BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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ISLAND MERE LEIGHTON MOSS RSPB. PETE WOODRUFF.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

We have lift off!


Its beginning to look like I'll have to be thankful to get out on a once a week basis at this rate as it was last Monday when I had my last taste of birding....life's a bitch at times.

The days of being up and out by 4.00am died a death the day I threw the towel in on the milk round, but I was at Conder Green just after eight yesterday morning - which is an early start for me these days - and birds in the book are, 2 Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 5 Common Sandpiper, c.120 Redshank, 6 Dunlin, House Martin activity at River Winds, and at least 15 Swift going south. The 'Best Bird Award' for me at Conder Green today went to a Whimbrel, ,just a bit unusual for me in the creeks. I noted a female Tufted Duck as the only duck on Conder Pool, this is almost certainly the same individual I saw with eight ducklings - an excellent record here - on Thursday 19 July in which case this unfortunate bird has lost its entire brood.    

Swift Isidro Ortiz


I reckon if I'd kept my eyes to the skies there was a movement of Swifts south through Conder Green this morning. At Glasson Dock on the Lune Estuary an adult Mediterranean Gull was the only bird of note.


Whimbrel Dave Appleton


Two hours at Cockersands resulted in little more than some healthy legwork with some estimates on a 'mutt free' Plover Scar of 260 Oystercatcher, 220 Golden Plover, 30 Dunlin, and at least 3 Whimbrel with some heard not seen, 13 Eider off here, and 4 Wheatear were a reminder of the time of year, c.250 Lapwing were taking advantage of a recently cut field.




Green Sandpiper Antonio Puigg

Two hours at Aldcliffe turned out to be a bit of a struggle to find anything, but a Green Sandpiper was on what is arguably the best flood in the north in prime condition at the moment. 


Little Grebe Dave Appleton


A circuit turned up a Little Grebe on Freeman's Pools, with 8 Long-tailed Tit, a pair of Reed Buntings in the hedgerow....


Little Egret Brian Rafferty

....and a Little Egret on the marsh.


And finally, a plug for 'The Rambling Artist'....free of charge of course.



Sharon refers to this painting as....'another go at painting the Kingfisher'....pretty good I reckon don't you. If you like the world of art, painting, and a mix of mountain rambling TRY HERE 

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Absent without leave!


No post on Birds2blog for three days, this is a record I wasn't looking for and am not prepared to hold. But little birding opportunities coming my way still - though I'm not prepared to launch another sob story on that one - and I don't want to make matters worse with no blogging. 

So....here are four brilliant randomly chosen photographs to fill the gap....the least I can do.

Greenfinch Ana Minguez

We don't see many photographs of the Greenfinch, in fact we don't see that many Greenfinch in the area I live in and beyond, the last I heard they were in trouble and in decline, but I'm a bit behind on this one so need to do some reading up on this bird before I 'put my foot in it' and make some false claims about the status of the Greenfinch....Thanks Ana an excellent image of this bird.

Turnstone Marc Heath

The Turnstone, surely one of our smartest waders in its stunning breeding plumage, and a long distance migrant too....A brilliant photograph of this individual Marc, thanks.

 Razorbill Gary Jones

Looks like a bit of a disagreement going on between these two Razorbills. Nicely caught on film....keep 'em cumin Gary.

Black Kite Antonio Puigg

What a bird....I'm not expecting seeing a Black Kite any time soon, though who knows, but still to see my first. Another of your stunning images Antonio for which I'm very grateful.

I'D SOONER BE BIRDING!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Fire Away.


The results from a Breeding Birds Survey have shown that the numbers of four wader species have fallen drastically, this according to the BTO. 


Snipe. Brian Rafferty.


In the case of the Snipe this fall between 2010 and 2011 is by far the highest at 40%....now there's a surprise.

Golden Plover 3
Golden Plover. Brian Rafferty.


In a week or so the Snipe can and will be shot within the law, but here's the surprise for probably most of you because the Golden Plover can also be shot within the same law as it is also on the list of legitimate quarry....you couldn't make it up could you. 


So.... shouldn't we be asking the question, how long do we sit back and watch how low these figures have to tumble before we address this deplorable act of shooting birds and we have them removed from this equally deplorable list of quarry species and afford them the protection they deserve.


Curlew
Curlew. Brian Rafferty.

How tragic that because of a bunch of 'Rambo's' who's enjoyment and desire is to kill these creatures, is also robbing us all of the evocative sounds of spring of the Curlew and Oystercatcher in addition to the Snipe and Lapwing also mentioned in this depressing survey. Also tragic is the fact that whilst the BTO and RSPB are quick to publish figures like these whilst claiming the results are crucial to understanding the causes of why bird species are declining, they should now address another one of the contributors to this decline which they failed to do in this report, that of the freehand to shoot it....'cos its on the list'.


Oystercatcher Marc Heath


Talking of evocative....I think the image below has featured on Birds2blog once before, but - of its kind - this has to be one of BR's all time greats, the light on this brilliant photograph of the Lapwing chick is simply stunning.


Lapwing chick
Lapwing. Brian Rafferty.


Thanks for the photographs BR ....I appreciate them very much. Thanks for the Oystercatcher too Marc, also very much appreciated.   

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

More Black Redstart.


More Black Redstart....because the bird has been featured once before on Birds2blog, but this is a bit of history.


Black Redstart Antonio Puigg 


Forward from the first record of Black Redstart (BR) in Britain in Greater London in 1829, for a period of 15 years - 1926-41 - three pairs of BR nested regularly at Wembley in Middlesex. In 1926 the BR was known to nest at only one other place in the British Isles in Sussex where a pair bred in 1923 and 1924, and two pairs in 1925.

It seems that the BR having bred for so long unsuspected within 10 miles of Central London, it is likely that this was the origin of the birds which appeared at South Kensington in 1927, and in various parts of Inner London in increasing numbers from 1936 onwards.

It has long been a scarce breeding bird in England and the first breeding record in our area of Lancashire and North Merseyside was confirmed in 1977 when two or three pairs bred at the docks in Liverpool. Many of the breeding records are of birds nesting in inner cities in places like the crevices of mainly industrial complex buildings, and their preference to forage in open spaces, open areas around power stations are also preferences for breeding BR's, but these are areas prone to much disturbance. A female BR found with a recently fledged young was taken as proof of breeding in my home town of Lancaster in North Lancashire in 1991. I  myself have been rewarded by finding two BR in recent years, one at Fluke Hall on 24 March 2005, and another at Cockersands on 9 November 2009.


And finally, three 'in flight' pics....


Peregrine Falcon David Cookson

Well, if I've seen any photographs recently to qualify for 'Pic of 2012' I just dumped'em 'cos this is as good as they come. A dramatic and brilliant image of the adult Peregrine Falcon about to have prey taken from its talons by the juvenile. As Tina Turner sang 'Simply The Best'....thanks DC.

Kingfisher Brian Rafferty

Another brilliant image, this of the Kingfisher, not an easy bird to come across, and certainly not an easy bird to photograph in flight like this one, it needs patience and skill to capture pictures like this. It is also interesting to note how this birds tail appears dipped in flight, or is this some kind of photographic illusion, certainly something I've never seen before....Great image BR.

Common Tern. Peter Guy.

And the Common Tern, currently in the news at Preston Dock. For personal interest I'm hoping in due course we may hear about these birds here and how - if at all - they may have been affected by the Preston Guild celebrations at/in the dock....Another great image PG.

Thanks to DC/BR/PG for the photographs.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Going to the dogs!


But some positives too.

Look, I'm bloody annoyed here and it's unfortunate I have to begin this post like this, but I've been to Cockersands today - amongst other places - and it really is 'going to the dogs'. Things were looking good for some scrutiny of the waders on Plover Scar, OK it wasn't exactly heaving with birds when I arrived but that's not the point, ten minutes after I got there three 'people' with three mutts arrived and guess what....yes they headed straight for Plover Scar, and not just headed for it but covered the entire area with these three animals....I give up and I'll shut up.

Now the positives....

Conder Green started me off on a high with at least 21 Common Sandpipers counted and I know I'm repeating myself here but....Conder Green is second to none in our recording area in the Common Sandpiper stakes at this time of year. There was actually little else of note but c.20 House Martin were around River Winds. 

Spoonbill. Copy Permitted.

The Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock produced a Spoonbill - the very bird is pictured above - at the Conder mouth at 12.40pm. Not too surprised at this sighting as the bird has been in the area a day or two, but a nice record for me all the same. Also noted, 2 Spotted Redshank and a Greenshank.

At Cockersands where I had an excellent opportunity to find perhaps an American/Pacific with c.65 Golden Plover until the pillocks highlighted above came on the scene, the scar was also occupied by 7 Whimbrel, 95 Oystercatcher, a solitary Knot, and 3 Dunlin with just 4 Eider off here.


Tree Sparrow. Pete Woodruff.  


Whilst here today I did at least have a good count for a change, of c.50 Tree Sparrow and a solitary Greenfinch. One of those healthy walks to Bank End was well rewarded by another one of of those smart Mediterranean Gulls, this one a second summer bird and the result of a sift through a couple of hundred other high tide roosting 'gulls'. 

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Plover Scar....


....is going to the dogs!


Crossbills, Stonechats, and a couple of reptiles.


Plover Scar. Pete Woodruff.

I was at Cockersands on Thursday and apart from enjoying myself doing what I like to do most, it was quite a nice day compared to what the summer months have been so far this year. I met and had an interesting conversation here with someone - a local who visits on a daily basis which is even much more regular than me - who told me he had noted an increase in people taking it upon themselves to wander out on to Plover Scar, in particular those accompanied by dogs. At this point I'd like to highlight the 'in it for the business woman' who is nearly always accompanied by up to 18 of these 'other peoples' animals all off the lead when I see her here at Cockersands.

Our conversation went along the lines that neither of us had any objections - business woman aside - to people or their dogs, but perhaps we should pursue some way of drawing attention to the fact that Plover Scar is the haunt of many birds, sometimes in their several hundreds, and that its not a good idea to wander off onto the scar to cause unnecessary disturbance to these birds. In this regard this person told me he had thought of contacting 'a society' with a view that they may agree a sign to this effect could perhaps be erected by them, what a thoughtful and very good idea I agreed, but with the society he named we won't hold our breath, but we have an issue here about people, dogs, and places like Plover Scar which I think needs to be addressed.... we'll see!  


Crossbill.Richard Bailey.

Richard sent me an e-mail the other day to tell me about his visit a couple of miles SW of Kendal to Helsington Barrows a week ago where he found 20 Crossbills, in his message he attached some photographs he took and a smart red male is shown above. 



The Crossbill populations of Fennoscandia and Russia occasionally erupts southward and westward, and the largest and most widespread of these took place from mid-June in 1997 and the best count of these birds within our recording area was in the Marshaw-Tower Lodge area when 130 were seen on 27 June, I've also seen Crossbills in this area a couple of months ago on 16 and 25 May.  




View from Scout Scar. Unknown.


Richard also filled me in with the news he'd seen two pairs of Stonechat on Scout Scar, both pairs had two young, so at least I'm hearing about some isolated breeding success with the Stonechat thanks to birders who kindly pass this on to me....Thanks for this Richard and  for e-mailing it all to me, it is much appreciated.



And the reptiles....

Adder David Cookson    

Another one of those 'Cookies Crackers' this one of the Adder....thanks DC.

Ocellated Lizzard Ana Minguez 

The Ocellated Lizzard isn't a creature you're going to see soon, unless you live or are maybe going to go to Spain on holiday sometime. It's the largest member of it's family, an adult can grow to at least 60cm and can sometimes reach 90cm. It is found in various wild and cultivated habitats from sea level up to 2,100 metres in southern Spain, the female can lay up to 22 eggs in June/July. Thanks for the image AM much appreciated.  

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The heat is on....


....but not for long.

Around mid-day at Cockersands it seemed to get really humid, add to this there was no wind at all creating a rare occurrence here as there is always at least a light breeze but rarely flat calm like today. But it didn't last, and not long after it became noticeably cooler.


Common Sandpiper. John Bateman.

I had started the day at Conder Green where I soon had a pleasant surprise and first record on Conder Pool when a female Tufted Duck emerged from one of the hidden corners of the pool to reveal eight healthy ducklings, with a Grey Heron in the creeks behind me I quietly wished the birds good luck for a week or two. It was no surprise at all that I found 13 Common Sandpiper here in mid July, no doubt a count which will rise over the coming weeks. Three adult Spotted Redshank were also in the creeks, and 6 Goosander females were in the channel below the old railway bridge.


Lapwing/Redshank. Pete Woodruff.

There was little on the Lune Estuary to get me jumping up and down but wader numbers are increasing with Lapwings just about at the four figure mark now, with Redshank about half that number whilst I was there this morning on the rising tide. A pair of Great-crested Grebe were noted on the canal basin, one of which had a brief tussle with a small Eel before downing it.


Summer Plumaged Red Knot


I think the biggest surprise at Cockersands today was a juvenile Wheatear, another nice surprise was the 24 Knot I counted on Plover Scar, all of which were red, some full summer plumage red. Also noted on the scar, 3 Whimbrel, and estimates of 120 Golden Plover, 85 Oystercatcher, and 45 Dunlin, also noted, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, and 19 Eider. To be honest the circuit proved nothing save a Skylark and a Sparrowhawk.


Whitethroat Marc Heath


From Cockersands I went to Fluke Hall and did the 'healthy' trundle to Cockers Dyke to be rewarded with one of those stunning adult Mediterranean Gulls. On the walk here I saw 2 Whitethroat, 4 Linnet, and counted 14 Meadow Brown, 8 Small Tortoiseshell, and 6 Gatekeeper....my best butterfly day to date this year.        

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Woodchat Shrike.


This superb image below of the Woodchat Shrike brought some excellent memories back to me.

Woodchat Shrike Antonio Puigg

As far as early records in Lancashire in the 1870's are concerned Clifford Oakes considered two Woodchat Shrike records by Mitchell as insufficiently described. A hundred years later the counties first confirmed record of Woodchat Shrike was of a bird found in the grounds of a school at Rossall on the Fylde coast in June 1978, it had taken c.400 previous records of the species in Britain and Ireland for this bird to have found its way into the record books in Lancashire. 

From a personal point of view the memories came flooding back when I recall the time John Leedal and I were spending one of our many days at the time at Rusland in Cumbria in search of the Honey Buzzards, the notes from my little black book on this event read as follows....

Woodchat Shrike. John Leedal.

Woodchat Shrike at Leighton Moss 28 August 1999.

Watching Honey Buzzard at Rusland, John Leedal and myself were alerted to a bird at Leighton Moss by a birder who had joined us at this location. JL and I decided to abandon the Honey Buzzard's and headed off to Leighton Moss to a path behind the Allen Hide where we immediately had superb views of a juvenile Woodchat Shrike perched on a branch. This bird represented the first I had ever seen and was also a first for the RSPB Reserve. A day not ending with a long list of birds but one with two excellent species in the Honey Buzzard and Woodchat Shrike.

Woodchat Shrike. Pete Woodruff.

This bird was my second of the species and had been found ten years after the Leighton Moss bird at the back side of the plantation behind Tower Lodge in Bowland on 29 May 2009. The photograph above was the best I could manage, the bird being some distance away, and with the equipment I have at my disposal.

Red-backed Shrike. Unknown.

The school at Rossall has a good record for 'shrikes', a Red-backed Shrike was found here in 2008 and I saw the bird on 18 September.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Lets Twitch Again....



....like we did last summer, Chubby Checker in 1960....but his was the twist not a twitch.

Common Spotted Orchid. John Bateman.

Thanks to JB for the CSO image taken at the location for these flowers annually on the outskirts of Lancaster where this year there are a healthy number of spikes.

The Montagu's Harrier. 

If KT ever asks me 'should we' and the question includes the word 'birds' the answer is always YES. And so yesterday we set off to Champion Moor a couple of miles to the east of Slaidburn to stake out - a flask of coffee and some butties included - in the hope the adult male Montagu's Harrier currently in the area would oblige. Unfortunately it didn't and 3.5 hours later we set off once more, this time home to Lancaster a couple of miles to the east of Morecambe having suffered a 'dip' in twitching jargon. The bird was last seen on Champion Moor at around 11.00am which was 1.5 hours prior to our arrival and not reported again. 

The Montagu's Harrier (MH) is a stunning bird, in particular - as is nearly always the case - the male which at first sight is similar to the equally stunning male Hen Harrier. The MH had its heyday in the mid-twentieth century and bred in Ireland and Anglesey, and north to Scotland, but no evidence has been achieved of nesting ever having occurred in Lancashire, though there is an interesting record of a female shot in Bowland - nothing new there - in 1889, this bird was reported to have had a brood patch making the shooting of this bird an even bigger tragedy than it was that it was ever shot in the first place. 

In the late nineteenth century the MH bred more or less regularly in or around areas of Cornwall, Hampshire, Kent, and East Anglia though probably not more than 20 pairs. Through the  mid-twentieth century numbers seemed to have increased to 40-50 pairs. A pair bred in Ireland in 1971 but not since, although the species continues to be recorded there on a regular basis.

There are some interesting colour ringing of nestlings records showing that these birds return close to their natal site, often being paired with un-ringed individuals suggesting that new birds are entering the breeding pool from elsewhere in Europe, limiting the possible effects of inbreeding in an otherwise small population. Most overseas recoveries are from France, although there is one recovery from Senegal at the western end of the MH's wintering grounds in the savannahs of Africa, India, and Sri Lanka. 

As I publish this post the Montagu's Harrier has again been seen today in the Champion Moor area at 9.30am. 

This is a good image of the male Montagu's Harrier showing to good effect the difference of underwing marks compared to the male Hen Harrier Montagu's Harrier by Phil Boardman 

Saturday, 14 July 2012

The Reply....



....and another excuse to post some more brilliant photographs on Birds2blog whilst I continue with the long awaited normality to return in my birding life....this is not funny and never was. 

The following is an e-mail regarding the current Preston Guild celebrations in connection with the risk of disturbance to the breeding Common Terns at Preston Dock. I don't want to make any comment on the contents of the message save....'I don't like the sound of a firework display set off from a barge in the middle of the dock, and reckon neither will the Common Terns like it'....However, my sincere thanks to Tim Joel for getting in touch with me on the matter. 

Hello Peter

Thanks for your email regarding the Common Terns at the Docks, the RSPB have also been in touch. The majority of the Riversway Festival activity taking place a week today is located on the grass land adjacent to the control tower and the swing bridge. The water activity including dragon boat racing and boat trips has minimal impact on the water. There is a small firework display on the Saturday night which is set off from a barge in the middle of the docks. All the activity is planned in conjunction with the marina who manages the water space and the Preston City Council team who operate the bridge and maintain the docks area.
Thanks for bringing this matter to our attention.
Tim Joel

Festival and Events Officer.

As for the brilliant photographs....

Common Tern. Peter Guy.

As the Common Tern is a current topic at Preston Dock, this is a pretty impressive image of these two engaged in some sort of aerial display there.

Whinchat Brian Rafferty

I'm not ever able to resist a photograph of the Whinchat and this one is no exception. Not an easy species to come by these days - let alone photograph one as good as this - but always to my delight whenever I find one.

Puffin David Cookson

A brilliant portrait of everbodys favourite the Puffin with a bill full of Sand Eel for its young.

Roller Antonio Puigg

And the Roller....there's one currently in Aberdeenshire if you want to get your bike out and get on up there.

And the local MEGA....what I presume is the same roaming bird for several days now in Lancashire, a male Montagu's Harrier is spending some time in the Champion Moor area ESE of Slaidburn, and still there as I write at 12.20pm. So you can see this bird either on your way, or on your return to/from Aberdeenshire.

I have no idea why his post runs of the off the page in places on the right!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Snowed Under!


Well no....not snowed under with the weather, but you have to wonder if that's the way we're heading and perhaps we'll soon be out and about birding up to our ankles in snow some July soon.

Spoonbill.

I'm actually snowed under with images from the many photographers that have accumulated over the years, who allow me to use their photographs on Birds2blog, a situation which has all of us being winners in that the pictures liven up the blog for my benefit, whilst promoting excellent photography to their benefit. You'd be amazed at the number of visitors who leave this blog to visit photographers who have a blog of their own. All three of the images in this post are courtesy of Peter Guy with my many thanks.

I was prompted to post this photograph of the Spoonbill recently seen from the Griesdale Hide at Leighton Moss, because I received a message this afternoon telling me of two Spoonbills  seen by the Lighthouse Cottage at Cockersands last Saturday 7 July ....I think this is called 'Getting The News Out'.

Common Terns.

These Common Terns - seen in the process of a Sand Eel food pass - are at Preston Dock were good numbers breed these days thanks to some excellent work by volunteers in providing the birds with suitable nesting platforms complete with old rubber tyres which actually serve as the nest. The Preston Dock Common Terns are currently in the news due to some celebrations in the city which I highlighted in my post Preston Guild


Red Deer.

PG's last photograph is another one taken from the Griesdale Hide and shows a young Red Deer calf showing its leaping abilities on the reed edge. This hide at Leighton Moss offers the visitor one of the best opportunities to see these brilliant creatures often at close range. 


I'D SOONER BE BIRDING!....But its still not going to happen yet, not on anything like a regular basis at any rate.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Weather or not....Part 2.

The gloom beyond Conder Green. Pete Woodruff. 

After the the mainly Pied Flycatcher birding business at Barbondale on Monday I decided to get up to date on the birds at Conder Green and Cockersands, though as can be seen in the picture above things were not looking good in the Bowland area as viewed from Conder Green, but it actually bucked up later and the afternoon turned out at least half pleasant.


Greenshank Antonio Puigg


In the creeks I found a Greenshank had arrived to take up the company of a Spotted Redshank, also at least 6 Common Sandpiper though I did expect these numbers to start increasing by now. The House Martins are still active at the nests at River Winds, and I note a pair also nesting at Cafe d' Lune with a pair also suspected at the front here above the cafe but too many customers dining outside for my liking to be 'gaping' under the eaves through a pair of binoculars. The only birds of note on Conder Pool were 11 Tufted Duck.


Sedge Warbler Marc Heath


At Cockersands with the tide well up I was able to observe up to 80 Golden Plover at close quarters on Plover Scar, also of note a single Grey Plover, 3 Dunlin, and 2 Ringed Plover, only 3 Eider were off here today. Birds noted on the circuit which was quiet - well its still only early July - 3 Linnet, and 5 Sedge Warbler two of which were at a nest site with food, one of which I noted was BTO metal ringed....interesting but of no value to me.


Golden Plover 1 
Golden Plover Brian Rafferty


The Golden Plover....a beautiful wading bird with its stunning golden-spangled upperparts. It is the largest of the three plovers - European - American - Pacific - which may be the cause of considerable ID problems to the inexperienced. The Eurasian is the largest, plumpest, and shortest legged of the three, and is the only one with axillaries and most of underwing-coverts clean white. If you belong to my moderate class in the identification stakes and you suspect you've got one of the other two 'foreigners' in your sights I'd suggest you hope the bird takes to flight when life will become a little easier for you and you might see a dull grey underwing and axillaries on both American and Pacific as opposed to white on Eurasian, but then is it an adult....Arggggh, this ID thing does my head in at times!


Thanks to AP/MH/BR for photographs....brilliant as ever.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Butterflies2blog!



It's been a struggle to find the butterflies so far this summer with no need to go into the reason why. Tomorrow (Thursday) looks good weatherwise so things may change then. Meanwhile, until I have the time to post the second half of my birding experiences for Monday last, here are some excellent images of a trio of butterflies with some brief notes - only one of which you'll find locally if you live in the same area of the world as I do - all of which are taken by one of my men in Kent Marc Heath who I thank very much, which reminds me....I must enquire if my permit needs to be renewed!


White Admiral. Marc Heath.


The White Admiral is a Priority Species for conservation due to the continuation of habitat loss - nothing new there then - it prefers shady woodland and woodland rides in mature woodlands with sunny glades of Bramble, it occurs across southern Britain, spreading rapidly since the 1920's.

Small Blue. Marc Heath.

The Small Blue is the smallest native British butterfly and another Priority Species for conservation, its main habitat are dry sheltered areas of grassland where Kidney Vetch grows. In Scotland it is also in decline though its strongholds remain along the Angus coast and Moray Firth.

Purple Hairstreak. Marc Heath.

The Purple Hairstreak lives in self-contained colonies in woodland where Oak trees occur. In my area of North Lancashire it can/could - for example - be found in Eaves Wood and Gait Barrows NNR the full access of which requires a permit, though it does have public paths. 

I'D SOONER BE BIRDING!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Hide Hugging!


With some business to see to regarding the Pied Flycatchers with JW today I decided afterwards a visit to the RSPB Reserve a Leighton Moss was an idea, after all there's been a Hobby seen there for a couple of days and a Hobby at Leighton Moss or anywhere in our recording area - and beyond for that matter - is all but a dream. 

Hobby 2
Hobby. Brian Rafferty. 

So with only limited time I went to the Public Hide with high hopes and gave it an hour or so to no avail, but had excellent views of 4 Marsh Harriers, one of the reserves main attractions along with the Bearded Tit and Bittern.  A Buzzard was soaring above the wood opposite the hide, and 8 Teal flew over and around the mere before disappearing onto one of the back pools, otherwise pretty quiet. BR had a rare opportunity a year or so ago to get some excellent shots of this brilliant little falcon at Leighton Moss as illustrated above, and more recently of the Marsh Harrier below. 

Marsh Harrier. Brian Rafferty.


About thirty minutes in the Lillian Hide gave the spectacle of up to 300 Swifts hawking insects over the pool along with just 2 House Martins easily picked out of the crowd, and a solitary Sand Martin, another 2 Marsh Harrier were also seen here and another Buzzard over the wood. A Moorhen seen below the hide had climbed the stem of a Reedmace to feed on the seed, a curious sight and a first for me.


Eider
Eider. David Cookson.


I decided to look in at Teal Bay on the way home to see the tide coming in and counted 102 Eider including four juveniles I noted, also 4 Whimbrel and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, a male Blackcap was singing in the bushes behind me.


I insist every visitor to Birds2blog reads the story in the link, this is as bad as it gets and please do take a close look at the 'woman' who clearly shows what she is in the photograph HERE