Tuesday, 15 October 2019

By Recent Standards....A Nice Day.

Weather-wise a nice day, if there's not even a hint of a breeze at Cockersand it's certainly a nice day, but a couple of bod's out on Plover Scar meant the end of any chance of a roost, but n'er mind, there's more to Cockersand than a high tide roost. And anyway....why wasn't I out looking for Yellow-browed Warblers!

On Cockerham Sands/Cocker Estuary, a conservative estimate was of 3,500 Wigeon, with an excellent count of up to 1,250 Curlew, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 275 Shelduckand 3 Great-crested Grebe, there was no significant numbers of uncounted Redshank and DunlinI was impressed by 25 Greenfinch flighty around the Bank Houses area, a sample of 18 Skylark which I could hear during my time at Cockersand, they were heading SW towards Pilling, also 15 Meadow Pipit, a Wren was around the abbey ruins and 2 Grey Plover were on the shore below the headland, c.250 Pink-footed Geese went over SW, and 8 Little Egret were in fields with 82 Curlew around Abbey Farm. 

Although c.750 Golden Plover were on the mud below Colloway Marsh, the Lune Estuary was otherwise pretty quiet, but 155 Dunlin noted, with 24 Curlew, 12 Wigeon, and the Black Swan emerging from the Conder Estuary. Conder Pool was equally quiet, with a roost of 6 Greenshank and just 10 Little Grebe seen today. In the creeks, 120 Teal, 4 Little Grebe, 2 Goosander, and 15 Goldfinch flighty as ever over the marsh.

Giant House Spider Tegenaria duellica Pete Woodruff Clik the pik

No appropriate piks for the post again, but thought you would like to see this beauty in our house recently, the coin for scale is a two pence piece. KT wasn't too keen on it staying here, so we decided to eject it from the living room and into the garden....Hope this wasn't a fatal decision for the spider, after all it is a House Spider.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Wot No Piks!

It's now even more difficult to access the still rising number of grebe on Conder Pool, with channels to go down, and islands to get behind now the pool has flooded again, but after the customary multi-attempts, at least 18 Little Grebe counted, also 4 Greenshank, 5 Little Egret, 2 Snipe, and a Kingfisher in flight across the pool. Another 4 Little Grebe were in the creeks, with up to 55 Teal and 5 Goosander, a Sparrowhawk was over the marsh, with c.40 Goldfinch flighty over. Down the channel, the now wintering Common Sandpiper seen, and 4 Greenshank down here were probably the four seen earlier on Conder Pool.

Checking the Lune Estuary at Glasson it was good to meet four Fylde birders, all high ranking in my book and much respected. Curlew Sandpiper which I saw briefly, was possibly another bird to the one I've seen here 3/8 October, based on SP - one of the four  - claiming this bird was mobile on both legs before it flew off prematurely, my bird had been seen as severely handicapped with one leg. 

count here was of at least 300 Greylag, but almost certainly many more were upstream and out of sight on the mud below Colloway Marsh, 2 Greenshank, and 82 Curlew, the Redshank and Dunlin went uncounted, but not exceeding 250 in total after a number of both left and flew off downstream, leaving behind at least 1,000 Lapwing

I found 5 Migrant Hawker, one seen at the west end of Conder Pool, and four on the canal at Glasson Dock east along the tow-path beyond Christ Church. I wondered at the time, if I've seen four in one small area, perhaps if I'd have walked a mile along the tow-path to The Mill at Conder Green, I would have found another good count of Migrant Hawker as on 19 September.

A skein of at least 200 Pink-footed Geese over Bowerham again yesterday morning. 


No piks in the post, but the header is another Golden Oldie of the Kentish Plover found on Plover Scar at Cockersand 3 May 2011. Thanks to Mick McGough for the brilliant image of this excellent rare vagrant. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Out For A Duck!....

....and one or two other birds.

There was no more than 40 Teal at Conder Green yesterday, but despite sifting through every last one of 'em, I failed to see the juvenile male Garganey....another first for the green, been here since 28 September.

Conder Pool is more appropriately called Conder Lake once again, and the best of four attempts resulted in 13 Little Grebe, with a few no doubt finding plenty of hiding places in the channels and out of view behind the islands. Otherwise quiet with 3 Greenshank and 21 Curlew making up the numbers. Two Goosander were in the creeks, and a Red Admiral can't have been the happiest butterfly on the wing today, windy, and lashing it down 15 minutes earlier.

Redshank. Howard Stockdale. Clik the pik

The left legged Curlew Sandpiper with injury to it's right leg, seen again on the Lune Estuary as last Thursday, it was accompanied by a Ruffwith Redshank and Dunlin amounting to little more than 200 birds. Of c.380 Greylag seen, I reckon those to make up last Thursdays count of at least 620 were out of sight upriver below Colloway Marsh where I counted 16 Canada Geese. A Great-crested Grebe and 17 Wigeon were noted, the Golden Plover were noticeably absent.

Home Sightings.

Four skeins of up to 300 Pink-footed Geese SW over Bowerham this morning, also a Red Admiral in the garden.

Thanks to Howard for the in flight Redshank and lone Dunlin, and to Martin for putting the record straight, that we've not had a Stonechat image on B2B for ages.

P.S....This is amazing, and a First for Ireland 

Saturday, 5 October 2019

A Little Healthier, A Little Longer.

A bit more action on Thursday resulted in a healthier looking list than Mondays shortie, and I was at Glasson Dock 3 hours before to see the rising tide moving birds around.

There was something of a spectacle with at least 620 Greylag on the Lune Estuary, a personal highest concentration to date seen in one sighting. Also of note, a Curlew Sandpiper which had an injury to it's right leg leaving the bird severely crippled, an adult Mediterranean Gull, 25 Curlew, 12 Snipe, 4 Greenshank, and 3 GoosanderOn Conder Pool, 10 Greenshank in the high tide roost, 15 Little Grebe, and a Common Sandpiper, c.120 Goldfinch were seen again as Monday, flighty over the marsh.

On only my fourth visit to Cockersand since the episode of last September, and my first circuit completed here since late August 2018. Plover Scar held up to 90 Turnstone, and a Sparrowhawk which I flushed from out of sight below the headland. A Rock Pipit was on the shingle, and I found 340 Curlew in fields by Abbey Farm, 220 in one, and 120 in another where there was at least 750 Golden Plover, 125 Lapwing and 5 Little Egret.

I saw 3 Kestrel on the day, two as I left Cockersand on Slack Lane and Moss Lane, and another as I drove by Ashton Golf Club.

Greenshank high tide roost on Conder Pool.

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I'm always singing the praises of Conder Pool, the header image continues the praises, albeit a Golden Oldie of the Temminck's Stint on 28 May 2011. 
Worthy of a mention on Birds2blog....On Wednesday, 500 Red Throated Divers at the rate of 100 per hour north past Maryport on a rising tide.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

The Short List.

If your name is on the short list in a competition it's good news, you'll be in with a chance, and could be a winner. But this short list was the result of a couple of hours birding yesterday, and certainly wasn't a winner, despite a bit of effort resulted in very little....But, if the birds ain't there, then the list is going to be short.

Nine Greenshank were in the high tide roost on Conder Pool with 11 Curlew, also 16 Teal, with 6 Little Egret, a Stock Dove noted, and the customary multi counts resulted in 20 Little Grebe again. Twelve Snipe came up off the marsh - thanks Howard - and headed off over the estuary, 2 Goosander seen.

Wheatear Cockersand 30 Sept. Pete Woodruff. Clik the pik

A brief visit to Cockersand saw a Wheatear, the smallest of Northern Wheatear I ever saw, the size of a Robin, and truly fooled me initially. Also seen, a Sparrowhawk, and at least 500 Curlew in two flights of 300/200 out over the marsh. At Bank Houses, 2 Swallow were on the wires, and similar at Lambs Farm, Moss Lane, and a Silver Y seen.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Estuary Notes Weds 25 Oct.

When I met Andrew and Michael at Conder Green, there was a couple of surprises in store for us all. Just when we thought we'd seen the last of the hirundines for 2019 save the odd straggler, the skies over the picnic area seen from Conder Pool, held in excess of 100 House Martin, widely spread and milling around. Prior to the martins, c.50 Swallow had been over Conder Green, and c.120 Goldfinch were flighty over the marsh and feeding on Sea Aster seeds.

This was followed by the surprise of 2 Pintail female on Conder Pool, and was another first for the pool, I can find none in my book in 16 years of watching here. Also on the pool, 106 Black-headed Gull18 Little Grebe, a Meadow Pipit, Kingfisher, and a Common Sandpiper, with a second bird seen in the creeks.

Mediterranean Gull. Pete Woodruff. Clik the pik

On the Lune Estuary, the recently ever changing number was of 550 Golden Plover today, 18 Snipe, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Greenshank, and 4 Mediterranean Gull being two adult and two 1st winter, a Black Swan was in the company of a juvenile Mute SwanA short distance on the canal, between the basin and Christ Church, 5 Migrant Hawker seen. 

Black-necked Grebe juvenile Len 

Although pretty laborious, especially now the number can reach a peak of twenty on occasions, the exercise of always counting the Little Grebe on Conder Pool, serves the purpose of checking individuals to find an odd one out amongst them again one day. I found a juvenile Black-necked Grebe here 11 years ago on 1 October 2008, it stayed for 17 days.     

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

....And More On The Hawker.

You would have been forgiven for using the word 'dead' to describe the scene on Conder Pool when you stepped onto the viewing platform yesterday, but 18 Little Grebe and a Greenshank there made it alive....just!

In the creeks, a Common Sandpiper made it another day nearer to being the wintering bird, 42 Teal noted, and 24 Goldfinch were flighty over the marsh. It was noticeable that no Swallow were around Conder Green Farm, and no House Martin at River Winds.

On the Lune Estuary at low tide, with numbers fluctuating each visit, my best estimate today was of 750 Golden Plover. Other notes included 142 Curlew, 17 Snipe, 11 Greenshank, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Ploveran adult Spotted Redshank, adult Mediterranean Gull, and a Great-crested Grebe.

Thanks to Richard for the Guillemot header image, seen on the Wyre Estuary last Thursday.

Greenshank & Redshank feeding in a low tide channel on the Lune Estuary.

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The Migrant Hawker. 

The Migrant Hawker was first recorded in Lancashire as recent as just over 30 years ago in 1988 at Heysham/Middleton and Mere Sands Wood, then no more were seen until 6 years later when two were seen on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal at Aintree in 1994. It was another 2 years before the earliest indication of breeding was of a female ovipositing at Mere Sands Wood in 1996.  

The Migrant Hawker is an essentially late summer/early autumn species, records peak in the first half of September, double-figure counts are frequently made, the largest being 13 years ago when there was 67 at Middleton NR in September 2006.

So my double-figure count on Thursday 19 September 2019 wasn't all that significant after all, but it remains in my records book as the second largest count, 54 individuals in a mile long stretch of the Lancaster Canal in under a one hour period, and something I thought I was imagining. 

Ref: Steve White and Philip H. Smith. (2015). The Dragonflies of Lancashire and North Merseyside. 

Saturday, 21 September 2019

The Hawker Mile.

I walked the canal towpath yesterday, a little in excess of a mile, from the basin at Glasson Dock to The Mill at Conder Green, and recorded at least 54 Migrant Hawker, including six coupled pairs, recorded as 'at least' because I probably missed more out of view behind the tall reeds along some sections of the canal, presumably this years adults, combining with migrants to cause a late summer surge in numbers, also 4 Brown Hawker, seen as two pair coupled.

Conder Pool held 3 Greenshank, 20 Little Grebe, and a Snipe, in the creeks, 2 Common Sandpiper. Two House Martin were still around River Winds, and Swallow seen around Conder Green Farm.

On the Lune Estuary, 11 Greenshank, c.960 Golden Plover, there was similar numbers of c.350 Redshank and Lapwing, and c.50 Curlew, Dunlin, and 2 Black-tailed Godwit.

Ten Long-tailed Tit worked their way through our garden this morning.

Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica Antonio Puigg. Clik the pik

No piks for the post, but wouldn't Antonio's male Black-eared Wheatear have added a little more colour to Fluke Hall recently! 

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

LRP Needs To Read The Script!

Two visits to Conder Pool yesterday - nothing new there then - the first three hours before high tide, the second at high tide when 11 Greenshank had taken to the pool to roost over the tide. Despite multi attempts at counting, I found only 8 Little Grebe today, with a Wheatear, Common Sandpiper, and at least 20 Meadow Pipit.

Noted on the Lune Estuary, up to 650 Golden Plover again as last Friday, a Greenshank, 11 Snipe, a  lone Black-tailed Godwit, a Wheatear, and a Sparrowhawk cruising overhead. 

Migrant Hawker. Pete Woodruff. Clik the pik

On the canal between the basin and just beyond Christ Church, 8 Migrant Hawker, and by Saltcote Pond, a Brown Hawker and Common Darter seen.

A short circuit around Aldcliffe included a juvenile Little Ringed Plover on the flood, perhaps this bird needs to read the script. Also on the flood, a Ruff, 4 Snipe, and a Green Sandpiper was the marked bird seen recently with an orange ring on it's left leg, and a green one on the right, unidentifiable as an individual without the digits being read, but ringed at Woolston Eyes in Cheshire. Butterflies seen, 4 Speckled Wood, a Comma, Red Admiral, and a Migrant Hawker.

Five Little Grebe seen 18 August on the old hospital reservoir at Fenham Carr, seen again Sunday.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

More Red Nab Therapy.

I got to Heysham nearly four hours before high tide on Friday, to do a quick check of the gull roost on Red Nab before setting off to walk along the sea wall to the harbour. There was few gains in that exercise, though it was good to see an adult Little Gull on the outfall, presumably the regular seen here, though I did note a left wing primary feather missing on this bird. Also of note, c.150 Turnstone on the old wooden jetty.

Back at Red Nab to watch the tide coming in, a new and first experience for me, was to eventually arrive at a count of at least 40 Mediterranean Gull by 11.30am, they were seen as 28 x adult, 6 x 2cy, and 6 x 1cy. 

Rehbach Gravel Pit Leipzig Sachsen Germany. Image Courtesy of Team Leipzig Clik the pik

They included 2 marked birds, one ringed as a chick on 11 June in Germany, and reported seen again Friday 13 September at Heysham, when I was joined by Malcolm Downham to jointly agree after some difficulty on Yellow AZTZ. The other bird read as Green ASKL, was apparently misread, though the colour and code are available but not yet in use.

I'm grateful to Pete Marsh at Heysham, and Andreas in Germany for dealing with these readings for me, it is much appreciated.

At Conder Pool, 13 Greenshank and 15 Little Grebe, with 2 Common Sandpiper seen in the creeks. On the Lune Estuary, 6 Mediterranean Gull including a White ringed bird too distant to read, also 7 Greenshankpresumably Tuesdays juvenile Spotted Redshank seen again, c.650 Golden Plover, a single Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Snipe, 4 Goosander, and 2 Great-crested Grebe. A Peregrine Falcon came on the scene a couple of times causing mass panic.

There are a least 6 Mediterranean Gulls in this short video of a small section of the roost on Red Nab Friday 13 September.

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