Friday, 4 January 2013

We Have Lift-off!

No doubt you can imagine what a happy chappie I was to find myself at Conder Green yesterday morning, though having spent the best part of an hour there I found it pretty quiet....but that's birding.

American Wigeon Tim Kuhn  

On Conder Pool I could find just 3 Little Grebe, along with 18 Wigeon, and c.40 Teal noted. The circuit was worth while if only to find the Common Sandpiper lurking in the creeks, it has been quite elusive this winter so far. Thanks for the American cousin Tim.

Dunlin Noushka Dufort  

At Glasson Dock on the Lune Estuary I reached the best count to date - as far as I'm aware - this winter in our entire recording area when I found 22 Goldeneye. Also noted were 4 Little Grebe, a Little Egret, 2 Goosander, and up to 1,000 Wigeon which is a quite dramatic increase in number here. Wader interest was in estimates of - with no apologies for nice round figures - 2,000 Golden Plover, 500 Dunlin, and 60 Bar-tailed Godwit. On the canal basin, another 8 Goldeneye made the combined total of thirty birds at Glasson Dock, 3 Little Grebe, and a Great-crested Grebe were also of note. On Jeremy Lane I saw 14 Magpie together, an all time best record as a flock of this bird for me, also 2 Whooper Swan were with a small group of Mute Swan....Thanks for the Dunlin Noushka.

Arriving at Cockersands I had to sit out a drift of mist and drizzle off the sea, after which it never really got daylight again, compared to the last time I was here - when Cockersands was at its atmospherical best - it became a dull and dreary place and was 'lights on' by the time the 2.15pm ferry sailed out of Heysham Harbour. Notable were c.120 Black-tailed Godwit which I picked up over Plover Scar and in fact ascended until they disappeared into the mist above. I think they were escaping the attentions of a Peregrine Falcon which came on the scene moments later. Apart from some fidgety Curlew and Oystercatcher flighting from one field to another I recorded nothing more save a female Kestrel.

I found two excellent images of a wader....

Purple Sandpiper Marc Heath  

This one of the Purple Sandpiper grounded....Thanks Marc.

Purple Sandpiper Geoff Gradwell

And this one of the Purple Sandpiper in flight, the first in flight photograph I've ever seen of this species and I reckon it might well be the first you ever saw too. A species hard to come by in our area, I can only think of two locations which has recorded this species, and never in anything like double figures....Excellent Geoff and many thanks.

It was good to have my birding lift off yesterday after a full thirteen days grounded for one reason or another. 

And finally....

On Wednesday evening BBC1 at 9.00pm I watched the best wildlife programme ever AFRICA. The filming was out of this world as were the animals and scenery which was accompanied by the very best of narration by David Attenborough. If you missed this programme you should catch up with it in the second of six episodes next Wednesday BBC1 there, it takes your breath away....See a review of the programme HERE


Noushka said...

Nice post Pete!
The Purple Sandpiper in flight is fantastic, first tie I see this too!
What a count of birds, you must have spent a great day birding!
Many more such days for 2013!

Martin Jump said...

Glad you managed to get out Peter,got to agree about the BBC program.

Brian Rafferty said...

Pete.Top marks to the BBC for a wonderful new series with a difference about African wildlife.Pleased you got out and about on your patch..I haven't ventured out yet,waiting for better weather...may be a long wait !!!

Sharon Whitley said...

Great to see you've been out Pete and I missed Africa but Gary saw it and has been raving about it ever since - must try and catch up on iplayer! Thank you for the lovely comments on our blog today, it was a brilliant day in the mountains, we were so blessed with the weather!

Gary Jones said...

Good on you Pete, getting out and about. As Sharon said thanks again, and I think she has replied on my behalf re Stonechats.
Oh yeah.... word...