Sunday, 8 January 2012

An American sneaks over the border

The Safari couldn't decide where to go this morning as the weather closed in. But before we tell you where we ended up have a look here at the second pic down, that to us looks like it could well be a Shag in which case it is likely to be the first record for the big park.
We desided the day would be spent at the nature reserve but shortly before setting off a text from AB decided for us and we headed a little further to the freshwater marshes near the river.
The American Wigeon seen yesterday on the South-side had been flushed by the high tide and/or shooters to the right side of the river so twitching it was a must. We got to the roadside lay-by from where it had been seen to discover it had flown with several hundred 'normal' Wigeon only a few minutes before we arrived  :-( We did see our first Shelducks (79) of the year from here though and our main quarry was still in the field though and fortunately MMcG refound it fairly quickly.
Viewing conditions were worse than dreadful with low cloud and heavy drizzle being driven right in our face by a stiff breeze. To view the flock we had to wind the Land Rover's window down and it just about filled with water during the half hour we spent watching the flock grazing.
There is an American Wigeon (80) in the pic - honest...see if you can find it. The pic has been digitally enhanced to make it easier for you; the real conditions were much worse than this!!! - and we were viewing through the outer branches of a Hawthorn bush
Further out in the field/murk a couple of Curlews (81) were seen - there won't be many years that we see an American Wigeon before our first Curlew!
With one leg and the whole of the inside of the Land Rover just about soaked through we decided to call in at the nature reserve for a few minutes on the way back...well we had to pass it anyway...
Several Lapwing were roosting on the bund and we found a sleeping drake Pintail (82) in amongst a portion of the Teal. A Grey Lag Goose (83) cruised out from behind the bund honking loudly - unusually it appeared to be on its own.
Gulls-wise it was very quite, the Iceland Gull had put in an appearance from about 10.00 - 11.00 its 'regular' time.
We noted a good number of Linnets on the wires across the field and MJ got a count of 120 with his scope along with 40 Fieldfare also sat on the wires - good numbers of both species for this winter.
Meanwhile the regular Moorhen climbed the bank almost reaching the hide - this pic has had only a tiny crop off each side. The rain had stopped but it was no less gloomy, one day we'll get a much crisper pic of him/her...soon?
Across on the island a pair of Kestrels were hunting giving some excellent views and a Sparrowhawk tazzed across the mere and along the reedbed. Behind the hovering Kestrels two skeins of Pink Footed Geese came into view heading our way and eventually hit the recording area's airspace (MMLNR No 56 - over half way).
Suddenly MJ shouted he'd seen something by the red bush in an excited voice - sure enough within a few seconds one of the Otters put on a performance for a good few minutes...we moved along the bankhundred yards or so with MMcG in the hope of getting a pic/vid but it didn't stay at the surface long enough, however we did hear a Water Rail scream and one of the Cetti's Warblers was singing...a fabulous end to a great, if wet, day's safari-ing...back to Base camp for a warming and celebratory cuppa...the American Wigeon was a new Fylde bird for us having missed all the others over the last 20 years!
Where to next? Patch 2 will be back in play tomorrow - let's hope the cloud has lifted by then and we can actually see the sea!
In the meantime let us know who snuck in to your outback


Warren Baker said...

Thats a huge haul there Davo, in some 'orrible weather by the looks of it!! Greylag for 83, they are scare there then ? :-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Grey lags not on nature reserve last w/end - usually lots of them


Just counted 33 species on FyldeBC website seen this w/end still to make it on to my list + exotica like Glossy ibis, and GW teal just outside :-)

Jonathan Scragg said...

Is the yankee wigeon in line with the left sheep? About the same as the shots I managed!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Lookin good there Jonny!


Monika said...

Aw man, congrats on the American wigeon! I've been combing through flocks of hundreds of 'em looking for the one Eurasian that's bound to be over here, but no luck yet....