From Wilson’s to Wigeon


If Er Neill was having problems dealing with the come-down from the yellow and green glory that was the Port Nis Wilson’s Warbler, he wasn’t showing it this morning when we took a stroll in the Lancastrian grey at Hesketh Out Marsh.
The chances of encountering anything as colourful here are decidedly slim, but the birding wasn’t bad considering the tide hadn’t bothered to rise yet.
Little Egrets, Grey Plover and Greenshank amongst the Redshanks and Curlew, while a young Marsh Harrier patrolled the old seawall.


We walked down the bank to look out onto the outer marsh,and although everything was distant, it was pretty good – two Great White Egrets, two Common Buzzard, a Short Eared Owl and no fewer than four Marsh Harriers.
Can’t remember seeing 4-5 Marsh Harriers at the same time on the Ribble before.
Celebrated with an award-winning (surely) digishot of one of the Great White Egrets.


It was quite a long way away Your Honour.
Perhaps 1,000 Pinkies grazing between HoM and Old Hollows, with a few Skylarks and Mipits passing overhead.
Peregrine cruising over Southport town centre as we headed home.

2 thoughts on “From Wilson’s to Wigeon

  1. Steady movement of Gannets offshore at Ainsdale first thing this morning in the hooley, Common Scoters being thrown around on the swell, Razorbills ripping through – there’s never a decent high tide when you want one.


  2. New research, just published in the scientific journal Bird Study, shows that many of our birds have expanded their geographic range in response to climate change.
    A changing climate is predicted to see many species shift their breeding ranges polewards and we already have evidence of this for birds and butterflies, amongst others. Over the longer term researchers expect to see a contraction in the size of the overall range available to species, putting them under increasing pressure, but what about short-term impacts?
    A new analysis, using data for 80 species of British birds and derived from the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey, has shed new light on the speed and pattern of this climate-induced shift in range, additionally revealing some unexpected patterns.
    The results of the study, which looked at how reference points within the breeding distributions shifted over a 15-year period, revealed that the northern margins of the breeding range had pushed even further north for the majority of the species examined. In fact, they were moving northwards at an average rate of 3.3 km per year. Interestingly, the southern margins were found to have moved much more slowly, leading to the overall distributions stretching over time. This suggests that different factors are operating at the two margins, as lead-author Dario Massimino explains:
    “Bird species may be physiologically limited by cold winter weather at their northern range margins, with warming potentially releasing the limiting conditions and allowing rapid range expansion. In contrast, there is increasing evidence that retreat from southern range margins is more likely to be driven by community-level interactions, including competition with other species, and these may operate at a slower rate.”
    The net result of these contrasting patterns is that the geographical ranges of British birds have expanded over the past 15 years.


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