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

Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Monster Warbler.

In terms of 'megas' The Orphean Warbler (OW) is huge and is a sylvia warbler every twitcher in the land would dearly love to get their eyes on and one found in Cleveland on Tuesday caused the expected surge of cars onto the byways and motorways to see this monster bird.

Its interesting that despite huge numbers of OW breeding in southern France its rarity here in the UK is astonishingly rare and the reasons for this are in no way immediately apparent. It is also interesting that the species is yet another of those birds involved in the so called 'Hastings Rarities Scandal' which brings about yet more interest in that the first British record of OW was claimed in N.Yorkshire in 1848 when a pair was said to be breeding at Wetherby the male of which was apparently adequately described, but the account soon descended into nonsense as I see it and as far as I can tell the BOURC began to review this record in 1999. The bottom line of all this is, that if the record in Yorkshire in 1848 is eventually rejected, Britain's first record of OW will be that of a bird at Portland in Dorset in 1955.
Ring Ouzel Paul Foster

Thanks to PF for the image of the male Ring Ouzel, not a 'mega' bird but one many birders would love to find and go in search of them to do so every summer.  

Buzzard David Cookson

And thanks again to DC for being the first to point me in the direction of the 'good news' regarding the Buzzard project, but be warned....The Countryside Alliance are not best please about the u-turn on this one and rest assured they'll be getting their rocket launchers polished and at the ready. 

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Some Good News....

....a Herring Gull, and a couple of those excellent DC images which keep on bobbing up on Birdsblog.

There's some excellent 'Buzzard' news, the result of the power of people....see what I'm getting excited about HERE

Herring Gull. David Cookson.

It was DC who first told me of the above 'good news', excuse enough for me to plug his photographs once again including my new header, and this brilliant image of two Herring Gulls fighting it out over a decent meal, not just a picture but one with a difference...thanks a lot DC

Whilst doing some birding at Cockersands recently I found a Herring Gull which was ringed, thankfully this bird was reasonably obliging in that it stayed quite close to me for a long time, but not obliging enough to give me the views I needed to get a reading. Some perseverance was required but not until I'd watched this gull for about 15 minutes during which time if it was near enough it was either up to its belly in water, or facing the wrong way for me to get the fix I wanted, but in the end I succeeded and secured the reading as R3RG.

I'm grateful for the help of two contacts who both contributed to my receiving the history of this bird. As you can see it hasn't been sighted all that often in nearly 6 years but you do have to ask yourself what is it that would urge this gull to make the movements it did over these years and for me to find it on Plover Scar at Cockersands eight days ago on Tuesday 22 May. 

Recapture History
  Ring                 Age/   Capture
  numbe       Typ                               Date        Init         Details
Herring Gull
  GA40393        N      1                       01/07/06      FLE     Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve, Lancashire
                    S      7    Sighted (R)    15/07/08      CLA    Stubber Green, Nr Aldridge, West Midlands (137 km, SSE, 2 yrs
                    S      9    Sighted         02/01/10      VNT    Moore nature reserve, Warrington (43 km, SSE, 3 yrs 185days)
                    O     10   Sighted (R)    28/11/10      HRT    Glasson Dock, Lancashire (34 km, N, 4 yrs 150days)
                    O     10   Sighted (R)    31/01/11      HRT    Cockersands Abbey, Lancashire (30 km, N, 4 yrs 214days)

Black-tailed Godwit. David Cookson.

Another pic with a difference, this one of the Black-tailed Godwits at loggerheads over who knows what.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Back to work!

Well sort of back to work....the sort of work I have a passion for, and there aren't many people who call work a passion. But first, one of three Birds2blog's customary pics....

An image illustrating to good effect the amazing transformation of colours in birds winter-summer plumage's, with the stunning red of the Bar-tailed Godwit, the black and white of the Grey Plover, and the Knot beginning to show signs of summer red if you look closely.

I was at Barbondale by 8.15 this morning to eventually enter in my little black book two hours later, 10 Pied Flycatcher. I was also rewarded by just about all of the 'Barbondale's Specials' with, Cuckoo heard, Spotted Flycatcher, at least 8 Redstart, 3 Tree Pipit, a Blackcap, Wheatear, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Dipper, Raven, Nuthatch, Reed Bunting, Buzzard, Kestrel, the 'Bull Pot' pair of Stonechat, and a singing male Whinchat which I reckon - at this stage in the proceedings - is on a looser and hasn't had any luck in attracting a mate despite singing on three of four visits I made here. I found a  Mallard on a nest with seven eggs.

I pulled into the car park at Bull Beck to check the River Lune upstream a few metres to find a pair of Little Ringed Plover, 6 Common Sandpiper, a singing male Blackcap and Song Thrush, and a Grey Wagtail. I don't know the status of the Sand Martin in this area of the River Lune and having made no attempt to count I'd refer to them as being in good number. 

At Glasson Dock on the Lune Estuary, 117 Mute Swan was a noticeable increase in their number and the best I've made here in many months....I know a man who'd tell us how many months!

I gave Cockersands a couple of hours but it was hard work turning anything up, 28 Eider drifted past the lighthouse on the incoming tide, 2 Stock Dove seen, a 'few' Tree Sparrow, a Reed Bunting, 4 Skylark, 4 Linnet, and a Sedge Warbler. Apart from a few 'whites' a female Common Blue was the only butterfly of note all day, one of our most common and  widespread butterflies which can be found in any grassy area from sea-level up to 1,800m.

And finally....

Black-winged Stilt Isidro Ortiz

An excellent flight shot of the Black-winged Stilt which I would have to add the caption....Concord. 

White-legged Damselfly Warren Baker

And this 'head on' photograph of the White-legged Damselfly is a positive winner from my man in Kent.

Monday, 28 May 2012

And there's more!

DEFRA responds....but as I see it it appears to be addressed to passengers recently embarked from a banana boat which has been at sea for the past week or so and I couldn't resist the photograph of one of these passengers above.  

Of course theres no way I'm prepared to loose sight of the serious side of all this, but DEFRA have completely missed the point of all this 'Buzzard Persecution' and the subsequent outcry from the public at large....well they would wouldn't they, but don't take my word for it, its a bit brief but read for yourself this laughable response from DEFRA HERE and you'll see the smoke screen is still working to good effect. 

To come clean about the banana boat passenger above.... he's been 'nicked' off Rays Blog and if you visit the blog you'll see hes called Finn Norscand. If you're looking for something to cheer you up I can assure you there's always something on Rays blog to do just that and to raise a smile at the very least. 

If there's anyone out there who thinks I'm going on a little over this issue I'm not about to apologise about it, we have to keep up the momentum on this, which reminds me....have you signed the petition yet please. 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Three of a Kind!

It was good to get out again on Friday with BT and in particular JB as its been seven long months since we last met up for a days birding and quite some time since JB got out because of an upset with his health which is hopefully all behind him now....Good to be back John and away we go.

Orange Tip. David Cookson.

But first, a female Orange Tip butterfly with thanks to David Cookson....brilliant macro David.

We first called in at Birk Bank with the express hope of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary over the bog here, but no luck in perfect habitat on a perfect day near the end of May. This butterfly can be seen on the wing in late April in the south, and late May up here in the north, so something of a disappointment. On the insect trail it was good to see a Green Tiger Beetle, an active little predator and my first in a long time. Regarding birds, I heard my fifth Cuckoo of the year distant from where we were, and saw a solitary RedpollIn the Jubilee Tower area and on Abbeystead Lane, 2 Linnet noted and one or two Lapwing with young to be seen. At Abbeystead at least one Spotted Flycatcher seen and a Blackcap in song.

In the Marshaw/Tower Lodge area it was interesting to see/hear Redpoll and Siskin, with good views of male and female Crossbill here again. I'm convinced there are decent to good numbers of all three of these species in this area being seen for the the second time in two visits here in as many weeks, given the opportunity and time I'm determined to find out before the summer is out. Also of note with much less time here than my recent 5 hours, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Nuthatch, a Common Sandpiper, and 2 Cuckoo heard from the left and right of Trough Bridge made my total seven individuals, a Green Woodpecker was seen briefly in flight.

Now for two insect pics, one very professionally executed, the other by comparison pretty awful....

Banded Demioselle.

First the very professional one of the Banded Demioselle with thanks to Marc Heath....another brilliant macro Marc.

Lily Beetle. Pete Woodruff.

And....the 'pretty awful' one by yours truly of the Lily Beetle which are a serious pest in many gardens but not in mine, it was a welcome 'first' for me and I'm never likely to see this creature as a pest in my garden....ever!

And finally....

Have you signed the 'Buzzard' Petition in my left hand sidebar yet, if not I wonder if you would do so right now please.  

Friday, 25 May 2012


....all my troubles seemed so far away.

Well, I'm not too sure about that, but I did get seven hours in yesterday and walked as many miles in the process....By the way, all the pics are mine. 

Holme Wood.

Three hours through Holme Wood and down the Grizedale Valley. In relation to the wood, the perfect woodland habitat which should accommodate several species of woodland birds but doesn't. I had hoped for Wood Warbler and Pied Flycatcher, a male of which I did find a couple of year ago but which came to nothing and not seen since.

Birds noted, no surprise to see/hear at least 10 Willow Warbler, 2 Song Thrush, a solitary Long-tailed Tit, a Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, juvenile Grey Wagtail, juvenile Robin, a Nuthatch feeding young in a nest hole, and a Buzzard overhead, a disappointing three hours to be honest. 

Old Oak Tree.

I then went on to Harrisend where - yes you guessed it - I hoped for Stonechat, in vain as it happens, but a Cuckoo perched in the lone Hawthorn here was excellent, also noted, at least 13 Meadow Pipit, and a Reed Bunting. A detour from the fell path produced 2 Lesser Redpoll, and the amazing old Oak Tree the age of which I'd love to know....look at the spread of that tree.  

Next I needed to check out the west side of Hawthornthwaite Fell,but to be honest was running low on time allowance, so just went about three quarters the way up the track to find a male and female Stonechat which  I didn't take to be a pair because of the distance between them, but good to find them all the same. Also of note, 8 Meadow Pipit, and a Reed Bunting was all this area could offer.

Abbeystead Bluebells.

On the way back to Lancaster I wanted to have another look in at Abbeystead where I found a Spotted Flycatcher, a singing male Blackcap, and a Robin on a nest with six eggs which I checked when she flew off.

And finally....

Please, have you signed the petition in my left hand side-bar, if you haven't please do so now, if you don't we may be staring the end of the Buzzard in the face.

Regarding comments made on this blog and in many other areas about BTO involvement in the Buzzard Management Project....In fairness to BTO you should read THIS

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Read on....again!

For a reason not yet clear to me, I have been asked to re-read the PDF....well if you wish you may also read the PDF on this subject of 'Buzzard Control' though I doubt if it will give you any reason to see it all through some other pair of glasses.... PDF

Also if you're in a reading mood - and I hope you are - you may also be interested to hear The RSPB is stunned on hearing about this 'Modern Day Gamekeeping'.

But hey....Birds2blog needs to cheer up and lighten up, so how about these three stunning and colourful images of some of our amazing birds and a 'chaser'....

Brian achieved this colourful image of waders on the beach at high tide. You can see five species in the shot, not least of all the one that 'stands out in the crowd' the stunning summer plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit with Knot, Dunlin, Grey Plover and a solitary Ringed Plover. Nice one BR....I love it!

Redstart David Cookson
David's photograph shows us one of the most brilliantly coloured birds to visit our shores each summer, the male Redstart. Nice one DC....keep 'em cumin.

Broad-bodied Chaser Marc Heath

And finally....Marc's BBC, no not the British Broadcasting Company - I'm just trying to be humorous - the Broad-bodied Chaser, a pretty smart macro image to say the least. Nice one keep 'em cumin too.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Read On....

Buzzard Gary Jones

I've found out about something today that shocked me to the roots and should you too, any right thinking person - and in particular any right thinking birder - should act in every way possible to halt what is set to become a three year project entitled, wait for it....The Development of Management Techniques to Reduce the Predation of Pheasant Poults by Buzzards, a trial area is to be in Northhumberland where it is claimed shoots have suffered significant losses accountable to the Buzzard. 

Its pretty hard for me to get my head round the fact that this project is funded to the tune of a truly obscene £375,000 of tax payers money. And how about this for one of the sickening methods proposed to be used and named as a 'non-lethal technique' whereby the nest is to be destructed during construction in order to displace the birds by using squirrel drey-poking poles, or shotgun from below to force the pair to move on to breed elsewhere, or possibly not at all that year.

The ultimate irony here being, that the Buzzard has reached a point where its population has stabilised since its persecution years, and that our government has sanctioned this project of destruction beggars belief.

So now we have it that, not content with wiping out the Hen Harrier, landowners and shoot managers have colluded with their friends in high places to bring about this trial project behind a smoke screen called 'research' on its way to also riding their land of another raptor called the Buzzard but which they prefer to see as 'vermin'.

But theres more irony in all of this in that, the proposed nest destruction to be used in this project is the very same nest destruction used illegally by gamekeepers who continue to persecute other species such as the Goshawk, yet here we have DEFRA giving the green light to use the very same tactics whilst apparently pretending its OK in this case to label it 'non-lethal'.

All of this awful business needs to be stopped, yet heres more irony in that, as a birding blog, and as a blogger I feel I'm not at liberty to publish names and addresses I have at my disposal, but what I do know - and what I am at liberty to publish - is that the BTO are a part of the 'Project Advisory Group' so why not let them know your feelings about the nest destruction proposal, and ask them what their views are on it whilst you're a it. 

And by the way shouldn't all we 'birders' be getting in touch with our MP's too, apart from the subject matter, isn't £375,000 a lot of 'our' money to hand over to the landowners and shooting fraternity in order to prop up their profits.  

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

You Never Know!

I think its a good idea to set off on a days birding on the basis you never know what you might find, a sort of tales of the unexpected.

Skylark. David Cookson.

Well I can't say I found anything unexpected today but on a circuit of Cockersands I did count at least 7 Skylark along with 6 Wheatear still coming through, 2 Sedge Warbler burst into song, a 'few' Tree Sparrow, a male Reed Bunting, and a Buzzard soaring inland. Waders were a bit thin and Plover Scar was almost deserted even by the guardians of the scar the Oystercatchers, but a 'few' Dunlin and Ringed Plover had a single Sanderling in company, with two drake Eider on the sea, about 12 Small Tortoiseshell were a sign of summer and the warmer weather which has arrived at last.  

It was at least nice to find two young Lapwing had so far survived the onslaught of the breeding time harvest which is always to be seen at Cockersands on a grand scale every year, one field today resembled a kind of agricultural motorway with about eight trailer pulling tractors following the harvest gathering machine and Lapwings going crazy overhead....a pretty depressing sight.

At Glasson Dock the Lune Estuary was virtually void of bird-life but 2 Common Tern in flight and plunge diving, a House Martin kept returning to collect mud, and a Mute Swan pair had ten cygnets on the canal basin. Conder Pool held around 6 Tufted Duck and 2 Wigeon having decided to summer here. 

Talking about the unexpected when it comes to finding birds in our area, here are a couple of good might have to wait more than a little while to turn up a....

                                                           Golden Oriole. Antonio Puigg.

or a.... 

                                                   Collared Pratincole. Antonio Puigg.

Thanks to Antonio Puigg for the stunning images of the Oriole and Pratincole, and to David Cookson for the excellent Skylark photograph.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Disappearing Ducks.

Long-tailed Duck. Dave Appleton.

The record of  a Long-tailed Duck (LTD) off Starr Gate at Blackpool - and one or two other records recently - has prompted me to write up a post about the decline of seven species of sea duck, the numbers of which have fallen by up to 65% over the past 15 years including some that winter off the UK coasts, in particular the LTD and....

 Velvet Scoter. Dave Appleton.

....the Velvet Scoter (VS). 

The mysterious nature and the challenges of monitoring sea ducks have meant that the situation had largely gone unnoticed. Key coastal areas like the Moray Firth in Scotland indicate that VS numbers have declined from an amazing several thousand to a worrying less than 100 in under a decade, and LTD's have plummeted tenfold to another worrying figure of less than 1,000. Similar declines have been reported from the Baltic Sea which appears to suggest that these birds aren't just going elsewhere....they are disappearing.

Eider. Dave Appleton.

More shocking declines have also occurred amongst common and widespread populations such as the Common Eider which has halved in under 20 years. The causes of these declines are unknown, though the widespread nature of them indicates that they are linked to environmental change across much of the arctic and sub-arctic regions where most of these species breed.

Sea ducks occur in remote areas in summer and winter periods, making numbers and habits very hard to assess, attempts to pinpoint the reasons behind these declines are difficult, though suggestions do of course include human activities, like over-fishing of mussels, by-catch in fishing nets, and oil spills are three prime examples.

WWT is to set out a strategy and is asking parties for support in developing international research in tracking migration routes and studies in breeding areas, in particular in Russia. 

Thanks to Dave Appleton for three excellent photographs of three excellent sea duck species.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Pathetic weather....again.

But some excellent birding....again.

Pied Flycatcher. Brian Rafferty.

When BT called for me yesterday morning and suggested he'd like to visit Barbondale for the first time this year I was never likely to say no was I, in any case there was birding on the front line to do up there so off we went.

Barbondale has never failed to impress and reward me and this visit was no exception, for starters there are almost certainly four pair of Pied Flycatcher here this year including the singing male of the two previous visit having found a mate for his efforts. It was also good to find at least one Spotted Flycatcher has found its way here again this year.

Redstart. Brian Rafferty. 

Also of note, the Bull Pot pair of Stonechat seen again, I reckon the only pair present here in the summer of 2012, a pair of Whinchat, 4 Redstart, a single Tree Pipit, possibly the only one here, at least 8 Wheatear, Dipper, Great-spotted Woodpecker, up to 6 Grey Wagtail, a male Reed Bunting, and an unusual count of in excess of 20 Chaffinch was of note, 2 Buzzard, and a Kestrel.  

Whinchat. David Cookson. 

Some interesting behaviour observed here today which appeared to be related to poor weather conditions especially for breeding birds, in that several species - not particularly associated with fast flowing water - were seen to be behaving and feeding reminiscent of a bird definitely associated with fast running water the Grey Wagtail, including Whinchat, Pied Flycatcher, Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, Willow Warbler, Reed Bunting, and Chaffinch, all spending periods stood on the stones in Barbon Beck before darting off to catch insects on/in the beck. In my view this was seen as opportunism by these birds to find a food source not as freely available as it should be elsewhere on land in mid May, I strongly suspect the emergence of a Mayfly species was taking place here.

As I left Barbondale today I felt convinced that unless the poor weather we are currently experiencing changes soon and for the better, many of the breeding birds we had seen here would be doomed to failure.

Many thanks to BR and DC for images of three of the species seen today at Barbondale. 


We are now in the 21st century, yet there are a good number of 'uncivilised' human beings who still shoot wild birds for the fun of it, and to make matters worse they're allowed to and they ain't all in Malta. I heard an excellent suggestion the other day when someone said the government should ban grouse shooting on every keepered moorland in England until there are 100 breeding pairs of Hen Harriers on them....What a truly excellent idea. 

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Picture This!

If the truth be known there are as many birders who take excellent photographs and who visit Birds2blog as there birders who don't take photographs at all, these photographers are always pleased to find a decent pic or two on here whilst I share their brilliant work with everyone. So we have an all winners situation here and that's really good and just what I like the blog to be, a show-ground, an advertising tool....Oh, and I also get out birding on occasion's and can then pass on my records.

So here are four of the most recent photographs I have found on the various websites, plus one sent to me by a birder who often helps me out of some of the holes I find myself in from time to ain't what you know, its who you know! 

    Bee-Eater Antonio Puigg  

Some birds display some truly amazing colours and the Bee-Eater must be one of the most colourful to be found in the UK on occasion's, I have seen multi reports of them today including two in East Yorkshire.

Our own Knot changes from its less colourful winter plumage into the red summer coat as shown in this excellent image which includes the very smart Grey Plover also in its summer breeding plumage.

Red Kite Phillip Tomkinson  

The Red Kite is one of a few magnificent birds of prey resident in this country and has been the subject of a successful reintroduction scheme in recent times as opposed to other species of raptor some of which are staring extinction in the face....just for being birds of prey.

Slavonion Grebe David Cookson

In its subdued winter plumage the Slavonion Grebe becomes a little black and white job, but the grebes are all delightful birds.

And finally....

Common Rosefinch. Copy Permitted.

Here's another one of the Common Rosefinch featured a couple of times in recent posts on Birds2blog.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The first of May!

Well it was the first day in May that at least tried to be a little more like it should be at this time of the year, but didn't try hard enough, although there was many sunny spells the wind chill bordered on ridiculous. It was a day on which I wished I could have performed some kind of magic and visited several locations I'd love to have visited in one day, in the end I settled for five hours intense searching in the Marshaw - Trough Bridge - Whinfold Fell area which rewarded me with what follows....

Within ten minutes of leaving the motor I was disappointed in only seeing singles of Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, and an unbelievably close encounter with a stunning red male Crossbill within a few metres of me, I'm pretty sure this bird was accompanied by another but they had done a disappearing act before I could clinch the second bird, the bet was that there were more but if there was I didn't connect with them. I also heard 2 Cuckoo calling together, that's three Cuckoos so far this summer none of which have I seen. I saw at least 5 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Common Sandpiper, 8 Grey Wagtail, 10 Mistle Thrush, 3 Dipper one of which was a juvenile, 2 Dunnock, a Nuthatch, Song Thrush, Coal Tit, and GoldfinchOn the fringe of Whinfold Fell I flushed a single Red Grouse, and counted c.12 Meadow Pipit

On the day I found a pair of Pied Flycatcher, only the second sighting of the species in my birding years anywhere in this area, last year a pair bred elsewhere in this area and I watched a young fledged bird being fed in late June. The pair seen today will be good news for whoever is responsible for the nest box scheme which I discovered has been set up in the area, as these two were showing an interest in it....No publicity on Birds2blog about the whereabouts of nest box schemes, but no secrecy attached to this one regarding the choice of location. 

There was the now usual 'Human Remains' left littering this outstandingly beautiful area, bottles/lager cans/cigarette packets etc,etc, but I failed to get any pictures of them this time but.... 

Spot The Difference. Pete Woodruff.

You'd stand accused of loosing your sense of humour if you failed to see the funny side of one of these signs, put up by some 'joker' with his/her Blackpool 'Kiss Me Quick' hat on and stencils in the car.

A look in at Stoops Bridge produced no sighting of Pied Flycatcher, but a male Blackcap seen, a pair of Great-spotted Woodpecker feeding young at a nest hole with a third bird seen later, 2 Dipper, and 4 Mistle Thrush. My record book reads....A good days birding. 

Wot no birdy pics!!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Following on....

....from yesterdays post which started with the interesting wagtail sp found some years ago in our area at Aldcliffe. An enquiry as to whether there was more images of this bird - to which the answer is unfortunately a no - you may be interested in THIS which you will need to translate, unless you are conversant with the language of the Dutch.

I'll take this opportunity to apologise for an error on Birds2blog, made in the post 'New Post....Old Pics' where I inadvertently in a lapse of concentration to those who believe in me - or mis-identified to those who don't believe in me - posted a photograph of a.... 

Lesser Redpoll. John Leedal.

Lesser Redpoll claiming it to be one of a Common Rosefinch. However, this is in fact a bright male with white underparts and wing-bars and is a good example of what many birders - not including me - would call a Mealy Redpoll. The black face and the streaked flanks are good features to eliminate Common Rosefinch.  

Common Rosefinch. John Leedal.

This is the one I should have posted, this photograph clearly shows the birds red rump.

White Stork Isidro Ortiz

Isidro has been in touch with me from Spain and has kindly offered his photographs for me to use on Birds2blog. You may need to be patient if you're after an image like this one as the White Stork flies past the view of the moon....Excellent, please take a look at his website.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Filling the gap again....

....sounds like giving some 'loud mouth' a fist full in it, but its actually yet another post until I can get out birding again....when is it ever going to end I'm beginning to wonder.

Well I can sincerely hope Birds2blog isn't descending into boring, perhaps it did so ages ago, but anyway, this is really interesting, well I think so anyhow, but brace yourself as there are more JL pics coming up....

Yellow Wagtail sp.

And this is the interesting one, taken before my years spent with JL so at least 25 years ago I reckon. As I write I have not traced any history to this image, what I do know is that the bird was at Aldcliffe - which won't mean anything to anyone not local - and it must have caused an initial stir, frustratingly I don't know any outcome of the eventual ID of this individual though I reckon I will in due course, but a contact who knows much more than me on the subject has agreed that this bird is perhaps a hybrid Yellow x Citrine Wagtail, an excellent find for someone.


Here's another great local find, this Hoopoe was at Halton a few miles from Lancaster and seen by JL and myself in October 1998.

Spotted Redshank.

This Spotted Redshank I initially found on the Eric Morecambe complex at Leighton Moss on 12 July 1997, I could see the bird from high up on the viewpoint from Crag Road and dashed off to do a trespass and find it again 20 minutes later on the flood at the rear of the complex. An amazing unique wader which changes from the generally black in summer plumage to brilliant white - on underparts - in winter. Not a species to be found every July in our area and beyond and certainly my first....a nice one.

And finally....

Tawny Owl. 

One of those 'chance in a lifetime' shots for JL, this Tawny Owl roosts in the perfect tree hole....amazing. 

I don't want to tempt providence but....theres a chance I get some birding on Wednesday, perhaps you'd like to look in on Birds2blog to find out if I did.    

Friday, 11 May 2012

A 'must' post! this might appear to be a post done in desperation but, I have a new header pic, and have found two more 'in flight' images all of which are not to be seen as competitive just a couple of examples of brilliant photography by two guys who know a thing or two about taking pictures, trust me I know what I'm talking about, and they know what they're doing.

In no particular order....

Hobby. Marc Heath. 

To compliment the new header photograph, here's another stunning one of the Hobby in fifth gear and breaking the sound barrier. Another example of top of the range photography from Marc Heath 


Cuckoo. David Cookson.  

The Cuckoo - they're back - from David Cookson ....what else is there to say. Well I can at least be thankful these and other photographer/birders allow me to share this kind of art on Birds2blog.

I'd sooner be birding!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Nine days later.

Ring Ouzel. Bowland
Ring Ouzel. Brian Rafferty.

If you want to keep up to speed on the birds at a particular location at this time of the year you really do have to visit on an almost weekly basis as the breeding season comes and goes before you know it. It was for this reason that I decided to get back to Barbondale yesterday nine days after my first visit here on 30 April. I wasn't on my own with this decision, apart from anything else the reports of Ring Ouzel here had created a greater interest in the place than ever and during my stay I saw several other birders, met up with a BTO rep, a cutting edge birder, three Fylders, and Bill and Jean from Lancashire who I often 'bump into' when out and about.

Whinchat. Copy Permitted.

It was excellent that I found at least one male Whinchat had found its way to Barbondale from the large number that have arrived in the UK over the past few days, I actually had two sightings but wasn't convinced the second bird wasn't the one I had seen earlier. The photograph above has a special appeal to me not least of all that it was taken at Cockersands and would have greatly advanced my passion for birds if I'd have found this individual. I'm repeating myself here but....there have been more Whinchats arrived in the UK this year than I have seen before with large numbers recorded including in our own area, an Amber listed and declining species given a welcome boost with these numbers seen reported over the past days.   

Wheatear. Brian Rafferty.

I usually find good numbers here every year, today I saw at least 17 Wheatear during my seven hour stay during which time I covered some ground and probably walked four miles. Other notables....4 Pied Flycatcher seen as pair, a female, and the singing male seen last time I was here which I'm beginning to suspect may be attached to a female nesting in a tree hole with more observations required.

I found only one male Stonechat today, being the one of a pair seen last week from the path to Bull Pot, a Grey Wagtail was on Barbon Beck as were 5 Dipper over a three mile stretch, a Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker, at least 5 Redstarts were all male, 5 Reed Bunting, a Buzzard, and a Kestrel. It wasn't until I decided to pay one of my now famous second visits - which often reward me with something I missed on the first - along the path that I had the male Ring Ouzel pointed out to me to be told of claims of three birds here today, along with 2 Cuckoos one of which I had heard for a good part of my visit but never did see.

Many thanks as always to BR for the Ring Ouzel/Wheatear photographs. 

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