Saturday, 19 January 2013

Snows Up

About 10 minutes after arriving home from Over Wyre last Sunday I got a text from Paul Slade saying there was a blue morph Snow Goose with the Pink-footed Geese near Cockerham, about a mile from where I had been that morning! To make matters worse I couldn't get there and so despite most other people successfully twitching it I was stuck at home, and there have been no reports of it this week, although that may be partly due to having some slightly dodgy weather and even a sprinkling of snow (a rare event here). Given that the Pink-footed Geese often split up into several flocks and have feeding grounds over several miles I was fairly confident that the Snow Goose would still be present somewhere out there, and so this morning I headed over to search through all the geese flocks I could find till I found the one with the white head. Fortune was clearly smiling on me as it turned out several thousand Pink-footed Geese were present in the fields right by Backsands Lane by the entrance to the lane ends car park. A jogger running around the edge of the field meant they were a little unsettled but I managed to pick out a single Barnacle Goose fairly close to the road, as well as a neck-collared Pink-foot (code IZX) for which I will post details of when I receive them.

After about an hour of searching I had a quick look out on the marsh to see if any geese were lurking there. Only 18 could be seen however I could see extra birds flying into the fields I had just been checking. A quick drive down and I started scanning with my bins when at the back of the field a white head popped up into view before the whole bird walked out of the ditch it was feeding in, my first Fylde Snow Goose. I text Paul the news incase anyone else needed to see the bird, and continued watching the bird between 10:25-10:57 when it flew inland with a small group of Pink-footed Geese. As it was always fairly distant my below photos are record shots only, however better photos from last week can be found on the Fylde Bird Club Flickr site.

Since I still had a couple of hours left to be out I headed up to Conder and Glasson to try see a couple of species I've missed on my last few visits. The creek at Conder help a nice flock of 23 Wigeon although there were few waders to be seen, in fact I only counted 4 Redshank on the whole stretch by the layby. Scanning down the creek for the final time before I headed back to the car a flash of the most brilliant blue caught my eye, it could only be one thing, a beautiful Kingfisher sat on one of the boats that are moored in the creek. These birds are starting to make a comeback after the harsh winters a few years ago, with several birds now being seen in the Fylde at their old haunts. Moving on to Glasson where I discovered the river was at the lowest level I've ever seen it, revealing parts of the bank I never knew existed! Despite this it was almost devoid of birds, although a Greenshank feeding amongst the rocks was my first of the year. In the afternoon a quick trip up to Fleetwood only produced a pair of Eider as new for the year, no sign of anything out of the ordinary at the Nature Park. 113 for the Fylde and Britain this year.

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