Thursday, 22 March 2018

Lancashire Coastal Way.

Aldcliffe Marsh High Tide 20 March. Pete Woodruff.

The weather having bucked up considerably on Tuesday, my best plan was to do the trek to Glasson Dock from Lancaster on a mainly sunny and calm day. Along the embankment at Aldcliffe Marsh was like the first day of spring, though by afternoon the wind got up, and it became quite cold again. 

It was unfortunate that I picked a day when management work was taking place on the Wildfowlers Pools, with two heavy plant machines at full throttle, also a man and wife team complete with a chain saw each, were pacing up and down below the embankment, and cutting up the driftwood into logs.

Shoveler. Wildfowlers Pools. Pete Woodruff.

Three drake Goosander were on the River Lune on the way to Freeman's Pools where I counted 19 Goldeneye and heard a whinnying Little Grebe.The only birds of note on the Wildfowlers Pools were 6 Shoveler taking a snooze at the south end, and the flood slowly drying up held a few Redshank, Teal, and 6 Pied Wagtail.

In the notes to Glasson Dock, 18 Blackbird, 9 Robin, a Goldcrest, Song Thrush, and a Sparrowhawk, 44 Wood Pigeon were in a field north of Conder Green. On the canal basin at Glasson Dock, 3 Goldeneye, a Goosander drake, and a Little Grebe....The bus back to Lancaster is cumin!

The Goldeneye.

Goldeneye Brian Rafferty

The current status of the Goldeneye in our recording area is of a fairly common winter visitor to the Lune Estuary. My count of 19 Goldeneye on Freeman's Pools today actually falls behind the 29 seen on Freeman's Pools on 5 March, and which is probably the best count this winter in the LDBWS area.

On the walks I've done from Lancaster to Glasson Dock this winter, I've seen no Goldeneye anywhere on the River Lune downstream from Skerton Weir to the estuary at Glasson Dock, from where I've seen them in the past, and have seen no reports elsewhere of them along this stretch of the river. 

I've seen few - if any - reports this winter of Goldeneye in Morecambe Bay, and as long ago as 20 years when the outfall a Sandylands was shut down in 1997, Goldeneye numbers became drastically reduced in the bay, where a decade ago Morecambe Bay was noted for being one of our most important sites for the Goldeneye, and that small numbers of the species regularly turned up at almost every inland waterbody, from park lakes in Liverpool to the largest reservoirs in the east. 

You have to go into reverse 12 years to find a three figure count of 200 Goldeneye on the Lune Estuary on 31 January 2006....I think the RSPB claim on their website, of a UK wintering population of 27,000 Goldeneye may be in need of a review.

Thanks to BR for his excellent image of the Goldeneye on the canal basin at Glasson Dock recently, including two drake displaying.

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