Little-ringed Plover. Phil Slade
If my past records are anything to go by a Little Ringed Plover (LRP) will appear once again on Conder Pool by the end of March, though last year it was late and I didn't see it until 6 April.
The LRP is a scarce breeding bird in Britain and the species having bred on Conder Pool on more than one occasion makes it a special bird for me. It's breeding range is wide and expands from the Canaries, Britain, and the Gulf of Bothnia to mid-China and the Equator. The first British breeding pair were found 73 years ago in Hertfordshire in 1938, with the first in Lancashire 20 years later at Freckleton in 1958, this bird was a juvenile and the first adult LRP wasn't seen until 5 years later at the same site in 1963. In our own area in North Lancashire the first record came with a bird found on Carnforth Marsh in 1966.
Relatively few LRP's have been ringed in Britain and when searches for records are made it's all to easy to find that numbers of recoveries are often related to birds taken out by hunters, and in the case of this species I know of at least twelve, nine of which were in France....Viva Le French Hunters!
It is interesting that juveniles from first broods remain on their natal site for a few weeks, but if the adults lay a second clutch the young may disperse as early as late June. Autumn departures start in late July, and by the end of the month a number of them will have already crossed the channel. By late August quite a number will have reached the Mediterranean coasts, with some having got to Senegal by then.
Few LRP's remain in Britain by mid-September and are only rarely seen in October and even rarer in winter though some records do exist. Little is known about the range of birds which breed in Britain, though a single recovery within their known wintering range indicates that they are likely to winter in the western Sahel region though this is not absolute.
As I see it the LRP is in constant need of new breeding sites to replace those lost over the years to restoration and development, if you are local to the area you will no doubt agree with my view that Dockacres is a classic example of this kind of lost habitat to birds like the LRP. Conder Pool came into being at a later date after that site loss to the benefit of the LRP albeit with some imperfections, but the birds will no doubt take up here again this summer....to my pleasure if they do.
The Road to Newton. Peter Guy.
Many is the time I've traveled this road on some of my birding days in the wonderful Forest of Bowland. This photograph is a reminder of what the weather has been like this winter....Nice one PG and many thanks.