Trip reports

Marton Mere & The Fylde coast - 08/02/14

Marton Mere & The Fylde coast - 08/02/14
Ring-necked parakeet - Holly Page

Saturday, 8 February 2014

The weather was looking deceptively mild as we set off for Blackpool and as we arrived at Marton Mere nature reserve the sun was shining but there was a stiff breeze.

As we set off round the mere our first target was the long-eared owls which regularly over-winter here. Knowing they are there is one thing but finding them is another! Their plumage is perfect for allowing them to disappear in the trees and during the day they are roosting so there is very little movement to betray their presence. They like to spend the day tucked deep in thickets and careful scouting of the area they are generally known to roost in produced nothing so we continued round the mere. The water was full of the usual winter wildfowl - tufted duck, wigeon, teal and pochard. A small flock of 6 pintail flew over.

As we got to the far side of the mere the sun disappeared to be replaced with cloud and the wind picked up. The feeding station was lacking its usual tree sparrows but there were plenty of long-tailed tits and chaffinches. We headed back round for one last look for the owls but to no avail.

Our second destination was Lytham Crematorium. This might not sound like your normal bird watching haunt (excuse the pun!) but it is known for its flock of ring-necked parakeets. Sure enough we soon found 4 birds in the group of large trees in the middle of the grounds. Eventually more birds were found in the area and we estimate there were at least 12 birds in total. This introduced species is considered a pest in London but as there is only a small group in Lytham they do not seem to pose too much of a threat to the local birds and they certainly add a touch of the exotic!

We then drove to Fairhaven Lake which is right on the coast. After lunch we walked down the sea front and right round the lake. Viewing was incredibly difficult by this point due to the strong winds. It was very difficult to keep binoculars steady and it was raining fairly heavily too! Not many waders could be seen on the beach but we spotted a flock of curlew and singles of dunlin & redshank. On the lake itself a female red-breasted merganser was diving for fish. A flock of oystercatcher were also roosting on the island. We stopped in at the RSPB centre to warm up & dry off slightly before heading back to the cars.

We decided to try one last stop at some pools near Freckleton but didn't add anything new to the day list.

The day was called to a halt earlier than usual - defeated by the weather for the second trip in a row!