I managed an escape day on Friday. I've been looking forward to this for far too long now, and the day was a wall to wall sunshine day with zero wind, a delight to be out let alone out and birding.
Glossy Ibis. Marc Heath
A Glossy Ibis - the one above was darn sarf in Kent - was found at the north end of Aldcliffe Marsh on Saturday 7 January and remained in the area for six days but hasn't been seen since. The bird made it two of a kind in our area with another one at Leighton Moss. Though this is good news on the Ibis scene its not what I'm about and on Friday I managed a full eight hour stint, almost dawn to dusk but not quite.
As I arrived on the viewing platform at Conder Pool the first bird I saw was a Little Egret, also noting 4 Little Grebe on here with 12 Wigeon and a drake Goosander. An hours trawl had me finding the elusive - it seems - Common Sandpiper, and a Spotted Redshank, both lurking in the hidden corners of the creeks.
On the canal basin at Glasson Dock, a Little Grebe and 2 Goldeneye were of note. On the Lune Estuary 5 Bewick's Swans two of which were juveniles and are rarities in my book. I also noted c.250 Bar-tailed Godwit, up to 800 Golden Plover, and at least 60 Goldeneye with 103 reported yesterday along with a rather interesting record of a pair of Gadwall at Cockersands off Plover Scar, both of these are HERE the latter never in my note book here. On Colloway Marsh a distant raptor was almost certainly Peregrine Falcon.
Pulling off the road opposite Sand Villa I found 2 Whooper Swans in a field with Mute Swans, and of Pilling Lane Ends another 2 Whooper Swans seen, also a relatively small number of c.2,000 Pink-footed Geese. At Fluke Hall a Bewick's Swan was with 9 Whooper Swans in stubble. Regarding numbers seen together, 13 Meadow Pipit, at least 30 Skylark, 5 Reed Bunting, and 11 Great-crested Grebe offshore all had an element of surprise about them for me.
Stoat. Phillip Tomkinson.
Unlike the one above, a Stoat was good - if brief - in its winter ermine coat along the coastal path. I think this creature is about the twelfth stoat in ermine ever seen by me but I don't seem to be able to put my hands on the records.
Unfortunately I left my planned visit to Cockersands too late in the day and light was fading but I managed to note on a quiet Plover Scar estimates of 380 Oystercatcher, 25 Knot, and 12 Turnstone, a Cormorant off the scar was tussling with a 'flattie' almost the size of a dinner plate.
And finally, well not quite....
Otters. Phillip Tomkinson.
The Otters at Leighton Moss are showing themselves quite regularly it seems....so if its Otters you're after get on down there!
Thanks to Marc for the Glossy Ibis. And for the Stoat in its summer coat, and the Otters of Mull....thanks to Phillip
Smew. Copy Permitted.
I had word via a text from a birder I know well that a 'redhead' Smew - not the one in the pic with the Wigeon for size comparison - was on the Lune Estuary with Goldeneye this afternoon. Thanks to the 'birder I know well' much appreciated. I found 3 Spotted Redshank and a Common Sandpiper at Conder Green whilst driving past on the return from a mission.
I'll need to do this birding business all over again and soon....I just can't cope otherwise!