Thursday, 9 August 2018

Solway Soothes The Soul

It's been a traumatic ten days or more and I have spent it with my wife and her family, either in hospital or the hospice, watching her dear father pass away. I'm not looking for a sympathy vote dear reader, just letting you know that this is the reason that I haven't posted in a while.

I was 'back in the saddle' work-wise yesterday and had a bird survey to complete in north Cumbria. And after I finished my survey, just like my previous post, I headed to the northern shore of the soothing Solway for some communion with nature!

 The Solway looking south towards the Lakes

My survey site was another of my favourite plantation woodland surveys that I have been doing for four years now, and I like the way the landowner manages this one, creating wide open rides within the trees and I think increasing the number and range of bird species.

I added a new species for the site this morning in the form of a female Yellowhammer. I often hear Yellowhammers singing close by, but I haven't recorded one on site before. The best of the rest included eight Willow Warblers, seven Bullfinches (mainly juvs), five Song Thrushes and two Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

Once across the border I headed to Browhouses. Driving down the lane a flock of thirty House Sparrows frequented the hedgerow, and I would add a further 36 House Sparrows and 22 Tree Sparrows during the morning.

I set my scope up and looked over the estuary. The tide was starting to run in and push some of the waders fairly close. I had to count quickly as the tide races in on the Solway, and as such there is often a bore! My wader totals included four Curlews, three Oystercatchers, 372 Dunlin, five Black-tailed Godwits, 113 Lapwings and 75 Redshanks. Honorary waders included a Grey Heron and six Little Egrets.


I had a single Tree Pipit over heading south and the only other real passerine migrant was a calling Goldcrest in the coastal scrub. I did have two Whitethroats and two Willow Warblers, but I suspect these were local dispersing juvenile birds, sort of migrants I suppose!

On the river I had thirty Goosanders, six Mute Swans and eight Canada Geese. A single Stock Dove and 21 Goldfinches was really it on the bird front. There was some butterflies about including Green-veined Whites, Walls, Painted Lady's, Small Whites and a Red Admiral.

 Goosanders (above & below)

Painted Lady


The weekend is looking wet and windy, but I will attempt to get out.

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