Bird Racing!

8th January 2012 – overcast/drizzle soon SW1/2
A quick check over the sea early morning produced 10 Shag and small numbers of Red-throated Diver, Common Scoter, Razorbill, Kittiwake and Guillemot.
Wildfowl and Waders
The Long-tailed Duck remains in residence and waders included 11 Greenshank and 4 Purple Sandpiper.
Single Barn Owl and Little Owl were seen.
Bird Racing
Walney Wanderers, the team representing Walney Bird Observatory, again took up the challenge of the annual Cumbria Winter Bird Race and amassed a total of 108 species within the confines of the county boundaries to once again lift the trophy. The team, assembled at a local woodland to broken skies and light winds and soon a Tawny Owl called at 0630hrs to set the total running. Heading back on to more familiar territory steady progress was made with local specialities such as Brent Goose, Long-tailed Duck, Merlin, Purple Sandpiper, Greenshank and Twite all added and the total had increased to an impressive 70 species by the time the team left Walney Island at 1020hrs. A tour of the Furness Peninsula in increasingly wet and murky conditions, due to the onset of persistent drizzle, added a further 15 species, although Gadwall, Peregrine, Green Sandpiper and Mediterranean Gull were all missed, before a Kingfisher was added en route to the woodland stage. Woodland species were steadily accumulated and a Lakeland stream provided Grey Wagtail and Dipper before a Treecreeper brought up the century at 1430hrs – remarkably the same species that had brought up the 100 in 2011. Several Goldcrest, a flock of six Hawfinches and a Sparrowhawk were further additions as the weather relented before roadside stubble fields near Flookburgh provided the long-staying flock of Eurasian White-fronted Geese. Raven and Goosander were then added before the same stubble fields yielded a flock of Linnet. A final dash to Whinfell Tarn on the outskirts of Kendal produced redhead Smew in fading light before a leisurely drive to the 1700hrs finish in The Hawkshead Brewery at Staveley failed to add to the total.