Friday, 13 August 2010

Lancs birding

Yesterday I spent the afternoon in North Yorkshire on a hill dodging torrential downpours and lightening which was all good fun. The poor weather may have resulted in the expected birds being absent however a party of 4 Wheatear was a nice touch, presumably dropped down by a shower. There was little else of note other than Swift, Swallow, House and Sand Martin that were all on a mission south.

Today I spent the morning in a field in the Lancashire lowlands, not really having any expectations of what I might see the morning proved very interesting. I got out of my car and the first thing I saw was a Marsh Harrier, as I got my scope and bins out to start my survey I noted several Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk in the air also. I got on the Marsh Harrier - a juvenile but straightaway was aware of another large bird behind it, a second juvenile Marsh Harrier! I watched these for about 10-15 minutes when something caught the corner of my eye, another one! Three juvenile Marsh Harriers in pristine condition quartering about ranging some distance and height but showing incredibly well. I continued to watch them on and off for 4 hours. I like harriers! They are good fun to watch! One of the birds flew fairly close to me and rather kindly flushed 3 Greenshank that were well out of sight in a ditch somewhere then it continued to put up several of the more expected Curlew and Lapwing.

Other than the Marsh Harrier entertainment came in the form a Peregrine that was seen a couple of times, the second time it nailed a Mallard before dropping in to destroy it! Otherwise it was mainly the expected Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel that were all jostling with each other and the harriers.

Smaller stuff was not as noticeable as previous visits with a few Corn Bunting, Reed Bunting and Willow Warbler noted. Several Swift and good numbers of Swallow and House Martin were also noted.

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