Trip reports

Visit to Barnabys Sands

Goldfinch on seed feeder

Saturday, 12 September 2009

We were blessed with a day of brilliant sunshine on the 12th September when ten of us met at Knott
End for a day of bird watching along the northern bank of the River Wyre. We were heading towards Barnaby
Sands - our ultimate destination that lay approximately one mile away.
Our day began quietly with sitings of Herring Gull and Cormorant on the muddy riverbank and a party
of noisy Oystercatchers that flew low over the water on their way upstream. Similarly, and flying at a greater
height, a large flock of Lapwing passed by with typically lazy wingbeats. Around lunchtime we detected a
superbly camouflaged party of Knot that were feeding on the far side of a shingle bank. Shortly afterwards
we enjoyed good views of several Turnstone that were poking their short conical bills into the seaweed and
pebbles on the strandline in their search for invertebrates. In contrast, two Herons stood hunched and motion-
less at the water`s edge; one bird had rather dowdy plumage and was most likely a juvenile. Then a Kestrel
was seen; he was just ahead of us and perched on a piece of driftwood. He stayed there for several minutes
almost posing for us! Further along, three Ringed Plover were observed feeding amongst the heaped pebbles.
One had to look carefully, for, like the Knot seen earlier, these birds were well camouflaged.

By afternoon, we detoured around a small headland. Here, there was scrubby vegetation and nearby, rough
tussocky fields. This location held large flocks of Goldfinch that flew over our heads whilst making their
diagnostic tinkling calls. The distant view of an unidentified finch generated some interest. Could this be a
Corn Bunting? Our `mystery` bird, when viewed at closer quarters, turned out to be a female Reed Bunting;
this was, nonetheless, a nice bird to see.
As we retraced our steps back to Knott End the tide had started to rise. By now, large parties of waders
were entering the mouth of the river these included Lapwing, Knot and Oystercatcher - several thousand
in all. Finally, and just before we reached the car park, from within some dense scrub a Robin sang
his melancholy autumn song; another reminder of the change of seasons in this corner of Morecambe Bay.

Michael Gardner

I would like to thank Andrew Cornell, a new member of the Lancaster Members` Group. Andrew is a
local man ( he lives in the KnottEnd/Preesall district ), and was very helpful by pointing out the footpaths
and describing the area when he joined us that day.