Birding The Lune Estuary The Forest Of Bowland And Beyond......................................................................MED GULLS - 2 OF 4 - CONDER POOL 23 SEPT PETE WOODRUFF

Monday, 31 May 2010

Leighton Moss.

Broad-bodied Chaser. Paul Baker.

KT had suggested a walk round Leighton Moss might be a good idea today....well its birding I thought and away we went. Bearing in mind the photograph above was taken in Canada it is of a female Broad-bodied Chaser until someone claims it to be otherwise, I noted four during the tour of LM today.

Like birding anywhere else its always done on the principal you never know whats next, well there wasn't a 'whats next' today but on the way round 4 Chiffchaff were heard, excellent views of a Reed Warbler were had at the Lower Hide where I must confess things were otherwise a little quiet noting just a solitary Great-crested Grebe and 2 House Martins flew through. Although I found bird song generally in short supply Sedge Warbler were heard, 2 Buzzard were high above, and although I had no intention of working out how many Marsh Harriers we saw, male and female were seen throughout the visit. A Jay was seen from the path to the Grizedale Hide as were 2 brief Bearded Tits in flight across the path. At the hide up to 40 Black-tailed Godwits counted, at least 14 Gadwall were of note, and 6 Red Deer put in an appearance.

I think the highlight sighting of the visit to this excellent RSPB reserve before leaving for home was back at the centre where four of our areas outstanding birders were assembled on the benches having a chat, in keeping with Birds2blog 'no names without permit' policy it was a pleasure to pass a few moments in the company of such local birding talent.

And finally....

I dropped in HERE  to have a look at Phils blog and found these two images to which he claimed the Meadow Pipit was so interested in what was falling from the sky that he almost got to touching distance to get this shot of the bird. I reckon you're right Phil....Can't take my eyes of you!  


Sunday, 30 May 2010

Roseate & Arctic Terns....

White-tailed Plover. Chris Batty.

....but first I'm grateful to Chris Batty for sending me this image of the recent White-tailed Plover at Seaforth in Liverpool. I highlighted some facts about this bird in a post on Thursday 27 May 'The Works' which breeds mainly in the desert regions of Soviet central Asia and Kazakhstan as well as in Iraq, and winters in the Sudan, Iraq, Pakistan, and northern India.

Roseate Tern. Chris Batty.

The Roseate Tern is a scarce passage migrant mostly from Ireland and came very close to extinction in Britain and Ireland at the end of the nineteenth century before numbers began to build up, but the species began to decline once again to around 2,400 pairs in 1960-70 and more seriously so by 1988 when their number fell to c.500. Today - as in the past - the vast majority nest on the east coast of Ireland, some colonies in Anglesey supported about 250 pairs until late in the 1960's but by the 90's had dwindle to single figures, and in Cumbria just one or two pairs hung on until the end of the 60's. Over the past 50 years the virtual extinction of the Roseate Tern in the eastern Irish Sea has been reflected in the changing pattern of occurrences in Lancashire.

One well known ornithologist claims there has never been any evidence of breeding in Lancashire and birders are lucky to find one on passage these days although I'm aware of odd ones seen including records from coastal sites like Knott End, past records have included a bird seen at Leighton Moss on 2 June 1974, and an interesting one on the River Lune at Arkholme on 21 May 1978. 

Arctic Tern. Chris Batty.

Much to be said - perhaps another time - about this incredible bird the Arctic Tern which migrates in excess of 20,000 miles and experiences more daylight than any other living thing on this planet. This photograph was taken at Cockersands recently where I found one myself off Plover Scar on Tuesday 15 May.

Many thanks for these three images Chris they are much appreciated.  

Friday, 28 May 2010

Harrier Highlight.

Bugle. Pete Woodruff.

Starting with a plant pic which is common in suitable habitat and is quite at home in the damp surroundings at the bottom of the woods at Barbondale where I was not a little delighted to find a pair of Pied Flycatcher looking settled in here to breed. My visit here today was in the good company of JB/BT and wasn't quite as extensive as is my norm but the following were of note....Another excellent record here was at least three - and possibly four - Spotted Flycatcher, a pair of Whinchat is yet another excellent record here, 3 Redstart males - possibly three pairs - are the sum total this year according to my three times observations here this summer so far, 2 Tree Pipit, 3 Wheatear, 2 male Reed Bunting, a Great-spotted Woodpecker, a Dipper, and a Common Sandpiper.

I've taken particular note of 'tits' at Barbondale this year in four visits here so far, today was another perfect example of their absence when I found just one each Blue Tit, Great Tit, and  - best of all - Coal this space!

Distant Pendle from Cross of Greet. Pete Woodruff. 

BT decided we should 'shoot across' to Cross of Greet where he dropped me off at the top cattle grid to walk to the one at White Greet at a faster pace than I did last Thursday but gave me time to find....6 Wheatear, a male Whinchat, a female Peregrine Falcon gave us the perfect display at just how powerful this bird really is in flight when it means business, a Raven was also overhead. A pause on Merrybent Hill showed 2 Stock Dove on a barn before flying off.

The highlight of the day had to go to the stunning male Hen Harrier which came into view as we drove over Burn Moor and gave us excellent views as it hunted in its usual lazy style for a few minutes before dropping behind a ridge never to be see again. I can think of very few things in the name of wildlife which can stir the feelings of excitement more than this magnificent creature. 

Well, that's it for me and my birding for three days until next Tuesday, there are other things in life than just birding....aren't there!! 

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The Works.

I'll get rid of my weather whinge first as I was on Clougha/Birk Bank on a day more like 27 March rather than May, cloudy most of the time with a stiff and cold westerly wind. The Cotton Grass on the bog at Birk Bank was looking quite nice although my pic doesn't really do the scene any justice but I just keep trying. I had returned here before wandering back home in the hope a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary would be showing but sadly no luck. My records from giving Clougha and Birk Bank 'The Works' for almost five hours follows.

I was greatly encouraged as I found a pair of Stonechats just two minutes out of the car on the right of the track, but it was false encouragement as it was two and a half hours later before I found the only other pair here this year and were the same pair as seen on my last visit a month ago on 27 April, neither of these pairs show any signs of breeding so no help in the numbers game for the Stonechats with these four yet. The pic above is yet another of my moderate attempts at photography.

Also into the book were 2 Garden Warblers singing within a few metres of each other, a single Wheatear, only 8 Willow Warbler and 7 Meadow Pipit, 3 Mistle Thrush, a Linnet with three possible over, singles of Buzzard, Kestrel, Raven, and only 2 Red Grouse seen but I had to remind myself it's the breeding season, a Cuckoo was heard distant from the top of Birk Bank and was regarded to be in the Long Ellers area, 2 Brown Hare seen here today.


A White-tailed Plover (sometimes apparently Lapwing/Plover) was found today at Seaforth LWT in Liverpool and is still present as I write. Link to Bill Aspins blog HERE  to see three excellent images and read Bills account of this equally excellent bird, unfortunately I don't have Bills permission to copy them on to Birds2blog.

Britain's first WTP was only found as recent as 35 years ago in Warwickshire in 1975. Interestingly an investigation at some point in time had eventually proved that several birds had been imported into Britain but an influx of this species into six countries in Western Europe in 1975 had brought about the acceptance of the WTP on to the British List with the Warwickshire bird an obvious part of the influx.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Yellow, Blue & Burnet.

Yellow Wagtail. Katie Fuller.

Thanks to Katie Fuller for this collage of the Yellow Wagtail which she explains where it was seen and how she captured the image on her blog HERE and in both cases you will find very interesting in particular where it was seen especially if your interest in birds is based in North Lancashire where you'll be fortunate if you see one at all this or any other year. Thanks again for the images Katie.

Mountain Bluebird. David Baker.

And how about this for a little gem. There are three species of the colourful North American Mountain Bluebird, eastern, western, and this one which inhabits much of western North America, often at an elevation of over 7,000 feet. They eat small fruits and hunt insects, spiders, and other creatures from above, they have four or five eggs and when hatched the young are fed by both parent birds. A rather interesting fact about this bird is that a young bird from a first brood will sometimes remain in the nest to assist its parents in caring for the second brood.

The Bluebird is considered a common species but numbers have declined substantially over the last century, but populations are thought to have been given a boost by birdhouse boxes which have become popular in parks and backyards.    

Burnet Companion. Warren Baker.

The moth is by kind permission of Warren down there in the Garden of England in Kent and is one of a few day-flying moths which gets its name from the fact it is often found in the company of Burnet Moths. It is relatively common in the southern half of Britain but becomes scarcer further north. It inhabits open woodland and pastures the larvae of which feed on clover. Thanks for the photograph Warren it is much appreciated.  

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Up & Down....

....Down & up actually but it doesn't sound right....that's down to the coast and up to the Trough of Bowland.

Duke Of Burgundy. Gait Barrows 25 May 2010. Ian Tallon.

Ian Tallon not only sends me photographs for Birds2blog he's also a mind reader, twice recently he sent me them just as I was about to start the post with thoughts of what images I could use to accompany it....problem solved and many thanks for this Ian. 

With JB today we first visited Conder Green where the tide was still high and the pool almost deserted and my book stayed in my pocket. On/over the canal basin at Glasson Dock 6 Swift were noted with a solitary House Martin and Swallow, the Mute Swans have 9 cygnets, and a lone Great-crested Grebe was tussling with a small fry in its bill. From Bodie Hill I counted 34 Eider. At Cockersands where the tide still hadn't dropped enough to uncover feeding areas it appeared to be a wrong choice to come here but a short walk along the headland turned up an Arctic Tern off  Plover Scar.

So now the best plan was to head off towards the Trough and calling in at Catshaw Greave where a small Sand Martin colony was discovered last year produced four birds one of which was seen to enter a nest hole, further down the road at Cam Brow another 6 Sand Martins were in the air here and three birds were seen entering nest holes. At Wellbrook Farm 4 House Martins were seen, and at Marshaw a Common Sandpiper and Dipper on the stream. In the Tower Lodge area 6 Grey Wagtails included a pair with three fledged young, a Spotted Flycatcher was found in a 'new' area, a male Redstart and a presumed pair of Mistle Thrush seen.

Calling in at Stoops Bridge a second pair of Pied Flycatcher were discovered - watch this space - another 2 Grey Wagtail brought the total to eight seen today, and a Common Sandpiper seen here.  

And finally....

Another image from Ian Tallon, this one a mature male Broad-bodied Chaser....Thanks once again Ian.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Purple Heron again, and a Stint!

With reference to Saturdays post about the Purple Heron, and having been reminded of my failing body parts, I did have access to a Purple Heron pic after all and my thanks go to one Mr Phil Slade for the image above taken on his recent obviously resoundingly successful and enjoyable holiday in Menorca....Thanks Phil.

Another Fylde birder - as PS above - takes the prize today. As I drew up on to the car parking area at the lighthouse at Cockersands this early afternoon I could see a silhouette complete with tripod and telescope on the skyline opposite Plover Scar, as I identified who this was my pager alerted me to the bird mentioned further down this post and of course the silhouette had to be that of SP.

It was 11.00am before I got to Conder Green this morning though it mattered not as the place was almost deserted, but the Little Ringed Plover at least obliged on Conder Pool by making its presence known here still, hopefully confirming that a breeding programme is still in place, though I never fail to cringe each time I see a Carrion Crow, Grey Heron and Lesser Black-backed Gull on here as I did today. On the circuit the only two birds of note were the Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler both singing in full voice.

As I drew on to the car parking area at Cockersands I could see a pretty large number of what turned out to be in excess of a very impressive 200 Ringed Plover intermingled with in excess of 300 Dunlin, definitely something to keep me occupied for a while I thought, but now SP is bearing down on me to tell me of a bird he's found with this large group of waders and promptly suggests we go down on to the shore and walk towards Plover Scar to eventually have excellent views of a Little Stint. But this bird is something of a scarcity in our area in the spring so there was the bonus of seeing the species in it's spring/breeding plumage of which the last of this scarce spring sighting was a bird at Sunderland Point on 28 May 2008.

An excellent record image of the Little Stint with a Dunlin for comparison at Cockersands this early afternoon. Thanks for putting me on to this bird SP and your mobile calls to keep me up to date whilst separated on Plover Scar....this is what I call friendly birding. 

As Mondays are a 'short shift' of birding for me at the moment I was now running out of time but didn't do so before I'd see at least 2 Sanderling with this large group, and a Whimbrel gave itself away by its pleasant rippling whistle call as it flew off. Though we're heading into the quite June period on the birding scene I'd call this a very rewarding 'half day'.

And finally....

Another of those stunning images David Cookson is adept at achieving, this of the Little Egret in the low evening sun. If you'd like to see more of this kind of photography HERE is the place to go....Thanks for this David. 


Sunday, 23 May 2010

Time for a laugh!

Well there's always time for a laugh, and the two following signs certainly gave me one, though I reckon the second may have already had an airing on Birds2blog but well worth another look I think. Incidentally both have a birding connection though not at all obvious ones....

I was asked in a recent e-mail who I thought might be responsible for this 'howler'. Obvious where it was taken though if you're not local you won't see the error or the funny side but is definitely not Condor Green. Not exactly hilarious perhaps but spellings like this don't really enhance your intelligence especially if it's going to be in the full glare of the world. By the way, I make spelling mistakes....don't you?

This one I saw years ago on Newby Moor the birthplace of my passion for the Stonechat may moons ago. I've heard of old cars being referred to as 'old bangers' but this must be explosive cycling.

Hopefully a couple of hours or so tomorrow looking for something with a little more interest than these two signs.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Purple Heron.

Well this is the nearest I can get to a photograph of the bird of the title being the Little Egret and both members of the group Ciconiiformes. Unfortunately I can't credit this image to anyone as I have no record of the  author so if you thinks it's yours please tell me.

Britain is claiming a first record this year as a pair of Purple Herons have taken to nesting at Dungeness in Kent but hey....these birds are under threat from an airport development here. The Purple Heron visits the UK in small numbers each year usually as individuals but this year a pair have arrived and decided to set up home in Kent. This member of the heron family normally breeds in southern Europe.

A protection scheme has been set up at the site but the potential development of an airport is casting a large shadow over this peninsula and the future of this brilliant location and the wildlife it supports. The Purple Heron isn't on it's own at setting up home in the south of the country as the changing climate pushes birds further north and species like this highlight the importance of places like Dungeness as a haven for displacement due to global warming.

So the Purple Heron - which has been struggling for the last few decades in Europe - is hopefully about to join the Cattle Egret and Spoonbill as first time breeders in Britain and all eyes are on the Great White Egret to become the next in line for this record.

Meanwhile, back at the RSPB camp there is a call for the government to haul in the planning applications for expansion at the nearby Lydd Airport, but wait a minute....the local authority of Shepway District Council consented the applications in the face of recommendations to refuse thereby illustrating that we still have lots of  'idiots' in what they may think are high places and are very dangerous people once they get their uniforms on and who need to be outvoted as soon as possible. 

Friday, 21 May 2010


Well today's totally unconnected pic of the Snipe is one of Brian Rafferty's who is certainly connected because he met up and accompanied me during the greater part of my 4.5 hours in the Cross of Greet/White Greet/Bloe Greet area today which ended with very mixed feelings in that 4.5 hours anywhere for me and not finding a particular species means its definitely not there. So,void of further comment no Stonechats seen here today, but an excellent record collected was the double figure of 10 Whinchat. Also of note here was a Cuckoo, the notable low count of just 7 Wheatear, at least 30 Meadow Pipit, 3 Raven, a Buzzard, only 2 Wren heard, single male Reed Bunting, and at least one adult Grey Wagtail was feeding two recently fledged young on the equally young River Hodder.

With the direct permission of the owner we were able to visit a private woodland later in the day where things were very quiet, but it's not really all that easy to make such a comment when a singing male Pied Flycatcher and male Redstart with another in song were seen, also 2 Treecreeper one of which was feeding young at a nest hole. I find it difficult to believe that - apart from a 'few white's' - I recorded just one butterfly in my entire seven hours today which was that of an Orange Tip.

And finally....


Well how's this for ending with a smart image of a smart bird. This is the 'Audubon's' Yellow-rumped Warbler thanks once again to Paul Baker in BC Canada.

And Stocks Reservoir does it again with a Temmink's Stint found there this evening to follow on closely from the Spotted Sandpiper earlier in the week.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Adding a bit of cheer.... the blog.

Well the pic is just about as good a reversal of yesterdays as is possible, from the dead Black-winged Stilt in Malta to this truly smart little Hooded Merganser on Radipole Lake photographed by Mark Fellowes, and if you don't think this creature's cute then you're past your sell by date....Thanks for this Mark.

I thought it a good idea to check out Barbondale to look for any changes/additions since my last visit here on 29 April and soon found that a pair of Pied Flycatchers had arrived, also noted - on a visit not as intense both in time or area covered as is the norm for me - male Whinchat, a Wheatear, 4 Redstart, and by coincidence 2 Tree Pipit, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Great Tit, and Blue Tit, c.12 Willow Warbler, a male Reed Bunting and a Kestrel. Birds noticably 'missing' from here are the Cuckoo, Spotted Flycatcher, and the - perhaps less expected - Wood Warbler. 

A couple of hours on Newby Moor was a little quiet, even more serious than 'a little quiet' was the complete lack of any Stonechat sightings. Noted was another numbers coincidence with 3 Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting, and Linnet, a Song Thrush and a Redshank was of particular note.

A visit to the area around Clapham Station was well rewarded by 2 Spotted Flycatchers with a possible third bird, 6 House Martins were a nice find around the cottage below the station, a Blackcap and Greenfinch were of note, and 3 Grey Wagtails were on the River Wenning.

I had a conversation with a farmer in the Barbondale/Kikby Lonsdale area who I asked if he had noticed any changes in the bird-life at - and around - his farmland, he expressed his concern of too many Buzzards which had taken out the Lapwing chicks from 16 nests recently, he also commented on no House Martins 'again this year' were his words, but his best one was his last before I left him when he claimed a Corncrake had spent two days on his farmland before heading north, he told me his claim was confirmed when the bird put to flight.

And finally....

Many thanks to Ian Tallon who must have known I was going to find a Whinchat today at Barbondale when he sent me this pic yesterday....quite appropriate and thanks Ian, keep'em cumin!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


It pleases me no end to be able to claim Birds2blog to be a roaring success. I'm not about to launch into a hundred reasons why but a glance at my 'Flag Counter' says it all and this is a great opportunity for me to thank everyone for taking an interest in the blog if only to dip in now and again or even visit on a daily basis as I know lots of you do, I really do appreciate it and never really thought I'd get this far down the line with something I started 18 months ago as a sort of fun thing, but which has become a large part of my passion for birds and birding.

Sadly the real reason for this post isn't anything connected with the above 'trumpet blowing exercise' but is more an important issue to me than the success of a blog. Please take a look at the picture above and note it illustrates the pitiful corpse of a Black-winged Stilt which died of gunshot wounds at the hands of not only hunters but illegal hunters on Malta.

All I ask my regular and casual visitors to Birds2blog, is that you click on the link to BirdLife Malta  from time to time and keep up to date with what's happening on that otherwise beautiful island, and if anyone asks you to sign a petition whilst you are on the website then please consider doing so, it's the least we can do to try and make some sort of mark on this barbaric way of 'enjoying' the things in life which is all that this 'sport' is for these people, I don't know about you but I'm not too keen on sharing the same planet as them but it seems I'm going to have to get used to the idea of doing so.

I suppose I'm breaking my Birds2blog non-controversial code here for once....well so be it as I knew it was going to happen on occasions. It's worth remembering Malta is breaking the rules governing their membership of the European Union with this hunting issue, but I'm leaving that there for now.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Well Spotted!

Spotted Sandpiper. Mike Watson.

Thanks to Mike Watson for this image of the Spotted Sandpiper currently at Stocks Reservoir. Please visit Mike's website HERE to learn a few statistics and the finder of this closely related to the Common Sandpiper and North American wader.

JB agreed we should make the short trip to Stocks Reservoir to see this small wader which gave excellent views not more than a 250 yards walk from the car park at the north end of the reservoir from the first hide, at one point it was accompanied by 2 Common Sandpipers for comparison which really wasn't necessary as the bird is in breeding plumage and shows the spots reminiscent of a Song Thrush. Also noted on an otherwise short visit here, a Garden Warbler and Blackcap both in song which was again good for comparison.

Having deciding to head off to some more familiar territory we pulled in to Langden Brook where a stroll to the small pump house produced just 2 Lesser Redpoll, a pair of Coal Tit obviously feeding young at a nest, 2 Dipper in flight together with the rear bird seemingly pursuing the front one, a Common Sandpiper, 4 Goldfinch, and it was good to hear yet another 2 Wren in song.

In the Tower Lodge area I found a male Redstart at Trough Bridge, and another behind the plantation at the lodge where I saw 3 Lesser Redpoll which is the same number seen here on 4 May, surely more lurking around somewhere here, also 2 Song Thrush, and I heard the Green Woodpecker 'yaffle' twice, in the stream a Dipper seen. At Marshaw a Common Sandpiper with JB having seen two birds during my absence.

A brief look in at Stoops Bridge gave us the male Pied Flycatcher whilst it's quite possible that a male I saw further downstream could well have be a second bird depending on the range of the first which appears to stick pretty close to the nest site. I personally saw a Spotted Flycatcher here whilst JB saw two, furthermore two birders already there when we arrived claim to have seen four all from a stand still position at the car park area....Mmmmm!

Today's disappointments were, having seen a pair of Stonechats opposite the small pump house on the track up the Langden Valley on 16 & 20 April none were found today when I had hoped to at least see them and even better maybe with young. Also no Spotted Flycatchers seen in the Trough Bridge/Tower Lodge/Marshaw area today, and still no House Martins at Christ Church, Abbeystead. 

And finally....

Thanks to Stuart Piner who achieved this excellent image of one of the - at least - seven Sedge Warblers from the road at Cockersands yesterday.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Nothing Riveting....

....but all birding is good birding.

Cattle Egret. Phil Slade.

But's one of what I expect will be many excellent images we will be seeing soon from Fylde birder/ringer PS who has just returned from his holidays. PS was one of three Fylde birders I 'bumped into' today, a pretty decent trio to say the least and always something of interest to say, good to see you guy's. You can keep up to date with PS's birding/ringing/photographs HERE and when you do his header pic smacks you in the eye nicely. 

Of the few notables seen in my four hour slot today, I had to search from the west end of Conder Pool again to eventually find one of the Little Ringed Plovers lurking at the back side, but that added interest to my birding as it wouldn't be the same if they all stood in a line until you'd written them down in your book before jumping back into the car for the next would it!  Another bird I'd rather not have seen on Conder Pool was the unforgiving Grey Heron which was in it's 'frozen' mode staring at the LRP as it quietly stabbed at the ground for food. Other than the summering drake Wigeon there was positively nothing else of note on the pool today but a Lesser Whitethroat near the old iron railway bridge was good, along with a Whitethroat seen moments earlier. Also noted had to be 2 Greenfinch rapidly becoming a rarity, a male Reed Bunting, a Wren always good to hear since our severe winter, and the 'local' Kestrel, it was also good to see 4 House Martins had arrived and were taking an interest in the eaves of River Wind's.

At Cockersands where I had 'missed' some good numbers - according to 'SP of the Fylde' - because of the state of the tide by the time I got there, I noted at least 7 Sedge Warblers from the road to the lighthouse from Bank Houses, also 3 Wheatear are still in the rolled soil  field, and 2 Skylarks were also of note.

At 7.48pm my RBA pager alerted me to a summer plumage Spotted Sandpiper at Stocks Reservoir....may be the cause of some burning rubber!

And finally....

The Pacific-slope Flycatcher, an image from my friend Paul Baker over there in BC Canada. Wouldn't mind coming across one of these little beauties at Tower Lodge maybe sometime....Thanks for the pic Paul.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

OK.... this is getting silly.

Midland Hotel Morecambe. Pete Woodruff.

This Woodruff bloke is supposed to be running a bird/birding blog, he doesn't get out birding at weekends and usually fills the gaps in his blog with some excellent photography or interesting 'blasts from the past' and such-like bird connected things but this time it's photographs of Morecambe for goodness sake....Ahhhh well!

The pic above is a rear view of the now impressive Midland Hotel which is quite a smart place from the outside and once you get inside is even smarter. However, I speak not from experience but would suggest quite a loaded wallet would be required to purchase Sunday Lunch and a couple of drinks in this place, but if a loaded wallet isn't a problem for you I'd suggest giving it a go to try it out.

Midland Hotel. Pete Woodruff.

Another view of the Midland Hotel, this from the Stone Jetty. I think if anyone still wants to throw in the argument that Morecambe isn't trying to keep up to date with the resort in order to compete with others, a walk down the promenade from the Battery Hotel to Teal Bay may help to change your mind.

Well I threw this one in just because I liked the colours and am always attracted to red, apart from which a walk down the jetty is always a good idea birding wise. Talking of birds I can end on the subject with this post because I'm probably going to have to search out a decent new - well second hand - motor and whilst looking through some this afternoon at one of the garage's on White Lund I heard the voice of  Lesser Whitethroat in the bushes at the rear of the it is a birding blog after all! 

Saturday, 15 May 2010

The Quickie!

This is the shortest post ever on Birds2blog but may be added to later if time allows.

The image above along with....

....this one, are two of a set of photographs by Brian Rafferty and I'm not prepared to say more on them as I strongly recommend you visit Brian's website HERE  - or at the top of my sidebar where he belongs - to read about a memorable experience he had this week involving these brilliant Black Grouse. 

Friday, 14 May 2010

Did you know!

Bass Rock. David Cookson.

But first this stunning image of Bass Rock, location for up to 80,000 occupied nests and photographed by David earlier this year.

I've been rooting through some 30 year old Cumbria records and have noted the following ones of interest in varying degrees all from 1980.

King Eider. One recorded from Walney B.O. as it/one had also been the year before in 1979.

Ruddy Duck. A North American species introduced into Britain in 1948, it is thought that over a period of time seventy juveniles flew away from the captivity of Slimbridge. The species was admitted to the official British and Irish list in 1971 and this bird was found on Longtown G.P. on 27 August 1980 and was the first record for Cumbria.

Black Grouse. Was recorded at six locations in Cumbria in 1980.

Corncrake. Records of calling males were collected at three locations.

Little Ringed Plover. This bird is noted as a rarity in Cumbria in the 1980 records and was located at three sites in this year....I must now look up it's status in 2010.

Dotterel. This record I found very interesting and was of a successful breeding at an undisclosed Cumbrian site.

Turtle Dove. Another very interesting record in that it was claimed that over-wintering of these birds had increased over recent years....How things change!

Short-eared Owl. Now this one really intrigued me and gave details of a study of pellet content at a roost near Barrow which it is claimed contained five rings, those of a British Turnstone, plus two British, one Swedish, and one Norwegian Dunlin....amazing.

Stonechat. Showed a recovery from 1979 when there was a decrease in numbers recorded but still remained scarce inland in 1980.

Whinchat. I could find no mention of this species in the 1980 report which poses me the question....was it omitted in error?

Wood Warbler. A good breeding season throughout Cumbria. So how things have changed there in thirty years.

Nutcracker. Walney B.O. had the record of a bird seen on 1 December 1979 accepted by the BBRC. 

Bass Rock. David Cookson.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Blue Sky, Blue Sea....

....Blue'dy cold wind still!

Mare and Foal. Pete Woodruff.

No bird pics today but I did manage a couple of decent one's of this mare and its foal at Banks Houses Cockersands which - according to the owner - is barely a week old....both beautiful creatures.

I suppose I'd have to refer to today's birding as quiet and certainly so at Conder Green though the Little Ringed Plover pair did show on the pool but you do have to be patient with these two. Also noted a (the) Whitethroat was singing from the same branch of the same bush as Monday, and a Song Thrush, 2 Eider and 3 drake Wigeon were seen on the River Lune from here. On Jeremy Lane 2 Wheatear, a Skylark, and a male Linnet was observed feeding a female, a first for me.

At Cockersands where the tide was at it's height c.60 Dunlin and a similar number of Ringed Plover were pushed by the tide below the headland and gave good views, I was hoping perhaps one or two Sanderling would be with them, but if there's to be a repeat of these turning up here again as three years ago in 2007 - when 120 were present on 31 May - I'll need to wait a couple more weeks perhaps. Also of note, 12 Eider were off Crook Farm, a Great-crested Grebe has been a little rare anywhere off Cockersands recently. From the road back to the lighthouse from Banks Houses I saw just 2 Tree Sparrows, a Skylark, a Wren, 2 Sedge Warbler in full song, and 24 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were noted in a field, and a Lesser Whitethroat has either moved to the line of Willows on the road towards the lighthouse, or it's Mondays bird having moved, 6 Brown Hare were also noted.

I thought I'd give Aldcliffe a look over but a circuit here was a little unproductive, even the 'Whitethroats' went silent on me, the biggest surprise was a pair of Gadwall on the wildfowlers pool, the only other bird of any note was a singing Blackcap....such is the variation of birding. I saw only seven butterflies in six hours today, 3 Speckled Wood, 2 Orange Tip, and 2 Small Tortoiseshell, all at Aldcliffe. One worrying sight here today was that the two excellent and rather large stubble fields have become Lancasters 'Sahara Desert' and several Lapwing adults were stood around in a forlorn state....nothing new there then! 

I note no House Martins have arrived at Conder Green as yet especially at 'River Winds' where up to five pairs nested last year. 

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Three Shillings.

Laurel Reflections. Richard Shilling.

I rarely enjoy anything more than posting some of Richard Shillings Landart creations when I've had a day off birding and the need to keep Birds2blog alive. I note Richard has been creating some of his works with leaves recently and to be quite honest I think they are brilliant as the image above illustrates.

Maple Sun Diamond. Richard Shilling.

I'm quite sure non of Richards work falls anywhere below brilliant and Maple Sun Diamond is definitely no exception and he takes a good photograph too.

Four Holly Stars. Richard Shilling.

I e-mailed this man recently and told him that if it's at all possible he gets better with time. Anyway make your own mind up about this man and his creations and please visit his website HERE ....I think he's a genius at his art.   

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Woodland & Fell.

Stonechat. Peter Guy.

My pessimistic view of the weather almost got the better of me again today as it looked decidedly doggy as I set off to enter Holme Wood, but as well it didn't rule as it developed into a good day and for some time before my birding ended it had been blue sky wall to wall almost and and some nice birds too. I gave Holme Wood, down Grizedale and return three hours at a snails pace noting 20 species along the way of which the following qualify for the blog. The Gold Award was abandoned today....too much competition!

I'm not sure 14 Willow Warblers in three woodland hours is anything impressive but that's the total, 3 Blackcap is a species I get the impression is quite 'healthy' this year, a Garden Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, a lone Redpoll (Lesser) was a nice find, 2 Treecreeper, 4 Dunnock, a Jay, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, 4 Wren and 2 Grey Wagtail. The only butterflies seen were singles of Peacock and Orange Tip.

As I got to almost going out of Holme Wood I'd been wondering why had I no sightings of at least a couple of species in a woodland habitat ideal for them when a black and white miniature Magpie type of bird flashed through my line of vision....when I eventually picked the bird up again it was exactly what I had thought and hoped, a male Pied Flycatcher which - if only briefly - burst into song....nice one!

Part two of today's plan was to check out Harrisend where I managed to find 4 Stonechats, being a pair and two female though I saw no evidence of any breeding results despite lingering in their company for some time, 12 Meadow Pipits were counted, 2 Willow Warbler, a solitary male Linnet, and a Buzzard seen. As I reached my farthest point in my quest for birds on Harrisend I spotted a distant 'dot' on a fence post, too bright for Stonechat, too small for Meadow Pipit....there's only one thing for it, I need to extend my visit and get closer to find out what this bird is....

Whinchat. Pete Woodruff.

....nice one, it's a male Whinchat of which I even got at least a half decent picture. As I approached the car parked on the Oakenclough road a Cuckoo struck up somewhere in an area just north of Fell End Farm....another nice one!

Wood Warbler. Mike Watson.

The other bird I really should have seen in Holme Wood in ideal habitat - and probably would had it not been for the birds decline - is the Wood Warbler and being a sucker for 'a good pic' this is as good as you could ever wish for in terms of a brilliant image of this enigmatic bird part of whose vocabulary sounds like a ten pence piece spinning on a marble slab. Please take a look at Mike's website HERE 

Monday, 10 May 2010

Whinchat wins the Gold Award again!

Dotterel. David Cookson.

First of all, there are many stunning images of Dotterel around at the moment and none more stunning than this one from David Cookson....Thanks David.

At Conder Green the male Little Ringed Plover was again in the creeks whilst presumably 'the wife' is sitting somewhere out of sight on the backside of Conder Pool, the only other bird of any note was a drake Wigeon obviously not going anywhere this summer. On a circuit I noted at least one Sedge Warbler in the reeds upstream of the road bridge, also 3 Reed Buntings, 2 Goldfinch, 3 Linnet were interesting as I don't see that many anywhere these days, a Grey Plover was almost in full summer plumage, and 2 Whitethroat were singing beyond the old railway bridge, 4 Greylag and a 'white farmyard type' were in the creeks making a terrible racket about some disagreement they have.

On the canal basin at Glasson Dock 4 Great-crested Grebe noted along with at least 4 Swift, 12 Swallow, and 6 Sand Martin all hawking over the water. A check through a ploughed field on Jeremy Lane produced my best of the day in a female Whinchat one of which was on here last year on 19 May, also 2 Wheatear in the same field today.

A circuit of Cockersands armed only with binoculars round my neck, 6 Wheatear, c.30 Eider, and another sp Grey Plover. From the road back to the lighthouse end I heard a Lesser Whitethroat which represents a first here in my records book, no more than 4 Tree Sparrows here again today....where are all the Cockersands Tree Sparrows? 2 Skylarks, a Sedge Warbler briefly in song as were 2 Wren which were good to hear. In the 1.5 hour it took me to do this walk I counted just 3 Lapwing chicks with several dead ones presumably lying around in all the 'worked fields' since my last visit here which I experience each and every year here and elsewhere, but from which I am never able to become complacent about. Oh dear....ended on a down note....never mind!

Spotted Redshank. Stuart Piner.

And really finally this time....

Thanks to Stuart Piner for this brilliant image of the Spotted Redshank at  Conder Green which we have all been able to watch as it transforms from its bright winter plumage to its black summer one....Thanks for sharing this Stuart, this bird is that little bit special to me.