Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Barbondale Finally.

For several years I've gone to Barbondale around the end of April, then for three more visits during the breeding season, but unfortunately not this year. Yesterday wasn't the choicest of days, it was cloudy and with a chill in the wind, but I had it in my head to make the trip....so off I went.

The birds were almost as dull as the weather, but the sight of a stunning male Redstart, and a Spotted Flycatcher was all that was needed to lift the gloom nicely for me. Also amongst the 12 species count, a singing Garden Warbler, 6 Grey Wagtail on Barbon Beck, a Buzzard above the ridge, 6 Mistle Thrush included a juvenile, a Blue Tit with at least one young, a Great Tit, 3 Goldfinch, 2 Linnet, a Great-spotted Woodpecker, and the endless song of the Willow Warblers

Silver-ground Carpet. Pete Woodruff.

For the sake of a bit more accuracy on ID, I managed a record shot of the Silver-ground Carpet at Barbondale. A common moth throughout Britain, usually nocturnal but easily disturbed during the day.

On the way back to Lancaster, I called in to Birk Bank to see if I could find any dragonflies over the bog, what....in this weather....dream on, 2 Swift went over. On Sunday a Painted Lady was a nice find in Scotforth.

I wonder if I'll get to Barbondale again this summer....well it won't be for the lack of trying. 

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Pontoon Peace.

There's no doubt about it, there appeared to be a reign of peace yesterday on the pontoon at Conder Pool, but you don't have to be an ornithological genius to see that things won't last.

Common Tern Conder Pool 14 June. Ian Pinkerton.

The first Common Tern to have claimed territory on the pontoon now has two chicks, with one bird already seen wing flapping in IP's image above. The other Common Tern is sitting in the right corner, a third Common Tern which at one point was obviously sitting at the right hand edge of the island behind the pontoon has disappeared, unfortunate in that Conder Pool was looking like it was going to have another first record with three breeding Common Tern in 2019.

Black-headed Gull Conder Pool 14 June. Ian Pinkerton. 

The seemingly long time sitting Black-headed Gull finally also has two chicks, with the second bird sitting close by. But with the potential of at least sixteen birds in this confined space in the coming weeks the apparent peace won't last.

A circuit took me to Glasson Dock, to return via the canal where I saw/heard 5 Sedge Warbler and a Whitethroat. A Tree Sparrow took me by surprise, the second sighting of the species, the first on 28 May was of three in the hedgerow at the backside of Conder Pool seen from the canal, today's bird was just past the road bridge east of Christ Church seen from the canal  tow-path. I'm not often in this area, but both these sightings of Tree Sparrow are new locations to me. Also seen from the tow-path, 3 Large Skipper.  

Large Skipper. Pete Woodruff.

Thanks to Howard Stockdale for his header image of the Dipper juveniles seen at Tower Lodge on 2 June.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Bowland Updated.

Weather-wise not quite the day I had hoped for on Monday, an hour into the visit I had to escape back to the car almost a mile away from a downpour. But it was actually all worth while when the weather dried up, not least because I eventually found 3 Pied Flycatcher, a male of which was at a natural hole in the same tree 100 metres east of Trough Bridge, where I've found them before in two previous years, I got no sign of any female in a lengthy stakeout. The other sighting was at a nest box with male and female entering to feed young.

Spotted Flycatcher. Howard Stockdale.

I found only 4 Spotted Flycatcher today, all at the backside of the plantation from Tower Lodge. Also noted of the 24 species counted, 10 Grey Wagtail were on the Marshaw Wyre including juveniles, also a similar number of Pied WagtailA few Sand Martin were at Marshaw, and at least four active House Martin nests are at Tower Lodge with Swallow around. On the Marshaw Wyre, 4 Common Sandpiper were seen as two pairs with behaviour indicating young around.  

I twice heard a Cuckoo calling, this one in the Marshaw area as opposed to the last visit when one was heard in the area of woodland above Tower Lodge. Nine Chaffinch seen included two juvenile, 2 Blackcap, 2 Mistle Thrush, and a singing Willow Warbler was the only one today.

I had no sighting of Dipper on the Marshaw Wyre, my last here was on 23 May 2018 despite at least four visits.

At Stoops Bridge, Abbeystead, another pair of Pied Flycatcher were seen visiting a natural nest hole to feed young, and a pair of Spotted Flycatcher, the female of which could be clearly seen on the nest.

Garden Birds.

Garden Blackbird 11 June. Pete Woodruff.

We now have a trio of young Blackbirds in our garden. It was a treat to see all three together in pursuit of an adult male, running down the path towards the kitchen door yesterday....Magic.  

Sunday, 9 June 2019

And The Winner Is....

7 June. Ian Pinkerton. (Clik The Pik)

This image shows the cramped style the birds are enduring on the pontoon at Conder Green, with two pairs of Common Tern and a Black-headed Gull all sitting on eggs. Already the week old Oystercatcher chicks have been dealt with, little doubt by the Common Terns, with two corpses in view as evidence, the Black-headed Gull and whatever it's nest produces will have been marked as the next. All this, and with tolerance tested to the limit between the terns when young are involved. There's only going to be one winner here....watch this space. 

Three breeding pairs of Common Tern seen, with just 2 Avocet and none seen sitting, adds to the negative news from Conder Pool. Up to 140 Black-headed Gull had assembled here again, and 2 Dunlin seemed out of place here. There are a healthy number of Swallow around Conder Green Farm, and I counted six active House Martin nests at River Winds. Elsewhere, the Lesser Whitethroat continues to sing from the coastal path, and a Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler noted.

Common Blue. Pete Woodruff.

On the headland, I saw 6 Common Blue as I walked to Plover Scar where I spent a pleasant 45 minutes to find up to 160 Ringed Plover, the bonus of which was three day old chicks, also 130 Dunlin present, and 2 Linnet dropped in briefly. 

Cinnabar. Pete Woodruff.

A Cinnabar was at Conder Green. A fairly common moth which is usually nocturnal, but easily disturbed from long grass during the day.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Climate Change.

Climate change has already made a significant impact on bird populations around the world and the impact is projected to become much larger in the future, increasing the risk of extinction for many species.


There's this guy, I think he's called the president of the US, and he's a climate change denier who is so deluded that he calls the whole thing a 'hoax', and he's been welcomed with all the trimmings on an official state visit to the UK by the PM and her cronies, who claim to be a government calling itself a global climate leader.

The hypocrisy of all this is a bit much, so while they're feeling the pressure to prove their climate credentials, we can put some serious heat on them to finally declare a Climate Emergency. 

Please consider SIGNING THIS PETITION ....I have.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Pool, Scar, & Garden.

The Oystercatcher family have disappeared from the pontoon which is now on a tilt presumably grounded, judging by the sustained dive bombing attacks I witnessed last Thursday, the chicks probably perished at the hands of the Common Terns, and the adults deserted.

There are three breeding pairs of Common Tern, with a second pair now having taken up in the right hand corner of the pontoon to join the left hand corner pair, and the Black-headed Gull still sitting at the rear. An error in the text sent to me on 30 May to say...'three B. H. Gull chicks still alive'....should have read Oystercatcher. The third Common Tern is sitting at the right hand edge of the island behind the pontoon. 

Also noted on Conder Pool, of 6 Avocet seen four are still sitting. For the first time I saw 2 Little Ringed Plover together, a Greenshank, 6 Redshank, at least 140 Black-headed Gull, and a few Sand Martin hawking insects. From the coastal path, a singing Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Whitethroat, 10 Canada Geese flew south off the Lune Estuary.

From Jeremy Lane, 2 Buzzard flew low over the fields towards Cockersand. On Plover Scar at high tide, c.200 waders seen as 120 Dunlin, 80 Ringed Plover, and a lone Sanderling.

Sanderling/Dunlin Plover Scar 3 June. Pete Woodruff.

I managed a poor shot of two roosting waders which were a long way off and a howler blowing on Plover Scar, the pale one had me guessing for a while and was much bigger than the Dunlin, both species being no more than 21cm in length, but the other bird being bulkier was a Sanderling.  

Garden Birds.

We had a family party of Great Tit with at least three young seen this morning, two sibling Blackbirds are thriving, and the young begging Goldfinch continue to visit the feeders. 

I got another short 'unsteady' video again on Monday, the Little Ringed Plover on Conder Pool is best viewed on Full Screen.


Sunday, 2 June 2019

And Finally!

After several failed attempts over a long period of time, I finally succeeded to upload a video I made on to Birds2blog. I'm not able to edit the film, and the small size is out of my control, so it's best viewed on Full Screen, it shows a sustained attack on the Oystercatcher by the Common Tern, a situation which will only get worse.


News from Conder Pool.

Thanks to Ian Pinkerton for his update of three eggs in the Common Tern nest, and three Black-headed Gull chicks seen Friday 30 May. Also, thanks to Ian Mitchell for letting me know about his Painted Lady butterfly seen around the Lighthouse Cottage area at Cockersand, where he also saw several Common Blue along the headland.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Conder Pool....The Bigger Picture.

Conder Pool East End. Pete Woodruff.

Since the landscape was restructured in Autumn,  the water level here for this time of year is far too low, and since the channels were excavated to a depth below the average winter water level, this hasn't been enough to retain a good level through the spring and into the summer. 

Depth Gauge Conder Pool. Pete Woodruff. 

The water level gauge is already at the pool side on dry land, if we continue to have some decent dry weather, and then go on to have a dry hot summer, evaporation will become an added factor for Conder Pool to become a glorified dried up gravel pit.

The general consensus is, we need some heavy downpours....You can make your own mind up if you think this is the answer to the problems of Conder Pool.

Overcrowding 28 May. Ian Pinkerton.

The Oystercatcher pair already have three chicks out of the box and into view, the Common Terns were making sustained dive bombing attacks, while the Black-headed Gull sits tight and waits to be involved in the war about to break out.

There are now 6 Common Tern on Conder Pool with three birds sitting. I watched one bird fly in from the Lune Estuary with a fish which was offered and taken by the female. Eight Avocet seen included last Fridays discovery of four sitting were seen again. The Little Ringed Plover was close in again, a few Sand Martin were hawking over the pool, and 2 Swift flew through.

Greylag. Pete Woodruff.

I saw 3 Tree Sparrow in the hedgerow at the back of Conder Pool, and 28 Greylag were in a field on the south side of the canal at Conder Green. It was good to see 2 Goldfinch young in our garden yesterday, also a young Blackbird made its first appearance out of the nest here.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Keeping Tabs.

It was a case of keeping tabs on Conder Pool on Friday, my birding allowance barely gave me time to do it, but it was my fix for the day and thankful for it.

The count peaked at 6 Common Tern today, two were visitors which flew around a few minutes and then disappeared towards the estuary, the other four are the summer resident two pairs, the females of which are now sitting, four of the 6 Avocet seen are also sitting, and at least 25 Sand Martin were hawking over the pool, the Little Ringer Plover allowed good views, Little Egret were in a gang in the creeks, and a Reed Bunting was in the hedgerow. 

Kestrel was hovering upstream from the A588 road bridge, with 2 Whitethroat, 2 Sedge Warbler seen as I made my way to the coastal path from where I picked out 11 Eider hauled out on the Lune Estuary at low tide. 

Common-blue Damselflies. Pete Woodruff.

Along the canal between Glasson and Conder Green, there was an abundance of damselflies on and around the sections of canal-side vegetation, and I spotted a pair of Common-blue Damselflies in tandem, a mature male coupled with an immature female....

Blue-tailed Damselfly. Pete Woodruff.

....and an immature male Blue-tailed Damselfly.

No Vacancies.

The Common Tern having been beaten to the pontoon by the soon to hatch Black-headed Gull, have been joined by an Oystercatcher with the same plan. All this - and the two ridiculous plastic decoys appearing to be dead and lying on their side - all makes for trouble ahead, and it's not going to be nice. 

Conder Pool 2018. Pete Woodruff.

Add to this, I recently roughly counted 90 sheep on the land surrounding Conder Pool, despite having it on good authority that....'The sheep weren't supposed to go on until mid July to reduce disturbance and try to get a taller sward for breeding Redshank'....Ground nesting birds and 90 sheep are not compatible and are a dangerous mix.


I've edited the post to add a relevant comment found in records from Conder Pool on Sunday....'Several sheep on the 'island' last week were practically standing on the nests'.... 

Thanks to Ian Mitchell once again for his excellent header image of the Conder Pool LRP.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

The Estuary Terns et al.

Not easy to be accurate about the number around the Lune Estuary yesterday, but I reckon over a five hour period 6 Common Tern were seen in five sightings. When I arrived at Conder Pool, two birds were present, whist I was there four joined the two and flew around the pool briefly before heading off towards the River Lune. In the afternoon a bird was patrolling the canal by Christ Church, later I presumed the same bird was leaving the canal basin towards the estuary where I found two birds plunge diving, both to return to the same area of the river bank before soon taking off to plunge again, they returned to the bank together three times. I went back to the car to get my telescope to see if I could make out what this behaviour was about, I thought perhaps a male was feeding a female, but when I returned the pair were heading back off the river towards Conder Pool. I drove straight to Conder Green to find 3 Common Tern on the pool, two on the pontoon and one in the background on the island.

There's no telling what will happen on the pontoon, having beaten the Common Tern to it, the Black-headed Gull is obviously sitting by now, and a Common Tern was creating a scrape yesterday and looking intent on nesting there. I think I know the outcome....watch this space.

Stock taking on Conder Pool, 6 Common Tern, 6 Avocet, a Little Ringed Plover, 28 Black-headed Gull, 13 Oystercatcher, 10 Tufted Duck, 2 Shelduck, 2 Wood Pigeon.

Turnstone Plover Scar 20 May. Pete Woodruff.

At Cockersand high tide, Plover Scar held up to 550 Dunlin, 80 Ringed Plover, and a single Turnstone, a Whimbrel was on the marsh off Lighthouse Cottage, and a Whitethroat was singing on the wires. The only butterfly was my first Common Blue at Cockersand, with 3 Orange Tip at Glasson Dock.