BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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CLOUGHA PIKE HEATHER CLAD. FORMER LANCASHIRE STONECHAT STRONGHOLD. PETE WOODRUFF

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Here And There....

....though definitely not everywhere, but I was back at Conder Green again on Friday to be concerned that despite a thirty minute watch I had no sight nor sound of any Avocet. 

So....having made notes at Conder Pool of 5 Little Grebe, at least 170 Lapwing, a single Black-tailed Godwit, and 3 Little Egret which were in the area I had been seeing Avocet for week's, I went off to find 6 Common Sandpiper down the Conder channel, and 4 Gatekeeper along the coastal path. As I approached Conder Pool on my return I heard the call, got to the viewing platform, and soon saw the adult Avocet in the air and seeing off some unwanted company whilst the young bird was happily feeding away....Phew!

A female Tufted Duck and four ducklings on Conder Pool were a sorry little sight as this small duck may well have initially had up to twelve young - certainly more than four - and I see reports of just three chicks seen yesterday.

An adult Mediterranean Gull was with a few hundred gulls on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, and I saw an adult Common Tern carrying a fish in it's bill being harried by large gulls. As I see it this was evidence that young are still in the area, this bird would have eaten the fish immediately it caught it, but was carrying it to feed a young bird, in any event I don't think the Conder Pool young have yet dispersed too far from their natal site though I've not seen them nor seen any reports of anyone else doing so.

I decided Aldcliffe might be a good option for some butterflies as the sun put in an appearance and it was quite hot by mid-afternoon. Along the top path from Aldcliffe Hall Lane from where I found the flood deserted, a pristine Painted Lady seen, with 4 Meadow Brown, 3 Gatekeeper, 3 Speckled Wood, a Peacock, and up to 40 Large White seen.    

Brown Hawker Marc Heath

On Darter Pool I watched a Brown Hawker, easily identified by it's amber wings shimmering in the sunlight as it fluttered and glided over the pool, it was chased by another dragonfly which had me out of my depth unfortunately, but it's aggressive behaviour towards the Brown Hawker in a strong fast flight, and some colouration noted had me suppose perhaps a Common Hawker.

Green Sandpiper Noushka Dufort  

Two Green Sandpiper were on the Wildfowler's Pool, and a Little Grebe was the only bird of note on Freeman's Pool, with a Willow Warbler, a few Goldfinch, and a small number of Swallow and House Martin over. 

Thanks to Richard/Marc/Noushka for their respective photographs, appreciated as always. 

Friday, 29 July 2016

This And That!

I enjoyed some time at Heysham on Wednesday, arriving there three hours before high tide to look over Red Nab, check the outfalls, and look in on Heysham Harbour.

Guillemot. Pete Woodruff.

This was the best I could do for a picture of the Guillemot currently finding itself in Heysham Harbour, in the corner by the power station intake.

There was a large gathering of gulls on Wednesday, I'd seen a report of perhaps up to 1,000 small gulls on the outfalls in recent day's, but my estimate on Wednesday was that of 500 on Stage 2, and 50 on Stage 1. But my main aim was to eventually find 14 Mediterranean Gull, with eleven on Red Nab near high tide, one seen on Stage 1, and two on Stage 2.
  
Kittiwake. Pete Woodruff.

A 1st summer Kittiwake was squat on the sea wall. The picture I took today looks identical to the one I took here on 12 July when I made this comment....'including 2 Kittiwake, one of which was this 1st summer bird which was squat on the sea wall and was reluctant to stand and take to the wing until I got within 2 metres of it to squat again further down the sea wall'....Today's bird behaved in precisely the same manner in that it only flew when I was almost able to touch it, and went down to squat on the sea wall again. This is almost certainly the same Kittiwake seen here 12 July, in which case it's difficult to know what the problem is with this bird.

Earlier I had been to Conder Green if only to see how the star bird was faring on Conder Pool, I found an adult and the young Avocet which was wing flapping with gusto on one ocassion. An increase to 5 Little Grebe on the pool has these bird's arriving back here a little earlier than in previous years particularly in this number. Along the coastal path, 5 Common Sandpiper were downstream in the channel. I saw a Whitethroat, and found 4 Gatekeeper and a Small Skipper.

A bit of this, and a bit of that today....Nice.  

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

....And A Pleasant Plover Surprise.


Avocet. Pete Woodruff.

This photograph was taken yesterday just fourteen days after the top one showing a good healthy growth of the lone surviving Conder Pool Avocet, seen with an adult still seeing everything off coming close to the young bird which is on the verge of fledging in the next few days.

Also noted on the pool, 2 Little Grebe, up to 120 Lapwing and 5 Redshank. In the creeks, 5 Little Egret were feeding in a close group, with 14 Common Sandpiper and 4 Greenshank between here and down the Conder channel. Three Whitethroat were seen as an adult and two juvenile in an area I've checked all summer and neither heard nor seen them there until today. 

On the Lune Estuary, gull numbers were very low, and very few notable wader numbers, though the Dunlin and Redshank were driven close to the bowling green by the incoming tide, 2 Greenshank may have been from Conder Green, 2 Turnstone are at best scarce here, a single Bar-tailed Godwit, a Great-crested Grebe, and a fishing adult Common Tern seen.   

Common Tern. Glasson Canal Basin. Pete Woodruff.

This adult Common Tern was on the canal basin after I left the Lune Estuary, this could have been the same estuary bird.

Up to high tide, Plover Scar was quiet, though if I said there was up to 200 waders on there it would sound like a contradiction, with c.100 Oystercatcher, 80 Dunlin, 18 Redshank, 6 Ringed Plover, and a single Knot seen.

A Pleasant Plover Surprise.

Dunlin. Cockersand. Pete Woodruff.

These Dunlin were two of six on the cobbled slipway below the kissing-gate by Cockersand Abbey escaping the high tide. It was here I had my pleasant plover surprise, when I heard the call of an adult bird. It hadn't looked good last Thursday when I saw just one chick from three being called to by the parent bird as it scuttled along and away from Plover Scar to escape the tide. So it was excellent that I saw all three young Ringed Plover today in the same area as last week, fit and well with the growth of a week since I first found them on 18 July.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Time On My Hands.

I had some time on my hands Friday afternoon, and decided the weather was perfect for a haul up the track to Birk Bank to walk across the summit and back down to Ottergear Bridge to return via the bottom track noting 13 species in the three hours there.


Garden Warbler. Jan Larsson @ Vingspann

The car park at Rigg Lane was pretty lively and I had my third sighting of the Garden Warbler there, luckier to find this time than the previous two sightings as the bird gave itself away in full song then, today it was silent but I picked it up when I checked some movement in the trees. This bird appears to have bred here this year, it was carrying food in it's bill and was very active. Thanks to Jan for the typical view of a Garden Warbler. 

Also noted here, 3 Robin two of which were juvenile which took a disliking to each other and were in a fight, 4 Blackbird, one of which was a juvenile, and a Willow Warbler.

I was encouraged on my way across the top of Birk Bank, when the first birds seen on my arrival were a pair of Stonechat, but the encouragement had died a death when I'd found no more two hours later. Decent numbers of Swift and Swallow went over in small waves, and a mix of at least 150 Carrion Crow and Rook were in the air over the ridge, 4 Meadow Pipit and a few Wood Pigeon over, with a Buzzard and a Kestrel the only two raptors seen to make up the 13 species.

A Meadow Brown was the only one seen on the perfect day for them....where are all the butterflies?  

Stonechat Behaviour.

I observed some interesting Stonechat behaviour today albeit quite brief, when I watched the female of the pair - which were well separated at the time - go 10m into the air to fall and rise again, hovering for around 5 seconds before dropping back down. All this was a good part of the behaviour by a male in a song display flight, the female doesn't perform this display flight, nor does the female Stonechat sing in any season. 

This was a first for me, and I can find no mention in any literature of this kind of behaviour by the female Stonechat. 

Thanks to Warren for the excellent Spotted Flycatcher header.  

Saturday, 23 July 2016

The Keeled Skimmer.

I was disappointed on two visits I made to the bog three hours apart at Birk Bank yesterday. When I arrived there on both occasions the hot sun which had been blazing onto the bog had disappeared behind the clouds and a breeze blew up making things a little more cooler. 

However, on the second visit I did see a dragonfly briefly over the bog, then to settle on the board-walk for little more than 30 seconds during which time I managed one of my now famous half decent images before the creature flew off never to be seen again in the thirty minutes I waited for it's return.

But the brief sighting, and the resulting picture was all that was needed to confirm my suspicions that I had found the fourth Lancashire record of a Keeled Skimmer on Birk Bank Bog.  

Keeled Skimmer. Birk Bank Bog 22 July. Pete Woodruff.

The Keeled Skimmer is a species of bogs and mires in western areas and parts of southern Britain, populations are found in North Wales and Cumbria. The Keeled Skimmer became the latest species to be added to the Lancashire List when Allen Holmes found a male on the Grindleton Forest Pond in August 2013.

Steve Graham found two - possibly three - male Keeled Skimmers on Birk Bank Bog last year in August 2015, at which time the comment was made....'perhaps colonisation is finally underway'....maybe yesterdays sighting contributes to confirming this.

I'm grateful to Steve White, and my reference to 'The Dragonflies of Lancashire and North Merseyside' and 'Lancashire Bird Report' in helping me with this excellent record. 

Otherwise.

There were other interests for me yesterday when I went up the track from Rigg Lane to cross the top of Birk Bank and back to the bog for my successful return there three hours later, but other things have now taken over my birding/blogging life, so this will have to wait until I get the weekend behind me.

Friday, 22 July 2016

....And A Decent Whimbrel Count.

Whimbrel/Dunlin. Plover Scar High Tide 21 July. Pete Woodruff.

More birds with their backs to me and facing into the wind whilst I took the picture.

On Plover Scar at high tide yesterday, up to 200 waders included a decent count of 27 Whimbrel, with c.150 Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plover, 8 Knot, and 2 Golden Plover, 7 Eider were off here.

Of note on the Lune Estuary, a 2nd summer Mediterranean Gull, single Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit, and 2 Teal by the Conder mouth.

On Conder Pool, an adult Avocet, with the young bird wing flapping on two ocassions and ready to fledge next week. A lone Greenshank had separated itself from c.120 Redshank, with a similar number of Lapwing and 6 Dunlin here, a Little Grebe and 2 Wigeon were noted.

On the circuit, 12 Common Sandpiper were in the creeks and down the channel towards the estuary where I saw a Goosander. Four Swift were over, and up to 20 House Martin were around River Winds and Cafe d' Lune where both properties still have active nests.

The Plover Scar Ringed Plovers.

I saw the breeding pair of Ringed Plover frantically flying round and calling at one chick which was scurrying away from the scar below the sea wall in a bid to escape the tide. I eventually lost sight of the chick in the area of the shore below the kissing gate near Cockersand Abbey, but the parent birds kept flying around and calling with no sign of the other two chicks seen on Monday.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Stock Taking On The Lune Estuary.

Monday 18 July.

Juvenile Wheatear. Pete Woodruff.


Pity it had it's back to me as I got just one shot at the juvenile Wheatear at Cockersand before it flew off, still showing some down in it's plumage.

An excellent find on Plover Scar at high tide was 6 Ringed Plover a pair of which were constantly calling for the thirty minutes I was stood motionless to find the reason being three chicks recently out of their shingle nest. Also on Plover Scar, c.90 Dunlin, with 6 Whimbrel and a single Bar-tailed Godwit close by on Long Tongue, 16 Eider were off here.

Inland at Cockersand, 6 Linnet seen, and I counted 9 Tree Sparrow and 3 Whitethroat feeding on the road ahead....curious! I saw 5 Swift in the three hours here, all loose individuals flying south, and 16 Swallow were on wires on Slack Lane.

The tide was five hours gone when I got to Glasson Dock, the Lune Estuary was quiet with gull numbers not reaching the hundred mark, but 12 Little Egret counted, with my highest post breeding number so far of c.700 Lapwing noted.

Conder Pool was quite a buzz with 17 species easily counted, they included the Avocet adults and lone young growing nicely towards fledging. 6 Common Sandpiper, a Greenshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, a Stock Dove, Little Grebe and Little Egret, with House Martins, Swallows, c.30 Curlew and a Kestrel over heading towards the estuary.

From Conder Pool viewing platform I saw a dread of around a thousand birds come up into the air from the Jeremy Lane area, certainly a large number of c.500 Lapwing, with Curlew and gulls before settling back down again.

The Conder Common Tern.


Common Tern adult and juvenile with Redshank 12 July. Pete Woodruff.

The Common Tern may have departed, I've not seen them since an adult and juvenile on 12 July, but there was a report on Sunday 17 July when all four adult/juvenile were seen on Conder Pool, but not since. Therefore a breeding programme concluded in ten weeks and two days - arrival to departure - for a pair of Common Tern on Conder Pool and their third consecutive year, with ten weeks of pleasure watching all this unfold. Excellent....amazing even. 

Meanwhile, the Avocet which arrived on Conder Pool two weeks after the Common Tern on 20 May, their story continues with bated breath.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Blast From The Past.

Copy of a post on Birds2blog 5 years ago, with photographs by yours truly.

Down By The Riverside. 12 July 2011. 

River Lune



The River Lune snakes its way through the beautiful Lune Valley. In the picture above the river is actually flowing north east which is towards the direction it came from. Ingleborough is in the distance the very tip of its summit in the clouds, but as the river goes out of sight on the left in the picture it turns to head south west again towards Lancaster and on to the estuary about 12 miles downstream at Cockersands. So here I was doing what I love to do the best, to the neglect of everyone and everything else.


Little Ringed Plover

Five hours plus on the River Lune upstream from Bull Beck yesterday produced some excellent results and I refused to award the Gold to any given species as I was torn between 5 Little Ringed Plovers including two unfledged but growing young, and the 4 Green Sandpipers I saw together an hour later further upstream on the best flood I've seen in ages and in perfect condition, a Kingfisher seen was also excellent. With the risk of duplicate counting taken into account I recorded at least 22 Common Sandpipers, also of note a lone Ringed Plover, 8 Grey Wagtail, a juvenile Robin, a Kestrel, 3 Red Admiral and a 'few' Small Tortoiseshell noted. 

Oystercatcher

Oystercatchers were dotted about here and there on the shingle and I saw one young chick on the visit. I have no idea of the status of the Sand Martin on the River Lune in 2011, if there is info somewhere out there about this I've had no time to look for it, what I do know is that I'd rate the numbers I saw here yesterday as at least 'quite large' and it was a joy to watch young in the bank opposite peering out of the many nest holes, quite a few of them with three little bodies vying for pole position at the entrance.

Living on the edge.

During the visit here I couldn't help but think, the natural world these birds are part of is also their enemy particularly during the breeding season. The Little Ringed Plover adults were watching their two young every move whilst threats like the Grey Heron, 'gulls' and 'corvids' were all on the prowl. Also the fact these birds are breeding on the shingle banks are at some risk of being washed away following any prolonged heavy rain causing the river to flood and wash away everything in its path including the many hundreds of Sand Martins trapped in their nest holes until fledged.

Back to the present 18 July 2016, and I'm off to give the Lune Estuary a good going over.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Probably....

....the best  lager Stonechats in the world!

With 12 Stonechat found on Harrisend yesterday - only one of which was a male - there was evidence that four breeding pairs are in the area I cover on this fell this year. This is by far the best count on Harrisend since 24 July 2008 when I made the same count of 12 birds, and puts Harrisend back on the map for Stonechats in numbers equal to pre the harsh winters of 2009/10/11.

Also in the count of 13 species in the three hours I spent on Harrisend, 16 Meadow Pipit, 4 Blackbird including one juvenile, 3 Reed Bunting, a Wrenand Wood Pigeon over. I kept seeing large numbers of corvid exploding into the air above the ridge, but on one ocassion I estimated what seemed a strange mix of up to 400 Carrion Crow and Rook, Lapwing, and Starling in the air, with at least 3 Raven noted, raptors seen were a Buzzard and Kestrel


Little Grebe with small fry. Pete Woodruff.

I dropped down to the coast and Conder Green from Harrisend to find the Avocet family still in tact, with the adult birds seeing off anything in sight that moved. A couple of sightings on Conder Pool which stirred me nicely was my first Kingfisher here this year, 2 Little Grebe in their brilliant summer dress was rewarding, and were the first on the pool since the last winter bird I saw on 5 April. A wander around the creeks and channels followed and produced a count of 13 Common Sandpiper.


2nd summer Mediterranean Gull. Pete Woodruff.

The Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock had livened up considerably, if only because a large number of gulls were present compared to little more than fifty on Tuesday, and included 5 Mediterranean Gull, also of note were up to 30 Bar-tailed Godwit.

The Conder Common Terns. 

There was no sign yesterday of any of the two adult and two juvenile Common Terns on Conder Pool, the Lune Estuary, or at Cockersands, and I've since seen no reports of them anywhere to date.

Thanks to Howard for his excellent in flight Whimbrel header.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Same Again Please!

Avocet. Conder Pool 12 July. Pete Woodruff.

A re-run of Monday's birding had one adult and a young Avocet seen on Conder Pool. The young bird won't be out of the wood until it fledges by the end of the month, and when I took this photograph no parent birds were in sight whilst it was on it's own and out in the open.

One adult and both juvenile Common Tern were seen in the early afternoon, but an e-mail from AC in the evening told me an adult and two juveniles were seen to leave the pool and head out towards the Lune Estuary, excellent stuff but back on the pool yesterday.

A Photographic Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Kent: Migrant Hawker &emdash;
Migrant Hawker Marc Heath  

On the coastal path at Conder Green, a Migrant Hawker, 2 Meadow Brown, and a Small Skipper seen. Noted on the Lune Estuary, a Common Sandpiper, 6 Eider, and c.150 Curlew, a Sparrowhawk zoomed passed me only a few metres out. Appreciate the Hawker Marc, thank you. 

Kittiwake. Pete Woodruff.

I was in the company of AC for three hours at Heysham later in the afternoon, enjoyable but hard work to find a few birds of note, including 2 Kittiwake, one of which was this 1st summer bird which was squat on the seawall and was reluctant to stand and take to the wing until I got within 2 metres of it to squat again further down the seawall, the other Kittiwake was an adult flying around stage one outfall. On Red Nab towards high tide, a 2nd summer Mediterranean Gull, c.350 Curlew, and a single Bar-tailed Godwit which was something of a surprise.

What a difference a day makes.

At Heysham yesterday, a minimum of 22 Mediterranean Gull and 2 Little Gull were recorded at and around the outfalls. Noting the result above for the three hours AC and I put in here the day before....there's no justice in birding at times!!

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

A Little Action....

....ends up a damp squib.

It was excellent to see the juvenile Common Terns yesterday, flying around and preening with a parent bird. A considerable difference of growth and fledging between the young Common Terns and the one remaining Avocet young when you note they were all hatched around the same time, the Common Tern will be fishing on the Lune Estuary any time soon, whilst the young Avocet won't fledge for another 14 days at the earliest.

Adult And Juvenile Common Terns. Conder Pool 11 July. Pete Woodruff.


On Conder Pool, all four Common Tern seen, and all three Avocet showing, with up to 150 Redshank present, a Goosander, 'the' single Black-tailed Godwit, and a Little Egret. In the creeks and down the Conder channel 12 Common Sandpiper found.

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock,  an Avocet  was at the Conder mouth, 2 Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, 6 Eider, at least 350 Lapwing seen, and the total number of gulls here today was little more than fifty birds. An adult Common Tern seen on the estuary, with one seen on two visits to the canal basin three hours apart, can't be assumed to be a Conder Pool bird. 

The Damp Squib.

I decided to have another shot at Heysham, but against my better judgement I set off in rain and ventured forward in the hope it would clear up....it didn't, and I was hit in the face with a stiff wind and heavy rain along the seawall and eventually turned tail and hot footed it out of the place, but not before I'd found 2 Mediterranean Gullboth stunning birds, an adult and a 2nd summer. At stage two outfall, an adult Arctic Tern and Common Tern, but I'm drowning here now....goodbye.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Below The Nuclear Giant.

In July last year Mediterranean Gull numbers at Heysham were good, I don't recall the month's peak count, but I made two visits during the month, and on 3 July I found eleven birds. So I decided to see what the picture was this year and got to Heysham on Friday 2.5 hours before the high tide to check the roost at Red Nab, and the birds feeding over the power station outfalls.

When I arrived numbers on Red Nab were small, but 2 Mediterranean Gull adult were amongst the mainly Black-headed Gull. I moved on along the seawall to find an adult Arctic Tern on Stage Two outfall, and a 1st summer Little Gull on Stage One, rewarding and made the effort worth while for me. 

1st Summer Little Gull. Red Nab. Pete Woodruff.

When I returned to Red Nab from the outfalls about an hour before the high tide, gull numbers were even smaller than earlier, though I assume this is not generally the case until the tide has pushed them off. But eventually the Little Gull obliged by coming down on to the rocks to give me excellent views. These two photographs are the best from a few attempts. 

Arctic Tern/Mediterranean Gull. Red Nab. Pete Woodruff. 


Also very obligingly, the Arctic Tern decided to go stand and be dwarfed by an adult Mediterranean Gull. 

Walking back through the Nature Park I heard a Blackcap and Song Thrush both in good voice, a Dunnock, and saw my first Gatekeeper this year, and 2 Meadow Brown.

I decided to get myself up to date at Conder Pool and gave the viewing platform 30 minutes to see 2 Avocet adults, and the young bird still surviving and growing by the day, saw 2 Common Tern, an adult and fledged juvenile, and 14 Common Sandpiper.

The Common Sandpiper....A wintering note.

According to my records, the Common Sandpiper has wintered at Conder Green for seven years since 2008, but I found one 10 years earlier on 1 November 1998, but never saw one in winter here again until 2008. 


So things are looking good, with the star birds progressing well at Conder Pool, and some bonuses for me at Heysham today, and more evidence that perhaps time I got myself some decent photographic equipment!

Thanks for the brilliant Little Owl header, the ultimate of a 'pic with a difference' much appreciated Gary.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Bowland's Twenty Three For Six.

Not the day I hoped for yesterday when I went off to Bowland in weather more like the first week in April than July. I decided to do a count, and ended up with 23 species in six hours....well this is upland birding.

The day started on a down note when a couple of hours on Hawthornthwaite produced not a single Stonechat, but a healthy 18 Meadow Pipit were counted with little effort, and at least 8 Sand Martin were hawking over Catshaw Greave.


Crossbill Naturanafotos   


I was coming to the end of the six hour session at around 4.45 pm, when I saw a movement in the conifer tops about 100 metres up the road from Trough Bridge at SD612538 and briefly saw the brick-red plumage of a bird which I failed to see again, but in hanging around for a few minutes my luck was in, and at least 8 Crossbill returned flying back into the conifer tops....nice one.

Also of note between Marshaw - Tower Lodge - Trough Bridge, 5 Spotted Flycatcher indicating three pairs here this year, also 3 Common Sandpiper still up here and not with their early returning relatives at Conder Green, 9 Grey Wagtail were seen as another example of a good year for the species at three locations I visited in Bowland recently, Dipper2 Nuthatch and a single Willow Warbler seen, a Red Grouse glimpsed as I went briefly out on to the moor east of Trough Bridge before I retraced my steps back to Marshaw where a good number of Sand Martin, with House Martin and Swallow were hawking over the Marshaw Wyre.

I called in at Christ Church, Abbeystead on the way back to Lancaster, to find four active House Martin nests at the vicarage, and one at the church.

Three Swift were over our house this afternoon, I've never seen this behaviour by the Swift before, not seen below rooftop height and not over our garden. 

Thanks to Ana for the brilliant images of the Crossbill, I appreciate this very much.  

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Stars Of The Green And A Ringed Plover.

Four days later and I was back at Conder Green to find the Avocet pair still in charge of the one surviving young, coming along a treat and growing, but still needs luck for another three weeks to be out of the woods and flying....I'll take a shot at fledged by 25 July.

I saw the two adult Common Tern, but no sign of any young, though I'm confident they are well and were in hiding. According to a text message I received on Friday, one of the young had fledged, had flown and dropped into the pontoon, apparently the adult was frantic as the young bird was unable to get lift off and out of the pontoon, but it was reported flying on Sunday. 


Common Tern. Conder Pool. Pete Woodruff.

This was the Common Terns on 21 June with a young bird on the left. I had the two young down to fledge on or around 9 July, but one of them fledged on 1 July 10 days after I took the picture....amazing!

Eighteen Common Sandpiper were at Conder Green yesterday, ten were in the creeks and eight down the Conder Channel, 2 Wigeon both drakes were on Conder Pool, a Goosander was in the creeks, a Reed Bunting in the hedgerow, and 2 Swift over.

I only covered half the Cockersands plan yesterday. On Plover Scar at high tide, 95 Knot, 6 Ringed Plover and similar Dunlin. A single Eider took off from the sea, I watched this bird fly across to Middleton to land on the sea again just offshore.

On what little wanderings I did at Cockersands, I noted 6 Goldfinch, 3 Whitethroat, saw my first 4 Meadow Brown this year, c.25 Small Tortoiseshell, a Six-spot Burnet, and a Painted Lady....


....Think I'll Go Home! 


The Plover Scar Ringed Plover.

On 19 June a Ringed Plover was reported on Plover Scar, the bird apparently had four eggs in a nest. Yesterday I saw a Ringed Plover sitting on the shingle like it was still on the nest, not long after when I looked again it was stood motionless in the same place looking around. It's difficult to know where this stands in relation to whether or not this bird is still in the breeding programme, and I was reluctant to go on to the scar to investigate and disturb the bird. However when I left the area, looking back I saw two people with an unleashed mutt who had done just that along with the 100 plus other waders I'd been counting earlier....the scar is now birdless.

This is definitely not good for the birds, and certainly not for the breeding Ringed Plover, the mutt sniffed it's way around the entire area of Plover Scar, and to say the least I'm not happy about this 'free range' mutts and people situation.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Moonbird Part 2.

Moonbird has featured on Birds2blog before, but I was keen to get an update on this bird, but the nearest I got was of a sighting last year in mid-march 2015 at Tierra del Fuego which makes this remarkable creature at least 24 years old and one of the world's most famous bird's.

Moonbird. Jan van de Kam.


There are six Red Knot subspecies, this is B95, a rufa Red Knot, better known as Moonbird. Weighing a mere 4 ounces Moonbird has flown in excess of the distance to the moon and half way back in it's lifetime, during which the world population of Red Knot has declined by 80%, but still Moonbird flies on in his 24 years, just one year behind the longest known Knot of another subspecies of 25 years, begging the question....how does this one bird make it year on year when so many others fail.    

B95's Great Migration Circuit


Moonbird was banded B95 in 1995 at Tierra del Fuego, and the amazing migration circuit takes him from Rio Grande,Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, to his breeding grounds, to return just a few weeks later to Rio Grande in Argentina, an epic journey of an estimated 18,000 each year....mind blowing. The map is best read enlarged 'clik the pik' to do this.

Food for thought....If birds were banned from the southern hemisphere, there wouldn't be enough food to support them in the north. So they've learned to spread out, and by doing so, they've maximised the world population of their species. The Red Knot goes to the Arctic because of the incredible amount of food there for a few short weeks, but they have to be out of there by August before the winter returns.

But there's a dark cloud over all this, the rufa Red knot population at Delaware Bay - one of the three top stopovers of the world - has crashed from 90,000 in the bay's heyday, to a catastrophic low of 13,000 today according to the Delaware Shorebird Project team, and this looming shadow of extinction makes B95's long life all the more improbable.

The Northhumberland Knot.  

On 18 August 1959 a cannon netting excersise in Northumberland caught in excess of 1,000 waders, amongst them was a canutus Red Knot to be ringed, this individual was found more than 3,000 miles away in West Africa just five days later on 23 August.

Quote....To watch the flight of shorebirds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be....Rachel Carson.

Thanks to BR for the excellent and appropriate new header on Birds2blog.