Brockholes 26.06.2018

Sunny and very, very warm

With the promise of a hot day ahead, an intrepid group of TT Birders assembled early in the Visitor Village ensuring each had adequate supplies of water and sun cream to survive the day.

Setting off towards The Lookout, we soon noted the low water level and paucity of birds in Meadow Lake – just mallard, lapwing, mute swan and blackheaded gull. An over-enthusiastic identification of little grebe by the author was soon corrected as mallard chicks which were being loosely shepherded by their mother.

Settling down in the coolness of The Lookout, we started to rattle up the species on Number One Pool, many with attendant young – Canada geese (one couple taking a disciplined line of chicks out for a swim), mallard, gadwall, lapwing, lesser black-backed gull, mute swan, coot, oystercatcher, great crested grebe (with chicks), and sand martins (toing and froing from nests in the Sand Martin Wall). Pied wagtail were observed together with what were eventually agreed to be near mature fledglings hopping about the shore. A pair of common tern pluckily saw off a buzzard above before returning to their nest on the floating platform and then were observed feeding their chicks. Common sandpiper were identified on the near shoreline as was a male reed bunting in the nearby reeds. Finally we were treated to the unusual sight of a pair of tree sparrows perching on a nearby dead tree and then mysteriously hopping into low ground cover at the edge of the water.

Following the track alongside Number One Pool the promising variety of birdsong, including that of a warbler, did not result in any meaningful sightings, so into the second hide we went. We were welcomed by a plethora of flying insects including horseflies but more importantly with another viewing of common sandpiper and of grey heron and finally of ringed plovers on the shingle island across from the hide. After careful viewing and a lengthy discussion about leg and beak colour and existence of eye-ring, we agreed on its identity as little ringed plover (a conclusion supported by staff in the Visitor Centre over lunchtime).

Moving round to the hide on the western shore, in addition to birds already seen on the Pool, a kestrel was spotted as well as a reed bunting in nearby vegetation. Outside a sedge warbler treated the group to its spirited song and some very clear views. By now hunger and the heat were getting the better of us, so lunch was taken in the welcome shade of the terrace of the restaurant back at the Visitor Village.

Feeling suitably replete, we strolled up to and along the woodland path on the east side of Meadow Lake. Pleasantly shaded for much of its length, we were able to take in long-tailed tit, blue tit and nuthatch. With access down to the hide on the east side of the lake temporarily denied, we cut through to the River Ribble and walked northwards. The River was very low and slow-moving with much weed and exposed riverbed. The attractive riverside walk was unable to yield much in the way of birdlife – mallard, Canada goose, grey heron, a single oystercatcher and finally a little egret. With the afternoon heat taking its toll, we finally decided to cut the walk short and return to the car park.  A good day out with some exciting spots! (SC)

Bird list (MH)

  1. Mute swan
  2. Canada goose
  3. Mallard
  4. Gadwall
  5. Tufted duck
  6. Great crested grebe
  7. Cormorant
  8. Little egret
  9. Grey heron
  10. Common buzzard
  11. Kestrel
  12. Moorhen
  13. Coot
  14. Oystercatcher
  15. Little ringed plover
  16. Lapwing
  17. Common sandpiper
  18. Black-headed gull
  19. Lesser black-backed gull
  20. Common tern
  21. Wood pigeon
  22. Sand martin
  23. Pied wagtail
  24. Blackbird
  25. Sedge warbler
  26. Whitethroat
  27. Blackcap
  28. Long-tailed tit
  29. Blue tit
  30. Great tit
  31. Nuthatch
  32. Magpie
  33. Carrion crow
  34. Tree sparrow
  35. Reed bunting

Plus: meadow brown, little skipper, common blue, speckled wood, 6 spot burnet, azure damselfly, brown hawker and various other dragonflies.

Photos (DC)

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