Trip reports

Upper Lune Estuary and Freeman's Pool, 16th March 2013

Oystercatcher wading in shallow water

Saturday, 16 March 2013

This outdoor meeting was a reprise of a walk that we had held in the early spring of 2012. Once more our party was led by local expert Dan Haywood. As before we walked the footpath between Freeman`s Wood and Stodday Lane, returning by the same route.
Our first sighting, in a field near Freeman`s Pool was a roe deer - a mammal that nowadays seems more commonplace around Lancaster and Morecambe. At the pool itself we could make out a solitary heron, a little egret, several black-headed gulls and a large flock of woodpigeon, the latter were feeding on the grassy embankment, whilst over our heads a greenfinch flew by uttering his song-flight. Behind us, on the edge of Freeman`s Wood, we (well some of us!) could make out the whispered song of a goldcrest - Britains smallest bird.
Making our way west the footpath was flanked by wet- low lying fields on either side and on one of the small pools were around 35 wigeon; the gold coloured patches on the heads of the male birds were showing well. These wildfowl were in the company of a couple of oystercatchers teal, and gadwall -these birds being overseen by a large flock of starlings -some already wearing their iridescent breeding plumage.In distance three mute swans flew overhead and then a single meadow pipit that was making a rasping flight call.
By lunchtime we had reached Stodday Lane end, this point on the Lune coastal walk offers a broad vista of the estuary. Here, Dan explained that Colloway marsh, on the opposite bank of the Lune, is less heavily grazed and less subjected to human disturbance and therefore of greater benefit to the birds that frequent the area. In the distance one could make out a large flock of waders, but they were too far away for us to identify them. However, there was a buzzard (a quite commonplace raptor these days) two meadow pipits, a comorant that was perched on a post and a pair of peregrine falcons that were calling from high up from a nearby electricity pylon. This view of the peregrines was an all but brief delight- for they soon flew off.
Behind us at the Stodday water treatment works we enjoyed good views of grey wagtail, oystercatcher and redhank. On the way back to Lancaster Quay we were able to add to our list a robin, goldeneye (both male and female), a flock of long-tailed tits,and a brown hare.
Compared to our walk last year we had seen fewer species - but there again, the early spring weather this year has been, to say the least somewhat unusual! My thanks to Dan Haywood and Emma Garston for an enjoyable day.

Michael Gardner