Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Glaucous Gull

Decided as i had the day off to go find some geese around the Silloth area. The weather was dull and the birding started off boring. There were very few Geese about until the afternoon when i finally found 4 European White fronted Geese on Tarn Dubs pond. A nice quiet little spot with a few feral geese and overlooked only by some caravans. The light was no good for distant photography.

The Geese then started to flood in with Pink footed geese, Barnacles and Whitefronts everywhere i seem to go. The Ross's goose was back on Skinburness marsh i hadn't found it in the morning, Barnacles and pinks were here now in bigger numbers with European and Greenland Whitefronts in smaller numbers.

Single European Whitefront

Greenland Whitefront
These 2 juv pinks had me pondering for a while.

It was now 2 clock and i was getting bored, the light was crap and the birds were distant, so i decided id check the gulls on the way home, i drove past a massive collection of gulls between Crosscannoby and Allonby yesterday at high tide so i decided to check these today.
I set up my scope and about the 10th bird i checked i got onto a Massive Juvenile Glaucous Gull Bingo!!!! my second Glauc id found in Cumbria this year. i watched the bird till the tide came in and pushed it onto the water.

I looked through the 15000 Gulls as best i could where i manged to spot an Adult and a 1st Winter Med Gull, these have been thin on the ground this year, except for stumpy of coarse.There was a very white headed juvenile gull that could have been a Yellow Legged Gull but it was drifting quite far out by now so i couldnt be sure. 27 Sanderling were running around the feet of the Glaucous Gull

The Glauc saved my day....Video below.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Ross's Goose

Well early start travelling to Derbyshire on the Snakes pass but on getting there it was thick snow not good for spreading brash on peat...cant see the bugger.

So after a wasted day i got home about 3 and headed straight for Skinburness Marsh. Keith had relocated the Ross's Goose yesterday and i wanted a look. So after half hour i was scanning through the geese when i immediately found the Ross's Goose in the thousands of Barnacles Geese. There were 2 European Whitefronts very near by and i eventually counted 22 Greenland Whitefronts mixed with the 2400 Pink-footed Goose..

I was wanting to get back for the Owls so headed back and saw 7 Shorties and heard 2 Tawnys.
Keith had spoke to the police who had completed a course within the Compound and in one field alone flushed 20 YES 20 Short-eared Owls...... Biggest count ever in Cumbria and got to be close to UK record too.

Ive been in Contact with Derwent Forest Development Consortium who are the developers for the area, the information they provided me was that they cannot touch the site except for a 60 acre Diamond Jubilee Woodland project, this will be sorted in over 18 months time due to them trying to acquire the mineral rights.
So seems its will stay as it is for a little while longer yet....

Sunday, 29 January 2012

More local stuff.

Well a bit of a disappointing day really with not a lot of exciting birds. Started at Bass lake but only saw the usual suspects, went up to the  viewpoint near Whinlatter, 70+ Siskin feeding in the larch's and 2 Common Crossbill flew over. Moved onto Parton before lunch for a reported Iceland Gull, no sign unfortunatly. Checked a few other spots very quiet till i Saw a Kingfisher from the bridge at Workington. Keith found the Ross's Goose on Grune but by the time i was passing home it flew out of sight so gave it a miss and came home instead...
Owling later so an update to follow....

Owling at Derwent Forest

Derwent ForestDerwent Forest



In August 2008, Allerdale Borough Council and Cumbria County Council jointly acquired the former Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Broughton Moor. 
Covering an area of 425 ha (1,050 acres), the former RNAD site at Broughton Moor is one of the largest brownfield sites in the North West of England.  It represents an outstanding development opportunity, situated in a central position at the heart of the West Cumbrian sub-region, in an area of potential that stretches from Cockermouth at the edge of the Lake District National Park to the two West Cumbrian coastal towns of Workington and Maryport.
The two Authorities recognise the potential of this site to bring significant economic, environmental and community benefits to the area contributing to the overarching vision of a community in which everyone shares the prosperity currently only enjoyed in parts of the Borough.  The Authorities intend to dispose of the site and are actively seeking developers.  A formal marketing process commenced in January 2010 with a preferred development partner named in early 2011. 

The Site

The site is located just outside the northern edge of the Lake District National Park.  It is situated just off the A66, approximately 3 miles west of Cockermouth and 4 miles east of Workington.  Due to its rural and undeveloped nature, there are currently no public transport links to or from the site, with the nearest rail links at Workington and Maryport. 
The site’s history over the last century has been an eclectic one.  Compulsorily assembled from agricultural and coal mining origins, and effectively isolated by the MOD from its immediate locality since 1939, active operations at the site ceased in 1992.  Since this time, the site has lain redundant and unutilised.  Cumbria County Council and Allerdale Borough Council jointly acquired the freehold ownership of the site in August 2008.
The site has been closed to public access for over 50 years.  Over that time it has developed a unique environmental character with a wide variety of species of plants and animals.  This factor, in conjunction with the nature of the site’s historic use as an armament storage facility, means that there is a number of ground and decontamination works that need to be undertaken before new development can take place. 

Development Objectives

The Authorities have consulted widely with local communities and others at regional level. They have established the following broad aims which the development should achieve:
  • Economic Benefits through raising the profile of West Cumbria at a regional and national level; attracting inward investment to the area, creating a tourism magnet between the Lake District and the Coast; creating jobs and training opportunities;
  • Environmental Benefits through the removal of dereliction, maintenance and enhancement of habitats, biodiversity and landscape character and developing sustainable environmentally sensitive enterprises with green infrastructure;
  • Community Benefits by ensuring that economic and environmental benefits to West Cumbria impact positively on local communities.
The key aspirations are to encourage sustainable long term development, sympathetic to the environment and the characteristics of the site.  This may entail a significant proportion of development directed towards leisure, tourism and educational related uses.  Part of the site has also been identified as suitable for new housing, as enabling development, with the potential for circa 250-275 new homes.
Derwent Forest presents the opportunity to link the popularity of the Lake District National Park with Cumbria's west coast, and to attract visitors and economic activity making a real and sustained difference to West Cumbria's economy.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Local patch's

Started at Siddick this morning with 2 Bittern being the main highlight.
Workington just stumpy the Med Gull and a Whooper swan and a Cormorant showed well.

At Whitehaven 1 Shag in Harbour, 18 Common Scoter 2 Purple Sand but very few gulls. 1 Nordic type Jackdaw again

Also some normal Jackdaws

Finished at the dump for the owls 3-4 Short-eared Owl, 3 Tawny Owl. No Sign of any Barn owl tonight but the highlight being once back at the car a Little Owl calling which we saw fly in and out of a tree nearby.
5-6 Woodcock, 4 Kestrel, 2 Buzzard and 8 Stock Dove
What a place!!!
A nice collection of Folk tonight too, words getting around.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Snow Bunting

Mixed day, found a Snow Bunting on Snakes Pass Derbyshire on the walk to my Work site but lost me hat :0(

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Red Breasted Goose.

Today was a family day out just me n Rach, so i asked her where she wanted to go. Solway was the answer....Good answer i thought. So we took the scenic route up the coast past Blackdyke, no geese or swans and ended up at Abbeytown. A Red Deer was near silloth.There was a good number of geese here but the light was absolutely terrible and when i say terrible lovely Sunshine but completely in the wrong direction making checking the geese tough if not impossible for some. I could count 22 European Whitefronts in with 500 or so Pinkfeet, lots of Greylag and in the corner just about visible when the sun went in 4 Bean Geese... this was a big bonus....A few Whoopers dropped in and small numbers of pinks started to leave. The sun got really strong and made viewing any of the other geese impossible so decided to move on.
Passing Anthorn i had a text off Nick saying he had found a Red-breasted Goose on Burgh mash but it had been flushed pretty quickly by dog walkers so carried on my search for other stuff. I stopped to look through a group of Barnacle geese in Flight, nothing in them,  then i checked a smaller group of 25 in flight...What the hells that i thought, good god it was only the Red-Breasted Goose... AMAZING! so i rang Darren, Nick and Keith in high excitment sorry guys ;-) and watched the bird drift off towards Cardunock and the masts. Nick and Darren [passed us as we were turning around, stopped and we went to look through the big group of barnacle geese that had now dropped in by the masts 100 yards from Cardunock and Bingo the Red Breasted Goose was with them giving good scope views.. pics don't do it justice really. A Merlin flew over which was a year tick.

After a good crack with the guys we moved on and had a quick look at the Great White Egret as we passed Campfield scrape and had Lunch in the pub. We did the same journey on the way back but didn't really see much else. oh Except a Whimbrel came past Nick and I at Port Carlilse calling

A Really great day but as I'm back working away probably one of my last too... boooo.
Very Nearly forgot to say finished once again at the dump for 3 Shorties and 3 Tawnys...

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Soddy Gap

Gave the place a good Grilling this morning.
1 Jack Snipe with 3 Common Snipe..
162 Male Goosander 173 Female/1st Winter Goosander = 335 give or take a few and more birds coming in but not many.
Long-tailed Duck on small Middle Pond with 4 Tuftie and 2 Mallard.
33 Teal
12 Goldeneye including 4 Cracking males.
7 Tufted Ducks
2 Pochard
15 Mallard
9 Wigeon
17 BH Gull 1 LBB Gull
 2 Grey Heron
1 Buzzard 1 Kestrel.
6 Long-tailed Tit
Small groups of Redwing and Fieldfare feeding.

Evening at Derwent Forest aka the dump
2 Shorties tonight although very surprised to see these as the weather wasn't great. A Peregrine put in an appearance stooping for pigeons and a few Buzzards, Kestrels, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.
2 Roe Deer were also here.

Friday, 20 January 2012

A few more nights of Owling proved Successful at Derwent Forest aka the Dump. Up to 5 Short-eared Owl, 2 Barn Owl and a minimum of 2 Tawny Owls calling. Loads of Woodcock seem to be around.
On one occasion i got there at 4pm and immediately saw Shorties Hunting and a Barn Owl, great scope views in the light, the Shorties also tended to land on buildings and in the trees on occasions.
Now Ive come to the conclusion that the Shorties are hunting in the dump but at least 3 of them are heading off to Soddy Gap to roost after dark as that's the way they keep going every night.
There's plenty of good habitat for them to roost and in previous years Ive found them roosting in trees and in the marsh.
Owls are just tremendous.
Plenty of folk have been to see the Owls now and i think they have all gone away very happy. A couple more nights of Owling hopefully before going away.

Monday, 16 January 2012

16th Jan GWE

Finished my jobs today a little early so tagged along with keith where we searched various spots along the Solway, there was nothing of note until we got to the area just befor North plain farm, we Spotted the Great White Egret just south of the roadside scrape. our target of the day...
We took a few pics of some Turnstone in the sun at Silloth.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

15th Jan Iceland Gull.

Well this has to be the best few months of my life birding in Cumbria itself, because today i helped Keith put up his fence in the morning then went out looking for Iceland Gulls in the Afternoon.
We Searched all the usual spots, Workington, Harrington, and then Whitehaven. At Workington just the usual Stumpy the Med Gull....

Harrington nothing of note but after searching a few spots at Whitehaven we looked out to sea where a Fishing boat was coming in. Now i picked up a Gull miles and miles away just in front of the Fishing vessel and i said to Keith its maybe the sun but i recon i have an Iceland Gull, i could see the paleness of the wings and the overall impression was of an Iceland Gull, i was expecting to be wrong however. Erm no i wasn't it was only a bloody darkish Juv Iceland Gull WOW! Now a friend of Mine told me he'd had an Iceland Gull off here yesterday so wasn't overly excited, but as the Fishing Vessel came closer i then noticed a 2nd Iceland Gull but a much paler Juv bird, i later found out this is the bird my friend had yesterday...So two Iceland Gulls and i would class 1 as Self found for Keith and I. We Lost the Pale bird but managed to stay on the darker bird till Darren turned up and got it.

A really really bad shot of the paler Iceland Gull...
I also noted a Nordic "type" Jackdaw feeding in front of us. Now i no this purple patch of ours just cant go on any longer......can it ;-)

We Once again finished off by Watching the Owls at The Dump again, for anyone wanting to go, a Google map here of where to stand. http://g.co/maps/ehf7x.
Oh yeh a record 6 Short-eared Owls 5 together in the scope, 2 Barn Owls and 2 Tawny Owl with a few Woodcock... What a spot. ill be working away soon so birding will be limited and be back to normal.