Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bowland - Ospreys - 14th April 2008.

A two Osprey day today bringing my total locally this spring to 8 birds, my best ever haul! The first flew NW over Whitray Fell at 13:45, having gone through Stocks Res some 30 mins earlier, whilst the bird in the image above appeared high over the bay nr the old hide at Stocks just before 18:00 then flew north. Two male Hen Harrier, Merlin, Red-breasted Merganser, Ring Ouzel, Short-eared, Tawny & Little Owls were other highlights during an enjoyable day in the Bowland area, rounded off nicely with 3 roding Woodcock at St. James Church, Dalehead, at dusk.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Local birding: Brockholes Quarry - 10th April 2008.

Above: A pair of Raven have been regular of late.
Above: Weasel.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

White-spotted Bluethroat - River Lune, Aldcliffe, Lancs - 8th April 2008.

Only my second Lancashire Bluethroat and a top draw find by Dan Haywood, this cracking 1st summer male White-spotted Bluethroat showed well on+off amongst tidal debris on the saltmarsh at Aldcliffe Marsh.

Local birding: Ospreys - Brockholes Quarry, Lancs - 8th April 2008.

The Ospreys keep coming on the local patch with a vigil from 09:00-16:30 producing singles north at 12:11 & 12:56. Although neither bird was seen to fly in from a particular direction, both showed no interest in following the river upstream of the site as they headed on the same northerly flightline, overflying the site quite high. My gut feeling is that they had arrived from the south and not arrived from downriver. The record shot above is of the 12:11 bird. A White Wagtail, 2 Willow Warbler & 3 Wheatear were also new-in . Seven Ospreys are now considered to have gone through since 4th April and still time for more! - At 16:30, I cracked to twitch the River Lune Bluethroat!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Local birding: Ospreys - Brockholes Quarry, Lancs - 6th April 2008.

The early April 'push' of Ospreys up the country is one of my most anticipated aspects of the local birding calendar and today was one of those magical days on the local patch, with no less than THREE Osprey moving through during the course of the day.

Mark Fanshawe rang at 10:00 to say there was an Osprey in view over No1 pit. Then another call followed at 10:15 to say he had another in view at the same time!! The first bird moved on in a NE direction but fortunately the 2nd bird lingered in the area for 4hrs allowing c20 birders, including myself, to twitch it.

After fishing both onsite and on the adj River Ribble to the NE of the site, this Osprey eventually caught a Fish and after some 20+ minutes of flying around with it at various heights and at distances of c1km, it eventually came nearer and to our delight landed in Boilton Wood to commence feeding.

Gavin Thomas could see the bird perched from his viewpoint near the M6, but the main group of birders including myself to the east of No1 Pit could not. Suddenly, spooked by a Buzzard, the Osprey took flight and to our astonishment flew and landed on a lampost on the north carriageway of the adjacent, busy M6 Motorway. As there was no multi vehicle pile up, we assumed no birders had driven below it for the ten minutes it remained before it returned to Boilton Wood to recommence feeding!

Photo: Gavin Thomas.
By shifting our positions to the bund separating No2 Pit from No3 Pit, some superb views of the Osprey were had for 20 minutes, much to the delight of all present.
It was during these views that we noticed the bird was colour ringed Red/White 6A on the left leg. The bird was ringed at a site called Ordie 4 near Dunkeld, Perthshire, ex brood 2/2, ring no. 1337913 on 14th July 2001. From 2005 it has been a breeding bird in Aberfoyle in Central Region, Scotland.

Above: Photo - Mark Fanshawe.

Below: Showing some of the ring detail. Photo: Gavin Thomas.

Following increasing harrassment from the local Magpies and Carrion Crows, Osprey No2 eventually flew NE, upriver, at 14:20 for at least a kilometer, still carrying the remains of its catch.

A few other birders had arrived onsite too late, and whilst stood on the compound banking at the NE end of the site, scanning upstream to see if bird No2 would reappear, Gareth Morgan rang at 15:10 to say that there was an Osprey over No1 Pit! - This bird had missing inner primaries in the left wing and was clearly ANOTHER bird as the earlier two were both fully winged!

Above & below: The third Osprey of the day was in view from 15:10-15:20 as it passed over the site, pausing to hover over the small, newly created scrape in the compound, before fishing briefly below Tunbrook Wood, then flew due north.

I remained onsite until 19:00hrs but there was no further Osprey action. Todays events highlight well the value of all day, multi-observer coverage.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Local birding: Ring Ouzel - Higher Wenshead Farm, Darwen - 3rd April 2008.

This cracking male Ring Ouzel was presumably one of three birds reported early morning. Bill Berry saw two male Ouzels in the area at 11:15, and the bird in the image above was the only one I could find 12:30-13:20, before I had to cut and run for a dental appointment. Great to see Ring Ouzel so local.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Local birding: Yellow-legged Gull - Withnell Landfill Site, Lancs - 1st April 2008.

2nd summer Yellow-legged Gull - Withnell Landfill Site - 1st April 2008. This bird has moulted a tail feather as well.

Ross's Gull - Marton Mere, Blackpool, Lancs - 31st March 2008.

The day started with a 4+ hour search at Jackhouse Reservoir, Oswaldtwistle, for the reported Little Bunting of the previous day. No sign unfortunately, 4 Reed Bunting, a female Brambling and a pair of Bullfinch the highlights.
A return home for a bite to eat early PM was rudely interrupted by news of an adult Ross's Gull at Marton Mere, Blackpool. The bird, sporting a pink flush underneath, showed very well from the southern side of the Mere until c17:10 when it disappeared as mythically as it had arrived, much to the chagrin of those arriving after work!
Above: Adult Ross's Gull - Marton Mere, Lancs - 31st March 2008. A strong candidate for county bird of the year already!

Above: Ads Yellow-legged Gull - Marton Mere, Lancs - 31st March 2008. This bird was seen down to the bright red ortbital ring briefly as it bathed frantically at the western end of the Mere mid-pm. The quality of the videograbs don't do the bird justice.
Below: Ads Med Gull. One of a stunning pair that came into bathe on a couple of occasions. Unfortunately the height of the Phragmites hampered views.

My first Willow Warbler of the year was singing in trees along the southern side. The day ended on a potentially costly note with the apparent death of my DSLR (hence no flight shots of the Ross's Gull) and the loss of one half of a pair of £30 gloves at the site. Damn!