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RSPB Middleton Lakes (1 Viewer)

geoffw1946

Well-known member
My first visit for ten days today, 3 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Egyptian Geese, 2 Avocet, 3 LRP, 1 Ringed Plover, 4 Snipe, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Common Tern and 1 Sedge Warbler.
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
Please find attached the overall results of last Saturday's West Midlands Spring All-Day Birdwatch - quite a tidy haul across the region given the minimal movement on the day itself.
 

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13th May

Few pics from Middleton
 

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more

A few more
 

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geoffw1946

Well-known member
Most of the reserve is still badly flooded after the recent rain although the river has dropped about a foot. Not many birds around but highlights were a brood of 4 gosling Egyptian Geese on JWs, 2 Common Tern and a Cuckoo calling.
There were a number of dead birds floating in the pools mostly Black-headed Gull chicks where even the islands on FMP were inundated, the young gulls that survived were mainly on the paths around the pools. The gulls nesting on Dosthill NR are unaffected as there is no river channel into it and the water only rose by an inch or two, (I've been asking the RSPB for years to clear some of the islands there to enable more water birds and waders to nest, perhaps they'll get around to it one day?
On JWs at least 4 pair of Avocet have lost nests and after two attempts this year it's unlikely they will try again.
The RSPB and the EA should make the decision on whether to fill in the JWs channel or put in a one way flap otherwise birds will continue to lose nests each year.
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
3 hours on site on Sunday 3rd with my brother and a mate...

The weather was very humid and consequently i was wearing just shorts and got bitten badly despite only actually feeling a couple of Horse Flies settle but as usual most of the bites are on the lower leg and this will be a result of walking by and brushing vegetation much as i did on a couple of occasions in Poland recently:C

The reserve was quiet as far as calling and residual singing birds were concerned and following the recent flooding the water levels were very high and consequently no juvenile (Lapwings excepted) waders or other species were noted. Despite this individuals of Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Snipe and Little Ringed Plover were noted from the Hide. In addition we picked up both Ringed Plover and a calling Greenshank en route. A pair of Ravens came in low when we departed over the canal.

The Hide aka 'The Lookout' is always an interesting place, mainly due to the range of birdwatchers to be found there. I don't think that many field birders spend much time actually viewing from there as i never bump into any and only spend about 10 mins maximum before moving on to view from elsewhere. Sundays ensemble was the usual mix of enthusiastic pointy people and several with expensive telescopes and binoculars. I have learned not to be fooled by 'gear' as a whole tranche of folk have entered into 'birding' via Spring and AutumnWatch where if you believe the presented wonders on the Crystal Bucket then the World is your Oyster(catcher):eek!:

One 'scope picked up a small bird that was causing some consternation the other 2 'scopes trained on it in a manner that resembled the 88mm guns that would have been present in the Bunker style surroundings overlooking Utah Beach in '44. 3 'scopes.....and 3 misses. The suspense was killing me so i begged a look thru something i couldn't afford (i still had my 60mm angled Kowa c/w 22x wide-angle lens over 40 years old slung over my shoulder). To my eyes it was pretty straight-forward - a juvenile Starling still in Brown body feathers but moulting to 1st Winter spotty feathers on the wings. 1 out of the 3 remained unconvinced but that was his loss...

I mention the above because to me it highlights several things:

Gear as i have mentioned does not make you an inherently better birder so do not be fooled by it. New birdwatchers can afford expensive entry-level optics unlike the halcyon days of yore when you aspired to Zeiss and Leica etc.
A certain type of birder will only wear binoculars or take out optics when they are 'going out birding' and/or to a reserve etc rather than have a pair on you 'just in case' - i have always been the latter and it has served me well over the years whether here or abroad. As my Avatar states 'chance favours the prepared mind'.
A lot of people do not look closesly at their local common stuff and consequently are not prepared for or confused by juveniles - paying attention to what things look like at various plumage stages yields results. Gulls are what i get around here for 6 months of the year so Gulls are what i pay attention to and i love Starlings not just for plumage details but there social aspect.

Good birding -

Laurie:t:

Attached: Guelder Rose, Red Admiral and a Nuthatch feeding on one of the many feeders that infest the place;)
 

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rollingthunder

Well-known member
Another visit based upon recent movement turned into a damp squib. A round trip of 60 miles and 3.5 hours on the reserve needs to start punching its weight.

We saw 3 other ‘birders’ during the whole time.
The hide was locked (the code is on the door) so nobody was viewing and the last log entry was ‘White Egret’ - on Saturday.
We passed 2 RSPB volunteers neither of which had binoculars - can’t work that one out:C
I know the RSPB is trying to embrace anybody to visit FOC in the hope of signing them up so their rich grannies will leave them a legacy and ppl do like wondering around but.....
I overheard one couple say ‘where are all the birds’?

Quite.
If the RSPB does not pull its collective finger out with management of the now regular unseasonal inundation then the reserve is a White Elephant imo.
This time of year the place should be teeming with young Gulls and fledged Waders but there is nothing, zilch, jack sh1t. There are those that moan about the ‘noisy’ Gulls - i don’t. Over on the other side of the river they have done nicely thank you. The Reserve is created for the protection of birds the clue is in the name - things need to change and quickly.

I am no hydrologist but if the RSPB cannot stop the water from flooding due an alleviation agreement then there must be a way of moving it further down the reserve? Further down there are huge areas of meadow and scrub if the Reserve is a wetland one then why not create more by piping it or pumping onto this area as damp grassland?

Answers on a postcard please:C

Apart from Lapwing NO other wader species were seen despite posts on Twitter at 8 o/c. 2 Great White and a total of 13 Little Egrets were seen and on the way back a singing Cetti’s, female Wheatear and a juvenile Yellow Wagtail were noted.

I find the hide does not afford the views that are required.
It is too low had they built it on 6 foot stilts then all the wetland areas would be viewable and would negate the need to mark with a Black permanent marker the respective height of the Summer floods - such a simple and obvious idea but having worked in ‘Conservation, practically, for 45 years wtf do i know;)

Good Birding (but not at Muddleton).

Laurie:t:
 
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rollingthunder

Well-known member
Well that’s a turnup for the books also the 5 Garganey were still present but i don’t know where they were skulking yesterday we only saw a handful of Teal.

Laurie -
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
Are you referring to me?

I am not trolling anybody - i am asking questions about the management of a bird sanctuary. I would rather somebody from the RSPB explain the current situation rather than a vacuous comment which achieves 2/10’s of feck all.

Best of luck to all that tick the Wryneck today but that is not why the place was bought. I was offered a free lift but turned it down after slagging it off.

My conscience is more than clear mate...

Perhaps you can use your influence with the RSPB to clarify the situation.

Meanwhile we have a disabled access over the river that would take a Challenger Tank - if this and the claustrophobia-inducing hide are considered priorities than the birds that nest there then that’s fine. If the RSPB are interested in providing habitat for future species such as Harriers, Bitterns, Godwits etc then i am sure that even the most negative of birders would agree that the situation is not acceptable?

I first visited the site, with Dogs, when a Broad-billed Sandpiper was found.
I continued to visit and liased with some of the quarry workers with regard to the nests of Little Ringed Plovers so am no Johnny-come-lately Wryneck twitcher.

Oh for the Halcyon Days when waders actually bred there:t:

Laurie -
 

geoffw1946

Well-known member
Today there were 2 Great White Egret on JWs and another on NP, 1 Pintail NP, 2 Hobby, 1 juv LRP, 3 Snipe, 1 Blackwit and a Redshank. A Whinchat and 2 Stonechat were in the field west side of JWs.
 

punta

Well-known member
Mooch round the other day. Have e not been on the reserve for a good while.

A few shots with my camera
 

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Fingers crossed the Starlings return this winter. I run the Starlings In The Uk website and hope to keep our Murmuration Map as up to date as possible this winter
 

punta

Well-known member
The seven Whooper swans, Stonechats and one of the gwe in flight from my walk round yesterday
 

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punta

Well-known member
Gets very busy of late down Middleton these days, so find I do not bother that much now.
 

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