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Lune: Crook-Skerton

Posted by Jean Roberts 
Jean Roberts
Lune: Crook-Skerton
November 13, 2004 08:39PM
Little to report. The highlights were 2 Little Grebe just downstream from the aqueduct bridge; 250 Fieldfare south to north over Halton at 0830; 2 Goldeneye above Halton Weir and 2 Dippers at Halton Mills, one singing sweetly in the sunshine (actually it was in the shade, that was just poetic licence!).

Leighton Moss: A Merlin terrorising the Blue Tits in the area where the Penduline Tit was last seen.....
Beardies showing really well on the grit tray at 10am
Stephen Dunstan
Re: Lune: Crook-Skerton
November 13, 2004 09:25PM
Jean,

Fondly remember getting a couple of Smew on one WeBS count of this stretch, also had a few Scaup. Has there been much of note in the last few years?

Regards,

Stephen.
Jean Roberts
Re: Lune: Crook-Skerton
November 14, 2004 09:41AM
Can't recall a Smew in the 8 years I've been counting this stretch. I think you're thinking of the stretch downstream from Skerton Weir.

Best bird in the time I've been counting has been a female Ferruginous Duck at Skerton Weir. Best mammals are Otter (on 2 occasions) and Water Vole (on 1 occasion).

Other than that "rarities" for this stretch are Gadwall, Wood warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting and birds of that ilk.
Stephen Dunstan
Re: Lune: Crook-Skerton
November 14, 2004 09:49AM
Hi Jean,

No, I'm thinking of that stretch. One Smew at the weir and one at the Crook, probably February 1991? I counted the stretch for three or four years when I was at University.

Regards,

Stephen.
Re: Lune: Crook-Skerton
November 14, 2004 11:56AM
Hi
Stephen might be referring to the late lamented returning wintering drake Smew which was "based" at the Dockacres complex but wandered considerably, especially during hard weather. If there was also a relatively short-stay redhead with it on the complex, it sometimes got dragged along for the ride.

It favoured displacement "site" was the Lune anywhere between (and including) above Skerton Weir and the Golden Ball area. I even managed it on my (former) house list (Albion Street)as it also flew occasionally from the weir area to Blea Tarn reservoir. When it was really frosty, it was seen on at least two occasions with the similarly late lamented sewer outfall Goldeneye flock at Sandylands/Battery area.

Cant comment on the Scaup but they used to be more regular on the gravel pit complex when the shooting syndicate operated on what is now Borwick Waters and the grain feeding attracted a huge Pochard flock (and 2 Ring-necked D, one Lesser Scaup, 1 RC Pochard, 1 Ferruginous Duck!). Chunks of this flock were sometimes displaced to the Skerton Weir area during freezing conditions.

Indeed, this shooting syndicate and grain feeding probably had a greater influence on the appearance of rare birds in this area than any single conservation measure to date! (yes you did get rare waders on Carnforth Marsh pre-A/M pools but they were harder to find & the coverage much poorer)

Pete Marsh
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