Friday, 1 December 2017

BIRD SURVEY, North Walney Nature Reserve, 27.4.2017

Black Combe in the distance

The air was full of warblers, or so it seemed to me.Not that I could tell one warbler from another and relied on Jenny of Wilde Ecology and my co-volunteer Phil, to identify what was what in the warbler world. In a day gorse-filled and yellow, in a blustery wind that always seems to blow in from the west on Walney, we made our way through dune paths to salt marshes in the north of the island.

Salt Marsh, looking towards the Scafells

Willow warbler, sedge warbler, reed buntings, bullfinches, grasshopper warbler, larks, couple of oyster catchers, pair of greylags, goldfinches, one curlew, one lapwing displaying, toss in a robin, seven little egrets and there you have it... I was enchanted, listening to the warblers among the gorse. 


Down on the salt marshes, with views up and out to the Duddon estuary, Kirkby Moors, Scafell range and Black Combe. Closer to hand, slag banks, remains of the old iron ore industry that put Barrow and its shipbuilding on the map.

It's that odd, uneasy (to me) juxtaposition of wildlife, in and out flow of tides, mud banks, quicksands, slag banks, the long industrial road into Barrow on the A590, and close to, a healthy looking dog fox quartering the edge of the salt marshes for voles, frogs, mice...

... it was hunting in and around the goat willows and brambles that separate/join dunes and marsh. We could see it easily with the naked eye. With binocs it was magnificent! Its rich red brown fur stood out against the fresh green.

Grey willow

The high pee-wit of lapwing called us to attention, in its display flight, swoops and dives. Acrobatting air. Perhaps the Arctic wind and chill has delayed the displaying and egg-laying of birds... so we'll go again to the wild reserve that sits between channel, slag banks and the Irish Sea.

Geraldine Green, 28.4.2017

Bird survey for the Morecambe Bay Partnership, 27.4.2017
Photos: copyright Geraldine Green

Birds noted on map of the Salt Marshes, north to south, north is L x 1, with BTO initialling:

L x 1
GO x 1
LB x 2
CH underlined and circled
ET x 7, at rest, when disturbed arrow pointing northeastwards
WW circled
CU on marsh to right
R circled
WW circled
GO x 2 circled, arrow pointing westwards
RW circled
W circled
L circled

pair of Greylags on quarry pond

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