Sunday, 26 October 2008

Great White Egret - Astley Green

Great White Egret 1

We had excellent views of the Great White Egret as it fed on worms in a flooded field at Astley Green. This was my third GWE in Greater Manchester, so it surely can't be long before we get one in St Helens.

Rainford Mosslands

Pink-footed Goose 4000 (1500 Kings Moss, 1000 Knowlsey Estate - East Lancs, 1000 Simonswood Moss, 300 Dairy Farm Road).

Tree Sparrow 40 (Old Coach Road)
Fieldfare 120 (near Gamebird, East Lancs)

Pink-foot numbers seem to have dropped in the past week, though there could easily have been many thousands out of sight on Simonswood Moss, and they where quite well spread out today. I would guess that the Ross's Goose is still in the area, since it has not been reported from elsewhere.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Carr Mill Dam

Firecrest 1
Goldcrest 2
Long-tailed Tit 15
Buzzard 1

The Firecrest was a very brief view with a frustratingly mobile Long-tailed Tit flock. It had first been seen at the start of the Goyt Valley mid-afternoon, but I had possibly two views of it, the first just past the boathouse, where the track turns left to Sandy Bay, and the second, a much better view, an hour later at Sandy Bay itself. The trick with this bird seems to be finding the tit flock. A better day is forecast tomorrow, so maybe it will be easier to pin down.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Rainford Mosslands

Ross's Goose 1 adult (Old Coach Road)
Pink-footed Geese 7000+ (5000+ around Old Coach Road, 2000+ Kings Moss)
Fieldfare big influx - at least 300 birds across the mosslands.
Redwing big influx - at least 200 birds.
Corn Bunting 1 singing male at Reed's Brow, Rainford.
Tree Sparrow 2 at Reed's Brow, Rainford.

I'm running out of superlatives to describe the scences at the Old Coach Road. My first view of the geese, was of a flock of about 5000 on Simonswood moss, viewable distantly from the Coach Road. Then as a I watched, small flocks started to leave the roost, and headed south along the Coach Road. I could see the Ross's Goose on the ground, but for a long time it refused to fly.

Then eventually it flew, and headed south with the other birds.

I jumped back on my bike and headed south with the geese. As I got to Woodside farm, near the East Lancs (and clearly in St Helens folks!), I found the flock, about 5000 birds on the ground near the farm, with the light right on them. I quicky picked out the Ross's Goose and watched it for 10 minutes at reasonably close range, until a farm vehicle came past and flushed them. It was an awsome spectactacle - the light was perfect, I could see every detail on every bird, a tightly packed flock of geese rising with deafening sound, and in the middle, a snowy white little goose, with black wing tips, distinguishing it from the superficially similar leucistic Pink-feet which are with the flock.

If you go to see this bird, please do not drive down Dairy Farm Road or the Old Coach Road.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Rainford Mosslands

Pink-footed Goose 10,000 (mainly Old Coach Road, with 2000 on Kings Moss)
Ross's Goose 1 adult seen very briefly in flight at 1:45pm
Curlew 131 (Old Coach Road)
Lapwing 300 (Old Coach Road)
Stonechat 1 m (Dairy Farm Road)

Staggering numbers of geese again, but frustratingly not often viewable, except when they took to the air. However towards evening they began to land on fields adjacent to the track to Old House Farm. There were at least 8000 birds in this one field, but still we couldn't see the Ross's Goose, though there were two leucistic Pink-feet. As we watched, two or three thousand more arrived from the west and landed out of view on Simonswood Moss. In total, we spent about 4 hours here for a 30 second view of the Ross's Goose in flight.

This is clearly now one of the most important roost sites in South West Lancashire for Pink-feet.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Rainford Mosslands

Ross's Goose 1 adult with at least 8000 Pink-footed Geese (Old Coach Road)
Pink-footed Geese 8000 (Old Coach Road)
Brambling 1 male (Dairy Farm Road)
Curlew 34 (Old Coach Road)
Lapwing 500 (Old Coach Road)

Stunning scenes from the Old Coach Road at it's junction with Dairy Farm Road. The skies were filled with Pink-feet, and towards evening even more arrived, with one flock coming in from Rainford which must have totalled 3000 birds alone. Estimates on numbers varied from 6000 to 10,000 birds, so I'm going with the average, 8000. A local farmer confirmed our suspicions that these birds do roost overnight on the moss, because he can hear them at night. Unfortunately, most were only visable today when in flight, and with them was an adult Ross's Goose, the same bird which was at Martin Mere last weekend. We saw it a couple of times in flight, and then right at the end of the day, after I had left at 6pm, I received a text from Ray to tell me that it was on the ground. I dashed back, and in the fading light I saw the bird reasonably close for about one minute, until a jogger spooked the flock, and about 5,000 birds rose with a deafening sound. In the absence of a Canadian ring, this is about as good as it gets with Ross's Goose. It's a wild bird in my book.

If you go to see this bird, please park sensibly at the start of Dairy Farm Road, and walk towards the Coach Road. Please don't enter any farmers fields.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Rainford Mosslands

Pink-footed Goose 700+ (mainly around the Old Coach Road).
Stonechat 3 (pair in Dairy Farm Road and male in horse paddocks along Old Coach Road).
Meadow Pipit 100 (Dairy Farm Road).
Swallow 100 (Old Coach Road).
House Martin 50 (Old Coach Road).

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Dairy Farm Road, Rainford.

Pink-footed Goose 500

Ross's Goose - Martin Mere

Ross's Goose 1 adult
Pink-footed Goose 8,000
Barnacle Goose 1

Who can say if the Ross's Goose is wild? If wild Ross's Geese do occur in Britain, then they will most likely be with Pink-feet. One thing for sure, it will become a wild bird as soon as it moves to Norfolk.

Scotsman's Flash, Wigan

Red-throated Diver 1

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