BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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ALDCLIFFE MARSH HIGH TIDE. PETE WOODRUFF.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Southern Comfort....

....is an American Liqueur originally created by bartender Martin Wilkes Heron in New Orleans in 1874. 

But what's this got to do with birding except I went on a trip south down the A588 on Tuesday which turned out to be a good idea, and had one or two nice rewards.

Pied Wagtail. Peter Rhind.

The flooded and wrecked field to the west of the car park at Fluke Hall was quite lively and I saw eight species, including up to 35 Pied Wagtail, 30 Skylark, a few Linnet, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Meadow Pipit, and a Rock Pipit, but the best was a count of at least 130 Twite.

A walk along the coastal path to Cockers Dyke had me watching a Buzzard engaged in an ariel survey over Hy-Fly Game Hatcheries....I call that living dangerously. I saw 4 Little Egret on the way, and at the dyke, a mixed flock of 200 Dunlin and knot dropped in, with a good number of distant waders of which I could just pick out c.40 Grey Plover and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, at least 450 Curlew were scattered along the shore. At Pilling Lane Ends I found 2 Dark-bellied Brent Geese with c.4,500 Pink-footed Geese, also noted off here, in excess of 100 Whooper Swan

Bewick's Swan. Jan Larsson @ Vingspann 

On the way back to Lancaster I noticed a group of swans on Moss Lane at Thurnham from the main road, turning down the lane I found 4 Bewick's Swan were with 32 Mute SwanAs I drove off Jeremy Lane, I saw a brief Barn Owl in flight, but by the time I found somewhere to park the motor to go look for the bird it was lost.

Unable to drive past Conder Green, I panned Conder Pool for three minutes in the semi-dark to see 5 Little Grebe and a drake Goldeneye, with thirteen still on the canal basin at Glasson Dock on Monday which I overlooked noting in my last post.

And a good time was had by all....but storm Frank was on the way and was showing it's effect yesterday, with devastating results in places.

Many thanks to Peter and Jan for the images.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Barnie Bonus Day 2.

Returning from Bank End yesterday, I glanced at the rough field behind Bank Houses to see my second Barn Owl in two consecutive birding days, no doubt the same bird as the one seen on Moss Lane five days previous, but this is becoming interesting.

Turnstone. Gary Jones @  Walksnwildlife 


Plover Scar held just c.70 Turnstone at high tide, they actually soon flew off leaving the scar deserted, but c.80 Pink-footed Geese flew over heading south west, I saw a few small skeins of geese today in different areas and heading in different directions. In Bank Houses Horse paddock I counted 14 Blackbird, with a Sparrowhawk and Kestrel in the area. 

Reed Bunting. Bob Bushell @ Birdsfod 


On my way to Bank End I saw 6 Reed Bunting together in a bush, and several small flocks of 'finches' in frustrating silhouetted bouncing flight, and found just 2 Twite on the ground.

I had called earlier at Glasson Dock to find the tide had almost taken over, but up to 900 Redshank were hanging on to what mud was left, whilst 90 Curlew had taken to the marsh, 2 Red-breasted Merganser drake were noted.

At Conder Green, I found only 4 Little Grebe on Conder Pool, with 2 Snipe and 2 Greylag, a solitary Lapwing was noted, and wildfowl were present similar to my count five days ago, with up to 100 Teal, 50 Mallard, and 15 Wigeon.

Thanks to Gary and Bob for their much appreciated images.

The continuing Barn Owl story is coming soon! 

Sunday, 27 December 2015

A Barnie Bonus.

On a rare sunny day void of rain if windy, I was birding last Wednesday but have had no blogging time to call my own since then, hence the delayed action on Birds2blog. 

As I drove along Moss Lane I glimpsed an owl in flight as it disappeared behind Haresnape Farm. I pulled up in the hope it would make a return appearance for me, until it did it could have been either Barn or Short-eared Owl....


Barn Owl Martin Jump

....thankfully the bird did re-appear and it was indeed a Barn Owl which gave excellent views. Thanks to Martin for the brilliant image of his 'Ghostly Encounter' with a Barn Owl.

I had called in on Conder Pool at high tide to find 5 Little Grebe, a drake Goldeneye, a Snipe, a pair of Goosander, 15 Wigeon, up to 90 Teal and 50 Mallard. en-route to Cockersands a Buzzard was again on a fence post off Jeremy Lane.

Despite a couple of hours at Cockersands I found just the two site faithful species on Plover Scar just after the high tide, being c.250 Oystercatcher and 90 Turnstone. Otherwise a circuit search was virtually depressingly void of birds, save 8 Tree Sparrow which had taken a liking to the feeders hung out at Bank Houses Cottage, 4 Greenfinch were around the Lighthouse Cottage, a Kestrel and Sparrowhawk put in an appearance, and I counted 5 Brown Hare.

Three hours after the high tide, the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock had me noting c.2,500 Golden Plover, a drake Goosander and female Red-breasted Merganser. Gulls here probably totalled in excess of 1,500 birds including up to 200 Common Gull. The canal basin, accommodated 13 Goldeneye.

The Barn Owl.  

Interestingly, after my bird at Haresnape Farm, Moss Lane on Wednesday, a Barn Owl was seen the next day flying across the A6 between Galgate and Lancaster University, and yet another sighting the following day off Aldcliffe Road in Lancaster opposite Haverbreaks.

I found no literature on movements to suggest this might be one and the same bird, but you have to wonder if this wasn't the same wandering Barn Owl. If it wasn't, three individuals on three consecutive days in our area is at least impressive. Though landowners have an understandable preference not to have locations made public of this uncommon breeding resident and increasingly rare bird, and no information can be found in annual reports, 2014 was an excellent year for the Barn Owl in the county of Lancashire.

Many thanks to Bob Bushell for the excellent header image of a drake Pintail which shows brilliant plumage detail as good as it gets.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Greetings.

 
Desert Wheatear. Ronnie Irving.

Ronnie returned a Christmas wish to me together with this image of his bird of the year, the Desert Wheatear at Tarn Bay in Cumbria on 17 November. Thanks Ronnie, much appreciated.

Whatever Christmas means to followers of Birds2blog, I hope you enjoy it and I wish you happiness throughout and beyond.

I hope everyone has a very....


Monday, 21 December 2015

Looking Back.

What with the weather and the need to engage in the build up to Christmas, it looks like another week may go by without any birding for me. Not good....so, with just a few days left to the end of 2015, I took a look through the years records to note some of the highlights which have kept me inspired.

Whooper and Bewick's Swans spent almost the entire 2014/15 winter period in the Glasson/Cockersands area for the first time in my records book, and a peak count of 22 Bewick's Swan was made on 12 February, and 355 Whooper Swan on 16 March both counts off Moss Lane. Sixty Goldeneye were the peak count on the Lune Estuary on 27 January. None of these records of Swans and Goldeneye in this area look like being repeated this winter.

27 Jan. Male Stonechat off Jeremy Lane, seen again 10/12 Feb.
 3  Feb. Hen Harrier ringtail on Hawthornthwaite.
23 Feb. Five White-fronted Geese in a field near Eric Morecambe complex at L. Moss.
10 March. Eleven Stonechat, an excellent count in the Jeremy Lane/Cockersands area.
14 March. My first Wheatear of the year at Cockersands.
  7 April. A pair of Little Ringed Plover had arrived on Conder Pool.
16 April. My first lone Swift was over the River Lune at Hornby.
13 April. A Wryneck at Cockersands Country Park soon disappeared. (P.Woodruff).
20 April. Three Curlew Sandpiper were on Plover Scar.
23 April. Three Pied Flycatcher had returned to the Tower Lodge nest boxes
  4 May. I had my three pennyworth of the Pied-billed Grebe at Leighton Moss. (K.Kelly).
  7 May. Five Pied Flycatcher was the best count of my five visits to Barbondale this year.
  8 May. Five Dotterel were in a field by Lighthouse Cottage at Cockersands. (S.Piner).
22 May. The Common Tern pair returned to Conder Pool today.
30 May. I found my first ever Corn Bunting in our recording area at Cockersands.
11 June. A pair of Ring Ouzel and 6 Stonechat at White Greet.
  2 July. Four adult  Eider with 15 chicks found off Crook Farm at Cockersands.
24 July. Three Ruddy Shelduck were at Aldcliffe.
30 July. Six Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Tower Lodge area, 1 Stoops Bridge, 1 Christ Church.
 7 Aug. Spoonbill found on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock.
11 Aug. A Yellow Wagtail seen east of Abbey Farm.
21 Aug. Six Yellow Wagtail at Bank End.
23 Aug. Went to see the Lesser Yellowlegs at Conder Green. (I.Hartley).
  4 Sept. Eight Stonechat on Harrisend was a good record by recent standards.
  8 Sept. A Whinchat was on Clougha.
11 Sept. A Whinchat a Cockersands.
16 Sept. Eight Sanderling on Plover Scar was an excellent count for the month.
18 Sept. A Green Sandpiper at Conder Green was seen again 16 October/3 November.
27 Sept. Went to see the White-winged Black Tern at Heysham. (P.Marsh).
28 Sept. Two Little Stint on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock.
  8 Oct. Curlew Sandpiper Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock.  
29 Oct. A Pale-bellied Brent Goose seen off Fluke hall.
 3 Nov. Sixteen Grey Plover at Cockersands was an excellent count here.
 3 Nov. My last Wheatear of the year at Cockersands.
12 Nov. A Short-eared Owl at Cockersands.
14 Dec. A Jack Snipe on Plover Scar.

I'd sooner be birding!....A slim chance on Wednesday perhaps.

Thanks to Paul for the header image of his little gem the Firecrest. 

Friday, 18 December 2015

A Wisp Of Snipe....

....and some other birds to find their way into the little black book.

Snipe/Mallard. Pete Woodruff.


You can see how close to floating off the tern boxes became on Conder Pool, but I think they may get away with it as the water level begins to fall.

Snipe. Noushka Dufort @ 1000-Pattes  

There was an excellent count of at least 25 Snipe on Conder Pool on Tuesday, the highest number to date here. I reckon more of these birds were out of sight on the pool, with the probability of even more on the marsh where I flushed several one day a couple of years ago, but with the many small hidden channels, it's the best place I know to break your ankle

Another good count was of 12 Little Grebe, seven on Conder Pool, and five in the creeks where I found the Common Sandpiper and a drake Goosander, a drake Goldeneye was also on Conder Pool.

Numbers on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock were lower today, with c.1,000 Golden Plover, and 35 Bar-tailed Godwit noted, also a drake Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser, with a Reed Bunting in the bowling green area. On the canal basin, 8 Goldeneye and a Great-crested Grebe seen.

Despite putting in 2 hours plus, rewards at Cockersands were few, c.450 Oystercatcher and 180 Turnstone were on Plover Scar at high tide, with a Great-crested Grebe the only bird on the sea off here. The Buzzard was again surveying from a fence post, and 2 Wren were around Bank Houses. 

The Wigeon.


Wigeon Martin Jump  

Off Cockersands Caravan Park on Monday, I saw at least 2,500 Wigeon in the Cocker Channel. A mainly grazing vegetarian, virtually all appeared to be feeding in the channel and were stabbing at the surface in a manner I've not seen before.

Thanks to Noushka and Martin for their excellent images, as always bigger and even better if you 'clik the pik'. 

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

I'm Alright Jack!

Putting the traditional Christmas wreath on my parents grave yesterday, a few uncounted Fieldfare, Redwing, and a Jay were of note in the Lancaster Cemetery on Wyresdale Road, this is the best cemetery I know for birding with an excellent variety of trees.

It was good to find the Common Sandpiper again at Conder Green, it was alone in the creeks opposite River Winds and seen for the first time in seven visits since 16 November. On Conder Pool, 16 Snipe was a good count here, also 9 Little Grebe included two in the creeks, 6 Long-tailed Tit were working their way along the hedgerow. 

I was too late at Glasson Dock, the tide had taken over the mudflats on the Lune Estuary, but there was an absolute minimum of 2,500 Golden Plover on the mud below Colloway Marsh with at least twice that number of 5,000 Lapwing

Turnstone/Oystercatcher. Pete Woodruff.

On Plover Scar at high tide, a healthy count of up to 220 Turnstone with 250 Oystercatcher noted, but wait a minute, what's this crouched down on the shingle....it's a Jack Snipe which gave excellent views for as long as I hung around. Off the Caravan Park, a conservative estimate of 2,500 Wigeon and 900 Teal, with a few Pintail noted. The local Buzzard was on a fence post by Abbey Farm, a Sparrowhawk and 12 Goldfinch were around Bank Houses horse paddock.

Eight Goldeneye seen today were, 5 on the canal basin, one on Conder Pool, one off Crook Farm, and one on the Cocker Estuary.

Jack Snipe. Plover Scar 14 December. Pete Woodruff.

Not the best of photographs of a Jack Snipe, but definitely the best bird on Plover Scar yesterday.

 Harbour Porpoise. Pete Woodruff.

I found another Harbour Porpoise corpse at Cockersands yesterday to follow the one found here earlier in the year on 3 April.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

I Give In!

Keen as mustard again on Thursday, I was off to get a couple more hours in on the birding scene around the Lune Estuary, but unknown to me life had other plans.

The tide was high when I arrived at Conder Green to find the Spotted Redshank roosting with 22 Redshank, 8 Little Grebe were seen as six on Conder Pool, and two on the River Conder, 4 Snipe were on what little is left above water of 'Tern Island' with the boxes ever closer to drifting away.

Raptor Cockersands Lighthouse. Pete Woodruff.

At Cockersands, this raptor was on the railings of the lighthouse, there was little to go on for identity but I noted it to be a Merlin in the little black book, based purely on size. 

Now this was where the day began to go downhill....I had to make a hasty retreat from Plover Scar in the land of no hiding place as a rather large belt of rain headed towards me on the wind. I got back to the motor and as I drove along Jeremy Lane, a Buzzard was on a fence post but took to flight when it saw my approach.

decided to sit out the rain on Bodie Hill, after it had passed I pressed the starter button to find the motor acting unwell and refusing to fire up. Fifty minutes later, the rescue man from Green Flag told me the battery was 'rhymes with trucked'. I won't burden anyone with the story from then on....I GIVE IN!

Common Sandpiper.


Common Sandpiper Myrescough Quarry 10 December Stuart Piner

Interesting that SP found a Common Sandpiper on Thursday. Interesting in that I've not seen the Conder Green Common Sandpiper in six visits since 16 November. It's therefore possible that this quarry bird is one and the same moved on from Conder Green. A scarce wintering species in Lancashire and North Merseyside, I know of no other wintering Common Sandpipers in these recording areas other than the Conder Green bird, with just one other record on the Fylde on 27 January and 7 February 2014.

Stonechat.

I see an interesting report of a possible pair of Stonechat seen from the Lillian Hide at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve yesterday.

Thanks to SP for the Common Sandpiper collage, and to WB for the header Lesser Redpoll, both much appreciated.  

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Briefly Conder and Glasson....

....and the Lancaster washout.

I managed to get to Conder/Glasson for a couple of hours on Monday to find little change. The 'tern boxes' on Conder Pool were a step closer to floating off as the island disappears under water. 

I could have picked out the Spotted Redshank a mile off with it's pure white underparts gleaming like a light in the night, it was the only wader in the creeks save 2 Curlew. Ten Little Grebe included three hiding under the overhang just downstream from the A588 road bridge, also noted on Conder Pool were up to 90 Teal and similar Mallard, a Goosander was the only bird in the channel down from the old rail bridge.

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, an adult Mediterranean Gull made up for the lack of any other interest there with a figure probably reaching 100 Common Gull, also c.300 Golden Plover. On the canal basin, 8 Goldeneye were in the far east corner which they seem to favour as a food source and constantly diving there.

Lancaster Flood December 2015.



I found this steel container dumped on the River Lune a half mile upstream from Glasson Dock. The container has ended up about five miles downstream from where it first entered the river in Lancaster to be seen racing down the River Lune during the flood over the weekend. It struck both Skerton and Greyhound Bridge causing traffic chaos, with both bridges closed until the flood subsided enough for a structural inspection to determine any damage caused to the 232 year old Skerton Bridge, the first stone of which was laid in 1783.


Skerton Bridge 6 December 2015. Pete Woodruff.

When the bridge was examined in 1995 it was considered to be strong enough to carry vehicles up to 40 tons which was ten times the weight of anything to travel over the bridge in the late eighteenth century.


Greyhound Bridge 6 December 2015. Pete Woodruff. 

After the closure of the railway in 1966, the Greyhound Bridge was converted for use by road traffic, and since being reopened in 1972 now serves in excess of 20,000 north and west bound vehicles every day.

To see the bigger picture of the River Lune racing through Lancaster 'clik the pik'.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Ten Days Later.

I was back in business last Friday after an unplanned week out of birding, and out of blogging another three days mainly due to a power cut.


The water level at Conder Pool was as high as I've ever seen it, a little more depth and the island goes under, the 'tern boxes' will be washed away.

Lesser Black-backed Gull. Pete Woodruff.

Nine Little Grebe were seen as seven on Conder Pool, and two in the creeks which - with the river in spate - were otherwise deserted. Also noted on the pool, 10 Wigeon, at least 50 Teal and similar Mallard, a lone Tufted Duck, and the regular handsome Lesser Black-backed Gull pictured above.

On the Lune Estuary, up to 450 Golden Plover, 350 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, and a Peregrine Falcon on Colloway Marsh was probably the culprit for several mass disturbances whilst I was in the area today, though I never did pick it up during the dreads.


Goldeneye. Pete Woodruff.

Eleven Goldeneye today were seen as seven on the canal basin at Glasson Dock, two on the Lune Estuary, and two on Conder Pool. Nine Mute Swan were on Jeremy Lane seven of which were immature. At Cockersands I saw 11 Blackbird on the visit, with 17 Greenfinch in the cover crops on Slack Lane. Off Crook Farm, 62 Wigeon, and c.450 Golden Plover.


  


Up to 200 Curlew were off Crook Farm at Cockersands on Friday. Featured in the December issue of British Birds the Curlew has become one of the latest additions to the British Red List and is deemed to be of the highest conservation priority, it has had a 46% decline across the UK in the last two decades, this figure exceeds 50% in Wales and Scotland. The UK holds 28% of Europe’s breeding Curlew, meaning that declines here represent the loss of a substantial portion of Europe’s total breeding Curlew population.

Thanks to Ana Minguez for the brilliant Black Redstart image which is much appreciated.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Stonechats.

Stonechat. Marc Heath.

I've just had the pleasure of reading John Callion's excellent and interesting 'Observations of Breeding European Stonechats in Cumbria' in the November issue of British Birds. 

The long term study in western Cumbria spans 25 years to the present day, mainly using nest recording and colour ringing of nestlings, being two aspects of which my own studies of the Stonechat in many upland areas of Bowland and some beyond over 15 years didn't touch upon, making my project more one of monitoring than actually studying as comprehensively as this one which made some interesting discoveries about this special and complex species.

John Callion comes to the close of his article with some aspects of the Stonechats migration strategy which I myself have touched on in some of the articles on Birds2blog, in that our populations of Stonechat have evolved to become partially migratory, and points out the differences of strategy in this regard, some resident, some short distance, some long distance migrants, but with speculation that climate change and mild winters might have our British Stonechat become wholly resident. However, the harsh winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 had a catastrophic effect on the wintering population, and there now seems to be the suggestion that even when hard winters are few and far between, our Stonechats are set to remain as partial migrants. 

Stonechats in 2015.

In addition to my own observations, the records for the year are collected either off the internet or by correspondents sending them in to me.

January.

I collected 26 records of wintering Stonechat to the end of February, one I found myself on Jeremy Lane 27 January, I saw this bird again on 10 and 12 February.

February.

With some duplicate records to take into account, 2 birds at Langden Castle, a pair on the path to the Eric Morecambe hide at Leighton Moss, a pair at Heyhouse Lane Blackpool, and 4 females at Lytham Moss. 

March.

I recieved 23 records this month involving up to 74 birds, including the best ever migrant sightings I personally ever had, a total of 13 Stonechats seen on 10 March....5 Jeremy Lane, 5 Abbey Farm, 3 Cockersands.

April.

Records from 13 locations. I found just 2 birds this month, both females at Harrisend and Hawthornthwaite where 2 male and a female on 23 April were reported to me.

May.

Despite five visits to Barbondale in 2015 I found just one male on 7 May and not subsequently seen.

June.

11. White Greet. 6 birds including young.
11. Harrisend. pair and 5 young.
15. Clougha, 4 birds, pair/2 young.
19. Whitbarrow, 9 birds.
23. Harrisend, 6 birds, 2 pair/2 young.
23. H'thwaite Fell (West) pair.
23. H'thwaite Fell (East) male and young. 
23. Whitendale, pair with young.
23. Marshall, pair with young.
23. Bloe Greet, pair with young.
28. Catshaw, pair/3 young.
28. Marshaw, pair/4 young.

August.

10. Dunsop Valley, 10 birds, male/4 young, pair/3 young.

September.

4. Harrisend, 8 birds, pair/2 young, pair/2 young.
4. H'thwaite Fell (West) pair/1 young.
8. Clougha, pair.

November.

4. H'thwaite Fell (West) pair.
5. Dalton Crags, pair.
22. Wrampool, 2 birds.

According to my records, just one pair bred on Clougha this year. On Hawthornthwaite Fell two pair bred, Harrisend also had two pair breeding here this year. But a big disappointment that the Stonechat has still not returned - save the one pair - to the former stronghold of Clougha four years after the harsh winters of 2009/10/11. 

Thanks to Marc Heath for the Stonechat image, much appreciated.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Hardly Spectacular!

Although cloudy and dull on Thursday, it was calm and worth a walk along the embankment from Pilling Lane Ends to Fluke Hall to look through the waders on a high 10.10m tide. But the result wasn't the spectacle I had hoped for, and the birds in the main seem to have roosted elsewhere, though several hundred Dunlin were seen, numbers of Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Curlew, Redshank, and Knot were low, with no Black or Bar-tailed Godwit seen, also in low number, just 112 Pink-footed Geese were drifting on the sea with 35 Whooper Swan.

Along the length I saw at least 90 Skylark, a Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit, and a few Linnet. At Fluke Hall a Dunnock and Wren were on the sea defence boulders, and along the road out of here 8 Blackbird, with Blue Tit and Great Tit seen.

Kingfisher Gary Jones 

I can rarely if ever drive past Conder Pool and calling in briefly on the way back to Lancaster I spooked the Kingfisher off the outlet. Caution....if it's a Kingfisher your'e looking for at Conder Green, approach the Conder Pool viewing platform with care, the outlet to the right is it's favourite lookout. Also noted on the pool, 5 Little Grebe and 3 Goosander

An excellent opportunity and good reason for me to post the image of the diving Kingfisher heading to the water like a little blue missile, thanks to Gary for this, and thanks to Martin for his Brown Hares....All three brilliant images, and thanks for allowing them on Birds2blog.

The new header image is of four of the nine Goldeneye on the canal basin at Glasson Dock on Wednesday 25 November.

Hare Coursing.


Brown Hare Martin Jump 


The aim of the vile sport of hare coursing - and those sick enough to engage in it - is simple, if there is gambling involved usually two dogs -  greyhounds or lurchers - compete against each other in pursuit of a live hare, bets are placed on which of the two dogs will be the quickest to turn, catch, and kill the hare, not necessarily instantly, and often painfully slowly. 

I was reliably and in good faith, told a brilliant account by someone who had seen police cars from a distance at Cockersands recently, upon getting closer to the action a raid on several people in a field was obviously taking place. This little piece of information made my day whilst boosting my confidence that the police can and do deal with wildlife crime when they can.

And finally....literally.

A Black Redstart has been at Brockholes LWT all weekend, no doubt to the delight of many, it was still present this morning until taken by a Sparrowhawk.

Friday, 27 November 2015

....And An Interesting Record At Aldcliffe.

So off I went again on Wednesday brimming over with enthusiasm and went directly to Cockersands, hot footing it to Plover Scar see if it would produce anything at high tide to find estimates of 160 Oystercatcher, 65 Turnstone, 50 Redshank, 3 Curlew, a single Grey Plover, and a completely out of context Wren. As I was about to leave, c.250 Golden Plover came down on to the scar, with another 150 Golden Plover seen later flying inland over the caravan park. As I drove away from here down Moss Lane I saw a hovering Kestrel, a hedge hopping Sparrowhawk, and Fieldfare unable to count from a moving car.

On Jeremy Lane, an adult Whooper Swan was with Mondays 16 Mute Swan, interesting that a single adult Whooper Swan was with Mute Swans at two sightings on Jeremy Lane last year in November. On Bodie Hill at Glasson Dock I saw a congregation of 15 Magpie, a first for me in such number, and on the canal basin, 9 Goldeneye was an additional one to Mondays count. On the Lune Estuary, up to 700 Golden Plover and 300 Dunlin, with 8 Snipe noted, also a drake Goosander and Mondays Little Grebe seen again. 

At Conder Green, a drake Goldeneye was on Conder Pool, with 5 Goosander, I found only 4 Little Grebe on here with two in the creeks. By now it's 3.30pm and I'm birding in half light....I'm going home! 

Black Redstart. 


Black Redstart. Fluke Hall 25 March 2005. Pete Woodruff.

I met a lady at Cockersands on Wednesday, a stranger, and had an interesting conversation which turned even more interesting when she casually said she had recently seen a Black Redstart at Aldcliffe. Whilst talking, this person had given me the impression she knew her birds to some extent. Apparently living in Bowland, she was well aware of the Hen Harrier story in much detail. After some polite questions from yours truly about the bird at Aldcliffe I was convinced she had indeed seen a Black Redstart there about mid-October, it seems the bird was on a fence post as she approached Freeman's Pools and was immediately identified, well after all, what else could it have been I asked myself. 

A chance meeting with this person, you have to wonder how many birds are 'missed' in this way.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Once More With Feeling.

Whooper Swan. Pete Woodruff.

It was a pleasant sight on Monday to find 9 Whooper Swan in a field off Moss Lane at Cockersands, these were seen as 6 adult and 3 juvenile, it was also good to find at least 60 Fieldfare in a hedgerow by Abbey Farm. Also of note, 22 Greenfinch were in the small cover crop on Slack Lane, a Song Thrush always nice to see, with 4 Blackbird and a Wren noted, c.600 Wigeon were off Plover Scar in the low water channel.

At Conder Green, 3 Goosander and 15 Wigeon were on Conder Pool, with a Spotted Redshank and Snipe in the creeks. On the trodden footpath along the edge of the marsh below the picnic area c.40 Goldfinch were seed feeding with a Grey Wagtail looking a little out of context with them. I walked the length of the coastal path from Conder Green to Glasson Dock noting an obvious influx with at least 20 Blackbird seen, also 4 Great Tit, 4 Robin, 3 Blue Tit, 2 Wren, a Song Thrush and Dunnock.


Goldeneye Jan Larsson @ Vingspann  

A bit of a search produced 13 Goldeneye which had returned to the Lune Estuary at Glasson, with 3 seen from Bodie Hill, 2 seen from the bowling green, and 8 on the canal basin. Wader numbers from the bowling green were quite low and no more than 4 Black-tailed Godwit were seen, a drake Red-breasted Merganser and up to 200 Common Gull noted. A distant Merlin was on Colloway Marsh surveying the landscape. 

Little Grebe.

I saw 10 Little Grebe on Monday, 7 were on Conder Pool, 2 in the creeks, and a single on the Lune Estuary. These grebes make this movement every winter, having assembled late autumn/early winter and spent time on Conder Pool, they tend to move on to the creeks and the River Lune, I'm not sure why they do this.

Mute Swan.

The Mute Swan were absent from the river at Glasson Dock again on Monday, though 16 were on Jeremy Lane, and 5 were on the marsh at Conder Green, they were the only ones I saw whilst in the area 5 hours, during which time I had noted 50 bird species.


Stonechat Warren Baker @ Pittswood Birds  

I was grateful to AC and NMM for passing on to me the two Stonechat they saw at Wrampool over the weekend, now added to my records.

Thanks to Jan and Warren for their images, much appreciated.