BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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CLOUGHA PIKE UNTIL RECENT YEARS THE BOWLAND STRONGHOLD FOR THE STONECHAT. PETE WOODRUFF.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Relentless Killing.

Best watched Full Screen....This is a pictorial story detailing the plight of 18 regional pairs of nesting Peregrine Falcon, and how this threatened species of raptor has been persecuted to extinction to protect red grouse stocks throughout a moorland region.

As the UK Government Wildlife Advisor, Natural England withheld licenses which had previously been issued by them to a raptor protection group of the last 35 years. These licenses had allowed experienced members of the North West Raptor Group to monitor and protect Peregrine Falcon nests throughout the Forest of Bowland.
The Peregrine Falcon across Bowland began to disappear from unprotected territories following a campaign of destruction of nest sites and the killing of adult Peregrine Falcons to protect game stocks. These images show a number of the now abandoned territories that the NWRG had protected throughout the last 3 decades.
Without the support of Natural England and the return of the licenses to this raptor protection group, the destruction of nesting sites and relentless killing of these protected Peregrine Falcon's will continue.



Monday, 30 January 2017

Pik's With Notes.

Blackcap.


Blackcap. Gary Barton.

Gary Barton took this photograph of the Blackcap in Mike Atkinson's garden. When I heard about this bird I was keen to find out the date, when told it had been present in Mike's garden on 19 November, it became clear that this was almost certainly the same male Blackcap that had briefly visited our garden the day before on 18 November just a couple of hundred metres to the south.

Little Owl. 

Little Owl. Gary  Barton.

Gary has sent me some excellent images recently, including this Little Owl which he found on the Lancaster Canal and has been watching it regularly since. This bird is seen as a seriously declining species in our area, and now at best scarce.

Little Grebe.

Little Grebe. Noushka @ 1000-Pattes

The Little Grebe is refered to in our area as a rare resident breeder, and fairly common winter visitor. In my last post I reported the first double figure count of Little Grebe at Conder Green since 28 November. 

The Conder Green Little Grebe's are usually beginning to fall in number by this time of year, but they can be seen here during the winter months in numbers in excess of twenty birds at their peak, before they disappear back to their summer quarters. Goodness knows where all these grebe's come from each year to Conder Green, though it's no surprise they do, as in Noushka's image the bird's take small fry out of Conder Pool like there was no tomorrow.

Black-tailed Godwit.

David Balding has been keeping in touch with me since he found a marked Black-tailed Godwit at Sunderland Point on 23 January and has kindly let me have the history of the bird which I have seen myself on Conder Pool 17 April 2014, and at Cockersand 25 February 2016. The bird was marked as a chick in NW Iceland July 2012. 

OR-GYflag    07.07.12  Ytri Lambadalur, Dyrafjordur, NW Iceland
OR-GYflag    28.02.13  Sunderland Point, Morecambe Bay, Lancashire, NW England
OR-GYflag    17.04.14  Conder Green, Lanc's, NW England. Pete Woodruff.
OR-GYflag    25.04.14  Holt, Önundarfjörður, NW Iceland
OR-GYflag    27.04.14  Holt, Önundarfjörður, NW Iceland
OR-GYflag      9.08.14  Leighton Moss, Lancashire, NW England 
OR-GYflag      9.09.14  Allen Pools, Leighton Moss, Lancashire, NW England
OR-GYflag    22.10.14  Leighton Moss, Lancashire, NW England 
OR-GYflag    10.04.15  Lune Estuary, Cockersands, Lancashire, NW England
OR-GYflag    27.04.15  Grafarvogur, Reykjavík, SW Iceland
OR-GYflag    25.02.16  Cockersand, Lune Estuary, Lanc's, NW England. Pete Woodruff. 
OR-GYflag    23.01.17  Sunderland Point, Lanc's, NW England. David Balding.


Thanks for this David, I'm looking forward to finding my next marked BTG sometime soon, when I do I'll let you know.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Quality Geese And Grebe's.

Red-breasted Goose/White-fronted Geese. 27 January. Pete Woodruff.

Yesterday I decided to shoot off down the A588 again and into Fylde territory. A good idea, as the roaming Red-breasted Goose was soon found in a field off Backsands Lane with 10 Russian White-fronted Geese and c.150 Pink-footed Geese.


Black Redstart. Knott End 28 December. Richard O'meara.

Turning off Fluke Hall Lane and into Wheel Lane, I spotted a Fox running through the field to cross the lane and enter the field opposite, it appeared to have a small prey item between it's teeth. I was on my way to Knott End for my share of the Black Redstart which gave excellent views below the Waterfront Apartments where it has spent the most of it's time since it was first found here by Richard O'meara a month ago on 28 December 2016. A short walk along the length of the esplanade was rewarded with up to 200 Sanderling and uncounted Ringed Plover, Knot, Redshank, and Dunlin

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, I noted 18 Goldeneye, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, a lone Bar-tailed Godwit, and a drake Red-breasted Merganser. At Conder Green, the Spotted Redshank was in the creeks, and I watched 7 Snipe drop on to the terrace at the back of Conder Pool.

The Conder Little Grebe.   

I counted 14 Little Grebe at Conder Green yesterday, this is the first double figure here since I saw eleven two months ago on 28 November 2016.

My day had started with quality geese, and ended with quality grebe's.

Many thanks to Gary for the Blackcap header image, and to Richard for the Black Redstart....Both rated excellent in my book, and much appreciated.

Friday, 27 January 2017

The One Hour Affair!

What was only going to be a couple of hours birding on Wednesday, turned out to be just a one hour affair when a phone call had me aborting and heading back to Lancaster.

But the timing to start my hour's birding was spot on, when I arrived at Conder Pool the Great White Egret was showing well, and a bonus to the third sighting for me of this elegant heron, was a sift through 52 Black-headed Gull and a few Common Gull which produced a smart adult Mediterranean Gull and a drake Goosander. In the creeks, a circuit turned up the Spotted Redshank and the Common Sandpiper which was down by the iron bridge.

There was little action of note on the Lune Estuary, though up to 1,750 Golden Plover were over on the Colloway side....But now my mobile is ringing!

Later in the afternoon I took a stroll through the local Williamson Park, to find a Nuthatch, Long-tailed Tits and a Coal Tit which rose just above the more expected Blue Tit and Great Tit, it was good to hear a Song Thrush in song as I left at 3.50pm.

The Small Blue. 





Every time I look at this board on Fenham Carr in Williamson Park, I'm puzzled why the six illustrations of five butterflies and a moth, includes that of a Small Blue butterfly. It isn't clear which of the butterflies is the Small Blue in my shot of the board, but it's the one top right of centre.

Small Blue Marc Heath

The Small Blue is the smallest native British butterfly and is a Priority Species for conservation, its main habitat are dry sheltered areas of grassland where Kidney Vetch grows, but isn't to be found anywhere near this location at Fenham Carr in Lancaster, and I don't understand why it is illustrated on the info board. 

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Great In The End!

The tale of two sad twitchers looking for a Great White Egret.

A friend had asked if he could go birding with me on Monday, the main aim was to see his first Great White Egret if it was still around after I had told him I had seen it at Conder Green last Friday. We tried really hard to find the bird, but it was nowhere to be seen either at Conder Green, nor at the canal basin at Glasson Dock where it had been reported on Sunday. Later in the day we decided to take a look for about a mile along the canal east of Thurnham Mill where the bird had been first found on Thursday 12 January....no sign. 

But at 13.54pm on our way back along the canal towards Thurnham Mill, I had a call from the ever trusted and reliable AC to tell me the GWE was on the canal behind Christ Church at Glasson Dock....Shuck's. 

Mike and I had gone in the wrong direction in our pursuit of this elegant white bird. When we arrived at the church it had done a runner from there too, but on a chance look towards Jeremy Lane, we found it in the field behind Saltcote Brow pumping station at the junction of School Lane/Jeremy Lane three hours after we had first started to look for the GWE in the area. The bird flew off and was actually seen walking along the canal tow-path ocassionally stabbing at the reed edge.

GWE Jeremy Lane 23 Jan Pete Woodruff
Otherwise....

The day went from bad to worse after we left home, from cold and misty, to damp and eventually rain, anything but pleasant, and doing any birding on the Lune Estuary through the murk at Glasson Dock wasn't on. But it was good to find 11 Bewick's Swan in the field off Slack Lane at Cockersand, where a lone Fieldfare was seen, and the large herd of Whooper Swan were grazing away in the fields south to Bank End still. On Jeremy Lane, another 12 Whooper Swan seen.

On the canal basin, a Little Grebe seen, and 15 Tufted Duck in the east corner with a lone drake Goldeneye. Conder Pool noted 3 Little Grebe, 42 Wigeon, and a drake Goosander, with the Spotted Redshank in the creeks remaining the most reliable and regularly seen of it's species to be found wintering in our area. The trundle along the canal saw a welcome 2 Song Thrush at Thurnham Mill, and a female Goosander on the canal.

And a not so good cold damp and murky time was had by all!

Stonechat.   

I was grateful to JW for his record sent to me of 3 Stonechat - a male and two female - he saw on Hutton Roof Sunday 22 January.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Turning Up Trumps Again.

Conder Pool turned up trumps again on Thursday, but I did'nt get there myself until Friday, the day of the inauguration of another Trump....'Lets Make America Great Again'.

Great White Egret. Conder Pool 20 Jan. Pete Woodruff.


Not only did Conder Pool host another first on Friday, but the Great White Egret posed well and put on an excellent arial display when a Grey Heron chased it around the pool giving comparisons between the two birds which are almost identical in size and wing span, though the GWE's long trailing legs were very distinct.

Little else of note on the pool, with just the drake Goosander seen and a Little Grebe, another was in the creeks where the Spotted Redshank was roosting once again. I legged it to Glasson Dock along the coastal path gaining 3 Robin, 2 Blackbird, a Blue Tit and Great Tit.


At low tide on the Lune Estuary, a few thousand waders took to flight twice - presumably a raptor which I failed to locate on both ocassions - the bulk being Lapwing, with RedshankDunlin, and probably little more than 200 Golden Plover, but it was good to eventually find a Ruff along the tideline, with 12 Black-tailed Godwit and 5 Goldeneye seen. 

At Cockersand, a walk along the headland was a pleasure on a flat calm, wall to wall sunny afternoon, I could see the c.300 Whooper Swan herd from here, which appears to remain in tact, spread across fields from Moss Lane south to Bank End. Off here, a huge raft of at least 5,000 Wigeon strung out from Plover Scar along and into the Cocker Estuary. This is my second encounter with this level of Wigeon here in recent years, and exceeds average January WeBS counts over 5 years by almost 1,000 birds. A previous count of Wigeon in this area was of a similar number in 2014, and was on the same date I found the Red-breasted Goose with them on 8 January




I was at Cockersand until after sunset and took this shot at 4.55pm, you can just make out the remains of the lighthouse - 'clik the pik' - as work slowly progresses to rebuild to it's former glory. Ironically, the very same ship to have collided with the lighthouse last March had passed thirty minutes earlier on it's way up the estuary to Glasson Dock, even more ironic, the ships name is....ISIS.

The Glasson Bullfinch.

I've had news of the female Bullfinch I saw along the coastal path on Monday 9 January was seen again on Friday in the same area.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Pedigree Geese.

Red-breasted Goose. Braides 18 January. Chris Batty.

With thanks for a call yesterday from AC, I shot off from home at around 2.30pm, to drive 6 miles south on the A588, and have good views of a Red-breasted Goose (RBG) in a field between Braides and Sand Villa, the bird was in company with 8 Russian White Fronted Geese, 4 Barnacle Geese, and c.1,500 Pink-footed Geese....Geese with pedigree's. 

The RBG and some others were in a field by the junction of School Lane and Jeremy Lane this morning.

Thanks to Chris Batty for his image of the RBG, with a Russian White-fronted Goose and Curlew to the left, and the rear of a Pink-footed Goose to the right. 

A RBG on the Fylde on 14 October 2010 was the first record of the species accompanying Pink-footed Geese on the Fylde, and roamed around the area until last seen at Ridge Farm on 31 January 2011.

This is my second RBG, my first was on the sea off Cockerham Sand Caravan Park, with Wigeon and Teal on 8 January 2014, but although my sighting was in the water all the time I viewed it, this bird was know to have been a ringed individual recorded as an escapee.   

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Geese, Swans, And Ducks.

The Geese.

Pink-footed Geese. Pete Woodruff.

I reckon there's about seventy five geese in this picture, a small group of the c.2,500 Pink-footed Geese I saw in a field off Jeremy Lane on Monday, with which I found 3 White-fronted Geese.

The Swans.

Just west off the A588 at Thurnham, 8 Bewick's Swan were in the field on the left off Moss Lane, and the herd in fields towards Cockersand are even more spread out now, from west of Thursland Hill and south towards Bank End, there appears to be still up to 300 Whooper Swan, though I made little attempt to assess them today.

The Ducks.

Yet another peak count arrived at on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock when I counted 37 Goldeneye drifting by on the rising tide, they appear to have deserted their favoured canal basin for the time being.

And some other birds.

Conder Pool was pretty deserted, though I noted the currently resident 3 Goosander still on here, with 3 Little Grebe noted in the tide flooded creeks. As the tide raced in I saw c.600 Golden Plover loafing on the mud at the Colloway side, with 45 Snipe, 32 Black-tailed Godwit, and a Spotted Redshank all viewed from the bowling green.  

The tide was at it's height at Cockersand, any waders around were in the fields with a mix of at least 500 in the Abbey Farm area, most notable was a good number of Turnstone, with Golden Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, and Lapwing. The flock of 80 Twite were flighty between Bank Houses and the shore, with 15 Linnet seen.

Life in the fast lane isn't all that easy anymore, and my birding opportunities are at a low at the moment, but hopefully I'll be back in business on Friday to check out what the local estuary birds are up to.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Time For A Rant.

Spare a minute to take a look at the video and reach your own conclusions about the sickening attitude the countryside Rambo's from the dark ages with guns have on the surplus Pheasants from a shoot, then ask yourself questions like....is this why Natural England - Unnatural England actually - decided to hand out licenses to shoot Buzzard's to protect another bird species so that it can be shot then dumped in a stink pit to rot.



I can assure you there's nothing new here, I've found similar dumps in Bowland over the years, where I go as many times as anyone else does, and more times than most. On one occasion, as if to add to the sickness, the birds had been torched, which is what these same people will be doing to the moors shortly, all in the name of keeping an industry which kills for fun, thriving.

All this is the side salad of a multi-million pound industry, an industry involved in setting traps to kill anything which gets in the way of the success of it, the Fox, Stoat, and Weasel, are but a few examples, along with thousands of Mountain Hare slaughtered in Scotland annually.    

Sunday, 15 January 2017

(N)ice Windy Birding.

More nice birds to be found on Friday, on a brilliant day spoilt only by the unpleasant bitter north wind.


Common Sandpiper Antonio Puigg

I found the Conder Green Common Sandpiper again today, the first time in 24 day's despite three visits here, the bird was on the marsh on the rising tide with the Spotted Redshank, both initially at rest. The only other birds of any note were last Mondays 3 Goosander on Conder Pool.

Not the result of bad timing today as I couldn't have got to Glasson Dock any earlier, but the high 10m+ tide was half an hour away and had already taken over the Lune Estuary, but a walk east along the coastal path to Conder Green achieved the best count this winter here of at least 1,000 Wigeon, with 82 Bar-tailed Godwit, and a lone Little Grebe diving like a good'un and resurfacing like a cork in the raging river.

Including two seen on the estuary, the canal basin produced another increase in the peak count of 35 Goldeneye, they favour the east corner where there's an obvious food source. I went through a field along Jeremy Lane to get a closer look to find no odd one out amongst 350 Pink-footed Geese, just in time before a 'rhymes with trick' with two mutts put them to flight.

Off Moss Lane spread out between four fields west of Thursland Hill, I rough counted up to 300 Whooper Swan. The fields around Cockersand held more waders than I can recall here in a long time, most notably at least 2,000 Golden Plover, with uncounted but good numbers of Lapwing, Redshank, Dunlin, and Curlew, and I got my third helping in the last three visits of up to 80 Twite, they were again in the area around Bank Houses and the shore, though on each occasion they have been very flighty.

Thanks to Barry for the Starr Gate Snow Buntings in the header, and to Antonio for the Common Sandpiper in the post....Excellent and much appreciated on both counts.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Snatched Again.

Monday was another one of those snatched birding time sessions, and a wander around the Lune Estuary in the Conder/Glasson area was enjoyable whilst unexceptional, with the River Lune at Glasson particularly so, where wader numbers were at a low, though to say there was up to 3,000 Lapwing sounds like something of a contradiction, but barely 100 Golden Plover and much less in number of Redshank and Dunlin doesn't sound like it, 8 Black-tailed Godwit flew downstream at a pace, and I found just 5 Goldeneye drake on the canal basin. 


Goosander. Martin Lofgren Wild Bird Gallery

On Conder Pool, 3 Goosander were two drake and a female, 45 Wigeon and 80 Teal, with up to 100 Mallard. Five Little Grebe were in the creeks with the Spotted Redshank. Bird of the visit was the female Bullfinch featured in my previous post, seen from the coastal path midway between Conder and Glasson, where I noted 2 Robin, a Great Tit, and Blackbird

I've had no sighting, or seen any reports anywhere, of the Conder Green Common Sandpiper since 20 December.

Other Notes.



I was grateful to Simon Hawtin for passing on to me a record of the Stonechat he saw on Catshaw Fell 28 December which he kindly marked on the map. I've rarely been on this route, usually taking the track shown to the north-east on this map on the other side of Catshaw Greave up Hawthornthwaite Fell.

The count has reached a new peak of 23 Goldeneye on the Lune Estuary as seen and reported by AC on Tuesday, and the urban garden Grey Wagtail continues to visit us and was there again yesterday.

Confined to barracks since Monday, no birding, no blogging, but hopefully tomorrow may change all that.  

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The Bullfinch.

Towards Glasson Dock yesterday, a bird flew some distance ahead of me across the coastal path and into the trees, it had a white rump, when I caught up with the bird it was a female Bullfinch. 

It's always a bonus to find the Bullfinch anywhere in our recording area away from traditional sites, and Monday's bird was certainly an unexpected one for me, in all my years birding I never saw the species here before, and they are pretty scarce at Thurnham barely a mile away and to the south from here.

Female Bullfinch. Noushka @ 1000-Pattes


The Bullfinch is currently refered to in our recording area as a....'Fairly common, resident breeder in south-east Cumbria, the Arnside and Silverdale area, Heysham, and the Lune Valley, it is only occasionally recorded in north Fylde'....the species is on the Amber List. 

My most interesting sightings of Bullfinch have been of four seen at the foot of Birk Bank on the fringe of Bowland on 1 November 2004, with four seen here again 22 November, and eight on 18 December. This was the year of an invasion of northern Bullfinch, which - though their racial/population identity has yet to be resolved - they are mainly distinguished as being larger and more easily identified by their 'toy trumpet' call. During this irruption in 2004, over 1,000 Bullfinch were in Orkney and Shetland alone.

More recently, I noted records in the Fylde Annual Report 2014 of two Bullfinch on the Conder Estuary 18 January, and three at Galgate 26 July, these are in the same year I found five Bullfinch in Lancaster Cemetery on Quernmore Road on 31 October.

Interesting that only four British ringed Bullfinch have ever been recovered abroad, of which one was in Belgium, and two in France, the fourth was a bird ringed in SE Scotland in winter, and was recovered in a later winter 1,600km away in Northern Sweden. Only one foreign ringed Bullfinch has been recovered in Britain, this bird moved from the Netherlands to Essex.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Top Ten!

A brilliant day last Thursday in more ways than one, wall to wall sun, and the temperature not getting much above freezing if at all. The sort of day I'm spurred on to get into the hills, so off I went to check out the landscape on Clougha and Birk Bank. 


Stonechat. Howard Stockdale.

I was only out of the car park and on to the track for 5 minutes to find my first of an excellent 10 Stonechat in the four and a half hours here. Even more interesting, with the exception of the 'car park' bird, none was found in an area I've recently seen them before, they were seen as two pairs, four female, and two male, these are excellent record's of wintering Stonechat finally caught up with in the Clougha/Birk Bank area, and whilst singing Alleluia and chewing on a Mars Bar, a toast to the birds from my bottle of Ribena was in order.

This is my first double figure count of Stonechat on Clougha/Birk Bank in more than 7 years when I found ten birds on 12 October 2009, and all of this is a good excuse for more Stonechat pik's on Birds2blog, thanks for sending these to me Howard.

Also here, I counted at least 19 Red Grouse, 6 Robin, 2 Blackbird, and a Wren. A small group of winter thrushes were in a field off Rigg Lane in the fading light, I reckon up to 50 Fieldfare and 10 Redwing.

Not a single raptor was seen in this area of the Forest of Bowland today, but before I left home a Buzzard was low over Bowerham, seen from the kitchen window.

Thanks to Chris for the header image of the 1st winter Chiffchaff at Knott End mid-December. 

Friday, 6 January 2017

Some People Never Learn!

A brilliant cold but sunny day on Wednesday, I decided it would be good for the soul if not for birds, to leg it from Fluke Hall to Knott End. The Black Redstart found seven days ago was on the pager at 9.00am, so I decided it was time I went to take a look.

This is at least a five mile round walk, and was the road to nowhere, the bird had done a runner. Deja vu - Desert Wheatear Wednesday 23 November - some people never learn. But here's the sting in the tail....the Black Redstart was there again this Friday morning, reported by AC as he has done every day since it's arrival at Knott End. 

Mediterranean Gulls . Pete Woodruff.

Ne'r mind, I collected some pretty good compensation when a thorough sift through c.400 predominantly Black-headed Gull with up to 50 Common Gull notable, produced 4 adult Mediterranean Gull at Cockers Dyke. Also noted, up to 550 Dunlin, 3 Grey Plover, and a solitary Bar-tailed Godwit feeding on the tideline.

Along the coastal path, I saw 2 Sparrowhawk thirty minutes apart, both came from I know not where, over the marsh to fly inland and a Snipe likewise. Also noted, 2 Wren, and singles of Linnet, Meadow Pipit, and Dunnock. In the four hours I'd been on the coastal path I saw 5 Little Egret, and when I got back to the motor 4 Whooper Swan were in a field at Fluke Hall.

I was always going to do this walk along the coastal path to Knott End on Wednesday, Black Redstart or not, it was brilliant.

P.S.

There really are Mediterranean Gulls in the image - Heysham Red Nab 24 August 2016 - 'clik the pik' to pick them out bigger and better.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Into 2017....

....and one or two of yesterday's sightings had added interest.


Pochard Female. Jan Larsson @ Vingspann 


To be honest the big surprise of the day for me was the Pochard on the canal basin at Glasson Dock, a rare breeder in the Leighton Moss area, a declining winter visitor, and at best irregular everywhere. An even bigger surprise was that this one was a female, any Pochard I've seen in the past on the canal basin have been almost entirely male. Also, of the new peak count of 17 Goldeneye, thirteen on here were all drake save two female, with another four drake Goldeneye on the Lune Estuary where I noted the only waders to be seen were below the edge of Colloway Marsh where a Peregrine Falcon was sat, c.120 Lapwing, 20 Dunlin, and a solitary Bar-tailed Godwit. I don't remember when the estuary here was so void of birds tide or no tide....and where are all the Bar-tailed Godwit?

Along the coastal path, 8 Blackbird, 6 Fieldfare, a Dunnock, Robin, and Great Tit. In the creeks at Conder Green, Spotted Redshank and 4 Little Grebe. Conder Pool was void of Little Grebe and little else, but 35 Wigeon and a similar number of Mallard noted.

Along Moss Lane, the Cockersand - it's actually Thurnham on the map - swan numbers were down by 50% compared to my visit here last Thursday, I estimate 300 Whooper Swan in the area west of Thursland Hill now, with 20 Pink-footed Geese seen. Seven Bewick's Swan were still in the field by Clarkson's Farm, with another 5 Whooper Swan by Slack Lane, these were seen as three adult and two juvenile.

Around the Bank Houses area, a flock of at least 90 Twite was higher than the one last Thursday when they were more like fifty, c.300 Golden Plover were in an Abbey Farm field, a Song Thrush and 5 Brown Hare were in the same field.

Pied Wagtail at Cockersand.


Pied Wagtail. Warren Baker @ Pittswood Birds  

I counted 24 Pied Wagtail in a flooded field at the junction of Moss/Slack Lane, these were seen as an exceptional number, and being I had to step to one side to loose my count three times for cars to pass me on the narrow lane, I reckon I would have found more. I made a quick comparison with records, when 121 were recorded in the 2015 January survey in our recording area compared to the previous 5 year mean of 96....These 24 Pied Wagtail in this one field yesterday equated to almost 25% of these five January counts.

A most enjoyable and rewarding first days birding for 2017....With thanks to Jan and Warren for their continued contribution to Birds2blog.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Black-tailed Godwit.

Black-tailed Godwit YR-GY Flag. Courtesy of Böddi. 

I found my first marked Black-tailed Godwit at Cockersand last Thursday, it was feeding in a field by Abbey Farm with Curlew, the bird was marked as a chick on 4 July 2012 in NW Iceland, my sighting is only the third since then, it having been seen twice one week apart in Ireland....

YR-GYflag 04.07.12 Reykholar, NW Iceland
YR-GYflag 02.09.12 Rahasane Turlough, Co. Galway, W Ireland
YR-GYflag 09.09.12 Rahasane Turlough, Co. Galway, W Ireland
YR-GYflag 29.12.16 Lune Estuary, Cockersand, Lancashire, NW England

I'm grateful once again to Böddi my man in Iceland, for his prompt attention to the report of this Black-tailed Godwit, and for forwarding the history, also for the image of this bird which hasn't been seen since September 2012 a little over two months after it's ringing.

On the subject of waders....

Despite ongoing serious declines, waders like the Golden Plover, Snipe, and Woodcock are still on the shooting for fun list. A moratorium needs to be imposed to established if this level of shooting is sustainable. Personally I think it should be banned forthwith, but we'll leave that for another time. 

Perhaps you would take a look and sign a petition in place Here