Sunday, 27 March 2011

Eventful day to say the least!

I was invited to twitch the Lesser Scaup at Marshside yesterday with Ash, Aaron and Ash's dad, so I jumped at the chance since my parents were busy during the day. I met up with Ash and Aaron at Stanley Park where we had several Chiffchaffs, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 3 Nuthatch in the woods as well as a pair of Great Crested Grebes on the lake. Walking from here to Ash's house we had several Meadow Pipits going over north, a good sign of visible migration and also highlights the fact that birds seem to migrate over all of the Fylde, so I need to do some vis mig from my house this spring. We spent half an hour at Ash's house before heading down to Marshside seeing several Kestrels and a Sparrowhawk on the way there. As soon as the car stopped at Marshside the three of us jumped out and quickly collected our optics before crossing the road to the viewing screen over looking the junction pool. A flock of 20+ Tufted Ducks were present and we all immediately got onto the Lesser Scaup (lifer) feeding amongst them. Through the scope the main ID features could easily be seen, the peak on the back of the head and the more coarse vermiculations on the birds back. It was feeding very rapidly, diving for 10 seconds or so but only surfacing for a second or so before diving again, making photographing it difficult. Ash picked up a female Merlin that flushed a flock of Wigeon further down the marsh and it very helpfully perched on the fence posts along the side of the road allowing good views. We then headed on to Sandgrousers Hide where we were treated to a brilliant display by the 15 Avocets (yeartick) that were feeding, fighting and mating right in front of the hide. A pair of Black Tailed Godwits staged a furious battle in the water, with one bird trying to drown the other while stabbing each other with their dagger like beaks. I will do a blog post tomorrow with a full set of photos of the Avocets and the Godwits but here is just a taster of each. There were plenty of birds on the rest of the reserve, the best of which being: large flocks of Golden Plover and Black Tailed Godwits with several birds in their stunning full summer plumage, plenty of winter ducks still present with Pintails, Wigeon and Shoveler scattered about in small flocks and several sinfing Skylarks over the saltmarsh. We then decided to head towards Fairhaven Lake, stopping off at Preston Docks for a bite to eat and failing to see the long staying Iceland Gull, although a continental Cormorant was present on one of the pontoons. We had planned to check if a Little Ringed Plover that had been seen on Lytham Moss in the morning was still present, however just as we were pulling up to the flood I received a text from Paul Slade saying "White Stork, Backsands Lane"! This resulted in a frantic and very agitated 45 minute journey across the Fylde to Pilling and we arrived just in time, as it took off just as we were pulling up and flew further inland. Our elation at seeing the bird was short lived however as Mick McGough had got some shots of the bird and it was clear to see that it was bearing a thin red ring on its left leg, an escapee! Despite this we tried to relocate it and soon found it in a field 200 metres or so further inland, where it gave great views feeding on a small flood. Despite this dissapointment I still had a great day out with the Lesser Scaup taking my british list up to 256, and yearlist to 139.


  1. Your Stork is surely the same as we had here in Lothian the previous week - nice to see it again, we were wondering where it had gone, was it something we said?! Some info on my blog on its Scottish travels over the years:

  2. Same now in NE Scotland?