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

Sunday, 30 September 2012

On The Outside!

The Outside Bog. Unknown.

Anyone wishing to do so would be justified in accusing me of diverting too far away from birds on Birds2blog today in posting the pic above, but, no matter how hard I tried I couldn't resist what I would consider to be the best political statement of the century requiring no caption whatsoever, a picture speaking volumes.

But back to the birds....

It was interesting to see the report of a Stonechat seen at Leighton Moss Thursday last. It was a male seen atop of the reeds near the Bearded Tit grit trays. I don't recall seeing a single record of Stonechat anywhere in the vicinity this year, and few reports from anywhere in our recording area in the breeding season, which prompts the thought, where is this bird from, and has it bred around this area this year.

And a couple of excellent images to be going on with....

 Hawfinch. Phillip Tomkinson.

Not many opportunities to see - let alone photograph - the Hawfinch as well as this one, but PT made good use of his opportunity on this occasion.

Bittern. Phillip Tomkinson.  

Not many opportunities to see - let alone photograph - the Bittern either, but PT made good use of his opportunity on this occasion too. For all we know this image could well reflect the sum total of Bittern at Leighton Moss today as I suspect this may well be the case....But now someone is going come forward to tell us I'm wrong on that suggestion.

Thanks to Phillip Tomkinson for the two excellent photographs. 

And finally... 

Putting a smile into birding.

For all the birding ID 'goofs'....don't worry I'm one too. A Wilson's Phalarope reported this morning was later identified to be a Spotted Redshank....Mmmmm!!  

Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Twite Are Coming.

Twite at Knott End Geoff Gradwell

It isn't all good news about the Twite, a species with a lot to say about too. I'll keep it brief this time to avoid any boredom, but the Twite is a rare and decreasing species, and as a consequence finds itself on the 'Red List'. But I'm hoping to find them this winter, anywhere along the coast between Aldcliffe and Knott End.

Just south of Burnley in East Lancashire, the Twite at Cant Clough are encouraged with all year round seed feeding station/s in an effort to maintain a local breeding population that has crashed over the last 20 years, but human intervention of putting out the seed has certainly been the reason why this population has remained here throughout the year rather than join their kin on the coast during the winter months.

Ringing at Heysham Harbour has proved that the Twite there are almost exclusively from Scottish breeding sites, Heysham has produced counts just reaching three figures at both ends of 2011 in January and November, also in January 2011, 90 Twite were seen at Glasson Dock. 

Perhaps worth while making some more notes in a later post, in particular about the demise of this smart little 'Mountain Linnet'.

The Inner Farne White's Thrush.


If you watched the video of this bird in my earlier post - and you're in my 'club' - you will have seen some behaviour not seen before of this species, at the time I was intrigued by this not ever having seen or heard of it, but with a little help from a friend and the Helme Identification Guides book 'Thrushes' I was enlightened by the quote from the book....‘has peculiar shivering or nervous bobbing or jerking gait recalling similar motion of Jack Snipe, apparently uses as a method to bring worms to the surface’....learning something new every day.

And finally....

Conder Creek. Peter Guy.

I'm grateful to PG - who I met at Conder Green on Wednesday - for sending me this photograph of the River Conder in flood, and....

Off Jeremy Lane. Peter Guy. 

....for this one of the floods off Jeremy Lane. Not good news for the farmers, but excellent conditions for migrant waders to drop in, some of which were seen taking advantage of these fields and those in Moss Lane, with Curlew Sandpiper and Ruff amongst the finds here this past week.

And definitely finally this time....

If its colour and a lovely songster - if you're wired for sound - you're looking for, take a look below....

Thursday, 27 September 2012


Off Cockersands. Pete Woodruff.

I managed an escape to freedom yesterday for a few hours  - not that I achieved very much - on a much improved day weatherwise, though as the pic above shows there were some threats around whilst I was at Cockersands, birdwise not to much advantage, but.... mustn't grumble, birding throws up lots of surprises, not all of which are heart pumping but none of which are negative. 

At Conder Green having met PG, talking on the old railway bridge 2 Kingfisher flew together under the bridge and downstream towards the Conder mouth, albeit a brief one, the proverbial 'sight for sore eyes'. A few minutes later c.40 Goldfinch went overhead on their bouncing way, 3 Spotted Redshank in the creeks, and 4 Little Grebe were the only birds of note on Conder Pool which is at its highest water level ever recorded at the moment. I saw at least 12 Small Tortoiseshell here today.

If you'd have gone to Glasson Dock today to view the Lune Estuary on my recommendation as a prime birding hot-spot you would have been justified in telling me I don't know what I'm talking about, but I noted an adult Yellow-legged Gull, c.400 Golden Plover, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, and a Little Egret

There are some seriously flooded fields along Jeremy/Moss Lane and a Wheatear was noted on one but I found no evidence of any waders.

Knot Martin Jump 

I saw no Knot at Cockersands today - not a wader which frequents the area in any number - but MJ achieved this excellent image on one of his recent trips to Rossall Point, the bird loosing its breeding red underparts.

Turnstone Martin Jump

To be honest I wasn't very inspired by Cockersands today apart from the fact I was running out of time and went nowhere beyond Plover Scar, and noted c.16 Turnstone and a Little Egret. But at least 300 Wigeon off as well as on Plover Scar was evidence that winter approaches.

Thanks to MJ for the image of the Knot, and for the Turnstone, a brilliant bird to see in flight showing off its superb plumage detail as one of the finest of all our waders.

And finally....

Swallowtail. Peter Guy.

This stunning Swallowtail - the European race Papilio machaon gorganus - was photographed in Italy. The British Swallowtail - restricted to the Norfolk Broads - is the most enigmatic and largest of our butterflies....What a brilliant end to the post!

My next adventure into the world of birding won't be until next Monday at the earliest I regret to have to say.  

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Thrush!

There's no question the weather played the biggest part in restricting birders yesterday in what appears to be throughout most of Britain. A good example to illustrate this would be that the pager service I subscribe to - in my sidebar to the left - put out not a single message for Lancashire out of in excess of 100 nationwide in the 17 hours I was 'tuned in'. And to bring a smile to the birding scene, a White's Thrush was found on Inner Farne, Northhumberland, but a twitch was not to be as boats to the Farne Islands were not operating due to the weather, you could imagine birders frantically searching Google to find a helicopter service willing to airlift them to the island....As yet there is no news on the bird today. 

The video below is interesting in that I've not yet heard or read of this birds behaviour as shown in this short film. 

Theres a little interesting history to the Whites Thrush, the first record in Britain of which was in Hampshire in 1828. This bird was shot by some Lord or other on his estate, obviously not a nice man though representative of his kind and era who shot birds on a whim. The bird was described 8 years later in 1836 and named Turdus whitei though this Latin name was later changed to Zoothera dauma. For many years the White's Thrush was the subject of debate as it had been thought to be either a colour variant of Song Thrush, or the young of the Mistle Thrush.

The White's Thrush breeds in Siberia and winters in southern India and South-east Asia. The majority of records in Britain are of birds in Scotland, northern England, and northern Ireland, mostly in late September to November, and as such this a much sought after species in the twitching fraternity.

And finally....of course some photographs.

 Kingfisher Ana Minguez 

Theres always a place for the Kingfisher on Birds2blog, the bird which whizzes past you as a blue electric flash. Thank You Ana....excellent.

Barn Owl David Cookson

And always a place for the Barn Owl too, particularly ones which pose and are photographed as good as this one was. Thanks David....brilliant bird, brilliant image.

Little Egret Noushka Dufort

The Little Egret, and another of those 'pics with a difference' my caption - not Noushka's - 'now what's this then'. Thanks excellent pose and an excellent image.

Common Darter Marc Heath

And last but certainly not least, another of MH's brilliant macro shots, this one of the Common Darter head on. Thanks Marc....really appreciate this and all the other photographs allowed above and before on Birds2blog.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

21st Century Guardians....

....with the 'traditional' photographs to start with...and one to end with.

 Blackcap Antonio Puigg

Two brilliant images of the male and female Blackcap. Thank You Antonio....Viva España.

 Leach's Petrel Paul Foster

PF made the effort to get to the Mersey Estuary in the stiff north westerlies last week and was rewarded by multi sightings of Leach's Petrel, his two images above give good views of the birds upper and underpart markings for ID....Great stuff Paul and Thank You.

Guardians of the Countryside.

I'm living in the hope of some birding sometime soon, but don't worry I'm not likely to get bored in waiting, all I have to do is to try to keep up to date on the comings....goings....and doings of our dearly beloved 'Guardians of the Countryside' and if you really want people to call you a birder in the full sense, then perhaps you should too. 

Here's a rare opportunity to look into the world of the 'Modern Gamekeeper'....but be prepared to accept what you see as genuine - I do - and to read through all the long list to be shocked that there are others like this 'being'  who share the same planet and breath the same air as you do. Maybe you'll end up being even more worried about our wildlife than you was before you read This

Sanderling Geoff Gradwell 

This photograph of the Sanderling in flight is the best 'full frame' I can recall ever seeing of this particular species. Frozen in time to perfection....thanks a lot Geoff.

And finally....

Image. Pete Woodruff.

This insect was in our garden yesterday and I'm never keen to see something I can't ID which is very often unfortunately. It can obviously fly as I looked away for a second and it was gone when I looked again....anyone please!

I'D SOONER BE BIRDING!....but not looking good weatherwise. 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Filling the gap....again!

Not for the first time I'm filling the gap between my birding opportunities to keep Birds2blog head above the water and afloat, and not for the first time it is with some excellent photographs from some of the photographers who grant me the permit to publish their work....all in the name of keeping Birds2blog interesting and colourful. 

Ever since the day I abandoned photography to pursue birding and my passion for the birds, I've never lost sight of an intense interest in the art of freezing a moment in time with an image and those who achieve and produce them. This time all four images are certainly 'pics with a difference' and are stunning in their own right....and there's an American at the end!

Gannet David Cookson

DC captioned this remarkable photograph of the Gannet 'Ghost-rider in the sky'....WOW!

Common Blue Damselfly Marc Heath 

I told MH that I had never seen anything quite like this photograph of the Common Blue Damselfly.... A remarkable photograph.

Swallow Brian Rafferty    

BR appropriately titled the post 'Special Moments' in which this picture of the three young Swallows appears. If he doesn't mind I'd like to caption it 'Goal'....well thats what they're shouting is it!

Nuthatch Warren Baker 

The Nuthatch has the ability to walk along the underside of branches and up and down trees, like the one WB caught in this excellent photograph.

Tim Kuhn: Pectoral Sandpiper  Pectoral Sandpiper 
Pectoral Sandpiper Tim Kuhn 

The most numerous Nearctic wader on this side of the Atlantic, there could be a Pectoral Sandpiper near you, they're all over the place in the UK as I write. Thanks Tim....its a beauty.

Treat yourself to some brilliant photography and visit all these websites sometime.

I'D SOONER BE BIRDING....but not looking good until next week, which makes me not feeling good either.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

All the world loves a trier!

Full of big ideas about getting seven hours in on Tuesday I arrived at Conder Green at 9.30 not knowing that the weather had even bigger ideas than I did....So just watch how rapid this report fizzles out by the time I get to Cockersands about two and a half hours later at around noon.

A Little Egret was on Conder Pool again but I found only 3 Little Grebe on here today. On the circuit I found a Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, and Kingfisher. On the Lune Estuary the 'early' Whooper Swan seen again, been here since 21 August. Also of note, 2 Greenshank, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Snipe, and a Little Egret. Wader numbers here today were very unimpressive.

Image Martin McKenna 

So now I'm at Cockersands, and having seen c.40 Snipe in the air together as I arrived I also saw a squall heading directly for me over the bay, the dictionary definition of which is....'a sudden violent gust of wind bringing rain, snow, or sleet'....well you can say that again. I find it hard to believe I sat six of these 'squalls' out, as one passed over another one appeared on the horizon, there was to be no way I was leaving the car to end up drowning in one of these, not even for birding, but I sat it out in the hope the latest one was the last. 

Well I did try, but in the end I submitted and went home. I'm thinking of giving up birding to support Manchester United as a full time occupation, which brings me to think....I'm becoming mentally unstable!!

And now, four brilliant non-bird photographs to brighten up and add some colour to Birds2blog....

Hoverfly Martin Jump  

This looks suspiciously like the Helophilus pendulus in our garden a few weeks ago, and attractive looking creature whatever....Thanks Martin.

Badger Paul Foster  

PF gained permissive access to an undisclosed Badger set and took the advantage to the full with some excellent images of these brilliant creatures....Thanks Paul.

Leap of Faith
Red Squirrel David Cookson  

DC gave the perfect title to this perfect image of the Red Squirrel 'Leap of Faith'....Thanks David.

Brown Hare Brian Rafferty 

Cockersands holds good numbers of the Brown Hare and has done since I first started visiting the area many years ago, but that's not the area BR took this excellent 'mug shot'....Thanks Brian.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A little pm.

It was after noon before I escaped the 'other things' yesterday and I decided as it was just about high tide I'd give Cockersands a go on the principal you never know, the wind may just put some sea birds my way. Having found a sheltered spot behind the Lighthouse Cottage I gave an hour glaring out to sea through a piece of glass magnified between 20/60 to be rewarded by nothing more than a glimpse of a small dark feathered object miles out to sea and rising above the troughs every now and again....the bird entered my little black book as a 'petrel' sp probably Leach's Petrel.

  Sanderling Geoff Gradwell 

I reckoned to get a 'short list' Plover Scar would be a good idea as the tide had just about swallowed it all up save the inland end, it held a couple of Cockersands scarcities 2 Sanderling, being the 'little things please little minds' kind of birder I am the record made my day.

Ringed Plover Marc Heath 

Also of note on the scar, numbers were similar to a couple of recent visits here, c.225 Dunlin and c.125 Ringed Plover, with 12 Turnstone and a Wheatear seen.

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock 3 Mediterranean Gull were all adult and included the green ringed individual seen here 23 August and still too far to read again today. Also noted, the adult Whooper Swan, 45 Black-tailed Godwit, and 15 Cormorant hauled out in a line on the mud. A Peregrine Falcon was perched on a great tree trunk of the edge of Colloway Marsh patiently waiting to take to the wing and commit its next act of anti-social behaviour.

Little Grebe Noushka Dufort 

A brief look in on Conder Pool on the way to Lancaster showed 4 Little Grebe and a Little Egret....It's always something of an extra reward to see a Little Egret on Conder Pool. 

Thank you Geoff/Marc/Noushka for two brilliant waders and Little Grebe, they are much appreciated.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Oh no....not Cuckoos again!

I thought 'Tracking the Cuckoos' was interesting enough to continue with a look at what was learnt from the satellite tagging of five birds in England in 2011.

This is Clement, the bird I sponsored last year and who made his contribution to some big surprises brought about by the BTO 'Tracking Cuckoos Project'. Clement was the first to leave the UK on 5 June which was the first surprise being such an early date. By the end of June two others had also departed, and the last had left on 22 July representing five surprisingly early departures from the UK. But the surprises had only just begun and the different directions taken as they headed back to Africa were the next, with one bird flying due east across the North Sea to the Netherlands, two heading off south-easterly across the North Sea and Belgium, with two south across the English Channel to France.

But 'my' bird Clement pulled off one of the biggest surprise of all when he started to head west from the coast of France towards Spain. This bird - together with Lyster moving likewise a few weeks later - highlighted a brand new migration route and possible stopover point north of Madrid.

The crossing of the Sahara Desert is one of the major sources of mortality for migrants, but Clement and Lyster both minimised the distance of this crossing by migrating down the western edge of the desert in to Senegal and the Gambia and in doing so became the first British Cuckoos ever to be recorded in West Africa. Eventually all five tagged birds had reached at least as far as the Congo Rainforest by the end of November, but the three birds which took the more central route flew the lesser distance but had to endure a much longer 2,000km desert crossing. 

Although all five birds had been caught and tagged in the UK within 70km of each other, they had been separated by up to 3,600km at times on migration and by the end of December 2011 they were all in Congo, the first time all five birds had been in the same country since leaving the UK in June/July.

All truly amazing stuff and I reckon we should at some later time, take a look at events of these five Cuckoos on their return migration back to the UK, though sadly Clement went missing having last been heard of in Cameroon on 25 February 2012, becoming the first of these five amazing creatures to be assumed dead, otherwise the project far, so good.

David Cookson Images: Cuckoo  Cuckoo
Cuckoo. David Cookson.

Thanks for another brilliant juvenile Cuckoo image from DC. Much appreciated David, yes....Brilliant. 

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Tracking the Cuckoos.

The 'Red Listed' Cuckoo is one of the UK's fastest declining migrants, and until recently was one of the least known about species once it left the UK. 

Cuckoo. Courtesy of the BTO.

This is 115589 who was to become known as John and who was to play his part in what has developed into a sad episode in the story of the BTO's 'Tracking Cuckoos Project'.

During the summers of 2011/12 a total of seventeen Cuckoos were satellite tagged in a project by the BTO to try and get some data on the movements of the species. Last year I sponsored a bird called Clement who was unfortunate to have perished after he had successfully migrated back to his wintering grounds in Africa. This year I sponsored John who sadly has - for some unknown reason - suffered the same fate as Clement did in 2011 though John appears to have got no further than north-eastern Spain when - faced with the result of recent wildfires and ensuing chronic drought - feeding would have been made difficult if not impossible, and he behaved very oddly in that he made an oblique re-crossing of the Pyrenees. Another Cuckoo name Reacher 'disappeared' and is presumed dead in exactly the same area where the recent fires had been reported. Temperature data taken from the tags of the Cuckoos seem to suggest that the birds body temperature wasn't influencing the tags temperature which unfortunately supports the idea they may have perished.    

Yet another Cuckoo named Lyster who has become a particularly sad story in that he was the one who was successfully tracked for 15 months following his tagging in the summer of 2011, his epic journey was tracked all the way to Africa and to the delight of all concerned made it back to England the following spring this year. How sad then that Lysters tag failed to transmit after having received the information that his position was in the Mauritanian Desert. He had passed through Catalonia where the fires had been reported and had stopped off in an area thought not likely to have been able to provide the feeding opportunities to put on enough weight for a successful crossing of the desert in Africa. 

As it stands today, just one Cuckoo out of eight tagged in England in 2011/12 still survives and is transmitting, his name is Chris. He is in Chad in an area he visited last year before continuing into the Congo Rainforest, all eyes are now on how closely his activities this year match those of last year from here on.

Given the trials and tribulations of migration, I don't think anyone would have expected every Cuckoo to make it from the UK to Africa, but you can't help but feel a sadness that so many have been lost from one regional group, but this appears to reflect the trends that Cuckoos in England have declined by much more than populations in Scotland and Wales....All very sad given a Red Listed and fast declining migrant bird, with a long way to go to discover some of the reasons why.

 Cuckoo Marc Heath

Thanks for the brilliant image of the juvenile Cuckoo Marc....I know this is last years photograph - taken 23 July 2011 - but you have to wonder where this bird might be today.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Quite Pathetic....

....short, and not so sweet!

Yesterdays efforts were quite pathetic, a combination had it that I may as well have continued the business I set out to do today instead of cutting it short for some birding time. The truth is theres little point in publishing this post, but for what it's worth - and the desperation I felt to get a little birding done - here goes.

Kingfisher. Antonio Puigg.

Part of the combination was that - not for the first time - I mis-timed my visit around the business I had to attend to. Conder Green and the Lune Estuary were a mix of water and marsh due to the high tide. However at Conder Green I did see the Kingfisher....

Snipe. Antonio Puigg.

....and noted 3 Snipe roosting.

Little Egret. Antonio Puigg. 

At Glasson Dock on the Lune Estuary 2 Mediterranean Gulls were an adult and 2nd winter with a Little Egret seen., high tide, heavy showers, and getting 'waylaid' in a conversation which lasted something like 50 times longer than I would have wished for all added up to a disaster in birding terms as far as I'm concerened, after which....I just gave up.

Curlew Sandpiper. Copy Permitted.

This Curlew Sandpiper was at Cockersands yesterday morning between Crook Farm and  Lighthouse Cottage.

Thanks to Antonio Puigg. for his excellent trio of images which at least bring some interest and add colour to any otherwise dismal birding effort and the resulting rather dismal report.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

F is for....

American Golden Plover. Copy Permitted.

At Cockersands yesterday afternoon at least 250 Golden Plover were on the weed covered shingle below and to the south of Cockersands Abbey. An ideal opportunity was in place to see if last weeks American Golden Plover - in the image above - was still in the company of its European relations....but bugger me theres a 30 mph wind blowing off the sea making my telescope behave as if it was stood on a giant jelly, the sun is not far from shining into my eyes, and the birds are as far away from me as they could possibly be before the shingle turned to sand and sea. 

I've always refrained from foul language on Birds2blog so I'll stick with it and keep to the refrain, grilling and assessing these birds was close to impossible....F is for Frustration.

On what was a pleasant if not very rewarding circuit at Cockersands, 4 Wheatear were seen, with 20 Greenfinch always worth recording, also 4 Goldfinch, and 15 Teal were on the ditch in the field opposite Bank Houses. 

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, today was the perfect example on how the scene can change dramatically in terms of numbers of birds and clearly illustrated how unpredictable they really are. Today saw the area as viewed from the bowling green holding no more than c.400 gulls/waders in total, but I noted 51 Golden Plover and 5 Little Egret upstream from the Conder mouth, with 3 Pink-footed Geese early on the south end of Colloway Marsh.

At Conder Green, a Black Swan accompanied 22 Mute Swan on Conder Pool, with 5 Little Grebe continuing to increase in number. In the creeks, three of the Conder regulars seen in singles, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, and Common Sandpiper, also 21 Teal noted.

Black Swan. Unknown.

The Black Swan breeds mainly in the south-east and south-west regions of Australia, it was hunted to extinction in New Zealand - nothing new there then - but later reintroduced. Within Australia the Black Swan is nomadic, with erratic migration patterns dependant on climatic conditions.

In Lancashire the Black Swan has been recorded for at least 30 years in all seasons, but there has never been any definite evidence of breeding although juveniles have been seen on occasions. The bird I saw yesterday on the Lune Estuary will have escaped from some zoological garden or bird collection and I reckon this same individual has been in this and surrounding areas for a 'few years' now, I myself have seen it several times in recent years.

And finally....

Knot. David Cookson. 

Stunning bird....stunning photograph....stunning DC

Monday, 10 September 2012

Taking another look....

....but first a pic of the butterfly which made an appearance in our garden on Saturday.

Speckled Wood. Pete Woodruff.

A Speckled Wood was an excellent and welcomed record for our garden - or anywhere else for that matter - given we experienced a cold spring followed by the wettest summer in a hundred years the result of which was a dramatic fall in numbers of some of our most common species of butterflies. The Speckled Wood fell by 65% compared to a survey last year by the Butterfly Conservation Group, the Red Admiral suffered even worse with a fall of 75%.

Stonechat on Harrisend. 

I've taken another look at my record of Stonechats on Harrisend Fell last Thursday when I claimed the sighting of four birds together to have probably been the only breeding record here in 2012. I suppose it is best that I add a little more substance to my claim with evidence and some experience with the Stonechat, and therefore my suggestion that this was a family party as opposed to a small group of migrants still stands, I have no reason to suspect these birds were on migration remembering the date is 6 September. 

With some notes of interest, independent juveniles form groups which roam around, sometimes in association with an un-mated adult including Whinchat which I would very much like to see for myself. It is best to appreciate the Stonechat as a very complex species for many reasons and I've had observations over the years - and other recorders from the North of England - showing flocks of juveniles at the end of the breeding season up to late September as always consisting of moulting juveniles without any adult birds being present. In relation to my sighting last week it is worth noting that the final brood often remains with the parents on territory.

Two of my records found during a search have been of this kind of Stonechat 'flocking/grouping' behaviour though these have been seen in the midst of the breeding season. On Birk Bank 16 July 2005, 10 Stonechats were seen as a male, female and 8 juveniles, and of 27 Stonechats in the Cross of Greet area on 26 June 2006 I watched 10 juveniles independent of any adults for several minutes.

And finally....

Hybrid Falcon Isidro Ortiz  

Two excellent and interesting images of a hybrid Gyr x Saker Falcon. Thank you Isidro....Brilliant.

Please note, at the time of posting the link to Isidro Ortiz appears to be broken....Edited to say it isn't broken now.  

Saturday, 8 September 2012


Well a bit 'raptorous' anyway....but please read on.

OK....I know there was an American Golden Plover at Cockersands, a birder I know well - whose ability to find the unfindable is second to none - was seen on the radar here again and if there was going to be an AGP - or anything else of note at Cockersands - he'd probably find it....but I had other birding to do today.

As with my last post, not much pen and ink used to record the event in the hills again today but if you're going to study an upland species you have to get up there and do it, but I do realise when spending long periods of silence and very few birds up here in the wilds, why I rarely see any other birders....there are few - if any - 'ticks' to be had up here. 

Carrion Crow/Little Owl Brian Rafferty   

Theres a connection with this image and my post in that it was taken in Bowland where I did my birding again today. Thanks Brian, excellent and with a little humour,  the expression of the Little Owl appears to suggest it may be thinking....what the bloody hell!!

Stonechat Paul Foster

Well, we had to have a Stonechat pic didn't we....Thanks Paul, a bit rare these days.

Having made only two previous visits to Harrisend Fell this year, I found a pair and one male Stonechat on 26 March, followed by a visit on 24 May to find none, the good news is that although it took me 2 hours and I was on the return path, I did find a family party of at least 4 Stonechat today. I use the term 'at least' because I reckon there could have been more, but I was some considerable distance from the birds and couldn't get the number to add up to any more. So either a pair and two juvenile, or a male and three juvenile seen and proof of one breeding pair of Stonechat on Harrisend in 2012.... ALLELUIA!

Other notes, a Merlin definitely livened up the day, though Hobby ran through my mind but I'm sticking with Merlin, 4 kestrel were in the air together, and a Buzzard over, c.12 Mistle Thrush were difficult to count amongst the trees and moving around, 3 Meadow Pipit, 3 Small Tortoiseshell seen, and the Small Copper was my first this year and maybe my last.

On the west side of Hawthornthwaite Fell, despite finding a male and female Stonechat here on 24 May - which is my only previous visit here this year - I saw none today, but I have to say the sight of 3 Peregrine Falcon overhead together is something special, also a Kestrel, 6 Red Grouse, a single Meadow Pipit, and a Snipe flushed was a bit of a surprise. 

Heather. Pete Woodruff.

....and the Heather was beautiful up here this year too. 

And finally....

Black Darter. Pete Woodruff.

I found one or two Black Darters over and around the bog at Birk Bank on Tuesday, this one a male.

Common Darter. Pete Woodruff.

Also one or two Common Darters too.