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.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Terned Out Nice Again!

Two adult Common Tern put in another brief appearance over Conder Pool again, one with a fish being chased by the other, but soon flew off. Although the breeders will have wandered during the summer months, for a species that breeds nowhere else in North Lancashire, with eight adult on Conder Pool at one time on 13 August, and birds seen at Glasson Dock and Cockersand, you have to wonder how many individuals have been on the Lune Estuary this year.

A lone Greenshank and 16 Little Grebe also present, and I had my fourth Kingfisher sighting in as many weeks upstream from the road bridge. 

To be honest, the creeks at Conder Green were virtually deserted, save 3 Common Sandpiper and a lone Black-tailed Godwit seen, and the channel from the iron bridge to the estuary, not a bird in sight.

I watched up to 1,640 waders being slowly pushed off the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock by the rising tide, with c.750 Redshank, similar Lapwing, 135 Curlew, 3 Dunlin, a lone Black-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank noted, with 4 Eider and a count of 32 Little Egret.

Whimbrel Plover Scar. Pete Woodruff.

The high tide wader count on Plover Scar was, 250 Dunlin, 28 Ringed Plover, 4 Turnstone, 3 Golden Plover, and a Whimbrel. An adult Mediterranean Gull was with Black-headed Gulls and 15 Eiderall drifting on a flat calm sea. A Peregrine Falcon was over flying east inland, and 12 Golden Plover came up off the shore below the abbey, accompanied by my third lone Black-tailed Godwit of the day. 

Thanks to Ana Minguez for the Hoopoe header. A little exotica to add some much needed colour to Birds2blog. 

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Anything Interesting....

....asked the man walking up to me at Cockersand.

Common Tern Plover Scar Cockersand. Pete Woodruff.

So I pointed out to him at the high tide roost at Cockersand, 2 Common Tern were on the seaward edge of Plover Scar with 330 waders landward, 130 Dunlin, 125 Oystercatcher, 68 Ringed Plover, 3 Redshank, 2 Turnstone, and 2 Whimbrel, 3 Eider were off the scar.

A similar count to last Saturday, was of 350 Golden Plover on the shore again as the tide ebbed, this time I was fully armed, 2 Wheatear and 12 Linnet seen around the abbey.

Three Common Tern paid a visit to Conder Pool, flying around a few minutes before moving on. I was hoping they had been two adult and a juvenile, not seen since seven days ago when they dispersed. 

Greenshank Conder Pool. Ian Pinkerton.

Also on the pool, 14 Greenshank on Tern Island are a first in my book in this number here. IP's 'clik the pikimage shows thirteen in view, and one on the back side of the island with the top of it's head just showing, also 19 Curlew, and 250 Lapwing. In the creeks, 2 Ruff with the Redshank again, 2 Common Sandpiper, 5 Dunlin, and a lone Black-tailed Godwit.

Of 18 Little Grebe seen, 16 were on Conder Pool, and 2 seen upstream from the road bridge was another first for me, also a Snipe.

What's The Bird?

Could have been a good mystery shot, an adult Common Tern, adult Mediterranean Gull?

Garden News.

Good to see a Holly Blue in our garden yesterday.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Oh No....Not Conder Green Again.

Conder Green addiction I hope I can never kick.

Greenshank Conder Pool 25 August. Pete Woodruff.

On a return visit to Conder Green in the afternoon, 12 Greenshank were in the creeks, ten of which had been on Conder Pool in the morning, a previous 16 Little Grebe count held firm again today, and 2 Ruff accompanied the Redshank in the creeks, with 2 Snipe seen. It was notable that at least one House Martin was seen entering a nest at Cafe d' Lune, but again I saw none at River Winds, 4 Speckled Wood seen along the coastal path.

Wheatear. Pete Woodruff.

A walk along the headland at Cockersand was rewarded by my first returning c.350 Golden Plover on the weed covered shingle, offering an opportunity to search for an 'American' with them, but I had left my telescope in the motor, no longer entitled to be called a 'real' birder any more....if I ever was. 

A Whimbrel was with the Golden Plover, and a Wheatear was my first returning bird to Cockersand, I had seen one here 3 weeks earlier on 4 August in 2017. A Kestrel was hovering over the abbey, and a lone female Eider and 29 Mute Swan were off Plover Scar which had been ruined as a high tide roost by the invasion of a couple with a dog.


Organised crime covered up by  government authorities.

Natural England chose to publish it's long awaited satellite tag data over this Bank Holiday period, quietly uploading it to the DEFRA website in the hope few - if anybody - would notice it, to reveal suspicious clustering of 'missing' Hen Harriers on English grouse moors.

Natural England are the Westminster Governments statutory Nature Conservation Agency, and along with them down the list from here, many other authorities - not excluding the silent RSPB - are creating a smoke screen to shield the Hen Harrier killers, instead of efforts to get them all to the courts, and closing down the vile sport of shooting Red Grouse.

Wonder how long this years fledged Bowland Hen Harriers will survive....WE WILL WIN is the cry....but don't hold your breath.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Two Around The Green.

Ruff Conder Green 23 August. Pete Woodruff.

In a couple of hours around the Conder Green area, I found another influx of 9 Common Sandpiper, I've never seen this number before at Conder Green in late August. A Ruff was in the creeks with Redshank and 2 Black-tailed Godwit. Down the channel from the iron bridge, c.250 Redshank, 12 Dunlin, and of 12 Greenshank seen, 9 were here, and 3 on Conder Pool, where from a few attempts, 14 Little Grebe counted were two down on Tuesdays peak of sixteen. Not the best of Ruff photographs, more like one of the worst....but I just keep trying!

The Conder Common Terns.

Despite two visits to Conder Pool during the course of the afternoon, there was no sign of any Common Terns, leading to the supposition they have dispersed. If I'm right about this, I'm really surprised these birds have moved on, particularly so the young bird, which in my opinion fledged early, if only by a couple of days, and from my observations was reluctant to take to the wing and fly around the pool very much, and certainly wasn't fishing for itself as it should have been, but was content to stand around begging to be fed by the parent birds.

Common Tern Conder Pool 22 August. Ian Pinkerton.

This is the last of many hundreds of images taken by IP the champion of the Conder Terns, an adult on Conder Pool on Wednesday prior to their departure. IP sent this picture to me as a lasting reminder of the excellent journey he followed with these brilliant birds at Conder Green.

My thanks to Cliff Raby for his Sanderling header image which is very much appreciated, and which acts as a reminder of the disastrous breeding season the Sanderling and other shorebirds have had in NE Greenland this year....An update on this is Here  

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

The New Post....

....another original title!

Adult/Juvenile Common Tern Conder Pool 21 August. Pete Woodruff.

Four Common Tern seen, including the juvenile which I actually saw in flight for the first time yesterday, albeit just a couple of metres after enjoying a bathe, to fly back on to the island. But unlike the pontoon young when fledged, in no time were flying and diving like lifelong experts, this bird seems reluctant to spend much time on the wing, and certainly hasn't yet been observed to fish for itself a week after fledging, but is adept at begging.

Also on Conder Pool, a new peak of 16 Little Grebe, 6 Greenshank, and up to 200 Lapwing spooked into the air en masse. In the creeks, a juvenile Ruff was again with the few Redshank, a lone Dunlin, and 2 Common Sandpiper. Upstream from the road bridge is obviously my best spot for Kingfisher when I had my third sighting in recent visits here. House Martin were noticeable for their absence at River Winds and the Cafe 'd Lune, obviously dispersed.

Odd ones out on the relatively deserted Lune Estuary were an adult Common Tern, 2 Goosander, and a lone Black-tailed Godwit. Of 11 Speckled Wood seen, 3 were on the coastal path to Conder Green, and 8 at Aldcliffe where I saw my first post-breeding Wheatear on a fence post out on the marsh, a species with a very protracted migration period which can be seen as late as November. Although the pools at Aldcliffe are once again water-filled, an hour here was otherwise virtually birdless, and the Wildfowler's Pools deserted. 

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Winter Birding!

Friday seemed like winter birding was upon us, with a temperature drop, heavy clouds, some rain around, and windy too. I stuck my neck out and went to Heysham when it looked likely I might get a soaking, but in fact I got away with a dry shod visit to find 8 Mediterranean Gull, two adult on Red Nab, with four and two juvenile on No 2 outfall.

A small gull frustrated me, the only detail I got was a striking grey-black cap as I picked the bird up flying seaward down Heysham 2 outfall, but I was distracted by a tern, which I soon identified as a juvenile Arctic Tern. I then failed to pick up the small gull again, but have recorded it as the long stay adult Little Gull, though - as in the image of a 2nd winter bird above - my bird had a much bolder grey-black cap than I somehow felt the staying adult would have, apparently by now in winter plumage. 

On the beach at Half Moon Bay, I found 2 Rock Pipit, with 11 Ringed Plover on the shingle.

Common Tern Conder Pool 17 Aug 'clik the pikPete Woodruff 

On Conder Pool I found the fledged juvenile and one adult Common Tern

Common Tern Conder Pool 17 Aug 'clik the pik'  Ian Pinkerton

But I've yet to see the juvenile in flight, though IP did later in the day. 

Also 4 Greenshank, and a Common Sandpiper which I'm already beginning to think might be a/the wintering bird. Noted in the creeks, c.60 Redshank, 4 Dunlin, and a lone Black-tailed Godwit.

Thanks to Ian Mitchell for the excellent Sea Eagle header image, seen at Lochdon on the Isle of Mull.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

The Moment Of Truth.

I received what must have been something like my 100th text over the weeks from Ian 'Pinky' Pinkerton at Conder Pool yesterday 15 August at 2.18pm, and I was as chuffed as a kid with a new toy, to read it saying that the lone Common Tern young from the second pair had fledged.

The images below and credited to Ian Pinkerton, illustrate the minutes leading up to the moment of truth, from the bird begging to be fed attended by a parent bird, then joined by two more adult birds, one or both could be either friend or foe. But the sheep were not welcome, and were attacked by adult birds, but the invasion by the sheep, brought about the desired result and the young bird took to the wing for it's maiden flight....ALLELUIA.

Bigger and better....'clik the piks'  

The Long Watch.

Ian Pinkerton has dedicated no less than 18 weeks to the Common Tern cause on Conder Pool. I can't remember how many hours it all adds up to, but give or take some essential days off, it was nothing for him to spend 5 hours on duty at the viewing platform to observe and record the comings and goings of the breeding Common Terns.

Yesterday was just reward for dedication, to be there at precisely the right time to see the climax of this 24 day old bird having found out what life is like on the wing.

So is this the end for IP at Conder Green, I doubt it, I think he'll wait until he's convinced the bird/s have moved on, at which point I reckon he will be asking, what can we expect to see next on Conder Pool.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Before & After.

I paid a couple of extended visits to Conder Green on Monday four hours apart, two hours before the tide, and two after, producing some interest and a little quality, albeit the time for quality ratio was a bit unbalanced.

Before the tide.

Greenshank. Pete Woodruff.

Four of 6 Greenshank seen later were roosting on Conder Pool before the high tide, also 11 Little Grebe, a Little Egret, and a Stock Dove, 2 Common Sandpiper and Snipe were in the creeks. 

Greenshank/Little Egret Conder Pool. Pete Woodruff.

After the tide.

Ruff/Redshank Conder Creeks. Pete Woodruff.

Initially roosting with up to 80 Redshank on the marsh, a Ruff was nice as the tide dropped off the creeks, seen later feeding on the mud.

The Conder Common Terns. 

Common Tern Conder Pool 13 August. Pete Woodruff.

When I arrived at Conder Pool I eventually saw 8 Common Tern, all adult flying around chasing each other noisily with their rapid series of quarrelling calls. I haven't the faintest idea what all this was about, but it was prolonged and unceasing for several minutes. Perhaps this is common behaviour within a colony of Common Terns even in mid-August, though no reference to this found in BWP

Meanwhile it was a concern that there was no sign of the young bird, which seems to have been the case since last Friday. But then I spotted movement in a gap beneath the slab in the picture above top right, it was the young bird cowering beneath this huge piece of stone.

I had to wait until I returned later after the tide to be convinced the bird was alive, it was out from beneath the stone, and looking good at 22 days old when I was there on Monday.....24 as I write.


No human has had a hand in the growing of this plant. I watched a Coal Tit one day during the winter, taking Sunflower seeds from the feeders and burying them in this pot in our garden.