BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE FOREST OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND.

Monday, 30 November 2009

A Beady Eye......

......and just a pair of bino's round my neck today, too cold to be standing around with a cruel north wind blowing in your face counting waders and in any case the tide was at its height at Glasson Dock rendering the Lune Estuary too much water but here goes......

At Conder Green I must first note not having seen the Common Sandpiper here since 2 November though it has been reported twice on the LDBWS website since that date. The Spotted Redshank obliged in the creeks as did a single Grey Plover, 2 Little Grebe also here by way of a change. Conder Pool was going to be recorded on the blog this evening as 'deserted' but - as if to prove the point that there are so many areas on here which are out of view - a Sparrowhawk over the entire length of the pool transformed it from desertion to there being in excess of 155 birds in seconds, with at least 85 Teal and 62 Mallard, a pair of Wigeon, a Goldeneye, 3 Little Grebe, and 9 Snipe in the air. From the picnic area I saw in excess of 3,000 Knot huddled out of the sight of almost everyone on the bank of the Conder Estuary, also 17 Black-tailed Godwit and 18 Bar-tailed Godwit noted. On the canal basin at Glasson Dock I noted 4 Pochard drake's and a Little Grebe.

At Cockersands I'm not proud of the fact that with my telescope still firmly locked up in the boot of my car I totally ignored any waders present but walked the headland and returned via the road to record the male Stonechat at the lighthouse end for its 28th day on the same fence posts for four consecutive sightings over this period......fascinating creatures aren't they! Also 12 Greenfinch seen again - which prompts me to note I should comment on Birds2blog at some point on a good number of the species disappearing from a location in Lancaster - a solitary Black-tailed Godwit was on a flood with 22 Lapwing, a Little Egret was by the pool in the field NW of Bank Houses where it was seen on several occasions last winter, a Song ThrushSparrowhawk, and a Brown Hare.

And with just four hours available for birding today back at the lighthouse meant the end of the day unfortunately.






For anyone who knows John Bateman and hasn't already seen these two images above on the LDBWS website, I'm pleased to pass on the news that John is feeling much better now and has had the enthusiasm to get outside his house to photograph the Starling and the Blackbird. Hopefully perhaps by the New Year he will be able to accompany me on the 'Coastal Run' once again.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Three CB's!




Three more 'gap-filler images' from globetrotter Colin Bushell starting with the Lear's Macaw which Colin encountered recently on his current trip to NE Brazil. Colin tells us the birds were seen following a trek to see them leaving their overnight roost near Canudos. Apparently the total population of the species appears to stand at around just 250 birds and this party of birders reckon they saw about 50% of the population at this sighting if this is the case.



Lettered Aracari in NE Brazil.



And the Northern Caracaras seen and photographed in Guyana earlier this year. You can keep up with the travels of Colin Bushell here http://latinamericabirding.blogspot.com/ also linked 'Ribble to Amazon' on the left of this post.

The new link 'LinkWithin' which I have added to the blog will take the viewer to a previous post at random on Birds2blog, so if by chance you have no interest in a blast from the past......ignore it!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Over the Rainbow.



Quite a nice rainbow formed over Aldcliffe Marsh this morning - my efforts at capturing it are above - which is where I called with BT......well it is Friday and that's where we start on Friday. As it turned out it was the right decision by BT today as 45 minutes into the visit c.250 Greylag went up into the air accompanied by 4 Snow Geese which immediately prompted the thought 'Leighton Moss birds', later they were better viewed from 1/2 mile SW of the Golden Ball. Also noted at Aldcliffe was an excellent count - in my book - of  10 Dunnock including six together, the best count of the species at one time I ever recorded,  a good number of Blackbirds were in evidence with at least twenty seen. On the wildfowlers pool which has now become a lake a Goldeneye was noted and c.90 Redshank were also on here, c.170 Feral Pigeon were in one of the stubble fields, and a Goldcrest was on the edge of Freeman's Wood. On Freeman's Pools 3 Little Grebe and 3 Gadwall were of note.

Having had better views of the SG's and a Little Egret on Colloway Marsh we went to Sunderland Point were I counted 260 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Goldeneye were drifting downstream, everything else was too distant way over on the Glasson side of the River Lune and at this point BT declared our birding day had ended, we saw another Little Egret as we left the marsh at Overton.

A good day with BT as always as he is a good companion who knows 'quite a bit of stuff' about wildlife in general and is very helpful on my learning curve......thanks BT.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Pushing it!

Well I was really pushing it today, but with the weather as it has been and still is, if I don't then I'm never going anywhere. As I turned left going south at the top of our road this morning the sky was black as midnight and already I was muttering to myself 'why are you doing this', however I did manage 3.5 hours before I finally gave in and came home......this is becoming too much.

Two birds managed to 'cheer me up' the first was at Conder Green where the Spotted Redshank was found in the creeks with its commoner 6 Redshank relations, also noted here were 12 Snipe in the air together, on the pool I could only find 5 Little Grebe today, also just the one Goldeneye, a single drake Wigeon, and 85 Teal was an increase from Monday.



The Lune Estuary was on another unimpressive day with c.220 Redshank, an estimated 1,000+ Lapwing, 4 Goosander, and 2 Goldeneye of note. On Glasson Marsh from Bodie Hill quite impressive numbers of c.1,500 Golden Plover and 3,000 Lapwing to note with presumably either the Merlin/Peregrine Falcon giving them a hammering but neither of which could I pick up.

By now I was getting rather more than pretty fed up of dodging the showers AGAIN but decided against my better judgement to go to Cockersands where at least I found the second bird to 'cheer me up' in the male Stonechat which was yet again on the same fence line as the previous three sightings since 9 November, and c.12 Greenfinch which I was now viewing in a hail storm and decided do the defeatist act and departed for Lancaster.

Thanks to David Cookson for the excellent image of the Little Owl in the centre of this post......Thanks David.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

A counter and two pic's.




First a couple of images from my friend Paul Baker over there in BC Canada. Its really good to have made contact and gained permission to post some of Paul's excellent pics on Birds2blog. This one of the Long-billed Dowitcher is a species we've seen on the blog before but its another good shot of these two birds with some attractive reflections.



And the Lesser Yellowlegs, which has to be my favourite 'yank' as I have been fortunate enough to have found two over the years, both at Leighton Moss and both on the Eric Morecambe complex. This image has even more attractive reflections than the LBD one.

After running the blog for over twelve months I have decided to install a Flag Counter. I thought it would be interesting to see where visitors to Birds2blog actually came from. If I read all the facts correctly the counter only records a visitor on his/her first visit and then not thereafter, in other words it has already counted my visit and won't ever do so again, and the same goes for 'you'. The counter therefore doesn't count the number of 'hits' and I've never wanted one that did.

So the last laugh could be on me when in a years time the counter has registered just a couple of dozen Union Jacks indicating I've been posting virtually to myself for 2 years and nobody outside the UK has ever visited Birds2blog......Oh dear!!

Monday, 23 November 2009

3D Birding!

That was going to be the title for today's post 'Dull, Damp, and Dismal' when I set out but in fact it made quite a pleasant day eventually but I thought I'd leave the title as it was being I couldn't think of an alternative. From a busy day I managed to salvage four hours for birding and gave Conder Green/Glasson Dock/Cockersands a reasonable 'going over' mainly all legwork. Thanks to Brian Rafferty for the excellent but unrelated pics - other than they're birds - of a bathing Mallard and the Magpie.


At Conder Green a Spotted Redshank put in an appearance in the creeks, and on the pool I noted just 5 Little Grebe today, 2 Goldeneye, 42 Teal, 10 Snipe, and the Kingfisher flew the entire circuit of the pool in stages landing within 5 mtrs of me at one point. On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull was excellent, a Little Egret was over below Waterloo Cottage again, 6 Goosander, a solitary Goldeneye, and the number of 380 Wigeon had much increased here today, wader numbers were unimpressive this visit with circa 320 Bar-tailed Godwit, and 280 Golden Plover noted.

I decided on a full count of the canal basin today with 32 Coot, 15 Mallard, 10 Tufted Duck, another solitary Goldeneye, a drake Shoveler was something of a surprise on here, 8 Mute Swans were seen as a pair with six juveniles, a Little Grebe, and 2 Great-crested Grebe.
 


Something of an amazing transformation on Glasson Marsh from Bodie hill today which - by comparison to last Friday - was deserted and I made a hasty retreat.

At Cockersands - where by now I was running out of time - I noted a Stonechat on the same fence line I had seen one/it two weeks ago on 9 November, also 14 Eider were off Plover Scar, 35 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit were in a flooded field, 3 Kestrel seen, and a Brown Hare was on the shore, and from Moss Lane c.20 Fieldfare were seen. I have noted the male Stonechat seen at Conder Green on 9 November has not been seen since, and no Stonechat/s have yet been seen at the caravan park end of Cockersands this early winter......but is the one at the lighthouse end on its way there!


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Another Showcase.



Its easy to liven and brighten up this blog with so many excellent images available from photographers I have lined up with permission to post their images on Birds2blog, like these two of the smart Jay currently visiting Brian Rafferty's garden......



......and these two images from Simon Hawtin of the delightful Long-tailed Tits.

Short and sweet but serves the purpose of 'filling the gap' perfectly until I can get out birding again tomorrow......if!!



Well this post simply had to be edited because of an e-mail I received from Ian Tallon soon after posting it which had an attachment containing these two young Jay photographed by Ian this summer in the Silverdale area. Ian doesn't yet know how delighted I was to find this image in my inbox but hes about to as I'm off to send my reply now thanking him very much for sending me this truly brilliant shot of these two dudes.

Friday, 20 November 2009

The Best of Bodie.



Bar-tailed Godwits thanks to Brian Rafferty.

The birds on display today on Glasson Marsh from Bodie Hill were by far the best I ever witnessed at this location and my wish was that John Bateman could have been with BT and I to see the spectacle for himself. When we arrived here at about 11.45 we were confronted by what was eventually estimated to be up to 20,000 birds mainly - of course - waders which included reasonably accurate circa numbers of 7,500 Knot, 6,200 Lapwing, 3,100 Golden Plover, 2,000 Bar-tailed Godwit, 160 Redshank, 120 Curlew, with 135 Shelduck, 125 Wigeon, 4 Goldeneye, and 3 Red-breasted Merganser, the other c.660 were represented by swans, gulls, and any small waders I may have 'missed'.  This spectacle was made all the more spectacular by the arrival of a female Merlin which drove the amazing mass into a thoroughly mind boggling synchronised eruption into the air followed very soon after by the approach of a Peregrine Falcon which brought about a repeat performance of 20,000 birds activated into mass panic, later both these raptors were observed 'stood' on the marsh just 20 mtrs apart for several minutes, truly amazing......you really don't need the BBC and Autumn Watch.


Knot thanks to Brian Rafferty. 

But before all this BT had gone to Aldcliffe though I'm as ever not sure why, we stood at the gate at the bottom of Aldcliffe Hall Lane for a few minutes and saw 2 Little Egret, walked the top path North for a few mtrs, went back to the car and off we went, not to be seen as a complaint or criticism you understand......Mmmmmm!

At Conder Green 8 Little Grebe were on the pool - I reckon the other two were in hiding - 2 Goldeneye were seen before we had to make a hasty retreat to the car to escape a shower which looked like it may last for ages but actually blew over in several minutes by which time we were now at Bodie Hill and the above observations.

At Cockersands I walked the headland to the caravan park to achieve a resounding zero but 18 Greenfinch around the CP area has to be regarded as a major find these days. At Pilling Lane Ends a Little Egret was in one of the fields, and on Fluke Hall Lane two adult and five juvenile Whooper Swans were in a stubble field.

So, although after leaving Bodie Hill just after high tide the day became something of a dull event, seeing today's spectacle will remain one of the many aspects of birding I could'nt do without.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Washed Out.

Well the weather is dominating the scene again just now and like everyone else I was washed out again today and am in serious danger of becoming a victim of SAD (Seasonal Adjustment Disorder) but have so far managed to fight it off. Still, my living room isn't under two foot of water.



So perhaps we should take a look at four more excellent examples of superb photography to brighten things up a little, the first two of which are courtesy of Colin Bushell who is away at the moment in foreign parts and allows me to post some of his photographs......Thanks very much Colin. The bird above is the Grey-breasted Parakeet one of a long list of species no doubt Colin will return to the UK with firmly held in his memory card.


                                                 

And this one is the amazingly colourful Red-necked Tanager.




I had cause to contact Simon Hawtin today and during our conversation couldn't understand why I had never approached Simon to ask permission to use any of his pictures from his website, so today I put the situation right and was told it was perfectly OK for me to use any of his images for which I am truly grateful......Thanks very much Simon.

So what about the Nightjar which incredibly took a liking to Simons fencing in his garden one day a while back. Amazing that it chose to locate in the very place a man and camera could record this once in a lifetime occurrence......WOW!



A positively superb image - and one of many Simon has in his library - of the stunning Short-eared Owl posing nicely on a stone wall in some upland area I probably visited on many a days birding.

I just watched the latest weather forecast......anyone know of a rowing boat for sale!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Back on the Road.

It was good to be out today having not been so since last Thursday but the day 'fizzled out' after I left Fluke Hall but that becomes apparent later.
At Conder Green the high tide today was unavoidable but the marsh here is as good a place as any in the area for Snipe and today 4 Jack Snipe came off as the incoming tide displaced them. At low tide - if you want to risk breaking your ankle or ending up to your kneecaps in a small hidden channel - its always worth a wander over to flush out the birds, but that's not my favourite pastime and the birds don't like it either. A Greenshank was on the pool as were 10 Little Grebe after about 6 counts, 2 Goldeneye were also noted. With Glasson Dock and Cockersands pretty hopeless until the tide dropped I went off to Fluke Hall stopping en route were a single Whooper Swan was with 17 Mute Swans in a field opposite Sand Villa. A walk from Fluke Hall to Cockers Dyke turned out to be a good idea if only to find two smart adult Mediterranean Gulls on Preesall Sands, not the one in the pic above of course which I took some time back and is a good comparison picture......should'nt Black-headed Gulls be called Brown-headed Gulls? The dyke was a little quiet today save 4 Little Egret, 9 Grey Plover, and circa 125 Lapwing, 53 Shelduck, 15 Redshank, and a single Knot and Pink-footed Goose.
And this is where the day came to an abrupt end in relation to birding because I went to Cockersands with enough time to checkout Abbey Farm to see if the BR was still around, it didn't appear to be though I had to cut the visit short to beat some pretty horrible 'stuff' in the sky and heading towards Cockersands which I regret caught up with me before I reached the shelter of my car and I ended up drenched and boy do I mean drenched, not happy......but eventually got over the unhappiness!
I heard mention on the television the other day of a round Britain coastal path, but it was only a mention I heard so don't know the details but sounds excellent to me. I couldn't help wondering - when I reached the fence which confronts you on the marsh behind Fluke Hall Wood telling us 'NO PUBLIC ACCESS BEYOND THIS POINT' - what will the man who had the rights (didn't he?) to put up the sign have to say when they arrive in time to come armed with the equipment to remove the fence!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Off The Road!

Filling the gap again as birding has taken a back seat and I've been off the road once more since Thursday last and although my desire is to get on out there again tomorrow the weather may well dictate otherwise. So a couple of excellent images of the Surf Scoter from my friend over the pond in BC Canada are the order of the day. This species was removed from the BBRC Rarity List in 1990 by which time over 460 birds had been recorded the bulk of which were in Scotland with the Firth of Forth and Moray Firth being the most popular sites.



And as something of a slight relief from the birds two more images from another friend of mine - Richard Shilling - who's creative thinking never ceases to amaze me as I have said many times before and you can see for yourself via the link in the column on the left of this post. The title of this piece of artwork is 'Floating Red Oak Leaf Squares'. Great stuff Richard, keep up the good work and many thanks for allowing me to brighten up Birds2blog occasionally with your creations.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Plugging away again......

......for the third time this week at Conder Green/Glasson Dock and Cockersands where I may as well have never bothered going as the weather once again put paid to the day following another of those 'sit in the car and see what happens' sessions and nothing did except it rained and rained some more rendering it unsuitable for me to try to see - amongst other things - the Black Redstart for the third time, apparently the bird has made a move to the abbey area at Cockersands for its fourth day.
So I achieved just two hours today starting at Conder Green - well where else - where two of the 'specials' showed today with the Common Sandpiper on the pool, and a Spotted Redshank in the creeks, this bird can be identified a mile away, slightly larger than its commoner relation and its brilliant white underparts, longer legs and bill, it's hard to believe this bird transforms to its unique black breeding plumage in the summer, 2 Goosander were also in the creeks, 3 Goldeneye were on the pool, and I managed 10 Little Grebe almost enjoying the challenge of counting them several times before eventually getting them whilst they were all on the surface but needs determination......try it sometime.
On the Lune Estuary it was a large number of waders day here with minimum circa numbers - and no apologies for nice cosy round figures - of 3,000 Knot, 2,000 Bar-tailed Godwit, and 1,750 Golden Plover, 5 Red-breasted Merganser were of note, and an adult Mediterranean Gull is obviously 'always' here but doesn't jump out at you to make the announcement it is, and is invariably at some distance. A Raven was going west over Lancaster City centre at 9.05 this morning.
A couple of points about birding the estuary from Glasson Dock. I've always suggested the necessity of being here at least 2.5 hours before high tide and I was quite surprised when I was here recently and witnessed the bore rushing past me more or less precisely 3 hours before the high tide on that day. The other point is, how unfortunate that there appears to be little - if any way at all - to get nearer to the birds to sift through them which consumes a great deal of time and taxes the eye, as a consequence there must surely be many a 'goodie' escapes the attention of birders at this excellent wader rich location.
I couldn't resist the excellent images of the immature Ring-billed Gull courtesy of Paul Baker......thanks a lot Paul for the superb photographic quality of this equally superb quality bird.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

A Dump Too Late!

With apologies to anyone who looks in on Birds2blog for more interest than what follows will generate. I'm in possession of information regarding a post on 'another' website yesterday which apparently referred to my 'handling' of the news regarding the current Black Redstart found at Cockersands on Monday.
Whilst I'm still intent on maintaining my 'no names' policy on Bird2blog (with the exception of the photographers who permit me to post their images, and others who I'm fully aware won't be affected by my naming them) and whilst the 'controversy' policy goes out the window, I'm not prepared to sit back and allow unacceptable criticisms about me and the running of this blog by someone who doesn't know what they are talking about, it's worth remembering......a little knowledge is dangerous.
Unfortunately the 'dump' on the other website wasn't quick enough off the mark and I am now aware of what was said albeit not perhaps word for word. It seems this person thought it a poor way for me to release the news about this bird, being that because I had indicated on the other website that 'details could be found here' then made a link to Birds2blog which in this persons view - and possibly/probably others - meant a trawl through a load of rubbish before arriving at the important bit......well thanks a lot Mr Person.
Well......the fact of the matter is, that I reckon most - if not all - visitors to the other website and the group it represents also visit this blog so there's not much point in distancing ourselves from this unpleasant attitude to what in the end is 'supposed' to be an interesting and learning pleasure/informative/scientific/hobby/pastime......call birding what you will.
So......here endeth the first lesson but wait a minute......is my informant given to lying? Perhaps the accused 'Mr Person' will come on the blog and tell us that the informant certainly is here.
Of course if you got to the post on the other website smart enough before the 'dump' you know who I'm talking about......I do.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Doing it......

......all over again.
I reckon KT wanted rid of me for the day as she kept on saying the weather was going to brighten up in the afternoon, nothing new there then so off I went to do a re-run of yesterday although the plan was to get some fresh air into my lungs on Harrisend/Hawthornthwaite but not in weather like this thanks very much.
At Conder Green just one of the 'specialities' showed today in the form of the Common Sandpiper, I gave up on counting when I reached 8 Little Grebes on the pool where there was also 3 Goldeneye. I noted at least 50 Goldfinch, 25 Chaffinch, and a Dunnock by Cafe 'd Lune.
At Glasson Dock on the Lune Estuary an adult Mediterranean Gull was - as always - a nice find, wader numbers were on an unimpressive day and in fact I committed the sin of ignoring them for once as I wanted to move on, but I did note a Little Egret with another on Colloway Marsh, also it was a change to see up to 160 Wigeon here today.
I went off to Pilling to see of there was any Swan/Geese interest but saw just 6 Whooper Swans over my head at Fluke Hall and on to Pilling Marsh, c.600 Pink-footed Geese were in a field here but the count was irrelevant as there were many more than this figure well and truly hidden in a field much further back, also many birds were mobile in this and the surrounding area all the time I spent here.
Having left Cockersands to the last I went straight to the caravan park end and eventually found the Black Redstart on the roof of Bank Houses where it remained until I left at dusk. I also noted 2 Little Egret from here and estimated at least 1,000 Wigeon between here and the lighthouse.
Thanks to David Cookson for his excellent image of the Red Kite he saw yesterday at Altcar.
By the way......the annoying lack of spaces between paragraphs - resulting in the one untidy large block - is apparently something I cannot rectify and which as I see it nobody has come up with the solution as yet.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Blue Sky....Black Day!

An excellent days birding well rewarded for my six hours serious legwork around Conder Green/Glasson Dock/Cockersands. A wintering male Stonechat was found at Conder Green one day earlier than last year, the bird was the best start I could have hoped for here. If I'm honest it was quiet here today with all the specialities absent from view but I did count 10 Little Grebe again but gave up on trying to 'nail' the twelve here last Friday, 2 Goldeneye and a single Snipe were the only others to enter the book.
At Glasson Dock on the Lune Estuary birds noted were, c.2,000 Bar-tailed Godwit again, but lesser numbers than last week of c. 750 Knot, and c. 80 Golden Plover, 2 Goosander, 2 Little Egret, and at last a little increase in c.55 Wigeon here today.
On the way to Cockersands at least 20 Fieldfare seen from Moss Lane, another male Stonechat was at the lighthouse end, this bird appeared here three days earlier than last years bird though I did find one on 6 October at the caravan park end where a male eventually wintered. The only waders I noted around the lighthouse/Plover Scar area were, a good count of 42 Turnstone, and 2 Grey Plover, wildfowl noted were just 5 Eider today, 3 Shoveler I can only refer to as at least unusual here, but in excess of 300 Wigeon was encouraging, 3 Meadow Pipit and a Kestrel were also noted. I saw 3 Little Egret on Cockerham Marsh from the entrance to the caravan Park.
As I came through the kissing gate walking south east towards the concrete ramp heading for the caravan park I saw a bird movement which made me 'jump to attention' but it turned out to have been a Meadow Pipit, however about five seconds later another movement put me into alert mode once again, this time it was a smart 1st winter/female Black Redstart in the field with the red brick building, it was quite mobile and went on to the shingle several times and also perched atop of one of Bank Houses farm buildings, the bird was still mobile in this area two hours later in fading light when I returned to check it out. So......if you plan a days birding tomorrow and would like to get off to an early good start I'd suggest visiting Cockersands to search either side of the concrete ramp i.e. the shingle and the field with the aforementioned red brick building as a Black Redstart was about to roost there when I left at 4.40pm this early evening.
I'm really grateful to Ian Tallon for permitting me to post the excellent image of his male BR at Linskeldfield in Cumbria.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Butcher Bird!



Having decided to visit Dalton Crag again this year for his third in a row Jeff Butcher struck lucky with the bird partially named after him when he found the Great Grey Shrike with a group he had taken up there in the hope of seeing it and probably thinking he was living in the land of dreams as they made their way on to the crag......Excellent stuff Jeff.

Jeff is obviously making a habit of finding 'shrikes' as he was also in the right place at the right time on 29 May when he found a female Woodchat Shrike in/around the plantation behind Tower Lodge in the Trough of Bowland.
Back to today's find......is this in fact the Alston Moor GGS come to winter on Dalton Crag having having raised three young there at an undisclosed location. The species has had a presence in winter on the moors at Alston for many years, this year two birds stayed on to breed......interesting!
Many thanks to Jeff for allowing me to post his two images of this exciting find on Dalton Crag......again.


Friday, 6 November 2009

Early Bird!

Up before daylight this morning, a lot on my mind you understand. I was at Conder Green by 8.00am, by the way the pic is of the canal behind Conder Pool - but not today - where I counted 12 Little Grebes which may be a record on here but I need to check this out. Also 2 Goldeneye, the Kingfisher flew across the pool, and a Dunnock by the screen appeared to be oblivious of me as it behaved like a car park Robin and came within inches of me, a Greenshank was in the Conder channel and an unexpected/surprising c.250 Wood Pigeon flew over going south as did at least 85 Fieldfare, 2 Tree Sparrows were with House Sparrows at the caravan park, a Little Egret came from the estuary heading towards Jeremy Lane.
At Glasson Dock on the Lune Estuary another Greenshank, circa figures of 4,000 Knot, and 2,000 Bar-tailed Godwit, with an unimpressive number of 85 Golden Plover, and figures of up to 120 Redshank, 65 Dunlin, and 350 Lapwing, 9 Goosander were seen here again as 22 October, 4 Goldeneye, and still low a low number of 32 Wigeon.
At Cockersands a Little Egret flew south as did 45 Pink-footed Geese, only 9 Eider seen by the lighthouse today and a Brown Hare at the tip of Plover Scar seemed more than a little out of context. A circular returning via the road had an almost nil result save a Reed Bunting and a Little Egret in one of the fields was possibly the one seen earlier going south, initially seen at a distance it had me hoping for a CE. From the lighthouse car park I watched one of those amazing aerial displays by 'several' thousand Knot over Middleton Sands around high tide.
So now its 12.30pm and if you've been in this area today you'll know what happened next and I found myself sat in the car yet again waiting for it to stop, to make matters even worse it did ease off a little and going against the grain I decided to be positive for once and headed off towards Pilling muttering to myself 'why are you doing this' but by the time I arrived at Pilling my inner thoughts had become more offensive and not for publication. I did actually drive up on to the the car park at Lane Ends then on to Fluke Hall and its pouring down now, I think I was trying to prove to myself that I really do need psychiatric help......I left for Lancaster and home sulking once more.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Back in Time.

To keep Birds2blog alive I'm posting a few of my records from 2000 - 2009, chosen at random and representing some of the birds found/seen around this time of the year, and which went to keep my passion for birds burning. 


4 November 2000. At the far end of Whitbarrow 30 Raven seen, not many places you can see this number of the species.

17 November 2000. In the Newby Moor area I found 12 Stonechat, concrete evidence of the - then - advancing upturn in the Stonechats status and a winter record at that.

26 December 2000. On a rare winter visit to Barbondale I saw 12 Redpoll.

18 October 2005. A  Lesser Scaup was at Myerscough Quarry.

5 November 2005. I found a Grey Phalarope between the two outfalls at Heysham Harbour, also a juvenile Arctic Tern present. 

16 December 2005. Ten Waxwing were on Heaton Road in Lancaster. 

6 November 2006. A Glossy Ibis and 2 White-fronted Geese were in a field off Fluke Hall Lane. 

28 December 2006. An amazing 27 Grey Partridge were at Cockersands in one of Kellets Farm fields. I personally never saw before or since anything like such a number of this species.

29 October 2008. A Hooded Crow found on the top of Birk Bank.

12 November 2008. On Pilling Marsh a spectacular 30,000 Pink-footed Geese estimate was confirmed to JB and myself in a conversation on site at the time with a person professing to be associated with WWT.

25 November 2008. Two Cattle Egret were in the Milnthorpe area. 

18 February 2009. An excellent count of 14 Bewick's Swan were in a field off Moss Lane, Lower Thurnham.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Picture Trio.


Courtesy of Peter Guy.
No birding today and tomorrow depends on the weather, nothing new there then. Meanwhile three more excellent pics from three of my much appreciated band of photographers. In Lancashire the Black Grouse joined a growing list of counties in England where the species has become extinct having been in decline for over 150 years for a number of reasons. The history of the Black Grouse in Lancashire is shrouded in the mist of doubt of it ever having existed in the county in a truly wild state on account of introductions for shooting purposes.
Courtesy of Paul Baker.

The Bushtit is a smart little bird of North America and can be found outside the breeding season in flocks of up to 60 birds. Both male and female incubate the eggs and after hatching can often be seen aided by the help of other species feeding the young.

Courtesy of Paul Foster.
By way of a change a smart stag Red Deer seen and photographed by Paul at the Griesdale Hide at Leighton Moss during the rut, a reserve - and particularly the hide - which almost offers a guarantee of seeing these beautiful creatures at close range, a sight to remember forever.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

And now......

......for something completely different.

When I got into the car at home this morning I had no idea where to go but thought I'd make a start and check the groynes at Morecambe at high tide and see if last years excellent count of 170 Turnstones on 3 December could be exceeded in 2009 but the weather thought otherwise and the exercise was soon abandoned as I ran for cover from a blinding hailstorm which lasted for several minutes. But I did manage to note some of the birds on the groyne behind The Dome, 6 Red-breasted Merganser were sheltering from the wind and I did count 10 Turnstones and 6 Ringed Plover, the rest of the roost consisted of mainly Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls. From the groyne beyond the Town Hall slipway I counted another 55 Turnstones and the count was adding up nicely but unfortunately it ended there, perhaps another attempt later in the winter. From here I picked up some 'swans' flying in a southerly direction from the Jenny Browns Point area, the birds never really came very close but I confidently recorded them as 10 Whooper Swans. I sheltered in the car at Teal Bay from another downpour noting c.20 Black-tailed Godwit in the process, I then decided to do a little 'twitch' in the hope of 'scoring a hat-trick' and set off for Pine Lake where I had good views of the Slavonian Grebe and noted - without any counts - a large number of Pochard, smaller numbers of Wigeon, Pintail and Goosander. One twitch down two to go and off to the RSPB flagship reserve at Leighton Moss, well not quite as I made my next 'score' at Crag Road viewpoint from where I could see the four Snow Geese at a distance with Greylag Geese and currently drawing the crowds, two down one to go and now I'm off to the Griesdale Hide, a bit of a gamble this as I could find nobody at LM to tell me where the next 'target' was last seen. Well the gamble didn't pay off and I 'dipped' on my last of the hat-trick and the GWE/s were nowhere to be seen......ahhhh well......win a few loose a few!

I managed a nice little pic of a few of the B H Gulls on one of the groynes at Morecambe.



And another nice little pic of the elegant stag Red Deer along with one of the nine hinds seen from the Griesdale Hide.
Well I did say 'and now for something completely different' it's not like me to use words like twitch/target/scoring/dipped/tick/list......Mmmmmmm!

Monday, 2 November 2009

A Change of Plan.

After I had been thinking opportunities were certainly not looking good at the moment, a change of plan meant I could get out birding after all albeit that a few negatives were still around not least of all the weather but also I was late off the mark again today and due to the aforementioned weather it ended up a 'late start/early finish' day.
At Conder Green/Glasson Dock another negative was the high tide which renders the area not the best birding location in the world unless the waders use Conder Pool as a roost which they had decided not to do today. Well if you like a challenge try counting the 10 Little Grebes on here again today, it took me something like as many counts as there was birds, they were spread all over the pool and up and down like yoyo's, the wintering Common Sandpiper seen again, and 3 Goldeneye were to note. With the tide at its height I left the area via Jeremy Lane where I found 6 Whooper Swans in a field with 75 Mute Swans.
From the car park at Pilling Lane Ends I needed the telescope to ID 7 Whooper Swans more than a mile out on the sands and also noted 3 Little Egret on the marsh. I left here knowing full well I could have been turning my back on a number of bird species all well hidden in the channels and undulations of this bird rich marsh with not a chance in hell of seeing them.
On Fluke Hall Lane another 38 Whooper Swans were in a stubble field with a smart adult Mediterranean Gull in the next one up the road. I was by now mentally in top gear and could see a good birding day developing, but wait a minute I'm in the UK and within 15 minutes of these kind of thoughts running through my head it was p****** down and it was goodbye and Lancaster here I come. But I don't give in quite so easily and actually went to Cockersands to sit out the 'shower' thus proving beyond all doubt I'm definitely well on the way to 'loosing it' and one hour later was on my way home never having left the car for two hours.
I posted an excellent pic of Whooper Swans by David Cookson a few days ago on Birds2blog, but today's isn't excellent but a half decent one by me and shows about 14 of the 38 on Fluke Hall Lane today.
By the way you're wrong......the word is POURING!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Wot more pics!

Well I was never going to be birding today and the near future looks positively grim with personal and weather problems both contributing. So its another picture gallery and no better way to fill the space than with a couple from intrepid traveler/birder Colin Bushell, and excellent landart creations from Richard Shilling.
First up is the exotic little female Rufous-crested Coquette above, one of Colin's many birds of Peru 2009......




......and the equally exotic but much larger Hoatzin. Some name for a bird and which means absolutely nothing to me but an impressive creature all the same.

Colin's blog is here http://latinamericabirding.blogspot.com/



And the two excellent works having an airing on Birds2blog from Richard are called Autumn Beech Water Box......

......and Maple Vein Calligraphy. Richard never fails to impress me with his amazing creations which illustrate his original ideas to the full. Richard's blog is here http://jrlandart.blogspot.com/
Thanks Colin and Richard for allowing me to keep the blog alive with pics from your travels/works of art.