Monday, 4 March 2019

England Part 3 - Lancashire

The main reason for the visit was to cover half term and look after Freddy (age 5) and Tilly (age 2). Birding had to be fitted into the schedule as and when, but you know me, I managed to squeeze in the odd session. When we discovered that the NW England puddle jumping championships were being held at Martin Mere, how could we resist? However ideas of leaving Tanya minding the boy while I sat in a hide were soon dispelled. We did see short-clawed otters and lots of captive ducks but I managed a quick sprint (literally) to see avocets and then went to see the swans being fed. This involved large numbers of whooper swans and more shelduck than I have ever seen in my life. Their WEBS count gave over 600 and I think most of them came over to feed. They were joined by mallard, pintail, wigeon, teal, coot and moorhen as well as black-tailed godwit. A small shingle islet just offshore had over 20 ruff on it among all the mayhem and there were the usual numbers of lapwing, gulls, geese and three pochard. Wasn't expecting this show so all photos were through glass with an ipod. The "feeder" has a mike headset and gives a running comentary on the swans which is broadcast on speakers into the hide for the assembled punters. Even Freddy was impressed by the sheer number of birds on view despite his urge to get back to see if he had won the puddle jumping. Unfortunately he hadn't and had to be consoled with an ice cream.

At WOW we go out with a bucket

If you feed them they will come

Whoopers and shelduck, mostly

Make a good jigsaw

20 ruff on the island at the back

Spot the pintail
 A quick afternon trip to Elton Reservoir near Bury was looking like a washout until I looked at the wildfowl in the middle of the reservoir and saw a pochard, seven scaup and three goosander. While checking a couple of coot two birds flashed across my line of sight so I tracked them and found I was following  two kingfishers. A feeding little egret made for a very pleasant 45 minutes.

The last port of call was an early start to Pennington Flash, another site I have visited before with good results. I think I was allowed out for two hours for good behaviour. The target was to sit in the hide and tick great-spotted woodpecker and nuthatch, neither of which had the decency to turn up at the well stocked feeders. Ah well I will just have to go back later in the year! I did however have 15 stock dove, three jays, long-tailed tit and treecreeper along with all the expected birds that turn up at feeders. The best bird however was a water rail out feeding in the open as unconcerned as the abundant moorhens.

What's that odd looking moorhen?

It's a water rail.

"The spit" at Penington Flash, scope essential.

Long-tailed tit

Stock dove & woodpigeon

Three stock doves
Overview with jay, there are as many feeders off to both sides.

The last night in Bolton provided the icing on the cake with a pair of tawny owls calling around the house for well over an hour. I had a good look and listen but could not work out where they were, but it was an absolutely smashing way to wrap up the trip.

Returning home saw a greenfinch on the garden feeders, a ruff, Med gull and lesser black-back at WOW and a ringed bill gull at Carrickfergus so here are the current totals.

92: Red kite
93: Fulmar
94: Pink-footed goose
95: Canada goose
96: Scaup
97: Smew
98: Grey partridge
99: Water rail
100: Grey plover
101: Sanderling
102: Stonechat
103: Willow tit
104: Goosander
105: Green sandpiper
106: Stock dove
107: Red-crested pochard
108: Great white egret
109: Avocet
110: Ruff
111: Kestrel
112: Kingfisher
113: Tawny owl
114: Treecreeper
115: Mediterranean gull
116: Ring-billed gull

Bangor West
48: Greenfinch

Belfast WOW

65: Mediterranean gull
66: Ruff
67: Lesser black-backed gull 

1 comment:

  1. Considering you were baby sitting I think you did very well bird watching!