Brockholes 17.05.16

Sunny intervals and getting warmer

The Team met promptly at 10.30 at the impressive Visitor CentreIMG_2308 at Brockholes, glad that the cold of the previous day was just a memory, and with many of us looking forward to renewing our acquaintance with this varied site. Having agreed to make two circuits of different parts of the reserve, one before and one after lunch, we set forth heading for the River Ribble. Here our first treat was the sight of four pairs of Goosander slowly making their way up river and whilst most of us were still taking that in, a couple of the Team were treated to the lightning blue flash of a passing Kingfisher. Unfortunately this magnificent bird did not come to rest anywhere near so this had to be our only encounter. Trees now heavily covered with foliage made sighting the woodland birds that were in full voice exceedingly difficult, but an obliging Chiff-chaff took up a prominent position allowing clear identification, a Song Thrush performed and determined eyes also made out a pair of Blackcaps and a Whitethroat.

A pause at the lower hide looking over Meadow Lake, less than inviting due to a lack of benches, showed active Lapwings, plenty of Black-headed Gulls, but not a lot else. However, during our progress along the wooded track back towards the car park (and lunch) we slowly began to add to our list of woodland birds with Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Long-tailed Tits spotted flitting from one side of the path to the other. From the Lower hide looking out across Number One Pit we had good views of a couple of Ringed Plovers, their bright orange bills showing clearly in the sunshine, and also of a solitary Redshank. Although birds were not present in large numbers, there was a good variety noted including Tufted Duck, Canada Goose, Heron, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe and Mute Swan. Near the VC, a newly constructed walkway passed through the reeds at the side of the lake and here we were treated to the sound, but not the sight, of a very vocal Reed Warbler. (This particular bird, or one of its fellows, was spotted by some of the more punctual members of the group after lunch.)

For our afternoon session we picked up more or less where we had left off at The Lookout, a new and really rather comfortable hide, where two particular treats were in store: first a Common Sandpiper landed on a floating tank just feet away from the hide, before flying off and settling on a spit of land a bit further away, where it was soon joined by a Redshank and Ringed Plover, which gave an excellent opportunity to appreciate the relative differences in size of these less-than-common birds. The second treat was the unexpected appearance of a Hare which hopped round the corner of the sand martin wall and spent a minute or so ‘people watching’, perhaps only ten metres away, before deciding it didn’t like the look of what it saw and turning tail and disappearing back the way it had come. Although Sand Martins were in evidence, here as they had been elsewhere, skimming over the water, they didn’t seem particularly interested in the accommodation that was on offer, which did in truth look rather bleak and uninviting, reminiscent, at least to this writer, of some of those apartment blocks seen in former communist countries!

Continuing our progress into Boilton Wood we added little to the list, although a lusty Robin perched just near the path made sure that he was included and a skulking Pheasant made a brief appearance. There was plenty of bird song in the wood, but again sightings were few, except for a solitary Wren that was flitting about around a fallen tree trunk. Some of us glimpsed a Roe Deer passing through the dappled shade ahead of us, but it melted away and was lost from further view.

Turning back from Nook Pool, we headed once more for the river on our way back to the car park, and here we once more came across our Dopping of Gosander that had by now made their way round the big bend of the river. They seemed to be actively fishing, across the river from us, diving deep where the depth of the water was evidently greater, though with only a limited success which led sometimes to a falling out between them. There was plenty of other activity too, a Carrion Crow came down to the river’s edge for a wash, a pair of Gadwall swam past at a stately pace, yet another Heron (we had seen plenty during the course of the day, even one unusually high above us) flew past along the river before settling on the far bank, and an Oystercatcher was spotted probing for food on a shingle island out in the river.

At this point, with thoughts of rush-hour traffic in mind, it was decided to bring our day to an end, but the short walk back to the cars was marked by our first view of a Kestrel, determinedly hovering near the play area, and, for me, by a brief re-appearance of the Hare (I’d had nothing stronger than coffee all day – honest!).

Bird List (BP)

  1. Great Crested Grebe
  2. Cormorant
  3. Grey Heron
  4. Mute Swan
  5. Greylag Goose
  6. Canada Goose
  7. Gadwall
  8. Mallard
  9. Tufted Duck
  10. Goosander
  11. Buzzard
  12. Kestrel
  13. Pheasant
  14. Moorhen
  15. Coot
  16. Oystercatcher
  17. Ringed Plover
  18. Lapwing
  19. Redshank
  20. Common Sandpiper
  21. Black-headed Gull
  22. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  23. Woodpigeon
  24. Kingfisher
  25. Sand Martin
  26. Pied Wagtail
  27. Wren
  28. Dunnock
  29. Robin
  30. Blackbird
  31. Song Thrush
  32. Reed Warbler
  33. Blackcap
  34. Chiffchaff
  35. Long-tailed Tit
  36. Great Tit
  37. Magpie
  38. Jackdaw
  39. Carrion Crow
  40. Chaffinch
  41. Goldfinch




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