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Post Info TOPIC: Cumbria

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RE: Cumbria

Bolton CHA Rambling Club weekend at Glenridding:

16 of us managed to get to the summit of Helvellyn on Sat 23rd Oct. In the hail and the mist 4 Snow Buntings brightened the day up.


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thanks for the info steve and bill, having played back several different recordings of dipper i must admit that that was very much the core of the song i heard. The only difference being that the individual i heard threaded additional melodys in as well. Although i'd seen the dippers from the same spot i had not seen them singing anything other than short notes in flights across the river on occasions. I'll make a note for next month when on that stretch again and hope to catch them at it hopefully. Thanks again, just shows how fascinating and important bird call is!

-- Edited by Sean Sweeney on Thursday 14th of October 2010 11:34:50 AM


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I too can echo Bill's experience of thinking I could hear a late-singing Sedge Warbler which turned out to be a Dipper with an unusual song confuse.gifconfuse.gif


Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"

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Sean Sweeney wrote:

Did hear a very strange bird call from the other side of the river, sounded like a sedge warblers vigorous and varied melody, with up and down notes, but with the notes of a Song Thrush/Skylark/Linnet at times, but despite trying to sight it from the other side of the river it didn't show and after over 30 mins sat waiting for it to show or call again it did not come out and play, so I will have to put it down to one that got away!? no.gif As I was working I couldn't sit it out for the day unfortunately and although I went past the same point several more times over the day I did not hear it again....

Hi Sean,

Read the above detailed description with interest. Jogged my memory of a Dipper singing at Piethorne on 21/09/06 - after a quick search of my computer "field" notes the description of my record from that day read "The song was muted but lengthy (at least 3 minutes). It reminded me in structure of say a Sedge or a Reed Warbler with several slightly different phrases to the song, which didn't particularly go well together and gave the song a stop/start, slow/quick paced feel, akin to that of the two mentioned warblers".

Just a suggestion, as Dipper is also a species known for singing "out of season" and you recorded 2 of them on your recent survey as well.




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Today I did some inter-tidal surveys from low to high tide near Sellafield. Cracking sunshine all day and some good bird to match, but nothing rare or unusual!? Surveys completed between 830 and 1430. I had the following:

Teal 2
Mallard 50+
Goosander 2
Great Crested Grebe 1
Buzzard 3+
Kestrel 1
Merlin 1 (female, my first of the autumn/winter)
Sparrowhawk 1
Peregrine 1
Curlew 80+
Oystercatcher 600+
Snipe 1
Sanderling 2
Dunlin 8
Redshank 25+
Grey Plover 2
Guillemot 2
G S Woodpecker 1
Dipper 2
Kingfisher 1
Meadow Pipit 200+
Rock Pipit 1
Skylark 30+
Pied Wagtail 3
Linnet 12
Stonechat 3

Did hear a very strange bird call from the other side of the river, sounded like a sedge warblers vigorous and varied melody, with up and down notes, but with the notes of a Song Thrush/Skylark/Linnet at times, but despite trying to sight it from the other side of the river it didn't show and after over 30 mins sat waiting for it to show or call again it did not come out and play, so I will have to put it down to one that got away!? no.gif As I was working I couldn't sit it out for the day unfortunately and although I went past the same point several more times over the day I did not hear it again....


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Was up completing a walkover survey on surrounding land yesterday, Thursday between 9am and 3pm. I didn't get as close to coast, but there was plenty of movement (vis mig) overhead and suprisingly good numbers of some species like Buzzard and Curlew in the fields. It was fairly pleasant conditions all day, with sun and cloud dominating, but only needed a T-shirt, which was nice smile.gif.

I had the following within and over the field systems:

Teal 14
Mallard 40+
Buzzard 15+
Kestrel 3
Sparrowhawk 2
Curlew 20+
Snipe 12
Herring Gull 200+ (moving south)
G S Woodpecker 1
Swallow 200+
House Martin 8
Meadow Pipit 400+
Skylark 40+
Alba Wagtail 40+
Grey Wagtail 2
Goldcrest 4
Willow Warbler 1
Linnet 100+
Twite 20+ (1 flock feeding in borders of wheat field)
Goldfinch 200+
Chaffinch 50+
Stonechat 5
Tree Sparrow 8
Reed Bunting 14+ (checked every single one in the hope of a Lapland, but no such luck cry.gif)

So many Jays knocking about all over the place, with 3s and 4s flying overhead on way up and back, muct have seen over 50 birds on travels between Manchester and Sellafield return!! It's that time of year I suppose, with them trying to beat those pesky squirrels for all the nuts!?


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Just started some survey work over near Sellafield, so found this thread to hijack for the winter!? I'm conducting inter-tidal and walkover surveys near to the nuclear plant complex and on the coast there, so hoping to get more familiar with the area and its avifauna. It's a long drive up there though and a 5 am set off time was pretty tiring.

Yesterday was pretty windy all day, with my tripod almost being swept over several times while I was pouring a brew from my flask. Unfortunately it was in the wrong direction to bring birds in to the coast, as it was a north easterly, but still plenty of Guillemots, Razorbills, lots of Gannets very far out and the odd Kittiwakes flying about. Also had two flocks of Pink-footed Geese fly over moving south (28 and 18).

As for the beach, I had the following on the beach and river nearby:

Goosander 10
Red-breasted Merganser 6
Lapwing 54
Ringed Plover 2
Curlew 200+
Oystercatcher 1500+
Kingfisher 1
Dipper 1

The bizarre thing was that Goosander were feeding in the rock pools on the beach and Red-breasted Merganser were on the river, with some moving between the two. As I left they were all on the river and in a mixed flock, not something I've seen much and made me realise if I ever miss the odd Merg locally in between the larger roost of Goosanders?

There was also a lot of movement along the coast overhead and in the bushes too with the following being seen and heard:

Swallow 20+
House Martin 2
Meadow Pipit 200+
Rock Pipit 2
Skylark 30+
Alba Wagtail 8
Grey Wagtail 6
Wheatear 12
Goldcrest (2 hiding in the bushes in the sand dunes)
Chiffchaff 2
Lesser Whitethroat 3
Linnet 50+
Goldfinch 100+
Chaffinch 200+
Stonechat 4

Looking forward to the winter up there, but reackon it will only get colder. As with many new places there are many other sites in the region I'm not familiar with and hope to explore between now and the end of March.

Almost forgot, I had a female/juv Merlin chasing Meadow Pipits on route, then a Red Kite on the way back. Wasn't expecting to see a Red Kite, as wasn't sure where the release area was, but obviously they are moving about a bit.

TO be continued........

-- Edited by Sean Sweeney on Saturday 25th of September 2010 11:28:29 AM

-- Edited by Sean Sweeney on Saturday 25th of September 2010 11:34:52 AM


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A six mile circular walk from the hamlet of Kentmere (NE of Windermere), following the River Kent nearly up to its source, past Kentmere Reservoir:

5 Peregrine (inc juvs)
6 Raven
5+ Buzzard
2 Spotted Flycatcher
3 Redstart (inc juvs)
11 Wheatear (inc juvs)
2 Green Woodpecker
2 Grey Wagtail
3 Kestrel (inc juv)

Only one mon and his two sheepdogs encountered all day on this impressive walk..wink.gif


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An osprey eating a large fish, and two hobbies were present at Foulshaw Moss at dinner time today.


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Port Carlisle:

1 Semipalmated Sandpiper (present for its 3rd day)

1 Spotted Redshank
1 Little Egret
5 Knot
6 Golden Plover
5 Black-tailed Godwit
3 Common Sandpiper
4 Whimbrel
c15 Ringed Plover
2 Sanderling
100+ Dunlin
70+ Redshank

3 Gannet
25+ Manx Shearwater
1 Red-breasted Merganser
8 Goosander
c5 Sandwich Tern

(I Greenshank @ Campfield Marsh RSPB)


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Kirkby Thore & the River Eden

A five mile circular walk from the village of Bolton (near Appleby-in-Westmorland), predominantly through farmland, along the course of the Eden:

2 Hobby - 1ml SE of Kirkby Thore
1 Green Sandpiper (on small flood near Bolton bridge)
5 Redstart (inc 4 juvs near Ousenstand Bridge)
5 Common Sandpiper
2 Buzzard
5 Oystercatcher
8+ Tree Sparrow
6 Yellowhammer
1 Kingfisher
1 Grey Wagtail
20 Greylag Goose
2 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Coal Tit
1 Stock Dove
12 Pied Wagtail


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Elterwater & Little Langdale

A six mile circular walk starting from the village of Elterwater (near Ambleside), in the shadows of Loughrigg and Lingmoor Fells and along the Cumbria Way:

1 Peregrine
9 Buzzard
2 Raven
1 Redstart (Yew Crags)
3 Spotted Flycatcher (Sawreys Wood)
1 Dipper (Great Langdale Beck)
3 Grey Wagtail
1 Goosander with 8 ducklings (River Brathey)
2 Treecreeper
1 Siskin
1 Great Crested Grebe (Little Langdale Tarn)
1 Blackcap
1 Common Gull


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Up in Cumbria for a couple of days this week - highlights:

Thousands of Guillemots at St Bees with the odd Razorbill, peregrine and raven and fly past by Gannets but no sign of the Shearwaters I was kind of hoping for with the good north westerly!

A party of eight ravens being mobbed by carrion crows over the shore at Ravenglass, plenty of Sprawk sightings - often being mobbed by swallows and best of all I walked through Muncaster Castle grounds one evening on the public footpath which gave me fantastic views of Siskin - at least six at a time on the niger seed feeders by the owl sanctuary [handily on the route of the public path] and some excellent views in the surrounding gardens and woodland. I haven't seen many Siskin so to see them at such close range and in the evening sun was fantastic!

Building my lifers

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Visited Sizergh Castle car park yesterday morning at 6.00am. A hawfinch flew in to a hornbeam shortly after I arrived, then four flew over heading west. I walked around to the pool at the back of the castle and four more hawfinches flew out of a large cherry tree there. Presumably the cherries are attracting them. There's at least one family of spotted flycatchers kicking about around the car park and pool too.

I then nipped a couple of miles down the A590 and spent an hour at Foulshaw Moss. A green sandpiper flushed from the pool in front of the viewing platform, several hundred sand martins were hawking above the moss where five red deer hinds grazed. I heard at least one tree pipit but they certainly aren't singing with the same gusto as they did a few weeks ago.


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Originally posted by Ian Campbell today:

First visit to this excellent site yesterday. Redstart and Tree Pipit, at least 7 of each species giving fantastic views. Also Green Woodpecker, Spotted Flycatcher, Raven, Cuckoo heard plus all the usual woodland species.
Take road out of Barbon to Dent for about 2 miles then park, cross bridge over river and walk towards wood in Barbon direction. most birds seen before you reach the dense wood.
Cheers Ian

Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)

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Midweek visit with Wigan RSPB Group
Redstart at least 5m singing seen 3m 2f biggrin.gif
2 Pied Flycatchers singing 1 seen by some of the group but not by meno.gif
4 Tree Pipits biggrin.gif
2pr Grey Wagtail both feeding young
Pr Dipper feeding young
Willow Warbler feeding young
Coal Tit feeding young
pr Whinchatbiggrin.gif
2 Buzzards
2 Kestrels
pr Pied Wagtails
2 Ravens
2 Goldcrest
2 Red Leg Partridge
1 Reed Bunting
4 + Siskins
4 + Lesser Redpolls
Pr Green Woodpeckers
Pr Mistle Thrush feeding young
Also Mallard,Great Tit,Blue Tit,Chaffinch,Blackbird,

Cheers Jimmy


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A walk from Barbon village, along the course of Barbon Beck and out onto the fells:

1 Pied Flycatcher (m)
1 Whinchat (m)
1 Redstart (m)
3 Tree Pipit
1 Wheatear
1 Dipper
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Grey Wagtail
2 Siskin
5 Lesser Redpoll
3 Great Spotted Woodpecker
2 Kestrel
c12 Willow Warbler

2 Spotted Flycatcher (heard only)


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Annaside Banks

A six mile circular walk from Whitbeck, along the coast northwards to Annaside, back inland past Barfield Tarn, then back to Whitbeck along the base of Black Combe hill:

9 Gannets close inshore past Gutterby Spa
6 Wheatear
5 Stonechat
2 Dippers on the River Annas
30+ Oystercatcher
12 Shelduck
7 Buzzard
11 Yellowhammer
25+ Linnet
3 Kestrel
Sand Martins, Whitethroats, Reed Buntings, Rooks, Swallows, Willow Warblers, Skylarks & Lapwings all provided constant background noise to a pleasant walk......We did not encounter a single soul all day, apart from one farmer on his quad wink.gif


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10/04/2010 1300-1400
Middle Gelt Woods, near Brampton, North Cumbria
I was amazed to see a stunning male Pied Flycatcher singing and showing very well in the leaf-less trees only 50yds from car park smile.gif....seems rather early to me...I was looking for the Dippers along the river after a visit to Geltsdale RSPB and Tindale Tarn earlier in the morning!


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Perhaps not the best time of year to visit a saltmarsh (plus the tide was out no.gif), but a beltin circular walk none the less, starting from Flookburgh village, through country lanes and rolling farmland, and then out onto the estuary. Breathtaking clear views of the Southern Lakes, and the whole of Morecambe Bay, from Heysham across to Piel Island:

Flookburgh Marshes:

2 Wheatear (m&f)
1 Little Egret
4 Buzzard
45+ Redshank
50+ Shelduck
4 Oystercatcher
7 Linnet
1 Kestrel
Plentiful numbers of Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Lapwings, Pied Wagtails. A few Swallows over, and a handful of Great Black-backed Gulls loafing on the sands.
A count of 20+ House Sparrows at Sand Gate Farm..........(I normally don`t see that many locally these days hmm.gif)


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Sizergh Castle (and Holeslack Farm, Brigsteer):

5 Hawfinch, giving excellent views as they fed on the ground in the car-park @ 09:00

3 Marsh Tit
1 Raven
1 Buzzard
3 Goldcrest
2 Kestrel

Levens Park (a walk up the River Kent):

2 Dipper
2 Kingfisher
5 Shelduck
3 Redshank
2 Raven
1 Buzzard
4 Grey Wagtail
28 Curlew.


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Had a work trip to Cumbria today - saw three Ravens over Corney Fell [seems to have been a family [?] group on Corney for the last few months], a large female sparrowhawk just off the fell, lots of geese on the move near the coast and then used my lunch hour to go and see the Long Tailed Duck at Talkin Tarn - a shameless twitch but so much better than seeing them in captivity at Martin Mere!

Talkin also had a large flock of Goosanders - 20+, Tufties, Coot, Widgeon and the normal mix of Mallards and gulls but was a really interesting lake and for its size held a lot of wildfowl. Also saw a Tuftie with a large amount of white round the bill which could just have been a female Scaup but I'll not claim it as I've been caught out by Tufties with more white than you'd expect before!

About ten minutes off the M6 and 5 mins from the A69 if anyone's ever passing through !

Building my lifers

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Just got back from center parcs in Whinfell, birding highlights for us were several crossbill and a single goldcrest which landed right beside me, lots of pheasant, chaffinch, bull finch, greenfinch, goldfinch, siskin, chiff chaff, garden warbler, grasshopper warbler, coal tits, blue tits, great tits, gs woodpecker, blackbird, jackdaw, carrion, rook (just 2 of them), jay, song and mistle thrush, wren, mallard, mute swan, tufted, lapwing, coot, moorhen, robin with juvenile, we had a family of pied wagtail visit us morning noon and night to be fed and a few buzzard flying overhead.
In surrounding fields oystercatcher, red leg partridge, swift, sand martin, swallow and a few others we could not correctly identify 1 almost(!) definate corn bunting and either tree or meadow pipit kept popping in to see us but we never saw its feet long enough for us to be sure.
Did the bird of prey experience with eagle owl, harris hawk, peregrine and buzzard all on the arm!
oops forgot to mention heard a tawny owl over the 3 days and never saw it once! Plenty of red squirrel.

-- Edited by brandon mulhern on Monday 8th of June 2009 07:14:24 PM


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hi pete you can get sandwich terns on the shoreline somtimes at formby which is also a good day out.google formby nature reserve.


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Non birding family day out today - wander round Sizergh Castle - really well laid out gardens, sadly no sign of Hawfinch, but at least three Spotted Flycatcher [lifer], Blackcaps, Swift, Swallow and House Martin and loads of other bits and pieces.

The on to Hodbarrow where I got excellent flight shots of Sandwich Terns [lifer] good views of Eider, Common Tern, Oystercatcher but only distant views of probable Little Tern - seemed to be based on the "wrong" side of a spit.

Thoroughly recommend Sizergh as a stop off as its only 5 or 6 mins from the M6 and I'll be back for the Hawfinch when its quieter. Hodbarrow is a bit of a trek [an hour from Sizergh] but worth it just for the Sandwich Terns. Best strategy for flight shots was sit on the concrete blocks of the surrounding lagoon wall between the colony and the channel out to sea. Seemed to be 50/50 sand eels and small fish coming in today.

-- Edited by Pete Welch on Sunday 31st of May 2009 09:02:56 PM

Building my lifers

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First Post, but couldn't resist making this one.

Just got back from a long day at Hodbarrow and St Bees Head.

Hodbarrow; 100+ of Common Eider as well as 3 Terns. (Sandwich, Common and Little). 30+ Turnstone in full Summer plumage. Winchat, Stonechat, Whitethoat.

St Bees; 5 Miles over the head to see one Guillimot & 15 Kittiwake.

But the best was on the way home stuck in traffic. A Big Red Kite over head. Fantastic.........

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