I legged it again today - at a dawdle of course - from Skerton Bridge to Glasson Dock, four hours plus of sheer delight with wall to wall blue sky and sun but bloody cold and the longer it stays like this the harder life becomes for a good number of our birds, a Robin came within inches (no such thing these day's) of me and if I'd had anything in my hand resembling food it would have taken it from me, if you have a passion for observing the birds then surely you have a concern for their well being, I've seen bird's today showing obvious signs of a struggle......it's serious.
On the River Lune 17 Goldeneye, 9 Goosander, and several hundred 'gull's' mainly Black-headed Gull which I grilled between Skerton Bridge and Marsh Point but could find no Med amongst them. The 4 Snow Geese and 3 Barnacle Geese were with uncounted Greylags on Aldcliffe Marsh, bird's displaced and on the river were 6 Little Grebe opposite Nansbuck Cottage, they were living in the danger zone as the tide raced in bringing with it some quite large ice flows moving much faster than I could have run. At Stodday 2 Raven and a Kestrel noted, other birds noted on the route, 2 Reed Bunting, 4 Dunnock, 3 Robin, a Snipe, 2 Song Thrush were a different story to 31 December when I counted a combined total of 62 Blackbird/Song Thrush (40/22) on the same walk, 23 Blackbirds today, just 2 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit, and a solitary Long-tailed Tit. Bird of the day was a lone Ringed Plover on the river bank by Nansbuck Cottage, you just don't usually get this species at all on the Lune Estuary upstream from Crook Farm......well I don't!
A Sparrowhawk near Conder Green flew along the path ahead of me with prey in it's talon's having released an unfortunate small bird from suffering the harsh frost any longer and probably saving the poor creature from a slow death. Bad timing on my part meant I had no time to cover Conder Green, the walk obviously needs at least five hours to do this......next time!
From what I have seen regarding the road's today I wouldn't recommend birding if it means traveling in your car anywhere at all away from the major routes. Mine will mainly be done on foot until the 'thaw' arrives which isn't going to be soon and to make matters much worse it's going to get windy.
Thanks to Brian Rafferty for the excellent pic's of the equally excellent Goldfinch......Great stuff again BR!