8 Jan 2010

More cold weather movements.

For the last week or so temperatures haven't risen above freezing in my corner of Cheshire and a heavy snowfall Tuesday compounded the problems faced by both the feathered and non-feathered inhabitiants of this borough. Thankfully Landrover power has seen me through the worst of it and I even got my daughter and son in-law back to Manchester airport amidst all the mayhem of Tuesday night for their home trip to Australia. Today the temperature on the way to work hit a low of -9 C - you know its cold when the toilets inside the office start freezing!

Deciding to leave early and enjoy the snowy scene I headed back towards the Wirral only to see a skein of geese flying towards me. Stopping in a convenient layby I grabbed the binoculars and was stunned to see approximately 20 White-fronted Geese flying towards me and heading towards the Dee Estuary.
Ringing the lads on Hilbre I was pleased to get a call back from Degsy saying he'd had my skein and a larger one heading out over the sea towards Ormskirk. Its nice when other people get to see the birds you've found. Similarly, my mate Al Orton whose doing a Cheshire year list, managed to locate one of the Bramblings I saw nearby last week and got onto 'my' local Little Owl for good measure.

Checking the stubble fields revealed all the birds appear to have moved off to warmer climes. The only birds of note were a large 600 + flock of Wood Pigeons pillaging the rape and a few lone Chaffinches feeding on seed some kindly person had scattered for them.

Opting for a bit of a gull watch I headed to Stoak where I knew lots of gulls could be found loafing in the fields adjacent to the Gowy tip. Sure enough the area was heaving with gulls - I estimated 8 -10,000 - and walking a footpath down towards the Gowy River enabled me to 'scope them as the loafed in the snowy fields.

Amongst them was a juvenile Glaucous Gull and at least two adult Yellow-legged Gulls with possibly a couple of first winters as well.

Great stuff. Hopefully this area will bring in more white winged gulls as they start moving north again in the spring.  With a move to ban carrier bags perhaps theres better advertisement for the problems they can cause in the environment than this shot of a juv Herring Gull carrting around its own windsock in the form of a Tesco's disposable bag.................................................

A quick stroll around the adjacent fields was rewarded with a small flock of Yellowhammers and two Red-legged Partridges before Molly decided to revert from staid 13 year old Labrador to puppy again and spooked them by suddenly charging into a snow drift and rolling over and over on her back. Snow has the effect of turning normally sensible individuals into big kids again!


A Scattering said...

Now I know I'm officially a bird nerd - I got excited about the birds YOU saw. Great post! Happy New Year from Canada.

Paul Shenton said...

Hi Phil,

I'm glad you checked the gulls first - I'm going to head over at some point this weekend now I have a little encouragement of finding something!

Interesting to see that you found RL Partridge - that area has been very reliable for Grey recently, but I've never seen a RL.

Tree Sparrow also fairly common down there too as is Hobby in the spring/summer, whilst the wintering Green Sands you mentioned tend to favour the area between the mesh bridge and the M56from my experience - two max last winter.

Cheers, Paul.

Phil Woollen. said...

I've had Red-legs here before. They're also fairly regular in fields to left of canal towpath when heading from Stoak towards Ellesmere Port.

I've checked the gulls regularly n previous winters!