BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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ALDCLIFFE MARSH HIGH TIDE. PETE WOODRUFF.

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.

1 comment:

Richard Pegler said...

A Barnie is always a bonus, Pete!

Have a wonderful bird-filled 2016 - - Richard