Thursday, 19 January 2017

Pedigree Geese.

Red-breasted Goose. Braides 18 January. Chris Batty.

With thanks for a call yesterday from AC, I shot off from home at around 2.30pm, to drive 6 miles south on the A588, and have good views of a Red-breasted Goose (RBG) in a field between Braides and Sand Villa, the bird was in company with 8 Russian White Fronted Geese, 4 Barnacle Geese, and c.1,500 Pink-footed Geese....Geese with pedigree's. 

The RBG and some others were in a field by the junction of School Lane and Jeremy Lane this morning.

Thanks to Chris Batty for his image of the RBG, with a Russian White-fronted Goose and Curlew to the left, and the rear of a Pink-footed Goose to the right. 

A RBG on the Fylde on 14 October 2010 was the first record of the species accompanying Pink-footed Geese on the Fylde, and roamed around the area until last seen at Ridge Farm on 31 January 2011.

This is my second RBG, my first was on the sea off Cockerham Sand Caravan Park, with Wigeon and Teal on 8 January 2014, but although my sighting was in the water all the time I viewed it, this bird was know to have been a ringed individual recorded as an escapee.   

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Geese, Swans, And Ducks.

The Geese.

Pink-footed Geese. Pete Woodruff.

I reckon there's about seventy five geese in this picture, a small group of the c.2,500 Pink-footed Geese I saw in a field off Jeremy Lane on Monday, with which I found 3 White-fronted Geese.

The Swans.

Just west off the A588 at Thurnham, 8 Bewick's Swan were in the field on the left off Moss Lane, and the herd in fields towards Cockersand are even more spread out now, from west of Thursland Hill and south towards Bank End, there appears to be still up to 300 Whooper Swan, though I made little attempt to assess them today.

The Ducks.

Yet another peak count arrived at on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock when I counted 37 Goldeneye drifting by on the rising tide, they appear to have deserted their favoured canal basin for the time being.

And some other birds.

Conder Pool was pretty deserted, though I noted the currently resident 3 Goosander still on here, with 3 Little Grebe noted in the tide flooded creeks. As the tide raced in I saw c.600 Golden Plover loafing on the mud at the Colloway side, with 45 Snipe, 32 Black-tailed Godwit, and a Spotted Redshank all viewed from the bowling green.  

The tide was at it's height at Cockersand, any waders around were in the fields with a mix of at least 500 in the Abbey Farm area, most notable was a good number of Turnstone, with Golden Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, and Lapwing. The flock of 80 Twite were flighty between Bank Houses and the shore, with 15 Linnet seen.

Life in the fast lane isn't all that easy anymore, and my birding opportunities are at a low at the moment, but hopefully I'll be back in business on Friday to check out what the local estuary birds are up to.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Time For A Rant.

Spare a minute to take a look at the video and reach your own conclusions about the sickening attitude the countryside Rambo's from the dark ages with guns have on the surplus Pheasants from a shoot, then ask yourself questions this why Natural England - Unnatural England actually - decided to hand out licenses to shoot Buzzard's to protect another bird species so that it can be shot then dumped in a stink pit to rot.

I can assure you there's nothing new here, I've found similar dumps in Bowland over the years, where I go as many times as anyone else does, and more times than most. On one occasion, as if to add to the sickness, the birds had been torched, which is what these same people will be doing to the moors shortly, all in the name of keeping an industry which kills for fun, thriving.

All this is the side salad of a multi-million pound industry, an industry involved in setting traps to kill anything which gets in the way of the success of it, the Fox, Stoat, and Weasel, are but a few examples, along with thousands of Mountain Hare slaughtered in Scotland annually.    

Sunday, 15 January 2017

(N)ice Windy Birding.

More nice birds to be found on Friday, on a brilliant day spoilt only by the unpleasant bitter north wind.

Common Sandpiper Antonio Puigg

I found the Conder Green Common Sandpiper again today, the first time in 24 day's despite three visits here, the bird was on the marsh on the rising tide with the Spotted Redshank, both initially at rest. The only other birds of any note were last Mondays 3 Goosander on Conder Pool.

Not the result of bad timing today as I couldn't have got to Glasson Dock any earlier, but the high 10m+ tide was half an hour away and had already taken over the Lune Estuary, but a walk east along the coastal path to Conder Green achieved the best count this winter here of at least 1,000 Wigeon, with 82 Bar-tailed Godwit, and a lone Little Grebe diving like a good'un and resurfacing like a cork in the raging river.

Including two seen on the estuary, the canal basin produced another increase in the peak count of 35 Goldeneye, they favour the east corner where there's an obvious food source. I went through a field along Jeremy Lane to get a closer look to find no odd one out amongst 350 Pink-footed Geese, just in time before a 'rhymes with trick' with two mutts put them to flight.

Off Moss Lane spread out between four fields west of Thursland Hill, I rough counted up to 300 Whooper Swan. The fields around Cockersand held more waders than I can recall here in a long time, most notably at least 2,000 Golden Plover, with uncounted but good numbers of Lapwing, Redshank, Dunlin, and Curlew, and I got my third helping in the last three visits of up to 80 Twite, they were again in the area around Bank Houses and the shore, though on each occasion they have been very flighty.

Thanks to Barry for the Starr Gate Snow Buntings in the header, and to Antonio for the Common Sandpiper in the post....Excellent and much appreciated on both counts.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Snatched Again.

Monday was another one of those snatched birding time sessions, and a wander around the Lune Estuary in the Conder/Glasson area was enjoyable whilst unexceptional, with the River Lune at Glasson particularly so, where wader numbers were at a low, though to say there was up to 3,000 Lapwing sounds like something of a contradiction, but barely 100 Golden Plover and much less in number of Redshank and Dunlin doesn't sound like it, 8 Black-tailed Godwit flew downstream at a pace, and I found just 5 Goldeneye drake on the canal basin. 

Goosander. Martin Lofgren Wild Bird Gallery

On Conder Pool, 3 Goosander were two drake and a female, 45 Wigeon and 80 Teal, with up to 100 Mallard. Five Little Grebe were in the creeks with the Spotted Redshank. Bird of the visit was the female Bullfinch featured in my previous post, seen from the coastal path midway between Conder and Glasson, where I noted 2 Robin, a Great Tit, and Blackbird

I've had no sighting, or seen any reports anywhere, of the Conder Green Common Sandpiper since 20 December.

Other Notes.

I was grateful to Simon Hawtin for passing on to me a record of the Stonechat he saw on Catshaw Fell 28 December which he kindly marked on the map. I've rarely been on this route, usually taking the track shown to the north-east on this map on the other side of Catshaw Greave up Hawthornthwaite Fell.

The count has reached a new peak of 23 Goldeneye on the Lune Estuary as seen and reported by AC on Tuesday, and the urban garden Grey Wagtail continues to visit us and was there again yesterday.

Confined to barracks since Monday, no birding, no blogging, but hopefully tomorrow may change all that.  

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The Bullfinch.

Towards Glasson Dock yesterday, a bird flew some distance ahead of me across the coastal path and into the trees, it had a white rump, when I caught up with the bird it was a female Bullfinch. 

It's always a bonus to find the Bullfinch anywhere in our recording area away from traditional sites, and Monday's bird was certainly an unexpected one for me, in all my years birding I never saw the species here before, and they are pretty scarce at Thurnham barely a mile away and to the south from here.

Female Bullfinch. Noushka @ 1000-Pattes

The Bullfinch is currently refered to in our recording area as a....'Fairly common, resident breeder in south-east Cumbria, the Arnside and Silverdale area, Heysham, and the Lune Valley, it is only occasionally recorded in north Fylde'....the species is on the Amber List. 

My most interesting sightings of Bullfinch have been of four seen at the foot of Birk Bank on the fringe of Bowland on 1 November 2004, with four seen here again 22 November, and eight on 18 December. This was the year of an invasion of northern Bullfinch, which - though their racial/population identity has yet to be resolved - they are mainly distinguished as being larger and more easily identified by their 'toy trumpet' call. During this irruption in 2004, over 1,000 Bullfinch were in Orkney and Shetland alone.

More recently, I noted records in the Fylde Annual Report 2014 of two Bullfinch on the Conder Estuary 18 January, and three at Galgate 26 July, these are in the same year I found five Bullfinch in Lancaster Cemetery on Quernmore Road on 31 October.

Interesting that only four British ringed Bullfinch have ever been recovered abroad, of which one was in Belgium, and two in France, the fourth was a bird ringed in SE Scotland in winter, and was recovered in a later winter 1,600km away in Northern Sweden. Only one foreign ringed Bullfinch has been recovered in Britain, this bird moved from the Netherlands to Essex.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Top Ten!

A brilliant day last Thursday in more ways than one, wall to wall sun, and the temperature not getting much above freezing if at all. The sort of day I'm spurred on to get into the hills, so off I went to check out the landscape on Clougha and Birk Bank. 

Stonechat. Howard Stockdale.

I was only out of the car park and on to the track for 5 minutes to find my first of an excellent 10 Stonechat in the four and a half hours here. Even more interesting, with the exception of the 'car park' bird, none was found in an area I've recently seen them before, they were seen as two pairs, four female, and two male, these are excellent record's of wintering Stonechat finally caught up with in the Clougha/Birk Bank area, and whilst singing Alleluia and chewing on a Mars Bar, a toast to the birds from my bottle of Ribena was in order.

This is my first double figure count of Stonechat on Clougha/Birk Bank in more than 7 years when I found ten birds on 12 October 2009, and all of this is a good excuse for more Stonechat pik's on Birds2blog, thanks for sending these to me Howard.

Also here, I counted at least 19 Red Grouse, 6 Robin, 2 Blackbird, and a Wren. A small group of winter thrushes were in a field off Rigg Lane in the fading light, I reckon up to 50 Fieldfare and 10 Redwing.

Not a single raptor was seen in this area of the Forest of Bowland today, but before I left home a Buzzard was low over Bowerham, seen from the kitchen window.

Thanks to Chris for the header image of the 1st winter Chiffchaff at Knott End mid-December. 

Friday, 6 January 2017

Some People Never Learn!

A brilliant cold but sunny day on Wednesday, I decided it would be good for the soul if not for birds, to leg it from Fluke Hall to Knott End. The Black Redstart found seven days ago was on the pager at 9.00am, so I decided it was time I went to take a look.

This is at least a five mile round walk, and was the road to nowhere, the bird had done a runner. Deja vu - Desert Wheatear Wednesday 23 November - some people never learn. But here's the sting in the tail....the Black Redstart was there again this Friday morning, reported by AC as he has done every day since it's arrival at Knott End. 

Mediterranean Gulls . Pete Woodruff.

Ne'r mind, I collected some pretty good compensation when a thorough sift through c.400 predominantly Black-headed Gull with up to 50 Common Gull notable, produced 4 adult Mediterranean Gull at Cockers Dyke. Also noted, up to 550 Dunlin, 3 Grey Plover, and a solitary Bar-tailed Godwit feeding on the tideline.

Along the coastal path, I saw 2 Sparrowhawk thirty minutes apart, both came from I know not where, over the marsh to fly inland and a Snipe likewise. Also noted, 2 Wren, and singles of Linnet, Meadow Pipit, and Dunnock. In the four hours I'd been on the coastal path I saw 5 Little Egret, and when I got back to the motor 4 Whooper Swan were in a field at Fluke Hall.

I was always going to do this walk along the coastal path to Knott End on Wednesday, Black Redstart or not, it was brilliant.


There really are Mediterranean Gulls in the image - Heysham Red Nab 24 August 2016 - 'clik the pik' to pick them out bigger and better.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Into 2017....

....and one or two of yesterday's sightings had added interest.

Pochard Female. Jan Larsson @ Vingspann 

To be honest the big surprise of the day for me was the Pochard on the canal basin at Glasson Dock, a rare breeder in the Leighton Moss area, a declining winter visitor, and at best irregular everywhere. An even bigger surprise was that this one was a female, any Pochard I've seen in the past on the canal basin have been almost entirely male. Also, of the new peak count of 17 Goldeneye, thirteen on here were all drake save two female, with another four drake Goldeneye on the Lune Estuary where I noted the only waders to be seen were below the edge of Colloway Marsh where a Peregrine Falcon was sat, c.120 Lapwing, 20 Dunlin, and a solitary Bar-tailed Godwit. I don't remember when the estuary here was so void of birds tide or no tide....and where are all the Bar-tailed Godwit?

Along the coastal path, 8 Blackbird, 6 Fieldfare, a Dunnock, Robin, and Great Tit. In the creeks at Conder Green, Spotted Redshank and 4 Little Grebe. Conder Pool was void of Little Grebe and little else, but 35 Wigeon and a similar number of Mallard noted.

Along Moss Lane, the Cockersand - it's actually Thurnham on the map - swan numbers were down by 50% compared to my visit here last Thursday, I estimate 300 Whooper Swan in the area west of Thursland Hill now, with 20 Pink-footed Geese seen. Seven Bewick's Swan were still in the field by Clarkson's Farm, with another 5 Whooper Swan by Slack Lane, these were seen as three adult and two juvenile.

Around the Bank Houses area, a flock of at least 90 Twite was higher than the one last Thursday when they were more like fifty, c.300 Golden Plover were in an Abbey Farm field, a Song Thrush and 5 Brown Hare were in the same field.

Pied Wagtail at Cockersand.

Pied Wagtail. Warren Baker @ Pittswood Birds  

I counted 24 Pied Wagtail in a flooded field at the junction of Moss/Slack Lane, these were seen as an exceptional number, and being I had to step to one side to loose my count three times for cars to pass me on the narrow lane, I reckon I would have found more. I made a quick comparison with records, when 121 were recorded in the 2015 January survey in our recording area compared to the previous 5 year mean of 96....These 24 Pied Wagtail in this one field yesterday equated to almost 25% of these five January counts.

A most enjoyable and rewarding first days birding for 2017....With thanks to Jan and Warren for their continued contribution to Birds2blog.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Black-tailed Godwit.

Black-tailed Godwit YR-GY Flag. Courtesy of Böddi. 

I found my first marked Black-tailed Godwit at Cockersand last Thursday, it was feeding in a field by Abbey Farm with Curlew, the bird was marked as a chick on 4 July 2012 in NW Iceland, my sighting is only the third since then, it having been seen twice one week apart in Ireland....

YR-GYflag 04.07.12 Reykholar, NW Iceland
YR-GYflag 02.09.12 Rahasane Turlough, Co. Galway, W Ireland
YR-GYflag 09.09.12 Rahasane Turlough, Co. Galway, W Ireland
YR-GYflag 29.12.16 Lune Estuary, Cockersand, Lancashire, NW England

I'm grateful once again to Böddi my man in Iceland, for his prompt attention to the report of this Black-tailed Godwit, and for forwarding the history, also for the image of this bird which hasn't been seen since September 2012 a little over two months after it's ringing.

On the subject of waders....

Despite ongoing serious declines, waders like the Golden Plover, Snipe, and Woodcock are still on the shooting for fun list. A moratorium needs to be imposed to established if this level of shooting is sustainable. Personally I think it should be banned forthwith, but we'll leave that for another time. 

Perhaps you would take a look and sign a petition in place Here