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Whooper Swan

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THE SMALLEST LIST PLODS ON

Whooper Swans, Stocks Reservoir.

THIS YEAR HAS APPARENTLY ALREADY SEEN A GOOD PASSAGE OF WHOOPER SWANS THROUGH EAST LANCS and I thought my chance had gone until the autumn. So I was very happy to see a flock of 25 resting in the Hodder Inlet of Stocks Reservoir today. Then I looked at my phone and saw they had already been reported. A guy who I chatted to briefly about photography was being frog-marched around the circular walk by his disinterested mates and didn't want to walk a few metres down to the hide to look at them. 'I've seen them at Slimbridge already' he said. I didn't have the inclination to tell him that they would have been Bewick's Swans and not Whoopers. A Black-tailed Godwit at Alston was also my first of the year in the ELOC area. Uncommon shorebirds have been scarce there so far but April is THE month for them so hopefully there are more to come soon. The smallest list plods on then. Otherwise Alexander also saw his first adders today, a very exciting moment for him to get very close to them and see what beautiful and placid creatures they are.

ELOC year list: 103. Black-tailed Godwit 104. Whooper Swan

Black-tailed Godwit, Alston Wetland.

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EAST LANCS MIGRATION

Eurasian Curlew flying west up the Ribble Valley at Ribchester 

THERE IS A LOT OF MIGRATION TAKING PLACE ACROSS THE UK RIGHT NOW including reports of thousands of Redwings from watch points in southern England. A pre-dawn walk up Pendle Hill in a howling easterly wind was hard work in the low cloud but a single Fieldfare sheltering behind peat hags right at the summit was my first on the ground here. Martin Naylor managed to twitch it and told me later that he has occasionally seen them and Redwings in weather like today. I could hear Redwings going over Pendleside in the dark on my way up the hill and three Fieldfares were near the shelterbelt at Pendleside Farm. As I was watching a pair of Common Ravens skirting the hill a small passerine came into view in the sky, it gradually flew closer before diving into the bracken on the hillside, it was a greenfinch. Back in the valley I watched from the benches by the river at Ribchester for around 40 minutes and in that time five Whooper Swans flew east, 316 Redwings flew northeast over the town, two Eurasian Curlews flew east and a kingfisher and Goosander were on the river itself. Migration is an amazing spectacle, even on a small and local scale. 

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