BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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CLOUGHA PIKE UNTIL RECENT YEARS THE BOWLAND STRONGHOLD FOR THE STONECHAT. PETE WOODRUFF.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Starling Spectacular.



With my birding in serious jeopardy - possibly for a few days - I can be thankful that Brian Rafferty hasn't been in the same situation with his photography and that he was able to get to Marton Mere at Blackpool this Wednesday 28 October to witness and record on film the truly amazing spectacle of an estimated 60,000 Starlings in flight and preparing to go to roost.



Brian also had the advantage of an equally spectacular sunset to compliment his already stunning images of an event which stays in the mind forever. Thanks once more to BR for giving me access to these pictures and allowing me to post them on Birds2blog.
Please visit BR's blog here http://brianraffertywildlifephotographer.blogspot.com/ or the link on the left of this post to see some excellent photographs.

Marton Mere remains my best ever experience of this same spectacle many years ago when an albino Starling was present with a similar sized flock to the current one here and stood out from the other birds quite clearly as I recall.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

El Desperado!



It soon became desperate today though Conder Green gave up some of its specialities other than the recent Ruff and the Kingfisher both of which eluded me. Its going to be interesting to look for the Common Sandpiper on every visit to Conder Green as the winter progresses, last year it was a little weird to see one/this bird feeding in the Conder channel one day when the mud was white with frost. A Greenshank, 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Snipe, 2 Goldeneye, and the 11 Little Grebe noted again today.
The desperation was already beginning to set in and the wader numbers on the Lune Estuary were similar to the past two visits here with circa 1,250 Golden Plover, 850 Knot, and 720 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Little Egret also seen again. On the canal basin a Little Grebe noted.
In the hope of some PFG with collars to read or Whooper Swans with rings I drove to the Pilling area and scored a resounding zero with not a 'goose' or 'swan' in sight though I had no time to go searching inland, I came away with 2 Little Egret off Fluke Hall in my book.
Yesterday I observed two incidents of behaviour which intrigued me both involving the Pied Wagtail. In the first on Conder Pool a Pied Wagtail was in hot pursuit of the Common Sandpiper and had locked on to it in the way a Merlin has the ability to lock onto its prey, the Pied Wagtail chased it all the way across the pool and followed at speed every twist and turn with remarkable agility before letting go and flying off. The second incident was a role reversal on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock when a Lapwing was in pursuit of a Pied Wagtail all the way up the estuary before disappearing from view. In neither of these incidents could I understand what was going on, why was the Pied Wagtail chasing the Common Sandpiper then the Lapwing chasing the Pied Wagtail, in both cases with great determination and apparent good reason......but what was the reason.
Thanks to Peter Guy for the two excellent images of the 'green listers' in today's pic.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Stone Curlew......


......I don't think so. But I reckon this guy - well I suppose it could be gall - deserves a post all of its own so I'm giving it one. The Peruvian Thick-Knee, a bird I'd call 'brilliant' courtesy of Colin Bushell.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Northern Pintail (Anas Acuta)

This is an experimental 'Blog this photo' from another website to see how it ends up on Birds2blog. It is a photograph taken by the son of Paul Baker in British Columbia, Canada one of my photographic subscribers to this blog.

Many Thanks Paul.

All over again!

Well not really all over again, I got no further than Cockersands today as I loitered along the way but to no avail and little - if anything - more to add to yesterdays excellent day along the coast. Needless to say I achieved no photographs worthy of going public with so I 'nicked' - with my fully up to date permit issued by the intrepid traveler Colin Bushell - a couple of Colins Peruvian exotica with the Franklins Gulls on the Lima coast above, and the truly amazing Inca Tern at Pucusana below.
Back to the reality of Conder Green where there are now 11 Little Grebe, the Ruff obliged yet again in the creeks, also Spotted Redshank, Common Sandpiper, and Kingfisher, the Goldeneye was still on Conder Pool. At Glasson Dock an adult Mediterranean Gull again, the Golden Plover number stood at around 1,200, c.850 Knot and c.720 Bar-tailed Godwit were to note, a Little Egret was again over by Waterloo Cottage.
I spent in excess of an hour at Cockersands sifting through good numbers of Redshank and Dunlin between Crook Farm and Crook Cottage to no avail, then went to the caravan park end to spend a similar length of time sifting through several hundred Black-headed Gulls again to no avail but did note 4 Little Egret, and if there are any Wigeon in this area of Morecambe Bay then its here but yet to be counted as I ran out of time and the light was rapidly fading. On the way home down Moss Lane I spotted c.25 Fieldfare from a moving car.
A year ago tomorrow (28 October 2008) John Bateman and I observed a truly amazing 300+ Whooper Swans in a field in the Cogie Hill area. I have a distinct feeling this is an event which will never be repeated anywhere near this area again.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Idleness......

Jay courtesy of Brian Rafferty.
......was my enemy this morning and dragging myself out of bed seemed an ordeal but I managed to get to Conder Green by 9.45 and soon 'nailed' the 10 Little Grebe on Conder Pool again, also noted on the pool the wintering Common Sandpiper, my first Goldeneye, 2 Goosander, 5 Snipe, and 7 Tufted Duck. The Ruff was in the creeks again as were at least 80 Teal, and a Little Egret was on the marsh off the old railway bridge and was the first of 23 I was going to see today.
At Glasson Dock 2 Little Grebe were noted on the canal basin, and on the Lune Estuary a Whooper Swan was a nice surprise and was the first of 59 I was going to see today. Also seen was a Merlin (on Colloway Marsh) 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls, c.1,250 Golden Plover were the only waders of note today, and I counted just 10 Wigeon, a Little Egret was over by Waterloo Cottage again, a Red Admiral was also seen. From Bodie Hill circa numbers were, 250 Bar-tailed Godwit, 120 Golden Plover, 75 Wigeon, and a Little Egret.
I planned to visit Cockersands as the tide came in and headed off towards Pilling. Opposite Sand Villa a group of 'swans' caught my eye and turned out to have been 4 Whooper Swans with 8 Mute Swans. Pilling Marsh was deserted by viewable birds but held c.200 Pink-footed Geese and 5 Little Egret. From Fluke Hall Lane 54 Whooper Swans were in a stubble field, and I saw a male Sparrowhawk and 2 Little Egret at Fluke Hall before I made a quick turnaround to head off to Cockersands where the juvenile Curlew Sandpiper finally gave itself up to me opposite Crook Cottage, also to note here was another Little Egret off Crook Farm, 33 Eider off Plover Scar again, and 12 Little Egret in the channel off the Caravan Park was a sighting which - even though we can find this species just about anywhere on our coastline these days - I still find the sight of this number together quite amazing......So the number of Little Egrets to be found on the coastline between Knott End and Arnside is 100 and how many?

Friday, 23 October 2009

Repeat Performance.

With BT today, a repeat of yesterday for me except we began
at Aldcliffe where 3 Little Egret were on the marsh and 6 Snipe were in the air as was a Sparrowhawk over by the tip. On Freemans Pools up to 20 Wigeon was almost double that of the count later in the day on the River Lune at Glasson Dock, also a pair of Gadwall and Shoveler were of note, and a Great-spotted Woodpecker was in flight.

At Conder Green the first sight to greet us was that of the entire wader residents of the Lune Estuary being in the air showing signs of mass panic the result of which had been caused by the female Merlin which I eventually tracked down to a post on the marsh, a sight to stir anyone to excitement. The Ruff was again in the creeks as were 3 Snipe, and again I could only find nine of the recent ten Little Grebe on Conder Pool. At Glasson Dock the Bar-tailed Godwit and Knot were at least the same as yesterdays count of 720 and 650 respectfully, an adult Mediterranean Gull seen again, also c.450 Golden Plover and a Little Egret, the 11 Wigeon count remains a low number in this area.
At Cockersands 33 Eider, 9 Red-breasted Merganser, just 6 Wigeon, and a Little Egret flew towards Plover Scar, the wader numbers here were unremarkable but we didn't linger today. In a field near Bank Houses 10 Stock Dove was a high count with Wood Pigeons and a Sparrowhawk cleared the field in an instant. On Pilling Marsh the PFG had deserted again but 12 Little Egret were seen between Lane Ends and Fluke Hall, 10 Whooper Swan heads were counted in the Broadfleet channel but bearing in mind I found twenty three here yesterday possibly more out of sight.
Thanks once more to David Cookson for the excellent image of six Whooper Swans.


Thursday, 22 October 2009

Back to normal......

......well back to birding anyway and thats perfectly normal to me.
Perhaps I should deal with today's pic which I've posted for the sheer excitement of seeing the Gannet in the image as it plunges towards the sea, it has absolutely nothing to do with anything that follows but so what. My thanks to David Cookson for the pic.
I spent the best part of two hours peering into bushes and nooks and crannies everywhere at Conder Green this morning plus despite counting them a dozen times as they dived continuously I could only find 9 Little Grebe on Conder Pool, also the Kingfisher seen, I could win money taking bets on guarantees of seeing this bird here at the moment, 5 Snipe were also seen and 'the' Ruff was in the creeks again.
On the canal basin at Glasson Dock I counted at least 70 Tufted Duck and noted 2 drake Pochard. On the Lune Estuary I noted circa numbers of 800 Lapwing, 720 Bar - tailed Godwit, 650 Knot and 160 Dunlin, I saw no more than 10 Golden Plover here today, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, a most interesting count was 9 Goosander, a Little Egret was over by Waterloo Cottage, and an adult Mediterranean Gull was the star bird.
At Cockersands I managed yet again to 'miss' a Curlew Sandpiper obviously this years boggie bird for me, an adult drake Scaup was with 45 Eider, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, and a Peregrine Falcon revealed c.1,500 Knot and was eventually mobbed briefly by the noticeably smaller Kestrel, I made no attempt at counting unimpressive numbers of Redshank and Dunlin but did note a solitary Turnstone and Grey Plover.
Pilling Marsh at high tide had been deserted by the PFG and I had just counted 23 Whooper Swan from Lane Ends towards Fluke Hall when fifteen decided to relocate elsewhere inland, of the eight remaining six where immatures, 3 Little Egret where also on the marsh.
Between Fluke Hall and Cockers Dyke at least 450 Pink-footed Geese were on Preesall Sands and I saw three more Little Egret. By the time I reached Cockers Dyke I'd run out of time but did establish no Med Gull/s and nothing out of the ordinary amongst the waders but don't like the 'out of time' situation and couldn't do any counting, otherwise the day for me had certainly been birding and after a six day absence that's ......back to normal.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Erroneous!


No birding again today, to call this unfortunate is something of an understatement but hopefully things may change tomorrow when I can get back to checking out the birds of Conder Green and the Lune Estuary before turning my interests to some more upland - and elsewhere - birding/birds.

The main purpose for this particular 'gap filler' is to put my cards on the table in the brave manner I have become known for in my birding capacity and clear up an erroneous record I made on two occasions recently when amongst my sightings for the days in question I included the record of a 1st winter Mediterranean Gull on Conder Pool which in fact on reflection more resembles a 2nd winter Lesser Black-backed Gull, but not being the greatest 'gull' person in the world would you please note I have referred to it as 'more resembling' and so as not to make an even bigger cock up on the issue - in case I'm wrong again - we'll leave it there and depart from that avenue.

I know - and am friendly with - most of the 'good' birders anywhere in and out of the LDBWS area and have always been grateful in the past for the help they have given me both on request and without it, and the help in correcting this error is no exception.
In the good old music hall tradition the saying goes......I'm not going to let this worry me......well why should I, after all the latest and greatest 'boob's' by other birders from a long line I've picked up along the way recently is a Lesser Scaup which turned out to have been a Tufted Duck, which isn't quite as big a 'boob' as the Green Sandpiper which was a Common Sandpiper, and should I conclude this rant with probably the worst one of all, that of the Cormorant which - even I knew - was a Shag.

If I do need to apologise for this error then I'm doing so now, the trouble with me is that I really think I'm infallible when in truth there's no such thing but you do come across one or two birders who think there is and couldn't face up to the type of confession I just made.
Not being prepared to post without a picture to brighten up the blog I'm grateful to David Cookson for the two stunning images of Little Egret on the Eric Morecambe complex at Leighton Moss as the sun set one evening recently. My photographic contacts produce an ever increasing perfection in the art.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Coming Soon.

With another of those enforced days 'off the road' and no way of overcoming it I thought it an idea to pass away the odd hour and keep the blog alive by posting one or two of my - mainly moderate - pics of some birds we can at least hope may be 'Coming Soon' to turn up in the area this winter like the Snow Bunting in the pic which I took at Lytham a few years ago, but the place I will be looking quite closely and regularly in our area will be Cockersands, a location well overdue the appearance of this bird.

A bird more likely to be seen will be the Twite which can be found at lots of locations including anywhere from Aldcliffe/Conder Green/Cockersands/Bank End/Pilling Lane Ends/Fluke Hall and all the way to Knott End. The bird on the left in this pic taken at Conder Green last year shows its pink rump reasonably well, not something easy to observe in the Twite.


The Waxwing never fails to draw the crowds when it shows up like this one which was at Levens Village last year with some of its relatives on 14 November. I must say this is just about the worst pic of this set but represents a nice record for me of this enigmatic species.

And finally the Bean Goose and another pic from last year when four birds were in a stubble field on Fluke Hall Lane at Pilling. Although two of the three in this pic are showing their rears it was probably my last chance to see that number of Bean Geese at one sighting in our area for some time I would guess.




Friday, 16 October 2009

Untitled......

......well how original is that!
I paid two visits to Conder Green today the first was to look in on Conder Pool on my way down the road to Pilling as the tide was 'wrong' for anything decent on the estuary at Glasson Dock etc. There only appeared to be four Little Grebe on the pool this morning but some perseverance and a look in at the far end produced all ten present and correct. A group of 'swans' in a field drew my attention as I passed Sand Villa and a check through them uncovered a Whooper Swan with 15 Mute Swans. On Pilling Marsh my estimate of Pink-footed Geese here today was 15,000 with c.6,000 over Wheel Lane, so well in excess of 20,000 in the area, 2 Whooper Swan also on the marsh.

A calorie burning exercise to Cockers Dyke presented me with some wader interest to look through but didn't result in anything on the migrant front but I noted circa numbers of 355 Dunlin, 280 Golden Plover, 420 Lapwing, 325 Redshank, and accurate counts of 4 Sanderling, 2 Knot, and a solitary Ringed Plover.

Back at Conder Green the place gave good value for money again today though I can claim no fame to a rarity, I recorded in the channel downstream from the rail bridge, a Ruff, Greenshank, 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, and 62 Wigeon which is a peak count in this area so far this season. On Conder Pool the Common Sandpiper put in an appearance as did the Kingfisher. The River Lune at Glasson Dock was on a 'desertion of most species' day but at least 1,400 Golden Plover and 620 Bar-tailed Godwit were both good counts.



With thanks to Brian Rafferty for today's pic Little Egrets seen were......

Lune Estuary Glasson Dock 3
Cocker Channel off Marsh Lane 2
Pilling Marsh 2
Fluke Hall 1
Cockers Dyke 1

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

LBD at Cockersands.

Long-billed Dowitchers in Canada.


With thanks to Stuart Piner and the excellent RBA pager service it was good to see a bird of substance again at Cockersands where I have personally been having some very mixed fortunes of late. Being conveniently at Conder Green yesterday and planning a return to Lancaster when SP found the Long-billed Dowitcher and my pager 'bleeped' to tell me this news, I was able to be standing next to him within a matter of a few minutes to be told 'it's disappeared' and was thought to be on the other side of the estuary with the Golden Plovers it and been associating with at the time it was found, a few anxious minutes ensued, but wait......SP has identified the call of the bird in flight - the most diagnostic feature of this species - and moments later I had the delight of telling Stuart 'its here in front of us' giving excellent views.


The Long-billed Dowitcher numbers found in Britain have dramatically increased since the mid 1970's. The first record was of one found on the Devonshire coast on a date in October 1801. It was later found to have been a first-winter male, light in weight and in poor condition, it was presumed to have just crossed the Atlantic and soon died. The bird was 'christened' with two names 'Brown Snipe' and later 'Red-breasted Snipe' before eventually taking the name we know it by today. It is my second, the first being on the Eric Morecambe Pool in 1998.


Thanks to Paul Baker in BC Canada for the photograph. 

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Mixed Fortunes.

Certainly a day of 'Mixed Fortunes' which started at Conder Green where the first winter Mediterranean Gull - seen on 5 October - was again on Conder Pool and is in the 'moderate' pic above with seven of the 10 Little Grebe on here today, also the reasonably obvious wintering Common Sandpiper, 4 Snipe and a Kingfisher. In the creeks 2 Greenshank, 2 Spotted Redshank, and a solitary Bar - tailed Godwit. On the canal basin at Glasson Dock I counted 76 Tufted Duck, a drake Pochard, and noted the Great - crested Grebe pair and their juvenile, and the Mute Swan pair and their six juvenile. The Lune Estuary was pretty unremarkable today being extremely low in wader numbers, and is it too early in the winter period for me to be wondering......where are all the Wigeon? Noted were c.500 Golden Plover and 245 Bar - tailed Godwit.
Now this is where it all began to turn nasty......At Cockersands - where I managed to count 14 Eider and c.250 Shelduck - I had been followed along the road here by a car which turned out to contain quite a large human being with two equally large 'hounds' aboard which promptly emerged and in no time at all were all over Plover Scar, I just left the place dragging my chin on the floor whilst accepting this guy and his animals have just the same rights to be here as I have, I just wish there had been a way of knowing he was on his bloody way here at the same time as me. So now my pager is alerting me to the message that a Curlew Sandpiper is being seen from Fishnet Point, well that's a bit rich as I left there not all that long ago so......right place wrong time!
Now I'm at Pilling Marsh counting at least 7,000 Pink- footed Geese when I realised I really should be heading back towards Lancaster, but now the pager is bleeping again and this is another Curlew Sandpiper at Cockersands but this is becoming unreal and I just don't have the time to go back there, so on the way home I'll return to Conder Pool to see if anything has changed there since this morning. Nothing had and by now I was throwing the towel in but wait the pager is again on the bleep and its a message from Cockersands again, this time its a juvenile Long - billed Dowitcher, off I went knowing who I would see when I arrived there with two CS and now a LBD to his credit......of course I was right and excellent views were had of this 'godwit' if you're not careful, 3 Curlew Sandpipers also gave excellent views and rounded off my day of very mixed fortunes......More a story than a bird report!
Little Egrets seen today were......
Two at Glasson Dock on the Lune Estuary
One on Colloway Marsh
One Bazil Point
Two on Pilling Marsh
Two Fluke Hall

Monday, 12 October 2009

Miscellaneous.

Another excellent day for 'doing your own birding thing' and mine for today was to get on to Clougha/Birk Bank and do the October check of the bird-life here. The title of the today's post is exactly what it says so lets get on with it......
I decided that I'd do one of my rare days birding were I record everything I see but to avoid boredom I'll just note the 'notables' here. The first two sightings as I got out of the car was the Red Admiral above and two Brown Hares one of which ran ahead of my car on Rigg Lane. The Stonechat total was ten birds but I'd been on Clougha an hour before I found the first one and I have to confess if I/you had been on a casual walk on here today you'd have found not a single Stonechat despite their characteristic 'sit up and beg', they were mainly distant birds and very hard work. I think the Gold Award for today goes to the Wheatear, still at over 400m in mid October, time to read the script for this bird was a thought through my mind. As I walked along the boardwalk I had seen four distant birds in silhouette which at first glance I had took to be Stonechats - a good start to the day I thought - but better views proved them to have been Dunnock, another first for me as I don't ever recall seeing four of this species together before, a family party I presumed. Four Buzzard and three Kestrel was the raptor total, 2 Jay, 16 Red Grouse with ten put to flight as I came on the scene, 7 Robin, 3 Wren, 2 Meadow Pipit and a Mistle Thrush. As I walked the top of Birk Bank 42 Redwing and later 25 Fieldfare went over. I gave the day an extra hour to walk a part of Littledale Road and Rigg Lane to see if any more of the latter two could be found but to no avail.
So......5.5 hours legwork here today means I'm either dead keen or dead nuts, in my opinion a bit of both.

I just thought I'd put up the Large-billed Tern, and the Ornate-Hawk Eagle. Another two of Colin Bushells 'Birds of Brazil' to accompany the two latest ones added to the sidebar yesterday to illustrate to some small degree the diversity of exciting birds in this country.
And to conclude the 'miscellany'......I have been in touch with John Bateman again today and John has asked me to convey via Birds2blog the message/info regarding his health which in Johns own words is serious. I myself would have referred to him as being rather poorly at the moment but time will change this situation I'm confident on that. It is important to me that I repeat that John specifically asked me to convey this message here on my blog and I am therefore confident I've said nothing against Johns request/wishes to me in this post and would add that I'm not at liberty to discuss the matter further.
Get well soon John and back to birding the coastal area you're so well acquainted with and to which you add your comprehensive counts like nobody else.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Leach's Petrel.

I'm posting this image to stand alone in its own post as it is by far the best one I ever viewed of the Leach's Petrel and was taken by Chris Batty on 3 October at Knott End. The photograph can be seen on the Flyde Bird Club website here http://www.fyldebirdclub.org/ which can also be found via the link on the left-hand sidebar on Birds2blog.
Its worth noting this bird is in flight and not on the sea which in my view makes the photograph even more stunning.
Thanks for allowing me to post Chris.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Routine......

......you could call it but excellent as ever with any days birding. Today I had the good company of wildlife lover and photographer BR who had a desire to be guided around the coastal area from Conder Green - Fluke Hall, an area I know vaguely.
I'm afraid Conder Green lived up to its current unproductive name, but look I don't like the sound of that sort of language, and birding - like anything else - has its high and low points so just lets get on with it and enjoy. On Conder Pool 7 Little Grebe means the numbers are slowly building up, last year it reached a double figure at its peak, 3 Snipe were also to note on the pool and two in the creeks, overhead a Buzzard was being mobbed by the tiny - by comparison - Kestrel.
On to Glasson Dock and numbers of Tufted Duck on the basin are also building up and twice I've threatened to count them and twice I failed to do so but there are now at least fifty on here today, also noted were the Great - crested - Grebe pair with a juvenile. On the Lune Estuary the tide was by now too high but up to 1,000 Golden Plover, Mondays 70 Bar - tailed Godwit were seen again, and a Little Egret was below Waterloo Cottage. I note with interest the Wigeon number amounts to no more than 'one or two' on the River Lune at this point.

Curlew thanks to Brian Rafferty.

At Cockersands 52 Eider were off Plover Scar and c.280 Oystercatchers were on it, any other waders were by now washed out from here......unfortunate if you're birding. The circuit back via the road resulted in nothing more than an enjoyable walk and 95 Jackdaws in a field which were accompanied by a 'few' Carrion Crows, even the resident Tree Sparrows were scarce today with just one or two showing, 3 Brown Hare seen included one running off Plover Scar away from the incoming tide.


Lapwing thanks to Brian Rafferty.

On Pilling Marsh more numbers building up were at least 4,000 Pink - footed Geese which had 9 Barnacle Geese accompanying them though I have a sneaky feeling two were hidden from view as eleven have been seen earlier today from Fluke Hall Lane and the same number yesterday here on the marsh, 2 Little Egret also on the marsh and later one flew west past Fluke Hall slipway.
I'm sure BR knows this area quite well but like any visiting birder I reckon he was quite impressed by what he saw today both in landscape and birds even though the latter lacked any exotica.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

My Kind of Birding.



A good calm day with some hazy sun and an excellent opportunity to check the October Stonechats here and there. Not a lot of pen and paper used today with two and a half hours on Harrisend producing 9 Stonechats, if I'm to compare this number with 15 October 2008 it happens to be a disappointing one with 22 birds seen on that date, an all time record for Harrisend, but the upturn in the status of the Stonechat has ended in my view but more on that at a later date. Also noted here today, 27 Meadow Pipit with 22 noted having no determination in their flight and several coming down on to the moor, 7 Swallow south, 2 Reed Bunting, 3 Wren, a Robin, a solitary Red Grouse, a Kestrel, Buzzard, and a Brown Hare.

From the access track to Hawthornthwaite off Scorton Road, 8 Stonechat, 4 Red Grouse, 4 Wren, and a Kestrel. And from the Marshaw access track to the same fell, 2 Stonechat and a Buzzard were the rewards for my 1.5 hour effort on here forming a good part of My Kind of Birding.

Thanks to Peter Guy for the female Stonechat image.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Filling the gap!

Another gap filler for Birds2blog this time with some images from Colin Bushells recent trip to Brazil where - as expected - he encountered many exotic birds with equally exotic names which will help bring some colour to the blog on a colourless dull rainy day. I have no intention of 'stealing' Colin's account to accompany these pictures and highly recommend looking up his blog which can be linked from here http://latinamericabirding.blogspot.com/ and always from the sidebar on the left of these post's. Thanks for allowing me to share your photographs on here Colin, the sparse text which accompanies the post is made up for by the diversity of the four pic's which are a mere fraction of what you encountered again this year in Brazil.


Above is a picture of the male Surucua Trogon taken in Carma.

Three-toed Jacamar.


This one I couldn't resist and is the brilliantly named Pearl Kite taken on Colin's 2008 trip to Brazil.


And how about this truly amazing moth for which I have no name to add but hope to have soon.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Summer at last!

It has to be said a lovely day, the walk along the headland at Cockersands was pure delight with not a breeze and brilliant sunshine, something of a rare event here and the sea was like the proverbial millpond.



Conder Pool appeared to be almost dead again today until out from behind the far island came the juvenile-1st winter Mediterranean Gull above, it was eventually accompanied on the pool by a Common Sandpiper, and just one Little Grebe seen today, at least 25 Swallows surprised me going south with some drinking from the pool as they passed through. Six Snipe were in the creeks and 4 Greenshank were in the channel below the old railway bridge.
Adult Med Gull west of Fluke Hall slipway.
At Glasson Dock on the Lune Estuary a Guillemot was a nice find looking healthy but obviously taken a wrong turn, also to note here, c.70 Bar - tailed Godwit and a similar number of Black - tailed Godwit, a Greenshank, up to 600 Golden Plover, a Little Egret, and 19 Cormorant counted. Two Little Egret were on Glasson Marsh from Bodie Hill.
At Cockersands despite a two hour circular taking in many of the nooks and crannies of the area nothing caused me to have to use the mobile but a pleasant walk produced 33 Eider off Plover Scar around the lighthouse and 19 Pink - footed Geese going south. Back via the road circa numbers of 20 Skylark over, 30 - very difficult to count - Tree Sparrow, 20 Goldfinch three of which decided to mob a Sparrowhawk, not a good idea but I never saw a raptor yet attempt to take a bird mobbing it. Opposite Braides looking over the new scrapes I saw a Merlin fly off from a fence post, and Peregrine Falcon which appeared to have something pinned to the ground. Spotting 12 'swans' from the car in a field opposite Sand Villa I pulled in to find a Whooper Swan with 11 Mute Swans, another Whooper Swan was in company with up to 3,000 Pink - footed Geese on Pilling Marsh where there was 9 Little Egret between Lane Ends and Fluke Hall where I found an adult Mediterranean Gull just west of the slipway, I also noted from here another 42 Pink - footed Geese flying south over Cockerham Marsh.
I think the quality of today's pics is the giveaway as to who's they are......no further comment!

Sunday, 4 October 2009

A couple more pics......

......and a brief comment on a recent excellent record......all to keep the blog breathing and alive.



I have a particular reason for liking the Bar - tailed Godwit/Knot pic, the bird still retaining its summer plumage and standing out from the rest is a reminder for me about the one I found at Rossall Point way back on 9 December in 1995, it was in the company of another BTG which was - given the date - as you would expect in winter plumage. However, the other one was quite amazingly in full summer plumage and remains the oddest of sightings I ever had of a bird quite inappropriately 'dressed' at the beginning of December. Incidentally the record of Bar - tailed Godwit at Rossall Point is in itself 'unusual' at this location.
The Oystercatchers make an excellent photograph with their black and white plumage and bright orange/red bill making them one of our more attractive waders and even more so in flight. Thanks for letting me use your pics again BR.
And the excellent record was submitted by Steve Wallis on the LDBWS website and was made on Saturday 26 September on Tarnbrook Fell when he saw 10/12 Whinchat. With the exception of 15 birds I found in the Cross of Greet/Bloe Greet area this summer - and short of searching through recent past records - I'm quite convinced this is by far the best single day record of the Whinchat in the LDBWS recording area in 2009 or any previous year for quite some time and is most certainly one not to be overlooked, it also exceeded Stonechat sightings for Steve on the same day by 8/10 birds......who would ever have thought!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

At last......


......back on the beat. What smart bird's both the humble Starling and the Kestrel below are when seen in image's as good as these.
By the time I got my act together today the tide was at its height so I called in at Conder Green before heading off down the road. No rare beauties to be seen here though, the 2 Spotted Redshank were roosting in the creeks, the three resident Little Grebe and lone Common Sandpiper were all on the pool and that was the sum total here again today. The highlight of the day was opposite Braides off the A588 in the new scrapes field a day earlier than 2008 in the form of 3 Whooper Swan's. I called in at Pilling Lane Ends to find at least 2,200 Pink - footed Geese, certainly more but distance and a haze makes the count pretty useless. From Fluke Hall I decided to walk to Cockers Dyke, the walk almost proved its worth as a 1st winter Yellow Wagtail had been west of here at Ridge Farm but despite the efforts (a call on my mobile) of a Fylde birder I encounter often on my wanderings I didn't connect with this smart migrant. Cockers Dyke was a little disappointing - but that's birding - and I noted estimates of 120 Golden Plover, 450 Lapwing, and a Wheatear not forgetting the Stoat which came out from under the sea defences and did a quick turnaround and disappeared back under them as soon as it saw me, a 'few' Meadow Pipits were on the move, and a Sparrowhawk had also noted this. Back at Fluke Hall 2 Little Egret were on the marsh and a Great - spotted Woodpecker flew out of the woods and headed out in the direction of Heysham PS but soon seemed to realise it was making a mistake and did a 'u' turn back over the woods.
I did a complete miscalculation today and by the time I reached Cockersands the tide was far too way out and my enthusiasm quickly drained and after noting 14 Eider, 15 Golden Plover and a 'few' Ringed Plover I left for Glasson Dock to view the Lune Estuary and find an adult Mediterranean Gull, 2 Little Egret, a Greenshank, 12 Bar - tailed Godwit, and a Peregrine Falcon doing its 'put panic into all and everything' act.
Thanks to David Cookson for allowing me to share some more of his brilliant photographs again.