Sunday, 28 February 2010


Ian and I carried out some essential management work on our coastal ringing site at Rossall School this morning. We 'beefed' up some of the existing net rides by planting some willows and opened up a new 40' net ride that is totally sheltered in fairly windy conditions. This will be really useful for tape luring finches when they are moving in blustery weather.

Tools of the trade

New sheltered net ride

As we were carrying out the work we noticed that a few birds were moving over on 'vis'; namely Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Chaffinch and Goldfinch. Spring at last? In the week Ian had a similar movement over Rossall Point and the first moving Gannet of the spring.

After we had completed the work Ian went off to Rossall Point to look on the sea for an hour and I decided top have a proper walk round the school to see if anything else was on the move. I didn't have any more Grey Wagtails than the two we had go north earlier or the two Chaffinch we had go north as well. Meadow Pipits totalled five and Goldfinch did too. Not exactly huge numbers, but spring migration nonetheless.

Lots of birds were setting up territory including Blackbird, Greenfinch, Collared Dove, Great Tit, Reed Bunting, Robin and several pairs of Dunnocks. There is a good population of Dunnocks in the thick gorse hedgerows.

Some of the fields were nice and wet, and it made me think of the days that Lapwing used to nest here. Ten Common Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gull and five Herring Gulls were making use of the 'splashy' conditions to feed. Common Gull and Lesser Black-backeds another sign of spring.

I then headed up to the sea wall and a flock of two hundred Knot flew over. Presumably they had been displaced by the incoming tide on the estuary and were heading somewhere to roost. A flock of 160 Oystercatchers and eight Curlews kept taking flight as they were flushed off the old playing fields where they were trying to feed over the high tide period. Of course you can imagine who was doing all the flushing - b*stard dog walkers! Let's not go there today!

Scanning the sea with my bins (left my scope at home) all I had were a couple of Cormorants and eight male Eiders. I then made my way back to the car. All we need now is a bit of good weather and we'll be out tape luring those Meadow Pipits. I can't wait!

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