Monday, 5 September 2011

Rare and Scarce.

Ruff. Phil Slade 

The status of many of the bird species in our area of Lancashire are recorded as rare or scarce, for example in the 2009 LDBWS Annual Report, of 121 species recorded 29 were 'rare' and 45 'scarce'....I've done a few notes on three of them, being in the Red/Amber/Green list respectively.

Counting 14 Ruff of Hillam Lane in a field by Norbreck Farm on Thursday 25 August was an all time best record for me, though the bird - which is a rare breeder in Lancashire - is a fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor, its a species you don't get many chances of seeing in such a number, but is a particular favourite wader of mine and I'm always pleased to find one or two around this time of the year and maybe during the winter period.

The Ribble Marshes and Marshside are the two best places to find Ruff at a lek, but in 2009 no lek was found anywhere within these areas and the year was regarded as an uneventful one with low numbers recorded and a decline in Lancashire reflecting the national trend which led to the Ruff being Red Listed as a Species of European Conservation Concern.

Purple Sandpiper. David Cookson 

The Purple Sandpiper is definitely a rare bird in winter in our recording area and is in the Amber List. I don't recall anywhere you'll see this species anywhere other than at Heysham, or the Stone Jetty area in Morecambe. In 2009 the Purple Sandpiper wasn't seen anywhere in Lancashire or on the Fylde coast more than four in number. Three pairs bred in the UK in 2003 and after a gap of six years two pairs were confirmed to have bred at a site in the Highlands of Scotland in 2009.

Little Ringed Plover. Simon Hawtin   

On the other hand, another favourite wader of mine - how many favourites do I have you might ask - is the Little Ringed Plover (LRP), not least of all because of its annual arrival on the Conder Pool, though proof of breeding year on year is another matter. The LRP has the welcomed distinction of being quite the opposite to the Ruff and better than the Purple Sandpiper in that it is a Green Listed Species, the number of confirmed and probable breeding pairs reached 600 in 2009 which included 21 pairs in Lancashire and North Merseyside even though its status is that of a scarce breeder of which the pair on Conder Pool successfully reared two young which were seen here until 21 August 2009....quite a different story to that of the LRP on Conder Pool in 2011 I may tell you. My personal best record of the LRP is that of an amazing 16 at Halforth on 11 July 2006 and an observation I'm not likely to forget in a hurry.

Thanks to PS/DC/SH for the much appreciated and excellent images.


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