BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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PLOVER SCAR & COCKERSAND LIGHTHOUSE. PETE WOODRUFF.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Diversion.

I have to be allowed to divert from birds just this once as I came across the artwork in the pic at Cockersands on Wednesday, proof - even from a distance when I first saw it through the fog - that Richard Shilling had been here since my last visit and created yet another stunning piece of art for everyone to admire and enjoy before the combination of wind and sea reduces it to a pile. This is the man I discovered had performed his land art creations on Clougha and it is this area which brings me to the diversion from birds.

Richard has been instructed by 'The Estate' to dismantle his artwork on Clougha and never to create/erect any more such pieces in this area again. The support Richard has received from all over the world on websites like 'Flickr' has overwhelmed him and understandably so, I myself heard of this order in disbelief and have passed on my views to him which will leave him in no doubt about them.

When I started this blog I made the comment which read something like 'it would steer clear of controversy and politics' and I remain adamant that this will be the case. If I'm going to call a blog 'Birds2blog' and be given a link on websites like LDBWS and Fylde Bird Club by their respective webmasters then the least I can do is stick to birds.

So I make no other comment and go down no other roads - of which there are many I could go down - regarding this quite unbelievable attitude to one man who not only has the creative mind to erect such splendid art in stone but does it in an unobtrusive way for anyone and everyone who visit places like Clougha, to admire the beauty the place has to offer and now also has - or did have - the added pleasure of Richards amazing talent's on view.

I support Richard 100% in what he did here - and still does elsewhere - and conclude with two final comments. It is rather unfortunate that I find myself with just one small regret here......what a great pity he didn't ask permission to do it, but who would have thought about that. Then again.....if he'd have visited Clougha often and regularly and left behind him empty lager cans, crisp bags, and chocolate wrappings, he'd have got away with that forever more.
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Thursday, 29 January 2009

Back to '94.

If you ever fancy a drive a few miles
outside our area and - if you're timing
is right - an excellent day's sea watching you could do a lot worse than go to Rossall Point at Fleetwood which is where this pic was taken on one of the many visits I have made here in the past though I'm long overdue the next.

I was at Teal Bay on 19 November 1994 and found myself first checking the waders on the groyne before looking out into the bay. I hadn't cast
my eyes on many birds on the groyne before I came across a 'plover' with black legs and it only takes a few seconds to realise a plover with black legs is interesting, even more so if it doesn't look anything like a Golden/Grey one and it was only a few more seconds before I realised it was a Kentish Plover. Having had a good look at this bird I set off to drive down the coast to Heysham (ahhhh for a mobile phone) to tell someone I knew would be interested to know about this discovery. Unfortunately we had arrived at the days of windsurfing and it was to be our very bad luck when we were approaching with Teal Bay in our sights that a follower of this sport was heading at some rate of knots not only straight towards the groyne but also the Kentish Plover it was hosting......but not any longer, as the bird got sight of this object hurtling towards it and to which it took an instant dislike it took to the wing and was away along the coast to the south west......bad luck, but this is birding isn't it.

Two or three hours later a Kentish Plover was seen at Rossall Point roosting with 50 Ringed Plovers and remained at Rossall Point to at least 4 February 1995 and was obviously regarded to be the bird which had wintered there previously and now appeared to have arrived there for its fourth successive winter, it was also obviously regarded as the same individual which had been seen at Teal Bay earlier in the day.
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Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Into the Mist.

I arrived at Conder Green this morning in sunshine and had the time
to find 25 Twite, a Greenshank, Merlin, Grey Plover, and a Reed
Bunting before the whole place disappeared into a fog. By the time
I had walked from the car park to Conder Pool, in birding terms it had
become a joke though I could just about see 2 Goldeneye and 3 Little Grebe quite close to the platform on here. But not one to throw the towel in very easily, I abandoned any idea of checking the basin or estuary at Glasson Dock and went to Cockersands where - if nothing else - I could find at close quarters through the fog, a Snow Bunting, perhaps a Shorelark or even a Black Redstart. Back to reality the male Stonechat obliged as it headed up to complete its fourth month here, also noted c.26 Linnet, 4 Reed Bunting, a 'few' Tree Sparrow were on a feeder, the Bank Houses Little Owl was in hiding again in a tree by the paddock, and a Sparrowhawk glided by over a field behind the hedge. On the shore I noted 16 Turnstone.

If anyone had asked why I called at Bodie Hill still in thick fog on the way home I'd have been hard pushed for an answer but I did see a Little Egret on the marsh here......just!

The pic of the Ringed Plover was taken at Cockersands but not today.
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Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Geese and Swans.

This winter so far I found - and was
able to read - six Pink - footed Geese
collars. The geese aren't always near
enough to be able to get to grips with
their marks and can sometimes be on private land, but with a little luck hopefully I may get to see some more to read before they depart for their breeding grounds. The histories are always interesting and often reveal some of these birds really do get about.

Up to now I have not had any luck with the Whooper Swans I've seen and last year by this time I had already read a double figure number of these beautiful creatures. Many is the time I have received a history of the Whooper Swan showing the bird to have been seen in Ireland in Co Donegal/Fermanagh/Londonderry/Tyrone, and then it turns up at Pilling......amazing stuff!

As for the Bewick's Swan......well on 5 Jan 2002 I was a little more than pleased to find two birds together with neck collars which - if I recall correctly - were blue in colour with white markings and read 807P/809P and had been fitted to the birds on 12 August 1996 at Sedui Nos, Korovinskaya Bay in Russia. As can be imagined the history of these two individuals was fascinating and the birds were by now almost six years into their lives bearing neck collars and over this time had visited places in the Netherlands (three location's)/Norfolk (two locations)/Mistertor Carrs in Nott's/and various locations on the Fylde. There was an added interest to these two birds which was revealed from studying the history sheet in that from the date of being marked they were never reported for three years as being seen together until 21 November 1999 when they were recorded at Welney WWT in Norfolk. Meanwhile the wanderings of 807P had taken it to places in Netherlands/Norfolk/Martin Mere/Marton Mere/and Freckleton. I'm not sure I am ever likely to find another bird in my birding life to excite me quite like these two did but here's hoping.

The pic - taken somewhere in the Arnside area one beautiful winter morning - is becoming something of an antique and is the result of my finding employment a 'few' years ago with a car parts supplier as a delivery driver and never imagining the job of work and my then up and coming interest in birds would gel together in a way that made me one of the luckiest 'birders' around with free wheels to every nook and cranny in and out of our area......happy day's which thankfully still continue even though by now I'm about 150 years old!
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Monday, 26 January 2009

Dire Day....

....is just about the best way to describe
the results of changing my birding habits today when I spent the best part of six hours leg work primarily to check out the status of Stonechats in the Forest of Bowland - or at least the area's I do check - the result of which was a resounding BLANK.

Having searched Harrisend for two hours the best I came up with was 4 Red Grouse and I didn't even have to concern myself about duplicate counting with these either. Then having searched Hawthornthwaite access track to the top turning circle, the Red Grouse count here was seven.

Having abandoned any thoughts of going on the access track from Marshaw because of management work I checked the fringes if Whinfold Fell only to record yet another 10 Red Grouse, and a Wren which obviously survived the 'cold' spell recently and come to think of it was the only one of the species seen all day. In the Tower Lodge area I noted 80+ Fieldfare and a Buzzard over.

I think disappointment is the politest word I can come up with on the subject of today's birding, and talking of disappointment's......

One of the biggest - and there was one or two - of last summer was finding eight Whinchat in the Cross of Greet/White Greet area on 9 June, and then - mainly down to the appalling weather we had in 2008 - never having the opportunity to follow up this excellent sighting to see the results of any breeding success of these four pairs. A similar situation was at Barbondale were I found a possible three pairs in the early part of the summer and never achieved any breeding results here either. Another pair were found in the Trough of Bowland opposite the access track to Rams Clough but these two seemed to 'disappear' and were never seen again despite several return visits here. The only other Whinchat record I had in 2008 was of a male at Stodday on 30 April which I clearly remember made me gasp when I clapped eyes on it as the male Whinchat in my book is as close as you can get to starring a rarity in the face......a stunning bird.

The one in the pic is from sightings in 2007 at Cross of Greet and is a grossly over cropped image which you can just about get away with as a small picture like this one.
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Friday, 23 January 2009

Number 4.

I visited 'the patch' for the fourth consecutive day today (with
JB/BT). Absolutely nothing wrong with that but I just wonder if I should consider a change in my birding habits and miss a rarity....food for thought.

Dealing with the photograph first which is by permission of a contact/friend I have recently acquired but who's name I'm not sure I'm at liberty to publicise on this blog. However (and I'm repeating myself here) I strongly recommend a visit to his blog at http://jrlandart.blogspot.com/ (he's also to be found on 'Flickr') to see the kind of 'work' this man is capable of. I promise you will be impressed......give it a go! The pic is of a Peregrine Falcon he saw today on Clougha......thanks RS.

To birds, the highlights of which were......

At Conder Green this morning 50+ Twite seen, a Greenshank, up to 7 Little Grebe, a Grey Wagtail, Grey Plover, and the m/f Stonechat seen again. A Spotted Redshank put in an appearance in the creeks for the first time since 9 January.

From Bodie Hill 2 Little Egrets were on Glasson Marsh.

At Cockersands the 1w male Stonechat put in it's 13th appearance since its early arrival here more than three months ago on 6 October. This individual has been/is on a winner feeding on the creatures in the tidal debris (I've never seen this bird anywhere other than on the debris) throughout the cold icy days of December......wise bird!

In the field opposite Sand Villa, the 6 Whooper Swans were seen again, but today only 2 Bewick's Swans. I'm convinced the reason why numbers of these swan number's fluctuate is that they can be hidden behind trees which surround a pool below the embankment, or below a 'dip' at the far end of the field. A Little Egret was also seen here.

On Pilling Marsh - which was otherwise pretty much deserted save the ever present Shelduck - 3 Little Egrets seen.

As always JB's account of the day will be far more comprehensive than mine much to the delight of the recorder/s.
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Thursday, 22 January 2009

Bits and bobs....

....as they say.

The Goldeneye count on the Lune at Glasson Dock continues to rise with at least 150 counted today and cannot possibly include the ones 'under' when I went through them for a second time. A Peregrine Falcon perched on Colloway Marsh spelled 'death' to any one of a few thousand birds here again today and not one of them knew it.

In the field opposite Sand Villa, 5 Bewick's Swans and 6 Whooper Swans 3 of which were juveniles. The swan picture here appears to change on a daily basis.

At Bradshaw Lane Head a Short-eared Owl was hunting again and you cannot help but wonder, just how much is this bird struggling to survive after all this time preying on the small mammals of this area.

Well at least it's a pic of birds this time!
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Wednesday, 21 January 2009

And again!

A re-run of yesterday to see if anything
missed might show today.
But lets deal with the pic first which was taken looking to where Conder Pool is today, but wasn't when I took this shot. I hadn't realised the gap in the hedge was always there and is where the viewing platform stands today.

At Conder Green at least 15 Twite were on the marsh from the old railway bridge, 4 Little Grebe were in the channel with 2 on Conder Pool, also a Greenshank and 2 Stonechat seen today were 1w m/f. I first saw a male here on 10 November with four subsequent sightings including 3 birds together on 8 January.

On the Lune Estuary, the only birds not noted yesterday were m/f Goosander and 5 Little Grebe which would make the total 11 but it was much later when I visited here so some risk of duplication with birds moving around. Goldeneye were difficult to count today but I am convinced there are now in excess of 125 birds on the River Lune between Waterloo Cottage and just downstream beyond Bazil Point.

At Cockersands the resident Stonechat showed again, first seen on 6 October with ten sightings since. I estimated the Wigeon here today at 1,500 with c.150 Pintail. In the paddock at Bank Houses I counted 12 Blackbird, 4 Song Thrush, 4 Meadow Pipit, and the Little Owl perched hidden in a small tree in a bitterly cold wind. In the fields were 45 Black-tailed Godwit, c.250 Golden Plover, and a single Grey Partridge briefly, also 9 Brown Hare. It was interesting that the field where the c.250 Pink-footed Geese had been for the past week? (seen 13 and 20 Jan) was deserted initially but at 12.45 they came in from the SW to drop into the same field once again. On Moss Lane c.20 Tree Sparrow seen.

I have been informed once again of 5 Little Egret together, seen from the canal on the west side between the junction at Galgate and around half way to The Mill Inn at Conder Green.
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Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Not before time.

With JB on an overdue days local
patching. Johns records will as always
contain more species accounts than mine and he'll certainly have counted more than me on the day to my continuing shame, and also probably seen the odd bird or two which I missed the best example being a Merlin at Cockersands.

First bird seen at Conder Green was a Greenshank in the Conder channel, 2 Grey Plover also here, and 8 Snipe were noted in the creeks, 2 Goldeneye were on Conder Pool, and 3 Little Grebe were noted.

On Glasson canal basin, at least 140 Tufted Ducks were to note, as were 12 drake Pochard and 2 Great-crested Grebe.

On the Lune Estuary, with the exception of 2 Goosander and 4 Goldeneye all are estimates, 1,500 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1,000 Golden Plover, 250 Dunlin, and 800 Wigeon.

From Fishnet Point, 3 Bewick's Swan, c.125 Goldeneye, c.450 Wigeon, c.120 Black-tailed Godwit, and 4 Pochard. I confess to not giving this area the time it needed perhaps to locate SP's (don't 'give' names without permit on the blog anymore) hybrid drake American Wigeon x Wigeon, but you can't do everything/be everywhere at once......can you?

At Cockersands, large numbers of waders in the fields here today included up to 800 Golden Plover and 550 Redshank. The c.250 Pink-footed Geese in the field opposite Bank Houses seen a week ago are still here. From the Caravan Park the wintering 1w male Stonechat, seen again as one of the easiest birds in the area to consistently find, also noted, c.50 Pintail, and at least 900 Wigeon made a combined Glasson/Cockersands total estimate of 2,150 birds.

Near Hillam Lane up to 60 Fieldfare seen.

Opposite Sand Villa from the A588, 2 Bewick's Swans, 4 Whooper Swans (2 juveniles).

Pilling Marsh was quiet save c.200 Pink-footed Geese and c.750 Shelduck noted, another c.2,500 Pink-footed Geese were at Fluke Hall, and a Little Egret in a ditch from Fluke Hall Lane was - unusually - the only one seen all day.

Outside the area at Bradshaw Lane Head a Short-eared Owl was hunting for the 30 minutes we spent there giving a feel of the hard life these birds have seeking out a meal for survival. It/these birds must have been here something like two months now and you just wonder how many small mammals they must have taken from this area for food......a phenomenal number is the only suggestion I can make.

The pic taken a while back now from the metal hide by the Heysham power station outfall and showing the ebb tide leaving behind it patterns and textures on the sands.
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Sunday, 18 January 2009

Keeping it alive!

Just a pic and one or two record's for
today to keep the blog from ceasing up.

As is often the case on this blog the pic is neither one of a bird nor is it related even remotely to the record's today one of which is at least 3 Brambling with 15 Chaffinch at the junction of Quernmore Road/Grab Lane this late afternoon, but an explosion of c.45 'finches' out of a nearby tree and lost to view gives a potential for more Brambling being present here, also nearby a male Great-spotted Woodpecker, this whilst out walking with my wife......are 'birders' allowed to do this? Two Jay were to note in Williamson Park, and a Sparrowhawk flew out of the Ovangle Road roundabout in front of my car at lunch time.

As for the pic - certainly not taken today - I think I know one birder who will be as much acquainted with this scene as anyone is, the breakwater behind The Dome at Morecambe.

I'm getting depressed again as I've not been out birding since last Wednesday and quite honestly I cannot go on like this!
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Thursday, 15 January 2009

Cockersands.

I suppose a more appropriate idea would be to have done a personal 'Highlights 0f 2008' article....later perhaps.

Meanwhile, searching through some records from 2007 I came across some sightings from Cockersands which included a record of Sanderlings on (or off when I took this pic) spring passage. The photograph was taken on 31 May when a peak of 130 birds were resting up at high tide, I had already counted 62 two days earlier.

This was certainly one of the years highlight's for me as the Sanderling is rarely seen at Cockersands in fact I think I ever only saw a single bird and cannot recall more than once, and so this was something of an event here at the end of May both for myself and the LDBWS records whose checklist states it to be a bird usually missed on passage as they move through the area rapidly at the end of May beginning of June, though I note some Webs counts have resulted in up to 2,500 - 4,000 birds in the past. I had hoped for a repeat of the Sanderling passage at Cockersands in 2008 - with maybe even higher numbers - but it didn't happen for me unfortunately but it will be interesting to see if it did for anyone else when we see the 2008 LDBWS Annual Report.

The person who passed on to me the sighting of four Little Egret seen recently from the Lancaster Canal in fields in the Galgate area, has also told me of a drake Wood Duck at Galgate Marina. I know nothing more about this bird and have heard no mention of it before, the only authenticity I can vouch for is the reliability of this persons information.
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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Immoveable Chats.

Made my first visit to Clougha/Birk Bank today and if I'm really honest I did think the day would draw a blank to match the December one on the Stonechats......but lets have non of that.

I had been on the Clougha track in excess of an hour before even seeing my first Red Grouse but in the end collected a total of 28 birds. An hour later I found my first Stonechat, this and two others were at something like 300m above sea level so no cold weather movement there then. By the time I left the area five hours later I had seen six birds involving some pretty serious searching and I convinced myself that the December search - which produced a rare 'zero' - proved nothing other than the birds up here simply didn't show, rather than drawing the rash conclusion that the cold weather theorists were always right after all.

Upland birding in the winter months is definitely not to be recommended if its excitement you're after - though I was excited enough about the Stonechats - and the sum total of species seen in the five hours here reached the grand total of six excluding the 'corvids' seen......sorry corvid recorders! At least 2 Wren had obviously survived the cold hard freezing temperatures, a Snipe was flushed from almost under my feet, a hovering Kestrel noted, and 35 Fieldfare were over Rigg Lane.

I was reliably informed of 4 Little Egret in fields seen from the Lancaster Canal going towards Galgate recently.

An added interest on the visit here today was to search and find three more - of the five I now know about - Land Art structures which I admired immensely, the time and effort in putting these pieces together must be quite something and the results very rewarding. If you have an interest in such art this persons works can be seen on the 'Flickr' website. The three illustrated above are all at the top of Birk Bank and require just a little effort to reach. If you do visit the website I promise you will be impressed at this mans achievements and creativity and some of his work is even more impressive than the ones on Clougha including working with ice when available......give it a look!
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Tuesday, 13 January 2009

In Reverse.

With JB today we decided to break with tradition and started the day by invading the Fylde area at Knott End where 2 Little Egret were seen. Some other records from my book include......

At Cockers Dyke, an excellent location for Med Gull but not today, we noted another Little Egret, c.40 Grey Plover, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Bar-tailed Godwit, c.14 Sanderling, and 4 Red-breasted Merganser on the sea.

At Fluke Hall yet another 6 Little Egret, 10 Pintail flying West, and 13 Fieldfare seen in Pilling near the Golden Ball.

On Pilling Marsh where JB will have made more notes than me and posted them on the LDBWS website, another 5 Little Egret made the days total fourteen, a Merlin was hunting a small passerine, and 4 Goldeneye were on the East Pool.

In a field opposite Sand Villa were 2 Bewick's Swans and 2 Whooper Swans.

At Cockersands, the 1w male Stonechat showed again, c.200 Pink-footed Geese in a field opposite Bank Houses were the first I ever saw in this area, also noted on a flood c.200 Redshank and c.300 Golden Plover.

In fading light 4 Goldeneye and a Little Grebe were on Conder Pool, and 2 Grey Plover in the channel.

The Skyscape's were taken from the ramp on to the headland at Cockersands, the top one today.
Could I please point out for the benefit of any misunderstanding......The title of the previous post is 'Conder Winterers' and not 'Wintering Greenshank in the UK'.






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Monday, 12 January 2009

Conder Winterers.

Only a couple of years ago the Greenshank in this photograph at Conder Pool might have been wintering at sites in Africa. The bird is traditionally a long -distance migrant from its sub - arctic breeding grounds, but associated with global warming now appears to have the ability to winter in the Mediterranean region making the birds life much easier with shorter journeys being made.

But Greenshanks like the ones in this pic have been wintering at Conder Green for a 'year or two' now (no accurate records to hand) along with the Spotted Redshank also in the pic, as a result the journeys are even shorter still. In fact the Spotted Redshank was only absent from this location a matter of a few weeks during the summer months last year.

So as mentioned in an earlier post Conder Green is gaining itself quite a good reputation for a good 'birding spot' made all the better by hosting Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, and Common Sandpiper this year to add to the growing list of wintering birds. In fact in my book the Stonechat hasn't wintered here before either, three were seen on 8 January. And by the way if you'd like to see a Kingfisher Conder Green is the best place in the North to see one, I do on average eight visits out of ten......honest!

I've not been able to do any birding since Saturday when I did my bit as a WeBS volunteer the bonus birds of which were 35 Whooper Swans on Pilling Marsh along with a Peregrine Falcon which 'sat' on the marsh the entire time (40 minutes) I was counting thank goodness, also 5 Skylark came down to feed quite close to me. And in a field opposite Sand Villa were 5 Bewick's Swans and a Whooper Swan.

Must get out tomorrow to stave off a serious bout of depression which is taking over me.
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Friday, 9 January 2009

Another Coastal Tour.

With JB/BT today on the traditional
Friday run with a few notes to add to
John's records which are already posted on the LDBWS website but which may/will contain some birds not seen by me.

Little Egrets seen were, one on Aldcliffe Marsh, two on Glasson Marsh, and two on Pilling Marsh. At Conder Green 18 Twite were seen which is 12 more than I had yesterday, also a Spotted Redshank, and 2 Greenshank seen again today. I have a feeling BT had seen the Common Sandpiper but I may well be proved wrong on this. For this reason i v'e not recorded the bird and neither has John, however yesterday proved it still to be at Conder Green which is an excellent winter record.

On the Lune Estuary the Goldeneye were difficult to count when it turned a little 'murky' but certainly in excess of 100 and I reckon are at their highest in number to date.

At Cockersands the 1w male Stonechat was on view here again, the Little Owl also showed itself quietly perched in a tree on the perimeter of Bank Houses paddock again today, c.20 Twite were also showing, and a count of around 70 Linnet was good.

Outside the LDBWS area, a female Merlin was perched on the game bird pens on Bradshaw Lane, and a Short-eared Owl was quite high in flight over Pilling Moss in a north easterly direction being mobbed by corvids which sit around here all the time to get their kicks from the pastime of harassing these bird's.

The Twite in the pic are four of yesterday's half dozen birds and the male at bottom left shows its pink rump on close inspection which appears to make the bird at top right a female.
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Thursday, 8 January 2009

A Step Nearer.

If you don't happen to agree with me that Conder Green and surrounding area is becoming - if it isn't already - one of our prime birding site's, well today - and recently - it took a step nearer to being one. OK it isn't turning up anything to make the twitchers hire helicopters, but it kind of makes me glad to live so close to the place like so many other places within - and without - the LDBWS recording area. I've made the comment more than once before but it has to be said....around twenty minutes later, after seeing these birds recorded below, I 'could' have had a Hen Harrier in my sight's below Hawthornthwaite Fell....beat that for living in prime birding country!

The Common Sandpiper put in an appearance for me at Conder Green but I must confess the sight of 3 Stonechat's - 2m/f - went to the top of the list in my book. Also 6 Twite were on the marsh, c.40 Goldfinch, a singing Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, and a good count of 9 Little Grebe - though I think 10 is an all time best count here - were amongst the smaller bird's, other wader's included a Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 2 Grey Plover, and 2 Snipe. Conder Pool had sign's of thawing but only held 4 Wigeon, 12 Shelduck, and 35 Mute Swan's with others arriving as I left.

I made just one or two notes on the Lune Estuary, c.800 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, c.50 Knot, a 'few' Dunlin, 2 Goosander, and still at least 100 Goldeneye here.

At Cockersands, the 1w male Stonechat again, only 4 Twite seen today outside the entrance to the Caravan Park, 8 Grey Partridge, 2 Snipe, and 6 Brown Hare were of note. The numbers of waders seen here today could only be regarded as insignificant.

Opposite Sand Villa a single Whooper Swan was with 12 Mute Swans in the same field as Tuesday's Bewick's. On Pilling Marsh 2 Little Egrets saved the place from being near deserted. And from Gulf Lane a Little Egret was by a ditch on Cockerham Moss Edge, they really are just about anywhere these day's, a Little Owl, and 2 Song Thrush were noted.
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Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Bewick's Swan's.

It was good to find the first Bewick's Swan's in our area today with one on the River Lune at Glasson Dock accompanied by a Whooper Swan in turn accompanied by Mute Swan's. A couple of hours later four more were found in a field opposite Sand Villa and appeared to confirm the four I went to look for yesterday at the end of Head Dyke Lane - but didn't find - had moved a few miles north east.

Back to the beginning....I was in company with John Bateman today who will assemble his usual comprehensive records on the LDBWS website whilst I leave out the birds seen yesterday on the same route which will leave just a few birds of note that went to make for a most enjoyable and rewarding days birding whilst also proving that repetitive visits to the same old locations really is a good idea and often pays off.

At Conder Green it was excellent news from a very reliable source that the Common Sandpiper - which hasn't been showing for several visits - is indeed still present in the area, the only down side of which was the fact we couldn't locate the bird for ourselves. On the basin at Glasson Dock the c.200 Coot and 3 Little Grebe today were still holding on to the small area of water. At Cockersands 6 Grey Partridge are always a delight to see.

Notable today was that just about everywhere we went there was Snipe being put up in the fields as we drove by. All due to being displaced from their hiding places in the ditches. Just goes to show what is lurking unseen all around us in the bird world under normal circumstances.

Not a picture of a Whooper/Bewick's Swan to my name so have to make do with a reasonable pic of the beautiful - if common - Mute Swan.
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Monday, 5 January 2009

Keep Moving....

....or die of hypothermia.

Conder Pool was frozen end to end today though no big surprise there. In the channel 2 Spotted Redshank and a Greenshank seen, also two of Grey Plover, Snipe, and Little Grebe.

The canal basin had enough water left to hold 2 Little Grebe, and at least 200 Coot.

The Lune estuary from behind the toilet block was quiet but up to 1,000 Bar-tailed Godwit still here, 3 Little Grebe, and a Goosander were to note.

Noted at Fishnet Point, 200+ Tufted Duck included about six females with white blazes one of which was big enough to fool me into thinking 'Scaup' initially. The Pochard number at Glasson Dock continues to increase with 14 seen today including one female. I also noted a single Black-tailed Godwit here.

At Cockersands I decided to ignore the small numbers of waders today and noted, a 1w male Stonechat, at least 50 Twite, c.55 Linnet, a Little Owl, a Dunnock, a Reed Bunting, a Fieldfare, 2 Snipe, a Kestrel, 5 Red-breasted Merganser were by the lighthouse, and 3 Brown Hare seen.

From Gulf Lane I saw two Sparrowhawks flying together along a ditch, they then came to perch together which is something new to me having never before observed two of the species together, 2 Fieldfare were the only other birds of note here apart from the farm fields and buildings currently accommodating c.6,000 Starlings.

On Pilling Marsh I saw a single Little Egret a bird you would be hard pushed not to see on any given day/tour along our coast line these days. At Lane Ends 4 Snipe were in a field here.

At Fluke Hall were c.3,000 Pink-footed Geese, c.2,000 were at the far west end of Head Dyke Lane in a field at the junction of Lancaster Road where I had gone to see 4 Bewicks Swans with PFG reported to me when I joined two 'Blackpool' birders (didn't know them) earlier at Glasson Dock and didn't see the swans either....Mmmmm!

In the pic above is Glasson Dock at the end of the east quay as we will never see it again....pity because I think it looked rather attractive then.
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Thursday, 1 January 2009

Still Ice Bound

No sign of any let upon on the cold frosty weather as the 16 Black-headed Gulls and a Common Gull on ice bear testimony to.

I note the mention of Claife Heights on the LDBWS website recently. This prompts me to remember it as by far the best location I ever visited to make contact with the ever elusive Hawfinch. But I'm long overdue a return here and I have to go back over ten years to have recorded up to twenty birds on one visit in January 1997, and several visits around this time consistently recorded various numbers of the species. I cannot recall the exact date I first went to this area in the Lakes but I have walked many times from the Sawrey Ferry, over the top of the heights, dropped down to Bell Grange, and back along the shore of Windermere, a walk which takes me over five hours of dawdling to make sure I see all the birds the place has to offer. It is also an excellent area for Crossbill, Siskin, and Raven to mention a few and can be recommended as a good birding walk winter or summer.

A better known place for the Hawfinch is Whitherslack and my best record here was eight birds near Whitherslack Hall which is the area I have always seen the birds though a walk/drive through the woods to Pool Bank can also pay dividends sometimes for the bird to be seen given time and patience on which this species can test you to the limits. A few miles up the road North from here to below the far end of Whitbarrow can also reward you with - in my case one day - thirty Ravens.

A friend informs me today of a Stoat in ermine at Lancaster Golf Club recently.
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