BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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Thursday, 28 June 2012

Turned out nice again....



....well it tried to on Tuesday because the day started off nice and still and sunny. I arrived at Conder Green by 8.00am but the sun soon disappeared behind the clouds and never returned the rest of the day....so what's new!

Spotted Redshank was soon found and still looking black in its breeding plumage, this and the Greenshank are to be found virtually all year round at Conder Green/Glasson Dock and although I've not been able to visit anything like regularly for eight months this bird - or another - will have only been absent from here for a matter of a few weeks before its return. A Reed Warbler gave excellent views atop of the reeds upstream from the road bridge as it sang with great enthusiasm still trying to attract a mate, also a male Reed Bunting. Also noted, a quick - trying to be unobtrusive - glance under the eaves at River Winds where there appears to be at least four active House Martin nests. A Great-crested Grebe on Conder Pool was interesting and may well be a first record on here for me.

At Glasson Dock on the Lune Estuary I noted 3 Eider and roughly estimated the return of 250 Lapwing and 80 Redshank, otherwise all quiet with barely a double figure of 'gulls'. 


The photograph above is for the benefit of anyone visiting Glasson Dock and intending parking on the car park at the canal basin should take note of the machine recently put in place here, whether or not its in working order is another matter.  I personally always take it that someone somewhere is lurking to check out the ones who fail to 'cough up', this is since a hefty fine was imposed on me at a store in Morecambe which 'clever me' thought nobody was ever in attendance and I overstayed the free time....until the postman came to my house a few days later, don't worry I tried to get out of the payment but failed miserably, I'm not aware of any excuses they consider in these non-payment cases. 


Anyway....back to birding.

Small Tortoiseshell. Pete Woodruff.

At Cockersands I soon decided to be realistic and submit to wasting my time here and that I should head off into the Trough of Bowland, but first I noted several Small Tortoiseshell and a Red Admiral gorging themselves on a flower someone will have to identify for me. Another conversation with a farmer in the area, when I asked about numbers of Swallows at the farm this year, he told me about four nests which is apparently 75% down on numbers less than 5 years ago.


Redstart Antonio Puigg 

I gave the rest of the day to a reasonably thorough search of the Marshaw-Tower Lodge-Trough Bridge area to note 6 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, 3 Redpoll, 6 Grey Wagtail, a Dipper, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Coal Tit, 5 Common Sandpiper, and a Buzzard. I take note that the Pied Flycatchers which I found here last year as a first breeding record in a tree hole haven't returned in 2012. Thanks for the excellent female Redstart AP, much appreciated.


The Trough of Bowland. Peter Guy.

Many thanks to PG for the excellent panoramic view. If you know the area the photograph overlooks the Langden Valley on the left, the Trough Road on the right, with a squall coming in over Tarnbrook top right in the distance. A dramatic and stunning view of an equally dramatic and stunning landscape. Hard to believe you could count the waders on the coast, and watch a Hen Harrier in an area like this in Bowland in under an hour later....I've done so on many ocassions.


And finally....putting a smile into a birding blog, or should it be 'what's this got to do with birding.. 


Another of those 'couldn't resist this one' pics, taken recently at Morecambe. You probably can't read the notice to the right of the door which says....'These toilets close at dusk to reduce the risk of vandalism'....Mmmmm!!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The disappearing act!


But first a brilliant photograph.


Gannet David Cookson

The Gannet and its offspring showing the art of photography at its best....Great stuff DC, much appreciated.

I don't reckon to know the up to date facts about the High Speed 2 rail line, it may well be underway or in the pipeline for all I know, what I do know is that in excess of 20 ancient woods need protection along the route of this speed-rail line. Another example of the kind of destruction faced by more ancient woodland in need of protection is that of more than 80 acres from a quarry in Kent, and there will be many more examples we don't know or hear about. 

Ancient woodland has formed part of our landscape since the Ice Age. In the 21st century it now covers less than 2% of the UK with lots of them - along with the animals that rely on them for survival - still under the threat of airports, new roads, and leisure facilities. Over 40 species associated with woodland died out in the UK last century and many more are at risk today in the UK which is one of the least wooded places in Europe. Only 12% of the UK's landscape is wooded compared with an average of 44% in other European countries.


Nearly 50% of the ancient woods that survived until the 1930's has since been lost or damaged by agriculture, development, or planting by non-native conifers for commercial forestry. A wide range of birds nest inside the cavities of the older trees and are dependent upon them for the bulk of their food. The Lesser-spotted Woodpecker needs a large territory full of insect-rich wood, a reduction of this is leading this bird to the brink of extinction and I wonder if the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker is perhaps one of the first casualties of our modern landscape. 


And finally....


Black Starling. Ana Minguez

The Black Starling, I love the contrasting colours between the birds yellow bill, red legs, and black plumage, and....

Thekla Lark. Ana Minguez.

The Thekla Lark, both of which - unless you travel outside the UK - you may never see. Thanks to Ana Minguez for the brilliant photographs. 

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Blogging for the sake of it!


Well you could accuse me of that, but this is serious, and even more serious because the post has no photographs and there's nothing more serious than that on this blog. 

I seem to recall not long ago that I made the statement that a post I was publishing was likely to be the shortest one ever by me, but this one will take the biscuit. 

At 10.00pm I had no intention of doing a post as I was out of time, but then I came across this 'new' group - well new to me - obviously another dangerous bunch escaped from a circus somewhere or other. I reckon particularly as people who love nature and in most cases of visitors to Birds2blog birds, we have a duty to keep up to date on what's happening that shouldn't be happening regarding what these people you are about to find out about would like to 'control' in their words - persecute in ours - but I'm beginning to  waffle so please take a very close look at THESE PEOPLE....well I'm not prepared to call them people at all.


By the way....you can burn your England flags now!! 

Friday, 22 June 2012

Chat news....


....some pics, and a MEGA!


Stonechat. Paul Foster.

Theres some good news about the Stonechats and Whinchats in Bowland but as yet I don't know which area but reckon I'll soon be about to as PF will be in touch. Meanwhile take a look Here

Cuckoo Marc Heath

Some of last years - and this years - tagged Cuckoos have already left the country for Africa, whether or not you took an interest in them last year you should get up to date on this years movements and be prepared to be amazed Here

Spanish Sparrow Ana Minguez

I couldn't resist this little beauty, the male Spanish Sparrow with thanks to AM.

Shag. Gary Jones.

Nor could I resist this excellent mug shot of the Shag with thanks to GJ. If you have an interest in the mountaineering scene in addition to wildlife you'd be well advised to keep your eyes on GJ


And the MEGA....


Little Swift Zac Hinchcliffe


A LITTLE SWIFT has been found at New Brighton on the Wirral, and the last I heard it was still showing well at 9.18pm this evening. The Little Swift was first recorded on Cape Clear Island, Count Cork, Ireland in June 1967, and records since in the UK don't quite amount to a double figure. Only two of these birds have ever stayed for more than a single day and is a species that has eluded the vast majority of twitchers. 


So....sounds like you'd better 'get on your bike' if you want to see this little flying machine with a striking broad white rump and square tail.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Cetti's Warbler.


Cetti's Warbler Phillip Tomkinson


A secretive bird, living in thick undergrowth usually close to water, it is therefore a difficult bird to find/see and PT has done well to achieve this excellent photograph of one at Marton Mere in Blackpool....Thanks Phillip, it was hard to find a permissible photograph of this species and yours saved the day.

The first record of Cetti's Warbler (CW) was only just over 50 years ago in Hampshire 1961, it was heard by an observer who admitted to not being able to identify the song which was heard again the next day by others. Fortunately the bird hung around the area for two weeks when even more fortunately it flew into a mist net and into the history book. Breeding in the UK was confirmed 11 years later in 1972 and numbers increased rapidly to in excess of 1,000 singing males in 2004 rising even more to 1,400 in 2006.

In our own area of Lancashire the first record of CW was of a bird heard at Marton Mere in October 1990, it stayed there almost five months until March 1991, since this record Marton Mere holds the track record for CW's in Lancashire. Nearer to home the CW was first seen at Leighton Moss in October 1995, two days after it was found it was trapped and ringed and remained at LM for a little over 4 months. Now, in 2012 a pair of CW have bred for the first time at Leighton Moss, an exciting and excellent record for our area and evidence of the species range expansion.


As for the name of the bird....It was named after Francesco Cetti who was an Italian Jesuit priest, zoologist, and mathematician, he was born in Germany in 1726 of Italian parents from Como. He was commemorated in the name of the CW by another Italian, Alberto della Marmora - Marmora's Warbler is named after him - who was an army general and naturalist, he had a distinguished career in the Napoleonic wars.



Spotted Redshank Dave Appleton


I note the Spotted Redshank is back at Conder Green today, seven days earlier than last year according to my records, and only absent from here a matter of a few weeks.

Common Sandpiper Dave Appleton


Also back at Conder Green is a Common Sandpiper more or less on time, double figures can be seen here in a matter of a few days perhaps, but certainly in a week or so. Will one stay here again this winter I wonder. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Redstart.


Redstart with food
Redstart Brian Rafferty


Having visited Barbondale again yesterday I was reminded of just how easy it is to see the Redstart here, in fact a quick count would bring me to suggest this area to be one of the very best in our locality for finding at least 25 species - some of which I'd say were of desirable bird sightings to many a birder - in an hours stroll along the path for not much more than a half mile from the footbridge to the plantation entrance gate and return. 


Whitethroat Warren Baker


The male Redstart must surely be one of the most striking and colourful birds to grace our shores in the summer, but there was a collapse in the population during 1965-75, which is thought to have resulted from drought conditions in the Sahel zone of Africa, these conditions also severely affected the Whitethroat. But the following 20 years saw an almost doubling of the population of Redstarts, though this level is still below the peak of the1960's. A general rise in both clutch and brood sizes appears to have been behind the recovery of the Redstart,and in common with other short distance migrants, the laying date has apparently advanced since the 1980's.

Interestingly, the Redstart in Ireland has always been a scarce and sporadic breeder, with rarely more than one or two pairs and not in every year, otherwise the bird is a scarce passage migrant in spring and autumn in Ireland. Most of the Redstarts we see here during the summer months winter in the Sahel zone of Africa, whilst some are in S Arabian peninsula.


Thanks for the Redstart/Whitethroat BR/WB.


And finally, well not quite....


Dipper David Cookson


The flying Dipper....thanks DC.


And this time, finally....

I was both amazed and disappointed that a pair of Cetti's Warblers having created a first breeding record a Leighton Moss this year had to rely on a local newspaper to break the news about them posing the question....Have the 'newscasters' within the ornithological societies lost interest in what their members/birders would dearly like to know on the news front, or is this what we call suppression and if it is, in the case of this excellent and exciting record....why?  

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Why am I doing this!


I could have gone for another title for today's post but went for the one above. I could have chosen 'Four days later' since it was only last Friday since I last met up with JW at Barbondale to check out the Pied Flycatchers there and I was to meet him again today in the afternoon.

What I did to get in some birding in the morning was to visit Conder Green, Glasson Dock, and Cockersands where - when I got there and heading off along the headland - I had already developed one of my 'Why am I doing this' modes. Well after all it is mid-June and I reckon theres only me that would give these areas a look in at this time of the year as the birds are all away on their holidays....aren't they?

House Martin Phil Slade

At Conder Green, Conder Pool took only a few seconds for me to find it to be just that....a pool, though I noted 28 Redshank in the creeks....so they were back off their holidays! At Glasson Dock, more 'just water' on the Lune Estuary, but I noted 3 House Martin struggling to collect mud in the car park, how unfortunate these birds hadn't discovered thousands of tons of it on the River Lune just over the road. 

At Cockersands void of any enthusiasm I walked to Plover Scar to find it a stony desert, but noted 2 Shelduck with a creche of c.15 young, saw 3 Skylark and 2 Tree Sparrow, it was also good to find at least 12 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies along the path here.

I was at Barbondale with an hour to spare before JW would arrive and went up the Bull Pot track to find the Stonechats have bred here, but the gamekeepers assistant came on the scene and we struck up a conversation to distract me from the task of getting some figures on the breeding success, but I saw three birds including the male, so a distant pair and one juvenile, or a male and two juveniles. The gamekeepers assistant was a nice man....I just don't like what they do to buy their bread and milk, but I didn't let him know that....I never do, but I'll 'snap' one day and will. 

Taking into account the poor/terrible weather the Pied Flycatchers have succeeded in getting all their offspring heading towards fledging with just one fatality, a runt found on the last visit was dead on this one. I had otherwise little time to observe anything else save 3 Redstart, 7 Wheatear, and 4 Reed Bunting, the males being the Stonechat lookalike at a distance.


Small Heath Steven Cheshire


A Small Heath at Barbondale was the only butterfly of the day the Cockersands ST aside....our butterflies are in trouble, common species like the Small Tortoiseshell are now becoming increasingly uncommon. 


And on the subject of butterflies....


Heath Fritillary Marc Heath


How about this brilliant image of the Heath Fritillary, probably the best lager macro photograph in the world. Thanks for this Marc....excellent.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Seven days later.


A week later and I was off yesterday on a mission again with JW, but first....


Little Ringed Plover. Copy Permitted.

I had a most enjoyable and rewarding 2.5 hours upstream from Bull beck on the River Lune where I found 6 Little Ringed Plover, seen as three pairs with no evidence of breeding and all six generally loafing about. I also noted at least 4 Common Sandpiper, 3 Redshank, a Grey Wagtail, a Reed Bunting, and a Song Thrush in fine voice. I have no idea of the status of the Sand Martin in this area but noted 'good numbers' again today as on 29 May.

Pied Flycatcher at various stages. Pete Woodruff.    

With the nest boxes to attend to with JW at Barbondale there was little time for other observations but I did note 3 Redstart, a Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Wheatear, a Nuthatch, and a Great-spotted Woodpecker which showed some unusual behaviour for me in that it was foraging amongst the bracken and made about three moves to different areas. I've not see this behaviour before with GSW and couldn't help feeling it was in the act of predating a ground nesting bird though I saw no evidence of success as it flew off.

Pied Flycatcher interest included retrapping a male ringed at Barbondale last year on 15 June 2011, and another male ringed at Selside in Cumbria as a nestling on 5 June 2010, retrapped at Barbondale on 7 June 2011, and again today 14 June 2012. Birds....they amaze me. 


This years breeding PF's here continues to be successful and the best year so far but the weather really does need to improve.


Human Remains. Pete Woodruff.    

Of course you can't go out into the countryside today without finding evidence of it having been visited by those I would rather wasted their lives away in front of the television watching Euro 2012. I found ten such remains of fires and garbage - enough to fill a wheelie bin - in a small area by Barbon Beck....makes me feel uncomfortable.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

This and that.


I have to say I'm not yet back to anything like normal with regards to my birding life, more to the point - and to make matters worse - I'd predict the possibility of going full circle and getting to November which is where all this disruption first started twelve months ago....lots still to do and this is not good!


If you followed and signed the petition against the recent Buzzard 'persecution' issue you will be interested to keep up to date on it and learn that its not yet all over - and in my view not likely to be - and get the link to try and find out what DEFRA are really up to in this business HERE


And talking of petitions....You will see a new one to sign at the top of my sidebar if you would be so kind, to protect against the development of land at Sandleford Park near Newbury. 


OK, Newbury is a long way away from our area in Lancashire, but I came across this latest attempt at destroying yet more habitat essential for the survival of our wildlife....Please add your name to mine and the already signed figure of nearly 9,000 names as I write.  



The Little Owl is a favourite amongst many birders and this is a good short video of one on the lookout and showing sharp eyes and reflexes.


Oak Processionary Moth.


 Caterpillars. Tony Ducket.

Now here's a nasty little blighter if you're an Oak and other trees....the Oak Processionary Moth caterpillar is not only a health risk to humans it also causes serious defoliation to their principal host the Oak Tree albeit the tree recovers the following year. The caterpillar has irritating hairs that carry a toxin which is carried on the wind and can cause serious irritation to the skin, eyes, and bronchial tubes of both humans and animals.


The Oak Processionary Moth is native to central and southern Europe. Adult male moths have occasionally been found along the southern coast of England where they have either flown or been blown across from the Continent. It gets its common name from its striking habit at the caterpillar stage of forming long lines in procession on trees. 


It was found in west London along a stretch of the A40, and in Kew and East Sheen in 2006, the result of which was the first recorded breeding population in Great Britain. 


I'D DEFINITELY SOONER BE BIRDING!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Water, water!




By way of a change its the south that appears to be getting most of the rain, and lots of it too, though the recent floods in Wales have also been a disaster. But the floods in April and May had a catastrophic impact on some of Britain's birds in particular on the Ouse Washes in East Anglia home to the largest concentration of nesting waders in lowland England, the floodwaters drowned the nests and breeding attempts of up to 600 waders including the Black-tailed Godwit.

For centuries land drainage took place across the UK, but the Ouse Washes is now the most important stronghold for wading birds including large numbers of Redshank, Lapwing, and Snipe. But the area is used as part of a flood relief system for the River Great Ouse by the Environment Agency, the river flows through three shires to the sea near Kings Lynn in Norfolk. During the summer months the RSPB Reserve Ouse Washes is grazed by cattle which create ideal conditions for ground nesting birds, but in times of extreme wet weather the sluices have to be opened to prevent flooding elsewhere in the catchment of the river, a problem its difficult to see a solution to.


Avocet David Cookson

Conversely, up here in the north of England at Leighton Moss the Avocets are having a roaring success this year and the last I heard there was 33 young with some apparently almost ready to fly....their best year yet at LM. Thanks to DC for the 'pic with a difference' of the Avocet.

And finally, try this for a Spanish trio....


Sardinian Warbler Ana Minguez Corella


The Sardinian Warbler a vagrant to the UK the first record being in 1955 on Lundy, Devon....Thanks Ana. 

Great Grey Shrike Isidro Ortiz

The Great Grey Shrike a mainly winter visitor to the UK the first record of which was claimed to have been in 1544....Thanks Isidro.

Purple Heron Antonio Puigg

And the Purple Heron another visitor to the UK and first recorded in Middlesex 1722 ....Thanks Antonio. 

Saturday, 9 June 2012

The LSW.


For the majority of birders in Britain today the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker (LSW) is a rare sight, more to the point, to birders in our area in north Lancashire it is at best a highly unlikely sighting. You may well be thinking this goes for other species including the Willow Tit, but the claim of one within the LDBWS recording area recently changes things a little.

It is interesting that the LSW benefited from the spread of Dutch Elms disease in the 1960's - something good comes from everything - the old saying goes. The fungus that lead to the death of the Elm trees was spread from tree to tree by Bark Beetles which provided the LSW with an abundance of food, another benefit was that as a result of the dying Elm they could excavate the decaying trees for the purpose of nesting.

The LSW today is a very scarce bird in most of its range throughout Britain, and there are very few locations where it can be found with any reliability, especially in the north. Last year the species was added to the list of bird species by the UK Rare Breeding Birds Panel seen as the only way to provide effective monitoring. I'd suggest there would be no challenges made against the agreement in general that the extinction of the LSW may not be far away in Lancashire.

As for the Willow Tit - perhaps also on the brink of extinction - the sighting mentioned above in the past few days in the LDBWS recording area always give hope. 

Now the customary Picture Gallery with a trio I just could not resist....


Hobby Paul Foster    


I can't tell you how envious I am of PF for having the opportunity to see and photograph the Hobby at Lakenheath. Just take a close look at this truly amazing bird and flying machine looking like an overgrown and coloured Swift, those wings....WOW!! 


Golden Oriole Paul Foster

Still green with envy of PF and his Golden Oriole, a bird I'm possibly never likely to see in my area in the north of England. Thanks for these two excellent images Paul they are much appreciated.

Bee-Eater Antonio Puigg

Continuing on the envious theme, a brilliant close up of the Bee-Eater, the third of three birds, two of which its not likely I'll see unless I move outside my area, and the other - the Hobby - doesn't carry any guarantee with it. But always worth remembering....you can't always predict the birds. Thanks Antonio, much appreciated.

Many thanks to WB for the new header and brilliant image of the Spotted Flycatcher, a bird well up in my top ten list of favourite summer visitors to our shores. 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

On a Mission.



This is my fifth year at Barbondale of being involved with a nest box scheme jointly with John Wilson directed in the main to the Pied Flycatcher (PF) which until now I've keep quiet about based mainly on the popularity of the area, but also the privacy of the land I refer to where permission obviously had to be obtained to erect the nest boxes in the first place. In this regard I have always been of the opinion that the least said about this the better. Whilst I don't particularly like being in a position to dictate....'do what I say, not what I do'....I'm sure it is appreciated that being on private property the scheme would be in jeopardy if anyone was found to be trespassing in the name of obtaining a photograph, or to take a closer look at the boxes and their content if that was the case.

All of this said, I think there is nothing more to be gained in the silence as lots of birders/photographers/or just visitors to the area will by now know - or have seen for themselves -  some of the nest boxes from the path, and I can only now trust that we can all keep to some sort of code of conduct to the advantage not only of the birds, but also the delicate balance between the private land they occupy which is below an accessible footpath, to this end I can share the success story of Barbondale and its PF's, the full story of which I'll post at some later date, meanwhile, back to today's 'Mission'.      

Since 30 April I've made five visits this year to Barbondale that has slowly built up over the weeks to today's findings which has seen the continuation of what I can only hope will be the success story of 2012 for the Pied Flycatchers of Barbondale, an area of old woodland which held  few - if any - of the species in the recent past, though I don't pretend to know the full history in this regard. 

On my last visit I was able to establish that ten PF's were in the woods this year representing five pairs, four of which had a nest with seven eggs with the fifth nest holding a female sitting tight which I was not prepared to disturb. Today it was found that the five nests held a combination of eggs and recently hatched naked young, add to this the excitement of finding two female which were ringed of which was one was found to be an adult female ringed last year which has returned to Barbondale to breed once again as a two year old bird at least, more excitement was in the fact that this bird was ringed here on the very same date as this recapture today 7 June.....To be continued.


With all this going on today I had little time to do any birding but did note, c.14 House Martin which surprised me, if these birds were not from a decent colony at the farm here I can only assume they were on a feeding mission, also a few Swift over, up to 4 Redstart males, a Spotted Flycatcher, Dipper, Nuthatch, and a Great-spotted Woodpecker. Opportune feeding behaviour was noted on Barbon Beck again today as on 18 May with Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Wren, Reed Bunting all taking advantage of insects available on the stream as opposed to insects not available elsewhere, JW and I both agreed on this.

And finally, well we do have to have a couple of pics don't we, five actually.... 


Sanderling. Peter Guy.

First the Sanderling at Rossall Point, hard to believe the epic journey to its high Arctic breeding grounds this small wader will be about to undertake anytime soon.

Wood Sandpiper Antonio Puigg

And another wader the Wood Sandpiper. Will this bird be going to breed in northern Europe, or perhaps in the Scottish Highlands where the flooding of some previously drained traditional marshes may start to help this species in the future.


Roller Antonio Puigg

A Roller present at Aldbrough in East Yorkshire for several days now has dearly tempted me to become a 'twitcher' for the day, but I haven't yet succumbed....some bird.


Thanks to PG/AP for the photographs, much appreciated.  

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Hardly Riveting!


Considering I set off in rain this morning - in itself a rare event - perhaps an alternative title could have been 'In Desperation'. But I managed a few notes on the day, and found three more excellent images for the post.

Photo Colin Bushell 

First....thanks to CB for the excellent 'Find the Ruff with Black-tailed Godwits' pic....nice one Colin.

It was a bit desperate today both weather and bird wise despite quite a bit of time and legwork, but eventually the cloud broke to be quite sunny. At Conder Green at least 30 Swift and one or two House Martin had played clever and found a food source over and around Conder Pool where an Oystercatcher was seen with a well grown young bird, a male Reed Bunting was noted. About 6 House Martin appear to be nesting again this year at River Winds. On the canal basin at Glasson Dock a similar number of Swift as at Conder Green over the basin hawking the insects and I took note of the Mute Swans which had only nine cygnets with them today, ten were seen 22 May.

At Cockersands, up to 60 Ringed Plover and c.32 Dunlin noted, 9 Linnet, 6 Skylark, and a Lapwing with three chicks was a rewarding sight. My records of 22 May omitted 2 Grey Partridge in Bank Houses horse paddock. In a conversation with the farmer at Gardners Farm he told me of lower numbers of Swallow here again as last year compared to previous years. I also noted no Sedge Warblers seen/heard today in the Cockersands area which has produced double figures for me in the recent past.

Like the title says....Hardly Riveting, but its always a pleasure to be birding.

Finally, a raptor and a damselfly....

Black Kite Antonio Puigg

Thanks to AP for the stunning image of the stunning Black Kite....Like I say, stunning on both counts Antonio.

Azure Damselfly Cliff Raby

And thanks to CR for the freshly emerged female Azure Damselfly at Foulshaw Moss recently....An excellent result for your efforts Cliff.


It was good to see a small piece in the local newspaper The Visitor about the 'back down' on the Buzzard Project, but worth noting a comment....'that the government under pressure from some shooting interests will not let the matter rest.....You bet your life they won't.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

The Run-around....


....a dragonfly, and a couple of chasers....isn't that a whiskey with a pint of beer?


Scarce Chaser. Marc Heath.

Well this isn't a whiskey with a pint of beer, but a brilliant image of the Scarce Chaser....nice one Marc.

As for the 'run-around' well....no disrespect to BT for taking JB and I on what turned out to be a run-around in Bowland yesterday with not many goals achieved and it wasn't BT's fault that the drive to go over the Cross of Greet road ended at the Road Closed sign in Slaidburn, but all the locations we called at on the day seemed to be brief ones achieving little in the way of sightings.....but this is just beginning to sound like PW having a big whinge I suppose.

From Christ Church at Abbeystead 4 Buzzard were seen. The news from the church is that not a single House Martin appears to be going to repair and use any of the nests from previous colonies here this year, a rather sad thing to have to report. In the Tower Lodge area, a pair of Pied Flycatcher seen again, a Garden Warbler seen briefly was playing its characteristic 'hide and seek' with me, 6 Grey Wagtail, a Nuthatch, Dipper, Mistle Thrush, and a Cuckoo heard. At Sykes Farm at least 12 House Martin around, and at Langden a brief and short walk produced 2 Common Sandpiper, a singing male Blackcap, and a solitary Siskin on the telephone wires.

Unfortunately the day ended here at Langden although as we drove to Slaidburn to find the aforementioned Road Closed sign to decide to visit Champion Moor where the only bird to   find its way into my black book was a male Reed Bunting. As always JB's records HERE will be far more comprehensive than mine.

Not the best days birding I ever experienced, but it was good to be Friday and good to be out and about with JB/BT.

Four-spotted Chaser. Marc Heath.

And another brilliant close up, this one of the Four-spotted Chaser....


Hairy Dragonfly. Marc Heath.

The Hairy Dragonfly is the first of the 'hawkers' to emerge and is found mainly in the south and west of England. The zig-zag flight of the male is to be seen patrolling their territories, unlike other 'hawkers' it has a downy thorax which is clearly seen in this picture.


Many thanks for this excellent trio of images to MH who never fails to achieve some excellent photographs which can always be found HERE