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

Friday, 31 January 2014

High Noon Birding.

It was almost noon by the time I got to Conder Green on Wednesday, but I was thankful to get there at all having not done so for a full week. Conder Pool will remain a lake for many weeks to come with no muddy edges to attract the waders, with the high tides over the next few days, and the highest at 10.39 metres on Sunday there will be even more water flowing in.

 Kingfisher Ana Minguez 

At Conder Green I saw the Kingfisher for the first time since 15 November 2013. Of note on Conder Pool, 8 Little Grebe, 11 Wigeon, and c.250 Black-headed Gull. The Common Sandpiper, 2 Spotted Redshank, and a Snipe were in the creeks, with a Reed Bunting the only small bird of note on the circuit. 

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, I found a Ruff  with up to 650 Redshank tightly packed and roosting, today's bird was a female as opposed to the two 20/22 January sightings which were three much larger males. Also of note, c.2,500 Golden Plover, with 2 Little Grebe, a Great-crested Grebe was seen as having become a scarce bird in the Glasson/Cockersands area according to my records. Up to 1,000 Bar-tailed Godwit were hard to get to grips with for anything like an accurate count, with some birds below the mud bank on the east bank opposite Sunderland Point as seen from Bodie Hill.

Cockersands turned out to be a 'swans only' day and it was good to get some closer views than of my two previous visits with at least 230 Whooper Swan seen off Moss Lane, 6 Bewick's Swan were in another field off Slack Lane with 45 Mute Swan, these birds were seen as three adult and three juvenile, 3 Whooper Swan were on the Cocker Estuary mud.


There are still at least 56 Goldeneye in the Lune Estuary area with counts made on Wednesday....

5 Conder Pool.
16 Glasson Canal Basin.
35 Lune Estuary.

The Distant Fylde Coast From Cockersands. Pete Woodruff.

Not just the birds, but some excellent scenery today as always at Cockersands.

Bewick's Swans.

In relation to my post on Tuesday re Bewick's Swans in the UK this winter I was surprised that only one bird is at Martin Mere. Though this didn't need to surprise me as the former stronghold of the Bewick's Swans at the WWT Reserve appears to have been almost abandoned by them over recent years. I'm grateful to Wildlife Health Research Officer Julia Newth for providing me with some records of the BS and for the interesting paper regarding their population decline. 

Thanks to Ana Minguez for the stunning female Kingfisher which is well worthy of 'clik the pik'. 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Bewick's Swans In The UK.

The Bewick's Swan in Eurasia - race bewikii - is a high Arctic breeder, nesting on the Russian tundras from the Kanin Peninsula across to the Chukchi sea.
Bewick's Swan. Marc Heath.

Given the mild temperatures, many Bewick's Swans (BS) have stayed further east this winter, mostly in Germany an important staging area for the BS since the 1950s, mainly in the Baltic region in the north-east on autumn and spring migrations. It's not uncommon to see between 2,000-4,000 BS wintering in Germany, but counts indicate that there are at least 5,000 in Germany this winter, some BS have not even made it to Germany with around 300 remaining in Poland. 

To date this winter the lowest number of BS are recorded at Slimbridge since 1965, with around 1,000 on the Ouse Washes when 5,000 might be expected. The Netherlands is encountering similar to the UK and there appears to be no more than 4,800 BS wintering there at the moment, a country that can host up to 13,000 BS every winter. 

The BS is a wintering bird to be found in Lancashire annually and, although it's difficult to know how many individuals are involved, this winter has seen more BS in our own recording area of Glasson/Cockersands than ever before, and I have recorded them on 14 occasions since my first sighting of 4 Cockersands 4 November, and I have seen BS during December and January since, the peak count has been of 22 on 25 November when I found 6 on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, and 16 at Cockersands later the same day, my last sighting to date was of 13 Cockersands 20 Jan, this group included 3 juveniles making the record an even more interesting one.

Historically, Clifford Oakes recorded the BS as....'on the whole a more regular immigrant than the Whooper Swan, and more widespread'....whilst in earlier years F.S.Mitchell writes of it being....'rarely seen'....Oakes lists low number records, and ends his account with a solitary mid-winter bird at the mouth of the River Douglas near Hesketh Bank in 1938.

The Bewick's Swan was first recognised as having visited Britain in 1829 when English ornithologist William Yarrell noticed the bones of a swan corpse found during the winter of 1823-24 to be different from those of the Whooper Swan, following research on this discovery he eventually claimed and named the bird as a BS in memory of Thomas Bewick who died in 1828.

Some interesting data came to light in a Bewick's Swan census conducted in 2005, which resulted in a record of 7,216 birds in Britain and Ireland combined. However, two weeks later nearly 300 more than this total were found in a roost count of 7,491 on the Ouse Washes alone.

An Exceptional Record was of a British ringed BS which was re-sighted in Iceland a winter destination for the Whooper Swan. This bird was marked at Welney in Norfolk and is presumed to have joined the Whooper Swans on migration in the spring.

Thanks to Marc Heath for the Bewick's Swan image.

And finally....

In relation to the mention above of the Chukchi Sea, read this about the giant....'Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea have been handed a major setback' more

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Fox Hunting.

Watch the video, it is brilliant....Please don't be put off by the title of the post. 

The Fox Hunt.

I'D SOONER BE BIRDING!....but haven't been since last Wednesday, and won't be doing until Tuesday next at the can be dull at times. 

Friday, 24 January 2014

T For Two!

I managed two hours on Wednesday to check out the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock. A not particularly pleasant experience due to the persistent cold, showers, and poor light at times, but....

Goldeneye Arkive

On my way to Glasson Dock on Conder Pool, nothing new and void of counting, Goldeneye, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Wigeon, and 16 roosting Redshank were all present and noted. The creeks as viewed from the platform were void of birds, and with no time for a circuit, off I went to Glasson Dock where I found 18 Goldeneye on the canal basin.

Ruff David Cookson 

On the Lune Estuary I set myself the challenge to find Mondays 3 Ruff still amongst the c.350 Redshank roosting and packed like sardines ever shifting on the incoming tide, also camouflaged within this group was a Spotted Redshank which could have been easily overlooked. I also found another 35 Goldeneye bringing the total in the area to at least 60 still around. Also of note today, up to 3,000 Golden Plover, 550 Dunlin, and the uncounted but permanent vast number on the estuary of winter Lapwing. On the southern end of Colloway Marsh, c.350 Pink-footed Geese. Thanks for the Ruff David....Excellent.

Come in No 4 your time is up!!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Keep Britain Tidy!

I've had another comment....'The tidy brigade are a real menace and for the most part totally unnecessary...made to yesterdays post which prompts me to fill the gap in my birding time allowance with a brief response on the front page, with thanks for the comment.
The Tidy Brigade.
There's an annual ritual of farmers and authorities tidying up Britain with mechanical hedge-cutters....but cutting is the wrong word. 
Hedges may be sanctuaries for wildlife, but many thousands of miles of them are brutalised each year by flail-mowing from the back of a tractor, this batters them into short box-shaped structures that look neat but are useless for the birds/wildlife that depends on them, and just as hedgerow plants become laden with hips,  haws, berries, seeds and nuts, along comes a large machine to cut them all off, depriving species of animals and birds of winter food and smothering the ground in a mulch of pulverised twigs. Some hedges are also flailed in spring, just as birds are nesting in them.
The amount of hedge management is appalling, some hammer their hedges more than once a year and seem to take pride in cutting them at a time when birds are nesting. Flailing can keep hedges tidy, but the squaring-off that some farmers and local authorities do rips the hell out of them. Landowners are given grants to lay hedges, then what do they do....they flail the hedges to death unnecessarily. 
Local authorities are under legal pressure to keep hedges tidy and to remove all possible obstacles to motorists who can't drive a vehicle with the caution needed to negotiate narrow lanes with healthy high hedges.

Farmland Birds....What Farmland Birds!!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Lune Estuary Rules....OK.

Yet again the Peregrine Falcon revealed an accurate picture of the vast numbers of waders, gulls, and wildfowl on the Lune Estuary as viewed upstream from the bowling green at Glasson Dock, though the wildfowl usually stay put. If this bird passes through flying downstream and out of view beyond the dock, I reckon it can put 20 - 25,000 birds to flight in seconds. 

But I started a good seven hours birding on Monday at Conder Green where the pool was a little quiet with 5 Goldeneye, 6 Little Grebe, 28 Wigeon, a Little Egret, and a Dunnock in the hedge by the platform. The only bird of note in the creeks was the Common Sandpiper.

At Glasson Dock, 3 Ruff were with c.350 Redshank. Also noted, up to 3,000 Golden Plover, 550 Dunlin, 150 Knot, 65 Goldeneye, 3 Little Grebe, and a Peregrine Falcon. On the southern end of Colloway Marsh, c.200 Pink-footed Geese and a Little Egretalso notable was the total absence of Bar and Black- tailed Godwit today. The most interesting bird on the estuary at Glasson Dock today was the solitary Turnstone, scarce - if not rare - here. On the canal basin 4 drake Pochard were of note.

A little diversion from the estuary was to indulge in a mini twitch to see the Glossy Ibis which was obligingly within 50 mtrs of the entrance to Thurnham Hall, on its ownsome in a field to the right. At Cockersands, 13 Bewick's Swan included 4 juveniles, and in the same distant inland field as 14 January, at least 250 Whooper Swan were accompanied by a Black Swan.

Snipe Simon Hawtin 

Snipe flushed off the marsh, c.420 Oystercatcher, c.60 Turnstone, and 4 Ringed Plover were on Plover Scar at high tide, a huge number of Wigeon were on the sea again - uncounted today - with at least 20 Pintail, certainly many more given time to grill the area. Ten Tree Sparrow, 2 Reed Bunting, and a Kestrel seen at Abbey Farm.

The Magpie.

Magpie. Adrian Pingstone.

At Freeman's Pools yesterday I saw a group of 22 Magpie, a number I've never seen together before. I found six different words to describe a group of this species, four of which appear to be American descriptions, the two English ones were....a 'congregation of Magpies', and....a 'tittering of Magpies'. A bird surrounded by superstition and folklore, and unfortunately has the distinction of being hated by lots of people, unjustifiably in my view.

Keep Britain Tidy. 

I had a comment made re the pic above - seen in my post on Monday - from my man in Kent....'Pete, that reed lined road wouldn't last a week here, it would be flailed down to a few millimetres off the ground, courtesy of the tidy brigade'....

The 'tidy brigade' are pretty active here too, though I imagine under orders to leave well alone when it comes to the reeds at Cockersands. I once counted 10 Sedge Warbler singing/breeding in these lines of reeds in the summer months.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Out Of Time....Again!

 Back In Ten Minutes!

Had a good seven hours estuary birding today but out of time for blogging....hopefully tomorrow.

The Cockersands Straight. Pete Woodruff.

When I saw the late afternoon sun on this reed-lined stretch of road at Cockersands today I had to take a pic and wonder....

Great Bustard. Copy Permitted. far back in history would we have to go to see this area of Cockersands as a brilliant vast reed covered land crawling with Bittern and - out on the open grassland - the Great Bustard. 

The population of Bittern in Europe is estimated at 34 - 54,000 males. 
The estimated UK breeding population stands at 80 males. 
The UK winter population stands a 600 birds.

The Great Bustard was hunted out of existence in Britain by the 1840's....well I reckon that rings a bell!!  

Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Wigeon.

Wigeon Martin Jump

The winter population of Wigeon in Europe has increased dramatically since the 1970's. Migrating from Iceland, Fennoscandia, and northern Russia, an estimated 1.5 million of them spend the winter in N W Europe, with c.375,000 of them in Britain. 

Nowhere else in Lancashire holds numbers of wintering Wigeon than the enormous flocks of the Ribble Estuary, but in two recent visits to Cockersands I've estimated sightings of up to 8,000 Wigeon, seen between the lighthouse and the Cocker Estuary, on Saturday 11 January, and three days later on Tuesday 14 January when the birds were on a calm sea at high tide, and were spread out over a large area in four separate rafts. According to my records these counts are record high's for the Lune Estuary at this location.

Occasional nesting has been recorded in Lancashire, Oakes noted probable breeding at Leighton Moss in 1942, and followed this by confirmation of breeding there two years later in 1944. Since then there are breeding records from Martin Mere and Stocks Reservoir. Wigeon have summered again at Conder Green in 2013....perhaps this year they may nest!!  

There have been a few recoveries of Lancashire ringed Wigeon, one particular record of interest was that of a bird found in central Russia which had been marked at Banks on the Ribble Estuary in March 1984 and was recovered just under a month later in April almost 5,000 km to the east on the River Ob at Sytomino, having averaged at least 175 km per day. 

I have a sneaky feeling MJ's image of the Wigeon above has been featured on Birds2blog once before, whether or not it has, its a brilliant image of a brilliant bird....Thanks Martin.

The Godwits.

Black-tailed Godwit Brian Rafferty 

There's a build up of both Bar and Black-tailed Godwit on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock. The Bar-tailed Godwit number was at 1,450 on 14 January, and the Black-tailed Godwit count was at 450 on the same date. Last year I counted a record peak of 850 Black-tailed Godwit at Glasson Dock on 19 March.

Thanks to BR who called his post 'Godwits Galore' following his visit to Marshside recently, from where two of his images on that trip are above and are even more impressive with a 'clik the pik'.

The Glossy Ibis was with 12 Little Egret in a field just east of the A588 between Upper Thurnham and The Launds this afternoon. 

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Tuesdays Birds.

Blackbird. Pete Woodruff.

Good numbers of Blackbird around, with 15 seen together at Cockersands last Saturday, and 7 together in our small garden the following day. 

Whooper Swan Astland Photography 

In an inaccessible and distant inland field on Tuesday as seen from Cockersands Abbey, at least 100 Whooper Swan, with 4 Little Egret together in another field. Also at Cockersands, c.250 Redshank off Crook Farm, 55 Turnstone and c.400 Oystercatcher on Plover Scar, with 6 Eider off here, also on a calm sea between the lighthouse and the Cocker Estuary, up to 8,000 Wigeon seen again in four rafts. In Bank Houses horse paddock, a Grey Wagtail, 2 Song Thrush, 5 Blackbird, 12 Meadow Pipit, and 15 Greenfinch.

Bar-tailed Godwit Phillip Tomkinson

At Glasson Dock on the Lune Estuary, another good count in excess of 1,000 Bar-tailed Godwit, with 2,000 Golden Plover, 320 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Goldeneye, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, and a Little Grebe. On the canal basin 22 Goldeneye and a female Pochard of note.

At Conder Green where I had just a few minutes spare, Conder Pool notables were, 6 Goldeneye, 6 Little Grebe, and a Little Egret.

Glossy Ibis Martin Lofgren

Today in a flooded field by Thurnham Hall mid-afternoon, a Glossy Ibis seen in company with 10 Little Egret, with thanks to the birder who phoned in this sighting, and to RBA for putting the news out.

Did you 'clik the pik'....well worth it!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Saturday Short List.

To start with....

Teal. Noushka Dufort.

Not connected to the post, but an excellent image of the female Teal, especially if you want to study upperpart plumage details.

A pretty decent day again on Saturday got me out and birding though nothing more than a short list achieved, though another excellent count made.

At Conder Green the Common Sandpiper obliged once again but only after a search for it and found down by the railway bridge, a smart drake Goosander was the only other bird of note in the creeks Also quiet on Conder Pool, with 4 Little Grebe and 3 Goldeneye noted. 

At Glasson dock, on the canal basin, 6 Goldeneye, a Little Grebe, and a female Pochard. On the Lune Estuary a minimum of 6,000 Lapwing, 2,000 Wigeon, 1,200 Dunlin, 450 Black-tailed Godwit, 250 Redshank, 15 Goldeneye, 2 Little Grebe, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, and a Goosander.

To be honest Cockersands today was - pardon the pun - a 'dead duck', but a look behind Lower Bank House produced an excellent 15 Blackbird, better still 4 Song Thrush, and 2 Fieldfare.

The excellent count.

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock an excellent count of c.1,450 Bar-tailed Godwit

I received an e-mail from a birder who was at Glasson Dock the day before me - Friday 10 January - who claimed over 1,000 Bar-tailed Godwit, adding he'd never seen so many here before. I certainly haven't, and although I've done only a little record searching and have no figures for 2013, a peak count of 3,735 was made at Ocean Edge in February 2012.  

And to end with....

   Continental Cormorant. Noushka Dufort.

Also not connected with the post is this excellent image of the Continental Cormorant P.c.sinensis and was a reminder of one I found on the canal basin at Glasson Dock on 28th February 2011.

Thanks to Noushka - 1000-Pattes - for the excellent photography in this post.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

A Garden First....

....and an excuse to draw attention to a scam. 

Great-spotted Woodpecker David Cookson 

I got an excited call from KT yesterday when I was at Glasson Dock checking out the Lune Estuary asking me to guess what had just flown off the garden feeders....a Siskin says I, no....a Blackcap says I, no....I gave in....a Great-spotted Woodpecker says she....excellent....and a garden first.

And the scam....well that's what I call it.

From Pete Woodruff
Lancaster, United Kingdom

I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

Confirm that you know Pete
If you have recieved or recieve an e-mail like the one above which appears to have been sent by me I strongly suggest you bin it. The message has nothing to do with me, I regard it as a scam which appears to be from a professional social network website and is pure garbage as far as I'm concerned. I don't subscribe to Facebook or Twitter and want nothing connected to this set up either and have done nothing to activate anyone being sent these annoying e-mails.

If there's a need for me to apologise for this then I'm doing so now, but please....BIN IT!!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Day Of The Duck!

On Wednesday I managed only my second 'outing' in 2014, but it was a decent day by recent standards and some bonus birding if only for some excellent wildfowl and a wader count/s. 

 Teal. Copy Permitted.

At Conder Green the combined count for Conder Pool - now more like a lake - and the creeks was of up to 300 Teal. On the pool, 135 Mallard, 15 Wigeon 5 Goldeneye, 3 Little Grebe, and the faithful winter Common Sandpiper. Along the coastal path, 8 Blackbird and 3 Robin. On the canal basin at Glasson Dock, 11 Goldeneye and a female Pochard. On the Lune Estuary, 6 Goldeneye, 3 Goosander, 2 Little Grebe, and a Red-breasted Merganser. Other counts estimated on the estuary, 2,500 Wigeon 2,000 Golden Plover, 500 Dunlin, 350 Black-tailed Godwit, and 300 Redshank

Pintail. John Darbyshire.

At Cockersands with no time for a circuit, I noted 85 Turnstone on Plover Scar with 3 Eider and a Great-crested Grebe off here. A Little Egret was off the Caravan Park with 16 Pintail in the Cocker Channel. A Peregrine Falcon was on the railings of the lighthouse and was still there when I returned and passed there two hours later. 

Excellent Counts. 

Bar-tailed Godwit Marc Heath

On the Lune Estuary, an estimated count of up to 1,000 Bar-tailed Godwit seen on the west side of Sunderland Point from Bodie Hill....

Wigeon Martin Jump 

...and at Cockersands between the lighthouse and the Cocker Estuary, an extraordinary count of at least 8,000 Wigeon and 1,500 Teal amongst which I found a Red-breasted Goose.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

RBG On The CE.

Out of any time for lengthy blogging, but a quick record from yesterday of an interesting find off Cockersands Caravan Park on the Cocker Estuary whilst checking through a few thousand wildfowl when I came across a brilliant Red-breasted Goose. 

Red Breasted Goose Arkive 

There is quite a bit of edge taken off this discovery in that it is presumed an escaped bird, and is also presumed the same individual seen in the closing weeks of 2013 on Pilling Marsh on Saturday 2 and Friday 15 November when the bird was found to be ringed though my bird was drifting on the tide during observations and no leg markings seen.

The Red-breasted Goose is a popular ornamental wildfowl which can be found as an escapee in a wide range of sites from coastal estuaries to village ponds. However, young birds in autumn along the east and south coasts of Britain in company with Russian Brants are believed more likely to be of wild origin. Numbers of these birds with the Brants vary from none in some years, to up to six in others and are thought by some to be returning individuals. They have a restricted distribution, principally close to the Siberian Taimyr Peninsula, wintering in the south Caspian and Black Seas.

The first record in Britain was of a bird found in Middlesex in 1776, but there is a quite funny tale of a bird claimed to have been found in Breydon, Norfolk in 1805 which had been purchased at a market, cooked and eaten, when later one of the feathers from this meal was identified as that of a Red-breasted Goose. Apparently Breydon was a popular area for rare bird hunters and it is reckoned that the man who ate the goose had in all probability lost a considerable amount of money simply because he had seen the bird for sale in the market as a pretty individual and had wondered what it might taste like as such.

There are at least 70 records in Britain of Red-breasted Goose seen in circumstances which suggest wild origin.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Buzzin' In 2013 Part 2.

More selected sightings which kept me buzzing - and my passion growing - during the second half of 2013 from July onwards....most found/my own records but (*) I went to see.


5. 4 Stonechat White Greet.
12. Common Sandpiper Blea Tarn Reservoir.
17. Bonaparte's Gull Heysham Harbour *
22.17 Common Sandpiper (peak count).
22. Painted Lady Cockersands.
24. Curlew Sandpiper Conder Green (scarce adult summer plumage). 
31. 3 Little Ringed Plover Conder Pool (juveniles).


7. Painted Lady Clougha (my second of only two sightings this year).
8. 19 Whimbrel Cockersands.

Whimbrel Martin Lofgren


9. 20 Wheatear Cockersands.
10. 5 Curlew Sandpiper Cockersands.


29. Firecrest Heysham Harbour * 


13. 3 Curlew Sandpiper Fluke Hall Lane (late record in stubble field).
13. c.95 Twite Cockers Dyke area.
19. 15 Bewick's Swan LEGD.
22. 3 Brambling Plantation Lane Abbeystead (scarce this winter).
25. 16 Bewick's Swan Cockersands.

Marc Heath Wildlife Photography: Wildfowl &emdash; Bewick's Swan - Reculver
Bewick's Swan Marc Heath 

3. 75 Goldeneye LEGD (peak count this winter).
17. c.450 Black-tailed Godwit LEGD (a good count but only half the number counted on 19 March).


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Buzzin' In 2013.

Some selected sightings which kept me buzzing - and my passion growing - during the first half of 2013....most found/my own records but (*) I went to see.


9. 8 Waxwing Conder Green.
15. Snow Bunting Cockersands 
16. c. 20 Siskin Bailrigg.
18. 2 Stonechat Freemans Pools perimeter fence. (An excellent winter record).
29.14 Bewick's Swan Jeremy Lane.


6. c.700 Bar-tailed Godwit Lune Estuary Glasson Dock (LEGD).
6. Smew 'redhead' Freemans Pools *
7. Chiffchaff Fluke Hall.
13. Spoonbill LEGD * 
13. c.600 Black-tailed Godwit LEGD.
17. 2 Stonechat Rossall Point.
18. c.80 Goldeneye LEGD (Peak Count).
19. c.290 Whooper Swan Moss Lane Cockersands (an excellent count).

Chiffchaff Antonio Puigg


8. 3 Lesser Redpoll Stodday.
19. c.850 Black-tailed Godwit LEGD (unprecedented count here).
19. Avocet Cocker Channel.
26. 2 Pintail LEGD (rare here).
26. Stonechat (female) Cockersands.
28. Stonechat (male) Cockersands.
28. 2 Wheatear Cockersands (my first of the year). 


2. 2 Little Ringed Plover Conder Pool.
3. Jack Snipe Conder Pool *
8. 6 Siskin (our garden).
12. Water Pipit Conder Green *
16. Dotterel Cockersands.

Dotterel David Cookson


29. Scaup Conder Pool.


5. 2 - possibly 3 - Cuckoo Tower Lodge area.
7. 2 Cuckoo Cross of Greet.
7. 4 Whinchat Bloe Greet.
17. 5 Little Ringed Plover River Lune Bull Beck.
19. Osprey Public Hide Leighton Moss (almost certainly a Foulshaw Moss breeder).

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Fifteen Days Later.

Fifteen days after my last birding day and I was off on Thursday, not exactly like a shot - it was 10.30 before I escaped - but I was soon on the viewing platform at Conder Green. I had no choice to go further than the platform, the tide was well up and 20 minutes after I arrived I had to leave as the tidal water was in the lay-by lapping up against my wheels. It was a big disappointment I had to cut and run as the place was alive both on Conder Pool and the flooded marsh with 14 species of at least 900 birds....circa (*)

Teal 400 *
Redshank 200 *
Mallard 150 *
Wigeon 100 *
Black-tailed Godwit 10
Curlew 8
Goldeneye 6
Tufted Duck 6
Little Grebe 5
Oystercatcher 3
Spotted Redshank 2
Common Sandpiper
Little Egret

Turnstone David Cookson

On Plover Scar at Cockersands with the tide 30 minutes past its height of 10.30m, 145 Turnstone was a decent count, with up to 200 Oystercatcher, 6 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover, 2 Grey Plover, and a single Redshank. Thanks to DC for the excellent portrait of the Turnstone, and the new header Red-throated Diver.

Hopelessly looking into the sun, on the Cocker Estuary in excess of 800 wildfowl in silhouette were mainly Wigeon, with MallardTeal, and Pintail of note. Off Crook Farm, c.350 Wigeon, a Goldeneye and drake Red-breasted Merganser noted. A single Tree Sparrow seen around Bank Houses can't possibly be alone in the Cockersands area, also 15 Greenfinch seen here again. 

Three hours at Cockersands ran away with my time and daylight and I covered only a fraction of the areas I set out to today, and when I got to Glasson Dock my time and the light was gone. Ten Goldeneye were a good count on the canal basin with a male and female Pochard seen. On the Lune Estuary 16 Goldeneye were the only birds counted, but also present with no significant numbers save the Lapwing.... 

Black-tailed Godwit 
Bar-tailed Godwit 
Golden Plover
Red-breasted Merganser.

Barn Owl. Martin Jump.

MJ took this photograph almost 12 months ago at the end of January, he appropriately titled his post A Ghostly Encounter which contains nine brilliant images of the Barn Owl in a mist.

I'm told of a Barn Owl hunting fields behind Abbey Farm on Thursday 15 minutes after I left the car park at Lighthouse Cottage. Taking into account the plight of the Barn Owl at the end of 2013, this is excellent news....Thanks for the info on this AC.