Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Wheatear Delight

With the weather forecast not looking good for today I didn't expect to get out to do any birding, however by mid afternoon the sun had begun to penetrate the thick layer of cloud and shine down onto the damp and cold earth. My dad agreed to take me down to Rossall Point for an hour or so after tea so he could walk for a bit whilst I did some birding. Arriving at 7 the sea was starting to come in over the bay but it was very rough meaning it was difficult to see any birds that were on the water. Ducks were the only birds of interest over the sea with 4 Pintails and a flock of 70+ Common Scoters moving north, along with a large flock of 250+ Eiders close inshore which is a massive influx from my last visit when only 17 were present. Turnstones started to fly in from the east and land on the beach in front of me, with 300 birds in total by the end of the evening bathing in the standing water on the beach. It didn't take me long to locate the Purple Sandpiper which was sleeping amongst them keeping its head firmly under its wing. Turning my attention to the golf course I quickly picked out a single male Wheatear (yeartick) sitting on the sea wall further along from where I was stood, however this was the only migrant bird seen and as the light was starting to go I headed back to the car and headed home happy that I had managed another yeartick. 143 for Britain and 140 for the Fylde now in 2011.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

School Migration throws up a Surprise!

I had planned to go out after school today to try and get an early Swallow at the mere, an idea which was reinforced when I got a text around 11ish from Ash saying that he had just had 2 over his school. Luckily for me I had English last lesson which is on the second floor of the highest block at my school, so I hoped that I might be able to see some signs of migration from my higher vantage point. It soon became clear that there was a clear line of migration going NNE across my school with small birds passing along it every couple of minutes. Over the 50 minutes I was watching I had 106 of these small birds moving in this way (2 wagtails, the rest being pipits and finches i think). After 15 minutes or so a single Swallow (yeartick) was spotted moving along this line and a Buzzard moved the other way, putting all the gulls up as it did. At 14:30 all of the gulls suddenly took off from around the school and started spiralling upwards so I assumed that the Buzzard was back again. Sure enough a large bird of prey appeared high from the south and then joined the gulls circling around it, coming ever closer as it did. It was obvious from where I was that this bird was much larger than the gulls around it, and larger than the buzzard from earlier as well. It was also noticeably lighter underneath and when it banked round away from me I could see the classic crooked wing appearance of an Osprey (yeartick)! It continued to circle round for the next 2 minutes before heading off NE towards the river, along with a trail of pursuing gulls.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Black Tailed Godwit Disagreement

These 2 Black Tailed Godwits were having a battle royal in front of the hide at Marshside on Saturday, one of the birds (winter plumage) trying to defend its territory against an intruder (summer plumage). The action took place for a minute or so with both birds attempting to drown the other, but as you can probably tell the defending bird won out and saw the intruder off.


Here is a sample of the 500+ photos I took of the Avocets at Marshside on Saturday. There were 15 birds in front of the Sandgrousers Hide which were feeding, arguing, fighting and mating, whilst showing brilliantly throughout. There were at least 30 other birds on the reserve so hopefully there will be lots of chicks hatching here in the summer.

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.

Patch Tick and More Migrants

On Friday evening I went down to Marton Mere after school to see if any migrants had dropped in over the past few days, and as 17 Sand Martins had been seen the previous evening I was hopeful of picking up a year tick or two. Arriving at the west end it was immediately obvious that the number of Chiffchaffs present had increased with at least 4 singing birds present in a small area. I spent 45 minutes or so at the viewing platform situated at the west end of the reserve which gives a view down the whole lake and surrounding reedbeds, as this is usually a good area to see hirundines arriving from the south. Two Cetti's Warblers either side of the platform gave sporadic bursts of song but mainly remained silent and skulking as they so often do, however there were no sand martins to be seen from here so I moved round to the Fylde Bird Club hide. Mark Farrar was already present in the hide and pointed out a few birds that were present, but nothing out of the ordinary. Another Cetti's Warbler was calling next to the hide and 4 Gadwall were feeding in the shallows allowing me to get a good view of these rather handsome ducks. A trio of Barnacle Geese looped down onto the mere from nearby Blackpool zoo where they spend their day feeding on the short grass which has been cut for the visitors, 20 birds in all flew in before dusk. Paul Ellis then arrived in the hide and quickly announced that there was a snipe on the scrape before quickly changing his mind and exclaiming "Jack Snipe"!. I didn't have my scope with me but thankfully Paul let me look through his scope to see the Jack Snipe (yeartick) bobbing up and down on the edge of the reeds, very reminiscent of a common sandpiper. Ash had asked me to text him if anything turned up so I told him what was there and got a quick reply of "I'm on my way". It was at this point that I picked up a single Sand Martin (yeartick) over the back of the mere, which was quickly joined by a second, then a third, all the way up to 8 birds in total feeding together, a sure sign of spring. Ash and Aaron then turned up and we managed to get them onto the Jack Snipe that had moved a bit further into the reeds, along with a couple of Common Snipe that were showing uncharacteristically well out in the open. Since the light was starting to go I headed round to the north side of the mere in the hope that the Little Owls would come out onto the barn roof, which typically they didn't; however a Long Eared Owl flying over me towards Lawsons wetland whilst I was on my way home made up for this.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

RND on the move, Again!

On the 29th December 2009 a drake Ring Necked Duck was discovered on the ICI Reservior in Thornton by Ian Gardner, this constituted the first Fylde record of the species. Since then it has moved around the county massively so I thought I would do a brief summary of the dates and sites it has visited during its time:
29/12/2009 - 29/12/2009 - Thornton ICI Reservoir
31/12/2009 - 01/01/2010 - Preesall Flashes
01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 - Fleetwood Marine Lakes
03/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 - Marton Mere
04/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 - Fleetwood Marine Lakes
05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 - Marton Mere
07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 - Fleetwood Marine Lakes
12/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 - Preesall Flashes
21/01/2010 - 21/01/2010 - Fleetwood Nature Reserve
22/01/2010 - 31/01/2010 - Thornton ICI Reservoir
02/02/2010 - 03/02/2010 - Marton Mere
16/03/2010 - 21/03/2010 - Thornton ICI Reservoir
26/09/2010 - 26/09/2010 - Martin Mere WWT
22/12/2010 - 28/12/2010 - Marton Mere
27/01/2011 - 18/02/2011 - Thornton ICI Reservoir and Fleetwood Nature Reserve
03/03/2011 - 09/03/2011 - Bispham Marsh
23/03/2011 - 23/03/2011 - Marton Mere
24/03/2011 - 23/03/2011 - Seaforth LWT

So over its 451 day stay so far it has visited 8 different sites in the county, and the longest it has stayed at one place is only 9 days. This bird helps to highlight how much the ducks in our county move around, sometimes switching daily between 2 sites 10 miles apart, or like it has done today travelled over 40 miles south in 1 day. I wonder where it will turn up next, back on the patch preferably.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Pink Footed Geese heading North

Spring has well and truly reached us now with a day temperature today of 18+ degrees which seemed to bring out a large number of butterflies from their winter haunts, with lots of Small Tortoiseshells seen with smaller numbers of Peacock. More birds singing aswell on the way to and from school; all 4 Song Thrushes still in their respective areas; which gave the whole area a warmer and more fresh feel. It therefore felt somewhat strange when overhead a flock of 52 Pink Footed Geese made their way noisily north, shattering the spring like feel with their typically winter enducing calls. There does seem to have been a large clear out from their winter feeding grounds and I don't expect them to stick around much longer now that new life is shooting up all around us. Photo from last year.

Wrong sort of Crests

A text from Paul Slade at 10am yesterday saw me racing down to Stanley Park after school in the hope of catching up with the a Firecrest that had been found there during the morning. I met up with Ash and Aaron soon after arriving and we set about working our way down from the area where the feeders are (west of the heronry island), south to the bridges separating the 2 lakes. It soon became apparent to us there had been a large influx of Goldcrests into the area, as every tree we looked in seemed to contain at least one of these little gems. In all we counted an astounding 21 along the 250 metre or so stretch of woodland! But alas no Firecrest were to be found amongst them, however the supporting cast of commoner woodland species proved to be just as interesting to watch. At least 4 Treecreepers, 3 Nuthatch, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Coat Tit and a female Sparrowhawk kept us occupied as we searched in the glorious spring evening.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Wild Goose Chase

With spring fast approaching I knew that I was running out of time to try and see the remaining 2 goose species (barnacle and bean) that I needed for the yearlist. They had both been seen Over Wyre on saturday so I was confident that I would be able to find a goose flock without much effort and then set about searching through them, well that was the plan anyway. I started off at Fluke Hall, before driving to Pilling Lane Ends, then inland to Bradshaw Lane, Gulf Lane and Eagland Hill, before driving towards Nateby and back round to Pilling stopping off at Bone Hill Lane on the way. This covered all of the main areas that I have seen geese in the past and the grand total of birds I saw in the 3 hours I was searching was ... 36! There was a very high tide which had covered the marsh at Pilling which could suggest why there have been several thousand birds on the Ribble over the past couple of days, and also point to why I couldn't find any.

The only birds of any note during the day were at least 200 Meadow Pipits feeding next to the car park at Fluke Hall. The birds were in a stubble field which made for difficult viewing but I looked through them in the hope of locating a Lapland Bunting, however a female Reed Bunting was the closest I could get. The best bird was a Water Pipit that I eventually managed to find amongst the throngs of mipits, and it gave very good views before the whole flock flew out onto the marsh as the tide dropped.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Chiffchaffs have Arrived

A gorgeous day dawned and once again I was up as early as possibly to make the most of it. Patch 2 was my destination of choice today as I knew it would be a good place to catch up with my target species for the day, the very appropriately named Chiffchaff (yeartick). Arriving at the north end the unmistakable call of the bird rang out from the trees by the bridle path, a brilliant bird and my first real migrant of the spring. There were also plenty of recently emerged butterflies in pristine condition on the wing today, mainly Small Tortoiseshell but a couple of Peacock were also noted. However in contrast to the new signs of spring bursting up all over the place, there were still some areas where winter was attempting to hold onto its grasp of the area it had controlled for the past few months, sound familiar... A quartet of Brambling were feeding together on the seed at the feeding station, the most I have seen together here at one time and also the most prolonged views I have had which was a treat. Another bird that I associate with winter is the Siskin, and it didn't take long for me to find the now seemingly resident flock of birds in the alders opposite the feeders. 6 birds in all, 4 of which were stunning males, showed very well allowing for close views and a few dodgy photos to be had.

It was then that the photographer in me took over and I headed for the only place on the mere that I knew would give me a chance of photographing Water Rails, the hide me, Ash and Aaron have dubbed the "tin can" hide due to its small size and cramped interior. Unfortunately I made the amateur error of entering the hide in a not so gentle manor, resulting in a great view of the rear end of a bird disappearing into the reeds as soon as I sat down. Luckily I knew it would return after a while and my patience was rewarded as within 20 minutes it re-appeared and tentatively made its way out into the open; typically whenever I tried to get a photo there was a perfectly placed reed obstructing part of the view. After making it halfway across the gap in front of the hide it suddenly remembered that it had evolved wings which enabled it to fly, and promptly flew the short distance to the reed bed on the other side of the hide and out of sight.

Throughout the visit I had been hoping to chance upon an early sand martin but by midday it was apparent that they were staying away from the mere, so I decided to take a walk round Stanley Park and hopefully get some good shots of the herons collecting nesting material on the island. A large sign had been errected next to the side entrance to the park, and on closer inspection it revealed that the RSPB had a stand set up at the far end of the lake to show people the nesting Grey Herons. I headed round to the heronry and got talking to the people who were manning the stand and showing people the herons that were on the nests through a couple of set up telescopes. I was amazed by the number of people who seemed to be genuinely interested in the birds, especially the number of younger people looking through the scopes and asking questions. There was just 1 bird that was repeating the process of flying down to the bank of the lake and finding a suitable twig, getting it in it's beak and then flying once round the island before landing on its nest and adding the stick to the intrical web of wood woven into the round shape that we all recognise. This bird provided a good photo oppourtunity for me and another photographer present and I spent 2 hours there chatting to the voulenteers and enjoying the birds in the glorius mid afternoon sunshine and high temperatures.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Thrush's still on Territory

I made a conscious effort this morning to try and locate the singing Song Thrushes on the route to school, to see if any of the 4 from earlier in the year were still on their respective territories. Stepping out of the front door I immediately heard a bird singing in a tree at the end of the next street along, this bird has been singing regularly throughout February and March and seems to be fairly settled now. Walking a bit further towards Poulton I stopped briefly on the old railway bridge on the edge of Carleton and noted the second bird present in its favoured large tree on the edge of the rail tracks. Other singing birds in this area include a pair of Wrens which sit on top of hawthorn bushes on either side of the path and hold their territories against the other every morning, a trio of male Greenfinches that prefer the fir trees from which to voice their songs, and a sporadic Goldcrest which goes missing for a week or so before returning to the same spot by the tracks.

Carrying on the walk towards school I could hear the third thrush singing from the area west of the train station where there are a large number of houses with big gardens and lots of tall trees, making this bird difficult to locate. However I eventually found it at the top of a sycamore tree in the company of a male Blackbird. The 4th and final bird was also still present in the trees by the side entrance to school, although it was much quieter than of recent weeks. It will be interesting to see if all of these birds stick around as spring progresses and also what else will turn up in the coming weeks, there has been a male Chiffchaff on derby road for the past 2 summers so it shouldn't be too long before that makes it appearance.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Agonopterix Heracliana

It has been quiet recently for birds in the area while I wait for the first of the proper spring migrants to arrive, with sand martin, chiffchaff, wheatear and little ringed plover already seen in Lancashire. So instead I turn to moths to give me something to write about. I haven't caught any macros (larger moths) for a few nights however whilst getting ready for school this morning I noticed a small micro moth on the downstairs window which I caught and left to sleep till I got home in the evening. I have zero experience with micros so posted a couple of pictures on birdforum and got the result of Agonopterix Heracliana, a relatively common species in the area but still a new one for me, the 30th species for my house and 35th for Britain. Micro moths seem to be under recorded in my 10km square so I might be able to add a few new species to the list over the course of the year.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Am I being thick!?

I took this photo last year of what I am sure are 5 Bewicks Swans, however my friend is adament that they are whoopers instead. Am I missing something really obvious or am I right that they are Bewicks after all, the small rounded area of yellow on the bill being the key.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Pink Footed Goose Details

I recieved the details from the WWT of the neck banded Pink Footed Goose LAF that I saw at Carleton Crematorium on the 10th February. It was ringed as an adult in Iceland on the 29/07/2000 making it at least 10 years old. The whole history can be seen above (hopefully it will be large enough to read).

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Mega Moth

Another mild night gave me hope that my bedroom light might attract a moth or two, and I turned out to be right as at 9:30 I noticed a medium sized moth fluttering around the bulb. It soon landed on my curtains and allowed me to take a few photos before I caught it and kept it till the morning. A quick trawl through my moth book could only reveal pale brindled beauty as a possibilty, so I posted it on the moth section on Birdforum in the hope that someone could give me an ID. 2 people came back to me both telling me that it was an Engrailed Moth, which I confirmed in the morning when looking at it in proper light.
I was happy enough as this was a new species for me however later on I checked out the Lancashire Moth Groups website and found that Engrailed had never been recorded in SD34 (my 10km square)! I am awaiting confirmation of this and also waiting for my moth trap to be delivered in the next week, so expect many more moth posts in the coming months.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Purple Sandpiper and First Migrants

With the weather warming slightly today I decided to head down to Rossall Point for a couple of hours over high tide in the hope of getting some early seabirds and also the Purple Sandpiper with the wader roost. Unfortunately the sea was incredibly quiet the whole time I was there, with the only species of note being a single Razorbill (yeartick) that floated in with the tide. There were a large number of gulls present on the beach when I arrived and I could see that they were feeding on a wreck of starfish opposite the coastgaurd tower. There were only c125 birds present one of which was a Herring Gull with a darvic ring on its right leg (I think). I spent 30 minutes trying to read the ring however the bird was frustratingly always on the move and when it did stop it sat down! It had a 3 letter combination however I could only read C-B. Hopefully someone else may have seen it so may be able to provide me with the details.

As the tide progressed up the beach a large flock of 400+ Turnstone built up close to the sea wall, and after much searching I located the Purple Sandpiper (yeartick) feeding amongst them, a beautiful bird when seen properly. Paul Ellis then arrived and told me that there were 2 female Stonechats (yeartick) behind the coastgaurd tower, and a quick look revealed them sitting on the fence posts next to the golf course, my first migrants of the year. The full list of species seen is as follows:

1 Purple Sandpiper on beach
400+ Turnstone
50+ Sanderling
1 Razorbill on sea
9 Eider (7 male)
4 Cormorant (3 south, 1 north)
3 Shelduck south
5 Lesser Black Back Gulls south
2 female Stonechat
5 Meadow Pipit (1 north, 4 on golf course)
2 Pied Wagtail east
3+ singing Skylark on golf course

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Bispham Marsh (monday)

Sorry for the dry spell this week, my wireless internet has been down at home meaning that I haven't had much access to the computer, and what little time I have had has been taken up with school work. On Monday I headed down to Bispham Marsh in the evening in the hope that I would be able to photograph the Ring Necked Duck in ths evening light. Unfortunately it appeared to have cleared off by the time I arrived so I spent the next hour photographing the resident birds instead.

There were still plenty of ducks present though, the Shoveler trio were feeding in their usual area and the Gadwall pair had been joined by an extra male. 5 Tufted Ducks (3 adult male, 1st winter male, female) were present and seems to prove that the same birds move in and out of the site over the course of a week, as the same 5 birds had been present on the 3rd but had dissappeared by the 5th, before coming back on the 7th (monday). A few Teal still around but as usual they were mainly hiding in the reeds so an accurate count was difficult. 2 Great Crested Grebes once again courting made it feel like spring and a singing Reed Bunting in the south west corner enhanced this image.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Review of the Year 2010 - Part 4

The first half of the month was predominately taken over by school work meaning that not much birding was done and nothing particularly interesting seen. I did however concentrate more on garden birding and was rewarded with a good run of species, starting with a Little Owl calling on the evening of the 7th, then my first 5 Redwings of the autumn on the 11th before culminating in one of my favourite birds ever from the house, a Short Eared Owl heading north on the 17th!

A hard worked for Jack Snipe amongst 70+ of its commoner cousins at Marshside on the 23rd was totally eclipsed by the birds the following the day. I had planned to go to Waddington Fell to once again try for the Great Grey Shrike, but a text from Paul Slade mid morning had me racing down to Fluke Hall Lane to set my eyes on potentially the Fylde's first Red Breasted Goose! To put the icing on the cake I finally managed to see the Great Grey Shrike briefly at Waddington Fell later in the day proving the birding phrase that lifers are like buses... The end of the month saw a massive influx of Waxwings into the country and I managed to catch up with a large flock of 70+ birds at Barrow near Clitheroe on the 30th.

Throughout the autumn Ian Gardner found Fylde rarity after Fylde rarity in the Fleetwood area, and on the 7th he did it once again discovering a juvenile Great Northern Diver on Fleetwood Marine Lakes, the first inland record for the Fylde. I managed to catch up with this delightful bird on the evening of the 9th, a very welcome birthday treat for me and my first one in the Fylde. Also on the 9th news broke of what turned out to be my rarest bird of the year, which luckily stuck around till the weekend so on the 13th I travelled down to Hollingworth Lake near Manchester to see my first Pied Billed Grebe! Amazingly I then received a text informing me of a Grey Phalarope on Lytham Moss, my second lifer of the day which performed admirably less then 20 metres away. Final stop of the day was to Fleetwood Marine Lakes where the Great Northern Diver put on a spectacular show allowing close views and a good photo opportunity.

The rest of the month provided a few extra highlights, the best being a juvenile Iceland Gull at Preston Docks on the 20th, a late Avocet at Martin Mere on the 21st and a male Scaup at Marton Mere on the 26th, the only one I saw all year.

A surprise flurry of year ticks occured in the first half of the month; with a self found pair of White Fronted Geese at preesall on the 4th, my first ever Red Crested Pochard on Southport Marine Lakes on the 12th and a Lapland Bunting at HOM the same day, a single Purple Sandpiper at Rossall Point on the 19th and a self found Tundra Bean Goose at Fleetwood Farm an hour or so later that day. The final birding of the year was to once again see the local drake Ring Necked Duck, which had re-appeared on Marton Mere on the 26th.

So over the course of 2010 I had amassed 216 species in Britain which was 3 higher than my previous record from 2009. I also saw 167 species in the Fylde which was slightly down on previous years and left me 11th out of 14 in the Fylde Yearlist Competition, which I hope to do better in this year. 17 British Lifers and 11 World Lifers took my life lists to 254 and 307 respectively. I wonder what 2011 will hold, only time will tell.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Finally some Geese

I had planned to go to Rossall Point this morning to try and see the Purple Sandpiper at the high time wader roost, however this didn't quite work out as I didn't wake up till 11:30! Putting this aside I decided that the best plan was once again to head to Pilling Marsh where a large flock of Pink Footed Geese had been present the previous day. Arriving at the car park I could see at least 5000 birds to the east of where I was and whilst walking towards them I spotted a small group of birders already present, and to my surprised as I neared I could see that it was Ash and Aaron whom I spent 11 hours with at Marton mere last week. Unfortunately they hadn't seen any other species amongst the geese and they soon headed off to look for Grey Partridge and Little Owl further inland. Just after they had left I spotted a 1st winter White Fronted Goose with the closest flock of birds and I headed further along the sea wall to join Chris Piner who had also just located this bird. A quick text to Ash resulted in him and Aaron running back towards us from the car park at full speed which provided me with a good laugh! Luckily they got the bird through my scope and then Chris found a Pale Bellied Brent Goose (yeartick) a little further to the right of the white front, both of our target species, result. I soon managed to find the Dark Bellied Brent Goose feeding nearby which allowed for a great comparison between the 2 different forms, showing just how different they actually are. We then headed for Glasson stopping along the way to count the Whooper Swan flock near Sand Villa, 80 birds in total although none of them were ringed.

On the Conder Estuary a pair of Spotted Redshanks were showing brilliantly along with at least 30 Redshanks allowing for a good comparison between the 2 species. A single Greenshank (yeartick) was also feeding nearby before a female Sparrowhawk shot over the marsh and it flew out of view. A male Goosander feeding in the creek was a nice surprise and continues my good run of records of this species so far this year, which seems to be coinciding with a large influx of birds into the rest of the country. With 2 yearticks I was happy and headed home, stopping off briefly at Bradshaw Lane to see what birds were on the feeders.. At least 30 Corn Buntings were a nice surprise and also nice to see a large number of them together.

2011 British Yearlist - 131 species
2011 Fylde Yearlist - 130 species