Trip reports

Pilling and Cockerham

Adult whooper swans feeding in fields
RSPB Images

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Six hardy souls from the RSPB Lancaster Local Group met at Lane Ends, Pilling, at 9am in near freezing temperatures as skeins of pink footed geese lifted off from the estuary and flew over our heads as they moved inland to feed. Hundreds of pink footed geese remained on the estuary, along with good numbers of pintails and teals. A large group of knot flew above the tideline as small groups of oystercatchers, dunlins and redshanks fed on the tide edge. Further out were a couple of red-breasted mergansers and a great crested grebe. Shelducks, little egrets and cormorants were on the saltmarsh, along with a peregrine, which later started hunting and put the waders into a panic!

We then moved onto Blacksands Lane to get closer views of pink footed geese and curlews which were in the field opposite, while several moorhens scurried along the ditch. Further down the lane towards Pilling we saw long-tailed tits, red-legged partridge, several curlews and golden plovers in the field, along with oystercatchers and a common gull.

Scanning the estuary from Fluke Hall added bar-tailed godwit and grey plover to our list, along with more knot, dunlin, redshank and oystercatchers. Stock dove and collared doves were seen in the nearby fields, which also included more red-legged partridge, including a white one.

After driving to Thurnham we were greeted by a great-spotted woodpecker. We then explored Moss Lane, where 300 whooper swans and 4 Bewick Swans fed in the fields and a Sparrowhawk sat on a fence by cottages. Hillam Lane was less productive, with mute swans and greylag being the best birds on offer. Bank End gave us more redshanks, curlews and 6 pied wagtail on the saltmarsh.

We then decided to warm up by having lunch at Ashton Hall Garden Centre cafe, where we watched great tits, blue tits and coal tits on the bird feeders and also saw robin, dunnock, mistle thrush and song thrush.

Despite the cold weather, I think everyone enjoyed the birdwatching!

Species seen: Pinkfooted goose, greylag goose, pintail, teal, mallard, shelduck, knot, oystercatcher, redshank, dunlin, curlew, bar-tailed godwit, grey plover, golden plover, cormorant, peregrine, sparrowhawk, little egret, carrion crow, red-breasted merganser, great-crested grebe, herring gull, great black-backed gull, lesser black-backed gull, black-headed gull, common gull, jackdaw, wood pigeon, stock dove, collared dove, robin, starling, chaffinch, moorhen, mistle thrush, song thrush, long tailed tit, great tit, blue tit, coal tit, robin, dunnock, house sparrow, pied wagtail, great spotted woodpecker, pheasant, red-legged partridge, magpie, mute swan, whooper swan, Bewick swan.

Ken Harrison