Trip reports

Morecambe Bay

Morecambe Bay
Marsh tit - Dennis Atherton

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Having met up at Lancaster Services we had a slight change of plans.
I'm not one for a twitch, but when it's just around the corner, you might as well go for it.
So, off we went to Fluke Hall where an Eastern black-eared wheatear had been hanging around for a few days.
We arrived and parked up in the car park. It was obvious where the bird was as there were a couple of dozen birders with 'scopes on the sea wall. We headed off towards them, only to be told it had flown down towards the car park and we'd walked straight past it. That's how distinguished it was from the other wheatears we'd passed.
Anyway, we soon had it in our sight, and as with many other rarities, it just stayed put. There's only so long you can look at one bird, so it was soon ignored while we looked for other things.
A variety of waders were found on the salt marshes and in the creeks, including redshank, dunlin, and curlew, lapwing, and oystercatcher, along with quite a number of wigeon and shelduck, and a couple of little egrets. A skein of pink-footed geese flew high over, and a smaller number of greylag geese did likewise. Black-headed gulls, lesser black-backed gull, great black-backed gulls, and common gulls were also present. A kestrel hunted, a few swallows passed over as did a small party of meadow pipits, and the bushes near the car park sheltered a number of tree sparrows.
Then it was off to Teal Bay, just north of Morecambe. Here it was high tide time, so we sat on the sea wall for lunch. On the rocks of the groyne were a couple of grey heron, and waders in the form of oystercatcher, dunlin, ringed plover, black-tailed godwit, curlew, redshank, and turnstone. A large flock of knot wheeled about further out in the bay. Also on the rocks were herring gulls, lesser black-backed gulls, a robin, and a couple of pied wagtail. A few linnets and starlings were on the limited amount of uncovered salt marsh and a number of swallows and house martins passed through, as did a sparrowhawk.
Then on to Leighton Moss where first stop was the Eris Morecambe hide. As usual the sun was in your eyes and most of the birds were at the far end of the pool but we did get good view of redshank, spotted redshank, dunlin, snipe, lapwing, and black-tailed godwit on the islands. There was also plenty of teal and shoveler, and a couple of little grebe on the water, and a great egret easily identifiable in the distance.
The main part of the reserve was quite quiet with only gadwall, tufted duck, mallard, grey heron, little egret, and black-headed gulls on and around the water and a few swallows hawking over it.
At the lower hide we found great crested grebe, mute swan, moorhen and coot, plus the interesting sight of a comorant 'snorkelling' to such an extent that it was initially mistaken as an otter.
Walking around the reserve and around the feeders gave us a variety of woodland birds - great spotted woodpecker, dunnock, blackbird, marsh tit, coal tit, blue tit, great tit, nuthatch, chaffinch, and goldfinch
A number of buzzards circled about and the fields held plenty of jackdaws, rooks, carrion crows and wood pigeon.

61 species seen, 6 attended