Steve Sweetnam and I birded the splashes on the Ribble NNR from the seawall at Old Hollow farm in Banks early afternoon. Despite no Pec, Curlew Sand or Little Stint being on show it was an hour well spent. The highlight was two juvenile Peregrines sat on the saltmarsh, busily surveying the bird life. Eventually one of them succumbed to temptation and took a Starling, heading far out on the marsh with it's glossy prize, upsetting the massed throngs of waders and wildfowl as it went. A distant juvenile Marsh Harrier upset many gulls as it lazily drifted towards Crossens. A lone Avocet and a lone Ruff were amongst the c.1500 Teal and I counted 640 Wigeon on the splashes. The huge flock of Canada Geese out on the marsh contained three Barnacle Geese and a single Pink-footed Goose. The ducks and geese will do well to avoid the wildfowlers who were making thier way out onto both Banks marsh and Crossens outer marsh; the 'season' starts today.
Three Yellow Wagtails, a male (see the blurred photo below - it was miles away!) and two females, four White Wagtails and c.50 Pied Wagtails busily caught insects in the cattle poached mud out from the seawall and other passerines included c.70 Linnets and numerous Meadow Pipits, Swallows and House Martins. An elderly couple from Kirkham, who were visiting especially to see the absent rarer waders, were delighted to see the Peregrines and Yellow Wagtails that Steve and I showed them. Lovely people.
We stopped briefly at Crossens getting great views of a juvenile Merlin hunting across the out marsh. Rimmer's marsh was productive with 86 Shovelers amongst numerous Teal, while over on Sutton's marsh 46 Pink-footed Geese (my first flock of the season) grazed quitely amongst the long grass and prominent thistles. An adult Peregrine flushed hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits from both Rimmer's and Sutton's and they scattered enthusiastically away from the threat of the aerial menace. A good afternoon watching local wildlife in good comapany. What could possibly go wrong? Maybe football results...............
About Graham Clarkson
Born & brought up in Marshside, I started birding there in the mid 1970s & made my first birding trip to Martin Mere in 1977. I've lived, worked & birdied in Abu Dhabi, Northern Ireland & Gloucestershire & I've spent time working in Kazakhstan & Madagascar. I enjoy birding my various West Lancashire patches, making frequent birding visits throughout the north-west of England and North Wales. I stray elsewhere in the UK & enjoy birding abroad from time to time. I'm particularly interested in wildfowl (especially pink-footed geese) with an interest in waders & raptors, bird counts & surveys & conservation. I'm trying to get the hang of photography & digiscoping - I'll get there eventually.
My degree from Edge Hill University is in conservation biology. I've guided on numerous birding days out & trips & guided birding holidays to Lesvos, Andalucia, Extremedura, Majorca, Camargue, Hungary, Finland & Florida. I enjoy showing people birds & habitats & helping them learn more about birds & enjoy birding. I'm currently involved with the Birdwatching and Beyond course at Edge Hill and a brand new venture; Skein Birding.
As well as birding I'm interested in captive breeding & reintroduction projects & zoos, how they're managed & how they contribute to conservation. I'm a proud Lancastrian & love the Lancashire countryside & landscapes. I'm an Evertonian & also keep up with what's happening at Southport, PNE & Bristol Rovers. Gardening, dogs (I have a Labrador & a Tibetan Terrier) and keeping chickens (especially Marsh Daisys & Scots Dumpy Bantams). Ruth & I have two marvellous boys who both love nature too. I hope you find the blog and subjects covered interesting; please feel free to leave a comment.