<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society Newsletter
Newsletter of the Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society
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(Please note that the following article contains material of an heretical nature - ed.)


This is the 7th year I have been taking part in the local birding league.  It got off to a bad start as I broke my right foot and couldn't drive so birding was only possible with the kind help of John Reddish who chauffeured me around.  New Year's Day listing was limited to areas near the car, but we still managed to see 73 birds, the best being a Hen Harrier form Lillian's Hide at Leighton Moss.

On the 2nd I ticked Little Egret as it came out of its roost at Ashton Hall, then Mike Robinson and John Reddish dragged me off not quite screaming and certainly not kicking to Grimsby to see an American Robin.  The best birds on the 3rd were Bewick's Swans at Jeremy Lane and European Whitefronted Goose at Aldcliffe, the latter found by Jon Carter and Ziggy.

On the 4th the best thing was not the Red Kite seen near Fober Farm in the Trough of Bowland, but tea and cake (now becoming an annual event) with Margaret Breaks' and family. ( - see what I mean? - ed.)

I should have returned to work on the 5th after the festive season, but instead it had to be just another day's birding.  A Med Gull was the best bird but a Little Gull was significant for John Reddish and myself as we reached 100 species for the year.

We saw another 4 new birds on the 6th including the Water Pipit at Leighton Moss then, after two days rest at home watching test cricket on TV, it was back to birding.  Common Scoter off Heysham North Wall was bird of the day.  Two more good birds were seen on the 10th: a Scaup at last from Teal Bay and Brambling at Kellet Lane feeding station.  The following day I managed to see a Bittern at last at Leighton Moss, the longest it has ever taken me to see this species at the beginning of a year. 

Another Monday and another week not at work.  The evening of the 12th was memorable as I saw a Barn Owl at Leighton Moss, taking my Leighton Moss life list to 213.  13 was a lucky number as the 13th was another great day for my Leighton Moss life list when Jon Carter found a Razorbill on the incoming tide off the Lifeboat Groyne, Morecambe on his lunch break.  I quickly phoned John Reddish and we were soon watching it drift in past the boat groyne. It thus became my 214th Leighton Moss life tick.  It was also, I believe, only the 6th ever Razorbill to be recorded for Leighton Moss. 

There was then a lull of 5 days before seeing a Jack Snipe at Ocean Edge on the 21st.  A Green Woodpecker on the 27th took my year list to 123 and the best January start I have had in the last 7 years of the Local Birding League.


February saw me still off work recovering from my broken foot and so I was still birding with John Reddish.  We had Guillemot at last from Heysham North Wall on the 5th.  Two days later from the same location we managed to "tick" a Fulmar and find our own Razobill.  On the 9th the Pink-footed Goose flock reached our area.  An adult Greenland White-fronted Goose and 3 adult and 3 young European White-fronted Geese were with the flock.  A few days later (14th) I saw a Merlin from the Eric Morecambe Pool.  A late afternoon trip up Caton Moor with John Reddish produced 2 Short-eared Owls.

After completing  a week at work, the first week back in over 2 months,  it was a relief to be out birding again on the 21st.  A Ruff at Conder Green took my year list to 129, the most birds I have seen to the end of February in the last 6 years.  The day was also memorable for being bitten by a dog at Ocean Edge whilst trying to see the Snow Bunting.


A Barnacle Goose on the 6th was the first new bird for the month at Sand Villa, Cockerham.

On the 7th The Avocets returned to the Eric Morecambe Pools soon building in number to 16, promising another good breeding year.

A Sand Martin was ticked for the year list on the 20th, but the best bird seen was a Guillemot from Lillian's Hide. The winds that brought in the Guillemot also landed a Sandwich Tern on Pine Lake the following day.

Obviously Ruddy Duck haven't all been shot as one was seen by John and myself from the Public Hide on the 27th.  A Chiffchaff was the last bird of the month, seen at Leighton Moss, but I was 2 birds down on last year and 22 points less, so hoped to fare better in April.


I rushed to see the Iceland Gull opposite the Golden Ball pub, little knowing it would stick around the whole of the month, then ticked a clutch of summer migrants at Leighton Moss with Swallow, House Martin and Marsh Harrier on the 3rd and Blackcap and Willow Warbler on the 9th. 

On the 5th, whilst checking the Pink-foot flock for neck collared birds, I found a Taiga Bean Goose near Braides Farm.  On the 11th at Fountain Pool (ex Borwick Lane Pit, ex Dockacres complex) there was a Little Ringed Plover (still known as Little Ringed Plover).  The next day I saw a Wheatear at Pilling Lane Ends.

The 17th was a memorable April day.  It started off ordinarily enough with a Common Sandpiper at 6.50am from the Golden Ball, followed by Gannet and Whimbrel from the North Harbour Wall.  Then, while having a cup of tea at Leighton Moss, Tom Wheeler phoned John Reddish to say there was a Great Skua on the water off Jenny Brown's Point.  After calmly finishing our tea (everything stops for tea)  we dashed round and saw the Bonxie, then John noticed an Arctic Skua as well.

On the 18th I saw the first Arctic Tern of the year from the North Harbour Wall, went back to Leighton and saw a bird I didn't see the whole of last year, a Bearded Tit.

I even managed a local area life tick in April when I saw the Hooded Crow near Botton Head.

The only Yellowhammers in our area seem to be at Hutton Roof and I managed to see one on the 25th.  After finishing yet another cup of tea at Leighton Moss, John Reddish and myself headed towards the EM Pools following a message from John Derbyshire that there was a Spoonbill.  After seeing it we drove to Middleton Industrial Estate for a singing Grasshopper Warbler but only heard a Sedge Warbler, however this was still a new bird for the year.

One bird this month interrupted my tea drinking:  Dotterel - in a field near Jubilee Tower.  On the way home a Common Swift flew over, the last bird of the month, bringing my total to 159 species for the year.

Mark Prestwood 


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