Friday, 12 September 2008

Birthday Treat, 12th September

It is my birthday today and for a treat I took the day off work and went birding for the day. I couldn't get out as early as I wanted to because 'her indoors' had some presents for me. I shouldn't complain as I got a couple of bird books; 'Shorebirds of North America The Photographic Guide' and 'Petrels night and day - A Sound Approach guide'.

Rossall Point - looking east into Morecambe Bay

By 7.30 a.m. I was walking along the front at Rossall Point. Two of the regular Rossall stalwarts were there but they hadn't had much on the sea since first light other than Arctic Skua. Just as I met them a flock of 5 Little Egrets flew west high. A nice start as Little Egret is a good bird around Fleetwood.

A good selection of waders were roosting on the shingle as the tide ran in including 302 Knot, 2 Barwits, 359 Oystercatchers, 107 Sanderling and 37 Dunlin.

Ringed Plovers - Rossall Point

Unfortunately the roosting waders are continually flushed by inconsiderate b*stard dog walkers. It's time that dogs were banned from all habitat where birds are found. Rant over for the day!

Visible migration was very slow even though conditions did seem favourable. the numbers of Meadow Pipits, Swallows, Linnets etc going over were pathetically low so I won't even bother mentioning them. The only visible migrant in any decent numbers were 7 Grey wagtails south.

The sea continued to be very quiet with the highlight being a single Bonxie east. Sandwich Tern numbers had decreased from 500 yesterday to only 17 today. Common Scoters on the distant horizon (probably close in on the Isle Of Man!) numbered 43 and surprisingly the most interest aspect of the nil seabird passage were the Cormorants. In the time I was there I had 56 that either headed west at sea or headed south overland.

Distant views of adult & juv Sandwich Terns
(take my word for it!)

Grounded migrants were limited to 9 Wheatears (mainly on the golf course) and a single male Stonechat in the dunes.

Fleetwood Golf Course - behind sea wall. It can be a magnet
for grounded migrants (in a west coast sort of way!)

My next port of call was Fleetwood Cemetery where in past autumns I have seen three yellow-browed Warblers there and found two of them. It was very quiet this morning with only a family party of 7 Mistle Thrushes providing some interest and a further 3 Grey Wagtails south.

Migrant habitat at Fleetwood Cemetery

One of my patches away from the Fleetwood area and in inland Fylde is on a farm near Sowerby. The farm has several low lying areas that are prone to flooding and one flood remains wet all year.

One of the floods at Sowerby

A quick count on all four floods revealed 610 Black-headed Gulls (no Meds unfortunately), 19 Wigeon, 12 Pintail, 100 Teal and 2 Gadwall. Not a bad wildfowl count for this area at this time of year. The only other birds worth mentioning here were a singing Chiffchaff and 2 Buzzards.

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