BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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CLOUGHA PIKE UNTIL RECENT YEARS THE BOWLAND STRONGHOLD FOR THE STONECHAT. PETE WOODRUFF.

Friday, 24 March 2017

At Last!

A week since my last outing, I finally had an opportunity for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon with some business dealt with in Lancaster by 2.00pm. I decided to have a walk through the parish of Aldcliffe, nothing too serious, in fact just a walk in a straight line from Keyline to Aldcliffe Hall Lane and not giving the area full justice, then home via the canal to Ashton Road....All very good for my soul.

As I walked along St Georges Quay, a Sparrowhawk put everything in sight on the wing, never fails to amaze me how a hundred birds - sometimes thousands - can sense a threat from a raptor and take to the air in sync. Freeman's Pools showed 3 Goldeneye, 3 Teal, 8 Tufted Duck, and a Little Grebe to note. En-route to Aldcliffe Hall Lane, 5 Chiffchaff, 5 Goldcrest, 4 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Song Thrush, and 2 Great Tit, with 32 Wigeon around the Wildfowlers Pool, and the wintering Greenshank conveniently in the nearest pool to the gate overlooking the marsh.

Over the afternoon I counted 16 Blackbird, and along the canal c.50 Meadow Pipit were flighty over a field. I heard another Chiffchaff, and heard a Nuthatch at the gate to Piccadilly Garden Centre. 

Little Owl. Lancaster Canal 23 March. Pete Woodruff.

I saw 'Gary Barton's' Little Owl, two actually and can't imagine how long ago it was since I could report a sighting of Little Owl let alone two together, scarce and heading towards rare in our area. 

The photograph I managed stands at the lower end of the poor scale, but shows plumage colour variation between these two, the bird on the left in shadow has a greyer look compared to the one on the right which is rufous brown, though here looks burnt out in the sunlight, but the size difference is noticeable, with the left bird much smaller and with a slim upright appearance as opposed to the dumpy little bird we're acquainted with which is presumably down to attitude, any non-birder seeing these would have thought they were two different species of owl.  

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