BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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PLOVER SCAR & COCKERSAND LIGHTHOUSE. PETE WOODRUFF.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Butterflies2blog.

Painted Lady. Warren Baker @ Pittswood Birds

Butterflies generated a little more interest for me than birds yesterday if only because I found 7 Painted Lady, all at Cockersands except one at Conder Green, also 8 Small Skipper, 8 Small Tortoiseshell3 Speckled Woodand a Common Blue....Hardly impressive stuff, and the Painted Lady number was hardly a mass invasion, but good to see some butterflies at last.

I got just a glimpse of one of the Common Terns heads above the vegetation on Conder Pool where I noticed an increase in wader numbers, being c.350 Redshank and up to 40 Lapwing, the two young Oystercatcher still surviving and growing, and I could find only 3 Common Sandpiper today. On the circuit, two - possibly three - House Martin nests are active at Cafe d' Lune, whilst none have taken up at River Winds this year, 3 Reed Bunting and 10 Linnet seen.


Juvenile Grey Heron. Pete Woodruff.

On the Lune Estuary, 10 Little Egret was a good count, with good close views of 2 Grey Heron juvenile with their full black crown, grey neck, and dingier plumage, a build up of Lapwing and Curlew numbers was noted. On Jeremy Lane 2 Reed Bunting as I drove along.

At Cockersands, a couple of hours raking around produced just 3 Skylark, 2 Linnet, a Sedge Warbler, and a Reed Bunting, and the usual Bank Houses area Tree Sparrow.


Splash Of Colour. Pete Woodruff.

A splash of colour in the Cockersands sea of green....'Clik the pik' it's quite pretty, and the Painted Lady is even prettier - stunning even - thanks to Warren.

Monday, 29 June 2015

The Squeeze....Short And Sweet.

Common Tern Attack Martin Jump  

After a busy morning last Friday, I managed to squeeze in little more than an hour at Conder Green to find the Common Terns attacking all and sundry that came within a few metres of the nest, which - if the terns are on course with their breeding - will by now have young, though when we're likely to see them through the vegetation is anyone's guess, but Common Tern young swim at an early age so maybe not long to wait.

Numbers have now started to build up, with 6 Common Sandpiper seen in the creeks with a double figure likely here anytime soon, also a Spotted Redshank any day now. Up to 200 Redshank were between the creeks and Conder Pool where I noted the drake Wigeon. I also finally caught up with a Lesser Whitethroat on the coastal path singing in the rain....

The squeeze was over and the rain had won again.

Is it a bird!



No, its Wallace and Gromit at the Morecambe Kite Festival....Brilliant stuff.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Dull And Dreary Barbondale.

I'm tempted to call the birding dull and dreary as well as the weather. When I visited Barbondale on Thursday the weather was certainly dull and dreary, more reminiscent of April than June. As for the birding....well I can never quite refer to birding as dreary.

As I drove towards the footbridge to park up, a Jay flew across my path. The first bird I saw soon after I got on to the footpath was the Cuckoo which I had seen on my first visit here on 7 May but not since. Lucky to see this bird as ten satellite tagged Cuckoo's have already left the UK, seven of which are now in France, two in Italy, and another having moved on from Italy and into Slovenia....Amazing stuff.

I found just one pair of Pied Flycatcher still feeding young, hopefully they might successfully fledge as the weather forecast sounds good with a heat wave on its way apparently. But the breeding Pied Flycatchers have suffered badly at some locations, no big surprises there I would'nt' think.


Green Woodpecker Antonio Puigg  

I heard a Green Woodpecker 'yaffle' just once briefly, saw/heard just 3 Willow Warbler, heard a singing male Blackcap, a 'few' Long-tailed Tit, a Treecreeper, a female Reed Bunting carrying food in its bill, and a Kestrel.

Barbon Beck. Pete Woodruff.

It took me two hours to find a Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Grey Wagtail were on Barbon Beck, one of which did me a good turn by attacking the flycatcher which was out of my view behind one of the large stones in the beck, it flew into a nearby tree and promptly started to shake itself and preen, it had obviously been disturbed from bathing.

Every ground nesting birds nightmare a Stoat ran across the path ahead of me, 2 Painted Lady butterflies didn't represent an invasion but good to see all the same.

Some negatives at Barbondale this year....I've personally found no Whinchat, Tree Pipit, or Wheatear in four visits, seen just one male Stonechat on 7 May and not since, and today I saw not one Redstart.

The Cuckoos.  

You can keep up to date with the Cuckoos having said goodbye to the UK Here 

Friday, 26 June 2015

The LBJ.

On my first visit to Barbondale this year on 7 May, I had noted two distant female Pied Flycatcher together showing interest in a nest hole, at the time I had thought this rather odd, but marking them in my little black book I moved on. 

Not having seen these birds since May, it has taken me until my latest visit to Barbondale yesterday to realise that I had been caught off guard with these two, this time I observed them both going to a nest to feed young, and realised as I got closer to them, I was watching a pair of Pied Flycatcher, one of which was a brown female lookalike 1st summer male.


1st Summer Male Pied Flycatcher Brian Rafferty 

Off guard not least because this is the second bird of its kind I've seen here at Barbondale, my first was of one seen 28 April 2011. Nevertheless, this bird is clearly a brown 1st summer male Pied Flycatcher showing bold wing markings, a white-edged tail, and the forehead patch divided into two in the middle.


Male/Female Pied Flycatcher Martin Jump  

Thanks to Brian for his prompt attention to forwarding me these 1st summer male photographs at the top, and to Martin for his male and female birds above.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Chats2blog.

Tuesday was an excellent day chat-wise, though ten Stonechat isn't anything of significance, but my best in 6 years and good to find them at the three locations visited, and the weather was excellent too. The plan was first to check out Harrisend, and then Hawthornthwaite on the west and east side, and I succeeded in doing all three.

Stonechat Gary Jones 


Harrisend produced the best result of the day and I found 6 Stonechat there, seen as two pairs, one of which had two young. Also noted, 23 Meadow Pipit4 Redpoll, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Wren, 2 Jay, and a Linnet. I flushed a Snipe ahead of me out of a damp area, raptors seen 2 Buzzard, butterflies were 3 Small Heath.


Kestrel. Noushka Dufort @ 1000-Pattes

Kestrel which I saw over Harrisend, high and soaring on the thermals, suddenly went into a spectacular stoop. I've never seen a Kestrel stoop before and it was difficult to keep up to, but when it put the brakes on I saw it go to chase another Kestrel which it had obviously seen from the height and distance....amazing, both these birds were female. I watched these two for several minutes, during which time the bird being attacked went circling higher and higher until it took to soaring on thermals, having outrun and outmanoeuvred it's attacker. 

On Hawthornthwaite Fell I found a pair of Stonechat, c.40 Sand Martin were impressive flying up and down the stream. Otherwise, just 2 Meadow Pipit, a Kestrel, and a Small Copper butterfly seen.

On the east side of Hawthornthwaite I found another 2 Stonechat, these two were seen as a male and young bird. I couldn't believe these two were alone, but despite a twenty minute watch no others seen. I saw 4 Meadow Pipit, 3 Wren, 2 Willow Warbler, and a Small Heath butterfly.

At Marshaw it was good to find a pair of successful breeding Common Sandpiper, they were alarmed at my presence and were calling at two young, also seen was a Goldcrest.

Thanks to Gary for the male, female, and young Stonechat, and to Noushka for the Kestrel, excellent on all counts and much appreciated.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Green And Harbour.

A look in at Conder Green yesterday had me seeing both Common Terns, they went into the air together at one point and dive bombed 5 Carrion Crow which came menacingly over Conder Pool, only a few minutes later they attacked a Pheasant in the same manner on the adjoining island. Also on the pool, 2 Little Egret, the summer plumage Little Grebe was here again, not seen since 14 April, 2 Mallard females had just three and two ducklings respectfully, so no good breeding successes there. A good number of Sand Martin were feeding along the pool side hedgerow with a single House Martin noted, a Song Thrush was heard in full song. In the creeks, 2 Common Sandpiper, and at least 70 Redshank.

Mediterranean Gull Geoff Gradwell 

I decided to pay Heysham Harbour a visit and gave the power station outfalls two hours before and up to high tide, by which time I'd found 10 Mediterranean Gull, all 2cy birds in variable plumage with the exception of a stunning adult on Red Nab, two birds were on Stage 1 outfall, five on Stage 2, and three on Red Nab. As I walked back to the motor I saw a Whitethroat on the reserve.      

And finally....The ultimate fly tipper strikes.


We all know the kind of people we share this planet with - but wish we didn't really have to - but thought I'd feature this ultimate in fly tipping at Conder Green. It's been here about a week, and now has some kind of order notice attached to it, but no doubt the council will have to remove the wreck and nobody will be brought to book.  

Monday, 22 June 2015

Despite All My Wanderings!

Willow Warbler David Cookson

I'm told of a local bird recorder in East Anglia who has referred to....'a worrying lack of Willow Warbler locally this year'....a feeling I've had myself in and around our area.

The 'Missing' Gallery.

Not to be seen as a suggestion of the decline in the numbers of these three species, but just that despite all the hours of wanderings, I've yet to connect this summer with the Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, and the Tree Pipit.


Lesser Whitethroat. Martin Lofgren @ Wild Bird Gallery

Last year I had seen a Lesser Whitethroat on 10 June at Conder Green - I actually saw a report of one there yesterday - as a migrant breeder in our area, mainly restricted to the coastal fringe.


Garden Warbler Jan Larsson 

A Garden Warbler was at Stoops Bridge in Abbeystead on 17 June last year where I see at least one almost annually, a fairly common migrant breeder in our area. 


Tree Pipit Antonio Puigg  

....and a Tree Pipit at Barbondale on 29 April 2014, where I've neither heard nor seen one in three visits to Barbondale this summer, and didn't find one on my Clougha/Birk Bank visit last week. The Tree Pipit is an uncommon and declining breeder, and is a species on the Red List, all of which has contributed to my not seeing one yet this year. 

Thanks to David/Jan/Martin/Antonio for the excellent gallery, and to Warren for the brilliant Redstart header.

I'd sooner be birding!....And when I can, perhaps I'll eventually catch up with these three, but time's running out, the summer solstice has past.  

Friday, 19 June 2015

Briefly Birding.

I took an opportunity to get out briefly birding yesterday, and having not been in eight days I was overdue a visit to Conder Green so went there to find a Common Sandpiper had returned.

Common Sandpiper. Warren Baker @ Pittswood Patch 

Last year a Common Sandpiper was still at Conder Green on 27 May, then not seen again until a month later on 26 June 8 days later than yesterdays bird. By the end of June the Common Sandpipers will no doubt be at Conder Green in a double figure along with the Spotted Redshank which in my records was on 1 July. My first returning Greenshank in 2014 was seen here on 7 July....It will be interesting to see where all these dates fit in with this years returns.

Also on Conder Pool at near high tide, at least 40 Redshank, 6 Tufted Duck, a juvenile Pied Wagtail, and two young Oystercatcher. A few Sand Martin were hawking over the pool, with fewer Swift and a single House Martin.

The Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock was a wide expanse of water with the tide at it's height, but I was rewarded by finding 2 Mediterranean Gull both 1st summer birds, also singles of female Eider, Red-breasted Merganser, and Goosander.

The Conder Pool Common Terns.

I was lucky to see the Common Tern on Conder Pool yesterday, none of the boxes are in view, now completely overgrown with vegetation.

Common Tern. Howard Stockdale. 

But on my visit to the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, one of the Common Terns came over the river and did so 5 times in 20 minutes to return to Conder Pool each time it caught small fry. When I returned to Conder Pool a little later I watched the bird come in once again from the River Lune to feed the one in the nest box....Wonderful stuff.

Thanks to Warren and Howard for the photographs, 'clik the pik' to see them at their very best.  

Our Garden.

Ladybird. Pete Woodruff.


This Ladybird was on a Rose petal where I photographed it - badly - in our garden recently. As is to be expected of me, I'm a little confused about it's identity, but I think it's a 14-Spot Ladybird variant....Anyone with a liking to correct me is most welcome.

Also in our garden, it was good to see the regular Goldfinch at the feeders had brought along four juveniles with them in the last few days, and our Blackbirds fetched the same number of four young with them too....Great stuff. 

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Clougha/Birk Bank.

I was on Clougha over two hours yesterday before I found a family party of Stonechat at around 300m, seen as a male, female, and two juvenile. Something of a disappointment as I had seen five Stonechat up here on my last visit on 25 March, they were seen as two pair and a lone male, all of which were at different locations to this group today. However, it was good to see evidence of breeding here again.

Also seen here today was another good count of 38 Meadow Pipit, 7 Willow Warbler were all heard save one seen, a singing male Blackcap was also only heard, 2 Linnet seen, I found only 2 Red Grouse today, and 3 Raven were in the air. Raptors were represented by 2 Buzzard and a Kestrel

A Cuckoo was excellent on the east side of Ottergear Bridge, I was initially attracted to it by hearing it calling it's 'gowk' call as something I've not heard before, both sexes of the Cuckoo utter this harsh repeated call in excitement.
  
An interesting sight was that of c.6 House Martin and 4 Swift high overhead at 400m flying south as if purposefully on migration, then wheeling around for some time. Some more obvious behaviour of 'hyrundines' later off Rigg Lane, was up to 100 Swallow/Swift/House Martin overhead attracted to insects, the result of a tractor cutting a grass field.



Four-spotted Chaser. Warren Baker @ Pittswood Patch


Non birds were up to 6 Four-spotted Chaser over Birk Bank bog, and a nice Small Copper butterfly on the top of Birk Bank.

The Painted Lady.

The UK is bracing itself for an influx of Painted Lady butterflies with the potential for millions of them coming in from southern Europe. The last mass migration of these beauties was in 2009 when an estimated 11 million of them descended widely across the UK, and when I myself counted 149 on Clougha/Birk Bank in a survey on 30 May.....Eyes up and look in!!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

The Grand Finale.

Croasdale. Copy Permitted.

A nine mile walk on Thursday with Fylde birder Barry Dyson took us from the 'can't be bad' £1.90 for 11 hours car park at Slaidburn, to go along the Roman Road and on to Hornby Road on Croasdale Fell which resulted in a disappointing no Stonechat or Whinchat seen in an almost four hour search. It's experiences like this which have me come to realise first hand just how much some of our birds have seriously declined, particularly as in this case of the Whinchat.


Redstart Jan Larsson

On the pleasant walk from Slaidburn through the lanes and fields towards the fells, all started well with 3 Redstart, two seen in a wooded area at Procters Farm, and a third male singing close by. Also of note on this outward and inward section of the walk, a Nuthatch, Willow Warbler, 3 Wren including one carrying food, 3 Dunnock, and 2 Song Thrush, Swallows were in and out of the farm buildings and Swift seen.

On the fell, I noted at least 25 Meadow Pipit, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Linnet, and a Raven high over the ridge. Raptors were represented by 3 Buzzard, a Kestrel, and a Peregrine Falcon which was distant and perched on a shooting butt....a little irony there I thought. The only butterfly of note all day was a Green-veined White.

Ring Ouzel Brian Rafferty  

A decision to return home via Cross of Greet was an excellent idea and brought about a Grand Finale when a pair of Ring Ouzel were seen as viewed from the cattle grid at White Greet, also an excellent group of 6 Stonechat were seen as two male and four female/juvenile, two seen a few minutes later were not necessarily of the same group of six, but some movement by all these birds made it difficult to be sure. Also 2 Wheatear seen in the 15 minutes spent at this location.

Many thanks to Jan and Brian for the excellent photographs in this post, and to Gary for the equally excellent new header, all very much appreciated. 

The Moth.  


Moth. Pete Woodruff.

This daytime flying moth flew into our kitchen yesterday. I released it back outside immediately I had taken a shot of it, but I'm afraid it's ID is outside my comfort zone....anyone?

Friday, 12 June 2015

Mainly Nowt!

Dictionary definition of 'Nowt'....A Northern English dialect for nothing....which is what my afternoon's birding on Tuesday almost was. I'm tempted to use the word grim.

But at least I saw the head of one of the Common Terns breeding on Conder Pool again this year, though in a couple of days time nobody will be able to see this bird with the nest box overgrown with vegetation, and will only be aware of their presence if/when the second bird is on the island.

Also on Conder Pool the Oystercatchers appear to have one chick surviving, otherwise 6 Tufted Duck, 3 Redshank, and a few Sand Martin hawking. A Little Egret was in the creeks, and 2 Reed Bunting were the sum total of birds on the circuit. 

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, 9 Eider and a Little Egret were the only birds of note, and a Sedge Warbler seen on Jeremy Lane as I drove along.

Desperation set in at Cockersands were I only clocked up a Whitethroat and 3 Skylark despite a couple of hours wander....Woe is me! 

Merlin. Dan Haywood.


But DH got in touch to let me know he'd seen a bird I'd missed at Cockersands thirty minutes after I had seen him at Glasson Dock, when an unseasonal Merlin came into his view whilst scanning for the source of consternation amongst the local Swallows, the bird was picked up over Crook Farm and on towards Glasson Marsh. 

Thanks for the info and excellent image Dan, I appreciate this very much.

The Hunting Ban.


Fox. Noushka Dufort @ 1000 Pattes

The hunting ban - not just of the Fox, so forget the 'fluffy bunny' bit - is now facing a repeal, please consider taking the appropriate action when you have had a look at This 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Dale And Moor.

On my third visit to Barbondale on Monday, I found 5 Pied Flycatcher though I saw not a single male, and the same number of 5 Redstart, these were all male. Three Treecreeper included a young bird being feed, a Jay and Mistle Thrush were also of note. 

Green Woodpecker Jan Larsson

Green Woodpecker was the first bird I saw on this visit, short of a records search my first one in probably two or even three years. I've so far not seen nor even heard a Tree Pipit here this year.

I did little lingering at Barbondale this time and was gone in two hours as I wanted to pay a visit to the Newby area near Clapham from where I left very disappointed to find no Stonechat despite a three hour search. This was another Stonechat stronghold from the beginning of 2000 after I started to see them here in the late 1990's, until the harsh winter saw them off, my last record was on 9 April 2010. Five years on and still no return.

As another species always to be seen here, I was also disappointed to find no Sedge Warbler today, but noted 10 Meadow Pipit, 5 Reed Bunting, 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Song Thrush, and probably up to 30 Lapwing were in one field. At Clapham railway station, a Spotted Flycatcher was in trees overhanging the River Wenning, a Grey Wagtail and Coal Tit seen, and a 'few' House Martin always around here annually. 

Nightjar. 

Nightjar Simon Hawtin 


On last Friday evening 5 May, a Nightjar was reported singing NW of Clitheroe at Bashall Eaves near Blackhill Wood but there has been no sign/sound since....Excellent and some record.

Thanks to Jan for the Green Woodpecker, and to Simon for his image of a bird he found on his garden fence one summers evening some years ago....WOW!!  

Monday, 8 June 2015

For Sale!

The gamekeepers champion Ian Botham and front man of campaign group 'You Forgot The Birds' which is funded by the shooting industry, has recently made the ludicrous claim that the RSPB are 'looking the other way' when it comes to Hen Harrier persecution, because they are using the species as a fund raising tool.

Now that's a pretty hard one to swallow, but Botham may well have a point to make there about the RSPB and cash before conservation. Read on....

Before her death in 2001 a kindly lady bequeathed 20 acres of green space in rural Cheshire to the RSPB, her dying wish was that the land should never be built on. The RSPB were fully aware of the wish made by this lifelong environmentalist, but hey....they're now looking to sell the land to housing developers in a blatant money making act of betrayal. The RSPB's director for Northern England claims the development could promote and enhance the biodiversity of the area, despite the land being home to Barn Owls, Lapwings, and Badgers. 

But campaign group You Forgot The Birds are saying the RSPB are putting cash before conservation - well they've got to be correct there now haven't they - and that this kind lady would be horrified about what might happen to the land she entrusted to the RSPB as a lifelong enthusiast for the local environment.

The farmland had been valued in 2001 at £60,000. Today, if planning permission was to be granted, the RSPB stand to make £6m, and the charity is urging the council concerned to allow a housing estate of up to 150 houses to be built. The aforementioned RSPB's director for Northern England came up with another remarkably intelligent remark when he said it was unfortunate her land had to be sold but it would benefit more wildlife, which sounds to me like this guy is in the wrong job and should be made head of RSPB Finances with immediate effect.

The Royal Society For Personal Betrayal. Building homes....but not for nature.    

And Finally.
Photographs Pete Woodruff.

I found the corpse of what I think is a marine mammal at Cockersands last Wednesday 3 April. My identification is that of a Harbour Porpoise, although I welcome anyone who wishes to correct me. 

 Harbour Porpoise. Erik Christensen.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

A Bowland Bash.

Spotted Flycatcher. Pete Woodruff.

Thursday was the warmest day we've had so far this summer and perfect for giving the Marshaw-Tower Lodge-Trough Bridge area a good going over to note 34 species, most notable of which were 8 Spotted Flycatcher which included two pairs one of which were seen entering a nest hole. 

I saw only one Redstart a female, a good count was of 11 Robin, 7 Mistle Thrush included two fully fledge young being fed by the adult, 4 Grey Wagtail were on the Marshaw Wyre, with a Dipper here too, 4 Coal Tit included a pair feeding young in the nest, 3 Nuthatch seen, 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Goldcrest, 5 Meadow Pipit, a Song Thrush and a Dunnock, the only raptor seen were 2 Kestrel. In the Marshaw Farm area Swallow and House Martin, with Sand Martin visiting nest holes in the bank of the Marshaw Wyre.


 Male Pied Flycatcher Brian Rafferty 

I'm told that two nest boxes at Tower Lodge are taken by Pied Flycatcher, though I only saw one male and heard another continuously in song, another of the boxes has been taken by Blue Tit. Thanks for the singing male Pied Flycatcher image Brian, excellent.

The runners up....

Oystercatcher
Mallard
Pheasant
Starling
Jackdaw
Chaffinch
Wood Pigeon
Pied Wagtail
Wren
Lapwing
Curlew
Great Tit
Blackbird
Goldfinch
Collared Dove

Despite finding 2 Common Sandpiper on the Marshaw Wyre on 23 April, I saw none today.

On the way back to Lancaster I called in at Stoops Bridge at Abbeystead to see 2 Spotted Flycatcher, hear a male Blackcap in song, and find the only butterfly I saw all day, being an Orange Tip. And at Christ Church, a Song Thrush, and 'few' House Martin flying around with just two nests at the church which housed up to sixteen nests 5/6 years ago as counted by BT and myself. The Spotted Flycatcher has returned to this church in Abbeystead for several years now, if it has this year I didn't see it.

Post edited 22.00pm. 

Another Hen Harrier has disappeared from an active nest on United Utilities Estate in Bowland. The bird was last seen on 28 May and is the fourth to disappear in Bowland this year, with a fifth bird gone from Geltsdale recently....

Raptor persecution rules....OK. 

Friday, 5 June 2015

Patch Of The Day!

Wednesday 3 June.

Common Tern. Conder Pool. Sept 2014. Dan Haywood.

I'm looking forward to this kind of result on Conder Pool hopefully by early August. I last saw both these birds - one of them a runt - with an adult on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock on 12 September 2014, from were they hopefully departed on migration southward towards their wintering quarters along the West African coast, mostly Mauritania to Nigeria.

Birders have told me this years Common Terns on Conder Pool appear to have gone, but the truth is they've been present on three visits I've made since their arrival on 22 May and were still there on Wednesday. I reckon she's already laid eggs and is sitting tight, though male and female Common Tern both incubate. If you train a telescope on the box they're using you'll occasionally see the black of the crown as the bird lifts it's head a little....great stuff.

Also of note on a quiet Conder Pool, a drake Wigeon not seen since the back end of winter, 3 Tufted Duck, and a Little Egret. Good numbers of manly Swift, with Sand Martin and a House Martin were all hawking over the pool as they have been on every visit I made here since 19 May when there was at least 50 Swift. I watched a male Redshank in the creeks displaying and eventually mating, 4 Goosander were upstream on the river from the road bridge. House Martin are visiting nests at two properties, where one bird is going to a nest above where a gleaming compact disc had been hung as a deterrent, but which now appears to have fallen off, I'm hoping there's to be no more disturbance or worse to these birds here. On Jeremy Lane I saw a Whitethroat and a Stoat dodging back into the overgrown ditch when it saw me approaching. 

At Cockersands, Plover Scar at high tide held little more than 60 waders being, c.40 Ringed Plover, 15 Dunlin, and 4 Oystercatcher, 36 Dunlin and 12 Ringed Plover came on to the shingle below the lighthouse car park. On a wander I saw 9 Skylark, 6 Linnet were flighty in the abbey area, 4 Whitethroat, 2 Wheatear, 2 Reed Bunting, a Sedge Warbler, and a Stock Dovec.40 Lapwing as a flock came down into a field....looks like it's autumn!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

It's A Mystery!

In birding it can often be that you arrive at a location to have a panoramic view of nothing. This was the impression I got when I arrived at Glasson Dock on Saturday - well it is June - to have a wide angle view of the Lune Estuary to see 'nothing'. 

But wait a minute....I've got six geese in a group in my sights, three of which were Canada Geese, the other three Greylag, but these three were not birds I'm acquainted with, they were instantly recognised as being a much paler bird with a pink bill and I began to think of all three being rubrirostris types, had I have been in Belgium I would have have held on to this claim as true wild rubrirostris do occur there.

But the feral population of Greylag Geese in Belgium has some rubrirostris ancestry. As far back as nearly 60 years ago in 1956, a few birds of the form rubrirostris were released in Belgium, and in later years, birds of the nominate race of Greylag were also released in the area and individuals showing rubrirostris features have since become very rare, it would be truly remarkable that a rubrirostris-type Greylag from the now feral population in Belgium should turn up here in England.

So what did I see, and where did they come from? 


Another one bites the dust.




Another male Hen Harrier has gone missing in Cumbria. The bird, which was nesting at the RSPB Geltsdale Reserve, was last seen at the upland site last Saturday 23 May. Setting off hunting at around 7.15am the bird was last seen by RSPB nest protection staff at around 1pm.

The 'Help I Am Being Persecuted' poster above probably doesn't have a direct link in everyone's eyes with this missing bird, but it does with me. The thing is....I'm a realist.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Saturday Birds.

Weekend birding is a rare event for me, but last Saturdays decision to go for it turned out to be a good one, if only because.....

Corn Bunting Simon Hawtin 

....I found a Corn Bunting at Cockersands, being the first one I ever saw in our recording area despite all my years of birding, the bird was found on a roadside fence post on the east side of Abbey Farm. Searching through the past ten years of local annual reports the Corn Bunting has been regularly seen in our recording area, all have been at Cockersands with the exception of three sightings, two at Sand Villa and one at Braides Farm, though two years had no reports, and one year the species got no mention.

Whitethroat. Howard Stockdale.

Also noted at Cockersands, 3 Whitethroat included one collecting nesting material, good views of a Sedge Warbler presumably nesting as it was scolding as I watched and I got a good sound recording of this. I saw 5 Skylark, and saw three young Lapwing bringing my total to five birds this year all in uncultivated fields. Twenty two Eider and a pair of Great-crested Grebe were the only birds I saw on the sea despite several scans from Cockersands Lighthouse to Rossall Point.


Stoat. Phillip Tomkinson @ Wildsnaps

I glimpsed a Stoat at Cockersands crossing the road with prey in it's jaws before disappearing into an overgrown ditch, it appeared to be a young bird, possibly Lapwing and certainly not a mammal as in the excellent PT image above.

On Jeremy Lane, 2 Reed Bunting and a single Tree Sparrow seen. On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock I saw six geese, three of which were Greylag having characteristics of the Eastern race rubrirostris being much paler and distinctly cleaner grey, with a pink bill, they were accompanied by 3 Canada Geese, but there's more on these three Greylags in a post to follow, 7 Eider were the only other birds I noted on the estuary.

A Common Tern was over the canal basin at Glasson Dock, probably one of the Conder Pool birds where the female was seen settled into one of the boxes and was later joined by the male. Swift and Sand Martin were over the pool, and a pair of Tufted Duck and Little Egret were present. In the creeks I noted a single Dunlin with Redshank, and on a wander round Conder Green, a Reed Warbler heard, a pair of Reed Bunting and Linnet seen, with House Martins visiting nests at River Winds and Cafe d' Lune.