The best reward of my visit to Cockersands on Thursday was the Short-eared Owl which I saw briefly over the marsh opposite the entrance to the caravan park before it dropped on to the marsh to disappear into the long grass.
Golden Plover Jan Larsson
I also saw at least 755 Golden Plover on my visit, an estimated 300 Golden Plover were with up to 600 Curlew in fields south of the caravan park, 400 Golden Plover were in flight over the Cocker channel, and another 55 Golden Plover were with 22 Black-tailed Godwit off Crook Farm, 25 Black-tailed Godwit were with Curlew and Lapwing in an Abbey Farm field, and at high tide, c.150 Turnstone, 200 Oystercatcher, and 2 Ringed Plover were on Plover Scar.
Two of the star birds of Conder Green were showing in the creeks, being the Spotted Redshank and Common Sandpiper, along with Tuesdays 3 Goosander and c.150 Teal noted, 11 Little Grebe were the days count on Conder Pool.
Short-eared Owl Gary Jones
There's been an influx of SEO's into our area which still appears to be ongoing, and I've seen numerous reports of these birds into Lancashire and North Merseyside, with 23 individuals at 4 locations alone since 1 November.
The Short-eared Owl (SEO) breeds largely on the heather moors of our upland areas rich in small mammals, with populations of voles fluctuating which regulate the breeding success of the owls. Some sizeable proportion of our SEO is migratory, they move south and west in winter, with ringing recoveries as far as W France and Iberia, with single birds recorded in Malta and Russia.
As is currently the case, large numbers of SEO's come to Britain for the winter, and they are seen regularly along the east coast in autumn, many of which are from Fennoscandia.
Thanks to Jan and Gary for the post images, and to Chris for the Pintail in flight header, excellent photography and much appreciated as always.