Saturday, 12 June 2010

Conder Pool.

Little Ringed Plover. Peter Guy.

I don't think there is a bird more appropriate than the Little Ringed Plover for this post about Conder Pool at Conder Green simply because the LRP has graced this excellent pool each and every summer since its creation in 2003, though if my memory serves me correct the area which became the pool was being created in 2002 when material was extracted from here to raise the road a few metres from here as a barrier from the ever rising water levels along our coastline and in this case to protect the caravan site behind the road at this point.

My recently updated header photograph is one I took on 29 March this year and is of a small number of the  c.1,000 waders I was confronted with on this memorable morning when I turned the corner on the A588 at the Stork Hotel to see this amazing sight in the air over Conder Pool. When I walked on to the viewing platform I discovered all the birds had settled down on the various islands and areas of the pool and was quite amazed to count what I wrote in my notes as 'up to 350 Black-tailed Godwit and 450 Knot' the figure of c.1,000 waders was then made up of various species including Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Redshank and Dunlin etc, and was quite a spectacular sight for such a small pool.

Over the eight years of its existence Conder Pool has been visited by some quite exciting birds creating some equally exciting records, of course the best of these has to be the White-winged Black Tern which I was fortunate to find over the marsh on 14 August 2003, this bird very soon created Conder Pools claim to fame when it visited there at least on one occasion during its stay of ten days on the Lune Estuary. Other 'goodies' void of any dates have been, two Pectoral Sandpipers, a Wood Sandpiper, and another of my finds a juvenile Back-necked Grebe present there when I visited on the morning of 1 September 2008. All these good records are also joined over the years by Little Egret, Avocet, Scaup, and Ruff to name a few.

So, back to the beginning and the Little Ringed Plover which, although it has been present on the pool every year it has often been difficult to confirm breeding successes of which it has had at least three with fledged young observed, but this place has many hidden areas which in some respects is an advantage to the birds and offers them some undisturbed life from the human form at least. The birds have always arrived by early April but there are many of my visits which go without any sightings of either male or female LRP's to such an extent at times that you begin to think they are no longer present, well this is what makes birding what it is and it would be a little boring if every time you went to Conder Pool there was the LRP waiting for you to confirm it is still there.

The creation of Conder Pool and leaving it to nature - and in particular the birds - is the best thing to have happened in our area in recent times, conversely the 'loss' of the old gavel pits of Dockacres to a fishing lake was the crime of the century in my opinion. However, Lancaster and its surrounding areas are by far the best and most diverse of anywhere I know, how many the times I've said 'waders' on the coast, and 'harriers' on the moors forty minutes later....beat that.

Thanks to Peter Guy for the LRP pic, and to John Bateman who often accompanies me on my birding days and who supplied me with some of the records relating to Conder Pool in this post.


Warren Baker said...

Beat that indeed Pete, - cant get near it!!

Pete Marsh said...

I dont think you can leave newly created pools to nature and retain Little Ringed Plover - you have to keep scarifying/disturbing areas of shore line. Please could you explain in detail why the turning of Dockacres into a fishing lake was the 'crime of the century'. Were you happy with the previous regime which was to offload masses of grain into there, creating an artificially high population of e.g. Pochard. This was, I agree great for pulling in rarer ducks but the aim, nevertheless, was to attract wildfowl for the BASC-affiliated shooting syndicate at the time to target

Pete Woodruff said...

Pleased you are still looking in Pete and thanks for that, but no names (without permit)/controversy/forums/debate/discussion on this blog.

However, I do recall Pied-billed Grebe, Little Ringed Plover, Smew (several winters) Ring-necked Duck, Black Terns, and lots of others I'm not interested in remembering at the moment. And LRP on Conder Pool for seven consecutive years including at least three breeding years is hardly evidence of not retaining a species, but there I just broke all my blog policies in one go!

Anonymous said...

Why go on the defensive Pete - only trying to explain what has happened to a site. No-on is getting at you! You will alos find, from the history of the complex, that Pine Lake has actually been recording a fair chunk of the birsd which used to accumulate on the old Dockacres= Borwick Waters. I have all the webs data going back to the 1980s if you want me to send it to you. One of the best birds on the old Dockacres was jamming in on an adult Glaucous Gull on the 'shallow' island whilst running a minibus outing - these things so rarely happen on an organised birding trip!

Changes in water levels leaving exposed shorelines can provide LRP feeding areas BUT not necessarily year after year suitable nesting habitat. Exactly that on Middleton IE model boat pond this morning where, despite sea buckthorn removal from the spit, the disturbance/clearance was not enough to prvide suitable habitat. A section will be scarified this coming late winter (severely constrained by GC Newt regulations!) & maybe they will nest, as opposed to feed there next year. Note that they would not have reoccupied the island on Freemans Pool this year had it not been cleared/scarified during the winter. Have to deal with this species in relation to work and its pretty impossible to use it as a reason for preventing/limiting development as it is a colonist of transient habitat

Pete Marsh said...

The anonymous was not deliberate - password problems & easiest reolution is to send as anonymous posting despite this seeming to be illogical c/f security