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My Train Driving List (1 Viewer)

jogresh

Registered nutjob
Thanks for that info (and for your honesty), personally i find it very interesting indeed; sad yes, but very interesting. I have used trains extensively over the years so have in a way contributed to bird deaths in this way. I'd forgotten how fast trains go - 85 mph along a wildlife corridor, or adjacent to RSPB reserves, is going to result in casualties. I've actually never seen any data at all on this, whereas we often see data on cars - eg monitoring of Barn Owl corpses along new trunk road schemes etc.
It's been suggested to me by an bird ecologist who works in renewables, that power lines are probably killing millions of passerines every night during migration times, but the small corpses are almost always unnoticed.
And i read somewhere that brightly lit buildings in N America kill a lot of birds. I guess everything we do impacts wildlife in some way.
Hey ho.
 

Andrea Collins

Beside the Duddon, Cumbria
Supporter
England
Why do so many owls insist on perching on railway lines? There are walls, fence posts and overhanging tree branches they could use, but no, they have to perch on the actual railhead.

This week it was a Barn Owl between Cark and Ulverston. The headlights picked it up from a reasonable distance but despite several blasts on the horn it just stood there. It finally flew off with about two seconds to spare. I think it got away but I lost sight of it below the bottom of the windscreen.

I would have thought that the vibrations through the rails would spook them, but apparently not. Same with both Little and Tawny Owls.

This week's casualties were a single Pheasant and seven unidentifiable LBJs. This threads seems to have taken a bit of a morbid turn!
 

pratincol

Well-known member
As you cross the Arnside viaduct and reach the Grange side there's a stream running parallel with the railway on your right. it's often full of birds. A Green Sandpiper was here during for quite a while a few years ago. Its an ideal undisturbed habitat for it.
Look out for the House Martin- type white band as they fly off- they generally take an upward trajectory high into the air when they take off.
 

Andrea Collins

Beside the Duddon, Cumbria
Supporter
England
Owls are still causing me a lot of stress at work! On the last train back home at midnight last night a Tawny Owl flew across right in front of me, a wing tip almost brushing the windscreen. It just made it OK. A few minutes later there was a Barn Owl perched on the rail of the adjacent line. It stayed put as I went past six feet away at 60mph. If it flew up after it had disappeared from my line of sight I hope it didn't get sucked into the train's slipstream.

On a positive note the large flocks of Redwings and Fieldfares erupting from the trees along the lineside at the moment are enjoyable to watch.
 

Richard Prior

Halfway up an Alp
Europe
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?;)
 

Andrea Collins

Beside the Duddon, Cumbria
Supporter
England
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.
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
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 :t:

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).
 

Andrea Collins

Beside the Duddon, Cumbria
Supporter
England
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.
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
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.
 

Andrea Collins

Beside the Duddon, Cumbria
Supporter
England
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.
 
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Andrea Collins

Beside the Duddon, Cumbria
Supporter
England
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.
 

Andrea Collins

Beside the Duddon, Cumbria
Supporter
England
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.
 

Andrea Collins

Beside the Duddon, Cumbria
Supporter
England
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.
 

Andrea Collins

Beside the Duddon, Cumbria
Supporter
England
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.
 

MKinHK

Mike Kilburn
Hong Kong
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.

Cheers
Mike
 

Gill Osborne

Well-known member
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 :-O 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 :t:
 

Andrea Collins

Beside the Duddon, Cumbria
Supporter
England
.....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!
 

Andrea Collins

Beside the Duddon, Cumbria
Supporter
England
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.
 
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