Trip reports

Lane Ends and Pilling

Wheatear in spring
Wheatear (c) RSPB-images

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

On an unseasonably warm October day with blue skies and a temperature of over 21C, 27 members of the local group and guests met at Lane Ends. As we gathered, skeins of pinkfooted geese took off from the salt marsh and called as they flew inland to feed. An estimated 5,000 pinkfeet were present in the area as they took off as the tide gradually covered the marsh and other skeins dropped into the fields inland from Lane Ends.

Shelduck were also present in numbers, with over 100 in the estuary. Curlews and little egrets patrolled the marsh, while a distant peregrine sat on a fence post. Another fence post was occupied by a merlin, giving us a good idea of the size difference between these raptors. A sparrowhawk and a kestrel completed our selection of raptors. Cormorants stood on the tideline as flocks of dunlin flew behind them. As the tide rose higher we spotted good numbers of wigeon and pintail, while a few red-breasted mergansers and great crested grebes swam further out. A single scaup proved elusive, with a few of us seeing it briefly through telescopes. A ringed plover flew onto an exposed small sandbank nearby. The same sandbank was then occupied by a skylark and a couple of meadow pipits. The pond at Lane Ends was occupied by a pair of mute swans with 3 cygnets, a few mallard, moorhens and little grebes.

Birds seen at Lane Ends: Pinkfooted geese, shelduck, curlew, skylark, peregrine, merlin, sparrowhawk, kestrel, feral pigeon, great black-backed gull, carrion crow, little egret, redshank, starling, magpie, linnet, cormorant, long-tailed tit, teal, wigeon, pintail, mute swan, great crested grebe, dunlin, black-headed gull, ringed plover, red breasted merganser, raven, black-tailed godwit, snipe, scaup, mallard, nuthatch, moorhen, little grebe.

Butterflies were also in evidence, with small copper, small white, red admiral, speckled wood and small tortoiseshell seen. Dragonflies were also present, with migrant hawker and common darter seen. Several species of ladybirds were seen and regularly landed on us!

We then travelled to Fluke Hall and stood on the seawall and observed a small group of waders roosting on a grassy mound. These included grey plovers, a golden plover, redshanks, black-tailed godwits and curlews. A single ruff proved elusive, while flocks of knots flew over the estuary. A large group of oystercatchers were roosting towards Lane Ends and a common gull was on the water. Other gulls included great black-backed gulls and black-headed gulls. A wheatear landed on the seawall and flew in front of us, giving us views of its white rump. Linnets and lapwings fed in a field behind the seawall, while a couple of tree sparrows were in a nearby bush.

A few of us then went to the cafe at Knott End for a coffee or tea (or in Val's case a black forest sundae!).

Ken Harrison