Wednesday, 30 September 2009

An Improvement

The wind had changed directly slightly this morning from a straight westerly to west-northwesterly and maybe this was the reason that there were a few more species around, notably wildfowl.

As usual I was sheltering behind the Coastguard's Tower at Rossall Point as dawn broke eagerly awaiting the sea passage that would unfold before me. First up were Oystercatcher. They're nearly always the first birds to be entered into my notebook at Rossall and this is because as I climb up on to the dunes and look down to the shore there are always a number of them feeding. I had a few more than yesterday and counted 137 along with 10 Curlews. The only other waders I had or should I say wader was a single Ringed Plover roosting on the shingle beach.

As I mentioned before it was a 'wildfowl morning' this morning and first on the list were Shelduck. I had a total of 21 and most of these were heading east into Morecambe Bay. One group had 2 Pintail with them and another 2 Wigeon. Its interesting what other species flocks of birds will carry. The Shelducks were doing a good job of hosting other species and in addition to the Pintail and Wigeon, I had one group of 4 Shelduck with a Cormorant with them!

Common Scoters were about as usual this morning and I had a total of 106 which was less than yesterday, but today they had a different feel about them. Over the past few days I have thought that the flocks of Common Scoters have been birds 'loafing' about and today there was more of a feel of urgency and I was under the impression that birds this morning were on the move.

A few more Eider this morning with 22 in total. Talking about flocks of birds hosting other species, the Eiders were a group in question. At one point I had a female Tufted Duck fly over the Eiders, wheel round and drop in with them. I had a second female Tufted go west and a cracking male Scaup fly east close in. Nice!

Red-throated Divers totalled four this morning and all of them were heading west or out of the Bay. As in recent days the vis was non-existent other than Grey Wagtails. I had 4 go west and a flock of 10 off passage Linnets fed on the beach.

I briefly called at my office at Myerscough College to top up the window feeders and it was on to my feeding station at Moss House Farm. All of the seed had gone so I put another bucket down. At the start of the feeding station season it takes a week or two for the birds to build up and also to get the frequency of 'feeding' visits right. My next call will be in three days to check again if the seed has gone in that time and if it has the frequency of feeding visits will be increased.

I had 4 Swallows go over and 7 Tree Sparrows in the hedge as the rain forced me back to my car. I had planned to have a walk round, but instead I drove up to the plantation because I wanted to collect the ropes from our mist net rides before they inadvertently got left there all winter.

Twenty-nine Skylarks were in the stubble field to the east of the track and a calling Buzzard went over. By this time the rain had stopped but I got soaked walking through the long grass of the plantation. I managed to find all the ropes but it took me a good 30 minutes as some of them had totally disappeared into the vegetation.

A Song Thrush and 4 Grey Partridge were notable red listed species and I had a flock of 60 calling Goldfinch go overhead. A couple of Reed Buntings called and a flock of 52 Lapwing headed southwest. As I walked out of the plantation 2 Jays headed towards the 'L' wood and I had another just past Curlew Wood.

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