Wednesday, 20 April 2011

19th April 2011, Slipper Hill Reservoir

A quick, mid-day visit to Lower Foulridge yielded very little and with water levels
still high i decided to check nearby Slipper Hill Res'. The local water authority have
been using the water from this reservoir to keep the canal topped up. It had dropped
massively since a previous visit recently, with lot's of mud exposed.
Three Little-Ringed Plovers were the only waders but it warrants coverage this spring.
Goosander, 5 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck and a showy Grey Heron made up the cast.

Little-Ringed Plover

Two males compete for a female

Grey Heron missed-strike

Monday, 18 April 2011

Marshside RSPB, 17th April 2011

Another glorious April day and an afternoon visit to Marshside to see the summer
plumaged male Ruffs there.
I spent around two hours in Nel's hide, with the highlight being a Little Stint that was a little
camera shy. There were at least 15 Ruffs around and i saw some aggressive behaviour
between the males. One Ruff had a pure white head, neck and belly, again a little camera shy!
Beside the regular birds, there was 6 Wheatears at the sand plant. I called in at Hesketh
out marsh on the way home and of note was: Short-Eared Owl and Merlin there.


distant Little Stint



copulating Avocets

after mating the birds preened each other

Ruff fly-by

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Black Redstart, Pendle 16th April 2011

I took a visit to Pendle in search of the Black Red' reported earlier in the day
and found it perched on one of the stone walls beyond Pendleside Farm, easy!
It was feeding on the edge of the field and returning back to the wall as a perch.
The bird was quite tame and i got within fifteen yards without bothering it. Several Wheatears
also fed in the field.

Black Redstart

Easter Bunny

Northern Wheatear

Meadow Pipit

With the Black Redstart "in the bag" so quickly, i had time to visit Upper Foulridge.
Not a great deal was to be seen, although a single House Martin was my first for
the year. A Great-Crested Grebe was showing well as were several Sand Martins
and Swallows on the wires.

Great-Crested Grebe

Sand Martins

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Lower Foulridge, 12th April 2011

A return to more typical April weather, with temperatures around ten c
but feeling colder in brisk westerly winds.
Over the res' around 100 Sand Martins were feeding with a handful of
swallows among them.
A Little-Ringed Plover flew over West quite low and would have dropped in
if the water level wasn't so high.

Little-Ringed Plover (fly-over)
Sand Martin

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Lower Foulridge, 10th April 2011

A quiet day today, with  a couple of hours searching my local patch.
On the water were a handful of Great-Crested Grebes and Tufted Duck.
The bushes and tracks near Slipper Hill Res' held at least 15 singing Willow
Warblers and 3 Blackcaps. Other migrants seen were, Swallow and Sand Martin.

Lower Foulridge Reservoir with Pendle Hill in the distance


Willow Warbler

Saturday, 9 April 2011

9th April 2011, Leighton Moss and Pendle Hill

Another scorching day by April standards with temperatures reaching 22c,
spring migration is well underway now. At Leighton Moss i heard my first Reed
Warbler of the year and saw my first Blackcaps (several).  Along with many
Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers.
A fine pair of Garganey were showing from the Griesdale hide and at least four Marsh
Harriers were on the reserve. On the Eric Morecambe complex a Spotted Redshank
and three Ruff were among 850+ Black-Tailed Godwit.
Warton Slag Tips had several Wheatear and a pair of Little-Ringed Plovers nearby.

A visit to Pendle in the evening to search for migrant Ring Ouzels, and five birds were on
view together on the lower slopes of the hill from Pendleside Farm. Wheatear, Little Owl
and displaying Golden Plover added to the list.
As i made my way back to the car, a large gathering of Carrion Crows making an all-mighty
noise, drew my attention to a struggling shape on the ground.
A Sparrowhawk had taken a Lapwing!
It took five minutes to kill it and all the while the Crows were trying to rob the Hawk of
it's catch. Eventually the Sparrowhawk somehow, dragged the hapless Lapwing into cover
and out of the attention of the Crows.

Garganey drake

Garganey duck


Black-Tailed Godwits

Marsh Tit


Spotted Redshank, Ruff and Redshank

Little Egret with Grey Heron

Ring Ouzels, Pendle Hill

Sunshine and Hen Harriers

8th April 2011, a visit to the Forest of Bowland on a warm, sunny spring day to
look for Hen Harriers. In total i saw three birds, two females and one male. The
male was in full "sky-dance" display flight at around 10.20am and i managed some
distant photos of this fabulous ritual.
Other raptors present were: Peregrine (3 together) Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and
Kestrel. Several newly arrived Willow Warblers were in full song and 3 Ravens
made up for any lulls when the Harriers were not showing.

Sky-dancing male Hen Harrier


Meadow Pipit