Monthly Archives: February 2020

First View of Salt Water in the UK This Year.

I am ashamed to say that I haven’t yet visited the coast in the UK this year. This is mainly because I have been busy at home and have also had a couple of short breaks across the Channel. Today was a “close but not quite there day” with a work visit to Cornwall where at Truro I was able to spend a few minutes checking out the city end of the Truro River. Unfortunately with a 450 mile round trip and some work to do I didn’t have time to do anymore than that. With the tide well out there were plenty of birds on the mud, mainly gulls but also a few Blackwit and Redshank both of which were UK year ticks for me.

First February Birding

The last few days have been pretty busy with a three day trip to Dusseldorf and Cologne at the end of January and then a five day course for work in Warrington. So it was nice to have a free morning to get out and do a bit of birding. Westbury Sewage Works is not the most exotic of birding sites but it is currently home to a some good overwintering birds. The works are accessed by the in current times perhaps unfortunately named Slag Lane. A quick internet search revealed the historical reasons for the name. It was the site of an ironworks and slag is a  waste product from iron production. There had been a petition to change the name from residents of some recently built houses which was rejected by the council with the following comments.

“The area was the site of an iron works which created the local mine holes or lakes and slag heaps.“The residents who asked for the town council to support a name change did not bother to attend our meeting.

“The committee decided that the name Slag Lane is historic and appropriate in this context, and that  new residents moving into homes in Slag Lane knew perfectly well the name of the road before they moved.”

I headed off along the footpath having correctly guessed that wellies would be needed. There was plenty of birdsong, dominated by several Dunnocks and accompanied by Robins, Song Thrush, Wren and Chiffchaff. On reaching the area that I had been told the bird frequents I was extremely fortunate to see it almost immediately with it flitting about in the trees immediately above the footpath. After I lost sight of it I moved on into the adjoining fields hoping for a clearer view. It was not to be but I did see several Chiffchaff including the Siberian that is also overwintering along with several Goldcrest and many Pied Wagtails. Other than a very brief maybe glimpse I didn’t see the YBW again, nor did I find the overwintering Whitethroat but definitely a worthwhile visit.