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.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

All A Bit Thin!....

....and a bit of political stuff.

In addition to the agricultural work I observed on Tuesday, I did note some other bird interest in the area - including the return of the Common Terns to Conder Pool - though it was all a bit thin.

A few Swift and Sand Martin were over Conder Pool, with 2 Little Egret noted. A wander along Jeremy Lane proved little other than the male Reed Bunting on the very same fence post it was on a week ago yesterday, and a pair of Great Tit seen.

Perhaps the title of the post should have been 'A Wander' as another one around Cockersands had good views of a Whitethroat which was in full song despite being in a bush bent by the strong north westerly, a Sedge Warbler and 6 Skylark seen. Between an almost wader'less Crook Farm and Cockerham Sands CP I saw a Wheatear, and Little Egret was over Plover Scar.

Not much pen and paper needed there then. There are several places I want and need to visit, but until the weather settles down I have no intentions of doing so.

The Skylark.


Skylark Jan Larsson

Here's a comment I received to my last post 'Here To Stay....Gone For Good' regarding the demise of farmland birds....in this case the Skylark. 

Silage, which appears to be the crop being taken off the field in your picture, is a traditional and important source of food for farm livestock in the winter. Unfortunately it has to be cut around about now, when the grass is lush and green and obviously, when some wildlife is using the same field. Presumably you are suggesting that the farmer in question should not actually farm but should simply sit back and admire the view, while his income and valuable food for his livestock disappear. He will now possibly allow the grass to re-grow and hope for a later hay crop off the same field, or even graze it - both, in order to maintain his living. 

In a perfect world, farmers would never touch their fields, wildlife would multiply and all naturalists would be happy but unfortunately farmers and the country, need farmers to farm and unfortunately it does come into conflict with wildlife, especially now that habitat becomes more and more compressed by massive housing estates.

It's unfortunate the comment includes a remark that I suggested....'the farmer shouldn't actually farm, but sit back and admire the view, whilst his income and valuable food for his livestock disappear'....It is actually not true that I made any such suggestion, and the comment that the crop needs to be 'cut around about now' is a little vague in what it really means, I think it is probably implying precisely when birds are breeding in the field....Silage cutting in May....excuse me!! 

Briefly....I conclude from these comments that we are all supposed to sit back and admire the view, to watch these intense farming methods continue to bring about these drastic declines of farmland birds. 

But in fact where possible, farmers have been urged to revert to spring-sown cereals, and to leave stubble fields for winter foraging, not solely to the benefit of the Skylark I might add. Where this was not feasible they are encouraged to leave unplanted patches within the crop to provide nesting and feeding habitats in the summer. The key to these conservation measures are agri-environment schemes - Environmental Stewardship'swhereby farmers are paid to maintain appropriate wildlife habitat. I see little if any evidence that any of these schemes are a roaring success, or even taken on by farmers, but do find lots of evidence that they aren't.

I'd sooner be birding!....But for a combination of reasons unfortunately can't.

Thanks to JL for the Skylark, and to BB for the Common Tern header....Excellent and much appreciated Jan/Bob.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Here To Stay....Gone For Good.

Here To Stay.

It was good to find both of the Common Terns on Conder Pool again on Tuesday. 

Common Tern. Conder Pool. 26 May. Pete Woodruff.


Following their arrival here last Friday they are obviously here to stay and hopefully to breed for their second year. When I arrived at the pool and first saw them, the bird on the right of the picture above was inside the right hand box of the ones in place on the island....Brilliant stuff.

Gone For Good.


Of all our birds, the Skylark epitomises the dramatic fall in farmland bird populations more than any other.

Towards the latter part of the 20th century - maybe more than for any other species since the Whitethroat in the early 1970's - alarm bells began to ring when a drop of 60% in numbers of Skylark was shown and an intensive study began into the decline.

I've seen and heard the Skylark at Cockersands on every visit made there recently, and when I was there again on Tuesday I did my own study, one which I do each year around this time and in particular at this location, which cost me absolutely nothing save a couple of hours of observations and with no science or intense study necessary. These were observations anyone could have done on a visit to the countryside in thousands of locations up and down the land, all with the same result. 


May Harvesting. Pete Woodruff.


This huge field was one of at least six I found having been cut, machine placed into neat lines ready....


May Harvesting. Pete Woodruff.


....for the man and his army of tractors and trailers, to hoover up the grasses, along with all the nests, eggs, or young the Skylarks would have had.

The results of the lengthy, costly, and intense scientific studies....'seem to be largely due to the adverse effects of changes in agricultural practices'....well there's a surprise!!

For a little more impact 'clik the piks'....they're quite good. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

Back In The Spotlight.

To be honest I wasn't fit to be out on Friday, and I actually played my part as a so called birder only by half. I was well on the way down with a virus of sorts and by now I'm almost on the deck with it....but enough of this irrelevant dribble for a birding blog.

The Conder Tern.

Common Tern and nest box. Conder Pool. Pete Woodruff.

Common Tern. Conder Pool. 22 May 2015. Pete Woodruff.

It was nothing less than an absolute delight to find a Common Tern back on Conder Pool on Friday afternoon - a nice surprise - and was the first bird I saw on an otherwise almost deserted pool. 

The Common Tern is known for it's site fidelity and this one was within a couple of metres of last years nest, one past record of site fidelity within the species is of a pair faithful to the same site for 17 years which only came to an end when one of the birds died. At one point my bird on Friday was joined briefly by another, but by then I was viewing from the fence at the west end of the pool and I actually missed it's arrival to join it's mate, but I reckon it almost certainly came in with a fish and presented it to her in early courtship behaviour which takes place on the ground. 

The Common Tern can begin egg laying in mid-May, though last year they didn't arrive on Conder Pool until eight weeks later in mid-July yet still had a successful breeding season here....so it's fingers crossed for a second excellent breeding record on Conder Pool in 2015.

Other sightings noted. 

Something of another spectacle was of at least 100 'hyrundines' hawking over Conder Pool in the murky damp mist of Friday afternoon, half this number were House Martin, with Sand Martin, Swift, and Swallow. About 6 House Martin were flighting around the River Conder/River Winds/Cafe d' Lune area but I saw no nest activity at either of the properties.

Driving along Jeremy Lane a bird on a fence post had me jumping to attention, until it turned out to be a Reed Bunting. At Cockersands, a large number of waders were again in the Abbey Farm field distant as last Tuesday, I estimated up to 500 Dunlin, and 150 Ringed Plover. Plover Scar was deserted at high tide, and having seen a Wheatear I had to admit to defeat in the cold, misty, damp conditions.

This brief trip out last Friday was well rewarded by the reappearance of the Common Tern to put Conder Pool back in the spotlight yet again. 

Saturday, 23 May 2015

B'dale Revisited.

I like to keep my eye on things in the early summer at Barbondale and made my second visit there this year on Thursday in weather more reminiscent of March with grey skies, a cold wind still blowing, and not a glimpse of sun to be seen....this can't possibly be good for breeding birds.

I marked up 23 species in the three enjoyable and rewarding hours I spent there, most notable was 3 Pied Flycatcher seen as a pair and a lone female, though I suspect there was more evading me as my next visit might hopefully prove, the visit on 7 May produced three pair. Also of note, I found 5 Redstart including a female, and probably heard another three singing males, at least 10 Willow Warbler were seen/heard, 2 Nuthatch included one entering a tree hole, 2 Dunnock, a Treecreeper, Goldcrest, and a number of Chaffinch are notable here this year. A Dipper was on Barbon Beck where several Swallow were hawking accompanied by a lone Sand Martin.

Plan for the day was to go on to Clapham and the Newby Moor area where I've not visited for a couple of years as a previous Stonechat stronghold prior to the two harsh winters starting in 2009/10. But the weather on Thursday held back my enthusiasm for a visit, so I abandoned the idea for another day.

Two Of A Kind.

   Stonechat Brian Rafferty

Jay Gary Jones 

Two 'I can't resist these' in flight shots, both in the 'brilliant' category, the Stonechat with thanks to BR, and the Jay with thanks to GJ. Thanks also to Ana for the excellent Nightingale header, one of which isn't likely to turn up anytime soon up here i'nt north.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Gone With The Wind....

....and the rain.

'If you ever go across the sea to Ireland'. Pete Woodruff.

Yes, I was at Cockersands again on Tuesday, you only have to look at the 'clik the pik' picture above to know that and to see how serious the rain really looked. There was a bit of a howler blowing and cold with it, the rain was rushing towards me and I had to make another of those all to common dashes to hell out of it....my days birding ended with something of a short list.

But before the rain....There was an interesting good number of waders in a field too distant to scan through with any accuracy, but combined with those on Plover Scar at high tide, my estimate was of, 600 Dunlin and 400 Ringed Plover

Sanderling. Howard Stockdale.

Also on the scar, a single Sanderling and a male Turnstone looking positively superb in it's summer plumage. I heard a Whitethroat in the Lighthouse Cottage garden, saw 2 Stock Dove, 2 Skylark, and that was my lot for the couple of hours I got in at Cockersands.

At least 50 Swift with a 'few' Sand Martin were hawking over Conder Pool - I had seen good numbers of Swift also over Moss Lane - the Great-crested Grebe was the only notable bird on the pool.

And a bit of a fluke.

 Swift. Pete Woodruff.

When I was taking a pic of the nest boxes on Conder Pool I had no idea this Swift was shooting past in the viewing screen. I was really pleased when I put my shots up on the computer to find this bird perfectly placed in the frame as a bonus. 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Briefly....

....until I can get out birding again, a couple of interesting records.

Raven. Martin Lofgren @ Wild Bird Gallery


I'm reliably informed of up to 40 Raven recently over Cold Stone on Catlow Fell SD7160. I'm personally not sure of the significance of the Raven at this location in the Forest of Bowland, but have to say it sounds an exceptional record, at least in terms of the number of birds. 


Common Tern Martin Jump 

Also an interesting record of a Common Tern at Conder Green seven days ago on 12 May. Interesting in itself....


Nest Boxes Conder Pool. Pete Woodruff.

....but more interesting in wondering if the bird paid any attention to the nest boxes in position on two islands on Conder Pool, placed there specifically in the hope they attract the Common Terns back there again this year to breed as the did successfully last year to rear two young to fledging and create an exciting and excellent breeding record for the area.

The Conder Green Spotted Redshank.


Spotted Redshank Paul Foster

The resident Spotted Redshank at Conder Green has departed, I last saw the bird here on 22 April, it was last seen in 2014 six days later than this years date on 28 April, it returned to Conder Green a little over two months later on 1 July 2014, it will be interesting to see the date it returns this year.

Thanks to two Martin's for the excellent and much appreciated images, and to Paul for his excellent Spotted Redshank which was shot on his recent trip to Cyprus, quite some distance from our bird at Conder Green.

I'd sooner be birding!....and didn't bargain for another gap to follow so soon after last weeks 'off the road' experience.  

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Back On The Beat.

It was good to get out birding again on Friday, though the first port of call at Conder Green things were a little quiet with just 2 Goosander, 3 Tufted Duck, a rare visit by the Great-crested Grebe, and a Little Egret all on Conder Pool.

Reed Warbler Jan Larrson  

But I was treated to good views of my first Reed Warbler out on the reed edge just upstream from the A588 road bridge, also 2 Reed Bunting seen here too.

The Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock produced little more than 145 waders which were seen as, 75 Bar-tailed Godwit, and 50 Ringed Plover which represented my best ever count of a species at best uncommon in this section of the Lune Estuary, also 20 Dunlin, 14 Eider, and a single House Martin flew by.

On Jeremy Lane, I failed to find the Whinchat reported to me as having been seen earlier, but heard a Sedge Warbler and Skylark, and saw a Brown Hare.

Inland birds noted at Cockersands were, a decent count of 10 Stock Dove, at least 9 Tree Sparrow were around Bank Houses, 7 Skylark, 6 Goldfinch, and 5 Whitethroat, a Little Egret was on Plover Scar. I saw my second Cockersands adult Lapwing in a field with a lone chick surviving the intensive agricultural practices.

No major surprises, but good to be back on the road again following a short break from the normality of my birding life.

The Cockersands Dotterel. 




Dotterel. Cockersands 8-11 May 2015. Stuart Piner.

I was grateful to SP for sending me a selection of excellent images of the Cockersands Dotterel, and have posted three in flight shots of these brilliant little waders which graced the ploughed field behind the Lighthouse Cottage car park and pleased many a birder over their three day stay.

An excellent follow on record by these five birds....


Dotterel. Cockersands 16 April 2013. Chris Batty. 

....which was a single Dotterel found amongst 275 Golden Plover at Cockersands on the early date of 16 April 2013, this was the first record of the species for the Fylde Bird Club for 13 years.

Thanks also to Jan and Chris for the other excellent images. Please 'clik the piks' to see how good they really are.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Political Correctness.

Having been away for a few days, until I catch up and get back into my birding stride, I'm filling the gap again with some more politics.

The post I published before leaving for London - Sign of the Times - touched on the annual spring massacre in Malta which rages on despite the country being a member of the EU which requires them to bide the laws laid out in the European Bird Directive which they blatantly don't. 

OK....So I don't need to be told there's more than Malta involved here, but read the next few lines, and as far as Malta and it's unfortunate birds which get in the line of fire are concerned you'll see the joke and wonder if any of this will make any difference to the 10,000 'funsters' who have already slaughtered thousands of birds this year so far, thanks to a national referendum that voted to allow them to do so....you couldn't make it up.  

The Law of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds, is the EU’s oldest piece of nature legislation and one of the most important, creating a comprehensive scheme of protection for all wild bird species naturally occurring in the Union. It was adopted unanimously by the Members States in 1979 as a response to increasing concern about the declines in Europe's wild bird populations resulting from pollution, loss of habitats as well as unsustainable use. It was also in recognition that wild birds, many of which are migratory, are a shared heritage of the Member States and that their effective conservation required international co-operation.

But the RSPB are up on their feet again to tell us the European Commission is giving everyone the chance to have their say, and the RSPB need you to add your voice to thousands of others and Defend Nature.

Read all about it and join in the campaign Here  


Wot Birds2blog and no pics!!


Edit.
Apparently there is an error in the link when you get to 'Add Your Voice' which reads....

The client and server don't support a common SSL protocol version or cipher suite. This is usually caused when the server needs SSLv3 support, which has been removed.

So much for trying to have your say and join the campaign!!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Sign Of The Times..

Turtle Dove. Author Unknown.

Malta's spring hunting referendum resulted in the country voting in a national poll to allow the privilege of a few to continue to kill for fun in spring. The rapidly declining Turtle Dove and Quail will be/will have been legally shot this spring, along with other species in their thousands. 

Truly amazing this isn't it, it's all illegal under the terms of the island's membership of the EU, and as such they could be thrown out, but nobody does anything about it, or more to the point maybe doesn't want to do anything about it.  


Quail. Author Unknown.

It is unfortunate that amongst other campaigners, an independent team led by Chris Packham last year to address this issue and to confront the shooters, has had no impact this time, but I'm convinced nobody will be giving up the fight against this tragic situation both in Malta and elsewhere in the world.

Meanwhile some slaughtering back home.... 

An interesting thread developed on a local website I visit daily, interesting if only for the one response to a brief comment I made regarding the disappearance of three male Hen Harriers in Bowland recently. 

I've deleted the 
authors name as I have no permission to publish it and am not prepared to do so without it. Iv'e also deleted the opening comments which are irrelevant to the main subject, but otherwise have copied word for word what was said in the thread but not including the sign. 

Pete Woodruff.

Everyone - birders or not - should be aware that three male Hen Harriers have gone missing from active nests in Bowland.

Anonymous

….but I did notice that beneath the road sign denoting the boundary of the Forest of Bowland ANOB (between Dolphinholme and Abbeystead) someone had added a second handwritten sign which read 'Twinned with Malta'.

Pete Woodruff

This is an excellent piece of info 'anonymous'.


 
The sign you mention is presumably the one depicting the Hen Harrier, which in itself is - and always was - an insult to the species, totally inappropriate, and should have been dismantled years ago. 

Now more bad news

More bad news from me is that 'other things' have taken me over for at least four days, but looking like the possibility of a week off the road with no birding/blogging. 

Well, that won't drastically change anyone's life at all....but it certainly will mine. 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Not Before Time!

A bit late with the news, but....


Whinchat. Warren Baker @ Pittswood Birds 

An excellent visit to Cockersands on Friday gave me my first Whinchat of the year, though not before time as there have been many reports on the pager, websites, e-mails and texts to me from birders about good numbers passing through, the best of which - thanks to AC - was of 6 Whinchat together at Wrampool Bridge last Thursday. 


Dotterel. Cockersands 8 May. Chris Batty.

But better was to follow the Whinchat when my mobile rang with SP at the other end telling me that he'd found a trip of 5 Dotterel in the ploughed field behind the Lighthouse Cottage car park. I was on my way back to Lancaster at the time, and had pulled into the lay-by to take a look over Conder Pool, but did a rapid u-turn and was treated to excellent views of these five beauties which had come down with the rain and into the field at Cockersands....'Cock of the North'. 

Also seen on this visit, 8 Wheatear, 8 Linnet, a Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Stock Dove, and the Lapwing seen on 30 April with the lone surviving young bird was seen again. On Plover Scar at high tide, an estimated 500 waders were seen as c.250 Dunlin and Ringed Plover, with 2 Turnstone and a Grey Plover of note.


Whitethroat. Ana Minguez @ Naturanafotos

On Jeremy Lane, a Whitethroat, 2 Reed Bunting, and a Brown Hare seen. And on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, a single Black-tailed Godwit, 28 Eider were probably my best count ever here in the little black book, and 2 Little Egret.

I never did get to check Conder Pool, in my book a cardinal sin committed. 

Thanks to Warren/Chris/Ana for the excellent images to accompany this post, they are much appreciated. Thanks also to Brian Rafferty for the excellent Dotterel header....not a Cockersands bird I hasten to add.

Friday, 8 May 2015

The Barbon Birds.

Though there was one or two absentees, with the exception of the Meadow Pipits I collected 28 species yesterday, not too bad for Barbondale which is only a relatively small area as those who know the area will tell you but pretty good for species numbers.


Pied Flycatcher. Howard Stockdale.

I found 5 Pied Flycatcher, they were seen as two pairs and a single female though I reckon she had a mate somewhere around keeping his head down, so five pairs the distinct possibility. Seven Redstart seen included a female collecting nesting material and taking it to a tree hole. 


Cuckoo Marc Heath

I had been here a couple of hours but eventually came upon a distant and silent Cuckoo on the hillside. Also of note, at least 5 Nuthatch, a few uncounted Willow Warbler, a Grey Wagtail was the only bird of note on Barbon Beck, though a few Swallow were over the beck, maybe breeders from the farm on the hill, 2 Mistle Thrush and 2 Coal Tit, with a Buzzard and 2 Kestrel representing the raptors. The 21 Meadow Pipit were the only birds I saw on a couple of mile walk following Barbon Beck north-east.


Stonechat Gary Jones 

Only some dogged determination turned up a male Stonechat, seen as the last bird on the day after 6.5 hours in the area, presumably with a female sitting on the nest somewhere close by. 

End your day the proper way and find yourself a Stonechat! 

Thanks to Howard/Marc/Gary for the images....Wonderful stuff.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Breaking News....

...and tragic news at that, it doesn't get any worse....but maybe it will.

No time to blog more about this but wish I had.


Hen Harrier. Andy Hay. 




A Tit, an Owl, a Grebe.....

....and some runners up.

Marsh Tit Jan Larsson  

On a tour round Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve with KT on Monday, it was the Marsh Tit which took the prize of 'Bird of the Day' for me. 

As an uncommon localised breeding resident, the only area to have any reasonable chance of seeing the Marsh Tit is in and around Silverdale, records from elsewhere are scant. So I was pleased to have found this bird here today to fill a three and a half year gap in my records, my last being of one seen at Arnside on 29 September 2011. 

Tawny Owl  Martin Jump



From the same path as the Marsh Tit was seen to the Lower Hide from Storrs Lane, we had good views of a roosting Tawny Owl concealed deep within an ivy clad tree. Also from this path good numbers of Chiffchaff and Blackcap, with a few Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler heard, a Brimstone butterfly was my third one this year.

At the Lower Hide, 2 Marsh Harrier seen with little of anything else of any exception, but a pair of Gadwall and few Pochard were of note, and a Buzzard soaring over the woodlands opposite.

From Lillian's Hide, noted were 2 Avocet, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Gadwall drakes, a pair of Shoveler, and 5 Buzzard soaring together. 

At the Grisedale Hide, almost deserted with just a pair of Gadwall seen. Another Buzzard over the woods where 5 Red Deer were grazing in a field below, and c.8 Swift were high above and were seen as my first sighting of multi Swifts this year.

Thanks to Jan and Martin for their respective images.


Pied-billed Grebe. Barry Dyson.


On entering the Public Hide - which I would estimate holds at least 50 seated people - probably more than 70 were crammed in and all looking in the same direction. A shout of excitement came up when the Pied-billed Grebe put in an appearance having apparently been in a channel out of view for some considerable time, the bird made a couple of dives before promptly disappearing from whence it came. My viewing time lasted no more than 10 seconds, knelt on my knees and seen between shoulders and two large heads. I too then disappeared from whence I came....not my cup of tea!

The Pied-billed Grebe.

Breeds over most of North, Central, and South America. It's hard to believe a bird with such an apparent weak flight could ever possibly cross the Atlantic Ocean. Nevertheless the Pied-billed Grebe is an extremely rare vagrant, and in excess of 40 records have been made of the species in Britain, the one prior to this bird at Leighton Moss was on the Western Isle of North Uist in December 2013 which stayed a massive 391 days.

The first record of Pied-billed Grebe in Britain was only 52 years ago and was of a bird found in Somerset in December 1963. Many of the recorded birds have stayed for long periods, and one in Cornwall did so from 1992 to 1994 when it paired with a Little Grebe to produce three hybrid young.

Thanks to Barry for the excellent image of the Pied-billed Grebe which hadn't come to Britain for him to see, he saw it on a recent trip to the USA at Long Beach Harbour, California. 

Monday, 4 May 2015

The Five Mile Crawl.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed last Friday - along with three other birders I met - in finding the Garganey pair hadn't taken a liking to Freeman's Pools as we would have hoped they would do on arrival there on Thursday, they'd done a disappearing act and moved on. In fact just 4 Little Grebe livened up the otherwise near deserted pool's, 2 Little Ringed Plover were on the flood, and a pair of Gadwall were on the wildfowlers pool.

Over the length of the old railway line to Glasson Dock - now a long time excellent birding coastal path - I noted 48 species, though I failed to make contact with either of the Whitethroat species, and the multitude of Whinchat and Redstart passing through the country including Lancashire have all evaded me to date. 

Of note along the way, 7 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackcap include one usually less obvious female, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Song Thrush, and 4 Eider were on the river off Nansbuck Cottage. 

At Conder Green, 4 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit were in the creeks, and a Whimbrel was on Conder Pool. At Glasson Dock, 7 Eider were of note as were 2 Ringed Plover. Four Little Egret along the way, and butterflies seen were, at least 6 Orange Tipa 'few' Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Speckled Wood, the butterfly 'Award of the Day' went to a Brimstone at Stodday.

As always some thoroughly enjoyable birding at a crawl, albeit some birds I had hoped to find, but didn't....can't win 'em all.

Another marked Black-tailed Godwit.

I found another marked BTG on the Lune Estuary at Cockersands on Wednesday 22 April. 


Black-tailed Godwit Brian Rafferty


Originally ringed in NE Scotland in 2011, it has always been re-sighted wintering in the North West of England and has a history as long as my arm, but with records from the Montrose Basin in Scotland in 2011/12, and on the Blyth Estuary in Northhumberland, it has been multi-seen at Burton Mere in Cheshire, Thurstaston Shore on the Dee Estuary, and other locations on Merseyside and on the Dee Estuary. The sighting prior to mine at Cockersands was at Marshside RSPB Reserve at Southport on 11 February.

Being a bird not marked in Iceland, I have Raymond Duncan to thank for forwarding me the history of this interesting individual marked without a flag and instantly recognised as something different as such.

Thanks to BR for the image of the elegant Black-tailed Godwit showing excellent detail of the bird in breeding plumage. 

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Cloudy With Sunny Spells....

....that's how Thursdays weather was described in my records.

30 April 2015. Pete Woodruff.

Didn't look all that much like 30 April when I arrived at Cockersands at 12.50pm, and didn't feel much like it either....'clik the pik' it looks even worse.

30 April 2015. Pete Woodruff.

....but when I left at 4.30pm one of the sunny spells had arrived, though if that's not rain in the clouds to the left of the lighthouse!

Considering the 3.5 hours I put in at Cockersands the rewards were pitiful, but worthy of the black book I saw 4 Whimbrel, 4 Skylark, 5 Stock Dove, c.25 Linnet in bouncing flight. 

On Jeremy Lane, Monday's male Sedge Warbler was singing it's noisy series of trills and rambling warbles, it's song heard as one of the most complex known to science. I found 3 Wheatear, saw a Buzzard in a distant dead tree, a Kestrel and Skylark.

At Conder Green in the creeks, 6 Black-tailed Godwit looking stunning in their summer dress, 2 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, and a Kestrel hovering overhead. On the very quiet Conder Pool, at least 12 Tufted Duck, a Goosander, and a single Sand Martin over.

I found a Lapwing at Cockersands today, it had a single chick in just about the best uncultivated field it could have chosen to nest in. As is annual here, many of it's relations have recently been rolled or ploughed back into the earth with adults sat around looking like they didn't know what hit them.

Marked Black-tailed Godwit.

Of the six BTG's at Conder Green one was a marked bird, ringed as a chick in N Iceland 11 July 2012 and not recorded until seen at Conder Green on Thursday nearly three years later. 


GO-GYflag 11.07.12 Haganes, Fljot, N Iceland
GO-GYflag 30.04.15 Conder Green, Lancashire, NW England 


 

Feast your eyes on what you could be treated to if you could hop on yer bike and shoot off down to Skokholm Bird Observatory 

Thanks to DC for the excellent Pied Flycatcher header....appreciated as always.