Stags Lodge, Cuerden Valley Park - 27th March 2011

Well a pretty eventful day and not just because I had three trips up to the local patch, Reece managed to get his nose broken playing rugby so all plans of heading out somewhere in the afternoon went out the window. So with about an hour to spare I decided to hit the Stags Lodge without the dogs in hope of photographing one of the returning Chiffchaff.
The one by the bridge over the river Lostock gave me the run around for about 20 minutes so I gave up and had a wander around the patch to see if anything interesting was about. A single Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow 6+ Chaffinch, 2 Greenfinch, Blue, Great and 4 Long-tailed Tit, 4 Mallard and a calling Greater Spotted Woodpecker were about all I could find. A second Chiffchaff by the bench at the top of the meadow was much happier to hang around for me to photograph.
Back home the feeders seem to have started to bring the birds back in though a different mix of species. The Golfinch have returned in smaller numbers and though I have seen the Greenfinch locally they don't seem to like the new feeders. 2 Dunnock are regular visitors as well as Starling, Collard Dove and new on the feeders over the weekend Woodpigeon, okay not a spectacular bird but we were both happy to see them and add them to our back yard list.

Local Patch and other bits - 26th March 2011

An early visit to the local patch brought the first migrant back for this season in the form of a Chiffchaff calling near the car park. A walk around Stags Lodge and a second Chiffchaff was again calling this time near the bridge over the river lostock. Last year there were 5 Chiffchaff on the patch from what I rememeber but no sign of them breeding unlike the Whitethroat which successfully produced 4 young. Plenty of Chaffinch calling, Songthrush which look like they are breeding here this year, Jay, Carrion Crow, Mallard, a single Coot the other presumably on the nest and the usual Great and Blue Tits.

During the week I saw my first migrant whilst working at Nestle in York (for those of the older generation the Rountrees Factory). This ringed Chiffchaff was calling for most of the day  along the boundary.

This Buzzard was sat on a fence post at the side of the road whilst I travelled to Holmeswood but by the time I pulled over and stuck my head over the bank with my camera it was well on its way!

Peregrine Falcon - 20th March 2011

The light was quite poor though I'm sure if I knew a little more about photography I could have got some better results of this local male Peregrine. I spent an hour watching him as he sat and watched me occasionally taking to the air as I took over 200 photos that even with photoshop I couldn't improve. Hopefully he and his mate will stick around and I can catch them on a sunny day, either that or I should book myself on a photography course!!

Last few weeks

Trips out bird watching have been very infrequent over the last few weeks with just the usual trips up to Stags Lodge and surrounding areas and 2 visits to Brockholes Nature Reserve.

I have continued slowly to add to the patch list of Stags Lodge with Nuthatch, my first on the patch and Starling in the past few weeks. This weekend’s visits brought a calling male Bullfinch and a drumming Greater Spotted Woodpecker. The usual patch birds have also been present in the form of Song Thrush, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Mallard, Coot, Magpie, Jay, Carrion Crow, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Dunnock, Wren and Black-headed Gull.

Other local sightings of interest include a pair of Peregrine and a Pair of Raven. I’m hoping to get some photos of the Peregrine if I’m lucky to see them again.

Back Yard Birding seems to have come to a halt after our neighbour cut the tree down that bordered our properties and I was using to hang my feeders. I have bought a feeding stand which I’ve fastened to the back wall but the Goldfinch and Greenfinch that used to devour most of the seed I was putting out seem to be keeping away presumably because of the lack of cover. Starlings seem to be enjoying the fruit suit I put out and Reece said he’d seen a pair of Dunnock and a Collard Dove on them this morning so there’s hope yet.

It’s a while since I’d been to Brockholes and the place is coming along nicely and should be ready for opening over the Easter weekend so I’ve been told. Sightings are what you would expect for the time of year with very little of interest on any of the pools on both weekend visits. A single Redshank amongst a couple of Lapwing on No1 pit was just about anything I saw of note. 2 Sand Martin were reported on Saturday lunchtime which even though they nest in the area I think they were just flying through but I’m sore the resident birds will be back soon.

Thanks to those who’ve let me know about the local Waxwings, I’ve not had much chance to get out to see them but I’m sure I saw a small flock travelling as I drove through Bamber Bridge on Saturday afternoon.