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Marshside 19.11.06

Posted by on November 19, 2006 2:53 PM | 


Nice crisp autumn mornin' on the marsh today, unfortunately I didn't have much time, so whizzed through the wildfowl and waders from Hesketh Road, and checked off Sandgrounders.
A colour ringed Blackwit at the bottom of Marshside One (Right Leg: white above orange/yellow, Left Leg: red above green) amongst the Wigeon, Teal etc.
Here's a blow up of the bird from the scene shot above....


Will let you know when I get the ringing data back from this bird.
At least three semi-albino female Wigeon in with the flock at this end of the marsh too.
1,500 Golden Plover on Marshside One, and north of the Sandplant, three Little Egrets visible in the flooded area on the outer marsh. I'm sure there were more...
Greenfinch and Reed Bunting numbers starting to grow around the Sandplant compound now, and a few Mipits and Skylarks there too.
24 Pochard on Sandplant lagoons.
One Grey Wagtail calling overhead, and several thousand Pink Feet leaving the outer marsh on the tide to head inland to feed.
Two Redwings calling over the golf course, and a Little Grebe yickering away in the SSSI ditch.
Met Graham Clarkson later, and he told me about the Snow Buntings - apparently three have been seen on the rough ground at the seaward end of Fairways (the road that runs along the north end of the Marine Lake) or on the beach opposite for the last few days.
Nice to get some back here, they always used to like this area years back.
Called into the Bird Fair and restrained myself to just two books - The Hebrides (much sought after New Nat) and Stronsay Birds - 'cos I'm a sucker for islands.
Plenty of Whooper Swans on main mere now, with Red Breasted Goose in with the Barnies.
It is fitting that this bird appears on the same bulletin sheet in the centre as Amazonian Parrot today - if that Red Breast is wild, I'll show my bum in Burton's window.


At least the Whoopers are pretty....
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies.....


Hi John

Looked for the alleged snow bunting yesterday and today, but no joy. First heard about them on Wednesday, but got distracted by a pair of water rail ten feet from the left hand window in Nels showing for 45 mins. With the one I saw right outside the Janet Kear hide at the mere yesterday, and the one at Sandgrounders last Sunday that was 4 in a week - well and truly unblocked! Otherwise, a couple of hours at the marsh much the same out on the lorry road for high tide (a couple of barnacle geese in with the pinkfeet on the mud, and some barwit, sanderling and turnstone in with the usual suspect waders as the tide turned, but overall wader numbers seemed low. Then pioneered a route through the spartina to Mt Baker which flushed a few snipe and a short-eared owl, before seeing the egret.

Glad you finally connected with Water Rail in style Si!
Forgot to mention Tropical Thomason had three Jack Snipe at the south end of the Green Beach last week (either walk 200 miles south along the shore from Weld Road, Birkdale, until the vegetation stops, or 100 miles north along the shore from Ainsdale until the vegetation starts).
Bazzo just texted me, having done the WeBs count at Marshside One today - he had 12,000 Wigeon on the inland marsh.
Not counting the squillions out on the estuary proper, this is an inland marsh record for the site.
Nice one Bazzo - are you sure there weren't 12,001?

John, Glad to see you are taking ringing seriously - and following up on the colour-ringed BLTGO. The 1,500 GOLPL is a nice find - any idea if there were any Lapwings?
Was at the Bird Fair Saturday - on official duty. Managed to come away with only having spend £25 - phew! Purchased the Ian Wallace Beguiled By Birds and managed to keep my credit card in my pocket, otherwise would have spent a fortune. Am awaiting the New Naturalist 'History of Ornithology' which is out next year - besides the Lancashire Avifauna (due in March).
It was good to see so many people there.

You know me Bob, I take everything seriously.
As for Lapwings, there most certainly were good numbers (Marshside is where they are made), but as for a count, I'll have to check for a precise number - usually a few hundred on the whole marsh at this time of year.
The Lancs Avifauna is going to be superb -roll on March.

There were 4100+ Wigeons in my count on Marshside 1; I didn't actually count M2-Crossens Inner, but birding the area later I had a clear impression that Wigeon numbers there were very least 8000, giving a guesstimated total of over 12000. There didn't seem to be very many on the saltmarsh or along the tideline, so maybe an exceptional proportion of Ribble birds just happened to be on the fresh marshes yesterday.
Lapwing numbers also very high: 2050 on M1, at least as many more on M2-Crossens, I thought.

Ta Bazzo, impressive figures.

Hi John

Sorry to have missed you at the North West Birdfair / Extravaganza. Thank you mentioning the new Birds of Lancashire, which is currently just about to enter it's final stages of design and production before sending off to the printers, no less than Cambridge University Press.

Should be available March/April and is Cambridge Crown Quarto sized ( 264 x 194 mm). Pages = 480 minimum, 400 plus pics and drawings, 100 plus maps and 300,000 words for £35 quidish, even less if one takes advantage of the pre-publication offer, coming soon, at around £30 plus P+P (or FREE if collected)

This works out at 0.0011666 pence per word or 0.72916666 pence per page and as we are only printing 1000 copies and the next one won't be until after the next Ice Age, ( triggered by selfish twitchers as previously reported), local birders would be well advised to order/buy their copy early !

Anyone who would like the pre-publication offer PDF emailed to them when ready in December, should please let me know on

Many Thanks


PS: If the The Black-eared Kite was considered a full species, would not the entire Antarctic have melted by Xmas Eve ?

If the kite was a full species, I imagine the sea level would be a good five feet higher by now and rising......
By the way, can I just congratulate you John on the most shameless piece of book plugging it has ever been my experience to come across in over 20 years of journalism?

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