Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Wigeon.

Wigeon Martin Jump

The winter population of Wigeon in Europe has increased dramatically since the 1970's. Migrating from Iceland, Fennoscandia, and northern Russia, an estimated 1.5 million of them spend the winter in N W Europe, with c.375,000 of them in Britain. 

Nowhere else in Lancashire holds numbers of wintering Wigeon than the enormous flocks of the Ribble Estuary, but in two recent visits to Cockersands I've estimated sightings of up to 8,000 Wigeon, seen between the lighthouse and the Cocker Estuary, on Saturday 11 January, and three days later on Tuesday 14 January when the birds were on a calm sea at high tide, and were spread out over a large area in four separate rafts. According to my records these counts are record high's for the Lune Estuary at this location.

Occasional nesting has been recorded in Lancashire, Oakes noted probable breeding at Leighton Moss in 1942, and followed this by confirmation of breeding there two years later in 1944. Since then there are breeding records from Martin Mere and Stocks Reservoir. Wigeon have summered again at Conder Green in 2013....perhaps this year they may nest!!  

There have been a few recoveries of Lancashire ringed Wigeon, one particular record of interest was that of a bird found in central Russia which had been marked at Banks on the Ribble Estuary in March 1984 and was recovered just under a month later in April almost 5,000 km to the east on the River Ob at Sytomino, having averaged at least 175 km per day. 

I have a sneaky feeling MJ's image of the Wigeon above has been featured on Birds2blog once before, whether or not it has, its a brilliant image of a brilliant bird....Thanks Martin.

The Godwits.

Black-tailed Godwit Brian Rafferty 

There's a build up of both Bar and Black-tailed Godwit on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock. The Bar-tailed Godwit number was at 1,450 on 14 January, and the Black-tailed Godwit count was at 450 on the same date. Last year I counted a record peak of 850 Black-tailed Godwit at Glasson Dock on 19 March.

Thanks to BR who called his post 'Godwits Galore' following his visit to Marshside recently, from where two of his images on that trip are above and are even more impressive with a 'clik the pik'.

The Glossy Ibis was with 12 Little Egret in a field just east of the A588 between Upper Thurnham and The Launds this afternoon. 


Ana Mínguez Corella said...

So may birds!!!.. Marvelous!!!.. Have a nice weekend Pete. Cheers!!!..

Warren Baker said...

375,000 Wigeon in britain. You think one would turn up for me here then!

Oh, and way does my Redpoll image look better on your blog than mine :-)

Adam said...

probably the coolest wigeon I've ever seen

Noushka said...

That is a superb pic from Martin!
I didn't have the chance of seeing this male duck stretch his wings that close.
It is very rare where I live and they might be leaving again soon.
Interesting post again!

Sharon Whitley said...

Love that redpoll! Such beautiful birds! Love the wigeon photo too. Hope you're doing ok Pete!