BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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PLOVER SCAR & COCKERSAND LIGHTHOUSE. PETE WOODRUFF.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Come In Mr W Your Time's Up!

Against the clock on Thursday, and no blogging time since....not a good set of circumstances for yer average birder like me!

Teal. Peter Rhind.



I'm often remiss in my reports of the birds I see, and below is no exception when I make no mention of the Teal present at Conder Green on Thursday where there are always good numbers during the winter months, my latest count was of 165 Teal here last Monday, but PR did get an excellent shot of the Teal over Conder Green....Thanks Peter. 

I only managed a brief session on Thursday and was only able to check out Conder Pool where I found a Spotted Redshank roosting with 10 Redshank. A single Snipe was still holding on to 'Tern Island' with 2 Goosander and just 3 Little Grebe seen. On the canal basin at Glasson Dock I could only find 2 Goldeneye, and noted 2 Little Grebe and a Great-crested Grebe


Black-tailed Godwit. Noushka Dufort @ 1000 Pattes

At least 500 Black-tailed Godwit was by far my best count this winter on the Lune Estuary, with a 'few' Bar-tailed Godwit. Other waders seen on the mud fast disappearing beneath the tide, 450 Redshank, 150 Curlew, 10 Dunlin, and the staying Ruff which was distant at the Conder mouth, 21 Goldeneye, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and a Great-crested Grebe were on the river, and up to 100 Pink-footed Geese had set down on Colloway Marsh.

A brief visit to Cockersands to see if anything exotic had turned up on Plover Scar at high tide....dream on, with just c.450 Oystercatcher roosting and a Great-crested Grebe off here. In an Abbey Farm field, a gathering of uncounted waders - probably 300 birds in total - included a good number of Golden Plover, Dunlin, Lapwing, and most interesting up to 60 Turnstone. The resident Buzzard was being seen off by 2 Carrion Crow, and the Moss Lane Kestrel seen again. Also off Moss Lane, Whooper Swans still appeared to be at c.300 in number on a drive by.

The Wheatear.


Wheatear Marc Heath 

If I'm going to find an early Wheatear this year it may well be within six weeks if my 2015 bird is anything to go by....Now there's a nice thought. 

Thanks to Noushka for the Black-tailed Godwits, and to Marc for the Wheatear. My thanks also to Phil Woollen for the header image of the Pallas's Warbler, a little gem found by Steve Hinde 2 January at Heswall, Cheshire.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Redshank And Co.

I had a problem when I arrived at Conder Green around 10.00am yesterday, there was a howler blowing from the west, Conder Pool looked more like the Irish Sea on a bad day, and I had no enthusiasm for going to Cockersands. Without thinking about a Plan B, I decided to go to Glasson Dock and found a nice sheltered spot to view the Lune Estuary and watch the tide racing in to push the waders off to roost elsewhere.

The birds in view on the south side were predominantly c.1,500 Redshank, a wonderful sight which offered the challenge to sift through them to find any odd ones out. Eventually I found 2 Spotted Redshank, c.150 Dunlin and 3 Black-tailed Godwit, with 6 Goldeneye and 2 Red-breasted Merganser on the river. On the canal basin, 5 Goldeneye, 2 Little Grebe, and a Great-crested Grebe.

I now had to decide what to do next, whilst I made up my mind about that I went back to Conder Green where the tide was at it's height and close to flooding the road.   

 Redshank. Conder Pool. 27 January. Pete Woodruff.

I hadn't been there a few minutes when 620 Redshank zoomed over from the Lune Estuary to seek sanctuary, they had brought a Spotted Redshank with them. It was quite a spectacle watching these birds which were initially uneasy and took to flight en-mass several times before settling down again. Whilst all this was going on, the Common Sandpiper was on the near island, 2 Snipe and 70 Curlew were also present, and 6 Little Grebe were difficult to pick out whilst bobbing up and down like corks in an ocean.

I spent some time enjoying the birds of Conder Pool, until a Sparrowhawk came on patrol to clear the pool out.... Having enjoyed the festival of Redshanks and Co, this time the decision was to call it a day.

Spotted Redshank.

Redshank. Conder Pool. 27 January. Pete Woodruff.

The Spotted Redshank on Conder Pool is in both these photographs I took yesterday, easily seen in the image above and would have been identifiable from its relations a mile away, but not quite as easy in the first one....top centre bird.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Routine....But Good With It.

Ruff. Sharon Whitley The Rambling Artist 

A bit of routine birding yesterday, but with a couple of nice jobs thrown in, not least to find the Ruff still on the Lune Estuary, and a Grey Plover here too, not at all an every day bird the GP in these parts. Both these were with up to 400 Redshank, 25 Curlew, and 14 Dunlin, all reclaiming the mud back from the tide at 2.45pm as seen from the bowling green. Also of note, 3 Goldeneye, and 3 Red-breasted Merganser. On the canal basin, at least 450 Black-headed Gull, 7 Goldeneye, and a Great-crested Grebe noted.

Turnstone. Plover Scar. 25 January. Pete Woodruff.

At Cockersands, there was a decent count of 250 Turnstone with 2 Dunlin on Plover Scar at high tide. The Buzzard was again on the branch in it's tree, and 4 Blackbird in Bank Houses horse paddock soon disappeared when a Kestrel came on the scene. Up to 300 Whooper Swan were still stretched out along the fields off Moss Lane towards Bank End. 

The flooded field south of the Caravan Park had been deserted by the high counts of Curlew here recently, but 3 Little Egret were still here, a Snipe came up off the marsh, and c.13 finches bounced silently by in flight over the marsh were probably Twite.

I had called at Conder Green at 11.30am before the high tide, and returned on my way back to Lancaster four hours later at 3.30pm, the two visits produced, 5 Little Grebe, 4 Goosander, 165 Teal, 90 Mallard, 26 Wigeon, and a Snipe. The Common Sandpiper was again downstream from the railway bridge, with c.85 Redshank also down here.

And a good time was had by all....again!

Thanks to Sharon W for the Ruff, and Pete W for yet another Turnstone image at Cockersands....can't resist the Turnstones. 

Another Petition. 


BAN LEAD AMMUNITION.

LEAD IN AMMUNITION IS POISONING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF BIRDS EVERY YEAR, INCLUDING MANY THOUSANDS OF DUCKS WHICH DIE EVERY WINTER IN THE UK, THEY MISTAKE PARTICLES OF SPENT LEAD AMMUNITION FOR FOOD OR GRIT. 

THE PETITION IS ALSO AT THE TOP OF MY SIDEBAR, WOULD YOU CONSIDER SIGNING IT PLEASE.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Birdless In Bowland....Well Nearly!

I was 4.5 hours on my feet birding in Bowland on Wednesday, a brilliant day weatherwise with not a cloud to be seen in a bright blue sky and not a breath of wind. 

I gave Hawthornthwaite just a token one hour visit to find no Stonechat but 12 Red Grouse seen. Three and a half hours between Marshaw - Tower Lodge - Trough Bridge, and on to the foot of Winfold Fell had me record 
18 birds of seven species....yes just 18 birds of seven species

I'll leave it for you to decide for yourself what you think might be happening to the birds of an area as good as this in Bowland. I have no idea myself, but I do know, there 'aint many around, not a single finch from seven of the group, with the exception of two Coal Tit no other members of the tit family seen, no winter thrush's, no dippers, no wagtails, woodpeckers, or raptors....depressing and worrying.

Mistle Thrush Antonio Puigg 


For a moment at Marshaw I was treated to a Mistle Thrush in full song so much similar to the Blackbird, it was atop a tall tree facing the blazing sun, whilst I was watching it in shadows on the ground in 3°c, the bird obviously thought it was spring. The only other birds found were, 2 Coal Tit, 2 Nuthatch, a Robin, and 5 Mallard which took to flight off the Marshaw Wyre, towards Winfold Fell I flushed a Snipe and saw 6 Red Grouse.


Drive On !

The fells and moors of Bowland today have become a glorified shooting range, with roads scarring the beauty of the wild moorlands to the tops of some of the fells like Hawthornthwaite which boasts up to 20 shooting butts, nine of which I counted myself on Thursday on the west side, and maybe has the same number on the east side, with white painted marker posts. All this roads, butts, and marker posts makes life as easy and comfortable as possible for the tweedie clad filthy rich to hide in a butt and shoot birds out the sky driven towards them by the beaters.

Mark Avery's petition to Ban Driven Grouse shooting has closed now having attracted a pitiful 33,598 signatures in six months, and although it's more or less double more than the last one, it has ended up another resounding failure, and David Cameron and his chuckle brother mates will have a good, yes chuckle over this petition which they will not now debate and will totally ignore. 


Presumably the failure of the petition is because not that many people oppose grouse shooting at all, which by the way, MA by his own admission is not to be counted with those who oppose shooting, so he doesn't mind the Red Grouse being shot, though he's a conservationist remember and so doesn't want the Hen Harrier shot....Mmmmm!!


How come the RSPB haven't made the rallying cry to their 1.2 million supporters to sign this petition. Well the RSPB have to respect the Royal Charter which prevents them from having a view on fieldsports, which means it doesn't say that shooting wild birds is wrong. So a bird conservation society as big as the RSPB isn't against killing birds, it appears they don't support MA's petition either, and certainly haven't encouraged their members to either. Just imagine, it only needed a mere 10% of RSPB membership to sign this petition and not another single person in this country needed to have bothered to sign it to guarantee a debate by the government instead of it ending up being thrown out with the rest of the Westminster garbage for the bin men to collect.

It depends where you get the figures from, but the population of Lancaster and surrounding area is c.140,000. There was a 'Song of Praise' in the results table for signatures to the petition in this area which amounted to, wait for it....101.

If I was a Hen Harrier I'd be staring in the face the end of my existence if it relied on signatures to sign a petition to protect me, I'd have a feeling that it seems the majority don't give a monkeys about me. 

Thursday, 21 January 2016

LS Again.

I couldn't believe my luck on Tuesday when - having been earlier in the day - I returned to the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock at around 3.30pm for one of my return visits which often pay dividends and certainly did so today. 

Scouring through 550 Golden Plover with 25 Dunlin and 6 Knot on the far side of the River Lune from the bowling green, there it was, the Little Stint, small enough to have run between the legs of the Golden Plovers. Two minutes after I found the Little Stint a Peregrine Falcon came on the scene to reveal a few thousand waders in the air - up to 5k of them Lapwings - as far as the eye could see. Also noted on the estuary, c.220 Black-tailed Godwit and 7 Goldeneye. On the canal basin, the scarce here drake Pochard, a Great-crested Grebe, and the lone Pink-footed Goose.

But as is usually the case, I had started at Conder Green where I found the Common Sandpiper in the creeks where I saw three of 9 Little Grebe, the other six on Conder Pool where I noted 18 Curlew, 2 Snipe, and a drake Goosander


Buzzard. Gary Jones.

At Cockersands, the Buzzard was again perched on the same branch of the same tree as two previous visits here, I had no idea a Buzzard would be so site faithful right down to the same branch. An excellent count of at least 290 Whooper Swan, with 2 Bewicks Swan seen, maybe more if I'd have tried harder, but these birds were spread far and wide from Moss Lane towards Bank End. Off Crook farm, 140 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Knot seen, and in and around Bank Houses horse paddock, 15 Blackbird and 2 Robin

As I rounded the corner at Conder Green on my way back to Lancaster, I glimpsed a Barn Owl disappearing over the Conder Pool hedgerow, but pulling into the lay-by at the pool and diving out of the car wasn't quick enough to see the bird again.

Stonechats.


Stonechat. Gary Jones.

I am again grateful for the record of 10 Stonechat at Lytham Moss on Tuesday. Thanks to AC for passing these on to me.

Thanks to Gary Jones for the excellent Buzzard and Stonechat images.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Yesterdays Stint Aside....

....the Common Sandpiper was again in the creeks, 9 Little Grebe were the only other notes I made, six were on Conder Pool and three in the creeks, 2 Red-breasted Merganser were in the Conder channel downstream from the old railway bridge, and at least 300 Pink-footed Geese flew south in three skeins.


Pochard. Noushka Dufort.

I found no Goldeneye on the canal basin, but did find a female Scaup, with a drake Pochard something of a surprise, and a lone Pink-footed Goose something of another surprise on here. On the Lune Estuary, a Spotted Redshank was distant at the Conder mouth, c.75 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, and 22 Goldeneye


House Sparrow. Noushka Dufort.

At the bottom of Bodie Hill inside the entrance gate to Glasson Grain, I saw at least 50 House Sparrow and a Reed Bunting feeding on spilt grain. 

Having spent 1.5 hour with the Little Stint, the light was fading and my time was up. Thanks to Noushka @ 1000-Pattes for the images, they are much appreciated.

Stonechats.   


Stonechat in Bowland. Howard Stockdale.

I'm grateful to Howard for passing on to me his records of seven wintering Stonechats seen over the weekend at two locations in Bowland....Excellent stuff.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Little Stint. Conder Green. 18 Jan 2016.

Little Stint. Conder Channel. 18 Jan. Stuart Piner.

A few days ago I went off on my circuit at Conder Green travelling light minus the telescope. At the time - and not for the first time - I had promised myself I would never do that again, thinking I'd see some distant bird and not be able to identify what I had found, with optics a mile away in the boot of a car, in any case birding without a telescope isn't really birding at all.

Today I set off on the circuit fully armed and ready for action - if there was going to be any - and arrived at a decent viewpoint looking downstream on the River Conder from the old railway bridge. Nothing to get excited about initially, but this soon turned out otherwise when I got my eyes on a small wader which instantly wasn't a Dunlin. I made two quick mobile calls, one of which was for some support and confirmation of what I had found....it was a Little Stint.

Many thanks to SP for the confirmation it wasn't a Red-necked Stint - erhum - and the much appreciated collage.


Saturday, 16 January 2016

By Way Of A Change.....

....it was sunny and very cold on Thursday, especially on the coast in the wind from the north. But first I was at Conder Green to find the Common Sandpiper down by the old railway bridge, with the creeks to itself once again save c.90 Teal upstream and seen from the A588. On Conder Pool, 3 Snipe, four Goosander, and 5 Little Grebe, with a small number of Wigeon to note.


Bar-tailed Godwit @ Wildlife Photographer  

It was good to get the number up to 500 Bar-tailed Godwit on the Lune Estuary today, c.750 Redshank were in close on the south side, with 6 Black-tailed Godwit and a lone drake GoldeneyeA Peregrine Falcon was on Colloway Marsh, and on the canal basin I counted 15 Goldeneye

Curlew. Noushka Dufort @ 1000-Pattes  

Up to 500 Golden Plover were in the flooded fields at Cockersands along with 55 Curlew and a few DunlinThe flooded field south of the Caravan Park held a nice variety including an increase in numbers of at least 750 Curlew, c.150 Redshank, 6 Little Egret, 4 Pink-footed Geese, and a Stock Dove. Along the path I saw 15 finches in the air which gave me the run-around settling only briefly but certainly Linnet and Twite in the mix, also 2 Skylark and 4 Reed Bunting seen, with 3 Snipe up off the marsh.

In the horse paddock at Bank Houses, 8 Blackbird, a Mistle Thrush, and a Robin. I was at Plover scar an hour before high tide to see just 25 Turnstone and 250 Oystercatcher

Thanks for the images this time goes to Brian and Noushka.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Magnetised....Again!

I intended to spread my wings yesterday, but in the end the estuary magnet pulled at me even harder than usual and off I went to Conder Green to allow myself the time to check out Conder Pool, I wanted to get to view the Lune Estuary before the tide washed the area out.

Three Snipe were on the island again, with 2 Goldeneye, a Goosander and 6 Little Grebe present. I counted 110 Mallard and 45 Teal, 2 Raven were briefly in arial combat as they went overhead

I'd have been better getting to Glasson Dock about an hour earlier than I did as there was only a little of the south side mud still showing, but I picked out the Ruff I saw here nine days ago along with c.200 Redshank, 25 Knot, 12 Dunlin, and a solitary Black-tailed Godwit. Upstream at the Conder mouth, c.120 Bar-tailed Godwit had assembled, and a lone Goldeneye and 3 Red-breasted Merganser were drifting on the tide. On the canal basin, 19 GoldeneyeIn a field off Moss Lane, 65 Whooper Swan seen, they had deserted the area 3 hours later as I drove away from here, I had seen them in fragmented groups flying SW over the Cocker channel towards Pilling.


A Carpet Of Turnstone (and a knot) Plover Scar 13 Jan. Pete Woodruff.

At Cockersands, up to 300 waders were feeding in the flooded field behind lighthouse cottage, mainly Lapwing with Redshank, Dunlin, and a single Golden Plover. Plover Scar held up to 590 waders with estimates of 320 Oystercatcher, an excellent count of 250 Turnstone, 6 Dunlin, 2 Grey Plover, 2 Knot, and 2 Ringed Plover. Two Great-crested Grebe were off the scar. 

Today's count of waders on the flood south of Cockerham Sands Caravan Park was lower than Mondays count, with at least 450 Curlew and the single Bar-tailed Godwit seen again. Three raptors seen today were the Buzzard which was on the same branch in the very same tree it was in on Monday, with a Sparrowhawk and Kestrel seen.

Steampacket.Com. Pete Woodruff.

The afternoon ferry out of Heysham heads out to sea in the mist. I took this photograph at 2.30pm off the headland at Cockersands.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Around The Estuary High.

Common Sandpiper/Oystercatcher. Conder Pool. Pete Woodruff.

It was near high tide yesterday and two of Conder Green's star birds both put in an appearance, with the Common Sandpiper on the near island on Conder Pool in company with an Oystercatcher, and the Spotted Redshank giving itself away as it flew in off the estuary calling its distinctive whistling 'chu-it....chu-it' as it dropped on to the pool and out of sight on the backside of an island. Also here, 6 Snipe, 4 Little Grebe, and a drake Goosander.

Plover Scar was overwhelmed by the high tide and I saw 24 Turnstone and a solitary Dunlin on what little was left above water, 3 Great-crested Grebe were off here. Six Blackbird and 2 Greenfinch were noted in the horse paddock at Bank Houses.


Redshank/Curlew. High Tide Roost. Pete Woodruff. 

A wander along the path towards Bank End produced 9 Snipe to come off the marsh and into the air, and I was rewarded by up to 600 Curlew in a flooded field south of Cockerham Sands Country Park, a decent count for a species in serious decline which has secured it's place on the red list of birds of highest conservation concern in the UK. Also on the flood, c.120 Redshank, and singles of Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, and a Golden Plover, with 3 Little Egret seen.

Off Slack Lane, a family party of 5 Whooper Swan two adult and three juvenile which flew low past me 2.5 hours later heading SW towards Pilling Marsh, a Buzzard was in a tree close by, and as I drove down Moss Lane the kestrel seen again.

Three hours after the high tide I called in on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock to note at least 2,500 Golden Plover, c.350 Dunlin were by far my best count of the species on the estuary this winter, with a Red-breasted Merganser seen. I also got my best count this winter of 23 Goldeneye with 9 on the estuary and 14 on the canal basin where there was a Great-crested Grebe. 


Cockersands Abbey & Rainbow. Pete Woodruff.

Something rare for Cockersands yesterday, the sea was like a millpond, barely a breath of wind and some spells of sunshine....'twas a delight to be there along the headland, and with a half decent rainbow as I headed back to the motor.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Short And Sweet!

After some hesitation on Friday I got geared up at home and took them off again when it bucketed down. I geared up again when it cleared to get to Conder Green and immediately see the Spotted Redshank for the first time in six visits since 10 December, 9 Little Grebe included three in the creeks, also on Conder Pool, 5 Snipe a pair of Goosander and 25 Wigeon. From the old railway bridge, I saw what was almost certainly a Greenshank glimpsed as it disappeared up a channel and out of sight, 4 Goldeneye had found their way up the Conder channel, a Grey Plover down here was a first this winter, though in years past this was an annual single winter bird at Conder Green, 10 Long-tailed Tit were seen from the coastal path.


Common Gull. Jan Larsson @ Vingspann  

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, at least 550 Common Gull was exceptional and a higher count than the c.400 seen here Tuesday. Also of note, 2 Goldeneye, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, and a Great-crested Grebe. Waders noted were, just c.70 Golden Plover, a similar number of Dunlin, and 15 Bar-tailed Godwit. Along Jeremy Lane I watched a Sparrowhawk taking a keen interest in the Starling flock feeding in the field from a perching post, and a Little Egret flew over....Thanks for the Common Gull Jan. 

Barn Owl. Cockersands 8 January. Howard Stockdale.

Thirteen Goldeneye were back on the canal basin. On Moss Lane I saw 2 kestrel in close proximity on the way to Cockersands where I had to sit out a heavy and prolonged shower in good company at Crook Cottage. But the walk when the rain let up along the headland in semi-darkness proved rewarding when I saw the Barn Owl to collect my sixth record of the bird which performed well for the occupants of two cars parked up on the lane, the bird flew to perch on roadside fence posts at least four times. Meanwhile a Buzzard flew low over the fields, and a kestrel came to perch on a post close to me....So there had to be another Barn Owl picture, and this one with evidence and good news the bird fed on this occasion at least. Thanks for the image Howard....Brilliant. 

A short days birding, but sweet with it. 


Cockersands Light. Pete Woodruff.

Usually a good idea is to stay in the car if it looks like this through the windscreen as you arrive at Cockersands.

Many thanks to Marc for the Kittiwakes header.

Friday, 8 January 2016

No Apologies....It's Barnie Again.

Tuesday 5 January....Better late than never!

Barn Owl. Howard Stockdale.  

I was checking out a bird which I saw dive on the Cocker Estuary - I always get excited when I see a bird dive and don't know what it is until it comes back up - when up walked birders Geoff and Frank. I said something like....'if your luck's in you should see a Barn Owl whilst you're here today'....two minutes later I told them to look towards Abbey Farm to see the Barn Owl....I said the fee was a fiver each, but can't repeat the reply on Birds2blog! 

The bird I had seen diving on the Cocker turned out to be a drake Red-breasted Merganser. Seven Black-tailed Godwit and 32 Pink-footed Geese flew south during my walk along the headland at Cockersands.

Tree Sparrow  Marc Heath


In and around Bank Houses horse paddock, 4 Tree Sparrow, 7 Blackbird, a Mistle Thrush, Great Tit, Blue Tit, and 2 Brown Hare.

Out of several hundred gulls on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock I picked out an adult Mediterranean Gull and noted c.400 Common Gull, with up to a similar number of Black headed Gull. Also of note, at least 2,750 Golden Plover and 160 Bar-tailed Godwit, a drake Red-breasted Merganser and 7 Goldeneye. I found no Goldeneye on the canal basin today but noted a Great-crested Grebe.

It was good to find the Common Sandpiper at Conder Green again, the first time in three visits since I last saw the bird on 15 December, it had the creeks to itself, they were otherwise deserted. On Conder Pool, 6 Little Grebe, also of note, the recently resident drake Goldeneye, a female Goosander, 2 Snipe, and 25 Wigeon.

Thanks to Howard for yet another brilliant Barn Owl, and to Mark for his excellent Tree Sparrow.

I'm keen to get to the Bowland uplands sometime soonbut not keen enough at the moment, with places like Clougha and Harrisend having areas like giant sponges.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

In The End....Another Barnie.

Hardly riveting on my first days birding in 2016 yesterday, but the visit to Cockersands was rewarded by yet another Barn Owl. Reasonably obvious the same bird as seen 28 December behind Bank Houses horse paddock, which is where this one ended up quartering again today. I had picked the bird up as it flew through the yard at Abbey Farm. It would have been good to have seen it coming out of one of the buildings at the farm as proof that this is where the bird is currently hanging out. I've never seen a Barn Owl at or anywhere near this farm before.

Back to the beginning....At Conder Green, despite a full circuit, the creeks were deserted save a solitary Curlew and two of the 8 Little Grebe seen here today, the other six on the pool. Also on Conder Pool, a single Snipe was on one of the nest boxes which look like they are never going to float off the island as I predicted they may, unless the weather has other ideas. Up to 50 Mallard and Teal, with 15 Wigeon, 5 Tufted Duck, and 2 Shelduck....I've not seen the Spotted Redshank at Conder Green since 7 December, nor the Common Sandpiper since 15 December. 

On the Lune Estuary, a Ruff was with a group separate from a total of c.450 Redshank, also c.2,500 Golden Plover, c.55 Black-tailed Godwit, a few scattered Bar-tailed Godwit, and at least 50 Dunlin. I saw a total of 14 Goldeneye, three on the estuary, and eleven on the canal basin.

A Kestrel was on Moss Lane, and off Crook Farm at Cockersands, c.1,500 Lapwing, 55 Golden Plover and 50 Dunlin. Around the winter cover crop on Slack Lane 2 Greenfinch, and in and around Bank Houses horse paddock, 10 Goldfinch, 7 Blackbird, a Song Thrush, and Mistle Thrush.

Back to the end....Enter the Barn Owl!

Garden Birds. 

Siskin. Noushka Dufort @ 1000-Pattes  

A smart little male Siskin visited our feeders yesterday morning, a scarce bird in our garden, the last one being 27 January 2015, later 2 Greenfinch appeared as another quite scarce garden species for us. 

And finally....


A Siberian Chiffchaff was on the RBA pager yesterday SW of Lancaster at Aldcliffe Marsh. 



Siberian Chiffchaff. Chris Batty.

This Siberian Chiffchaff was photographed in a Knott End garden precisely 3 years ago today on 5 January 2013. There's some interesting reading about the complexities of the Siberian Chiffchaff HERE 

Thanks to Noushka and Chris for the photographs, always appreciated. 

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Barnie Bonanza.


Barn Owl Brian Rafferty


It must to be a pleasure for every birder to get their eyes on a Barn Owl. I had the pleasure three times over three consecutive birding days last week, and in our recording area there was three other reports.

This is all good news for Barn Owl seekers, but not good news for the bird as each one seen daytime hunting is struggling for survival with little if anything being caught during hunting hours of the night making the necessity of daytime hunts essential.

The sequence of these six sightings - all at different locations - began for me on Moss Lane when I saw my first bird on 23 December, it was followed by two more sightings, one on the same date, and another the following day 24 December both reported HERE Another Barn Owl was found at Stodday, reported by a friend who phoned me to say his son had seen a bird on Sunday 27 December. I had the fifth sighting at Bank Houses at Cockersands on 28 December, and saw the sixth at Glasson Dock the following day 29 December.

There's no telling how many Barn Owls are involved in these sightings, some of them could be duplicate records of the same bird, but they could all be individuals, birds from a pair which is what I do know the Haresnape Farm birds are/were, and as a result of my enquiries I'm reliably informed the A6 bird is thought to be from an undisclosed location. 

With the wet and windy December weather continuing into January the Barn Owl is struggling, some of the fields are like inland lakes, and the ditches are overflowing, their feathers are not waterproof and they cannot be exposed to rain for long periods of time, they are moving around and roaming widely in search of food. 

Add to all this, whilst the Barn Owl had an excellent year in 2014, the breeding season was not as good in 2015 according to an interesting conversation I had with Bob Danson when I saw him at Fluke Hall on Tuesday last....Good to meet you BD, long time no see.

Thanks again for the Barn Owl images including the new header....Brilliant Brian. 


Blackbird. Antonio Puigg 


Eight Blackbirds together in our small urban garden yesterday....Thanks Antonio.