BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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ALDCLIFFE MARSH HIGH TIDE. PETE WOODRUFF.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Value for money.


Value for no financial layout at all actually on Conder Pool today which at 10.30 this morning was hosting a first record in 2 Common Tern, also 2 Spotted Redshank, an adult (JB had two) and a young nearly fledged Little - ringed Plover, the down side of which appears to be one 'lost' from the two I found seven days ago on Tuesday 23 June. In the creeks 2 Greenshank were excellent, also 4 Common Sandpiper and a Reed Bunting were to note. On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock another Common Tern and Greenshank were seen and at least 3 Bar - tailed Godwit, at which point the weather finally broke down and rain drops as big as 50 pence pieces came down and were still doing so about an hour later when JB and I decided to throw in the towel. However, by the time I dropped JB off at home I had decided to give the Eric M'cbe Hide a couple of hours to see if any of the 'regulars' had failed to find - perhaps - a Bairds Sandpiper, but it appeared not to be the case, but 2 Little Egret obliged in front of the hide prompting thoughts of not all that many years ago these two would have brought about quite a 'twitch'. Also 5 Little Gull's (7 according to RBA pager message) to which I have no comment, 3 Greenshank, 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Avocet appear to be the only remaining ones, 13 Dunlin, and a 'roughly' estimated 270 Black - tailed Godwit. From the path back to the car park I heard two and saw one Sedge Warbler.

A day of birding in two parts really one with John until it 'peed down' and a couple of hours 'mossing' on my own and yet again I managed a couple of half decent pics of a Little Egret and nine Black - tailed Godwit's at siesta time.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Great Greet.

Not exactly the early bird today but I was at the top cattle grid by 9.45a.m. in a thick fog and a chilly start reminiscent of November. It felt good to lock up the pollutant piece of metal on four wheels and leave it behind for six hours. However, if you want to create a lengthy list of birds the last thing you do is go upland birding which can be - and often is - bloody hard work for little reward, but 29 June was something else which - until today - I thought 1 June had been but the Whinchat count this visit was worth every ounce of effort and I even got a decent pic of one sticking its chest out into the bargain.

An excellent day in the Cross of Greet/Bloe Greet area where I found a record 15 Whinchat including 4 juvenile. I would never have believed it was possible ever again to watch two pairs in fairly close proximity at the same time feeding young whilst I was having a 'buttie and a cuppa' here today, nor would I have believed I would ever see more of this species on the same days birding than the Wheatear of which I found thirteen including 4 juvenile. Conversely the Stonechat are dramatically down here in 2009 and I struggled to find 5 birds including just one juvenile. I counted 37 Meadow Pipit today compared to 28 on 1 June neither dates of which could possibly be regarded as good numbers and my counts everywhere I've been this year are down considerably. Five Raven were over Bloe Greet and I counted 5 Wren on the day, a Mistle Thrush, a Canada Goose - always to be seen up here - was distant and mainly hidden from view and would almost certainly have been accompanied by its mate and probably young. At Cross of Greet Bridge at least 3 Sand Martin and a pair of Oystercatcher seen, and an excellent bonus bird a Spotted Flycatcher.

Butterflies seen were, 3 Painted Lady, 4 Red Admiral, and 19 Small Heath, also a Golden - ringed Dragonfly and a Stoat

Friday, 26 June 2009

Friday......

......is JB/BT/PW day and why not. BT's car often seems to head - of its own accord apparently - to Aldcliffe were we saw at least 5 Raven on the marsh with 4 House Martin over to note, and a Whitethroat in the bushes bordering the marsh. At Freemans Pools the only bird of note for me was a Little Grebe in its fine summer coat. By the way, anyone who perchance compares my records on here with JB's on the LDBWS website may see contradictions which are not that at all as JB and I are often separated on our birding days together and therefore have differing sightings to record.

At Conder Green it was good to see at least one young Little - ringed - Plover with two adults on the pool, hopefully the other was in hiding, also the Spotted Redshank obliged yet again accompanied by 144 Redshank, be quick as it's soon going to start to 'change colour', at least one Common Sandpiper was also on here. At Glasson Dock on the Lune Estuary just 8 Bar - tailed Godwit and two distant (again) 'tern's' could only be recorded as Commic Tern's (again). From Bodie Hill 4 Eider were in flight upstream......this is all a bit desperate isn't it!

Now we're off to the Trough of Bowland where we were heading for a pleasant surprise. We first stopped off at the access track to Hawthornthwaite where I personally always see a 'few' Sand Martin milling around at the bottom end of this track and am often intrigued as to where these birds breed, well the pleasant surprise was in the finding of a small colony of c.5 nests in a bank of the stream running down from Hawthornthwaite. A Grey Wagtail was also on the stream, and a Buzzard over. I must admit there was a lesson to be learned here this afternoon as BT or myself could have trod on a downy Curlew (my camera was in the car) whilst making a diversion from the track. The lesson here is an obvious one, that upland birds breed here so......'Beware and always be aware' is a good motto here. The visit to the Marshaw/Tower Lodge area could only be described as a brief one today but 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Redpoll in flight, a Song Thrush was full throttle, and a Goldcrest noted.


It's hard to believe on a perfect day for butterflies and having spent almost seven hours out in the big wide world I was able to record an almost unbelievable one Small Heath, two Painted Lady, and one or two Speckled Wood......problem's?


Thanks to Brian Rafferty for allowing me to brighten up the blog with his pic of a Dipper.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

An excellent Start (Part 2).

Tuesday this week was no different than most other Tuesday's which means JB was in my company and whilst I covered the Conder Green/Glasson Dock/ Cockersands area's extensively yesterday JB hadn't so this is where we started today and how pleased we were that we did as the 'if at first you don't succeed' theory worked to perfection. After viewing the Conder Pool from the screen for several minutes I decided to leg it to the far viewpoint to scan the rear of the island which cannot be seen from the screen and yet again lo and behold the Little - ringed Plover's have two young after all, so it's fingers and everything else crossed for a few days now to hope the many threats and predators these birds have will keep their beady eyes of them including the very handsome killers the LBB Gull's which appear to have taken a fancy to the pool though they have no intention of setting up home there to raise a family. Also of note here again today was the Spotted Redshank, 4 Common Sandpiper again, Oystercatchers have 3 young, a Kestrel and a Speckled Wood. Three singing Sedge Warbler were on Jeremy Lane. At Cockersands, 5 non - breeding Grey Plover, 32 Oystercatcher, and 2 Dunlin were on all that was left of Plover Scar at high tide.

Now we are in the Trough of Bowland and at Marshaw 4 adult Common Sandpiper were again between the cattle grid and the bridge at the start of the Hawthornthwaite access track. In the Tower Lodge area 3 'new to us' Spotted Flycatcher's included a pair feeding young at a nest hole......excellent stuff! Also at least two - possibly three - Redstart, a Green Woodpecker, 4 Grey Wagtail, 3 Mistle Thrush, a Song Thrush, and in the woodland strip behind Tower Lodge a healthy number of Blue Tit's, at least 8 Willow Warbler, and a Coal Tit.

On the way home we called in at Stoops Bridge to hear a Chiffchaff briefly, and at Christ Church the most obliging Spotted Flycatcher in the country was on show promptly on our arrival again, and although about 4 House Martin were around the church for a while I personally regard the situation here as grim. At Brow Top a family party of 8 Goldfinch were seen. Although the weather was perfect for a 'butterfly day' the sightings didn't exceed 'miserable' with a solitay Speckled Wood at Conder Green, a Painted Lady at Cockersands, and two Painted Lady at Abbeystead Christ Church.


I managed a couple of decent shots on Sunday and although it has no relation to todays post the pic above is one of 'em.

Monday, 22 June 2009

An excellent start......

......but soon became hard work. But I left few stones unturned, and few nooks and crannies not searched in seven hours, and if I'd have been doing it as a job of work I'd have wanted sixty quid minimum and thats cheap......very cheap.
At Conder Green on the pool much excitement - well it doesn't take much to excite me - with four Little - ringed Plover, seen as two adult, a juvenile, and a young bird, also noted 4 Common Sandpiper, the smart summer plumage Spotted Redshank, and a Lapwing (not last Tuesdays) with at least two chick's, and a couple of House Martin over the pool. A brief halt at Bodie Hill produced at least 16 Eider, a 'few' Swift were around, and a 'tern' in the haze over the river frustrated the hell out of me and has to be recorded as a 'Commic' Tern which to be honest is a bit of a nonsense in my book.


At Cockersands where waders were virtually non existent, and anything else was pretty hard to find, about 6 Tree Sparrow were around Bank Houses, 2 Sedge Warbler were in song along Moss Lane, 4 Linnet, a male Reed Bunting, and a Kestrel were all noted.


On Pilling Marsh a Peregrine Falcon saved my day here. At Fluke Hall a Little Egret, Whitethroat, Kestrel, a Skylark was in full song overhead and I've often wondered if anyone ever timed these birds in song flight as they must hold 'some' records for timed song period.


The butterfly score was a little improved today but still remain desperate to find. At Pilling Lane Ends, Painted Lady, Common Blue, and Meadow Brown were all singles. At Fluke Hall, 5 Painted Lady, and single Meadow Brown and Small Tortoiseshell.


I've not yet worked out why the line below sometimes ends up an arms length down the page. Well at least the pic of the Six - spot Burnet is one of my efforts in this post.


















Friday, 19 June 2009

Grounded......




......unfortunately, and to make matters worse until Monday with commitments I cannot dodge no matter what. So to keep the blog simmering on the back burner here are a couple of excellent photographs I have been kindly sent by two people I've met, one on a couple of occasions and the other just once but both of whom have given me the permit to copy on to Birds2blog.

The male Merlin pic is credited to Peter Guy who I had the good fortune to meet on one of my recent visits to the Cross of Greet area and with whom I had an interesting conversation. Incidentally, whilst the Stonechat is by far my most favourite 'passerine' and leaves all the others standing, the Merlin is equally by far my most favourite 'raptor'......thanks Peter excellent stuff!

The Hooded Crow is credited to John Fox who was one of the five in the 'Irish Contingent' I accompanied to Barbondale on Thursday 28 May and who also has sent me some excellent examples of his photography to use on my blog......thanks John. I didn't believe my ears when one of the five told me whilst watching a Carrion Crow that he hadn't seen this bird in Ireland but that he had a regular Hooded Crow visit his garden as a common bird just like the one in the pic......did you know that?......I certainly didn't and it brought home yet again that there is always something new (well for me anyway) to learn in birding on a daily basis.

Many thanks again to Peter and to John.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Stunning......


......is the only way to describe not only this bird but also the image taken by Brian Rafferty and my thanks to him for allowing me to copy the photograph on to my blog.

According to my records the Pied Flycatchers were first seen this year at Abbeystead on Friday 1 May when two males were singing there, only one pair have been seen here since and they bred in the safety of the far side of the stream in the grounds of the Abbeystead Estate Office and land doesn't come much more private than that.

Since first finding the birds here I - mainly in the company of JB - have visited Stoops Bridge to monitor the progress of the breeding activities of this pair which culminated in the suspicion that as predicted the birds would have fledged over the weekend of 13/14 June. When JB and I arrived here in the late afternoon of Tuesday 16 June having watched the nest hole for 20 minutes we decided the birds had in fact fledged and having heard a singing male Blackcap further into the woodland I decided to follow this mobile bird to satisfy myself in seeing rather than just hearing it. About 150m away from the Pied Flycatchers nest hole a movement took my eye on the opposite side of the woods and scanning I eventually found a male PF feeding a young bird complete with gaping mouth and flapping wings......

......this is pure birding gold which happened on the same day JB and I discovered the LRP's on Conder Pool had successfully bred - to date - at least one young having escaped the attention of prying human eyes for weeks, also a superb summer plumage Spotted Redshank had turned up in the channel here. On a personal level all this follows on from finding 10 Whinchat in the Forest of Bowland recently, and a Nuthatch feeding a young bird on a detour off Harrisend down the Lane Head footpath and another first for me. I've had quite a few more events on recent birding outings which some might call routine but which I raise quite a bit above that. There have been the usual positive's and negative's in my recent birding days but the positive's won in the end as always.

Isn't birding great......I just want to be 21 again!






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Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Golden Day.

After weeks of having us on the run the Conder Pool Little Ringed Plover were finally nailed. Thanks to a Lapwing with three downy young which was in the process of seeing off an adult LRP and having waited a few minutes for the bird to show itself from behind the island it/they have been hiding behind since their arrival two and a half month's ago on 31 March which amazingly was the same date as 2008, I went to the far viewpoint and scanned the area hidden from view at the platform to find the two adult LRP's and young......excellent stuff, the only downside of which is, if there really is only the one chick I wonder why. Also here today was the sight of a superb summer plumage Spotted Redshank

At Cockersands, 4 Painted Lady and a Wall Brown were the only butterflies seen here today other than the 'white's'.

We're in the Trough now and at Marshaw JB found the Common Sandpiper pair near the cattle grid with a well advanced young bird, but the four adults I saw on 9 June at the bridge on the Hawthornthwaite access track were nowhere to be seen. At the back side of the plantation behind Tower Lodge I found a Spotted Flycatcher and a smart male Redstart and if you're going to look for these birds here please don't find a Woodchat Shrike, it really isn't allowed.

At Abbeystead JB and I went to see if predictions had come to pass that the young Pied Flycatcher's would have flown the nest now and I went off to track down a singing male Blackcap rather than just settle for hearing the bird when a movement to my right took my eye, lo and behold, a male Pied Flycatcher was seen feeding at least two of the fledgling's....great stuff.

Last call of the day had to be to collect what can really only be conclusive evidence that save two pair visiting nest's at Christ Church the House Martin colony here has collapsed, or perhaps more appropriately didn't develop in 2009. The good news from here was excellent views of Spotted Flycatcher with JB watching one bird whilst I watched another.

The pic's today are with thanks to David Cookson for the LRP, and Brian Rafferty for the PF.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Overtime Rate!


I was up on the Clougha/Birk Bank Stonechat run today in excess of 5.50 hours - I'll get overtime rate for that I hope - but well worth it and well rewarded in that I found 20 birds today. The figure compares well with 27 June 2007 when I found 21 birds but puts last years figure on 23 June 2008 in the shade with just 4 birds seen on that visit in a summer best forgotten in terms of successful breeding.

Also of note here today were 12 Willow Warbler, my figure here last month on 30 May was nearly twice the number with 21 seen/heard. I found two of the oddly named Garden Warbler and I don't recall seeing this species here before and certainly only ever previously saw 'a couple' of Blackcap here. 

Talking of numbers down this year I saw just 9 Meadow Pipit today and only 12 on my last visit here on 30 May, so more food for thought there too. Other notes were 2 Raven, 3 Buzzard, 2 male Kestrel including an ariel dispute with one bird having prey in its talons, 9 Wren, a male Reed Bunting - these blighters can fool you into thinking male Stonechat in flight or perched at a distance - 3 Red Grouse, and a Mistle Thrush. Butterflies seen were, 2 Small Pearl - bordered Fritillary, 2 Painted Lady, and 5 Small Heath.

The appropriate pic for today of the Stonechat is yet another with thanks from Brian Rafferty. I'll be sending out my bills at the end of the month Brian!

Friday, 12 June 2009

More Repetition's......

......and more rewards. With JB/BT (the Red Kite man) we were off again to Cross of Greet but on our way there BT suggested we had a look in at Thrushgill where in truth I am unable to record anything on this blog because we saw nothing there. Apart from the fact I have nothing to report from here it is my duty to warn any proposed visits by anyone to Thrushgill that they should be aware of notices at the gate into the plantation of CCTV cameras and the word 'Police'......just forget the place is my suggestion. In the Lowgill area encounters were, male Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher, a brief view of a male Pied Flycatcher, and we heard Garden Warbler and Blackcap. Non bird's were a Roe Deer and an Orange Tip butterfly.

Between the top cattle grid at Cross of Greet and Greet Bridge - which I personally walked on a slightly less intense visit than 1 June - two singing Whinchat seen, seven Wheatear, and six Stonechat - which eluded me last time - and were made up of a pair near the middle cattle grid, and four juveniles in the area of the bridge. Two Small Heath were seen here which brings about the question......where are all the butterflies to date this year?

At Abbeystead it was almost essential we checked out the Pied Flycatcher's nesting in the tree hole to find they are still feeding young of which the ones nearest the hole could clearly be seen with gaping mouths. I'd be willing to take on bets these birds will have fledged before the weekend is out. At Christ Church there is one pair of House Martin's feeding young in the nest, and the Spotted Flycatcher here is by far the most obliging one I ever saw.

I'm taking the word of someone I had a conversation with today who I'd suggest knows a great deal more than I do regarding the House Martin and who assures me that the Christ Church colony can still be assembled up to mid-June, which means if I go there on next Monday and the situation remains as today, in my view we will have confirmation of a species problem in 2009 based upon what is happening at this and other site's I've spoken to people about including some who do annual surveys on the House Martin.

The Spotted Flycatcher pic at Christ Church is thanks to John Bateman, and the rubbish pic is thanks to the 'people' who visited Cross of Greet for reasons other than those which people like you and I visit it for.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Repetitive Birding.

Well I for one am fully conversant with repetitive birding and can thoroughly recommend it, one of my best example's was a return visit on the same day to the Eric Morecambe Hide four hours after the first which produced a Lesser Yellowlegs for me a few years ago......do it!

With JB today who hadn't had his first pilgrimage to Barbondale this year yet so off we went on a decent morning albeit a cool breeze is still with us and in exposed places still feels a little more like mid - March than heading towards mid - June. Well the persistence in repeated visits here paid off yet again today if only to record the first Garden Warbler I ever saw here, and a solitary Redpoll presented something not much less of a surprise at Barbondale either. Despite five previous visits here already this year I've still only heard/seen one Tree Pipit, the Redstart's are still in song and I had views of a nice female, a Spotted Flycatcher was excellent as always, and 'the' Green Woodpecker was still 'yaffling' though noticeably much less so today and Painted Lady was also to note.

On my suggestion to John we then descended into some 'Leighton Moss'ing' but the decent rewarded me with two 1st summer Little Gull's, a Spotted Redshank - which is a bird now possible to see on an almost all year round basis, and who would have forecast that just a few years ago - and a frustrating brief view - before it disappeared - of what I regarded to have been a juvenile Little - ringed Plover. I didn't count the Avocet's but was pleased to see the well grown young bird which will now hopefully become the only successful breeding record at Leighton Moss in 2009......or am I jumping the gun here?

A look in at the now famous and popular Warton Crag Peregrine Falcon's rewarded us with excellent views of the two adults perched well separated on the quarry face and the two young birds still in the nest, a Buzzard was overhead.

Unfortunately I cannot name the flower I saw today but I'm hopeful someone will......its an 'orchid'.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Flaming June.

With JB today on a nothing like a 'Flaming June' day and wherever else we were going to go we had to first check out the LRP's on Conder Pool but the result was a disappointing one as it/they didn't show. I also did a full scan from the far viewpoint and got the distinct impression they were not here anymore, but perhaps I'm putting on my usual pessimistic hat which I prefer to call my 'realistic' one. So I'm now on the lookout for reports on the LDBWS website proving me wrong.....here's hoping.

Well its June now, a month I've often heard referred to as the quiet month in terms of birding. At Conder Green I can only report finding 16 House Martin nests - something of a surprise - from previous years at the house called River Winds, this year I reckon there are just two in use one of which the young were looking out from the hole. At Glasson Dock on the Lune Estuary, up to 9 Bar - tailed Godwit were the only waders to be seen, also noted were in excess of 200 Mute Swan's accompanied by the - or another - Black Swan first seen here 14 April then for a 'few' days and not since.

At Cockersands, on Plover Scar c.280 Oystercatcher, 8 Dunlin, 3 Grey Plover, a surprise Whimbrel, and 4 Knot one of which was 'red' and as the Back Swan could well be the same bird I found here on 7 May. Also to note here were 3 Meadow Pipit and 11 Painted Lady.

The usual plan around this time of year is to make the short 35 minute drive to the Trough of Bowland were 5 adult Common Sandpiper were found on the stream between the cattle grid at Marshaw and the new bridge at the start of the Hawthornthwaite access track, included in this count John also found an adult with a young bird, the young one I saw yesterday I didn't see today but nothing to be read into that. In the Tower Lodge area, a Spotted Flycatcher seen up the track behind the lodge, also 2 Treecreeper together, 2 Willow Warbler, and a Mistle Thrush, and at the back side of the plantation a male Redstart showed itself on the fence whilst I engaged myself in a temporary 'dreamland' as I imagined the Woodchat Shrike would be seen on the fence post's again as on 29 May......I then quickly woke up.

Calling in at Abbeystead we saw the male Pied Flycatcher still visiting the nest hole, and at Christ Church the Spotted Flycatcher was again on view, and just as I was about to proclaim the location 'dead' this year for the House Martin's low and behold one whizzed by and promptly shot into a nest and just as quickly shot out again. The bird repeatedly returned to the nest proving at least one pair have taken up here after all......but I still believe there is a 'problem' with/about the House Martin's in 2009......time - and studies - will tell.

Well at least I got another one of my half decent pic's today with one of the five adult Common Sandpiper's posing whilst screaming its head off at me at Marshaw.






Monday, 8 June 2009

The Good, The Bad......

......and the not ugly at all. The only 'bad' was that I found not a solitary Stonechat on Hawthornthwaite from the Scorton Road access track, and another 'bad' record at the end of this post. In actual fact the day was much better than 'good' it was excellent.

On Harrisend I found 12 Stonechat including 5 juveniles so even if the fortunes of this species are a little mixed this year from location to location this was a good start to my day. Also noted here were 2 Lesser Redpoll giving excellent views from the lone Hawthorn on the path, at least 23 Meadow Pipit were counted, 5 Willow Warbler, a single Wren, a House Martin flew past me going NE, and about 4 Goldfinch were seen from the path towards Lane Head where I saw the highlight of the day in a Nuthatch feeding a fledged young bird, in all my years birding this is a personal first. A Small Copper was the only butterfly seen on here in two hours plus.

On Hawthornthwaite I noted at least 4 Sand Martin which I see on every visit here in the summer months, I've never been able to work out where these birds nest (if they do) and the small colony near Cam Brow have not taken up at this site this year. I noted 11 Meadow Pipit, 3 Wren, a Buzzard, and 2 Small Copper.

At Marshaw I saw a Common Sandpiper again from the cattle grid, and a few minutes later found another adult with a downy young from the new bridge towards the Hawthornthwaite access track, so it appears there may be two pair breeding in this area but not yet confirmed. The Spotted Flycatcher showed here again today, and 5 House Martin were feeding in this area. From the track I found 5 Stonechat, three of which were juveniles with a male, and a lone female which appeared to be unattached to these four, I counted 17 Meadow Pipit, 2 male Reed Bunting, a single Wren and Willow Warbler, and noted a Painted Lady.
A quick visit to Abbeystead to find the Pied Flycatcher pair still feeding young in the nest. And at Christ Church the Spotted Flycatcher was showing again, but the bad news here was that not a single House Martin was to be seen here again today and they are surely not going to colonise the church this year given today's date. I had excellent views - on the day - of my second male Hen Harrier in seven days.

The pic is again courtesy of Brian Rafferty who captured this image of a Meadow Pipit with a Light Knot Grass moth in its bill......excellent stuff Brian.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Hit for six again......


......hours that is, at Barbondale. Always a good idea to make some return visits to try to get to grips with whats really going on in the bird world, but didn't get to grips with the Whinchat here today as I saw a female at about 10.30 on the right of the path just through the metal then new wooden gate, JW who I met later in the morning told me of the unusual sight of two male and a female in the same area virtually together about an hour later, and four hours after this I found a male in the area of the track to Bull Pot......Mmmmm!

I can confidently record just one pair of Pied Flycatcher at Barbondale this year, and can equally confidently record - though I found four adult's today - no first broods of Stonechat here - or some other areas I cover - and have found just one juvenile so far in 2009 which follows the same miserable pattern as last year. The Green Woodpecker wasn't quite so vocal this time as in the past but was still 'yaffling' on and off whilst I was here again today and has now been doing so for something like 24 hours (in four visits total)......why on earth does this bird call so persistently?

I saw a male Great - spotted Woodpecker in the morning and on a later return visit (to see if I could find anything in the area I missed on the first) I watched a female GSW feeding a fledged young which - the instant it had been fed - lunged with its bill at the parent bird with such force it knocked it off balance and had it made contact with its eye it would have taken it out......thanks for the meal mother! Some other interesting behaviour observed today was an adult Dipper in a hot and lengthy pursuit of a juvenile.

Other Barbondale 'specialities' seen were, a Spotted Flycatcher, at least 5 singing male Redstart and excellent views of a male and female, 7 Wheatear, one possibly two Tree Pipit heard, and 4 Grey Wagtail, I also found my first Small Copper of the year and a single Painted Lady.

The insect above which is a first for me and which I found here today along with about another six on the wing at the same time is as far as I know a Capsid or Mirid Bug: Family Miridae, which doesn't appear to have an English name but here goes......Dryophilocoris Flavoquadrimaculatus. Though you have to look quite closely at the picture to see its antenna I can only refer to the length as......well, quite something.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Three Up/Three Down.

Well three (hours that is) down on the coast then three up in the Trough but doesn't quite have the same 'ring' with it that way does it.


With JB today and we first headed to Conder Green where things were a little quiet - well it is June - but a Grey Plover in the Conder channel was in pristine summer plumage, and thankfully at least one of the Little - ringed Plover showed itself but you do really have to wonder, 1) are there still two birds on Conder Pool, 2) are they breeding, 3) are there any young yet. A Greenfinch was a must to record with the species seeming to become increasingly more difficult to find. On the canal basin at Glasson Dock the Mute Swan family is still fully intact with 7 cygnet's, also two Great - crested Grebe here don't appear to have any young at this stage.


At Cockersands 36 Eider counted, and two Great - crested Grebe, whilst c.550 Oystercatcher were on Plover Scar. Two Grey Partridge were running around bewildered at lots of agricultural machinery in the fields gathering in the harvest and probably a few nest's/egg's/young like there was no tomorrow. At the caravan park end and towards Bank End c.320 Large/Small White, 9 Painted Lady, 6 Wall Brown, and a single Small Tortoiseshell.


Up into the hills, and at Marshaw where the Common Sandpiper is almost certainly breeding as viewed from the cattle grid, one bird seen. At various points between here and Trough Bridge, a Wren was seen with 5 young, the Coal Tit is still feeding young in a nest hole just below the busy road, a Mistle Thrush, 2 Dunnock. Two Grey Wagtail were living and probably breeding in a danger zone and will be for the rest of the summer months with picnic people dotted here and there in the brilliant sunny weather we are having at the moment. A Spotted Flycatcher was seen just up the road from Trough Bridge.


In Abbeystead at Stoops Bridge the male and female Pied Flycatcher are feeding young in the natural nest hole, and a Garden Warbler just about managed to break into song and was never heard again. At Christ Church another Spotted Flycatcher seen here again but the House Martin mystery took on another twist when not a single bird was seen today despite up to ten having arrived here when we visited last Friday......I'm at a loss as to what is happening here this year.


I hope I can be excused making a statement without words with today's two pics from about another two dozen on the same subject I could have taken in the beautiful Trough of Bowland between Marshaw and Trough Bridge.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Simply the Best!

I'm talking about the Cross of Greet and surrounding area where I spent a serious seven hours today including a visit to a woodland I had to apply for permission to enter......amazing stuff!


I left the car at the top cattle grid at precisely 9 o'clock and proceeded on a birding day to remember and on which I was more than a little rewarded for my efforts, the only negative about which was, during the seven hours here I found just 2 Stonechat, a male and female a mile apart and both OOA. This - along with the disappointment last Thursday at Newby Moor - is something of a worry both locations being well established as Stonechat strongholds, but the jury is out on this one for the time being and there ends the first lesson.


I found an impressive 10 Whinchat here today, including five in the LDBWS recording area, the other five were seen during a skirt along the lower slopes of Bloe Greet where I had excellent views of a male Hen Harrier over the ridge, 2 Peregrine Falcon, and 2 Raven. A Cuckoo called just once and I counted at least 28 Meadow Pipit, 4 Wheatear, and a Mistle Thrush. By Cross of Greet Bridge I saw 2 Sand Martin and 2 Grey Wagtail. In the woodland which I visited on the way home and is probably the best and most attractive one I ever entered particularly as the Bluebell's are at their best right now, I had more excellent views, this time of Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, a pair of Redstart at a nest site, and heard Tawny Owl and Great - spotted Woodpecker

I'd like to express my gratitude to the landowner for granting me the permit to enter this piece of prime woodland, a picture of which is attached to this post. I saw a least 8 Painted Lady on the day, and if you're reading this BR it was a pleasure to see you today.