Monday, 16 October 2017

Nectar Points!

I got no further than Conder Green and Glasson last Thursday, and haven't had the time for Birds2blog since. Not enough hours in a day, and too much other stuff to deal with....I can't go on like this, I'm like a fish out of water!

The 2 Common Sandpiper found on Conder Pool 6 October when the resident bird was seeing off the intruder, appear to have become friends, they were in the creeks and were feeding amiably a few metres apart, a Goosander was also noted. On Conder Pool, 15 Little Grebe, and the lone Pink-footed Goose was grazing along the rear terrace, but the single Wigeon of late had another for company, 40 Goldfinch were flighty, and a Comma butterfly with wings folded in the bushes, couldn't possibly have been happy in the weather conditions.

Notes from the Lune Estuary, an adult Mediterranean Gull, 180 Curlew, a solitary Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Great-crested Grebe, and a Peregrine Falcon on Colloway Marsh.

Around Christ Church, singles of Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Goldfinch, and Blackbird

No Nectar Points there then!

Spotted Redshank.

Spotted Redshank. Conder Green. Pete Woodruff.

The Spotted Redshank has as yet failed to return to Conder Green, last year it did so a month ago on 14 September when I photographed it with the Grey Heron.

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Day Off!

With the motor ill in hospital on Tuesday, birding options were limited, so I opted to do the Lancaster - Glasson walk following the coastal path. An excellent birding location which was to be honest quite pathetic....the birds were having a day off.

I set out from Skerton Bridge where I saw around 50 gulls on the river, mainly Black-headed Gull, with a few Herring/Common/LBB and a GBB, then - 2 Robin aside - I'd seen not another small bird by the time I got to the flood at Aldcliffe which now has to be renamed Aldcliffe Lake, no muddy edges and not a bird in sight, the Wildfowler's Pools likewise.

I'd now covered over 2 miles, but from here no improvement. I saw nothing until I reached the railway cutting where I found 6 Blackbird, then unbelievably saw just 3 Greenfinch before I got beyond the old red bricked bridge over the railway behind Waterloo where I found my first and only Blue Tit of the day, but did see 5 Great Tit.

The rest of the way to Glasson proved to be the reality of a birding session in this area in October. Maybe it is a good example of the status of birds not being as good as we'd like to think and say it is, and as much about numbers as the low species count.

Little Egret. Pete Woodruff.

But there was a few positives on the walk along this excellent old railway route, with a count of 31 Little Egret made, nothing too surprising about that given that probably in excess of 100 will be roosting at Ashton Hall, with 159 there on 8 October last year. Two Gadwall were the only birds of note on Freeman's Pools, a Little Grebe took the honours on the Wildfowler's Pools, 3 Greenfinch at Stodday are a species not to be taken for granted these days, with 5 Red Admiral seen here, and 10 Long-tailed Tit as I approached Conder Green where I saw the Common Sandpiper at high tide, a flock of around 40 Goldfinch, and the lone Pink-footed Goose still on Conder Pool.

Goldcrest initially made me jump to attention at Christ Church in Glasson, with a Dunnock seen, and a Migrant Hawker on the canal path, 6 Blackbird and 5 Robin were also noted along the route today.

Glad I wasn't on a 'cash for birds' scheme today!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Next Please!

Yesterday at Conder Green, there wasn't much to put enthusiasm into orbit for a bit of birding, though a lone Pink-footed Goose was a novel first for Conder Pool, it was accompanied by the lone Wigeon I saw last week, a Common Sandpiper was in the creeks, and 35 Goldfinch were seen from the coastal path.

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon. Jan Larsson @ Vingspann

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson, a few thousand waders went into the air en-mass, this time I got lucky and locked on to the culprit, a Peregrine Falcon which gave an excellent aerial display for several minutes, during which time it picked out three loose waders and made a strike with none of them, but easily touched 80 mph on the three short spectacular dives.

Last Fridays c.1,000 Golden Plover were present here again, and a good peak count for my book was 4 Great-crested Grebe. Along with the Redshank and Lapwing 'locals' I saw just 8 Snipe and 5 Dunlin, 4 Goosander were hauled out below Colloway Marsh where I saw the Merlin again, this time giving good views perched up at the south end of the marsh. A screeching gull flying towards me was a Black-headed Gull in pursuit of a Sparrowhawk.

At Cockersand, Plover Scar was void of waders, though up to 250 Dunlin flew south past here, ignoring the refuge there from the high tide, but 9 Twite livened up the inner edge of the scar with a Wheatear and Meadow Pipit seen. 

Rock Pipit Cockersand 9 October. Pete Woodruff.

On the shingle north west of the caravan park, 3 Rock Pipit, with a few Tree Sparrow and a Reed Bunting around Bank Houses, and 75 Curlew in a field off Slack Lane. An adult Mediterranean Gull was with at least 2,500 Black-headed Gull off Moss Lane.

What keeps birding buzzin' is that you never know where or when the next surprise is going to be....Next Please.

On the shingle at Cockersand yesterday. A Harbour Porpoise, Europe's smallest cetacean.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Two For The Price Of One!

Having counted 14 Little Grebe, 11 Redshank, 3 Snipe, and a CurlewI briefly saw two birds whizzing across the back side of Conder Pool yesterday, to disappear into the far west corner, at the same time a Kingfisher appeared out of the same corner, and promptly landed on the recently placed depth marker for three seconds before flying off and away. 

So there's me thinking I'd seen two Kingfisher, one of which was still at the west end out of sight. But hey, 2 Common Sandpiper flew out of the corner, one chasing the other around the pool, so the wintering bird now has an unwanted visitor to it's territory....well it did have!

Wheatear Plover Scar. Pete Woodruff.

At Cockersand, as I arrived I saw up to 160 Jackdaw come up off Plover Scar, a clear sign there would be no waders there today. But a Wheatear put in an appearance before I set off on the circuit to find c.50 Tree Sparrow, 4 Skylark - probably more if I'd have tried harder - 2 Reed Bunting, and a Kestrel hovering over Bank Houses. At least 550 Herring Gull were lounging in a field off Slack Lane, with 3 Pink-footed Geese, and 4 Stock Dove noted.

When I got back to the Lighthouse Cottage, the tide had dropped enough for waders to return to feed. There was a good count of 14 Ruff, with 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Turnstone, and good numbers of uncounted Redshank and Lapwing. Also off here, an adult Mediterranean Gull, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Eider, and I found a dead juvenile Gannet amongst the driftwood.

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson, up to 1,000 Golden Plover were across the river below Colloway Marsh, where I saw my first 4 Whooper Swan. Also noted, 450 Redshank, 110 Curlew, 85 Snipe, and 3 Ruff. From the thirty I saw on Tuesday I found only 10 Shoveler and 4 Wigeon, 8 Little Egret and 6 Grey Heron were in a group, with a Great-crested Grebe seen. 

Come in No 4 you're times up!!

Garden Birds.

Long-tailed Tit. Warren Baker.

A flock of 15 Long-tailed Tit came through our garden this morning.

The Savick Park Willow Tit.

Thanks to GG for the Willow Tit header. A species that gets no better than a rare visitor in Geoff's recording area on the Flyde, and long time extinct in North Lancashire and beyond, but this one comes to his garden.

Great stuff Geoff....Nice one.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

CP Rules....OK.

Much appreciated the text received on Monday at 5.13pm, and was chuffed to hear that Conder Pool had struck again, this time a brilliant juvenile Black Tern....Top of the league, the list goes on.

Juvenile Black Tern. Conder Pool 2 October. Stuart Piner.

No such high quality found yesterday anywhere on and around the Lune Estuary despite considerable effort, but some increased numbers included 18 Little Grebe with three of these in the creeks. A lone Wigeon was the first of the winter on Conder Pool, with the Common Sandpiper around the muddy edge below the viewing platform where I saw a Dunnock.

On the Lune Estuary, as the tide ebbed the birds started to drop in in small numbers, including 35 Golden Plover, 30 Shoveler have steadily increased to this over my last three visits, 21 Wigeon is my best count so far, and another good count was 16 Little Egret, 14 of which were seen together. A lone Bar-tailed Godwit was on the mud below Colloway Marsh where 2 Goosander were hauled out, and a distant Merlin was on the marsh.

Pink-footed Geese. Brian Rafferty

A few small skeins went south over the afternoon amounting to at least 300 Pink-footed Geese. Not quite as impressive as this, but I'm sure I missed many more. 

Thanks to SP for the text and image re the Conder BT, and to BR for the PFG.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Estuary Stock Taking....Again.

On a ridiculously sunny, windless and warm day compared to the summer we've had, the Lune Estuary won't look anything like as nice again this year as it did on Thursday, with blue skies reflecting in a calm river like glass.   

Yet another new peak of 16 Little Grebe on Conder Pool, with the Common Sandpiper along the back terrace, 4 Snipe hunkered down on an island, and 33 Mute Swan dropping in.

On the Lune Estuary, I found 2 Mediterranean Gull adult, the number of gulls was large and near equal that of waders today, c.550 Golden Plover was down at least 400 on Tuesdays count, but the 25 Shoveler was up by 7.  A Ruff, 7 Greenshank, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 32 Snipe, 8 Wigeon, a Goosanderand 22 Greylag were noted. 

Chiffchaff. Warren Baker. 

A wander in and around the churchyard and area at Christ Church, a Chiffchaff was a very olive individual, characteristically making frenzied movements through the branches and tail flicking as it fed, also 4 BlackbirdRobin3 Great Tit, and a Blue Tit

Migrant Hawker Marc Heath

Further along the canal I saw 6 Migrant Hawker males patrolling along the reedy bankside and frequently hovering.

Garden Birds.

Our garden was pretty lively on Thursday morning, with a Goldcrest seen, up to 18 Goldfinch, 3 Blue Tit, a Great Tit, 2 Dunnock, a Robin, and a Red Admiral.

Thanks to Warren and Marc for their images, and to Bob for his header Ruff.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

But First!

When I walked up to the bowling green at low tide Glasson on Tuesday, I was probably staring at in excess of 6,000 waders, nothing particularly amazing about such a number here, but they were all over the place, and to be honest I couldn't decide on which direction to point the telescope first. The number was well contributed to by Lapwing, fewer Redshank, with descending numbers of Curlew and Dunlin.

Snipe. Lune Estuary. Pete Woodruff.

In relation to these numbers, I found three best personal counts on the Lune Estuary at Glasson for my little black book on Tuesday when I saw 155 Snipe, but I think I was a little more pleased to count 18 Ruff, also 16 Shoveler which are at best occasional on the estuary according to my records. Also of note, up to 950 Golden Plover, 6 Greenshank, 3 Goosander, a Red-breasted Merganser, and an adult Mediterranean Gull

Up to 120 Goldfinch were out over the marsh from the coastal path, and in the churchyard at Christ Church I found a Chiffchaff in a heavily laden apple tree. Two Wheatear were at Cockersand.  

On Conder Pool I had another best count when 14 Little Grebe became the new peak here, with 15 Snipe and a Common Sandpiper which more appropriately should now be called 'the' Common Sandpiper.

I had to be in Lancaster by 5.00pm, and so to be already in the area by that time, I decided to give Aldcliffe a visit, to find an adult Mediterranean Gull with around a hundred Black-headed Gull in the Frog Pond field. A Chiffchaff was along the top path above the flood, with a flighty flock of c.40 Goldfinch, 3 Greenfinch, and a 'few' Swallow around. A Little Grebe was on the Wildfowler's Pool, and on Freeman's Pools, another Little Grebe, a pair of Gadwall, 3 Tufted Duck, and 2 Wigeon, the rest were seen as silhouettes at the west end. During my time here, I heard 6 Robin all in song. 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Ring's & Things.

Audouin's Gull. Cheryl Woodruff. 

On 19 August at Cala Bona, Mallorca, Cheryl W had the good fortune to find an Audouin's Gull. Although nothing particularly amazing about finding this Mediterranean endemic, but the bonus was that it was a ringed bird.

Submitting the record to Anillamiento I recieved the data for this 12 year old Audouin's Gull, ringed in Tarragona in 2005, although the bird hasn't generated a long history, for Cheryl W this was an excellent find.

Fecha observaci?n19/08/2017
C?digo anillaANAJ
EspeciesLarus audouinii
Clase de marcajeAnilla
Color de la anillaBlanco
Color de la inscripci?nNegro
Coordenadas de localizaci?n39 36 51 N , 3 23 17 E
LugarMallorca, Cala Bona
ComentariosObserver: Cheryl Woodruff

25/05/2005 PUNTA DE LA BANYA, SANT CARLES DE LA RÀPITA (TARRAGONA) 40º33' N / 0º38' E Daniel Oro

08/08/2010 S´AVALL, SES SALINES (MALLORCA) 39º19' N / 2º59' E Jordi Muntaner

14/08/2010 S´AVALL, SES SALINES (MALLORCA) 39º19' N / 2º59' E Jordi Muntaner

19/08/2017 CALA BONA (MALLORCA) 39º36' N / 3º23' E Cheryl Woodruff 


Black-tailed Godwit Brian Rafferty   

On 2 August a marked Black-tailed Godwit was found at Bank End. This is a 21 year old BTG, ringed in 1996 at Terrington, The Wash Estuary, Norfolk, it has a long and interesting history, having visited W France three times, N Iceland, S Iceland, S Ireland, and seven locations in England including it's last record at Bank End in August.

Thanks to Andrew Cornall, and to Jenny Gill at UEA for sending me the details of this impressive much travelled Black-tailed Godwit.  

Terrington, The Wash Estuary, Norfolk, E England
Île de Ré, Charente-Maritime, W France
Akureyri, Eyjafjarðarsýsla, N Iceland
Pollengi, Árnessýsla, S Iceland
Clonakilty, Co. Cork, S Ireland
Clonakilty, Co. Cork, S Ireland
Baie de l'Aiguillon, W France
Stokkseyri, Árnessýsla, S Iceland
Baie de l'Aiguillon, W France
Colne Estuary, Essex, E England
Colne Estuary, Essex, E England
Colne Estuary, Essex, E England
Colne Estuary, Essex, E England
Freiston Shore, The Wash Estuary, Linc's, E England
Blackwater Estuary, Essex, E England
Colne Estuary, Essex, E England
Colne Estuary, Essex, E England
Colne Estuary, Essex, E England
Fen Drayton, Cambridgeshire, E England
Blackwater Estuary, Essex, E England
Blackwater Estuary, Essex, E England
Blackwater Estuary, Essex, E England
Titchwell, Norfolk, E England
Colne Estuary, Essex, E England
Colne Estuary, Essex, E England
Colne Estuary, Essex, E England
Colne Estuary, Essex, E England
Colne Estuary, Essex, E England
Blackwater Estuary, Essex, E England
Blackwater Estuary, Essex, E England
Blackwater Estuary, Essex, E England
Blackwater Estuary, Essex, E England
Blackwater Estuary, Essex, E England
Paxton Pits, Cambridgeshire, E England
Bank End, Lune Estuary, Lancashire, NW England

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Seen Anything Interesting?....

....said the man as he walked up to me at Glasson on Friday. I explained that everything in birding is interesting, but in varying degrees, in any case it turned out I had little time to find much at all, interesting or otherwise.

Another of those quick checks around the Lune Estuary on Friday, and noted on Conder Pool, 8 Snipe, 11 Little Grebe, a Common Sandpipera Sparrowhawk was over, and 8 Ruff flew in from the estuary, looked like they would drop in somewhere on the pool, but continued on in the direction of Jeremy Lane.

At Glasson, where you need to be there at least two hours pre high tide before everything gets washed away, I saw an adult Mediterranean Gull, up to 165 Black-tailed Godwit, 450 Redshank, 9 Curlew, and 4 Dunlin, all seen towards the Conder mouth from the bowling green.

The plan then was to go to Cockersand - now there's a surprise - but a text message meant I didn't go birding anywhere else at all today. 


Yes there is actually, there's an excellent one of a Woodchat Shrike in the header....Many Thanks Ana.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Sweet & Sour!

I spent a couple of hours at Cockersand on Tuesday, nothing new about that, but it was a pretty disappointing two hours with nothing more of note than a Stock Dove, and a Kestrel seen over Bank Houses, one later over Slack Lane could have been the same bird on wires with 22 Linnet close by at the cover crop. 

Whinchat. Ana Minguez @ Naturanafotos

But hang on....that's not a Linnet on the fence post is it, it's a Whinchat....nice one.

More on the 'nice one' list followed a little later when 6 Ruff were on the Lune Estuary at Glasson, and on Conder Pool, Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Snipe, and a new peak of 13 Little Grebe ended what I'd call Tuesday's birding sweet and sour.

Wednesday 20 September.

Wednesday didn't shape up much better either, and Plover Scar didn't pose any counting headaches, with 14 Dunlin, 11 Ringed Plover, and 2 Great-crested Grebe off here. A Wheatear seen, and c.450 Golden Plover flew south past the headland.

Bar-tailed Godwit. 

Bar-tailed Godwit. Noushka @  1000-Pattes 

I found 11 Bar-tailed Godwit feeding off Crook Farm on Tuesday as the tide dropped. Though the Bar-tailed Godwit can be seen in our area in all months, these were the first I've seen anywhere on the Lune Estuary since 10 on 5 May at Glasson.

Thanks to Ana and Noushka for the excellent images.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Monday's Highlight Bird's.

Up and down like yoyo's, there's no easy way to get to grips with the number, but after a few attempts I eventually arrived at 12 Little Grebe again on Conder Pool, with 4 Snipe seen, 14 Redshank, and up to 120 Lapwing. In the creeks, the Kingfisher showed, as did the Common Sandpiper both down by the bridge, also 2 Snipe and a Sparrowhawk over. On the Lune Estuary at Glasson, 2 Greenshank, 13 Snipe, 2 Goosander, and a Great-crested Grebe.

At Cockersand from the coastal path, I watched a group of up to sixty birds flitting around the field and bushes, of which there was at least 40 Reed Bunting by far a personal best ever count in one sighting of the species, with Meadow Pipit and Skylark around.

Rock Pipit. Pete Woodruff. 

I found my first Rock Pipit of the winter, with 4 Wheatear off the headland. On the circuit, c.50 Tree Sparrow and a Reed Bunting around Bank Houses, also in two sightings a total of 120 Wood Pigeon, with 20 Goldfinch at the cover crop.

A visit to Gresgarth Hall on Sunday produced an impressive 65 Red Admiral on Sedum, 4 Comma, 2 Small Copper, 2 Peacock, and a Small Tortoiseshell

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Mid September Bowland.

On a more settled day, with some sunny spells and little wind, a visit to Bowland on Friday wasn't without some rewards. 

On Hawthornthwaite Fell I found 3 Stonechat, seen as a pair and a juvenile, something of a surprise was a lone Wheatear still up here, with 4 Raven seen in three sightings, 14 Meadow Pipit, and high overhead at least 30 House Martin hawking, 2 Red Admiral and a Small Tortoiseshell seen.

Spotted Flycatcher. Simon Hawtin. 

A Marshaw - Tower Lodge - Winfold Fell saunter started with a late Spotted Flycatcher which beats my previous latest in Bowland of 3 Spotted Flycatcher seen 7 years ago on 2 September 2010. Unexpected was 4 House Martin at Tower Lodge including entering a nest. Also of note, a Great-spotted Woodpecker, 5 Coal Tit, 3 Robin, and 2 Grey Wagtail on the Marshaw Wyre.

Red Grouse.

Red Grouse. Simon Hawtin.

At two upland locations on Friday, I saw an impressive 61 Red Grouse including flights of 24 from 30 on the fringe of Winfold Fell, and 15 from 31 on Hawthornthwaite Fell, by far my best one day count of this stunning moorland bird.

No Redpoll or Siskin seen today, and less expected, no Crossbill, the last of which were eight I found up here on 7 July 2016.

Thursday 14 September.

Conder Pool, 12 Little Grebe. Lune Estuary, c.750 Golden Plover and 58 Pink-footed Geese over >south.

Thanks to Peter Rhind for the header image, and to Simon Hawtin for his images in this post....Excellent times three.