BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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CLOUGHA PIKE UNTIL RECENT YEARS THE BOWLAND STRONGHOLD FOR THE STONECHAT. PETE WOODRUFF.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Five Around The Estuary.

I parked the motor at Conder Green at 11.30am and returned at 4.30pm, so gave the Conder Green/Glasson Dock area of the Lune Estuary a full five hours yesterday.

Grey Plover Brian Rafferty 

The first bird I found at Conder Green was a lone Grey Plover in the creeks, annual here in the winter months but rarely more than a single bird. Also noted here today, 2 Spotted Redshank, a Common Sandpiper, 5 Little Grebe, 12 Wigeon, and a Little Egret. Notable were 16 Lapwing on Conder Pool, more notable was not a singe Lapwing or Golden Plover on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock as viewed from the bowling green. But up to 320 Black-tailed Godwit were present along with at least 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, and with little over double figures each of Redshank, Curlew, and Dunlin the estuary was beginning to look like it was summer. 


Black-headed Gull. Pete Woodruff.

I don't recall the last time I saw as many 'gulls' on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock with in excess of 5,000 mainly Black-headed Gull and a good number of Common Gull. It took me the best part of an hour to find a smart adult Mediterranean Gull complete with full black hood amongst the hordes which made huge areas of mud look like large white blankets, and I don't believe for one minute my MG was the only one in this mass. On the south end of Colloway Marsh, c.60 Pink-footed Geese.

Numbers are still reasonable in the area, with 57 Goldeneye seen....

50 Lune Estuary
  4 Conder Pool
  3 Canal Basin

Stonechats.


Stonechat Marc Heath 

I've documented Stonechat records in our area and the Fylde for the year so far and migration appears to have got off to an early and good start with my personal first at Cockersands on 18 February. Today I received a record of five birds at Fleetwood Marsh Nature Reserve, a record I regard as brilliant....thanks for these BD they are much appreciated.

Many Thanks to BR for the Grey Plovers, and to MH for the first winter male Stonechat, they are much appreciated....Did you 'clik the pik'. 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

....And I Got A Soaking!

Sparrowhawk. Howard Stockdale.

The Sparrowhawk has made good use of the huge section of this felled tree as its lookout post, carried and dumped at Conder Green by the recent storm driven high tide.

Goosander Warren Baker

Yesterday on Conder Pool, 3 Goosander, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Redshank, 4 Goldeneye, and at least 10 Little Grebe still here but maybe not for much longer, 2 Spotted Redshank were in the creeks. 

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, the winter wader numbers are falling now, but noted were c.250 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, c.250 Redshank, minimal number of Lapwing, pair Red-breasted Merganser, and 30 Goldeneye. A Peregrine Falcon was distant on Colloway Marsh, and 65 Pink-footed Geese were over going south. On the canal basin, 5 Goldeneye and a drake Red-breasted Merganser

Off Moss Lane, the Whooper Swans have move further inland and away from view, but I've no reason to suspect anything less than the 275 still present and counted last Tuesday 18 February. I saw 4 Bar-tailed Godwit off Crook Cottage....set off to do the 'rounds'....turned and went off hot-foot back to the motor to escape a downpour heading my way over the bay, which I failed to do and got a soaking, at which point I threw in the towel. 

Thanks for the images Howard/Warren....Excellent and appreciated.

The Petition.


Fearnan. Keith Brockie.


This is Fearnan, the satellite tagged Golden Eagle whose life had barely taken off before it was found dead by poisoning in 2013. Murdered on an Angus grouse moor at the hands of an industry incapable and unwilling to move out of the Dark Ages and into the 21st century. There are numerous accounts of this sad story and a short illustrated one can be seen Here  

The image above is currently at the top of my sidebar as a link to a petition calling for the UK government to introduce a system of operating licences for upland grouse shoots.

Would you urgently consider signing this petition please as it closes this Thursday 27 February but has already attracted in excess of 10,300 signatures which will now trigger a response by the government.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The Little Gull.

The Little Gull has the distinction of being the smallest gull in the world, and if you'd like to see them in multiples you may like to go to Liverpool late March/early April.

Little Gull Arkive 

Brought about by the recent storms and gale force winds the Little Gull (LG) has turned up at coastal sites in our area and on the Fylde, some of which have reached three figure numbers.

Historically the LG was an extremely scarce bird in Lancashire, the first signs of change came around 1965 with the county's first large flock appearing in 1968 when 137 were seen at Formby Point on Merseyside. Two years later came the creation of freshwater lagoons at Seaforth. Today the LG's alternate between Seaforth and Crosby Marine Lake according to food supply which consists of hatching chirohomid midges which are the magnet that draws the birds to the freshwater lakes. The LG's stop off here on their migration from Ireland where they winter off the east coast, though a northern wintering ground has been proved and significant wind-induced counts have been made at Rossall Point since 1970, but this northern location remained unknown until a survey boat found in excess of 200 LG feeding in an area c.10 miles offshore south of where the Shell Flat merges with the Lune Deeps.

There seems little doubt that the Seaforth birds in late March/early April are heading to their Finnish breeding grounds and ringing recoveries appear to confirm this. The birds move off from Seaforth overland across the Pennines, over the North sea, and on to the Baltic. Few large spring flocks have ever been seen away from Seaforth in Liverpool, but one was of 215 recorded at St Annes in April 1981. 

Although there is no apparent change in the number of midges hatching today, the LG no longer gathers at Seaforth/Crosby in autumn as they did in the past, the reason for this is uncertain, and guesses are that they now move directly to their wintering grounds, or that these wintering grounds have changed.  

There have been few breeding attempts by LG in Britain, though they have been observed attempting to nest-build at Seaforth and at Leighton Moss. A nest on the Ouse Washes in Cambridgeshire was predated and an adult bird killed, and records of juveniles with down on the head and primaries incompletely grown in NE England appears to represent successful breeding. 

I was pleased to see three wind-blown 1st winter birds at Heysham on Tuesday 11 February, and they are still to be seen there in variable number....a beautiful Little Gull indeed.

Winter goes on....and I'm sure everyone is as fed up as I am with this dreary cold, wet and windy weather, the wettest winter in this country since records began in 1910. 

I'D SOONER BE BIRDING!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Bay Birds....

....and the ramblings of a lunatic.

After an appointment at 2.00pm in Morecambe on Wednesday I decided to give a look into the bay for a couple of hours from Broadway to Teal Bay. Not the most exciting area of the bay for birds but an adult Mediterranean Gull at Teal Bay was a nice find, with 17 Bar-tailed Godwit and c.275 Dunlin coming in to feed as the tide dropped, a Little Egret could be seen at Hest Bank from here. 


Great-crested Grebe Astland Photography 

I saw 7 Great-crested Grebe along the way, also 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Eider, and 3 Goldeneye.


Siskin David Cookson 

Three Siskin visited our garden today, two had paid visits on 2/3 March 2013, so this is a peak count and an excellent garden record.

And the lunatic from the dark ages speaks out.   

With no names, no pack drill, and keywords highlighted by me. This is a letter to a Scottish newspaper recently from a man BIG in the world of 'Gun Sports'. A dangerous combination of lack of knowledge and the misfortune of having been gifted with an inactive brain is shown here, the problem is....too many people listen and take note of what he says and does. These are the kind of dangerous people we need to continually worry about, and continually ask....what are we going to/can we do about them for the sake of our wildlife.


 Sea Eagle Martin Lofgren 

Sir,
Listening to and reading about the Sea Eagles, I found most of it incredible and so ‘too bad’ as far as the loss of lambs was concerned, they didn't even mention hogs or ewes.
Then, for Mr W to say....'Sea Eagles are here to stay'....surely it’s time for him to vacate his perch and if that is the view, what a precarious position hill sheep farmers and crofters are in.
Nothing short of complete eradication will do, and it is the same for the Pine Marten, both should be absolutely destroyed. The NSA, the CC, and the CF should be backing this to the hilt. 
Will Mr L or Mr W do anything about the Sea Eagle? No, they didn't even prick their ears until a danger to our native eagle was mentioned and, for Mr L to say they are a tremendous tourist attraction is rubbish. If, like me, he had spoken to tourists from all over the world over the last 20 years, he would know they don’t come for one attraction but to see as much as they possibly can. The oblivion of the Sea Eagle would’t matter and, indeed, would be an absolute blessing for the countryside and its animals.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Grand Weather....

....Grand Birding....Grand Finale.

The River Conder is still running fast with flood water and of the 10 Little Grebe I found yesterday seven were in the river, the other three on Conder Pool where I noted 22 Wigeon, a Snipe and Little Egret.

Goldfinch Noushka Dufort 

From Conder Green I legged it to Glasson Dock, on the way along the coastal path, c.25 Goldfinch flew by, 8 House Sparrow were of note, and 3 Dunnock, one of which was in song, the other two behaving as a pair with one chasing the other. Noted on the Lune Estuary, a smart adult Mediterranean Gull with almost full hood was with several hundred mainly Black-headed Gull, 2 Ruff with uncounted Redshank, c.65 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Little Grebe, and at least 2,000 Wigeon. A drake Red-breasted Merganser was on the canal basin. 

Off Moss Lane, I made an excellent count of 275 Whooper Swan with the Black Swan also still in their company, and off Slack Lane another excellent count of 16 Bewick's Swan of which four were immature.

At Cockersands, on Plover Scar 20 Turnstone were in view, with a solitary Knot and Ringed Plover. On the circuit, 4 Fieldfare were again in the field behind Lower Bank House where I had seen two on 11 January. Also of note, 7 Blackbird, 3 Tree Sparrow, a Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Kestrel, and 5 Little Egret.

Merlin Simon Hawtin 

From the headland I picked out a distant Merlin, it was my lucky day, because as I walked along the headland the bird moved perches five times in fifteen minutes whilst I wasn't watching, but I picked it out on every move to its new lookout post before it eventually flew off and out of sight. 

As I headed back to the motor the Merlin was set to be my 'Bird Of The Day' until....

Stonechat Cockersands 18 February. Copy Permitted.


....a smart male Stonechat came into view to give me my first and the first known record of the species in the LDBWS recording area for 2014 ....A Grand Finale.

Goldeneye.

The count in the Conder/Glasson area yesterday amounted to 64 Goldeneye....

45 Lune Estuary 
12 Canal Basin
7 Conder Pool

Thanks for the Goldfinch Noushka, the Merlin Simon, and the Stonechat CP, they are much appreciated. 

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Barn Owl Part 2.

I was privileged to get some local Barn Owl records from 2013 to follow on from the national records in my post The Barn Owl on 30 December, which puts us in the picture on the status of the Barn Owl in 2013 in a local context.

Barn Owl. Geoff Gradwell.

Out of 74 boxes checked 18 were occupied by two birds on at least two occasions, in 8 boxes only 1 bird was seen on at least 2 occasions, some boxes were visited on 5+occasions, in total 6 pairs laid eggs, 3 pair deserted their eggs before hatching but still occupied the box, a pair hatched 2 young but the young disappeared before they were 30 days old, and 2 pairs reared 5 young.

The birds being in poor condition at the start of the breeding season in 2013 are regarded by these observations as the major factor, a sure sign that the numerous birds seen hunting during the day in last year's winter told its own story. However there is optimism for 2014, as boxes checked have resulted in 40 Barn Owls having been found roosting in them. Furthermore the owners of the property on where they are, have expressed their concern that they have not seen them, which is a good sign that they are finding enough prey during the night time.

Kestrel Warren Baker

It has also been recorded and noted with interest that Kestrels had a poor breeding season in 2013, and most that had fledged had been fed with birds and not their more usual prey of small mammals. 

Little Owl Richard Pegler

On the plus side, some excellent news is that of 14 pairs of Little Owls that bred in 2013 had averaged 1.2 young per pair....

 Tree Sparrow Arkive 


....and at least 1,002 Tree sparrows had fledged in the breeding season of 2013.

Thanks to Bob Danson. 

I'm grateful for these records kindly supplied along with permission for me to post them on Birds2blog. Also thanks to Geoff/Warren/Richard/Mike Wilkes for four excellent images to accompany this interesting set of local records for 2013.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Prince Charming!

OK....This is going to be short, but it's serious and needs to be addressed, and I'd like to put Birds2blog to good use to do that. 

Wild Boar Noushka Dufort 


I had little interest in listening to Prince William and his pop Charles involved in discussions regarding wildlife crime, having just returned from a hunting trip to Spain to shoot Wild Boar, well they shoot wild 'other things' in this country anyway. Actions which are not only hypocritical but which show an absolute disregard for animals and wildlife. 

Out shooting wild animals one minute and hosting a ­conference on wildlife crime the next, you need to ask the question whether anyone can be expected to take these blue blooded guys serious when taking to the platform to talk about how to protect wild animals. But wait a minute....Here's a royal correspondent who likes to have his say in their defence, even though this isn't the first time he's been heard talking through his rear....'Such a trip to Spain is a world away from shooting endangered species for profit'....I think he missed the point don't you.

But we have to give the prince some credit when he comes up with some terrifying facts and says things like....

Rhinoceros Portraits of Nature

'More than 30,000 Elephants were killed last year, amounting to nearly 100 deaths per day. In the past 10 years 62% of African forest Elephants have been lost, and if this rate continues the forest Elephant will be extinct within ten years. A Rhinoceros is killed every 11 hours, and as recently as 100 years ago, there were as many as 100,000 wild Tigers living in Asia, today, there are believed to be fewer than 3,200 left in the wild'.

But these people are all a load of hypocritical 'wildlife lovers' and definitely not to be taken seriously. 

Much more to say on this but....I did say at the top of the page that it was going to be short.


Thanks for the Sanglier image Noushka it is excellent and much appreciated. And thanks to Gary Jones for the Rhinoceros, also excellent and much appreciated,  though the subject matter I used them for is both terrifying and sad

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Snap Decision.

When I got into the motor yesterday I had no idea where I should head off to, but eventually I made a snap decision and was off to Heysham Harbour, in any case I only had a couple of hours to spare for birding but was in need of a fix.  

Little Gull Martin Lofgren 


With birds seen regularly recently and in excess of twenty seen on Sunday it was good to see at least 3 Little Gull at Heysham Harbour for myself yesterday, all 1st winter birds. Also 3 Mediterranean Gull, with one over and two between the outfalls on the beach where there was also 95 Wigeon, c.12 Eider were distant on the sea off the harbour mouth, and a Red-breasted Merganser was in the harbour. 

There was a howler blowing here today and cold with it, but the visit is best described as invigorating.

And the Rarity of the Year 2013.


Brunnich's Guillemot. Marc Heath.

In the vote for the rarity of 2013 the truly amazing White-throated Needletail on the Isle of Harris - and the fastest free-flying bird in the world - took the Gold Award, an Ascension Frigatebird on Islay in July took Silver, and the Brunnich's Guillemot in Dorset in December took Bronze. This Guillemot was the first ever of its kind to be widely twitchable, and the most southerly British record of the species, and MH is lucky enough to live in that part of the world and got to see this brilliant bird. You can read here all about Marc's incredible Twitching Hat Trick ....And if your interests stretch to the world of twitching and rarities you can read all about the ones in 2013 Here

Both of today's images are a must 'clik the pik'.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Nice Day....Short List.

Superb Fairywren. John Darbyshire.

With no other appropriate photographs, thanks to JD the Superb Fairywren is a colourful opener for the post. The species is found throughout south-east Australia and took first place in a recent national poll to become Australia's most favourite feathered friend.

Nice Day.

By recent standards yesterday was an exceptionally nice day with some wall to wall sun for a while and almost spring like when sheltered from what little cold wind there was. But the list ended up a rather short one with nothing new found despite some serious searching.

Short List.

I keep seeing between five and seven on Conder Pool, today I found 6 Goldeneye with 5 Little Grebe, and a Little Egret, a Spotted Redshank was asleep in the creeks, and another Little Egret was on the marsh off the picnic area. On the canal basin at Glasson Dock, 18 Goldeneye and a Great-crested Grebe, and on the Lune Estuary, a male Ruff was with the Redshank again, with 14 Goldeneye and 3 Little Grebe noted, the waders were in the air several times with undetected raptor disturbance. 

At Cockersands I devoted most of what time I had there to two fields, after a thirty minute plus grilling one of the fields by Crook Farm was eventually found to hold at least 2,500 Black-headed Gull with a 'few' Common Gull. The other field off Moss Lane held c.240 Whooper Swan, but with much better and closer views today than of late I was able to identify 13 Bewick's Swan of which four were juvenile, these birds were presumably the same group as seen off Slack Lane 20 January....


Black Swan Arkive  

....also the Black Swan seen again. A bird of Australia where they are nomadic, and not to be taken seriously either side of the fence in this country, but a beautiful bird all the same.

Hard to believe it took me five hours to collect the above results, but an hour at Conder Green, two hours at Glasson Dock, and another two hours at Cockersands including a little wander around, time runs away with you....especially when you're having fun!! 

Sunday's Mega.



Ross's Gull L Moss Sunday 9 Feb. Copy Permitted.

On Sunday a Ross's Gull at Leighton Moss was reported by the RBA news service at 1.28pm and later confirmed as being seen giving good views until flying off at 4.15pm.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Five Hours....Five Miles.

Footwork following the River Lune from Skerton Bridge to Glasson Dock on Friday resulted in the Song Thrush being my best bird of the day. Referred to in Lancashire Annual Reports as common and widespread though it's a species on the Red List, but I was pleased to have seen two en-route to Glasson Dock and one in song at Conder Green.


Mediterranean Gull. Copy Permitted.

The day started off well, and included in the 23 species noted in the black book, the first bird was a smart adult Mediterranean Gull with a small group of 55 Black-headed Gull on the river opposite Lune Road, also noted here 3 Goosander. As I approached Freeman's Pools I counted 11 Magpie together in the same area I'd seen twice that number of 22 a couple of weeks ago. Around fifty birds were on the pool including 3 Goldeneye, Mallard were predominant on the island, with Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal present, and a Kestrel hovering overhead, also of interest was 2 Roe Deer on the perimeter. I saw only one Little Egret on the marsh with a 'few' distant Pink-footed Geese.

Noted between Aldcliffe and Conder Green....

10 Robin
8 Blackbird
6 Goldfinch
5 Great Tit
4 Pied Wagtail
4 Chaffinch
3 Greenfinch
3 Song Thrush



A Raven was over the golf course, and c.250 Golden Plover were on the river bank opposite Stodday. In the short time to spare at Conder Green, 6 Goldeneye, 6 Little Grebe, and a Little Egret on Conder Pool. On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock 25 Goldeneye, with 12 Goldeneye counted on the canal basin....the bus to Lancaster is coming!! 

Past records of note on this same route in 2012....On 29 November I counted 52 Blackbird, with 22 Robin and 10 Song Thrush on 11 December.

And a garden first....


Lesser Redpoll Martin Lofgren

A Lesser Redpoll had been reliably reported to me on two ocassions on our garden feeders recently by KT and I saw the bird for myself on Friday morning.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Late Again!

Well you can't call a birding start of 11.30am anything other than late, but that's what time it was when I arrived at Conder Green yesterday to park up the motor and give this area and the Lune Estuary a good four hours....its just godabedun!

On Conder Pool 30 Wigeon were on view, 21 Redshank, and a Little Egret. A combined count of c.180 Teal was of 80 on the pool, and up to 100 in the creeks, another combined count of 9 Little Grebe, was of 3 on the pool, and 6 in the creeks where I found the Common Sandpiper again. The Little Grebe at Conder Green are notorious for being underneath the marsh overhang into the River Conder making them perfectly camouflaged and difficult to locate....you really do have to look for these little buggers.


Greenfinch Ana Minguez

Walking to Glasson Dock along the coastal path, 4 Long-tailed Tit, 3 Greenfinch, 2 Great Tit, 2 Robin, and a Blackbird were noted. On the Lune Estuary, I reckon my recent counts of 700 Redshank holds fast, the odd ones out amongst the tight pack being, a Spotted Redshank, 6 Knot, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, and 2 Turnstone, the rarity here and something of a peak count in my book. Other waders estimates here today with no apologies for nice round numbers, 600 Dunlin, 300 Bar-tailed Godwit, 250 Curlew, 100 Golden Plover, and in excess of 2,500 Wigeon. A Great-crested Grebe was of note on the canal basin.


Glossy Ibis David Cookson

On the way back to Lancaster I paid a quick return visit to Thurnham Hall for my second decent view of the Glossy Ibis which was accompanied by 5 Little Egret

At least 73 Goldeneye seen in the Conder/Glasson area yesterday....

50 Lune Estuary
16 Glasson Canal Basin
7 Conder Pool

And finally....


Peregrine Falcon Phillip Tomkinson


Here's a case with four ticks in the box supporting the view against the safety record of wind turbines and bird strikes. See an excellent illustrated account about the demise of one of four Peregrine Falcons Here 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Owt About!

I never know how to answer the dreaded question....'owt about'....as I never really fully understand the question in the first place. But I was asked by two nice people at Conder Green if I'd seen anything interesting which makes a little more sense to me and we were able to have a nice chat about the answers I gave them, though in the end whether they knew what a Spotted Redshank or a Goldeneye was I have no idea.

The tides are dropping in height and for now they will no longer flood Conder Pool which would make an excellent boating lake now, I think it may be a good idea to put in a planning application in that regard and make myself a few quid, otherwise the pool is in ruins....unless you're a duck.


Spotted Redshank/Greenshank Astland Photography

On Conder Lake on Monday I found a Spotted Redshank roosting with 11 Redshank - so there was some waders on here after all - 2 Goosander, c.90 Teal, 27 Wigeon, a Little Egret, and 2 Little Grebe. A Grey Plover was down the Conder channel from the old railway bridge, an annual winter visitor but usually solitary, otherwise a rare bird anywhere on the Lune Estuary. At Glasson Dock I saw c.700 Redshank again with a Ruff glimpsed with them as they occasionally flew around looking for a high tide roosting area, also of note, a Spotted Redshank and 8 Skylark.

At Cockersands, c.230 Whooper Swan off Moss Lane were still in the distant field as I drove past and were almost certainly still present in the same number as last Wednesday. Also off Moss Lane 4 Little Egret were in a field by Haresnape Farm with a Grey Heron. A Snipe flushed off the marsh and a Kestrel seen here again, in one of Abbey Farm fields waders amounted to in excess of 4,000 with estimates of 1,500 Golden Plover and a similar count of Lapwing, with 900 Dunlin, 100 Turnstone and 6 Ringed Plover.


 Red-breasted Merganser Simon Hawtin

Off Crook Farm, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, with 2 Red-breasted Merganser on the estuary, and a rare sighting according to my records book, that of 2 Great-crested Grebe.

There are at least 63 Goldeneye on and in the Lune Estuary area with Monday's records of....

40 Glasson Dock.
18 Canal Basin, Glasson Dock.
5 Conder Pool.

The Wheatears are coming.


Wheatear Phillip Tomkinson 

Hard to believe, but....if I'm going to find an early Wheatear this year, it might be only six weeks away before I do. The earliest ever record of Wheatear in Lancashire is of a male found at Pilling Lane Ends 11 years ago on 26 February 2003....and that's just three weeks away.

Thanks to Peter and Susan at Astland Photography, Simon and Phillip for the photographs in this post, they are much appreciated.

Monday, 3 February 2014

St Peter's Peregrines.....

....and the Otter.

Mobile Image. Pete Woodruff.

With a snoop last week around the west front and north side of St Peter's Cathedral in Lancaster I found two Lapwing corpses on the ground below the steeple. No real surprise there, though I have no idea of time scale, the Peregrine Falcon has been present at the church for many weeks - probably months - but if my informant is correct, didn't breed here in 2013.

The interest aroused by the finding of these and previous dead birds in the recent past in the church grounds, and my observations of this bird - there may be two - is that it appears to have adopted this structure as a wintering location. But I find it further interesting in that the questions arise....although quite a short direct flight for a Peregrine Falcon, why has this bird flown from the cathedral to the River Lune - possibly but not necessarily to Aldcliffe - on three occasions that I'm aware of, to find prey in the form of a Lapwing, then fly all the way back to consume the catch. Does this bird ocassionally make the journey when it finds nothing to hunt on the way, or does it persistently go to these lengths every time it needs to hunt for food. Alternatively, maybe this isn't its winter quarters at all, and that it just visits here and uses it as a 'plucking post' to feast on its latest kill....I'm intrigued.

St Walburgs. Brian Rafferty.

St Walburg's is in Preston, and though the spires of Salisbury and Norwich are taller, I must say this steeple has always struck me as the finest I have ever seen in the UK and rises 309ft above the City of Preston. 

Peregrine Falcon. Brian Rafferty.


I have no knowledge of the history of St Walburg's Peregrines, but I do know they have bred there for a number of years, and BR achieved some brilliant images of the Preston's Peregrines like the adult with prey and the two begging juveniles above from last years breeding success.

It really pleases me to see these raptors thinking they are nesting on a cliff face with a pointed structure. If the Peregrine Falcon isn't safe from disturbance or worse on the steeple of a church, then its never going to be safe anywhere, and they are most certainly much the wiser by staying clear of the dreaded uplands of Bowland just a few miles to the east of St Peter's Cathedral. 

And The Otter.


River Lune Otters. Brian Rafferty.   

On Saturday an Otter was reported on the River Lune in the area of the Skerton Weir. Excellent news though no big surprise as the Otter is known to inhabit the River Lune and BR took this image of these four individuals on Saturday 27 October 2013.

I must confess to not being fully up to date on either the River Lune Otters, or the construction of the M6 - Heysham link road project, so have no intention of launching into lengthy views on either. But take note this project has now begun and it will be interesting - important even - to see what the result of the Otter population is - and countless other wildlife species which don't have protection - at the hands of this totally disastrous and monstrous waste of time and money.

I'D SOONER BE BIRDING....And I'm off to do some right now.