Friday, 2 January 2009

Martin Mere, Swans on Ice.

Another trip out in Lancashire. this time a change of one letter got us to the WWT reserve at Martin Mere. Our first year tick were the flock of 40 or so Ruff feeding on the field by the entrance.

We started at one of the more distant hides, over looking the marsh, in the hope of seeing a Merlin. This didn't materialise but the large flocks of Wigeon feeding were good to see. Later in the day we saw a Peregrine resting on a fence post and then flying over the centre, and twice distant Buzzards put in an appearance.

The centre of attraction at this time of year is the large herd of Whooper Swans, with around 1000 birds being present in the area. Obviously the area where they are fed is highly concentrated

Several of the Whooper Swans were equipped with satellite tracking devices, and these have enabled their progress during migration to be followed by everyone on their computers.

Among the large throng of Whoopers there was a single Bewick's Swan. There had been seven on the 28th but this solitary bird required some careful searching, or as in our case, someone to already have it in view.

Family groups of Whoopers were in and out of the flood, and some provided entertainment when they landed on frozen areas and performed a sort of Swan Lake on Ice.

There were a few young birds about, I'm not sure of the proportion of juveniles but a good number were recognisable from their duller beaks and "dirty" looking plumage.

There were some fantastic looking Pintails around. Surely our most elegant duck.

This one was far from elegant as it was dragged about by a Great Black-backed Gull, before it finally succumbed and became the Gulls late lunch.

At the end of the trip Jack and Josh enjoyed some practice for the Great Britain two man bobsleigh team for 2022. No bobsleigh but some good co-ordination.

On the way home we looked at Fishmoor reservoir and the gulls roosting on the factory roofs. As well as an adult mediterranean Gull that two loacal birders had on the water, Pete found this interesting Gull on the the near part of the roof. Despite the fading light Pete got a few digiscoped pictures, including the one above. Although we didn't see the open wing it looks pretty good for an Adult Caspain. There's another picture on Surfbirds .

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