10 Jan 2009

Moore fun and games with Larids.

Be jeezus its cold! Cold enough to freeze the proverbials off an alloy primate let alone a group of hardened gull fanatics willing to spend several hours on a Saturday morning gull watching at Arpely tip. With Paul Cassidy, the Moore Nature Reserve warden, arranging access to view the feeding frenzy amongst the detritus from our consumer society we met just after 08.30 and donned hard-hats & high-vis jackets for the short Landrover ride to our viewing point. Looking all the world like clones of Britain’s premier car park attendant ( an in-joke for those who successfully twitched the Alder Flycatcher last year). Amongst the well known faces were Frank ‘ its f*cking perishing’ Duff, Pod ‘I can’t feel my extremities, can you?’ Antrobus, Jono Williams, Jase ‘it was warmer on Shetland’ Atkinson, Steve Tomlinson, John Tubb, Kenny Dummigan, Mark Garner and two more of Seaforths premier gull watching team in Pete Kinsella & Tim Vaughan.
Virtually the first bird seen was an adult Yellow-legged Gull on Birchwood pool when waiting for the stragglers to turn up whilst the feeding frenzy on the tip very quickly produced a 1st winter Glaucous Gull and then a leucistic Black-headed Gull.
The hunt was on…………… Next good bird was a very obliging 2nd winter Glaucous Gull. The days star bird was an adult Caspian Gull spotted feeding right up on the tip face. Eventually everyone got on to it as it gave good views both on the ground and in flight – even giving its characteristic ‘Albatross’ pose.

2nd winter Glaucous Gull.

Iceland Gulls were a bit thin on the ground but eventually Jono picked out a 1st winter Iceland Gull amongst the 20,000+ gulls milling around.

Eventually the cold got to the majority of us and we headed back to the positive balmy environment of the Birchwood hide where a 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull and two adult winter Med Gulls added to my personal tally. A big thanks to Paul Cassidy of Moore Nature Reserve and Waste Recycling Group (WRG) for arranging this authorised trespass.

More locally, but still in Cheshire, I met up with Mark Turner having a crafty fag whilst waiting for Nestons resident Cetti’s Warbler to betray its presence with a burst of song. It called once! A walk out on the marsh duly resulted in a Water Pipit but I had to go a long way out for it! Several Common Snipe, a Jack Snipe, ring tailed Hen Harrier and four Common Partridge completed the haul. Unfortunately it looks as if United Utilities have had a problem with the sewage works and untreated sewage has been flowing out into the stream from their outfall by Neston Old Quay. Not pleasant. Returning inland the Cetti’s frightened the wits out of me by suddenly bursting into partial song before briefly showing itself.

With the Waxwings still present in Warrington I decided a lunch time visit was in order to try and get photographs in sunshine rather than the misty gloom of last Sunday. The Waxwings showed themselves but didn’t land in the berry laden Rowans due to the unwanted attentions of a pair of aggressive Mistle Thrushes.

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