this juvenile the previous evening at the Fishmoor Res roost, it was nice to relocate the bird on the ice at my old stamping ground of Rishton Reservoir mid-pm. The Iceland again roosted at Fishmoor from 16:30 as did an adult Med Gull.