Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Events dear boy......!!

Too much happening and two lots of visitors mean time is at a premium and other events took precedence. I was halfway through composing a blog when a patch megatick turned up and everything went on hold till the visitors left. What follows is a summary of birding adventures since the end of May ie four weeks worth!!

First a round up of birding in England such as it was. We managed a couple of outings to sites we have visited before and prospected a new site at Rumworth Lodge. This proved hard to access and difficult to park so we may not go back. A walk round Elton Reservoir gave some nice views of common species with nothing unusual. We also called in at Brockholes near Preston. This is a Lancashire Wildlife Trust reserve created from a disused quarry which is eight years old. We visited it when it was newly opened and still bare and it has come on in leaps and bounds and greened up nicely. One downside is that the west boundary is alongside the M6, so the noise is awful. Nevertheless 35 species were seen or heard,  including common tern, sand martin, whitethroat, chiffchaff, sedge warbler, reed bunting,  lapwing and redshank - all breeding on the reserve. A surprising find was two nuthatches in Richard's garden in Bolton - an adult feeding a fledgling. He also spotted two jays in the garden the day after we left and they have joined tawny owl on the garden list.

Brockholes HQ is a floating village

River Ribble
Back home to WOW on June 6 and two garganey appeared. I saw the report when I was in England and was afraid I had missed them but lo and behold there they were giving point blank views along with an arctic tern nest and a distant greenshank. Total was 30 species for the morning including newly hatched shelduck, coot, mallard, moorhen, black headed gull, lesser black-backed gull and Mediterranean gull. 

Scruffy male 1
Elegant male 2
Arctic tern nest
Female on nest?
Male chilling
WOW then turned up 35 species including garganey again, blackcap, arctic tern, Mediterranean gull and all four summer aeriel specialists - swallow, house martin, sand martin and swift. Last Thursday however it trumped even that with 40 species and a long-billed dowitcher. A visiting birder was able to see the dowitcher, garganey, Mediterranean gull and arctic tern on the same reserve at the same time!! The dowitcher has been there for over a week and there have been some cracking photographs as the great and good of Irish birding turned up to fill their boots. It is in breeding plumage and how it got to WOW when it should be in NE Siberia or NW Alaska we will never know. We are however grateful that it took a wrong turn and brightened up our summer.

Tern nest boxes waiting for roseates
Marker stone shows we have had a bit of rain
Tern island floated out near hide 2, also with nest boxes and hiding the dowitcher.
From Hide 2 with godwits
Supercilium shows well
Size difference notable
A snipe on steroids
Heads up
Without zoom and head down it's harder to be sure.
An absolute cracker as I am sure you will agree and worth 4 points on the patchwork challenge. Well done Daniel for spotting it and calling it in correctly. I am not sure I would have been that confident!!

136: Sedge warbler
137: Whitethroat
138: Garganey
139: Arctic tern
140: Rock dove
141: Razorbill
142: Puffin
143: Long-billed dowitcher

Bangor West
60: Common tern

Belfast WOW

82: Garganey
83: Arctic tern
84: Greenshank
85: Blackcap
86: Long-billed dowitcher

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