Sunday, 18 May 2014

Seen Anything Interesting?

No motor on Friday, so best get my boots on and get on down to Aldcliffe to see if the Woodchat Shrike really has gone. Not the real reason behind the days plan which was to do the hike from Lancaster to Glasson Dock via Aldcliffe, Stodday, and Conder Green. 

'Seen anything interesting'....said the nice man who pulled up on his bike at Aldcliffe to ask the question and seemed to know a little about last weeks shrike. If I'd have arrived at Glasson Dock to be asked the question again I'd have been hard pushed to give a 'yes' answer. But the truth is it's all interesting, but birding does have varying degrees of it as last Thursdays discovery showed.

I must confess when I reached Dawsons Bank at Aldcliffe Marsh, I glared inland over the area and fantasised the bird would show....But wait a minute, that's a female Sparrowhawk flying across the field to land on a post immediately below the very same bush the shrike was perched atop of eight days ago at around the same time as today. Just imagine, the consequences of this last week could well have spelt the end for this brilliant Aldcliffe find before anyone knew about it. I had seen a Sparrowhawk over the old Salt Ayre Tip just 15 minutes earlier....the same bird I reckon. 

Whitethroat Martin Lofgren 

I took notes of 40 species on the walk including, 3 WhitethroatLesser Whitethroata Willow Warbler, and a Chiffchaff. I saw up to 8 Robin including four young, and saw 3 Dunnock, a pair of which were involved in some mating ritual, and saw the male flickering its wings whilst pecking several times at the females rear....didn't look pretty, but very interesting to observe such behaviour and a first for me. I probably saw up to 12 Blackbird, some of which were in lovely song, as was Song Thrush.

As is usual on this birding exercise I sped through Conder Green to note Tuesdays 27 Black-tailed Godwit on Conder Pool again. From the coastal path I could see a 'few' distant Bar-tailed Godwit on the Lune Estuary, but hey up....the bus is coming!

Willow Warbler David Cookson

Willow Warbler.   

On 25 April I did my birding along the Lancaster - Glasson Dock route, and made a particular note that I had been walking 5 hours over 7 miles and heard just one Willow Warbler at Glasson Dock at the very end of the walk. Four days later on 29 April I visited Barbondale and noted in my book that I had seen/heard no more than 4 Willow Warbler in an area I expected to be 'crawling' with them. I was beginning to think maybe the Willow Warblers haven't yet arrived in number. But on Fridays Lancaster - Glasson Dock birding when I had again been covering the same time and miles I had heard just one Willow Warbler in Freemans Wood, and thereafter nil. The truth is....I'm not seeing many Willow Warbler yet anywhere I go in 2014.

Thanks to Martin and David for the excellent images of Whitethroat and Willow Warbler. 

Also many thanks to Jo Bradley for allowing me to use the Aldcliffe Woodchat Shrike as the new header for Birds2blog....A brilliant image, of a brilliant bird, in a brilliant local location.


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

The woodlands and scrubby areas here in the Welsh Borders are full to busting with birdsong Pete...except Willow Warblers of which I've only heard a couple, there really should be far more I know they've been struggling in the south for some time - where have they gone and why?
All very worrying tis one of the quintessential sounds of summer we simply mustn't lose it!



Pete Woodruff said...

Dave....Thanks for this.

Interesting that at least I now know one other person has recognised the Willow Warbler seems to be 'missing'.