I actually wrote 'Stonechat' in my notes before I even got out of the car at Harrisend this morning full of confidence. I always did write it in the book in advance of my birding in Stonechat territory and still do but not with anything like the confidence I used to and often have to delete it now, something I never thought would happen again and was a thing of the past.
Knot. Brian Rafferty.
Brian has been doing some high tide wader photography, I reckon there are probably 200 Knot in this photograph which is a mere fraction of the actual flock. Please visit Brian's blog HERE to see some excellent images and his account of where he took these pictures.
My confidence in the Stonechat gained some momentum again today when I found ten birds on Harrisend this morning eight of which were very distant and dificult to sex/age, thought the number indicates some juveniles and the possibility of two breeding pairs in the area I was viewing them, the other two were an obvious pair with both birds scolding all the time I was in their territory, a sound I have come to miss hearing since they lost ground after the freeze last winter, the scolding Stonechat has become a thing of the past at least in the many areas I survey.
Four Buzzards soon gave me the feeling of where I was in the North of England uplands when they were giving their distinctive 'mewing' call whilst circling above me, a lovely sound. Also noted, I saw just one lone Red Grouse today, and a lone Wren, 2 Willow Warbler, and 34 Meadow Pipits which were flying around showing concern for a Kestrel above them.
It was Monday and my time was limited, but I had the time to prove yet again the diversity of areas we have for birds and birding when within fifteen minutes - which was the time it took to drive from Harrisend to Conder Green - from watching Buzzards in the uplands I was watching waders on the coast, and could in the space of another fifteen minutes have been observing the best farmland habitat you could have anywhere in the country, though in this case the farmland birds we should have are no longer....and that's nothing less than tragic but we'll leave that one for now.
A quick check over Conder Green produced 2 Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, a Ruff, and 2 Common Sandpiper, a species who's peak passage has passed. I paid a visit to Glasson Dock to look over the Lune Estuary but by the time I'd grilled c.500 'gulls' - most of which were too distant for comfort - I just had the time to note a Greenshank, and Little Grebe.
Sanderling. Brian Rafferty.
The Sanderling is one of my favourite waders which run along the beach like clockwork toys. Thanks for the pics Brian....excellent as ever.