The Wetlands Birds Survey (WeBs) monitors waterbirds in the UK. The main aim is to identify population size and determine trends in terms of numbers and distribution. Thurstonfield Lough is the largest, species-rich area of open water in the lowlands of north and east Cumbria. Our neighbour Trevor is WeBs counter and provides us with regular information on the waterfowl on the Lough. Here are Trevor’s observations from his visit on 20th/23rd and 24th March.
All much as to be expected for the time of year; the majority of the wintering ducks have moved north, but little grebes increasing (it may not be a coincidence that the WeBs count for Cardewmires quarry – 5 miles away – balance the losses/gains at the Lough).
The first migrant warbler was seen feeding over the Lough, a sign that spring has arrived. The same day a chiffchaff was belting out his 2-note song between the Lough House and Chapelfield gate. Trevor also managed to count six sand martins feeding over the Lough. Typically, sand martins are early migrants, usually arriving late March/early April up here on the Solway Coast.
A Flying Visit to the Lough
A male pochard was also seen on the water on Friday; only the 6th time it’s been seen on the Lough in the last decade, the water is too shallow for their diving-feeding mode. Presumably, he just stopped off in his migration to breeding much further north as he was no longer there for the count on Saturday.
Trevor also added that “in the woodland, my ears told me that there were two Chiffchaff and no other migrants yet”. Resident species were all evident. In a week, or two the woods should start filling up with their regular migrant visitors again.
We hope you enjoy the Wildlife Report March 2019. Did you manage to see the common pochard? or the reed warbler?