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

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained.

Well on Friday I ventured out for a brief spell and gained little save an update on birds I already know about, like the ones on Conder Pool, 2 Spotted Redshank, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Goldeneye, 3 Little Grebe one of which was in breeding plumage, a Little Egret, and c.20 Meadow Pipit which came down onto the grassy bankOn the Lune Estuary I counted only 240 Black-tailed Godwit today, with 30 Bar-tailed Godwit, and 13 Goldeneye noted.  I was only able to put in a brief appearance on Moss Lane at Cockersands to find 200 Whooper Swan still there.

The Rock Pipit

Scandinavian Rock Pipit littoralis. Marc Heath.

Iv'e been quizzed - the audacity - on how I identified the Scandinavian Rock Pipit seen on Conder Pool last Wednesday 26 March. So I sent this person the pic above and asked what he thought the bird was....I know what mine was!

The Scandinavian Rock Pipit breeds in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway, wintering from south-western Sweden to Portugal, although the main wintering areas appear to be in Britain and the Netherlands to Northern France.

British Rock Pipit petrosus. Geoff Gradwell.

Unlike the British Rock Pipit petrosus which are similar throughout the year, the Scandinavian Rock Pipit littoralis acquires a distinct summer plumage which enables them to be identified with some certainty before they depart in the spring, although confusion still often reigns, especially with the subtle variability of petrosus and the often similar spring plumage of littoralis to Water Pipit spinoletta which readily lends itself to identification problems.

The Wheatear.

Wheatear. Marc Heath.

Apparently the Wheatear are here in our area though I've yet to connect with one. 

Thanks to Marc Heath for his birds in Kent, and to GG for his bird on the Fylde....excellent on all counts.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Stork....

....and some other birds.

White Stork Isidro Ortiz 

Yesterday morning I gratefully received a text to tell me of a White Stork heading SE towards Conder Green. I was soon able to pursue the possibility the bird had made landfall somewhere in this area but to no avail. Thanks to the RBA pager service there was three follow up reports of White Stork later that day, one north over Seaforth in Liverpool, followed by one north over Fleetwood on the Fylde, followed by another NW over Thornton also on the Fylde. An interesting turn of events regarding the White Stork which moved about quite a bit over the space of four hours and I think has yet to be seen on the ground.  

Avocet. Artwork Sharon Whitley 

Well I missed the White Stork but didn't miss the Avocet on the Lune Estuary which I found at the mouth of the Conder Estuary soon after setting up at Glasson Dock. Another record here yesterday was the excellent increase in the count of up to 520 Black-tailed Godwit at least 200 of which were on the east bank at Sunderland Point. Also of note on the estuary, c.30 Bar-tailed Godwit84 Curlew, Mondays drake Pintail with a pair of Pochard equally unusual on the River Lune here, 15 Goldeneye, c.120 Wigeon, 6 Greylag, a Goosander, and 3 Red-breasted Merganser

Pink-footed Geese. Howard Stockdale.

On Colloway Marsh, at least 1,500 Pink-footed Geese, and whilst looking over the canal basin a Kingfisher flew the entire length and disappeared up the canal. At Conder Green, in excess of 100 Meadow Pipit went over the marsh seen off the coastal path, and excellent views of a Scandinavian Rock Pipit on Conder Pool, also in the area....

2 Spotted Redshank   
4 Black-tailed Godwit 
5 Goldeneye                
11 Tufted Duck            
4 Wigeon                     
3 Dunnock                   
Little Grebe
Little Egret

Many thanks to Isidro for the silhouetted White Stork, Howard for the PFG, and to Sharon for the Avocet artwork.  

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

On Parade And On The Prowl....

....but it didn't get me very far on Monday, though a trickle of c.30 Meadow Pipit moving along the marsh at Conder Green was as sign of the season, another sign of which was last Wednesdays c.275 Black-tailed Godwit on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock being present here again, most of which are well advanced into their resplendent breeding plumage though today 34 of them had moved in on Conder Pool where the Common Sandpiper was found lurking in a corner, also 4 Goldeneye, 12 Tufted Duck, 8 Wigeon, a single Little Grebe and Little Egret. A Spotted Redshank was in the creeks.

Pintail Astland Photography 

Also on the Lune Estuary, a single drake Pintail accompanying c.50 Wigeon was at least unusual here, with 17 Goldeneye seen. 

The visit to Cockersands was a 2.5 hours relatively birdless affair - 'birds what birds' - but more on that another time perhaps.

Little Egret David Cookson

A Little Egret was in the large ditch to the north of Bank Houses Cottage where it is seen regularly. The Whooper Swan numbers here had fallen dramatically, probably 200 of the long stayers had departed and it was interesting to note on the same day - Monday - a record of a 'sizeable' flock of Whooper Swans on the sea off Heysham. Thanks to DC for the excellent Little Egret.

Brown Hare Brian Rafferty

Any visit to the Cockersands area will produce sightings of the Brown Hare, though not in the numbers of recent years according to my observations. Thanks to BR for the excellent images of the Brown Hares he saw early on a frosty Monday morning in Bowland. 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A Message From Above!

I'm struggling for time to do a post about my birding efforts on Monday. Meanwhile, here's the gap filler.... 

Any comments from me below are in bold type, or in blue where I think some notable statements are made within the message which was in my Inbox this morning.   

As this e-petition has received more than 10,000 signatures, the relevant government department - DEFRA - have provided the following response.

The Government is aware of incidences of illegal killing of birds of prey and ministers take the issue very seriously. To address this, senior Government and enforcement officers in the UK identified raptor persecution as a national wildlife crime priority. Raptor persecution is subject to a prevention, intelligence, enforcement and reassurance plan led by a senior police officer through the Raptor Persecution Delivery group. The National Wildlife Crime Unit, which is funded by the Government, monitors and gathers intelligence on illegal activities affecting birds of prey and provides assistance to police forces when required. Shooting makes an important contribution to wildlife control and conservation, biodiversity and to the social, economic and environmental well-being of rural areas, where it can provide a supplement to incomes and jobs. The overall environmental and economic impact of game bird shooting is therefore a positive one and it has been estimated by the industry that £250 million per year is spent on management activities that provide benefits for conservation. When carried out in accordance with the law, shooting for sport is a legitimate activity and our position is that people should be free to undertake lawful activities. There are no current plans to restrict sport shooting in England. This Government encourages all shoot managers and owners to ensure they and their staff are following recommended guidelines and best practice to reduce the chances of a conflict of interest with birds of prey. We acknowledge that crimes against birds of prey are abhorrent but it should be noted though that, despite instances of poisoning and killing of birds of prey, populations of many species, such as the Peregrine Falcon, Red Kite and Buzzard have increased. While a small minority is prepared to kill birds of prey, and where possible these people are brought to justice, this demonstrates that the policies in place to conserve these species are working. This e-petition remains open to signatures and will be considered for debate by the Backbench Business Committee should it pass the 100,000 signature threshold.

A lot to say about all this garbage but I'll keep it brief....

This could well have been written by the Countryside Alliance....But in a nutshell, DEFRA thinks that conservation policies for birds of prey are working well - they appear to have forgotten about the Hen Harrier - and thus they have no intention of restricting sport shooting in England, or doing anything about those in the industry who kill anything which gets in the way of it's success. 

Take a look at the government’s wildlife policies of late....Badgers, Buzzards, Bees, Fracking….Time to start thinking about the elections in 2015 and who your vote goes to.

Thought you may like to see a bird of prey named Bowland Betty, a young satellite-tracked Hen Harrier found shot dead on a North Yorkshire grouse moor in 2012.

Monday, 24 March 2014

The Falcon And The Swan.

Amur Falcons Await Their Fate. Photo Credit Unknown.

I can only assume whoever took this horror photograph did so prior to release of these unfortunate falcons after apprehending the barbaric bastards who put them in the net in the first place....'Clik the pik' and see the horror big time.

But now the good news.

 Amur Falcon. Tom Lindroos.  

I remember posting an article on 23 November 2012 about the plight of the Amur Falcon (AF) in India. The news in 2012 of the massacre of AF in India shocked the world, but the news about them in 2014 is looking better. BirdLife’s Indian Partner BNHS moved immediately to mobilise a response. The trapping was stopped, nets destroyed and arrests made, although not before terrible damage had been done.

 Amur Falcons Over Doyang Reservoir. Ramki Sreenivasan.

This year, the generous response to an international appeal has enabled BNHS - with the support of the BirdLife Partnership - to organise a comprehensive programme to keep the AF safe around the Doyang Reservoir, where they roost during their stopover. The programme has mainly been implemented by a local NGO, Nagaland Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation Trust, working with the Nagaland Forest Department.
As a result, brilliant news....not a single AF was trapped during the 2013 autumn migration....and attitudes have changed so much in the space of a single year that the AF's are now treated in the words of Nagaland’s Chief Minister as....'esteemed guests'.

Amur Falcon in Britain.

The only record in Britain of an Amur Falcon is that of a 1st summer male found at Tophill Low NR, Yorkshire in October 2008.

Whooper ZCK.

Whooper Swan. Howard Stockdale.

Whooper Swan ZCK is the only marked Swan/Goose I've seen this winter, though in the case of the Pink-footed Geese I've done absolutely no 'wild goose chases' this winter and so have seen no birds with collars to read. As for this Whooper Swan, it was found amongst the peak count of c.275 on Moss Lane since 14 January, they were still present on my last visit to Cockersands on Wednesday 19 March though by then in a lesser - uncounted - number. On submitting the reading to WWT I was eventually grateful to Julia and Kane for forwarding me the birds history. The bird was ringed as an adult male at Martin Mere WWT Lancashire in February 2013 and returned there this winter to be last seen there on 11 January to be found 19 February at Cockersands. As such this bird does'nt have a long interesting history of re-sightings, though many marked birds often do have and it's always good to find one.

Thanks for the photograph Howard, much appreciated.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

....And Some First Migrants.

Green Sandpiper Antonio Puigg 

A decent 'birds' day yesterday on which I wandered into the Aldcliffe parish to find the Green Sandpiper showing it's gleaming white rump as it flew away from me on the wildfowlers pool. The flood is looking good again and a Little Ringed Plover and 'several' Redshank appeared to think so too. Sheltered from the cold howler in the cutting near Stodday the benefit of the sun could be felt and it was much more like the first day of spring than it had been on the embankment on Aldcliffe Marsh, 3 Chiffchaff were seen here including one briefly breaking into song. On Freeman's Pools I had noted 2 drake Gadwall, 3 Goldeneye, and 8 Wigeon, another 2 drake Gadwall were on the wildfowlers pool.

I legged it from here to Glasson Dock, a good old dismantled rail route which produces - amongst others - good numbers of Blackbird in winter though I saw just six today, also noted were 6 Robin and 2 Long-tailed Tit. Though I was uninspired by this section today, undeterred you can bet I'll be doing it all again sometime soon. A quick circuit of Conder Green with little time to linger I saw 4 Black-tailed Godwit feeding on the water line in the creeks, and c.80 Pink-footed Geese went over going south. 

Sand Martin Simon Hawtin

And the Grand Finale came - I quickly excite when it comes to birds - with 3 Sand Martin over the canal basin, and yes you guessed it....the bus is coming! 

Thanks to Antonio/Simon for the excellent 'clik the pik' Green Sandpiper and Sand Martin.

Would you like to consider helping the Bee by Signing The Petition 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Little And Large.

Little Gull. Copy Permitted.

Bird of the day on Wednesday had to be the Little Gull on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, and the image above is perfect for two reasons, for illustrating the bird precisely as I found it drifting downstream with the falling tide, and also for showing an adult winter bird that can appear to be void of any cap, this individual is seen to show this feature well. My bird soon came off the water but unfortunately flew more distant from me though it allowed me prolonged views on the opposite mud flat including those of a much larger adult Mediterranean Gull which came down to stand within a metre of the Little Gull to afford me views of the smallest gull in the world alongside that of one of the smartest in it's immaculate breeding plumage with full black hood and drooping blood red bill. 

Others to add to a decent bit of birding....At Conder Green, 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Snipe, Little GrebeLittle Egret, and a GoosanderOn the Lune Estuary, at least 275 Black-tailed Godwit, 22 Bar-tailed Godwit, and a Red-breasted Merganser.

The bird on the left in this pic is a Whooper Swan at Cockersands. I reckon it's the recent Slack Lane bird moved into the field across the road with the Mute Swans, if it is it's been separated from the immature which has accompanied it on recent sightings on Slack Lane. Void of a count, the Moss Lane Whooper Swans appeared to be slightly fewer in number and were being badly disturbed and occasionally put to flight by Mr Farmer up and down with his tractor in the adjoining field. 

On Plover Scar at high tide held c.140 waders, c.80 Turnstone, also 42 Oystercatcher, 9 Redshank, 5 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, and a single Knot. In two Abbey Farm fields up to 570 Golden Plover seen, 80 Curlew, and a Skylark in flight song made the day seem much more like spring than it really was, and a trample through the stubble would no doubt have proved it wasn't on it's own, 5 Brown Hare were in the same stubble field.

I found a long dead though identifiable entirely black drake Common Scoter on the shingle at Cockersands, complete with round black knob at the base of it's otherwise mainly yellow bill.
Goldeneye Martin Jump 

The number of Goldeneye continues to fall with 16 seen in the Conder/Glasson area on Wednesday....Thanks for the photograph Martin complete with excellent reflection.

Lune Estuary 8
Conder Pool  5
Canal Basin  3

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Common....Bird and Butterfly.

Common Gull Martin Lofgren 

Unfortunate that a bird as smart as this one is labelled 'common', though yesterday on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock it was certainly the commonest gull with in excess of 500 Common Gull present when I returned there a couple of hours after the tide, though this number is nothing new to the Lune Estuary with 1,500 in the little black book thirteen months ago on 13 February 2013. Also of note, c.92 Black-tailed Godwit and 24 Bar-tailed Godwit counted. On the canal basin, a Little Grebe noted.

A pair of Eider on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock are at best irregular. Brilliant portraits of the drake Eider, many thanks Gary. 

At Cockersands, Plover Scar at high tide held, 82 Turnstone, c.60 Oystercatcher, and singles of Bar-tailed Godwit and Ringed Plover. A circuit produced nothing in double numbers with Linnet, Skylark, and Meadow Pipit seen. From Moss Lane I estimate up to 320 Whooper Swan in fields here still, and last Thursdays adult and immature Whooper Swan were off Slack Lane again with Mute Swans.

At Conder Green, 2 Spotted Redshank obliged in the creeks whilst I had to do a search for the Common Sandpiper, a Grey Plover was down the channel from the railway bridge, and on Conder Pool a Little Grebe, female Goosander, and 3 Little Egret, with a 'few' Tufted Duck and Wigeon.

Goldeneye are still hanging on with 21 seen in the area yesterday....

Conder Pool  8
Lune Estuary 8
Canal Basin  5

The Butterfly.

Common Gull. Copy Permitted.

Here's another Common Gull....the butterfly native to India, the broods of which differ dry season and wet season, and amongst other areas can be found up to 4,000ft in the N.W. Himalayas.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Save The Bog.

Lots of public money goes into the conservation of English uplands, yet only a small percent of peatland in our uplands are in good condition. In the past the wettest areas of upland were improved by drainage for sheep grazing, today they are burnt to provide the best possible conditions for Red Grouse.

Burning, drainage, and other practices of so called 'land management' on peat-covered hills are heading towards an environmental disaster. In good condition, England's upland peatlands hold large stores of carbon, and help hold back water, they are important for wildlife including supporting wader species like Golden Plover and Dunlin. In poor condition - when damaged by draining or burning - those benefits are lost, releasing carbon and peat-stained water. Across vast areas of uplands in northern England, vegetation is burnt to yield the best possible conditions for producing the largest number of Red Grouse for 'sporting' purposes.

The species these protected sites are intended to look after are clearly not protected at all simply because burning the vegetation on deep peat soils is preventing the recovery of the habitat they require. However, it seems there are organisations that are moving to restore degraded bogs including those in Bowland where you have to say....lets hope that 'moves' these organisations do make on this issue are more successful than any they might have made not only to protect, but to halt the extinction of the Hen Harrier in the Forest of Bowland which has been a resounding failure.

So here's the call to dowse the torches and block the drains, to turn this situation around and protect our uplands. Ending all this unnecessary nonsense the 'Guardians of the Countryside' call management will improve this important habitat, secure stocks of carbon which has been stored over millennia as peat, and help improve raw water quality.

Marc Heath Wildlife Photography: Sea and Coastal Birds &emdash; Ring Ouzel - Reculver
Ring Ouzel.Marc Heath.

Ring Ouzel and Stonechat.

I'm reliably informed of a male Ring Ouzel and a pair of Stonechat at Whitendaleand a male Ring Ouzel and male Stonechat at Harrisend yesterday. A personal thanks to JW for contacting me on these four excellent records. 

Also thanks to Marc Heath for the brilliant Ring Ouzel image.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Nearly Fogged Off !

Looking upstream from Cockersands lighthouse, looks even worse if you 'clik the pik'.   

I escaped trying to be 'Husband Of The Year' at 1.30pm yesterdayand got to Cockersands in a slightly less pea soup fog than it had been since around 9.30pm the night before. But a pretty unpleasant day, following on from Wednesday which was more like 12 May than 12 March and shirt sleeve more like 13 January and cold with it.

Golden Plover Brian Rafferty

Off Crook Farm I estimated 150 Redshank, counted 112 Black-tailed Godwit, 22 Curlew, and a solitary Knot, all quietly feeding on the mud flats. In an Abbey Farm field, c.135 Golden Plover with a 'few' Lapwing, 8 Linnet were in and around the cover crop field again. The surprise of the day was a Great-spotted Woodpecker which appeared to be going to fly out to sea until it did a U turn to go inland over Bank Houses.

I made this comment in a post two weeks ago....'I don't recall the last time I saw as many 'gulls' on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock with in excess of 5,000 mainly Black-headed Gull'....and the numbers came a close second again today, a quite amazing sight. On the canal basin just 2 Goldeneye today.

Goldeneye Simon Hawtin

Looking in on the way home from the viewing platform at Conder Pool, 5 Goldeneye, a Little Grebe, and a pair of Lesser Black-backed Gull which seem to appear on here annually and are a real handsome pair of brutish beauties. A Little Egret also looked elegant in the creeks.

The Cockersands Whooper Swans. 

The Moss Lane Whooper Swans were even further inland today and mostly disappearing into the murk. Two Whooper Swan - an adult and immature - were with Mute Swans off Slack Lane, and up to 60 Whooper Swans were in flight heading towards the River Lune. An hour later when I reached Crook Cottage they had gone down on to the bank opposite at Sunderland Point.

Thanks as always to Brian/Simon for the images of Golden Plover and Goldeneye....Excellent. 

The plan was for more of the same today, but not when I saw this view from our window this morning and still lingering as I post.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Well That Was A Good Idea Mr Woodruff.

OK it's only mid-March but I decided yesterday was too nice a day for anything else but to get myself back to Bowland for some upland birds. Going up Hawthornthwaite on the west side for two hours, and the east side for two more hours, followed by a couple of hours from Marshaw to Tower Lodge I recorded just 16 species. 

Well there's a lot to be said about 'upland birds/birding' but I'll keep it brief this time as I've made comments on this Bowland experience at least once before, this time you can draw your own conclusions about 16 species and barely 60 birds - 30 of which were Red Grouse/Brambling - seen in 6 hours birding on the uplands of the Forest of Bowland....I've drawn mine.

Stonechat Marc Heath

It actually started off 'A Good Idea Mr Woodruff' to get back up here, if only because after not many minutes on the west side of Hawthornthwaite I found a pair of Stonechat....well Alleluia to that. But the elation didn't last very long and they were the only pair found in the entire six hours, and they - and 10 Brambling seen at Abbeystead - are the only birds to appear highlighted in this post, the other 14 species are listed below. It's worth noting how low some of the figures are, I saw no Lapwing or Curlew in the area covered on the west side of Hawthornthwaite Fell, and just 3 Curlew on the east side.

Red Grouse Brian Rafferty

Red Grouse 18
Mistle Thrush  6
Lapwing          6
Meadow Pipit 4
Curlew             3
Grey Wagtail  3
Great Tit
Coal Tit

Thanks to Marc and Brian respectfully for the brilliant female Stonechat and the smart male Red Grouse.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

All Twite In The End!

The title is just about as bad as they come....

But the last sighting I had yesterday was of c.50 Twite in stubble at Fluke Hall. On the marsh I noted 8 Meadow Pipit on the wing, also 2 Reed Bunting, and 2 Little Egret. Off Fluke Hall Lane, at least 55 Golden Plover in another stubble field, and on the marsh at Pilling Lane Ends c.450 Pink-footed Geese.

Mute Swans/Whooper Swan. Pete Woodruff.

At Cockersands this lone Whooper Swan was with 28 Mute Swan off Slack Lane, and the count still stands at c.265 Whooper Swan off Moss Lane. Also of note, up to 20 Linnet were good in and around the cover crop section of the field by lighthouse cottage, 8 Tree Sparrow, 2 Reed Bunting, and a Kestrel. A Peregrine Falcon livened things up and caused a murmuration of several hundred Starlings.

Skylark Martin Jump.  

There was signs of a good number of Skylark around at Cockersands, in stubble and difficult to get to grips with on numbers.

Brown Hare.Martin Jump. 

I was reliably informed in a conversation with two visiting photographers that a count they made from Glasson Dock to Cockersands resulted in 30 Brown Hare being seen. Thanks to Martin Jump for the Skylark and the 'boxers', just two from a set of several excellent images.

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, c.75 Black-tailed Godwit, just a remnant of 45 Wigeon and a pair of Red-breasted Merganser. On the canal basin, a Little Grebe and Great-crested Grebe were both in fine summer plumage. At Conder Green a Spotted Redshank seen, but most notable was the complete absence of Little Grebe and just one Wigeon.

The number continues to dwindle with only 23 Goldeneye seen....

15 Lune Estuary
  6 Conder Pool
  2 Canal Basin

The Moss Lane Whooper Swans.

There have been Whooper Swans in fields off Moss Lane at Cockersands since 14 January when I estimated 100 birds, this figure soon built up to around 265 as seen again today. But it is reasonable to suggest they moved on to the Lune Estuary off Plover Scar where they had been seen some time after I left the area at 1.45pm....See Here 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Another Quiet Tour.

I don't willingly make negative comments about birds/birding, but as is to be expected in early March the whole thing has 'gone off the boil'. On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock for example, you'd be hard pushed to find any Lapwing or Golden Plover now, most have left for breeding grounds, and summer visitors have yet to arrive. But there's a good time coming, and for the first time in 3 months this island is about to be sitting under high pressure with more settled weather, and the first Wheatear and Sand Martin will be here - or just south of here - any time soon and a multitude will follow.

Meanwhile on Friday with only a couple of hours spare, I had a another brief and quiet tour, actually deciding to drive through Conder Green - committing a mortal sin in doing so - but I did see 2 Spotted Redshank in the creeks with their shiny white underparts glaring at me. On the Lune Estuary,  estimates of 450 Redshank320 Black-tailed Godwit, 120 Curlew, and 22 Goldeneye counted. On the canal basin I could find just 7 Goldeneye.

I had little time to spare for Cockersands but went to Moss Lane to see at least 265 Whooper Swan still present in the fields, they are still accompanied by the 'Aussie' Black Swan. Whilst in the area I saw a Buzzard mobbed by 2 Carrion Crow, a Little Egret, and noted 6 Brown Hare which I must make my business to get some accuracy on the numbers in the Cockersands area next visit.

The Black Swan Puzzle. 

The Black Swan at Cockersands has been in the company of Whooper Swans for several weeks now, moving from field to field with them. You can't help wonder what this bird does when these Whooper Swans eventually decide the time is right for a move north and this time the move shouldn't include one to be made by the Black Swan. How does this individual know that this time it stays put and does'nt end up on a flight with 265 Whooper Swans heading north to Iceland.

Courtesy of the RBA pager service, a Wheatear yesterday north of Billinge on the Lancashire/Greater Manchester border.

Coming soon to a location near you.  

Wheatear Ana Minguez 

Thanks for the Wheatears Ana....brilliant as always.

Friday, 7 March 2014

A Quiet Tour.

Generally a quiet and relatively shorter tour on Wednesday around the estuary at Conder/Glasson. The time of year when most of the winter birds have left to return to breeding quarters, and summer visitors still to arrive. 

A bit of a reversal of the usual when I parked the motor at Glasson Dock to leg it to Conder Green and return. On the canal basin at Glasson Dock I could only find 4 Goldeneye today, and the Great-crested Grebe doesn't appear to have found a mate yet. The Lune Estuary here has taken on it's quiet summer appearance with little more than c.30 Black-tailed Godwit and a 'few' Bar-tailed Godwit. Wildfowl totals were 35 Wigeon and 30 Goldeneye, with a Great-crested Grebe of note, perhaps a mate for the basin bird. Two soaring Buzzard were seen from here distant over the Scorton area.

Rock Pipit Martin Lofgren        

At Conder Green, 2 Spotted Redshank, a Common Sandpiper, 6 Goldeneye, 4 Little Grebe, and a Goosander were all on Conder Pool. I spent an hour here watching the tide reach its height to see if it pushed anything out of cover off the marsh and came across a Snipe and a distant Rock Pipit with two more seen later on the marsh below the coastal path. 

Conder Pool.

Little Ringed Plover Antonio Puigg

The water level on Conder Pool is higher now than it has ever been, as a result one bird I reckon we won't be seeing on here this spring is the Little Ringed Plover. One thing for certain, if one does turn up on here in the next few weeks it won't be staying to breed.

Thanks to ML for the Rock Pipit race littoralis, and to AP for the Little Ringed Plover.