BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

Monday, 30 December 2013

The Barn Owl.

Image Permitted.

This image is the sorry sight of a dead Barn Owl caught by the wing during the very windy weather we've had recently. The bird was photographed over the Christmas holiday and is seen hanging from one of two electricity lines which crosses the road from Rose Bank Farm to Hawksdale Pasture Farm, Nr Dalston, Carlisle which now is a new development. How long would this beautiful bird have suffered prior to its untimely death, an example of the kind of hazzard birds have to live with in a modern world with cables, wires, wind turbines and extreme bad weather.


Barn Owl Brian Rafferty 

A hundred years ago the Barn Owl was a common farmland bird, but if this year is anything to go by this beautiful bird is now far more scarce than it was in the 1980's when it was estimated to have declined by a massive 70% since 1932. This year is being described by conservationists as the worst Barn Owl breeding season for over thirty years. 

A run of extreme weather events since 2009 has devastated Barn Owls. The final blow was March this year when mortality kept increasing and by the end of the month huge numbers were dead. At a time when Barn Owls should have been thinking of breeding there was an increase in reports of dead birds many of which had starved.

Numbers were already low due to the bitterly cold winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 and the extremely wet summers of 2010 and 2011. But things were looking good in 2012, the weather in March was excellent and the owls started breeding earlier and by late May nests were being found with as many as seven well-grown owlets. But in June it all went badly wrong, the rains started and the adults were prevented from hunting and many young birds starved, in some cases full broods of owlets were found dead in the nest.

There are some terrible statistics surrounding the Barn Owl in 2013, out of in excess of 275 sites monitored Barn Owls were nesting at only 7 of which just 4 had young with others abandoned. In another monitored area, 120 sites - usually with 36 nests - had just 4 occupied. Outside the UK in Hungary, out of 30 regular nests in one area only one active was found with a solitary bird, a situation regarded as pretty much the case all over Hungary.

No doubt these records are reflected in our area in particular around the Rawcliffe/Pilling farmlands, and although I have no accurate reports to hand I know of one observer who has found dead Barn Owls and recognised fewer sightings and low numbers at traditional locations, I hope to be privileged with some local information in the New Year. 

On a brighter note....a much brighter note. 



The Waxwings are coming, with ten seen in Warrington, Cheshire and other locations around the UK recently....Believe it or not, they have been recorded in the UK throughout the year.

Thanks to BR for the Barn Owl, and GJ for the Waxwing..html?Id=150#cat20

Friday, 27 December 2013

Peregrines In The Real World.

Peregrine Falcon Phillip Tomkinson 

I'm not on my own in the fear that our uplands are well on the way to becoming areas void of birds of prey. Only a few years ago in the spring, a mid double figure of Peregrine Falcon (PF) held territories in a wild corner of upland moors, just four years later with the exception of two territories all had been abandoned with just one pair from the two being successful as a breeding pair. 

In 2010 the 'government advisor on the natural environment' - Natural England - withheld licenses which allowed a permitted group to monitor the PF for over three decades....I wonder why you may ask yourself. If you singled out the PF and the Hen Harrier (HH) in particular, they are two species declining at an alarming rate on our special protected moorlands where they should be safe.

You may be surprised to hear there are more nesting PF in London than there are at six moorland locations, one or two facts for the doubtful to consider on that claim, the Northern Pennines once frequented by up to 15 pairs of PF, are now reduced to just four pairs. In the Forest Of Bowland the PF has suffered a serious population crash with just one breeding success this year of 2013. 


Eagle Owl Arkive

In the four years since the removal of licenses by the 'government advisors' 15 of the territories occupied by the PF in 2009 had been abandoned by 2013, three Eagle Owl nests were also found abandoned, with a clutch from a fourth nest disappeared. So here I ponder this....Under the European Wild Birds Directive, Bowlands moorland is a Special Protected Area affording species like the PF and HH enhanced protection....what enhanced protection?

PF's continue to disappear from the grouse moors of Northern England and I think you you will appreciate there are no prizes for the answer to the question....why were licenses withheld from a group who could so easily have made a difference. Birds of prey and Red Grouse shooting are never going to be a mix to our 'Guardians Of The Countryside', and there are some politicians who regard the relationship with estates as more important than the security of the birds they have a statutory duty to protect.  

Birds In The Shadows.

Another little headline about a species of bird which sadly doesn't have the necessary appeal to draw public attention to it for its own good.


Lesser Black-backed Gull Martin Lofgren

Natural England licenced the cull of thousands of Lesser Black-backed Gull on one of Englands largest shooting estates in 2013. Interestingly this is the agency responsible for protecting the very species it issues a licence to kill, and a licence in force for decades, officially to stop water pollution, I personally never heard such crap....material for another 'gap filler' on Birds2blog perhaps.  

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Best Wishes.

By the way, I missed the Birds2blog birthday again this year - 15 November 2008 - how I've managed to keep it afloat for 5 years I'll never know....but I just keep trying.

Buzzard Richard Pegler 

A walk through the park with KT on Sunday and on to the cemetery to check if mum and dads Christmas wreath had blown away in the recent gales was rewarded by excellent views of 2 Buzzard overhead. And interestingly a Wheatear was still being seen yesterday at Moore Nature Reserve in Cheshire. Thanks for the image Richard. 

I'd like to take this opportunity of thanking everyone who takes an interest in and supports Birds2blog, and especially to the many good friends birding has gained for me, and to the photographers who allow me to publish their work which helps to add some much needed colour to the blog, also to those who make comments to the posts thereby proving to me that I'm not talking to myself all the time.


Whether you're a daily visitor to Birds2blog, or you look in now and again, if you are reading this, then that's good enough for me and I'd like to wish you all....Happy Christmas with the hope of a birding and photography filled 2014.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

G2WGYY.

Sanderling Marc Heath 

I was very grateful to have been contacted by Mike Hipkin who is the county recorder for West Glamorgan. Mike told me he had found the Sanderling marked G2WGYY which I had seen earlier this year on 26 May at Rossall Point on the Fylde coast. I'm also aware of the report of a marked Sanderling seen in Northhumberland during the week ending 14 December and hope to have some details about this bird in due course. 

Mike had seen the Sanderling at Crymlyn Burrows and goes on to say....'G2WGYY was first caught in Iceland in May 2011 and was seen there again in 2012. It was seen in Iceland again on 19 October 2013. This bird was seen earlier this year on 26 May by Pete Woodruff at Rossall Point, Fleetwood, but not recorded between Pete's sighting and mine. Pete runs a blog and describes his exciting find on the link The Rossall Sanderling.... 



....Please note the directional paths in the figure above are only indicative of movement. Indeed the bird that both Pete and I saw may not have gone back to Iceland at all? Of course further movement of Sanderling will take them beyond Iceland, to the north, and from Crymlyn Burrows, likely onwards further south'.

Mike details more information on G2WGYY and other recent sightings by him of marked Sanderling which is interesting, well worth a read, and includes an account by project leader Jeroen Reneerkens about an adult female Sanderling marked as G5WWGY in Iceland in 2008....All this can be found on the Glamorgan Rarities Committee Website     

My thanks again to Mike for getting in touch with me, and to Marc for the accompanying Sanderling image....I really appreciate it all.   

Friday, 20 December 2013

Before The Falcons.

I had some nice rewards for my efforts on Tuesday before I caught up with the Peregrine Falcons later in the afternoon - Seeing Double - seen on the Lune Estuary from the bowling green at Glasson Dock, with excellent counts of at least 4,500 Lapwing, 2,100 Golden Plover and 450 Black-tailed Godwit seen, but I could only count 30 Goldeneye today, and 2 Little Egret were noted. Earlier in the day on Conder Pool, 6 Little Grebe, 2 Little Egret, a Goosander, 92 Mallard, 74 Teal, 18 Redshank, 6 Curlew, 3 Shelduck, and 2 Goldeneye.


Mediterranean Gull Noushka Dufort


On Jeremy Lane, two fields had earlier been slurried resulting in a mass feeding congregation of mainly 3,500 Black-headed Gull through which in better circumstances I could have spent some time sifting through, but I did find an adult Mediterranean Gull standing out in the crowd as much more elegant than its relations even if it was up to its knees and feeding in the slurry though not quite as elegant as the summer adult above.

Curlew Brian Rafferty

At Cockersands, high tide again with just 350 Oystercatcher, 40 Dunlin, 34 Turnstone and a single Ringed Plover on Plover Scar, with 4 Eider and a Great-crested Grebe off here, c.140 Curlew in an inland field, and c.150 Lapwing over flying purposefully south. On and around the Cocker Estuary, I made no attempt at counting silhouetted birds seen against the light but several hundred Wigeon and a good number of Shelduck noted, with Pintail and 2 Little Egret  present.


Grey Wagtail Geoff Gradwell

A Grey Wagtail was a nice surprise in the Abbey Farm yard with 2 Pied Wagtail, other small birds noted in the area, 25 Greenfinch, 3 Robin, and a Reed Bunting.

The Lune Estuary Godwits.


Black-tailed Godwit Martin Jump  

I've not searched any historical godwit records for the Lune Estuary, but Tuesdays count of Black-tailed Godwit here appear to be building up again this winter. At the start of this year I made a peak count of at least 600 Black-tailed Godwit seen at Glasson Dock on 13 February, and c.700 Bar-tailed Godwit were also counted on the Lune Estuary here on 6 February

Thanks to Noushka/Brian/Geoff/Martin for the impressive photographs in this post....even more impressive on 'the clik'.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Seeing Double!

At Glasson Dock this afternoon looking over the Lune Estuary, I witnessed a regular winter event here when every bird in sight took to flight in the panic caused by any raptor which appears on the scene. The frustration is, that on most occasions you can never find the culprit, you can never tell whether the bird is on its way, or overhead going through. But today I was lucky and was looking in the right place and in the right direction when I picked out a distant bird which certainly wasn't a wader. Quickly picking out a landmark in relation to the area the bird was in I got straight on to a Peregrine Falcon which was heading towards Colloway Marsh where it soon made a landing, but surprise, surprise, what's this behind it and also coming in to land....another Peregrine Falcon.


Peregrine Falcon. Martin Jump.

I watched these two falcons for several minutes enjoying the spectacle of seeing them together, they had both made a kill at the same time and were now jumping up and down on the marsh as their victims were obviously still alive and trying desperately to get free from the talons.

Peregrine Falcon. Martin Jump.


Although the sighting was a distant one the size difference was obvious, one was a juvenile the other an adult.

I lost some birding time as a result of this and the light was fading, but I had gained some more first hand evidence that the Peregrine Falcon putting in an appearance on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock can show you the number of 'what's really about' in an instant.  

The Wheatear.


Wheatear
Wheatear. David Cookson. 

Last Saturday morning - 14 December - a female/1st winter Wheatear was reported at Burton Point on the Wirral Peninsula, Cheshire. You can't help but wonder why a migrant bird like the Wheatear should get the plot so badly wrong as to possibly result in its demise.


An amazing record I don't ever recall seeing before of a Wheatear recorded in the winter month of December, the latest record I know is of a bird at Rossall Point, Fleetwood on 27 November 1985. 

Thanks to Martin Jump and David Cookson for the excellent images.

More to be said about my efforts for today when time allows me.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

A Ropey Afternoon.

I didn't get off birding until late morning yesterday, and if it had come on to rain thirty minutes sooner than it did I wouldn't have set off in the first place.

I was at Conder Green at 11.30am and after doing my best for thirty minutes to get to grips  with 11 species on Conder Pool amounting to in excess of 200 birds, the rains arrived and I spent more than an hour in the motor waiting to see if it would clear up which it eventually did and I moved on to check out the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock.

On Conder Pool I estimated, 110 Teal, 55 Mallard, 22 Wigeon, 6 Tufted Duck, 5 Little Grebe, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Goldeneye, 4 Goosander, 4 Shelduck, 3 Cormorant, and 2 Little Egret. Not moving off the viewing platform - something of a record for me - I saw a Spotted Redshank, and c.40 Teal in the creeks.

It was a dull dark day, and by the time I got set up at Glasson Dock the light was fading, noted were, up to 5,000 Lapwing, c.400 Golden Plover, and 80 Black-tailed GodwitI counted at least 50 Goldeneye, the best count so far this winter being 75 on 3 December, and the estuary here is again the prime location for the species, I saw only one Little Grebe today.

The Lapwing.


Lapwing Noushka Dufort

Bird Atlas 2007 - 2011 reveals the Lapwing has endured a 41% population decline since 1995, that their range has contracted by 18% over the last 40 years, with the greatest losses in Western Britain and Northern Ireland.

These figures aren't reflected by the number that can be seen in our area of the Lune Estuary. From one viewpoint at Glasson Dock 5,000 plus Lapwing can be seen on many visits here in the winter months and this number was present here yesterday, and if the Peregrine Falcon arrives on the scene in hunting mode and flies off upstream in the direction of Aldcliffe this figure is at least doubled as I've witnessed on many occasions. On occasional walks I've made from Aldcliffe to Glasson Dock I've been amazed at the numbers of Lapwing on this stretch of the River Lune.

Thanks to Noushka Dufort for the excellent Lapwing images.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Clougha/Birk Bank.

A brilliant day weatherwise yesterday and an absolute must I got myself back up Clougha for a long overdue visit and the first since 2 May.

Clougha Pike. Ministery's Photostream 

The visit was of course primarily to see if my dreaming of any Stonechat being up here would turn into reality, but despite a good four hours and six miles of footwork that's precisely what it has to do....remain in dreamland! 

On the 2 May visit I had found just two birds, and  went on to claim no records of breeding here again in 2013. A browse through my records show that around the peak period of the Stonechat population boom days on Clougha I had found seven birds on 19 December 2006 and at the time would never have thought perhaps seven years later I would record....'non seen on 11 December 2013'. 

Red Grouse Male. Martin Jump.


Accounting for risk of duplication, I counted 26 Red Grouse, and had three sightings of 'thrush' species, two in flight and distant one of which was almost certainly c.150 Fieldfare, another was of c.25 Redwing, and 12 Fieldfare seen well later.


Red Grouse Female. Martin Jump.



Upland birding doesn't produce a list of birds as long as your arm, and yesterday I saw just nine species, made up by 3 Mistle Thrush, 3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Blackbird, 2 Robin, a Wren, and up to 500 Starling flying  west late afternoon presumably to a roosting site. 

Game for a shoot!


No alleluias to sing about the 26 Red Grouse record yesterday as they are merely good numbers for the 'boys' to blast away at. I noted the area cluttered with nice newly painted white markers and new grit trays put out, so don't worry these boys are still in the 'sporting business' and aren't going anywhere.

Thanks to Martin Jump for the Red Grouse images, much appreciated.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Back To Birding.

By a stroke of good fortune I was able to get myself back to birding today, it would have been a full week since my last session had it gone to tomorrow as 4 December was my last time and I reckon life can be pretty boring a such times. 

Last weeks storm and high tides played havoc with Conder Green and the pool now has to be renamed Conder Lake, some fencing is on the deck, the platform has taken a bashing, the slopping invalid friendly footpath is now quite a deep trench, and a stone island is now in the River Conder leaving a gaping hole below the outflow....But what about the birds seen in a four hour rake around the Conder/Glasson area.

Of note on Conder Pool, 6 Goldeneye, 6 Little Grebe, 5 Goosander, and a Little Egret. In the creeks, it was good to find the Common Sandpiper again, a Spotted Redshank, and 2 Snipe. Small birds en-route to Glasson Dock via the coastal path, up to 30 Goldfinch, 10 Chaffinch, a Dunnock, and a Peregrine Falcon over.


Pochard. Copy Permitted. 

At Glasson Dock, on the canal basin, a female Pochardc.55 Tufted Duckand a Little Grebe seen. 


Lapwing Ana Minguez  

On the Lune Estuary, Ruff found amongst the horde of at the very least 5,000 Lapwing spread about the mudflats, a minimum of 2,000 Golden Plover, and 50 GoldeneyeBarely a double figure of Black-tailed Godwit seen here today, with 4 Bewick's Swan being 2 adult/2 juvenile, and 3 Little Egret, a pair of Red-breasted Merganser, a Goosander, and 4 Little Grebe.

Barn Owl.


 Barn Owl. Howard Stockdale.

I'm reliably informed by a resident at Conder Green of a Barn Owl hunting almost nightly, and by a resident of Cockersands of another Barn Owl seen regularly in and around the lighthouse cottage area.

Thanks to Ana/Howard for the Lapwing/Barn Owl images.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Caspian Stonechat.

The  first record of Siberian Stonechat in Britain was of an immature male found on the Isle of May, Fife, in October 1913, at the time the bird was said to have resembled a Whinchat.   

A subspecies of Siberian Stonechat - of which there are six - a Caspian Stonechat S.m.variegatawas found on St Agnes in the Isles of Scilly on Monday 18 November, the bird was a first winter male and represented only the fourth record in Britain. Only two of the subspecies - S.m.maura and S.m.stejnegeri - are truly Siberian in that they breed in that area, the other four do not. Apart from one other of the subspecies - S. m. Przewalskii - the Caspian Stonechat is the largest of the races found in the Palearctic, and the major plumage distinction from all other Palearctic races, is that both first year and adult males have a large proportion of the bases of the retrices pure white, the western part of the range have greater than 50% white in the tail, the eastern part of the range have in excess of 70% and in some cases the white in the tail can be so extensive on the outer feathers as to suggest the tail pattern of the Northern Wheatear.

There's some very interesting discussion/opinion/comment/banter on this Caspian Stonechat HERE but you'll need an interest - or maybe even a degree - in science to follow it all. 

The video of the Scillies bird is brilliant - though it is 3.23 minutes in length - enjoy it for as long as you like. 




I'd very much have liked to have found this little beauty....on Clougha perhaps, though I'm not sure how I would have dealt with the excitement!!

I'm grateful to SP for the excellent header image of the St Agnes bird.

Friday, 6 December 2013

The Iceman Cometh!

Iceland Gull Mersey Birders 

On Wednesday morning I decided it was time I got myself off to Heysham Harbour to see the juvenile Iceland Gull. Half way along the sea wall I was caught in a hail storm, not lasting long but I got quite wet all the same. But none of this worried me as my efforts were well rewarded and the bird afforded me excellent views, perched on two occasions, and by the power station intake where it was in company with assorted species and ages of c.30 other gulls and was easy to pick out without optics even at a distance....a really smart bird. Thanks to Mersey Birders for the image. 

The Lune Estuary magnet took a hold of me as I left Heysham and by the time I got to Conder Green the not yet high tide was lapping up against the A588. I found 3 Spotted Redshank  - three also seen here 4 October - taking refuge on what little marsh was left above water, with a Greenshank, and Snipe. Noted on Conder Pool - all the fours - with 4 Little Grebe, 4 Goldeneye, 4 Goosander, and a Little Egret.

At Cockersands, 14 Greenfinch, 6 Meadow Pipit, and 2 Skylark, 8 Snipe flushed off the marsh as I walked the path to Bank End, c.30 Wigeon and a Little Egret were in the wide ditch beyond Bank Houses Cottage, I saw the Kestrel again, and I reluctantly record 5 Grey Partridge though I somehow have positive feelings about these Cockersands birds being wild and not reared for 'sport'....but who knows.


Mute Swan Ana Minguez 

Off Moss Lane I saw 2 Bewick's Swan in a field with 3 Mute Swan, and 4 Bewick's Swan in a field off Jeremy Lane were 2 adult and 2 juvenile, an hour later 4 Bewick's Swan in flight past me going downstream on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock were almost certainly the Jeremy Lane family seen earlier. There was little of note on the estuary save c.80 Black-tailed Godwit and a pair of Red-breasted Merganser.  

Thanks to Ana for the beautiful study and excellent image of the Mute Swan.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Silent Killer....

....and a few other coastal birds.


Kestrel
Kestrel David Cookson   

Yesterday I had two Kestrel sightings at Cockersands about an hour apart, one at the lighthouse end, the other at the caravan park end, so not necessarily two birds, the second bird was a female. In silence it was hovering only a few metres above the ground ahead of me, its entire body rigid save the wing-beat and I pondered how does the Kestrel do this. Suddenly it dived to the ground, moments later it came up with a vole in its talons and just a few more moments later the vole had become a meal. I was taken by surprise when I saw this bird only minutes later hovering and on the hunt again over the very same area as before, obviously one small vole didn't satisfy the needs of this Kestrel....Learning something new almost daily.

Recent visits to Cockersands seem unintentionally to have coincided with the high tide and Plover Scar was void of birds. A saunter round the area produced 22 Greenfinch, 3 Meadow Pipit, a Reed Bunting and Wren, with c.10 Teal and a Little Egret in the wide ditch adjacent to Bank Houses Cottage, 3 Black-tailed Godwit went over. 


Fieldfare Warren Baker

On the way to Cockersands on Moss Lane, c.50 Fieldfare had flown across the road ahead of me, but I was unable to stop with a vehicle behind stuck to my rear bumper it seemed. A birder I saw later claimed the Moss Lane Fieldfare to have numbered a 'couple of hundred'.

Noted on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, a good count of c.1,500 Golden Plover, with another good count of at least 75 Goldeneye being the best so far this winter, 50 Black-tailed Godwit, c.150 Dunlin, 5 Little Egret, and 2 Little Grebe. On the canal basin, an immature drake Scaup, a Goldeneye, 3 Pochard, and c.125 Tufted Duck.

Difficult to believe I'm writing this down but, it was dark now and I was unable to visit Conder Green....this has to be a mortal sin!

Thanks to DC/WB for more excellent images on Birds2blog. 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Filling The Gap....

....until my birding takes off again, with a few words about a duck!

Baikal Teal Arkive 

The Baikal Teal (BT) is an extremely rare vagrant to GB, the first record in Britain was of a bird found at Fair Isle, Shetland in 1954, this bird was accepted into Category D. But a BT in Caerlaverock, Dumfries and Galloway in 1973 gave observers some ammunition they were looking for in order to claim a truly wild BT, when it was seen regularly eating goose droppings in preference to daily handouts of corn. This bird was upgraded to Category A, but after a review of BT records on file in 1993 the species was replaced in Category D.

On Saturday a stunning drake BT was found at Marshside RSPB on Merseyside and has been seen again today on Crossens Outer Marsh. The BT is a species seen as an unlikely vagrant to Britain though the likelihood of natural vagrancy can't be ignored, it is a popular bird in captivity. The possibility of vagrancy gained some strength when a first winter bird was found dead in 2005 in Denmark. Following some scientific study made on this bird there was some indication that its old unmoulted feathers had in all probability grown in the Far East, it was therefore regarded as unlikely to have been bred in captivity in Europe, although there was a remote chance this individual had been transported to the west as an immature bird and then escaped had to be taken into account.

The last five records I just checked of Baikal Teal in Britain and Ireland appear as birds in BOU/IRBC Category A.

Teal
Eurasian Teal Astland Photography 

For comparison to the drake Baikal Teal, not quite as stunning, is the Teal we're most likely to see, though....

Green-winged Teal Martin Lofgren 

....I've been checking through as many as possible of the 200 Teal seen at Conder Green lately to make sure none are of this species the North American Green-winged Teal.

Thanks to Peter and Susan Wilson, and Martin Lofgren for excellent images of Teal.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Too Nice For Anything Else!

The weather yesterday was too nice to be doing anything else, and although I'm not usually a weekend birder, KT only had to utter the words....'are you not out birding today'....and I was off like a shot.

 Red-crested Pochard. Howard Stockdale.

Although the immature drake Scaup was on show again on the canal basin at Glasson Dock along with Pochardthere was no sign of the female RCP. Noted on the Lune Estuary, 5 Bewick's Swan included 2 juvenile, 28 Goldeneye counted, 32 Black-tailed Godwit, and estimates of 550 Golden Plover, 200 Knot, and a Little Egret

Bewick's Swan. Howard Stockdale.

At Conder Green, 7 Goldeneye, 42 Teal, 36 Wigeon, and a Goosander were all on Conder Pool. Two Spotted Redshank were in the creeks, I failed to count the Teal in the creeks here but c.200 Wigeon were in the Conder Estuary channel, 2 Little Egret were on the marsh, and 3 Meadow Pipit noted.

Snow Bunting. Howard Stockdale. 

I noted just 7 Greenfinch, a Little Egret, and a Kestrel at Cockersands where I barely had an hours daylight left by the time I got there and failed to find any Snow Buntings again despite speaking to a birder earlier in the afternoon who had.

Little Grebe.

I counted 12 Little Grebe seen in the area yesterday, with 6 on the Lune Estuary, 5 at Conder Green, and one on the canal basin. 

Thanks to HS for his trio of excellent images, the drake Red-crested Pochard, the ten Cockersands Bewick's Swan, and the Cockersands Snow Bunting. And by way of a change, the non-bird header of a Red Squirrel with my thanks to Paul Foster.