BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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CELEBRATING THE GLORIOUS TWELFTH....WELCOME TO THE ' REAL' FOREST OF BOWLAND

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A Tit, an Owl, a Grebe.....

....and some runners up.

Marsh Tit Jan Larsson  

On a tour round Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve with KT on Monday, it was the Marsh Tit which took the prize of 'Bird of the Day' for me. 

As an uncommon localised breeding resident, the only area to have any reasonable chance of seeing the Marsh Tit is in and around Silverdale, records from elsewhere are scant. So I was pleased to have found this bird here today to fill a three and a half year gap in my records, my last being of one seen at Arnside on 29 September 2011. 

Tawny Owl  Martin Jump



From the same path as the Marsh Tit was seen to the Lower Hide from Storrs Lane, we had good views of a roosting Tawny Owl concealed deep within an ivy clad tree. Also from this path good numbers of Chiffchaff and Blackcap, with a few Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler heard, a Brimstone butterfly was my third one this year.

At the Lower Hide, 2 Marsh Harrier seen with little of anything else of any exception, but a pair of Gadwall and few Pochard were of note, and a Buzzard soaring over the woodlands opposite.

From Lillian's Hide, noted were 2 Avocet, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Gadwall drakes, a pair of Shoveler, and 5 Buzzard soaring together. 

At the Grisedale Hide, almost deserted with just a pair of Gadwall seen. Another Buzzard over the woods where 5 Red Deer were grazing in a field below, and c.8 Swift were high above and were seen as my first sighting of multi Swifts this year.

Thanks to Jan and Martin for their respective images.


Pied-billed Grebe. Barry Dyson.


On entering the Public Hide - which I would estimate holds at least 50 seated people - probably more than 70 were crammed in and all looking in the same direction. A shout of excitement came up when the Pied-billed Grebe put in an appearance having apparently been in a channel out of view for some considerable time, the bird made a couple of dives before promptly disappearing from whence it came. My viewing time lasted no more than 10 seconds, knelt on my knees and seen between shoulders and two large heads. I too then disappeared from whence I came....not my cup of tea!

The Pied-billed Grebe.

Breeds over most of North, Central, and South America. It's hard to believe a bird with such an apparent weak flight could ever possibly cross the Atlantic Ocean. Nevertheless the Pied-billed Grebe is an extremely rare vagrant, and in excess of 40 records have been made of the species in Britain, the one prior to this bird at Leighton Moss was on the Western Isle of North Uist in December 2013 which stayed a massive 391 days.

The first record of Pied-billed Grebe in Britain was only 52 years ago and was of a bird found in Somerset in December 1963. Many of the recorded birds have stayed for long periods, and one in Cornwall did so from 1992 to 1994 when it paired with a Little Grebe to produce three hybrid young.

Thanks to Barry for the excellent image of the Pied-billed Grebe which hadn't come to Britain for him to see, he saw it on a recent trip to the USA at Long Beach Harbour, California. 

3 comments:

Pete Marsh said...

There is a little hotspot of Marsh Tit around Wray/Millhouses and also up the hindburn and roeburn valleys with a few outliers in e.g. Herring Head Wood. A nuisance around moth traps (esp Warton Crag) as they have limited territories and investigate anything therein!

Warren Baker said...

Marsh Tit have been seen here for the past few years pete, but mostly in singles, I think they have finally run there course here now though :-(

Pete Woodruff said...

Pete....I have no up to date info on Marsh Tit beyond the LDBWS 2013 Annual Report where I note an isolated pair recorded in Upper Hindburndale, and the six birds in SD66 were interesting in the January Survey of that year.

Warren....Very localised here as you see in my post.

Thanks Pete/Warren for comments.