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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Birding Blog Weekend 27-30 October

Brought mate Ken Stewart to Cumbria for a three-day weekend. Arrived at the Angler's Arms beer garden at Haverthwaite (where, by Ancient Custom and Practice, the weekend's list starts) at dusk on Thursday in time to bag a few passerines going to roost, and also Tawny Owl. Saturday morning saw us up at first light (well, almost, what do you expect after a bottle of wine and some Spanish brandies?) heading up the coast to Ravenglass. We followed the River Irt up towards Seascale adding the usual waders and waterfowl until finding a stubble field with Grey Partridge, Twite, Linnet, Redwing and Tree Sparrow. A group of 5 Whooper Swans winged their way towards the estuary. Lunch was some sarnies and a pie from Mabel's bakery in Askam. On the way passed 3 Greylags and a Barnacle Goose in a field. The Barnacle was probably of dubious provenance, but as it didn't actually walk towards us and beg for a sarnie we decided to tick it. Back down the coast as far as Haverigg to the RSPB Hodbarrow reserve. Always good in summer, this was now a bit bleak but turned up ducks like Gadwall and Pochard, with Eider, grebes and Red-throated Diver on the sea.Saturday had us awake by 6.30am to meet ringing mate Ken Hindmarch for a ringing session in Roudsea Wood. Here we added most of the expected woodland species, including Nuthatch, Siskin, Redpoll and Goldcrest. After a fry-up of Cumberland susage and smoked bacon from Richard Woodall's shop at Waberthwaite, we set of for Walney Island for the afternoon. A quick check in the Bird Observatory's log book revealed what we had recently missed, including Barred Warbler and Corncrake. We recorded a few more obvious species here (e.g. Stonechat, Pintail, Moorhen and Turnstone) but the absence of the expected Greenshank, Merlin and Pink-footed Goose threatened to restrict the list. We called in at Cavendish Dock on the way home and bagged Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Little Grebe and got caught in a downpour.

Saturday night the clocks went back and we were ready at 8.30 to catch the 9.00am high tide at Askam pier. Very little to note, except a Rock Pipit at the end of the pier - a good bird away from the St Bees area. The skies opened and we scuttled back home for toast and coffee. By midday the clouds cleared and with a fine afternoon in prospect, set off for to Roanhead for a long walk around the Sandscale Haws nature reserve through the dunes and round Lousey Point. Jay and Sanderling were added, with good views of a party of Fieldfares.

Total for the weekend was 87 species , very pleasing, three more than the corresponding weekend last year.


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