Tuesday, 22 December 2015

All directions weekend

Great Northern Diver

                                                   Great Northern Diver
Great Northern Diver
Golden Plover 

The weekend visit to Salford Priors was once again hampered by driving rain and gales. After checking out Pophills (two Green Sandpipers still present) I opted to walk the plantation for a change. The only birds I found were Goldcrests, Coal / Blue/ Great Tits, and Redwings. My wait for our first winter Goldeneye will have to wait another week as the wildfowl are still restricted to Tufties, Teal, Gadwell and Mute Swans. 24 Lapwing (Chris Lane reported 138 on Friday) flew in late morning whilst the geese had moved behind the main pit and included 152 Canada & 202 Greylag.  It looks like the old workings is the next part of the site to be returned to agricultural land. The work has got very close to the main pit which may explain why the wildfowl are very unsettled.

I opted for a bit of variation on Sunday and headed six miles in the opposite direction to see the Great Northern Diver at Upper Bittell. It was great to see the bird showing close to the dam and in decent light. On the path to the car we found three Goosander, female Goldeneye and a flock of Siskins at Lower Bittell.

After a coffee and sandwich I then headed to Hawling where I was hoping for an Owlfest like last winter. Sadly it seems that only 2-3 Short-eared Owls have returned this winter and the lack of competition means they don’t need to hunt in the daylight. I got some nice views of one Shortie as the light faded but it wasn’t the same experience as last winter. Other sightings included two Red Kites, Barn Owl, Kestrel, 30 Lapwing and 25 Golden Plover.

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