Saturday, 25 September 2010

Geese and Pere's

I spent the end of the week surveying over in Lancashire. The weather forecast had been for poor weather so already 'full of cold' I couldn't wait to spend 2 days and a night looking for birds in the cold north wind and rain! Luckily the weather wasn't as bad as was expected, though there had obviously been a lot of rain looking at all of the flooded fields and roads.

It didn't take too long to find some interest, a large flooded field was full of gulls and Lapwing with an adjacent field full of 'alba' wagtails. As we were counting all of these a large juvenile female Peregrine stooped in and had a half-hearted attempt for a Lapwing, however it got away, just!

A bit further around our route and we came across a few Pink-footed Geese dropping into a distant stubble field (family groups and several flocks of 10's and 20's), the area was busy with raptors with a hunting male Marsh Harrier being the pick, fantastic to watch as it too did a stoop down to the ground but again to no avail, save flushing several Snipe. Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and at least 7 Buzzard were also seen. One of the aforementioned Buzzards decided to drop low over the stubble field where the Pink-footed Geese had been dropping into. From our distant viewpoint we were amazed as 'a few' Pink-footed Geese erupted into about 5,500 birds as they gained height and flew around a bit before going back to the stubble field/moving to other areas. Large flocks of Linnet, Corn Bunting, Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Swallows were all noted.

On Friday visible migration was noted amongst mainly Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Chaffinch with Swallow, 'alba and flava' Wagtails and a single Lapland Bunting recorded (unfortunately the Lap Bunt didn't fly over my side of the site so I didn't see it). The first 'target species' I got my eyes on was a pair of Mallard flying north through my site, the second 'target species' I saw was a juvenile female Peregrine that was tanking after the Mallard, again another close chase ensured and again the prey got away, but it was really close! A spectacular sight as the big female shot low across the ground before powering up into the Mallard! Later, presumably the same juvenile female Pere came back south, slowly drifting about 15m directly over my head! Excellent stuff! Not a huge deal else was recorded of note, lots of Lapwing, Snipe and Geese, making for an enjoyable couple of days, only spoiled by being full of cold!

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