Tuesday, 5 June 2012

New Blog

A few people have said that they haven't noticed that I have a new blog, so here's the link again for anyone who hadn't realised, take a look :)


Saturday, 21 January 2012

New Blog

When I started college in September I quickly realised I was never going to have the time to carry on with the post a day system I was trying to do! So instead I've decided to start a new blog and will just do posts when I can. So take a look there to see what I've been up to recently.


Friday, 14 October 2011

Long Time No Post!

As you will have noticed it has been ages since I last posted. This is because i started college on the 6th September and I hadn't really comprehended the amount of work I would actually have! This has meant I've had very little time in the evening and so been unable to post at all, however I will hopefully be able to post a bit more regularly now that I've managed to get into a routine with homework. I'm not going to do a post for each day since I last posted, I'm just going to this one big one with the highlights, and then post a lot of pictures later.

Glasson - 03/09
I went to look for a Little Stint with the Dunlin flock but unfortunately it wasn't present, however at least 6 Curlew Sandpipers were nice along with an adult Yellow Legged Gull, 2 Mediterranean Gulls and a Raven.

Starr Gate, Freckleton, Stanley Park - 05/09
I met up with Ash around lunchtime and headed down to Starr Gate in the hope of connecting with a few seabirds. A gorgeous pale phase Arctic Skua flew right along the shoreline giving great views was the highlight, with 2 Manx Shearwater and 17 Bar Tailed Godwits the best of the rest. Then it was off to Freckleton to look for a Marbled Duck that had been seen the previous day (obviously dubious origins), however soon after we arrived Ash got a text off Larry to say he'd found a Black Tern (Fylde Tick) on the lake at Stanley Park, so it was a quick turn around and half an hour later we were watching it fishing and lying around less than 5 metres from us at times!

Fleetwood Marine Lakes - 08/09
A disappointing seawatch off Rossall didn't produce much however a summer plumage Red Throated Diver on the marine lakes certainly made up for this, although it wasn't looking too healthy, as was a Manx Shearwater which was on the other lake which died later that evening.

Pennington Flash - 10/09
A lovely warm day with intermittent sunshine provided a nice back set to a great variety of wildlife seen during the day including my second ever Grey Phalarope, a Black Necked Grebe (yeartick), 9 Green Sandpiper (1 flock), 3 Willow Tit, 5 Bullfinch, and my first Southern Hawker dragonfly.

Rossall Point - 12/09
After a pretty rubbish watch the previous day the strong winds finally came good and I had my first Leach's Petrel and Great Skua of the year along with 3 Arctic Skua and a nice juv Common Tern on the beach.

Rossall Point - 13/09
Another after college seawatch produced my most wanted species of the blow, a juv Sabine's Gull (lifer) flying south at middle distance. I also had a probable Long Tailed Skua however it barrelled through so fast that I didn't get much time to view it and I've got zero experience of the species before so I'm not going to claim it.

Rossall Point - 14/09
My final seawatch of the period (11:45 hours in total) didn't produce any new yearticks however the Great Skua flew past right along the surf line past me giving by far the best views I have had of this species. There was also a large flock of c900 Knot on the beach in front of the coastguard tower providing quite a spectacle as they flew around.

Fairhaven Lake - 14/09
An evening trip down to see a storm blown Grey Phalarope that gave unbelievable views, sometimes swimming less than 3 foot from where I was sat on the edge of the lake, just magic!

Pilling Marsh, Bradshaw Lane - 23/09
Lots of Pink Footed Geese arriving back in the country (had my first of the Autumn over Carleton on the 16th) and with about 2000 on Pilling Marsh I went to have a look through them and was rewarded with a single Barnacle Goose (yeartick). Then on the way back we drove down Bradshaw Lane and got stunning views of a Barn Owl hunting right past the car, and 3 different Marsh Harriers in the space of 15 minutes!

Glasson - 24/09
Big thanks to Len for picking me up the evening and taking me to Glasson to twitch the Lesser Yellowlegs (lifer) which Stuart Piner found at the mouth of the Conder. We managed to find it as the light was fading but still managed some good views.

Carr Bank, Nateby - 02/10
I had planned to go up to Carr Bank at Arnside to look for the Buff Breasted Sandpiper and 2 Pectoral Sandpipers and so arrived there mid morning and spotted a few birders on the edge of the marsh. I walked up to them and just as I arrived Bob Stinger walked off and informed me that a Solitary Sandpiper had just been found in Nateby near Garstang! This is a proper mega for mainland Britain so I didn't stay long looking through the waders, got the 2 Pectoral Sandpipers (lifer) along with 2 Little Stint and 3 Curlew Sandpipers, before heading off back down the motorway to nateby where I was directed to a farmers field who's land the bird was on. It was a very well organised twitch with the farmer allowing cars to park on one of his fields at the cost of £4 per person, and then let us walk across 2 of his fields to view the scrape that the bird was on. I arrived at the place where at least 40 people were already present and got my first views of the Solitary Sandpiper (lifer) as it fed distantly on the edge of the water. I managed to get the views that I wanted of the diagnostic dark rump and got to see all of the fylde birders and some from further afield.

Fairhaven Lake - 05/10
A trip down to Fairhaven Lake after college with my camera to see my first Fylde Slavonian Grebe which was showing stupidly well. I stayed for 2 and a half hours and was treated to it fishing sometimes about 5 feet away from the bank where I was lieing down so got some pretty nice shots which I will post later.

Pilling Marsh - 08/10
A nice group of 16 Barnacle Geese (my highest ever in the Fylde) were with the Pink Feet out on the marsh along with my first 3 Whooper Swans of the year (2 east, 1 south).

Singleton - 09/10
A Hooded Crow that was first found by Barry Dyson on the 3rd was eventually located again by Paul Slade on the morning of the 8th at the southern end of Poulton Industrial Estate. I went down in the evening on the 3rd but couldn't locate it, then 3 times on the 8th but still no sign and then once again on the morning of the 9th but it had moved off before I arrived. I was beginning to think I was jinxed however driving along Station Road I noticed a lot of crows in the field next to the road, so getting out and scanning through them I spotted the Hooded Crow! My first in the Fylde.

Fleetwood Golf Course - 12/10
An early finish on Wednesday afternoon allowed me to catch a bus to Fleetwood when I got a text that there was a Pomerine Skua sitting on the gold course! I ran from the bus to the southern end of the course and started walking north along the edge till I spotted 4 birders walking out onto the course. I watched where they were going and was amazed to see them getting to within a few metres of a gorgeous adult pale morph Pomerine Skua (lifer) just sitting in the grass. It didn't seem to be very healthy however after a few minutes it took off and flew right past me and over the sea wall and out of sight. It was relocated later on in the afternoon on the beach at Cleveleys allowing lots of great photos to be taken (look on the FBC website to see what I mean!).

So that's me up to date now. My lists are now as follows: British Life List - 267, Fylde Life List - 224, British Yearlist - 209, Fylde Yearlist - 198 (so close to my target of 200 now!)

Monday, 5 September 2011

Moths at the Mere - 31/08/11

On Wednesday night me and my Dad went on a moth and bat walk around Marton Mere with Ash and Aaron and a few of the rangers. Before we started me and dad went down to the edge of the mere and although it was almost dark I was able to pick out the Barn Owl sitting on top of the box on the island before flying off towards the fields at the back. We met at the ranger base at 9pm and then headed off towards the western end where the moth traps were set up. There were a few Pipistrelle Bats flying around but it wasn't till we reached the moth traps that things started to liven up. There were already plenty of Common Rustics in the trap when we arrived arrived and these provided the main bulk of what we saw during the night. We spent about 3 hours around the area of the traps sometimes searching the neighbouring fields for moths with the nets and in total we caught 16 species.

1 Angle Shades (NFM and one of my favourite species, pic 1)

2 Brown China Mark (NFM)

1 Lychnis (NFM, spent ages trying to find it in the book!)

14 Sallow (pic 2)

1 Old Lady

1 Mother of Pearl

1 Shaded Broad Bar

1 Copper Underwing

1 Smokey Wainscot

1 Straw Dot

80+ Common Rustic agg

6 Lesser Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing

5 Large Yellow Underwing

2 Lesser Yellow Underwing

1 Common Carpet

1 Common White Wave

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Waders Galore - 29/08/11

With hordes of Curlew Sandpipers flooding into the country over the past week I thought it was about time I went out and got one in the Fylde so decided to check Skippool and then Glasson which are the 2 best wader areas. The tide was dropping when I arrived at Skippool so the waders were starting to come back to feed and I had the resident Spotted Redshank along with a Greenshank, 18 Ringed Plover (most I've had here), 29 Golden Plover, 21 Black Tailed Godwit, 7 (yes only 7!) Dunlin, 80+ Curlew and loads of Redshanks and Lapwing. I also noted the adult Yellow Legged Gull which I've seen a few times here over the past month. However no Curlew Sands so I headed off to Glasson in the hope of locating one there.

A brief stop on the way at the Conder Pool saw another Spotted Redshank and a Greenshank on the river before getting to Glasson where I spotted Paul Slade already set up looking out over the river. He informed me that he had seen a Curlew Sand with the Dunlin flock at Cockersands so it was back in the car and down there where we were greeted with a strong wind blowing straight into our faces coming from the river which meant it was very difficult to view the mixed Dunlin and Ringed Plover flock on the short in front of us. I decided to view from the car as it offered some shelter and after several scans which revealed a few Sanderling and a couple of Turnstone I eventually found the Curlew Sandpiper (yeartick) feeding in the centre of the flock. A small flock of Oystercatchers that flew downriver were the final waders of the day and brought the total to a respectable 13 species.

Leighton Moss - 28/08/11

Sorry for a lack of posts this week, a couple of late night moth walks have taken it out of me and with college starting on Tuesday I've been pretty busy. Last week a Great White Egret turned up in the egret roost at Leighton Moss so me and Ash went up there the next day with his dad in the hope of seeing it and for me making it the fourth year in a row I've seen the species at Leighton. We had a great day all round with Marsh Tit (yeartick) and Nuthatch around the feeders, lots of birds of prey including an Osprey which caught a fish near Public hide then flew off north and a juvenile Marsh Harrier quartering the reeds opposite Lilian's hide. Plenty of Little Egrets around however the Great White never showed and hasn't been seen since so has obviously cleared off somewhere, other birds seen include at least 12 Greenshank, Raven and 7 Pochard. The best sight of the day however has to be the fawn Red Deer that appeared right in front of us from the Grisedale hide and showed brilliantly for half an hour or more.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Fylde Tick - 27/08/11

With a Fylde list of 217 species you would imagine that I had seen pretty much all the common resident and migrant species to occur in the area, however one big gap had always been Redstart which I had never managed to connect with on spring migration. Well on Saturday I tried to rectify this when I recieved a text in the evening off Len saying that there was a juvenile near to Cockersands near Glasson and luckily my dad agreed to take me to try see it. We easily found the right field and started to scan along the hedgerow along the edge where a few birds were perching before dropping down onto the recently plowed ground to search for insects. There were several Robins doing this and after a short while I spotted the juvenile Redstart about 20 metres away in the last hawthorn bush before it dropped down allowing me to see that it was a very orange example, almost as bright as the Robins it was feeding with! It continued to feed for the next 10 minutes allowing for very nice views until it disappeared into the depths of the bush and out of sight so we headed home very happy. This was my 218th Fylde bird, and took my British and Fylde yearlists up to 192 and 187 respectively.