Sunday, 27 September 2009


It was clear last night as I wandered across the garden to my fridge in the garage to bring a bottle or three of real ale into the house, and I hoped it would remain clear until morning and at least there would be some vis.

As I got into my car this morning before first light I noticed that the pesky westerly was still blowing, not as strong as yesterday, but still blowing nevertheless and it was overcast. Damn! As I headed north up Amounderness Way towards Fleetwood I had a Barn Owl perched on the wooden fence beside the side of the road. I thought that might be a good omen, as Barn Owl is a very good bird in Fleetwood.

Dawn broke and I set off walking along the top of the dunes towards the Coastguards Tower. Not a bird did I see until I reached the Coastguards Tower and looked on the beach. A few Oystercatcher, 42 in total, with a group of 5 Great Black-backed Gulls. In fact I had very few waders all morning apart from a flock of 9 Sanderling and 40 Knot. Suddenly the Oycs and Great Black-backed's got up and I thought raptor, but should have thought Grey Heron as one lumbered east flushing everything as it went.

Generally the sea was very quiet this morning with 108 Common Scoters, 5 Shelducks, 17 Cormorants, single Gannet and the bird of the day Leach's Petrel. I had got to the point where I turn round at Rossall Point and head back towards the car park stopping frequently to scan the sea and listen for vis overhead, when I decided to have a last scan. Low and behold there was a Leach's heading west. It was flying quite purposefully and then it would pause, flutter as if to feed and then fly on. A few minutes before I had the Leach's I had noticed Ian coming along the top of the dunes, so I gave him a bell and said that I was watching a Leach's. It was too far left for Ian to get on it from where he was so he decided to run down to where I was. In the meantime I had lost the bird, but luckily Ian managed to get back on it!

It was down hill bird wise all the way after that. No grounded migrants, only the male Stonechat that has been hanging around for a while and the off passage flock of 16 Linnets and 40 Greenfinch. Vis was virtually non-existent other than 4 Grey Wagtails, Reed Bunting and a handful of Skylark and Meadow Pipits.

It was obvious that it wasn't worth searching for grounded migrants anywhere so I headed home but called in at Fleetwood Marsh Nature Park on the way. It was quiet here also with just 26 Coots, 2 Little Grebes, 14 Mallards, 15 Tufted Ducks and 4 Pochards on the main pool.

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