Wednesday, 23 May 2018

A Day In The Life Of....

....well, only five hours on Monday actually.

The Goosander. 

It was good that I finally caught up with the female Goosander with her 4 ducklings in the creeks at Conder Green, along with a female Mallard and her 5. A combined total of 9 ducklings from an absolute minimum of 17 between these two birds, an amazing 26 if they both had full broods which they probably rarely do, either way, some serious losses here then, 8 minimum loss, 17 maximum loss. I've so far found no breeding records of the Goosander anywhere near this area....a first. 

The pair of Common Tern and the Oystercatcher were loafing around - sitting on eggs in the case of the females - on the Conder Pool pontoon, appearing to totally ignore each other barely a half metre apart, also, 17 Tufted Duck, and 5 Greylag noted. A circuit produced, House Martins nest building at River Winds and the Cafe d' Lune, with 3 Swift over, 2 Sedge Warbler, a Song Thrush, an Orange Tip and Speckled Wood butterflies.

On Jeremy Lane, a Wheatear was looking lost and alone in a recently ploughed large field, a Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, a Skylark singing it's seemingly endless flight song, and 2 Buzzard together overhead one of which had up to four primaries missing.

Cockersand was hard work for the effort involved, best was a pair of Gadwall in the large ditch through the field, at least 60 Wood Pigeon were in two fields, 5 Stock Dove, 3 Sedge Warbler, and a pair of Dunnock on Slack Lane both had food in their bills, a Peacock was the only butterfly seen. Though I saw several Large White on the day....where are all the butterflies?

Common Tern. Ian Pinkerton. 

Ian continues to monitor the Conder Pool Common Tern, and apparently intends to do so to as much and as often as possible to the bitter end....'bitter' being the operative word I imagine.

Keep up the good work Ian.

Lily Beetle. Pete Woodruff.

These Lily Beetles were in our garden yesterday, appropriately on the Lilies, they are a serious pest, having the habit of chewing Lily leaves and flower buds.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Larry The Cuckoo.

Cuckoo Stocks Reservoir May 2018. Paul Foster.

It was good to recieve this image of Larry the Cuckoo from Paul, the bird he found on 17 May in the Forest of Bowland. 

Quite amazing as, a) the bird arrived back in England in the early hours of the morning on 8 May, to the same area it was tagged, at Stocks Reservoir in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire, in June 2015 as an adult male Cuckoo, b) this is the very bird Paul chose to sponsor, when he found it last Thursday he said....'I couldn't believe it when I saw the transmitter'....which is just visible in this shot.  

Great stuff Paul, you must have been really chuffed to find this bird....Thanks for sending me the image, much appreciated. 

You can follow through twelve pages of documentation, including a fascinating map which can be played to show routes this bird takes during the spectacular journeys it has made to Africa and back three times since June 2015 Here  

Monday, 21 May 2018

A Little Birding Magic.

On Friday I spent the best 3 hours birding I've had in ages, if only because I was at Barbondale at 7.30am on a beautiful sunny and calm morning, and had the place to myself for the entire visit, with just the brilliant ancient woodland, it's birds and their song for company....Magic.

What a difference a few days makes, compared to six birds seen on 2 May, five pairs of Pied Flycatcher were at Barbondale today. Also in my notes, 2 Redstart, one of which I watched being seen off by a male Pied Flycatcher, 2 Tree Pipit, 2 Dunnock, a Song Thrush, Willow Warblers were in ear shot the whole three hours, and a Garden Warbler was in full throttle just inside the plantation. A pair of Stonechat would have been one of the two pairs seen here 2 May.  Butterflies seen, a Green-veined White and 6 Orange Tip.

It was always the plan for me to then go to Newby Moor for the first visit here since 11 May 2017 when I found five Stonechat. On Friday I found none in a three hour search, 6 Meadow Pipit was a continuation of low counts I'm having on uplands this year, 2 Sedge Warbler, a Skylark, male Reed Bunting, 3 Linnet, a Buzzard, Kestrel, and just 17 Swallow in over three hours.  

By the River Wenning below Clapham Station, a singing male Blackcap, a Mistle Thrush, and 3 Orange Tip. Calling in at Bull Beck on the River Lune, primarily to see if I could find Little Ringed Plover on the shingle but did'nt, I did see a Common Sandpiper, and a good colony of uncounted Sand Martin.

Goosander at Conder Green.

I was pleased to see the report yesterday - LDBWS - of a female Goosander with four small ducklings at Conder Green, which seems to confirm a suspicion noted in my last post....'female Goosander disappearing round the river bend out of sight upstream from the road bridge, try though I may, I was unable to find a viewpoint beyond the bend, it almost certainly had young with it'.

Swift at Kendal.

A decent number of at least 15 Swift were over central Kendal yesterday, seen from the River Kent where 5 Grey Wagtail and a drake Goosander also seen.

Thanks to Richard Pegler for his excellent Ring Ouzel header image. 

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Meagre Fare.

Don't usually express a days birding experience as meagre as none of it ever is, but Wednesday really did lack a bit of quality and quantity.

Both the Oystercatcher and Common Tern are now on eggs at Conder Pool. Also of note, 13 Black-tailed Godwit, only one of which was in stunning breeding plumage, 15 Tufted Duck, with 52 Mute Swan in the creeks. Three Whitethroat heard, and a female Goosander disappearing round the river bend out of sight upstream from the road bridge, try though I may, I was unable to find a viewpoint beyond the bend, it almost certainly had young with it....frustrating.

Dunlin Plover Scar. Pete Woodruff.

At Cockersand, high tide Plover Scar held a pretty even mix of up to 300 Dunlin and Ringed Plover. A Lapwing had a chick in the field by Lighthouse Cottage which has now been ploughed, 3 Stock Dove and a Sedge Warbler seen. The Shoveler pair are still in the large ditch through the field at the Moss Lane/Slack Lane junction, but a bigger surprise was a drake Gadwall which accompanied them, my first ever at Cockersand and certainly never in a ditch.

Green-veined White. Warren Baker.

Two Green-veined White and an Orange Tip were my only butterflies. 

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Game On!

Ian Pinkerton has taken it upon himself to monitor the pontoon on Conder Pool as often, and for as long as possible in a session.

Common Tern Conder Pool 16 May. Ian Pinkerton.

This year the Oystercatchers have beaten the Common Terns to the pontoon which have also decided to utilise it, and to make matters worse, in close proximity to the waders. It will be interesting to see how all this pans out, but take it from me, it could be ugly, fatal even for some. This image shows a CT attacking an Oyk at the beginnings of the outbreak of a tense period for what could well be a total of 10 adult/young birds in a confined space, and not prepared for tolerance.

Many thanks for the updates and images Ian, they are much appreciated, and will be by anyone interested in this years birds and what is about to unfold.

Common Tern & Non Breeders Conder Pool 16 May. Pete Woodruff.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Thirteen Months Later.

The last time I was on Clougha was 4 April 2017. There was a time when I would never had thought I'd be saying it was over 13 months since I last went up Clougha, and I had to search my records to see I never checked out the area last year for breeding Stonechat after the April visit. But yesterdays evidence suggests I missed nothing, as I came away empty handed after a three hour survey, and it looks like a second successive year of no Stonechat on Clougha....All a bit depressing.

It was 2hrs 45minutes after I left the car park on Rigg Lane that I found the first of 3 Stonechat on Birk Bank, a male at the west end, and a pair at the east end, so I reckon 2 pairs on here today.

Red Grouse Clougha 15 May. Pete Woodruff.

Fourteen species noted in six hours on Clougha/Birk Bank included, a lone Red Grouse which was the only one seen, and took me 1hr 30 minutes to find, 14 Meadow Pipit was a low count comparable to the recent equally low counts of 19 on Hawthornthwaite (West), and 11 on Hawthornthwaite (East) 18 April, and only 11 seen on Harrisend 8 May. Two singing Garden Warbler were seen as the best birds of the day, 13 Willow Warbler2 Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush, 2 Tree Pipit, and a lone male Linnet. Raptors seen, 5 Buzzard, and 2 Kestrel one of which flew by me with small prey in it's talons.

Green Hairstreak Clougha 15 May. Pete Woodruff.

Butterflies seen, a lone Green Hairstreak, surely more, perhaps I wasn't trying, 7 Orange Tip including a male in pursuit of a female on the wing, probably up to 80 Large White, and a similar number of up to 80 Latticed Heath moths seen....Two visits to Birk Bank bog six hours apart saw it lifeless. 

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Cockersand/Conder Green.


Sandwich Tern Richard Pegler

Armed only with binoculars, I walked across Plover Scar out to the lighthouse to get a positive ID on 4 Sandwich Tern which were plunge diving and highly vocal with their loud grating 'kerrick' flight call, a pretty impressive display. 

A few Eider were off Plover Scar, 4 Wheatear along the headland, with 2 Sedge Warbler, a Whitethroat, and 3 Stock Dove seen.

The Lapwing.

Since I was at Cockersand a week ago, two large fields have been 'Lapwing trashed' keeping the population number down as is the annual tradition. The Lapwing is a species having suffered a 53% population decline over the past 25 years, and is something that could be addressed if more appropriate options were in place within agri-environment schemes.

Conder Green.

I got my first viewing of the pair of Common Tern which returned to Conder Pool on Tuesday via IP. All three hirundines were over the pool, probably up to 50 birds descending numerically, Swallow, Sand Martin, and at least one House Martin, of which c.15 were around River Winds/Cafe 'd Lune, with a Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting both singing upstream from the A588 road bridge. Also on Conder Pool, at least 8 Swift over, and 35 Black-tailed Godwit were accompanied by a lone Bar-tailed Godwitthey were on the Lune Estuary by the Conder mouth 30 minutes later.

Common Tern v's Oystercatcher.

War is about to break out on Conder Pool, and in-fighting to settle territorial rights and overcrowding has already been observed. If any attempt to breed takes place, tolerance by two species of birds aside, the pontoon won't/can't accommodate ten birds, two boxes, and two dummies. Perhaps the Common Terns will relocate elsewhere on the pool, the Oystercatchers certainly won't, she's already sitting on eggs having staked a claim to the pontoon.

Thanks to Cliff Raby for the Common Tern header image. 

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Two Fells....Well Nearly!


On Tuesday I made my first visit this year, and not for 8 months since 1 September 2017. I had given up on the Stonechats on Harrisend, but didn't realise it was to this extent. 

But there was little joy in the visit, but thankful for small mercies I found just one pair of Stonechat, they were initially atop of the lone Hawthorn. Also seen, 11 Meadow Pipitat least 4 Willow WarblerCurlew3 Raven, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Red Grouse, 2 Swallow, and WheatearUp to 8 Greylag came up over the ridge in ones and twos over a couple of hours, and flew off in all directions, though there are some upland breeding records, I have no idea from where. A kestrel and 3 Buzzard, one of which had missing primaries.

Latticed Heath. Harrisend Fell 8 May. Pete Woodruff.

The sun came out, and within 30 minutes had brought with it 12 Large White butterflies, also a Latticed Heath moth.


The visit was thwarted and made brief by the weather, it came on to rain around 2.15pm. The forecast was for a shower in the afternoon, it was still raining four hours later at much for the shower! 

Wheatear. Hawthornthwaite Fell 8 May. Pete Woodruff.

Before the early retreat, 12 Sand Martin, 4 Meadow Pipit, 4 Red Grousea Wheatearand a very vocal Wren. 

As a big surprise, I saw a Peregrine Falcon on the day, like other raptor species in Bowland, they have been 'driven' - that's me being polite - to extinction. I have appropriately reported the bird. 

First Records.

Kestrel hovering before flying off, my first ever over the residential area of Bowerham, if not my first ever in urban Lancaster, also 3 Swift over the same Bowerham area.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Friday Birds....

....a Sunday wander, and an excellent Monday arrival.

Excitement level on Conder Pool on Friday was almost non existent, with 12 Tufted Duck, 21 Mute Swan, and several noisy kip-kip-kip'ing Oystercatcher as good as it got. Three Sedge Warbler were in the reeds upstream from the road bridge, a House Martin seen attending to nest building at River Winds, a lone Black-tailed Godwit in full summer plumage was in the channel below the iron bridge, and a Kestrel seen. Twelve Eider were on the Lune Estuary, and 5 Wheatear were again in a ploughed field on Jeremy Lane.

The best bit to come out of Cockersand was the sight of 5 Lapwing chicks recently out of the nest. I also found c.120 Linnet again, with the Shoveler pair still in the flooded field opposite.

Whimbrel. Pete Woodruff.

Thee Whimbrel were driven close in by the tide on Plover Scar, which also held up to 350 Dunlin and 60 Ringed Plover. Elsewhere, 4 Wheatear and 3 White Wagtail, with a Sedge Warbler singing in the roadside reeds, I also saw 11 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies on the day.

The Sunday Wander.

A pleasant wander with KT over Heysham Barrows produced, 5 Whitethroat, a Wheatear, and 2 Song Thrush being the sighting with more value than the migrants. In the woodland, 2 Chiffchaff and a Jay.

Many thanks to Antonio for the stunning Black-necked Grebe header image. As a scarce visitor to Lancashire, mostly in spring and autumn, one was found on Kincraig Lake, Blackpool last Friday, and is still present there today. 

The Monday Arrival.

I just received a text to tell of 2 COMMON TERN on Conder Pool 9.45am this Monday morning, one day earlier than last years arrival of 8 May....Many Thanks to IP. 

Friday, 4 May 2018

Birding On The Edge....

....the edge of winter.

It was more like the beginning of March than May when I made my first visit of the year to Barbondale on Wednesday. Dull with a cold wind, but nothing dull about finding 6 Pied Flycatcher, all mobile and behaving like there was no intention of breeding just yet. In fact I had sightings of nine birds over a period of time, including at one point, two males on the same branch with less than a metre between them. But with lengthy observations, I regarded six birds seen as three pairs.

The 4 Stonechat I found take top spot from the Pied Flycatchers for me, they were seen as two pair. The place held a good number of Willow Warbler, singing within earshot pretty much all the time I was there. I heard up to 6 Redstart, but saw not a single one, 4 Tree Pipit, 2 Wheatear, 2 Mistle Thrush, and of the 3 Nuthatch seen, there was some interaction between two of them. A stunning male Grey Wagtail was on Barbon Beck, where up to 6 Swallow were flying up and down.

Quite a good number of Chaffinch were notable in the area, and 3 Small White butterflies were seen on a day when the weather had me thinking it unlikely.

The Barbondale Stonechat.

When I first started to visit Barbondale a 'few' years ago, if the Stonechats were ever present there I certainly never saw them. But I did begin to find them, eventually in double figures, for example....13 including juveniles on 15 August 2005, and 19 including juveniles on 24 August 2006. Since then numbers fell away to nothing as had been the case historically, until - with the exception of a lone male on 7 May 2015 - today's was the first multiple sighting here since I saw a pair six years ago on 29 May 2012.

Stonechat. Ana Minguez @ Naturanafotos

Nothing short of a brilliant record in my book. Hopefully signs of a come back for the Stonechat at Barbondale, and certainly warrants another excellent image on Birds2blog....Thanks Ana.