Sunday, 17 February 2019


I'm as yet not able to bird - definitely not able to bird as I knew it - since 2 September, in fact my few attempts to do so have been abysmal, and as my last post on 2 January made clear, Birds2blog was closed for refurbishment, and that I would be back soon....hopefully. 

But an early Stonechat has been the cause of Birds2blog being resurrected even sooner than I had hoped for, and with Andrew Cornall on Friday, I found a stunning male Stonechat working along the fenceposts at Cockersands, 'pennies from heaven' it seemed, and I suggested to AC perhaps an early passage for the Stonechat had taken off.

A text from AC this morning has proved the suggestion to be correct, and the records collected today stand at an impressive 11 Stonechat including Friday's Cockersand bird....

Male Knott End
Female Pilling Lane Ends
Pair Cockersand
Five possibly six from the recycling road off Heysham bypass.

This is the earliest spring passage of the Stonechat that I'm aware of, it's certainly a first for me, and on a search through the LDBWS Annual Reports in 10 years found no February records other than wintering Stonechat.

It's worth noting that 2015 proved to be an excellent passage during March, with up to 74 birds reported, including 7 on Middleton foreshore 8 March, and 13 in the Cockersand/Jeremy Lane area 10 March.

Thanks to Bob Bushell for his excellent Stonechat photographed at Old Passway, Bristol. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Friday, 21 December 2018

Bowland Blue Birds.

Followers will be aquainted with the 'Blue Birds' of Birds2blog, and in 2018 I was rewarded with one or two pretty good ones on my Bowland visits, though three to Hawthornthwaite produced not a single Stonechat.

Feb 21. A winter wander around Marshaw - Tower Lodge - Winfold Fell produced 2 Woodcock of note. 

April 18. Two months later was better rewarded by 2 Ring Ouzel on the west side of Hawthornthwaite, always good to find your own away from the birding hot spot of Langden.  A pair of Stonechat were on the east side of the fell.

May 2.    At Barbondale, 4 Stonechat were seen as two pairs, and 4 Tree Pipit noted. 

May 15. At Birk Bank, 3 Stonechat seen as a pair and lone male, 13 Willow Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Tree Pipit, and 5 Buzzard.

May 23. Three Pied Flycatcher included a pair found nesting in a tree hole, a juvenile Crossbill seen drinking on the Marshaw Wyre, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Blackcap, a Siskin and Repoll seen, House Martin nesting at Tower Lodge.      

May 29.  At Barbondale, the peak count from three visits this year was 10 Pied Flycatcher, also 4 Redstart, a Garden Warbler, and Spotted Flycatcher.

June 5. At Harrisend, a male StonechatCuckooand 4 Buzzard. At Stoops Bridge, Abbeystead, 2 Garden Warbler, and a Spotted Flycatcher, and at Christ Church, 4 House Martin nests active, and 2 Buzzard soaring overhead.

June 12/27. Marshaw  - Tower Lodge - Trough Bridge, 7 Pied Flycatcher included the tree nesting pair, a young being attended by a female at a nest box hole in the wooded enclosure, and alone female seen above Trough Bridge, where a Siskin seen and 3 Redpoll included a young bird being fed. The peak count here this year was of 12 Spotted Flycatcher, 10 Grey Wagtail, 5 Common Sandpiper included a juvenile. A Nuthatch, Mistle Thrush, and Great Tit were all seen feeding young.

June 22. At Birk Bank, 9 Stonechat were seen as a pair with a full brood of five, a lone male and lone female. An excellent 5 Keeled Skimmer were seen on the bog, and included a male and female coupled, and one ovipositing.

Aug 3. Harrisend, 9 Stonechat included juveniles, and 6 Buzzard. On Hawthornthwaite, a stunning male Merlin took off ahead of me and obligingly went to perch the far side of Catshaw Greave on a boulder.

My birding days as I knew them, ended a month later on 2 September. Hopefully 2019 will change all that, and I'd like to wish everyone who kept in touch with Birds2blog and the little interest that it hopefully created....


Thursday, 13 December 2018


Interesting material for a gap filler on Birdsblog.

Lapwing. Bob Bushell 

Bob Bushells recent post coincided with 65 Lapwing flying purposefully East over Bowerham, Lancaster today, seen as an early movement on 13 December inland from the coast. 

Iv'e often recorded Lapwing on territory at Newby Moor, Clapham, N York's on the first days of February, but I'd need to be told if this wasn't the earliest record of movement to upland breeding grounds in December.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

After The Break!

After the break of fourteen weeks since the event of 2 September, thanks to my good friend Mike, I achieved a couple of hours birding in exchange for taxiing and escorting me around the Lune Estuary.

Of note on Conder Pool, 6 Goosander and 14 Wigeon. In the creeks, 3 Little Grebe seen, and a Kingfisher flew by c.150 Teal roosting on the marsh, also a Kestrel seen.

Goldeneye Brian Rafferty

On the canal basin at Glasson Dock, a decent early December count of 23 Goldeneyealso 4 Great-crested Grebe. Of note, two Goldeneye were still at Glasson on the canal basin last May.

On Jeremy Lane, 5 Whooper Swan were with Mute Swans, and with birds on the north side of Moss Lane by Clarkson's Farm, and in fields to the south side, up to 450 Whooper Swan present, and in the field south of the junction of Moss Lane/Slack Lane, 6 Bewick's Swan were seen as two adult and a full compliment of four juvenile. Six Bewick's Swan is a rewarding sight in itself, but a party of 4 immature is exceptional, another first for me in my book.

Kestrel Cockersand. Pete Woodruff.

Two sightings of Kestrel were at Bank Houses and Slack Lane, from where c.175 Golden Plover were with Lapwing, and c.250 Black-tailed Godwit seen in the air, then down in the field to the north behind Tomlinson's Farm, with a Buzzard perched atop of the hedgerow behind Crook Cottage, c.60 Twite flew over from the Bank Houses area to go down on to the marsh, a Reed Bunting seen by the Caravan Park.

Buzzard Cliff Raby

Two Buzzard were soaring over our house in Lancaster this morning.

The header image was taken on a beautiful cold and frosty December morning in 2010. Many thanks to Brian and Cliff for their photographs. 

Sunday, 28 October 2018


On a suggestion by the team, more occupational therapy was required. So armed with a pair of binoculars I could turn the therapy into a welcome spell of birding with KT through Williamson Park on Friday....Chocks away!

An influx of at least 12 Blackbird were attracted to berries on a beautiful Yew at Fenham Carr, they were accompanied by 2 Redwing and 2 Goldcrest, with 2 Robin seen, and a small number of Blue Tit, Great Tit, and Chaffinch. Most impressive was the 9 Nuthatch seen/heard on the visit.

Comma Lancaster Cemetery 26 October. Pete Woodruff.

Four October butterflies seen on a brief wander through Lancaster Cemetery on Quernmore Road, 2 Comma and 2 Red Admiral all pristine individuals on Ivy. Not many birds seen, but a Song Thrush is an excellent record in any birders notebook these days, and up to 12 Magpie and at least similar Wood Pigeon

This was OT at its best.


A Ring-necked Parakeet was reported seen in flight over Freehold on 14 October. Presumably the same bird had been heard three days earlier at the University of Cumbria, and I'm belatedly and reliably told of a bird heard again from St Peter's Road around the cathedral last Sunday 21 October.

Ring-necked Parakeet. Warren Baker.

Almost certainly, this is the same bird heard twice since the first sighting, and possibly still in this area.

Sunday, 14 October 2018


I spotted a moth to photograph in the garden in the week, which at least gave me a little material to give the breath of life to Birds2blog until I get the green flag for birding again. 

It was The Vapourer, a caterpillar of which I had photographed in the garden a couple of years ago. Only the male has functional wings, the female rarely moves from her cocoon, and usually lays her eggs on the cocoon itself.

The caterpillar is easy to recognise with red spots on it's hairy body, four cream 'shaving brushes' and assorted hairy 'horns'.


The Great Escape.

Thanks to Lynn Woodruff I was released from my housebound prison for the first time since the incident of 2 September, and was escorted along with KT on a walk along the Stone Jetty at Morecambe where I was rewarded with an October butterfly, a Wall Brown basking on the sea defences.

Wall Brown Marc Heath  

A species of conservation concern due to habitat loss and the resulting drop in population, reflected by my own records as the first and only one seen since 13 August 2017.

Thanks to Marc for the Wall Brown, and to Richard for the Iceland Gull header. I'm predicting one in our area before Christmas, probably at Heysham Harbour....Here's hoping I'm fit once again by then to able to go see it.  

Sunday, 23 September 2018

No Migrants For Me....

....nor any other birds sadly....but I live in hope!

 Black-tailed Godwit with Ruff. Howard Stockdale.

A disappointment in that a record was buried beneath my health scare before I could submit it to my man in Iceland. But I have now recieved the life history of a Black-tailed Godwit seen at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve 5 August 2018, subsequently recorded 31 times in 5 countries including a return to Iceland 4 times.....

5 in NW Spain 2005
3 in W Portugal in 2006
12 in W Portugal 2007
S Iceland on 12 June 2008
2 W Portugal in 2009 
S Iceland on 1 June 2009
Netherlands 2 April 2010
S Iceland 15 May 2011
W Portugal 3 Feb 2014
W Portugal 5 Feb 2015
S Iceland 23 April 2017
W Portugal 2 Feb 2018
NW England 5 Aug 2018

The bird was ringed YL-GL 13 years ago as a male pulli on 13 July 2005 in S Iceland. 

13/07/2005 Iceland,S Ice,Árnessýsla,Friðland í Flóa, 63.9001 -21.191
02/09/2005 Spain,NW Spa,Galicia,Pontevedra,O Grove 42.4962 -8.8712
04/09/2005 Spain,NW Spa,Galicia,Pontevedra,O Grove 42.4962 -8.8712
24/09/2005 Spain,NW Spa,Galicia,Pontevedra,O Grove 42.4962 -8.8712
28/11/2005 Spain,NW Spa,Galicia,Pontevedra,O Grove 42.4962 -8.8712
30/12/2005 Spain,NW Spa,Galicia,Pontevedra,O Grove 42.4962 -8.8712
27/11/2006 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
01/12/2006 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
10/12/2006 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
03/01/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
06/01/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
29/01/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
27/02/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
05/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
08/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
09/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
12/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
14/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
15/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
16/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
22/03/2007 Portugal, W Por, Aveiro ,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
12/06/2008 Iceland,S Ice,Rangárvallasýsla,Fljótshlíð,Fagrahlíð 63.7339 -20.098
20/01/2009 Portugal,W Por,Santarém,Tagus Est,Samora Correia 38.9461 -8.8401
18/02/2009 Portugal,W Por,Santarém,Tagus Est,Samora Correia 38.9461 -8.8401
01/06/2009 Iceland,S Ice,Rangárvallasýsla,Fljótshlíð,Fagrahlíð 63.7339 -20.098
02/04/2010 Netherlands,C Neth,Overijssel,Ijssel,Zwolle 52.4959 6.06211
15/05/2011 Iceland,S Ice,Rangárvallasýsla,Fljótshlíð,Fagrahlíð 63.7339 -20.098
03/02/2014 Portugal,W Por,Setúbal,Tagus Estuary,Giganta 38.9123 -8.9297
05/02/2015 Portugal,W Por,Setúbal,Tagus Estuary,Giganta 38.9123 -8.9297
23/04/2017 Iceland, S Ice,Rangárvallasýsla,Fljótshlíð,Kollabær 63.7344 -20.070
02/02/2018 Portugal, W Por,Tagus Est,Cara Larga, Porto Alto 38.9616 -8.9205
05/08/2018 England, NW Lancashire,M'cbe Bay, Leighton Moss 54.1500 -2.8129

I'm grateful to Boddi for his prompt attention to this record, and for the life history he sent me, also thanks to Howard Stockdale for the images he achieved at the Eric Morecambe Hide at Leighton Moss on 5 August, and to Martin Lofgren for his Leach's Storm Petrel header image.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

A Breath Of Life.

Sounds a little dramatic, but wasn't meant to, rather than meaning to give a breath of life to Birds2blog whilst I get back some sort of normality again, and just to thank everyone who passed on to to me their good wishes via e-mail, phone, and card, I really appreciate them all, and had no idea I had such a strong healthy following. 


It was also good to see Brian Rafferty back in business following a spell in hospital. Brian's Long-eared Owl is featured in my header image, and is one of two birds he saw on the the trip. The bird in the header being a juvenile, the other above an adult bird.

Pallid Harrier.  

Pallid Harrier Jan Larsson 

Pallid Harrier at write. 

Sunday, 9 September 2018

The Last Post....

....well hopefully not!

As luck would have it I had drafted this post last Saturday 1st September, the night before the stroke put me on the ground, and so it was almost ready to publish with a bit of an edit.

This post was always going to be titled 'My Kind Of Birding' as it was just that, being the area I was in on a nice sunny day searching for the Stonechat. But my book now reads the visit to Birk Bank was a disaster, in that I found none in four hours there. OK, so over the years I've already said all there is to be said about the Stonechat, so with nothing new to say, I'll spare the post any repeats.

Birds of note were few, 3 Red Grouse were on Birk Bank, 2 Jay flying towards the woods, a group of up to 8 Blue Tit, a Coal Tit, and a Goldcrest were in the woodlands by Ottergear Bridge. I paid two visits to Birk Bank bog, in the hope the sun had brought out any dragonflies, on my way out I saw at least one Common Darter and 2 Small Copper butterflies.

Golden-ringed Dragonfly. Warren Baker. 

On my return to the bog 4 hours later I struck gold, having stood around for about 30 minutes, I was fortunate to see a Golden-ringed Dragonfly, which I initially picked up above the tree-line before it dropped height for better views, but never came to land before being lost to view. 

There have obviously been a small number of previous records from Birk Bank, but this may be a possible first for 2018, and not being big on dragonflies, this was only my fifth Golden-ringed Dragonfly I've seen, previously one at Birk Bank, and three at Hawthornthwaite....Thanks to Warren for the excellent image.