Friday 3rd March and still chasing Geese, with no luck, so in the evening I drove over the Harris End and Hawthornthwaite fell roads, with Ring tail Hen Harrier and Stonechat seen; bonus points for the Chat!
The following day, I visited the fields at Cockerham and finally saw the Greenland White-fronted Goose and the "Lesser Canada Goose" hybrid. In the evening, I visited Bullpot Farm above Casterton Fell, with some friends and we had the Short fared Owl fly below us.
I went to Polynesia this time last year, but this time had to settle for Linn of Dee in Scotland, but did see Gyr Falcon. This was my first trip out of the area this year.
Saturday 11th March, saw Sand Martin, my first spring migrant, but no sign of the Iceland Gull seen the day before, which I still need for the area. Wheatear on the Slag Tips, but not much else on the 18th, then Garganey on the following day from Griesdale Hide.
The first female Marsh Harrier arrived on Wednesday 22nd, with the male arriving a week later.
Friday to Sunday the same week was spent at Leighton Moss, looking for Common Cranes. Did not see any, only my first Peacock and Brimstone of the year. Little Ringed Plover at Hare Tarn and White Wagtail at Milnthorpe sewage works brought my year list up to 138. Could I possibly pass 140 by the end of the month? No chance! Blackcap on the 31st was the final bird of the month.
After spending a weekend in March looking for Common Crane at Leighton Moss, I was April fooled by one turning up at Sand Villa near Pilling. It stayed for over a week, so I hope you all managed to see it as 1 did. I also saw Common Cranes "at Leighton Moss" at the end of the month with two at Jenny Brown's Point.
First Swallow on the 5th, then Willow Warbler on the 8th (very late). Spring is here!
A displaying pair of Slavonian Grebes, found by Pete Marsh from the Stone Jetty on the 14'" were tracked along the Kent Channel on the incoming tide and I picked them up at Jenny Brown's Point, giving me my second "Leighton Moss" life tick of the year.
Greenshank and Common Sandpiper were seen on the 16" around the Eric Morecambe Pools, with Black-Necked Grebes at Leighton Moss on the 21st and Yellow Wagtail and Blue Headed Wagtail seen at Milnthorpe Sewage Works the same day. These were followed by Sedge Warbler and Swift at Leighton and Lesser Whitethroat at Jenny Brown's. New birds were being recorded almost daily.
A trip up Dunsop Valley produced House Martin, Ring Ouzel, and the hoped for Goshawk. But later that evening I dipped Osprey at Leighton, literally by about one second (vouched for Ed.). This was despite receiving a phone call from Graham even before the pager message.
Whimbrel from Jenny brown's Point provided my 120th year tick for Leighton. Then a trip to Heysham for a staked out Sandwich Tern was not really necessary, as a few days later I would be seeing 34 off JBP. along with the two Common Cranes. Thanks to Steve Dodgson, my third and fourth Leighton life ticks along with Arctic Tern for the year.
Garden Warbler and Reed Warbler at Leighton on the 29" and I was at JBP in the evening when lowland Dotterel came of the pager......but they were just outside the area. But what the heck! (see elsewhere in the Newsletter about these; Mark did not get lost trying to find them)
On the last day of the month ,I picked up seven species: Spoonbill and Whitethroat at the E.M. Pools, then Whinchat, Redstart, Tree Pipit, Wood Warbler and Cuckoo at Barbondale, finishing the month on 166 species, only three down on my total for the end of May last year.
Natland, never heard of the place! but on the
6th/7th May .Wryneck was reported singing in gardens. So most of the Reality Leaguers
started hanging around street corners, listening for it. I have seen
plenty of Wrynecks, but this is the first I have heard singing. I
also ticked Black Tem at Leighton on the same day.
American Wigeon seen at Leighton on the 8th, was also only the fourth record for the reserve.
Spring was disappointing for waders on the Eric Morecambe Pools, with Wood Sandpiper on Sunday 14th being the only decent one.
An hours sea watching off the North Harbour Wall at Heysham on the morning of the 18th produced nine Gannets, two Fulmars, and a dark Skua sp.
On only my second trip out of the area on Saturday 20" May, I ended up at Hengistbury Head in Dorset, along with two other Reality Leaguers. They returned home that day but I stayed on and went into Cornwall for a singing Iberian Chiffchaff.
Sunday the 28m produced the last new birds of the month, with both Spotted and Pied Flycatchers at Barbon Beck Fell.
I will be away from the local area 1st to 27th June as I will be in Alaska.
Mark PrestwoodNB. The Natland Wryneck 'twitch' went very well with no complaints about invasion of privacy, quite the opposite. One person asked if it was all right for him to mow his lawn! Overall, it was a good public relations exercise. Incidentally, not the first time Natland has been 'staked out' - there were some 'only ones in the area' Waxwings a few years ago. Ed.