Saturday, 24 September 2016

Greenshanks..Leighton Moss

I recently visited Leighton Moss to see what waders were present at the Morecambe and Allen pools.This is often a good time to have nice close up views of waders as they stop off to refuel on their long migration journeys south.I was particularly looking forward to seeing greenshanks.This elegant wader often appears in good numbers at Leighton Moss at this time of the year.A check on the internet did in fact confirm good double figure numbers of greenshanks down at the marsh pools.

It was a nice still and warm day and the light was ideal for photography.As usual the Morecambe hide was busy with birders and it was nice to catch up with people I hadn't seen for some time.Eventually some greenshank appeared close to the hide and I was kept busy with the camera.As well as the greenshank and many redshank, little egrets and snipe also performed for the camera.The results from my efforts are shown below.

One interesting observation was to see one of the greenshanks taking what I thought at first were fish.However later at home it was evident that what it was feeding on was squid.The greenshank with a squid in it's beak can be seen in the sixth image.Whether this is a well known item of food or not for waders I don't know but maybe one of my readers can enlighten me.The Eric Morecambe pool is of course not far from the sea and is flooded from time to time by some of Morecambe Bay's high tides.A new drainage system has also been recently installed at the marsh pools and this may also account for squid being present.All in all a very interesting day out at Leighton Moss and nice to catch up with the greenshanks.Thanks for looking in and next time I may have more interesting images from nearer to home.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Sunderland Point....Curlew Sandpipers

Last week I made a couple of visits to Sunderland Point on the Lune estuary.I hadn't visited this isolated part of Lancashire for a long time.I had been encouraged to go there following reports of a good number of curlew sandpipers being seen.Tide tables have to be scrutinised carefully before visiting Sunderland Point as the road in is regularly covered by high tides and is impassable.The high tide was around lunchtime so arrival times had to be around 2-3pm when the tide was receding and the road in could be safely navigated

I duly arrived as the tide was going out revealing mudflats rich in food for the waiting wading birds.The curlew sandpipers soon put in an appearance and began feeding in earnest along a few hundred yards of the very muddy area in front of the parking area by the toilet block.The sandpipers were accompanied by redshanks and dunlin but for this posting I have shown mainly images of curlew sandpipers.I will probably return at some future date to obtain more images of the other visitors to this lovely and peaceful estuary of the river Lune.Along with one or two other birdwatchers we counted somewhere between 15-20 sandpipers present on this part of the estuary.

The curlew sands were all juvenile birds which had arrived recently from the breeding grounds in the far north of Russia and were stopping over to take on fuel for their long journey south to their winter quarters in Africa.Hope you enjoy my images of these lovely waders and I will return soon with more from my travels. Thanks for looking in.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Wader Roost...Godwits and Knot

As promised in my last posting I am showing a few more images from the wader roost recently visited.Again some images of the knot are shown densely packed together which is always very impressive.The bar tailed godwits tend to be gathered along the tide line and seem to like their feet in the water.However some of the images show the flock of godwits feeding on the beach.I haven't counted the godwits but there would seem to be over a hundred birds which I think is quite an impressive gathering of these elegant waders.A number of the godwits are also showing the red breeding plumage.Cormorants and oystercatchers are shown again and I finish this posting with a few images of the large knot flocks in flight over the incoming tide.

Thanks for looking in.Next time I will be posting more wader images. This time however they will be of curlew sandpipers.This is a scarce migrant visitor to our shores and this week around twenty juvenile curlew sandpipers turned up on the Lune Estuary at Sunderland Point.So tune in again for more from the Lancashire coastline.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Return From The Arctic....Knot and Dunlin

I always look forward to the return to the Lancashire coastline of the waders returning from the breeding season in the Arctic regions of the far North.After a brief breeding season when they will have enjoyed twenty four hours of daylight and abundant insect life they return to their winter quarters in Southern latitudes to avoid the rapid onset of Winter.Many of these returning waders use the rich feeding grounds of the Ribble Estuary to replenish their body fat after the long journey South.

The beginning of August is a good time to visit the coastline as many of the waders are still showing signs of their colourful breeding plumage and the knot in particular look fine showing traces of the red breeding plumage.I made a couple of visits to one of my favourite locations to catch up with the returning waders.On both visits to the high tide roost the weather was warm and sunny and good numbers of knot,dunlin and bar tailed godwit were feeding and roosting on the beach.They were accompanied by the ever present oystercatchers and cormorants.I have shown below some images from my first visit when I concentrated on the knot and dunlin and was pleased with the results.The next post will have more images of the dense flocks of roosting knot and images of bar tailed godwits feeding at the edge of the incoming tide.Thanks for looking in and tune in again for more from the Lancashire coastline.