31st March - Warton Bank
a 10 Meter + High tide at Warton Bank is always a good sign that it is worth the trip down Banks Lane. I arrived onsite for 11.30 for a 11.58 High tide. It was not until 12.58 that high tide actually came, which was frustrating.
As the high tide was flooding the marsh, the pipits begun to show along the foreground of the marsh. It was not long before I picked out a slightly larger and more distinctive pipit, which turned out to be a Scandinavian Rock Pipit (year tick). Pretty soon, I picked up an extremely striking white and grey Water Pipit(year tick) which was a nice addition to the list. There was a further 2 Water pipit seen including a orange flushed summer plumage bird and another Rock Pipit. A 3rd year tick was an Eider in the river channel. Year List - 138
Since about the start of February, I had planned to spend most of the day at Brockholes Quarry from first light in search of Osprey. In the spring of 2008 I went to Spain from 5th-9th April. Between these dates, no fewer than 9 Osprey were seen flying through my local patch. I therefore missed the whole of the Osprey Passage in 2008 and Osprey has turned into a bogey bird of mine.
So it was set, I arrived on site for 8am and set up camp on the Eastern end of the site on the mound next to the river. It wasn't too long before I picked out my first Birds of Prey of the scan: Peregrine was circling high over the M6 Motorway, and 8+ Common Buzzard were dotted about. At 09.37 I was scanning over to the east of the site towards Goose House Wood, when I saw a large Bird of Prey being mobbed by 2 Carrion Crow. As it banked to avoid/defend itself from an angry crow, it revealed a 'white' underside with dark underwings and white carpal patch. It was an Osprey! It was then seen to forcefully flew north until it was lost to view flying low behind Redscar Woods at c1/2 mile range at 09.40. It was such a relief after such a long period of failed efforts at the quarry.
At 10.30 I decided that I would check the rest of the site for migrants/waders brought in by the strong westerly winds. I picked up a Ringed Plover on the Island of No1, but that was about it except 2 singing Chiffchaff around the site which was a yeartick.
The day before Bill Aspin texted me about a Ring Ouzel in one of the fields at the base of Pendle Hill. I felt that Ring Ouzel would be a wonderful addition to the year list, so off I went. It took a great deal of time to get to the entrance to Pendleside farm as I went the long way round. I began to walk up the hill and got caught in a quite blizzard to add to the already white Pendle. As I got to the field above Pendleside farm, I scanned the fields and got several moments of excitement as male Blackbirds flew into the field of view in my binoculars. Unfortunately I wasn't able to locate anything except a male Stonechat.
I moved on to Waddington Fell as the sun began to come out to look for the Great Grey Shrike. I found the bird almost straight away but unfortunately it was not singing due to the wind. A Great Grey Shrike singing in the UK is an observation that is rarely heard or seen, and so far this bird was been shown to sing once heard by Allen Holmes. Year list - 140
2nd April - I started off Good Friday at Woodwell in Silverdale, in search of Hawfinch. After abouut 20 minutes on-site, I spotted movement at the top of trees through the vegetation. Lifting my binoculars, I was rewarded with the lovely sight of two feeding Hawfinch. I took several photos of these awesome birds and then noticed 2 more birds flying above calling. As they flew over then watched the original feeding birds fly off in a similar direction. A superb year tick.