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Looking for berries

Posted by on October 12, 2013 9:12 PM | 


With what I believed to be a surfeit of Brownie points accrued from various chores today, I nipped out onto Plex for an hour's fresh air this afternoon, hoping to bump into a few thrush flocks after yesterday's mass mobilisation.
All a bit autumn grey, but a few parties of Redwings and Fieldfares were skimming the treetops of the coverts, while Mistle Thrushes and elder chomping Blackbirds were far more obvious.


A grazing herd of 37 Pinkies, 16 Canada Geese and 8 Whoopers was a bit unusual - strange to see that species mix on Plex, but I left them nibbling away in peace.


Two Grey Wags over, a few Snipe and Linnet and Goldfinch flocks growing, while a big roving group of 17-20 Long Tailed Tits got the pulse racing in Haskayne Cutting, drawing in Robin, Blue Tit, Wren and Goldcrest.
Yellow Broweds were sadly conspicuous by their absence.


With numerous Pink Feet skeins etched on the clouds, I headed out onto Station Road, where the stubble held a Merlin, two Sprawks and a passing juv Marsh Harrier, which drew the inevitable crow hassle before drifting off over the fields.




Still a few Red Admirals on the wing - but not for much longer I guess.
Met Phil Boardman out there, and after a chat he headed south, while I went home to the north.
Phil scored, I didn't.
"Hi, got this Red Kite on Altcar and the Withins after seeing you this afternoon", he explains.


Lovely shot - thanks for sharing Phil.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...


Skein after skein of Pink Feet were dropping into the fields behind Martin Mere yesterday plus a few Lapwings whirling around here and there.
Big imperious looking Grey Heron was staring balefully out from a field in Lydiate.
No Fieldfare in the neighbouring fields yet but I reckon it won't be long.
View of the day was a flock of 15 Whoopers arrowing towards Martin Mere: magnificent sight.
PS Great shot of the Kite.

One of our common garden bird species is quietly disappearing, whilst another is rising to take its place.
Results from the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch show that the Collared Dove has declined by a quarter in gardens in the last decade while the Woodpigeon population is increasing.
Are the two changes linked or is something else responsible?
Woodpigeons have increased by nearly two thirds in the latest decade, with populations doing particularly well in areas such as south-east England and East Anglia.
This population boom appears to be due to altered agricultural practices. Changing from spring-sown to autumn-sown cereals, and the introduction of oil seed rape have led to green foods being available all year round, leading to improved overwinter survival and a longer breeding season.
The increase in Woodpigeons has been reflected in the results of the BTO’s Garden BirdWatch, and it is now one of the most commonly reported birds in the UK’s gardens.
The Collared Dove population, on the other hand, has been declining throughout the country since 2005. One reason for this could be the increasing Woodpigeon numbers; the two birds perhaps competing for similar food and habitat.
We can’t completely blame the Woodpigeon though.
Around the same time as the decline started, trichomonosis, a disease that only affects birds, spread from pigeons and doves to Greenfinches and other small birds, increasing its prevalence in the environment.
It is thought that Collared Doves could be more susceptible to trichomonosis than Woodpigeons and that the rise in disease incidents might be having an effect on the Collared Dove population.

Injured Pink Foot on Sands Lake today, plus the usual Tufties, a few Shoveler, and a roving tit flock. Migrant Hawker and Common Darter still on the wing.

Hi, John
The full Lancashire Breeding and Wintering Atlas 2007-2011 project report, complete with detailed distribution maps for all species, is now available on the Lancashire and Cheshire Fauna Society homepage on
A monumental piece of work based on the efforts of scores of birders working their home patches.

Redwing, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Grey Wagtail and Jay in and around Haskayne Cutting.
Great Spotted Woodpecker showing well atop the telegraph pole at the entrance daily at the moment.
A couple of skeins of Greylag and one of Canada Geese overhead, before the usuals arrived en masse!
About half-nine, a ridiculous number (no offence to the proper birders, but I think life's too short to count!) of Pink-Feet seemed to converge over Rosemary Fishery before settling on the fields behind.
Truly spectacular!

Hi John,
27 Little Egrets sheltering on the Marine Lake island at 1750 this evening.

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