BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE FOREST OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

I Wonder....

....if you would read below and consider signing the petition at the top of my sidebar to get this creature back to the sea where it belongs, and please note....you don't have to live in the UK to sign.

Killer Whales. Credit Unknown.

Morgan is a young female wild caught Orca, rescued by the Dolphinarium Harderwijk in June 2010 who gained a permit to rescue her on the condition she was released back to the ocean as soon as possible. This did not happen. Morgan was put 'on show' to the public within 5 weeks of her 'rescue'. It is a well known fact that when rescuing wildlife, the only human contact of any kind should be to improve the health of the animal and to rehabilitate and release back to the wild. They absolutely should not be on show to the public.

There are too many questions that remain unanswered, just a few of those questions are: 

1.Why were Orca experts prevented from entering Dolphinarium Hardervijk much earlier to obtain DNA and vocal recordings of Morgan to find her pod (all pods have their own dialect), eventually being allowed in after the first court hearing a year later (August 2011).? 

2.How did Sea World know about Morgan before Orca experts had chance to work with her? Dolphin Hardervijk sold another wild caught Orca, Gudrun to Sea World in 1987. (The sale of Orca is now illegal and there is no evidence that Morgan was exchanged for money although there are reports that dolphins may be on their way to DH).

3.Why is the media 'still' reporting that 7 'experts' brought in by Dolphinarium Hardervijk said Morgan's release would be 'too risky' when 4 of those 7, on gaining new information on Morgans vocals/call signals, switched sides and supported her rehab and release?

It has been said that Morgan was sent to Loro Parque in November 2011 as this was 'in her best interest', this is not true. Morgan was sent to Loro Parque due to loopholes in laws. There was, and still is a solid, well organized rehab and release plan for Morgan by some of the worlds top Orca experts. Her call signs have been matched to relatives and there is no reason why Morgan would not be accepted into this pod especially as she is a young female.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Magnetised....again!

I was magnetised towards Conder Green/Glasson Dock and Cockersands yet again yesterday. I often intend to spread my wings and move on to pastures new but invariably get so tied up with these areas that I've usually run out of time before I can.


The tide was at its height at 10.45am so I paid a brief visit to Conder Green to look over the pool before moving on. I was only be able to count 5 Little Grebe on the pool today, a Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, and 2 Snipe, a Wren was close by in the bush next to the viewing platform, two female Shoveler were very unusual on the pool. On the canal basin at Glasson Dock the female Scaup still here, and on Jeremy Lane the 'August' Whooper Swan was with 41 Mute Swans


Redwing Antonio Puigg  

Seasons Greetings
Fieldfare David Cookson

On Moss Lane I found my first winter thrushes - uncounted from a moving motor - Fieldfare and Redwing, also a Great-spotted Woodpecker


Walkies on Plover Scar. Pete Woodruff.

At Cockersands, this idiot with nine dogs - most off the lead - came on the scene. OK the heavily cropped pic doesn't really show the problem but if you 'clik the pik' you can see at least six of them, take it from me this is bird disturbance at its worst.... that's the 'there for all eternity' monster Heysham Nuclear Power Station in the right hand corner of the pic by the way. 

But back to birds and birding....20 Herring Gull included R3RG which I found here earlier in the year on 22 May, I'll make enquiries to see if its history has progressed since I last reported it. The only waders of note today - before the above happened - were 12 Turnstone with a Little Egret on Plover Scar. On the estuary, 4 Eider, 10 Pintail, and 7 Red-breasted Merganser. Twelve Black-tailed Godwit were overhead at Crook Cottage, up to 60 Skylark were flighting over fields at Abbey Farm, c.15 Greenfinch noted and a Kestrel.  


Looking to Bowland. Pete Woodruff.

The weather was as unpredictable as ever - 'clik the pik' and it looks even worse - when I called in at Glasson Dock on the way back to Lancaster to find an adult Mediterranean Gull, and noted c.2,500 Golden Plover, a Greenshank, a Grey Plover, and 2 Little Egret.

The Otter and the Dog Problems.

The Otters are putting the M6 link road proposals on hold....read 'a bit' about them Here 


I don't really want to labour this issue, but to compound the dog problem at Cockersands, two hours after the 'mutts' had gone two birders armed to the teeth with optics were engaged in the very same exercise of covering the length and breadth of Plover Scar by which time anything that had been present had disappeared....I give up!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Painted Lady.

Painted Lady Steven Cheshire  


I remember 30 May 2009....and always will, it went down in my book as one of the many brilliant birding experiences I've had over the years which have that little bit extra about them, though this time it was a butterfly which brought about an amazing - maybe once in a lifetime - thrill. It was the day I spent five hours in the Clougha/Birk Bank area, nothing unusual about that in itself as this was a Stonechat stronghold in our area at the time and I was 'always' there, but this day in May was to be the day of the butterfly for me. 

On May 21 2009 there was the first indication of arrivals of the Painted Lady butterfly into Britain when members of the Butterfly Conservation began to notice large numbers off Portland Bill in Dorset. Following this date thousands were seen flying north at locations across southern England to East Anglia. There were sighting of hundreds in Central London, soon followed by more seen as far north as Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland.

These butterflies originate from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco where heavy winter rains had aided good germination of the caterpillar food plants, and hundreds of thousands had been observed emerging in February 2009, large numbers had been seen in Spain during April, then later in France a few weeks later.

So there I was on Clougha 30 May 2009 and over the next five hours I counted a truly staggering 149 Painted Lady butterflies as my contribution to the count of what was claimed to have been a mass invasion of 11 million Painted Lady butterflies into the UK during the summer of 2009. 

Perhaps we'd better have a couple of birdy pics for a basically birding blog....


  Shore Lark Marc Heath

You may need to do some serious searching - I'm always serious searching - if you want to find a Shore Lark in our area, though there was one stray individual last year, its anniversary is about now. If I'm really honest, I was hoping for one at Cockersands when I was there last Thursday....dream on! 


Penduline Tit Antonio Puigg

And another one in need of the same serious searching if you're hoping to find one in our area. The first record in Lancashire being of a bird at Leighton Moss eight years ago on 11 November 2004. The only other record of the species in Lancashire was of another bird also at Leighton Moss on 21 November 2011, this individual was deemed to have almost certainly been the same bird seen again this year in February and March.

Thanks for these excellent images MH/AP, much appreciated. 

According to the cover - in my sidebar - of the November issue of Birdwatch magazine, it looks like someone in the magazine has made some notes about the persecution of birds of prey, in particular the Hen Harrier judging by the photograph....a big up for the 'someone' and the magazine.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Once again!

I did a repeat of Tuesdays birding yesterday which roughly had the same results....but the enjoyment never fails. This time Conder Green took two hours off me including a good look around the picnic area, a positive haven for migrants though I don't recall the last time one turned up here, and it certainly wasn't 'positive' yesterday.

Despite several attempts I couldn't get the count to more than 9 Little Grebe today, also on the pool, 2 Greenshank and a Snipe. In the creeks, 2 Spotted Redshank and the wintering Common Sandpiper. A few Blackbirds were in the picnic area with at least ten seen. The big surprise here today was the 'August' Whooper Swan which was to be seen on the marsh opposite Conder Pool in company with a Mute Swan.

Scaup. Pete Woodruff.

The female Scaup was on the canal basin still with its Tufted female lookalikes, the two in the pic above were off Broadway at Morecambe on 3 February 2010. The variety of waders on the Lune Estuary was minimal but up to 900 Golden Plover were noted with in excess of 3,000 Lapwing, but the best wader count went to c.250 Dunlin a seemingly 'scarce' bird. The 'gull' numbers here must have verged on 1,000 including an adult Mediterranean Gull, I'm sure I failed to find more here today, 3 Little Egret were also noted.

Once again I spent the rest of the afternoon at Cockersands though I've been threatening to pay a visit to another location - a pretty productive flood - for a couple of weeks now but haven't yet carried out the threat always running out of time....time for a change of scenery!

I went towards Crook Farm again to see if Tuesdays Twite sighting could be improved upon but only found about a 50/50 mix of 40 in total Meadow Pipit/Pied Wagtail on the stony shore having found a food source of sorts. Up to 70 Teal off Plover Scar which  - unless my memory is completely falling apart - is quite unusual, also noted here were 8 Pintail, and....


Curlew
Curlew David Cookson  

I counted 248 Curlew in a field by Bank Houses. Its never 'just' a photograph with DC, always one with a difference....Thanks David.


And finally....


Tim Kuhn: Goldfinch  Goldfinch
American Goldfinch Tim Kuhn  


Here's a Goldfinch I'm not expecting to see any time soon....never to be honest. A North American migratory bird which ranges from Alberta to North Carolina during the breeding season, and winters south of the Canadian border to Mexico. Thanks for this Tim, I know you look in on Birds2blog on occasions which I appreciate.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

'Bits'....to fill the gap.

Yesterdays ten Twite at Cockersands gave me the added bonus of experiencing the birds at close range. I had initially seen these ten birds in typical bouncing flight from a distance as I walked towards Crook Farm and immediately supposed they could be Twite. Just after I confirmed my suspicion they disappeared from view but I soon found them at the edge of a small pool behind the banking separating the field from the road and high tides. 

Creeping up on the birds from below the bank I was able to observed them at close range eventually having the privilege of watching them with interest as they bathed on the edge of the pool to later leave the water to preen their feathers in the necessary way that birds do in order to maintain good plumage condition. This turned out to be one of the many added interests we can have with the birds if we watch them closely enough and cautiously stalk them to gain a good advantage point without disturbance to them.

And a couple of pics....

Red Deer Gary Jones

Gary paid a visit to Leighton Moss recently, he got there early morning before the sun rose and the mist was still around to achieve this brilliant image of the two young stags creating a stunning picture oozing with atmosphere....Thanks for this Gary, an excellent image with my appreciation as always.

Lapland Bunting Marc Heath 

Marc has recently had the enjoyment of at least three 'bonus birds' one of which was this brilliant little 'Laplander' yesterday on the shore at Coldharbour in Kent. I think the Lapland Bunting should be a feature on Birds2blog sometime soon....Thanks for this Marc, yet another excellent image - where does it all end - my appreciation once more.

The Stone Jetty Morecambe. Pete Woodruff.

Morecambe on the Med. Pete Woodruff.

Last Friday KT and I had to go to Morecambe in the afternoon which gave me the opportunity to  have a stroll along the promenade....with my binoculars round my neck of course. I think the weather was as good on the day as any other we have had during this summer of 2012 and to be honest it was like being in the Mediterranean as the couple of pics I took with my mobile show.

I decided to give a 'plug' to Bob Bushell  who should be an inspiration to us all. If you've already visited his website via this link please be sure to view his Profile 

Birding again tomorrow hopefully, but certainly can't be for a few days after that I'm afraid.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Twite....Alright.

I reckon the Twite at Cockersands this late afternoon qualified for the 'Bird Of The Day Award' they were virtually the last birds I saw on a long day with a short list for my efforts. I gave Conder Green an hour, with another hour here and there at Glasson Dock, and spent in excess of four hours at Cockersands turning over a few stones, but probably left quite a few unturned.


Black Tail Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit David Cookson

At Conder Green the number rises and today saw 11 Little Grebe on Conder Pool....thirteen reported on Sunday. A Little Egret also on here with a Kingfisher seen, I had two further sightings in different areas here but no evidence I saw more than one bird, 2 Spotted Redshank were in the creeks, with 9 Snipe, and 4 Goosander. The female Scaup was on the canal basin at Glasson Dock but beware of the 'distant' female Tufted Duck with a 'decent' white blaze. On the Lune Estuary, hardly heaving with birds but 2 Mediterranean Gull were both adult, 85 Black-tailed Godwit, c.250 Golden Plover, and 3 Little Egret were of note. 



Seeing some small bird movement in a field off Moss Lane en-route to Cockersands I parked up and paraded up and down the lane to find 40 Meadow Pipit - and probably couldn't see twice that number - some good Robin song, and a Dunnock. At Cockersands another Little Egret on Plover Scar, off here c.750 Wigeon, a 'few' Pintail - I don't think reached two figures -  and 4 Eider. From the Caravan Park, a pair of Shoveler were very unusual in the Cocker channel with 4 Little Egret, and c.120 Dunlin were a joy to see....where are they all.  


Male Reed Bunting 
Reed Bunting Brian Rafferty

Walking along the road towards Crook Farm I counted at least 300 Curlew and a solitary Bar-tailed Godwit on the sands, 5 Greenfinch, 3 Reed Bunting, and the last birds of the day....10 Twite

And the latest MEGA news in the UK is....


A Siberian Rubythroat Shetland, Fair Isle, this afternoon....OUCH!!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Another Post Meridian.

Eider Gary Jones  


I saw no Eider on the day but the header photograph of this drake for the post is as good as they come....Thanks Gary 

It was after-noon again when I got out on Thursday, the 10m tide was well on its way and the waders were off looking for high tide roosts. So before the road went under the tide, I paid a brief visit to Conder Pool to find a Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, and Common Sandpiper had already taken refuge on here along with 10 Little Grebe.


I decide to give Cockersands a pretty good going over, but a good 2.5 hours later proved it had never looked like it was ever going to resemble the west coast of Ireland. There was just a few meters of landward Plover Scar above water and a solitary Turnstone and Ringed Plover were hanging on to what was left with a Rock Pipit, another one/it was seen later. One of the Abbey Farm fields held up to 1,000 waders which went into the black book as estimates of, 550 Golden Plover, 230 Lapwing, 220 Curlew, an adult Mediterranean Gull was in the midst of c.120 Black-headed Gulls

I found it rewarding - in a way - that a birder I had a chat with at Cockersands was also having an unproductive visit here too which gave me the feeling I wasn't alone in the desert. But a count of at least 40 Skylark were of note, with 14 Tree Sparrow, 18 Goldfinch, and 6 Greenfinch

A Snipe flew up out of a ditch along Jeremy Lane, and calling in at Glasson Dock on the way back to Lancaster was to prove the tide hadn't dropped off enough for the waders to return, but I did note c.500 Golden Plover

And now....


Little Egret Ana Minguez 

An excellent image of the Little Egret having a scratch. A recent record of note is that of 117 Little Egrets leaving the overnight roost at Leighton Moss on the Friday morning of October 12.

Azure-winged Magpie Isidro Ortiz 


And a bird you may never see - the Azure-winged Magpie - unless your birding includes foreign travel to maybe Spain or Portugal. Thanks to Ana and Isidro for these two brilliant photographs.


And finally, another excellent video, this one of the Pink-footed Geese on take off....'Pink sky at night the birders delight' courtesy of Colin Bushell




The Aldcliffe Double.

Wood Sandpiper Antonio Puigg 

Today yet another Lesser Yellowlegs in our area was found at Aldcliffe along with a Wood Sandpiper for the double. With no time to look for a photograph of the rarer of the two, I have to thank AP for the Wood Sandpiper.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Foot Soldiering.

With the weather half decent on Monday and no wind, I thought the best idea was to do a stroll through some ideal habitat for the odd Yellow-browed Warbler to turn up perhaps, sounding like a 'proper birder'....not before time!!

Old railway routes given back to nature always make for ideal habitats for birds, there's one in the Lakes which can/could turn up numerous Wood Warblers in a season....not in October of course. So of I went from the bus station in Lancaster to dawdle, stop, look, and listen along the coastal path to Glasson Dock. Well, I was kidding myself really, to do this lengthy stretch any justice for 'finding' birds would take you a full long day at least....but I did my best and managed to collect at least 50 species, most of which I expected to find and I'm not going to labour the list on here, but notable were as follows....

A Jay flew across the River Lune from St Georges Quay to Ryelands Park, a few minutes later a lone Goldeneye was seen on the river. 


 Will you help save Freeman's Wood  

I arrived at Freeman's Pools to note 10 Gadwall and 3 Little Grebe. The flood at Aldcliffe has now become a lake large enough to take boats - well almost - as has the wildfowlers pool where I saw 5 Little Grebe of note, and by the time I got to Conder Green - adding to the 50 list along the way - I'd seen 7 Little Egret

Looking over the marsh at Conder Green. Pete Woodruff.


At Conder Green I found 2 Spotted Redshank and noted 3 Snipe and a Goosander. On Conder Pool I found the number now in a double figure and counted 10 Little Grebe and a Goldeneye, by which time one of those unfriendly showers which come down by the bucketful had arrived and I had to dive for the cover of a small bridge over a culvert. 

Conder Creeks. Pete Woodruff.


I got a little fed up of waiting for the rain to cease so I hot-footed it to Glasson Dock to find a juvenile Scaup - the recent female now disappeared - on the canal basin, by which time....my bus was coming!

Birding days like this are all very well but, there's no way I'm being weighed down with a telescope and tripod for a six mile hike. OK, you don't need a telescope to find passerines hiding in the bushes, but birding otherwise with half your optics left at home....I'm afraid it's a bit like going out without your pants on.

Footnote.

A quick search revealed all the websites I found about Freeman's Wood - including the link above - were badly out of date....Anyone out there have any updated one's as Birds2blog might generate some support. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Rare and Beautiful.

This week two little beauties turned up, one in our area, the other just outside. In the case of the first find - the Yellow-browed Warbler - in terms of vagrants this is an annual species presumably often in several hundreds around this time of year, though those actually found are much less in number.


Yellow-browed Warbler. Copy Permitted.

This Yellow-browed Warbler (YBW) was found at Fluke Hall on Sunday 14 October. The species breeds in Siberia and winters in Nepal, China, and Asia. This bird is the commonest Siberian vagrant to Western Europe. In 1985 there was an amazing influx of the YBW into this country in excess of 600 known individuals. There are suggestions that a small number of these birds may winter here, but what happens when the YBW leaves Britain is a complete mystery and the truth is, until a wintering area is discovered it seems likely that the vast majority of YBW's which turn up in Britain each year in autumn and peaking early October, leave to continue their migration south-westwards, only to perish in the Atlantic Ocean. 


The first record of YBW in Britain was in Northumberland 1838 which - by an amazing coincidence - is the same county as the second Pallas's Warbler was found 113 years later in 1951. In fact this YBW was initially thought to be a Pallas's Warbler and it wasn't until 25 years later that the mistake was corrected in 1863. The annual average sightings of YBW is around 300 in Britain alone. 

In the case of the second find - the Pallas's Warbler - this bird was found the following day Monday 15 October at Knott End and is regarded by some birders as the ultimate rarity and is a little gem. This species breeds in Central, East, and Southern Asia, and winters in South-east Asia. It is a tiny bird about the size of a Goldcrest and originates in a far off magical part of the world prompting the thought....how extraordinary this creature ever gets here at all. In recent years it has occurred in numbers and was in fact 'unthinkably' removed from the Rarities List at the end of the 1990's. 

The first record of Pallas's Warbler in Britain was in Norfolk 1896. Quite amazingly the second record of this species wasn't until 55 years later in Northumberland 1951.

Since I wrote this post to save as a draft I have visited Knott End today to have three 5 second views of this elusive little gem, the last view at 1.20pm was the best and the bird came out into the open to linger momentarily.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Out Now.



As you may have seen in my sidebar the Birds of Lancaster and District Annual Report 2011 is out now. But Birds2blog isn't going to be the place to review this report, in any case I've not had a chance to take a good look at it yet but have already found one record which to say the least surprised me....

Based on my observations over a 'few' years on the Lune Estuary from the bowling green at Glasson Dock and Glasson Marsh from Bodie Hill  I can make the claim that the Ringed Plover  (RP) is a wader not often seen at Glasson Dock. So it was with some surprise I read in this report quote....'400 at Glasson on 17/5', unquote....So I did some research if only to try and add some credence to my claim about records of the RP in this area.

I searched back 8 years of LDBWS Annual Reports to find Glasson Dock never once mentioned re RP at Glasson Dock. I also searched monthly WeBS data for at least the same 8 years - which represents 96 surveys of the Glasson area - to find a total of just five RP recorded at Glasson Marsh....21 August 2005 (2) 18 September 2005 (2) 4 May 2006 (1). Not associated with this record of 400, I also found some pretty interesting WeBS counts -  - of RP in May covering the Lune Estuary ranging from just 38 to 734 as follows....

2003. 38
2004. 67
2005. 48
2006. 479
2007. 269
2008. 530
2009. 734
2010. 685
2011. 181

Stonechat Isidro Ortiz

Well, there's always a place for a Stonechat image on Birds2blog and this one from Isidro serves the purpose perfectly.

The LDBWS report rightly notes, following the second severe winter in succession numbers have been considerably reduced, and no birds were reported from the lower fells early in the year. And as far as the breeding population is concerned in areas I covered comprehensively, Clougha, Birk Bank, Harrisend, Barbondale, and Hawthornthwaite, produced just one pair with five young at the latter location on 30 June....a complete disaster.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

The Wryneck.

During the latter half of the 19th century Mitchell described the Wryneck in Lancashire as almost extinct, though formerly common and described by him as then having a fairly widespread distribution. Although nesting had occurred during the 20th century, the birds status was now a rare summer vagrant. There is a record of a nest with six eggs found in Heaton Park, Manchester in June 1912, the eggs from this nest were taken by a 'nasty piece of work' who was an egg collector. In our own area in North Lancashire, Oakes reports of a Wryneck at Heysham in September 1908, and another/the same bird the following month at Overton in October. Forty years later Oakes notes another Wryneck in Yealand Conyers in March 1948.

Spring occurrences in Lancashire are rare with only four having been added to the record of a nest with seven fresh eggs found at Winmarleigh in June 1948 which represents the last breeding record in the county, though the aforementioned nest with six eggs at Heaton Park is mentioned.

As a modern birder I find it difficult to comprehend that the Wryneck once bred commonly in Lancashire and this species isn't alone in this with the Red-backed Shrike immediately coming to mind. But hey, with a late bird found at Cockersands in October 1995 theres always the possibility of a seventeenth anniversary bird turning up here in October 2012. I'm off....see you in November!! 

And now a trio of outstanding 'photographs with a difference', two birds - three actually - and a butterfly, followed by a video....


Dipper David Cookson

An amazing picture with a difference, the Dipper flying over a fast running stream/river with a heavy swell. A photograph oozing with wow factor. Thanks David.

Ringed Plover Martin Jump

So what's going on here then, something is between these two Ringed Plover, a battle of words by the looks of it. Another picture with a difference....Thanks Martin. 

Mountain Apollo Noushka Dufort

OK, so I'm saying it again....another picture with a difference. The worst summer in this country in a hundred years or not, you was never going to see one of these stunning Mountain Apollo butterflies here. Stunningly photographed too....Thanks Noushka.

Watch the video below and see the comments on Colin Bushells Blog 



Birding Monday....living in hope!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Seeing Double!

I got a double in on Tuesday with two days birding in succession.... what's the world coming to!


With the weather as good as it was it was essential I got myself out again if only to give the area a repeat looking over, and as on Monday it was 11.00am by the time I got to Conder Green where I took note of the Common Sandpiper again, but could only count 7 Little Grebe today despite a multi count, a Kingfisher was in the creeks quietly on the sand bank.

The adult female Scaup gave excellent views close in and allowing the opportunity to get some good detail of this bird on the canal basin at Glasson Dock. On the Lune Estuary, 2 Spotted  Redshank, c.90 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Little Egret, and the 'August' Whooper Swan which was in the very same area of Colloway Marsh as it has been the last three sightings, I'm beginning to wonder if this bird is as well as it appears to be. Talking of which, a Mute Swan on the river opposite the bowling green was frantically preening which - on close inspection through the telescope - revealed it to be injured and bleeding, it appeared to have an injury to its right wing, or maybe in the area of its right wing.

I gave Cockersands little time today, too many people, too many dogs, but noted a Little Egret on Plover Scar before the dogs did, and a bird glimpsed in flight was almost certainly a Jack Snipe. On Pilling Marsh off Lane Ends, 4 Barnacle Geese were distant with c.2,000 Pink-footed Geese and a Little Egret.

Weatherwise the day was brilliant and some legwork from Fluke Hall to Cockers Dyke was a joy, though it turned up nothing of note in either direction, but was rewarded at the dyke with a Curlew Sandpiper and 4 Little Egret.

Note....An interesting sighting - albeit distant and in poor light late afternoon - on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, was of a godwit sp - thought to be Bar-tailed Godwit - which had very unusual pale upperparts, and a pure white head, neck, and underparts, worth looking for if you're planning a visit here or elsewhere if it moves on. 

And the photography....


Redwing. Marc Heath.

The Redwings are coming....in fact they've already arrived in Kent where Marc took this photograph yesterday. 

Brown Hawker. Marc Heath.

Dragonflies in our area this summer have been in short supply, but in the south its probably been a different story....Thanks to Marc Heath who has posted numerous photographs of dragonflies recently, for the Brown Hawker on blackberries.

Black Darter Cliff Raby 

And thanks to Cliff for this photograph of the Black Darter....

Ichneumon Wasp Cliff Raby  


....and the excellent macro image of this wasp. All four photographs have helped to put some much needed colour and interest into Birds2blog.

No more birding for me I'm afraid until next Monday at the earliest.... what's the world coming to!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Bonus Birding.

Any birding for me these days is 'Bonus Birding'. Yesterday was a bit of a late start at 11.00am but I was able to put my mind to giving the area a bit of a going over, but it didn't quite work out the way I wanted it to and ended by my throwing in the towel. Read on....unless you've something more important to do! 

Rock Pipit Phillip Tomkinson  

Starting at Conder Green where the number is gathering some momentum with 8 Little Grebe on Conder Pool as was the wintering Common Sandpiper, and c.120 Teal. But the pools best birds were the first returning 2 Goldeneye. The circuit produced 2 Rock Pipit and c.35 Goldfinch.                

Godwits Landing
Bar-tailed Godwit Brian Rafferty 

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock c.650 Bar-tailed Godwit was both impressive and another sign of the approaching winter, as was at least 900 Golden Plover, 2 Mediterranean Gull were both adults, and a Little Egret noted. Wader and gull numbers were relatively low today though a 'few' hundred Redshank seen, but here and Cockersands later the question I asked myself....where are the Dunlin, I saw two today.  

Scaup. Copy Permitted.


On the Canal Basin, an adult female Scaup reported last week seen again, the very bird in the pic above. 


Wigeon Dave Appleton  


At Cockersands the best bird award went to the Little Stint on the mud opposite Crook Cottage. Off Plover Scar up to 1,000 Wigeon, 2 Pintail, two drake Eider, and 4 Red-breasted Merganser. On the scar, a Little Egret, and I saw a Red Admiral fly by.


The rest of my plan for Cockersands was slightly derailed because I then found an adult Mediterranean Gull, it was 'Fred The Frustrating Med' for the third time in recent weeks, this bird carries a green ring on its left leg and on the two occasions at Glasson Dock and today it has been too distant to read. But I made a dash to get closer this afternoon by which time the bugger had squat and looked like it had settled for the afternoon, but it rose to its feet after about thirty minutes to come closer only to stand on its right leg. So I staked out for another thirty minutes only to find when it came even closer to me and stand on two legs that it was still too distant to read the ring I'd spent in excess of an hour to nail....I ran out of time and was forced to throw in the towel.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Golden Opportunity.


Oh no, here he goes again, fed up with not getting in the birding he'd like to so goes into a rant about raptor persecution....well if needs be. 


Golden Eagle


Apparently there is a once-in-a-lifetime 'Golden Opportunity' to tackle the illegal killing of birds of prey and the Coalition and Welsh Governments must not waste it. Well, this is the message from the RSPB as it publishes its annual wildlife figures which will show another full year of shooting, trapping, and poisoning. 

With enough English uplands to support 300 pairs of Hen Harriers, it is beyond belief that just one pair bred in this year of 2012, and no....I've not just made a typing error, just one pair, this species is on the brink of extinction as a breeding bird in England and you'd be kidding yourself to think the cause is anything other than illegal killing.  


Pole Trap

I find it hard to believe anyone would set up a trap like the one above to kill any animal for any reason, but then I have to believe this otherwise I'm obviously an out of touch idiot. This is just one tool in the mighty armoury of these people. There....I just maintained some diplomacy and called them 'people'.

So the RSPB believe this is a 'Golden Opportunity' not to be missed with a review of wildlife protection legislation currently being consulted. Apparently the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, and a re-organisation of the police service, plus the creation of a National Crime Agency will all provide further opportunities to prioritise wildlife crime....bloody hell, this is looking good!

But on the 'downhill' again....its been over a hundred years since the poisoning of wild birds was outlawed in the UK, but the slaughter of birds of prey - like the Golden Eagle pictured above - along with Red Kites, Peregrine Falcons, Buzzards and more, is still rife and those who want rid of these birds and other wildlife are in plentiful number, and continue to enjoy the apparent freedom to do so. 

I'm shutting up now, and make no further personal comments on all this.

So as not to overdo it, just two brilliant photographs to end with this time....a bird and the moth.


Short-eared Owl Christian Thompson 


A superb shot of the Short-eared Owl which Christian stumbled upon in the Peak District recently. Owls are his passion especially when he gets the opportunity to photograph them like this one. Take a close look at what this bird is perched on....looks like the circumference of no more than a five pence piece....Thanks Christian.


Beautiful Marbled Ian Kimber 


And the brilliant moth, the Beautiful Marbled. The 'best looking' - if not the rarest - of the three migrant Marbled's which arrived in south-east England during a late summer/early autumn heat wave, the rare one being the Shining Marbled, and the other being Small Marbled....Thanks Ian. 

And by the way....if its stunning macro photography you're looking for Here it is

I'D SOONER BE BIRDING!....tomorrow again hopefully.