BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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ALDCLIFFE MARSH HIGH TIDE. PETE WOODRUFF.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

The Cockersands Fulmar.

A chance meeting with a stranger on Wednesday soon developed into having Cockersands proved to be still securely on the map as one of the prime locations for birds ranging from common to rare quality.

In a conversation struck up with Mike Atkinson I was told of a bird he had seen a couple of hours previous his ID of which he wasn't entirely satisfied. Having explained the circumstances surrounding his find, I asked him to give me some idea where the bird had been seen, and having asked if he would send me a copy of any photographs he had taken of the bird I was off to see what I could find.

Image. Pete Woodruff.

My luck was in and it didn't take too long to locate the bird which - from the distance of the coastal path - appeared to look like a gull squat on the beach beyond the line of shingle. I went down on to the beach, stalked ever closer and started to try my hand at getting a half decent picture which I achieved and is shown above. The bird didn't look at all lively, and had been in this position at least two hours to my knowledge, and made no attempt to move whilst I was present. 

By now I reckoned I was seeing a bird moribund, and not one I ever expected to see at Cockersands. Some factors had now come into play as far as anyone else seeing this bird in daylight today, at 4.15pm the light was fading, the bird could not get to it's feet, and needed at best to try to recover from the storm that had driven it here, I had no intention of disturbing this bird.


Blue Fulmar. Mike Atkinson.

Having looked through my images at home on the computer, I sent off a copy which was then forwarded by the first recipient to two other experienced birders, all of which brought about confirmation of what I had seen, and by now having also seen the excellent and conclusive image from Mike Atkinson, it was blatantly obvious a Blue Fulmar had found itself storm blown and beached at Cockersands in Lancashire on Wednesday 3 February 2016. 

Thanks to Mike for the Fulmar image, and to Barry for the header Little Gull off Cleveleys Promenade.  

4 comments:

Brian Rafferty said...

Pete. A very interesting and rare find for Cockersand.It certainly doesn't look well and let's hope it recovers and returns back out to sea.Nice chatting this a.m. re the Cockersand curlews. Take care.

Pete Woodruff said...

Yes, the Cockersands Curlews Brian, another interesting subject of a species in trouble but not reflected by the numbers here recently.

Warren Baker said...

Nice looking bird Pete, good luck to it :-)

Pete Woodruff said...

Warren....It wasn't found the following morning, but nothing conclusive about that as apart from anything else, the bird had by then encountered two more tides, the evening one on the day it was found, and one the following early morning.