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My Train Driving List

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Old Thursday 12th December 2019, 14:12   #26
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Scary stuff, for you and the owls! I think we'd all rally to your support if you took a particular form of industrial action Dawn, I was thinking of a Go-slow maybe?
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Old Tuesday 10th March 2020, 15:40   #27
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A dead Northern Gannet in the middle of the track near Kendal on the Windermere line was a bit of an oddity this morning being a fair distance from the open sea. A casualty of the recent stormy weather perhaps? I'm not sure I want to add already dead birds to my species list and I didn't kill it so it can't go on my kill list either.
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Old Tuesday 10th March 2020, 16:29   #28
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Originally Posted by andreadawn View Post
I'm not sure I want to add already dead birds to my species list
In general, people don't add dead birds to their lists

Seeing a live Gannet from a train might prove tricky in Lancs/Cumbria, though is possible from the East Coast main line just north of Berwick on Tweed (I've had them from there; ditto Fulmar).
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Old Saturday 4th April 2020, 15:37   #29
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Nothing new to add but this week has been quite good for birds of prey with Merlin, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier and Common Buzzard.

It's nice to see what's on the saltmarsh pools at RSPB Leighton Moss when I'm passing, but also frustrating that I can't visit for a proper look. Most prominent every day has been the large flock of Black-tailed Godwits along with many Avocets. Earlier in the week a Great Egret was stalking the pools right beside the railway line.
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Old Saturday 4th April 2020, 15:42   #30
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Oh my Andrea.... how wonderful to have that route!!!

You're really rather lucky to get any views at all over the saltmarsh (I'd give my eye teeth for such a sight!!) right now.
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Old Saturday 30th May 2020, 16:35   #31
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OK, finally added Willow Warbler recently with certainty whilst stopped at a station.

107. Willow Warbler.

Recent days have been dominated by near misses with Badgers and Roe Deer though no casualties, though there was a bit of a Wood Pigeon massacre one day recently. Lots of urban foxes at the moment on the line through south Manchester out to the airport.

Highlights today included a large crèche of Eider ducklings, about forty, on the River Leven estuary, being shepherded around by six females, with a couple of males tagging along who just seemed to be making a nuisance of themselves as males usually seem to be doing at this time of year.

On the way back to my home depot a male Marsh Harrier was quartering the reed beds beside the line at Leighton Moss.

Last edited by andreadawn : Saturday 30th May 2020 at 16:43.
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Old Saturday 30th May 2020, 16:41   #32
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Forgot to add, the dead Gannet from early march is still lying on the track near Kendal where it was originally killed. None of the local scavengers appear to have touched it. Dead things lying on the track on the Windermere line usually turn into just bones very quickly.
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Old Tuesday 9th June 2020, 17:21   #33
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Again, nothing new to add, but a few interesting wildlife sightings from the past couple of days.

Yesterday, a female Shelduck was trying to lead her seven young across the railway line and down onto the saltmarsh beside the River Kent estuary but they had got stuck at a point where there is a long wall barring the way. The youngsters seemed to be desperately trying to hide underneath each other as I went past.

On the Windermere line a female Roe Deer and her two young just stood beside the line as I passed. I had a very close encounter with a Swift which fortunately veered off to the right just in time. Don't think I've ever seen a Swift's rear end quite that close up before!

I looked out for the Shelducks on my return to my home depot but couldn't see them. As there were no dead ducklings on the line I guess they found a way down onto the saltmarsh.

This morning started off well with a Barn Owl which burst out of the lineside vegetation, flew alongside me for a bit, then veered away across the fields. A Common Buzzard perched on a fence post nearby was being harassed by a Magpie but just kept ducking to avoid the Magpie's attempts at intimidation.

Coming back home there was a decent sized crèche of Eider ducklings on the mudflats of the River Leven estuary; maybe fifty young with about thirty females looking after them.

As usual at this time of year, the Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls nesting on the station roof at my home depot have chicks. Since nearly all of my colleagues and most passengers seem to really hate these birds I usually find it a somewhat stressful time of year. At least this year there will be less traffic in the carpark when the young invariably end up down on the ground. Most years at least a couple of them are run over by cars.
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Old Tuesday 9th June 2020, 17:29   #34
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Nice post, thanks.
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Old Wednesday 10th June 2020, 19:11   #35
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Thanks, Steve.

Today the Eider crèche had roughly doubled in size. One of the largest I've seen. Of course most of these ducklings won't survive to breeding age but it was impressive to see. This is only a small part of the local Eider population though so there will be a lot more ducklings about in the local area. I do like Eiders.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 17:56   #36
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Still nothing new to add. Looks like it might be a bit of a lean year this year. Still, a Little Owl was a nice treat this morning. I saw it about ten minutes into my first journey at 0700, perched on a lineside sign. It just stood there and watched me as I passed by a few feet away. It's been quite a long time since I last saw one. I had forgotten how tiny they are when seen up close.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 00:40   #37
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A really interesting thread. Are you allowed to take pictures? It would be great to see a driver's eye view of some of the sites you pass - even if photographing the birds might be tricky at 85mph.

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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 10:50   #38
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Fascinating thread....and I'm soooo envious of where you work I haven't been to Leighton Moss since 2009 so it's definitely on my Must-Do List for next year.

I work at McDonalds and have a Drive Thru List Not as big as yours but it keeps me occupied inbetween cars. Last Tuesday I had a Herring Gull beating the poop out of it's own reflection in a metal bin and a Sparrowhawk being dive-bombed by Swallows
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 16:29   #39
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.....Are you allowed to take pictures?.....
Sadly not. I'm not allowed to use any personal electronic device, including cameras, in the driving cab due to the risk of distraction. I often joke about how much time I spend watching wildlife but in reality I do have to spend most of my time focusing on what I am doing. I think my manager knows I'm joking about it!
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 16:31   #40
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Gill, a McDonalds Drive Thru list sounds great. I think you need to start a thread about that. One of the things I really love about birdwatching is that you can have amazing wildlife experiences pretty much anywhere.

Last edited by andreadawn : Friday 19th June 2020 at 16:34.
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Old Sunday 21st June 2020, 11:38   #41
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Gill, a McDonalds Drive Thru list sounds great. I think you need to start a thread about that. One of the things I really love about birdwatching is that you can have amazing wildlife experiences pretty much anywhere.
Yes, some of my most amazing experiences have been when I'm either working on the allotment (Ravens!!! ) or just doing stuff that isn't 'proper' birding....tho' I think once you get bitten by the birding/natural history bug you never actually switch off, do you?

I'll sort out a Drive Thru List in the Lists section tomorrow as off out back to work soon. Had a much quieter day yesterday with only a few BHG, Herring Gull, Magpies and a male Pied Wagtail hunting in the grass outside.
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Old Saturday 25th July 2020, 21:39   #42
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Back to owls causing me grief again.

A very depressing end to my shift today. I ran over two Barn Owls about twenty minutes before the end of my last journey. They were perched on the rails in the deep shadows under a bridge. I didn't realise what they were until I was very close. They didn't respond when I sounded the horn anyway and just stood there until it was too late to escape. It was a bit upsetting really.
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Old Thursday 13th August 2020, 18:25   #43
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Nothing new to add but nice views today of a Great White Egret on the saltmarsh pools at Leighton Moss. Unfortunately, access to the saltmarsh pools is still closed so only passing train drivers and passengers who happened to look out the right side of the train will have seen the bird. It was still in the same spot when I was heading home seven hours later.
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