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BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY THE FOREST OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND.........AVOCET JUVENILE CONDER POOL HOWARD STOCKDALE

Sunday, 26 April 2020

The Brockholes Osprey.

Not for the first time an Osprey visited Brockholes NR this spring, in fact it these days it is regular for them to do so during the migration period, but this bird had decided to linger and had the reserve staff and birders alike, hoping that the stay was a hopeful sign that the Osprey might find a mate and breed at the site, not having done so in the county of Lancashire since the mid 18th century.

Brockholes Osprey Copyright Darren Lean.

The Osprey developed a pattern in it's feeding habit, whereby it hunted daily from the bridge over the river at the interchange on the M6 motorway near the Brockholes NR. But the birds confiding nature appears to have been it's downfall, and eight days after it's arrival, on the morning of 23 April when it was seen to be healthy, but later in the day it was flushed by a man walking with a bike along the hard shoulder of the M6, when the bird was flushed and took to flight, and was struck by a lorry.

The bird was a male and bore a darvic ring identifying it to have been marked at Bassenthwaite, Cumbria in 2006, but relocated to Esthwaite in later years. The demise of this bird is nothing less than a terrible tragedy, apparently caused by someone breaking the law by being on foot on a motorway.

Brockholes Osprey. Brian Rafferty.

Brian Rafferty's surreal photograph clearly illustrates the dangerous behavior by this bird, this lorry driver has obviously seen and is looking at the bird as he sped along the M6 motorway. 

I continue to strive to make the best of my total lockdown and 'computer birding' keeps me ticking over. The garden provides me with some interest, and yesterday I took note of 3 Speckled Wood and a couple of Large White. With some lovely blooms to be enjoyed and photographed....Clik the piks

Cherry Blossom
Peony

And the resident Carrion Crow in the neighbourhood and visits to our garden, continues to confuse. The bird appears to be alone in this urban habitat, but was calling from the television aerial in it's hoarse and croaking 'krrah krrah krrah'.

 
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Thursday, 23 April 2020

Whinging Through The Lockdown....

....but maybe more like a bit of self-pity coming through in today's post.

I've sort of enjoyed the self-isolation thing up to now, including recording the garden birds and butterflies, and finding the Carrion Crow having taken up residency in the area of our neighbourhood for the past few weeks - all a bit odd - and visiting our garden regularly for the odd slice of bread thrown out by KT, for who feeding the birds is a religion.

I'm also enjoying seeing the reports - though sickened by them for obvious reasons - of summer visitors to our area. I've seen good numbers of Wheatear reports, also Whinchat in decent number which is encouraging, and the warblers seem well represented too.


Hybrid Blue-headed Wagtail. Aldcliffe 21 April Dan Haywood. 

Over the past few days I've been impressed by the reports from Aldcliffe which have included a smart hybrid Blue-headed Wagtail on the flood, found and photographed by DH for whom I'm grateful to for sending me a copy of his record shot. Also here, a peak count of 5 Little Ringed Plover, a few Yellow Wagtail, and good numbers of White Wagtail. 

I've been equally impressed by coverage of the passage through Heysham which is in full swing, the count yesterday when I Iast looked at Heysham Obs was of 1,447 Arctic Tern past Heysham, with many going overland to the NE within the observers view....Great stuff. 

Not so much garden birding, but more computer birding me thinks, and I'm not convinced this personal enjoyment of self isolation and no birding can last. One thing for sure, the enjoyment will deteriorate as time goes on, and I'll develop an unbearable itch for freedom birding.

Meanwhile, the motto of the day is....Take Care Keep Safe.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

The Stork & The Falcon.

The third April record I found in the archives, comes from the early days of my birding, and the very first of my scarce/rare finds. Come Friday, seen 25 years ago on 24 April 1995. With a bit of a story attached, this is the record of The Black Stork 

Especially in these dark days of Covid-19, I'm trying to keep B2B light, always my aim, and in the main about my passion for birds, but I failed this time.

Peregrine Falcon. Martin Jump.

Natural England have issued licenses for falconers to take Peregrine Falcon chicks in the wild from the nest, so people can gawp at falconry displays.

There's a lot to be said about this shameful act by Natural England, but no doubt you have heard about it already, if you haven't, you can find everything on the Natural England website, where you can read guff like....'The conservation status of the Peregrine Falcon is Green, which means they are widespread, and numbers are not under any threat'....and....'Falconry is an ancient tradition, practiced in England for centuries, and is recognised as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity'....Are this bunch at Natural England for real.

Meanwhile, I'd suggest for starters, Tony Juniper and the gong he got for his contribution to conservation, hands it back to the Queen.

A pristine male Orange Tip in our garden this morning contributed to making the lockdown and my self isolation, a pleasure. 

We're all in this together....Take Care, Stay Home, Switch Off, Relax and watch this....

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Thursday, 16 April 2020

The Wader, The Crow....And Margery!

The Dotterel is variably referred to in Annual Reports, including no spring reports at all, but is generally noted as a regular spring migrant in single figure numbers.

Another one of three April records from the archive that I have found from 2013, must be or was a good month for me. Found 7 years ago 16 April at Cockersand. At the time it was the first record for 13 years for the Fylde Bird Club....The Cockersand Dotterel 

The Carrion Crow is know to be a clever and adaptable bird, often quite fearless, though it can be wary of humans. They are fairly solitary, found alone or in pairs, but as a group are referred to in a collective noun as a Murder of Crows.

This smart Carrion Crow is a first for us, it invaded our garden to have the place to itself for a few minutes, to pick up a few bread pieces, take them to the bird bath, and dunk them for afternoon tea. 

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We're all in this together....STAY SAFE....STAY HOME....SAVE LIVES.

Sunday, 12 April 2020

This Isolation Thing!

On the one hand, this isolation thing is like the end of the world for me, with watching life pass by from the living room window, and not a bird in sight, well not many. On the other hand, to contradict, I'm really quite enjoying it, having made myself comfortable on a chair in the garden, staked out with a camera, a tasty egg and tomato sandwich, and a cup of tea. KT is ruining me, spoiling me rotten, I'm beyond redemption, but....I'd sooner be birding. 

Female Blackbird. Pete Woodruff. Clik the pik

We have two pairs of breeding Blackbird in or around our garden, one of the females put in an appearance to take a few stabs at the apple which they love.

Dunnock. Pete Woodruff. Click the pik 

According to evidence in this image, I reckon it looks like we also have breeding Dunnock in our garden this year too....unless this one is a vegetarian!

Images are still coming to my inbox, and thanks to Howard for the new header Skylark. It nudged my memory to remind me that it's 4 weeks since my last visit to Cockersand, where I saw and heard the Skylark and it's unmistakable and seemingly endless flight song.

Spring was in the air at Cockersand on 12 March....literally, and listening to the song is perfect therapy and lifts the spirit.

We're all in this together....TAKE CARE STAY HOME.  

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

The Amazing Heysham Knot.

Copyright Howard Stockdale Clik the pik

Howard kindly sent me the collage he created of the Knot roosting over various March/ February tides at Heysham Heliport, when he achieved not just excellent photographs, but also reading an amazing 28 ringed birds.

As can be seen in the images, the birds have the flag of the country where they were ringed, together with the location and date, including one bird ringed at De Richel, Netherlands, 21 August 2012.....All round impressive stuff Howard.

Garden Birds.

The Goldfinch is the most common bird in our garden, seen daily on and off in ones and twos, but a count of 18 Goldfinch together one day, they spill as much if not more than they eat....View Full Screen.




The Blue Tit makes heavy work trying to collect string on the feeder for nesting material which ended in failure....View Full Screen.


Garden Butterflies.

Small White and Peacock.

I get a good deal of pleasure and uplifting from this kind of high end quality music, I hope you can too. We're all in this war together....TAKE CARE STAY SAFE.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

The ISS.

All this week I've watched the International Space Station pass over from our bedroom window, in awe at what I was seeing in the evening skies. 

Thursday was my last view of the amazing ISS, appearing at 8.47pm from WSW, and in view for 5min before disappearing South. It appeared to be drifting across the sky, but in fact it was traveling at a staggering 17,500mph at an altitude of c.500 miles above earth....It blew my socks off every time I saw it.

This video gave me 3min:20sec to forget about the tragedy that is Covid-19....I hope it can do the same for you. 


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One comment below the film on YouTube reads, 'Too bad it doesn't show the millions of ways we are destroying Earth'....an excellent choice of words, and too bad it can't provide the miracle needed to help save it.


Large Red Damselfly. Marc Heath.

Marc Heath found a Large Red Damselfly this week in Kent, one of the earliest records of the species. You can see Marc's account and stunning photography Here 


Stonechat Ana Minguez Clik the pik

The perfect excuse for another Stonechat image, and a brilliant one to boot....Thanks Ana.

I was pleased to have the record of 2 Stonechat sent to me by Barry Dyson, they were amongst the earliest passage birds seen at Singleton 2 March, and take the total to 162 Stonechat on the Fylde on passage during the month of March. 

Thanks to Howard for his contribution to B2B with his header image. I don't have a very good record for Short-eared Owl, the last one I saw was 4.5 years ago on 12 November 2015 at Cockersand.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Interesting Behavior.

Martin Jump was in touch with some interesting behavior and two record shots to accompany his observations. For a larger presentation, please clik the piks.


Based on observations, the Raven made no movement  after landing on the marsh, bringing Martin to be convinced this Raven was actively harrying the Lapwings, as opposed to attempting to rob them of eggs or young in the nest, making lunges with its large open bill and calling aggressively as in this image.




The Raven was seen to make aerial attacks at the Lapwings on several occasions, in a way that had Martin concluding that a corvid was being seen attempting to take a wader as prey, and certainly not a Raven raiding a Lapwing nest.

Garden Birds.

A Blue Tit was prospecting at the nest box in our garden yesterday.


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Wednesday, 1 April 2020

A Walk In The Park.

KT and myself decided on a walk in the park to have the days permitted exercise as an escape from isolation during these Covid-19 days. An excellent therapy, rewarded by finding the Little Grebe pair breeding on the old reservoir at Fenham Carr. One of the birds is seen in the video on two occasions, adding a little aquatic vegetation to the nest, whilst the other incubates.

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We noted 14 species on the short visit to the park, a Song Thrush and 2 Mistle Thrush were joint 'Bird of the Day' for me, 9 Chiffchaff, 5 Great TitNuthatchJay, a Wren, and a few Blackbird. Seen at the feeder on Fenham Carr, 4 Dunnock, 4 Long-tailed Tit, 4 Coal Tit, 2 Blue Tit, and 2 Robin.    

Viva La Vida....The song is a retelling of the French Revolution and the death of King Louis XVI.

Towards the end of the French Revolution, King Louis XVI was imprisoned by his own people. He was to be publicly executed via the guillotine, but as he shuffled onto the gallows he attempted to make a final speech to his people, but as he spoke his words were drowned by the masses screaming and booing. Before his speech had ended he was forced down onto the guillotine and the former King Louise XVI of France was executed, his speech lost forever....

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave my word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

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