Earlier in the week I was up on the moorland tops on the border between Lancashire and North Yorkshire again for my sins and although the weather was glorious, and the views stupendous, the birding was a little quiet as you would expect up there at this time of year.
However, what the moorland lacked in numbers of bird species it made up in numbers of Red Grouse and in total I had 69 during my survey. Eight sightings of Raven was nice and a Woodcock flushed from heather was also welcome. Probably the best bird of the day, although I didn't see it, was a calling Lapland Bunting go over that I failed to get on to!
Yesterday, Ian, Richard and I were recceing some Sanderlings roosting on the foreshore in preparation for a cannon netting session in December and before heading out on to the shore I fed the Turnstones at our Terry feeding station. There were at least 180 Turnstones at the feeding station and 400 Sanderlings at the high tide roost.
A Terry above and some Terries below
This morning I decided to head out to the estuary and marsh for a change and as I walked along the footpath through the scrub there were a few Thrushes including 13 Blackbirds, two Mistle Thrushes, 17 Redwings and two Song Thrushes. There are plenty of berries on the Hawthorns along here, so there should be plenty of food to hold them well into the Winter.
Two Grey Wagtails went over calling and a Water Rail called from the wetland as a Sparrowhawk flew over. I had a look on the reservoir along the estuary and there were 14 Tufted Ducks, three Goldeneyes, three Little Grebes and eight Coots on it.
Out on the estuary were quite a number of waders and wildfowl including 700 Pink-footed Geese, 111 Wigeon, 1,009 Teal, 228 Lapwings, 18 Knots, 20 Dunlin, a male Red-breasted Merganser and three Shovelers. As I crossed the saltmarsh to view the estuary I put up ten Rock Pipits, but I didn't get the opportunity to look at them on the deck.
My next port of call were the pools where the surrounding area has been infested with dogs and dog walkers. I was trying to take some pictures of some Linnets bathing in a pool on the track when a barking Springer Spaniel came up to me. Had it got within leg range, my right foot would have connected with it and launched it into the air! It's ignorant owner called it off and then walked down the track flushing the Linnets!!!
Anyway, rewinding back to when I arrived as soon as I got out of my car I had a Redwing over and three high Brambling calling and heading south. There must have been a bit of vis this morning. Out on the pools were 35 Coots, 141 Herring Gulls, a Little Grebe, 26 Tufted Ducks, two Pochards and six Mallards. Around the edge of one of the pools close to some of our mist net rides I put up seven Snipe but couldn't walk along our paths into the reeds and scrub because of the high water levels.
A flock of 50 Linnets (the ones I tried to photograph), a Goldfinch, a Greenfinch and two Chaffinches were feeding on some weed seed and dropping down to a large puddle to bathe. As I headed back to the car I had two Rock Pipits over and I unsuccessfully then had a drive round trying to find some Waxwings. There's always tomorrow!
Linnets feeding above and bathing below