Saturday, 11 December 2010

Isn't it Brilliant Working a Local Patch?

I suppose this is a rhetorical question but I hope that you all agree that it is brilliant working a local patch. Better than dashing all over the country chasing rare birds and it adds a great deal to our knowledge of certain species and this information is valuable for conservation purposes. And it's great fun!

This morning was a case in point when I went to Rossall. I hadn't been to the 'obs' for a week or so and I was itching to get there. When I arrived there was a fairly strong northwesterly wind and after I had been walking for a few minutes it seemed particularly birdless. I crossed the small field surrounded by hedges where we put up our nets and a Grey Heron flew low right and flushed a Lapwing from the field. A Lapwing! Excellent! I was so pleased with this sighting and this is the kind of excitement that local patch birding can create. Don't get me wrong I see plenty of Lapwings flying over the obs in Spring and Autumn, but this bird was on the deck and it was the first I have seen on the deck here for a long time. I was happy with this and didn't really care if I saw anything else or not, but I did.

I headed south towards the dunes and reedbed and I flushed a Woodcock from this area. So this was the second weather displaced bird I had. I was really pleased again, a product of local patch birding. I then flushed a Song Thrush from the dunes and a second from a patch of rose hips just behind the sea wall. Brilliant.

 Pictures of Woodcocks in Northumberland sent to me by Gary W. 
Thanks Gary!

I then headed north along the sea wall to take up a position to have a quick look on the sea. As I walked along a flock of 8 Linnets lifted from the short turf behind the wall. I got in position and scanned the beach and low and behold 2 more Lapwings! Other waders included 2 Sanderling, 17 Oystercatchers, 7 Redshanks, 2 Turnstones and a Grey Plover.

There were a few Cormorants moving north like last week, but nowhere near as many, just 53 this morning. I had 15 Eiders on the sea and 61 Common Scoters flew back and forth in small groups. I had 5 Red-throated Divers moving and 2 male Scaup flew south. I then headed back to the car and it was fairly quiet other than a flock of 9 Chaffinch.

I called in at the Marine Lakes and had 2 male Goldeneyes, 7 Red-breatsed Mergansers and 12 Tufted Ducks.

Tufted Ducks

I am off to see my mates band 'Entangled' tonight so it will be an evening of 70s prog rock and real ale, followed hopefully by some ringing in the morning!

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