Amazing how a couple of decent birds can make all the hard work, early mornings, freezing wind and many hours of fruitless trudging worthwhile.
6 early morning and evening sessions over a 5 day period had pretty much drawn a blank until this morning. Yes, its great to have the Willow Warblers back and listening to buzzing Redpolls and squeaky Siskins is nice, but they’re not the kind of migrant jewel that patch workers try to eek out of limited habitat at this time of year.
First off was a cracking Ring Ouzel on Hesketh Golf Course. A very brief glimpse of a dark thrush type diving for cover as I rounded the corner immediately rang some alarm bells – they have that elongated look in flight, long tail etc. A local Blackbird immediately took offence and made a bee-line for the same bit of cover. As I tried to work round for a better view, the Ouzel flushed out and gave me a 50m fly by before ending up in a stand of Pine. Fantastic bird, but disappointing views as into the sun and not landing in view.
30 minutes of searching later and the bird shot across a fairway for cover again – this time I managed some brief scope views perched up in a Birch. My first impression had been of a male bird, but actually it was a well marked female. I stalked it some more hoping for an image, but the golfers were now on the course and the bird was very flighty. Not helped by forgetting my digiscope adaptor, I’m so rusty with my bridge camera I just couldn’t get the bird on film! Also managed a late Redwing whilst watching the bird as well as multiple Mistle Thrush feeding young and the usual Blackbirds and Song Thrush.
2nd highlight of the day was completely unexpected to be honest. Even though the bird flew right past me, about 5 meters away, at eye level from the wildfowler’s pull in; it took me a second to register that it was an early Cuckoo. The bird carried on following the near barbed-wire fence, did a bit of acrobatics flashing the creamy white spots on its tail and then seemed to land up just round the corner. Couldn’t find it again, but another great moment.
Bit frustrating I didn’t get images of either, but they’re a bit harder to photo than geese. Grey-bellied Brant was on Crossens earlier in the week (evening of the 11th)
Let’s hope that the forecast for Easter holds and these were just the start of a good Spring on the Ribble……