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Posted by Jean Roberts 
September 17, 2012 03:26PM
Bank End Saturday 15th Sept

Highlight was a young Spoonbill presumably the one that's been hanging around at Sunderland Point. I thought it was going to go when the tide raced in. It flew up, gaining height and headed south then just went round in a big loop and came back.

Waders: Curlew 867, Lapwing 285, Oystercatcher 250, Redshank 247, Snipe 2
Wildfowl: Pintail 7, Teal 175, Wigeon 110, Shelduck 1. Not sure if the 45 Mallard were released birds.
Other: Goosander 8, Little Egret 1, Grey Heron 1, Cormorant 2.
Gulls: down in number, Black-headed Gull 22, lesser Black-back 4, Great Black-back 1.

Lune - Crook to Skerton Sunday 16 Sept

Waterbirds: Grey Heron 4, Mallard 54 (mostly at the Crook waiting for bread), Moorhen 1, Grey Wagtail 3, Cormorant 1, Black-headed Gull 2
Others of (relative) note: Robin in good numbers - 20, Chiffchaff 4, Goldcrest 1, Siskin 3, Jay 2.
Vis: Lesser Black-backed Gulls 60, all heading SE, Swallow 5.

The waterbird count must have been the worst (i.e. lowest numbers) I've ever had on this WeBS stretch. It was a combination of the relatively high river level after overnight rain, poor weather once I reached Halton with wind and rain, anglers positioned on all the birds favourite roost spots (maybe there was a fishing competition going on as there were anglers downstream from Denny Beck Bridge as well as the fly-fishermen upstream), and canoes up and down the river between the aqueduct and Skerton Weir.
Despite the locked gate and steep climb up the embankment, 2 people climbed up onto the M6 to cross the river on the hard shoulder of the motorway.

Himalayan Balsam is now rife along this whole stretch of the river. I could have done with a machete to hack my way through some stretches of it. There were lots of white bees and wasps i.e. coated in the pollen.
Re: WeBS
September 17, 2012 07:47PM
Jean, I don't know if it helps but Sundays 8am - 1pm is the major training period for John O'Gaunt Rowing Club and Lancaster Schools Rowing Club juniors so there will be many many boats out at that time all winter if the water is appropriate, probably using two slow motorised inflatable tenders as well for safety purposes. They operate from Skerton Weir (the Clubhouse) to the M6 bridge and back again. After the daylight recedes this is the only time they can operate a training session because the evenings have drawn in. Saturdays may be a better bet as only single members or their crews go out that day, mostly at random.

The Army (based at Halton) are using the canal between Newton and Slyne more and more then taking their canoes down to the river afterwards and using the Aqueduct to the Weir also, mostly during weekdays. All the canoeists are terribly polite but rather fearsome Gurkhas. Hope this helps.
Re: WeBS
September 17, 2012 08:34PM
I'm sure the Gurkhas could lend you a machete Jean.
Re: WeBS
September 18, 2012 07:32PM
Thanks for the advice! Forgot to mention 15 Sand Martins at the Crook.
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