BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE FOREST OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Another Field Day.

The field waders at Cockersand were reduced in number yesterday, but still a few hundred birds in all fifteen fields I checked there, including 420 Black-tailed Godwit which never fail to impress me, similar number of Curlew and uncounted Redshank, Dunlin, and Turnstone, with Golden Plover reaching four figures still in their favoured field viewed off Slack Lane, and of 3 Grey Plover seen, one was also unusually in a field, and 2 Snipe flushed out of the ditches.

Red-throated Diver off Plover Scar 18 January. John Whittle.

The bird of the day with Mega status at Cockersands, was the Red-throated Diver off Plover Scar around the high tide, excellent views though difficult to keep up to as it was diving constantly.

Up to 225 Oystercatcher were the only waders on Plover Scar at near high tide, and notably odd, not a single one of them made a move when a Sparrowhawk came on the scene over the scar, to cruise out across the estuary in the direction of Sunderland Point, 25 Eider and 2 Great-crested Grebe were off here. The Cockerham Sands female Stonechat was playing hard to find and I had to search half way to Bank End towards the east end of the Caravan Park, before finding it on and around the marsh minus any sign of it's mate the 1st winter male, nor did I find the male at the lighthouse end yesterday.

Other notes on the return route, 2 Tree Sparrow were at Bank Houses, in and around the fields, 7 Stock Dove, 7 Reed Bunting, 5 Skylark, and I watched at least 30 Meadow Pipit drop into a field, 3 Knot were seen on the shore as the tide dropped off by Crook Farm.

I had no intention of attempting to count again, but claim the swan herd - the nearest of which could be seen close by off Moss Lane, and the farthest down at Bank End - still stands at around 250 Whooper Swan. On Jeremy Lane, 4 Bewick's Swan were with 92 Whooper Swan.

The canal basin at Glasson Dock produced the 2 Pochard drake again, with a drake Goosander, and of the new peak count of 21 Goldeneye, sixteen were on here, the other five on the Lune Estuary. A quick check of Conder Pool on the way back to Lancaster, 62 Mallard, 25 Curlew, 20 Wigeon, and 12 Redshank.

The Barn Owl.

Brian Rafferty has been recently seeing Barn Owl again, in particular at Cockersand. 


Barn Owl. Brian Rafferty.

I had an interesting conversation with a farmer yesterday, in which he volunteered some info about a successful breeding season last year, in which five young were successfully fledged.

I'm grateful to John Whittle for forwarding me his image of the Red-throated Diver as promised, nice one and thanks again John. Also another big Thank You to Brian, for his excellent Barn Owl image, one of many he achieved recently in our area Here  

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