Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Was deffo worth a look!

The Safari is quite chuffed with the new vis-migging location :)
We gave it a try for half an hour this morning. A little too late in the day perhaps but it showed its potential alright.
Looking north
The pond with the House Sparrows we were at yesterday is the group of bushes beyond the base of the pylon.
Unlike Base Camp there is little traffic noise and the trains pass quickly every 20 minutes or so. One train flushed a Fieldfare from the trackside bushes which in turn flushed a Song Thrush from the bush it landed in across the field.
Being mid morning we didn't expect too much in the way of vis mig but soon had a flock of 22 Lapwings going SE into the stiff breeze. A Chaffinch went high along the top of the pylon wires, a little later a flock of seven more followed almost the exact same line until they came face to face with a helium balloon which had them taking evasive action.
A high Goldfinch was presumably a migrant as the local birds tended to stay low and move between the patches of habitat.
Looking northwest
As you can see with a bit of sunshine behind us the light is really good. From our 'lofty' perch on the bridge we could see one of the  Peregrines on the tower! In the foreground nine Magpies and a pair of Carrion Crows poked around in the horse field and another Goldfinch headed SE over the top of the wires.
To the east a flock of about 100 Black Headed Gulls foraged for worms amongst the horses but overhead we noted a SEerly passage of Common Gulls which totally ignored the flock on the ground. We counted six at intervals of a couple of minutes or so but could well have missed several more before we 'noticed' them going over. Two individual Great Black Backed Gulls also moved through on this heading although a bit further to the east.
The feeding flock of gulls went up and being on high ground we easily picked up the culprit straight away, a chunky female Sparrowhawk drifting westwards and then dropping in to the gardens, a local bird? Not long after she had disappeared two Song Thrushes sped past on the now familiar SEerly route.
The watch point certainly seems to have some serious potential.
Looking west
Here's a map of the area to put it into context. A, X, Y & Z are other vis mig sites. A is Knott End, X is Rossall Point, Y is Fleetwood Birder's 'observatory' and Z is Chat Alley. B is our estuary site.
Base Camp is under the finger
One of the reasons we looked for an alternative is that SE at his Rossall School obs gets far more going over than we do at Chat Alley just 3-4 miles to the south. Perhaps because of the built up nature of the ground beneath them the birds head inland a little way along the green corridor between Y and our new watch point; circled. In the old days when we did vis mig watches at the west end of the nature reserve fractionally east of south  (under the 'C' of BLACKPOOL) from our new spot we used to get some really good counts. Some evidence for this may be that CR who lives just at the NW 'corner' of the circle and gets birds like Siskin in his garden that we very rarely get over Base Camp and which never land.
After about half an hour we decided to have a look at the wet areas in the hope of finding a Snipe, or better, a Jack Snipe, but all we got was this rather bizarre find under a scratty remnant of a hedgerow.

Didn't know the 'Little People' lived round here...there were no Jack Snipe at home either!
We finished off with a check round the reedbed where we disturbed :( 10 or more Blackbirds and five Greenfinches from the large trees against the railway line, must be more cautious next time. Also here were an unknown number of Long Tailed Tits heard calling from the depths of the reeds with a least one Blue Tit with them and a Wren was heard a little further away. Overhead another flock of five Chaffinches flew southwards. This little reedbed has a Cetti's Warblery feel to it with the fringing trees and scrub...wonder if we'll ever get one here - it is a bit isolated from other similar suitable habitat.
Where to next? With more SEerlies and scattered showers forecast for first light tomorrow we could well be tempted back.
In the meantime let us know who's living in your outback.

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