Sunday, January 29, 2012

Some sun - rain - sun

Monday 23 Jan promised to be a sunny day, so I set off for Martin Mere. As I travelled along Curlew Lane I could see some tiny birds on the wires. Stopping the car and opening the window enabled me to hear the unmistakeable "jingle" of corn buntings. Once at the Mere I went to see the very helpful folk at the InFocus shop. We had pinkfooted geese, whooper swans, pintail, mallards and some feral? greylag geese. Reports of a willow tit drew me to Janet Kear hide. Lots of activity here from small birds as I saw blue tits, great tits, reed buntings, chaffinches, gold finches, blackbirds, tree sparrows but no sign of the willow tit. One thing I did spot however was a female brambling right at the edge of all the other members of the finch family. Both a male and female Great Spotted Woodpecker were taking advantage of the food on supply. I know the picture is a bad one, but a bad one is better than none at all

Tuesday 24 Jan. A few spots of rain should have warned me, but reports of lesser spotted woodpecker were too much to resist. There is also a re-cycling centre near this site so I took the opportunity to get rid of some cardboard. The rain increased but not enough to dampen my enthusiasm. Mute swans and mallards came to welcome us as we also kept a lookout for dipper in the River Yarrow. Some black-headed gulls and one or two common gulls roosted on the "tern raft" and a lovely male goosander swam past as well. I noticed some screens that had been erected since my last visit ( it is quite a while) and looked through these to observe the birds feeding. The usual culprits, both common tit species as well as dunnock, nuthatch, goldfinch, chaffinch and reed bunting were feeding here. It is good to see these birds starting to change into breeding plumage - spring is on the way. We continued towards the waterfall with still no evidence of the lesser spotted woodpecker, but lots of rain trickling down the back of my neck. My companion thought I had gone crazy when I started jumping up and down - no not the woodpecker, but a good sighting of the gem that is a kingfisher. Our journey had not been without reward. I am sure you are beginning to see a pattern emerging. I often do not see the bird I am searching for, yet still see something good. After my 700 challenge, perhaps a book?  "Birds I have dipped on in 2012"
The kingfisher ensured I reached 150 
Wednesday 25 Jan I will call this Deception Day. A visit to RSPB Hesketh Outmarsh to catch a high tide. In the end nothing new or remarkable here. However I walked down river and saw a group of swans feeding in a field adjacent to the footpath. One was seperate from the others and did not have as much yellow on the bill. My hoped for Bewick swan was soon recognised as a whooper with most of its bill covered in black mud. On the other side of the path in one of the pools, a cormorant with a very pale tummy and throat gave a reasonable impression of a diver. Not good enough to fool me though. That evening, I went to Cuerden Valley Park to see if we could count the jackdaws which have been roosting there. We counted in excess of 1200 

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