Pennington Flash 24/01/2017

Cold and primarily overcast

A big turnout of Team Tuesday was welcomed by an initially hazy outlook across the Flash with the suggestion of a bright, cloudless sky which unfortunately did not materialise for any appreciable period during the morning. However views across the Flash revealed a promising range and number of birds; goosander, goldeneye, teal, cormorants and lesser and greater black-backed gulls could be seen amongst and beyond the usual mallard, Canada geese, moorhen, coots and mute swans which congregate close to the car park.

Deciding to adopt the clockwise route around the site, the group entered the Horrocks Hide for views along the spit at the end of which was a large grouping of cormorants interspersed by lapwing. This was suddenly joined by c.12 snipe who lingered in the shallows for a short while. A large flock of lapwing then circled overhead seeking a landing space.

Then along the track, spotting dunnock and bullfinches and, by some, treecreepers, up to the Tom Edmondson Hide which disappointingly revealed just a pair of grey heron and a pair of mute swans. Undaunted the group continued along to the Ramsdale Hide for sightings of a pair of goldeneye, teal and goosander, and, unfortunately by one member only, a kingfisher flashing across the water. Around to the viewpoint at the northern end of the Flash and shoveler, gadwall, a female goldeneye (mistaken by some, including the author, for a little grebe) and a reed bunting were spotted.

So far, so good! But sightings then moved up to another level! Up the slope to the bank of the Leeds Liverpool Canal to immediately spot redwing in the tops of the trees opposite. And then groups of siskin and of goldfinch and of long-tailed tits feeding in the treetops. And then a great spotted woodpecker flying across the Canal.

Urged on by a fellow birder doing the circuit in the opposite direction, the group followed the track down to the stream by the golf course to spot a statuesque grey heron and a kingfisher feeding on small fish and posing for minutes on branches at stream-side. A grey wagtail hopping along the water edge added to the pleasure. The Teal Hide revealed shoveler, teal (obviously!) and a little egret (doing its white balloon/plastic bag impression!).

On to the Bunting Hide and its feeding station where the group were treated to a colourful mixture of reed bunting, long-tailed tits, blue tits, great tits, chaffinches, robin, dunnock and bullfinches feeding and numerous moorhen mopping up the seeds fallen to ground. All were disturbed and vanished momentarily as a sparrowhawk sped across the neighbouring reedbed. And finally the group fragmented as lunchtime approached, with subgroups visiting Pengy’s Hide to be disappointed by frozen water and very few birds. However at least one subgroup were delighted to be entertained by a water rail picking its way delicately through the undergrowth directly next to the hide – a great climax to a thoroughly worthwhile and productive morning. Pennington never fails to please! (SC)

Bird list (BP)

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Great- Crested Grebe
  3. Cormorant
  4. Little Egret
  5. Grey Heron
  6. Mute Swan
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Gadwall
  9. Teal
  10. Mallard
  11. Shoveler
  12. Tufted Duck
  13. Goldeneye
  14. Goosander
  15. Sparrowhawk
  16. Water Rail
  17. Moorhen
  18. Coot
  19. Lapwing
  20. Snipe
  21. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  22. Great Black-backed Gull
  23. Black-headed Gull
  24. Stock Dove
  25. Wood Pigeon
  26. Kingfisher
  27. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  28. Pied Wagtail
  29. Grey Wagtail
  30. Wren
  31. Dunnock
  32. Blackbird
  33. Song Thrush
  34. Redwing
  35. Robin
  36. Long-tailed Tit
  37. Great Tit
  38. Blue Tit
  39. Nuthatch
  40. Treecreeper
  41. Jay
  42. Magpie
  43. Chaffinch
  44. Greenfinch
  45. Goldfinch
  46. Siskin
  47. Bullfinch
  48. Reed bunting

(Photos JH)




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