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

Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Post Is Short....

....but certainly not sweet. 

If you consider the situation regarding the Hen Harrier and other birds of prey in their English upland breeding grounds, in this regard this has to be the best suggested petition of all time. 

I doubt anyone will be under the illusion this petition will lead to the banning of driven grouse shooting, but rather that you would hope it will highlight the issues around this land use - which are far wider than a protected bird of prey - and make it easier for some sort of sensible solution to emerge.

Perhaps you might also like to approach the RSPB and ask them whether or not the society thinks grouse shooting is still a legitimate fieldsport if it depends upon the obliteration of protected wildlife. But you will need to bear in mind they're going to tell you their charter dictates the RSPB is to remain neutral on legitimate fieldsports.

An army of support is needed here to kick-start the beginning of the end. 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Early Bird/er

I'd had a 4.00am family taxi booking for the airport yesterday morning. I returned from the trip and was at Conder Green by 6.30am....a bit like the milk round days, but we'll leave that one there I think.

The c.20 Black-tailed Godwit seem to have taken a permanent liking to Conder Pool and creeks, and seem reluctant to leave. The circuit at Conder Green was quite lively and I saw 2 Common Sandpiper, though a possibility the same bird duplicated as I had the second sighting in the creeks 20 minutes after the first on Conder Pool but I somehow think there are two birds. I also found 4 Sedge Warbler, heard 3 Song Thrush, 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Whitethroat, and 2 Linnet. There was a 'few' Swift around, and the House Martin were very active around River Winds and Cafe 'd Lune. I must check at the cafe to see if they are happy about the birds which are building nests above the outdoor seating area....not the best of circumstances unfortunately.

Three Mallard females had young in tow, the one with thirteen seen on my last visit here was still a full compliment, the one with nine last visit appeared to be one down at eight, and the other family was new to me and consisted of five. 

Arctic Tern Martin Lofgren

Iv'e not seen any 'terns' on the Lune Estuary this spring yet, though I have noted Arctic Tern reported on/over Colloway Marsh on two occasions recently, which - void of any historical accuracy on my part - was a breeding ground for them in bygone years. The only notes I made yesterday at Glasson Dock were of 4 Little Egret and 5 Eider all hauled out.   

Sanderling. Howard Stockdale.

Despite a lengthy time at Cockersands and a stake out around high tide, no Sanderling were present, but I noted estimates of 220 Ringed Plover, 150 Dunlin, and 4 Turnstone on Plover Scar. On the 'tour', a Wheatear, 5 Skylark, 3 Whitethroat, and 2 Tree Sparrow. Sixteen Stock Dove and 5 Brown Hare were all in the same Abbey Farm field and 2 Little Egret seen.

Thanks to Martin for the Arctic Tern, and to Howard for the Sanderling, ever grateful. As always a 'clik the pik' is highly recommended for all three of the images in this post.

And finally....  

European Bee-eater. Ana Minguez.

Another of those 'cant resist this one' images of a brilliant bird and a brilliant photograph, with much appreciation and thanks to AM at Naturanafotos 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Godwits and Lings.

It was good to find at least 20 Black-tailed Godwit still on the Lune Estuary last Tuesday, and better still that they were on Conder Pool and included my sixth ringed bird this spring.

Black-tailed Godwit Martin Jump 

Sending the result of my reading this birds colour combination to the very obliging and reliable Böðvar in Iceland, he promptly sent back to me the history of the bird ringed as a chick on 30 June 2013 in Iceland. This bird had been sighted six times by the time it was barely over five months old, four times on the Dee Estuary, and twice in Flintshire, before my finding it on Conder Pool on Tuesday 20 May 2014 still not one year old.

OL-LN 30.06.13 Kaldaðarnes, Árnessýsla, S Iceland
OL-LN 12.09.13 Thurstaston Shore, Dee Estuary, Merseyside, England
OL-LN 13.09.13 Thurstaston Shore, Dee Estuary, Merseyside, England
OL-LN 20.09.13 Thurstaston Shore, Dee Estuary, Merseyside, England
OL-LN 21.09.13 Thurstaston Shore, Dee Estuary, Merseyside, England
OL-LN 7.11.13 Llawndy Farm, Talacre, Flintshire, Wales
OL-LN 02.12.13 Mostyn, Flintshire, Wales
OL-LN 20.05.14 Conder Pool, Conder Green, Lancashire, England

Sanderling. Howard Stockdale.

I was grateful to my man at Cockersands for getting in touch to tell me of a 'small group' of Sanderling off Crook Farm last Wednesday evening, with more seen again on Saturday and Sunday. So good to see the Sanderling moving through Cockersands again this May, though I've not seen my own ration yet. Also a birder from the Fylde tells me of breeding Stonechats - a pair with two young - at Foulshaw Moss....Great Stuff Howard/Andrew and thanks a bundle.

And finally....

Abbeystead Bluebells. Pete Woodruff.

Couldn't resist the 'clik the pik' photograph of the Bluebells at Stoops Bridge. An excellent location for finding Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Garden Warbler, Redstart, Blackcap, and more.

I'd sooner be birding!....But my prospects for any birding since last Wednesday haven't looked good, and still don't until six days later's hoping. 

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Hen Harrier Day.

Are you going to be at Dunsop Bridge in Bowland on 10 August?

Lots of interesting reading about this 'peaceful' event, including some about an alternative which certainly wouldn't be peaceful HERE

Friday, 23 May 2014

The Hareden/Langden Circuit.

Wednesday was a good day for me to get myself into Bowland, and accompanied by BD we went up on to Hareden Fell, across the wild tops, and down the Langden Valley.

Redshank Martin Jump 

The first sighting was of 3 Common Sandpiper together on Langden Brook with some interesting display noted between what was probably two males in pursuit of a female, with much vocalisation and running around, and one of the males constantly holding its wings vertical, reminiscent of the Redshank engaged in part of it's mating ritual above.

A 'few' Sand Martin were obviously nesting in a bank above the brook. At least 20 House Martin around Hareden Farm as we passed by with a Swift above them, a few House Martin were also around the house at the intake. 

Heading off along the Hareden Fell track on the 7 hour 6.2 mile walk, we soon picked up a pair of Stonechat with one young, probably more if we'd have lingered. I lost count of a 'good number' of Meadow Pipitat least 14 Willow Warbler, 7 Grey Wagtail, 4 Reed BuntingDipper, and a single male Wheatear. Two Peregrine Falcon seen, which I'm bound to note were the only raptors in the entire seven hours on the uplands of Bowland, hard to believe....but this is the 21st century.

Looking West Up The Langden Valley. Pete Woodruff. 

This is the brilliant view - 'clik the pik' - afforded by a wise choice to take the high path coming down the Langden Valley, where 6 Stonechat were seen as a pair, 3 young, and an apparent lone male.

Ring Ouzel Marc Heath 

The highlight of the day was excellent views of a male Ring Ouzel soon followed by brief views of a female in flight.

Green Tiger Beetle Arkive 

Insects on the day included....8 Green Tiger Beetle including one chasing and catching a lone ant on the track which made the fatal error of going across the beetles path.

Beautiful Yellow Underwing. Copy Permitted.  

Beautiful Yellow Underwing, a Silver Y, and several Common Heath were the moths of the day.

A great day in great company. 

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Where's The Sand At Cockersands!

Sanderling Brian Rafferty 

The main purpose of my visit to Cockersands yesterday was to be at Plover Scar at high tide to see if any Sanderling are going to turn up here on the way north to their high Arctic breeding grounds....well they didn't, though I note a report of twenty nine here on 11 May. But still time to see if there is ever going to be a repeat of the 120 which showed up here 7 years ago on 31 May 2007 and hasn't done so since, an all time high count of this scarce spring and autumn migrant in our area.

Sedge Warbler David Cookson

On a wander at Cockersands waiting for the tide, Sedge Warbler was singing on Slack Lane, Skylark was collecting grubs off the coastal path obviously feeding young somewhere, I found 3 Whitethroat, 2 Wheatear2 Reed Bunting, the Tree Sparrow are always guaranteed around Bank Houses paddock though not often in double figure, 3 Greenfinch seen. Eight Stock Dove were in a field which was rough stubble just three weeks ago and now has a crop three inches high, 2 Whitethroat were on Moss Lane.

When I finally got to Plover Scar wader numbers were much depleted with c.225 Ringed Plover, up to 100 Dunlin, a solitary Whimbrel, and a Brown Hare had wandered on to the scar, with 8 Eider off here.

At least 12 House Martin have returned to Conder Green and were busy collecting mud off the Cocker banks and have started to build their nests at River Winds and Cafe d' Lune. Conder Pool held 13 Black-tailed Godwit, and I heard a Sedge Warbler on the marsh edge opposite the Stork Hotel, and saw a Whitethroat and Reed Bunting.

The biggest surprise was virtually the last bird of the day, when I looked towards the shingle below the abbey and saw a bird fly out to sea before doing a u-turn, it was immediately identifiable as a Common Sandpiper and was a first for me as I don't recall seeing one at Cockersands ever before.

Thanks to BR/DC for the brilliant images in this post.    

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Hi Ho....Hi Ho....

....its off to work birding we go!

Barbondale actually, primarily to check out the Pied Flycatcher situation there as the visit on 29 April produced only two birds - a male and female - and I was hoping for some improvement on that score three weeks later.

In fact I found 4 Pied Flycatcher, being three male and a female. Also noted from the 24 species seen in the five hours spent here and about, a Cuckoo called around a half dozen times during my visit, but as on 29 April I failed to locate the bird. 

Redstart. Phillip Tomkinson.

I saw only 3 Redstart, discovered a Nuthatch going into a nest hole, and discovered the same for two nest hole Blue Tits, a Great-spotted Woodpecker put in an appearance four times, a Song Thrush and 4 Mistle Thrush were noted, a Grey Wagtail was on the beck, and a Buzzard and Kestrel overhead. 

In keeping with my recent lack of connecting with the species, I saw/heard no more than 6 Willow Warbler and compared these to last year on 30 April when my little black book notes....'at least fifteen Willow Warbler seen'.

Red Kite. Phillip Tomkinson.

I had info from two independent birders I saw, of a Red Kite briefly on the skyline above the ridge....Shuks! 

On my way back to Lancaster I gave my last thirty minutes of the day to the River Lune at Bull Beck where there appears to be a small but healthy looking Sand Martin colony, with a Common Sandpiper seen, and c.20 Goldfinch around. There was no sign of any Little Ringed Plover here where I found five one day in June last year.


Adult/Juvenile Stonechat. Ana Minguez.

I have excellent news of Stonechats seen with young over the weekend by the most active and reliable upland birder I know, found at Catshaw, Marshaw, Trough Bank, Hareden, and Pendle. Many thanks JW....I'm obviously not doing my birding justice at this rate.

For the excellent Redstart and Red Kite images, thanks to PT at Wild Snaps and for the equally excellent Stonechats, many thanks to AM at NATURANAFOTOS  

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Seen Anything Interesting?

No motor on Friday, so best get my boots on and get on down to Aldcliffe to see if the Woodchat Shrike really has gone. Not the real reason behind the days plan which was to do the hike from Lancaster to Glasson Dock via Aldcliffe, Stodday, and Conder Green. 

'Seen anything interesting'....said the nice man who pulled up on his bike at Aldcliffe to ask the question and seemed to know a little about last weeks shrike. If I'd have arrived at Glasson Dock to be asked the question again I'd have been hard pushed to give a 'yes' answer. But the truth is it's all interesting, but birding does have varying degrees of it as last Thursdays discovery showed.

I must confess when I reached Dawsons Bank at Aldcliffe Marsh, I glared inland over the area and fantasised the bird would show....But wait a minute, that's a female Sparrowhawk flying across the field to land on a post immediately below the very same bush the shrike was perched atop of eight days ago at around the same time as today. Just imagine, the consequences of this last week could well have spelt the end for this brilliant Aldcliffe find before anyone knew about it. I had seen a Sparrowhawk over the old Salt Ayre Tip just 15 minutes earlier....the same bird I reckon. 

Whitethroat Martin Lofgren 

I took notes of 40 species on the walk including, 3 WhitethroatLesser Whitethroata Willow Warbler, and a Chiffchaff. I saw up to 8 Robin including four young, and saw 3 Dunnock, a pair of which were involved in some mating ritual, and saw the male flickering its wings whilst pecking several times at the females rear....didn't look pretty, but very interesting to observe such behaviour and a first for me. I probably saw up to 12 Blackbird, some of which were in lovely song, as was Song Thrush.

As is usual on this birding exercise I sped through Conder Green to note Tuesdays 27 Black-tailed Godwit on Conder Pool again. From the coastal path I could see a 'few' distant Bar-tailed Godwit on the Lune Estuary, but hey up....the bus is coming!

Willow Warbler David Cookson

Willow Warbler.   

On 25 April I did my birding along the Lancaster - Glasson Dock route, and made a particular note that I had been walking 5 hours over 7 miles and heard just one Willow Warbler at Glasson Dock at the very end of the walk. Four days later on 29 April I visited Barbondale and noted in my book that I had seen/heard no more than 4 Willow Warbler in an area I expected to be 'crawling' with them. I was beginning to think maybe the Willow Warblers haven't yet arrived in number. But on Fridays Lancaster - Glasson Dock birding when I had again been covering the same time and miles I had heard just one Willow Warbler in Freemans Wood, and thereafter nil. The truth is....I'm not seeing many Willow Warbler yet anywhere I go in 2014.

Thanks to Martin and David for the excellent images of Whitethroat and Willow Warbler. 

Also many thanks to Jo Bradley for allowing me to use the Aldcliffe Woodchat Shrike as the new header for Birds2blog....A brilliant image, of a brilliant bird, in a brilliant local location.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Lune Estuary Waders.

On Wednesday I did a repeat run of Tuesdays birding, resulting with just 10 Black-tailed Godwit seen at Conder Green in the creeks. On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, sightings and numbers remain the same with an intermingling of 250 Bar-tailed Godwit and 100 Knot one or two of both species in stunning 'red' breeding plumage.

At Cockersands apart from 11 Wheatear, Tuesdays estimated 2,500 Dunlin and 900 Ringed Plover were again on Plover Scar at high tide, and moved around considerably as the tide fell to feed between Crook Farm and the Cocker Estuary affording me excellent views.

Lune Estuary Waders.

The 2,500 Dunlin, the 900 Ringed Plover, and the 250 Bar-tailed Godwit on the Lune Estuary have been another notable feature of my birding recently....

Dunlin Brian Rafferty 

The Dunlin.  

During April and May there is a large movement of Dunlin through Britain to their Arctic breeding grounds. And although as many as 11 races of Dunlin have been recognised only 3 occur in Britain. The race arctica breeds in north-east Greenland and occurs briefly on passage in spring and autumn. The race schinzii breeds mainly in Iceland and south-east Greenland with small populations in Britain and Ireland. The third race alpina breeds in northern Fennoscandia and across western Siberia, and is the race thought to be the majority of our winter population of Dunlin. 

There have been suggestions that two other races of Dunlin occur in Britain, one is sakhalina from breeding areas across eastern Siberia, tentatively identified from the measurements of a few large individuals. However, these are within the upper part of the ranges for alpina and so cannot be separated from them on the basis of measurements alone. The second race is centralis from central Siberia, which most authors no longer distinguish from alpina.

Ringed Plover Antonio Puigg 

The Ringed Plover.   

Void of being able to quote accurate figures without a search, as far as my personal records are concerned I cannot recall ever recording the number as high before at Cockersands as on two visits this week to Plover Scar at high tide when I estimated at least 900 Ringed Plover.

Bar-tailed Godwit Phillip Tomkinson

The Bar-tailed Godwit.

The Bar-tailed Godwit is a powerful migrant bird, modern technology and satellite tracking has shown that they are capable of flying across the Pacific Ocean in a single stage. One such tracked bird flew from North Island in New Zealand to Yalu Jiang in China non stop. The shortest distance between these two sites is 9,575 km but the route this Bar-tailed Godwit took was 11,025 km, and it took it just nine days. In human terms....mind boggling stuff. 

Please 'clik the pik' and get the very best out of these excellent images from BR/AP/PT with my appreciation.  

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Normal Service Resumed.

I was wrong....The other things in life didn't take over from my birding for the week as predicted, in fact they've gone away - I got rid of 'em - and yesterday normal service was resumed....Alleluia.

On Conder Pool, 27 Black-tailed Godwit were still hanging around as are the summering 2 Wigeon drakes, a 'few' Tufted Duck and even fewer Teal were also noted. 

Mallard Bob Bushell 

Two female Mallard had 22 ducklings, nine on Conder Pool, and thirteen downstream from the old railway bridge, with a nasty Grey Heron looking on.

The Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock was pretty deserted, though as if to contradict that a mix of c.350 waders was broken down to 250 Bar-tailed Godwit and 100 Knot, 4 Eider noted.

At Cockersands high tide, an impressive c.3,500 waders on Plover Scar were seen as at least 2,500 Dunlin, and 1,000 Ringed Plover. I'm quite certain the Ringed Plover count here was an all time highest in my records. A total of 36 Eider seen were 24 off Plover Scar, and 12 off Crook Farm. 

Grey Partridge Brian Rafferty

Also to note on a 2.5 hour Cockersands trawl, 2 Grey Partridge which take the 'rarest bird I saw all day' award, 9 Wheatear, a good count of 12 Stock Dove, 3 Skylark, a Whitethroat, and good to see a Lapwing with three young, having chosen to nest in an 'unworked' field. There are good numbers of Swallow still moving through, and when I arrived back at the motor a Peregrine Falcon put to flight the wader mass I'd seen three hours earlier on Plover Scar before perching up on the lighthouse railings.


 Stonechats Marc Heath

Had some regular and excellent news on the Stonechats at various upland locations from a contact who tells me of 4 pairs on Bradford Fell recently....sounds good to me.

Thanks to Bob for the Mallard, Brian for the Grey Partridge, and Marc for the Stonechats....Excellent images - even more excellent with a 'clik the pik' - and much appreciated.  

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

MMM Again.

Its good to see some forward movement on the MMM issue, and the House of Commons debated the 'UK policy on the protection of migratory birds in Malta' on Wednesday 7 May 2014....Well at least its a start, and a move in the right direction.

If you haven't already done so, you may be interested in reading Chris Packhams report on this HERE 

Ministers in attendance at the debate.

I wrote to my MEP and recieved the following reply.... 

Dear Mr Woodruff,

Thank you for your recent email regarding Malta and the European Wild Birds Directive.

This is an issue which has long been a concern for Labour Euro MPs and we have raised our concerns with the European Commission on several occasions. Personally I raised a parliamentary question to the Commission last year (details can be found at:

My colleague Brian Simpson MEP also has written to Mr Clint Mario Borg, First Secretary at the High Commission of the Republic of Malta raising this matter and received the following response:

'Malta is fully committed that any possible future spring hunting derogations will be based on a rigorous assessment of the necessary scientific data and will be in line with the strict controls, enforcement and supervision required by the Birds Directive and enshrined in Maltese national legislation.

Malta remains committed to its increased efforts in order to ensure strict enforcement of the established rules. This commitment is clearly noted through the establishment of the Wild Birds Regulation Unit, with in the Ministry for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change.

The main aim of this Unit is to deal with all aspects of sustainable hunting governance.

In October 2013, the Government implemented a legal reform with regard to the enforcement of illegal hunting, doubling the penalties for hunting offences. Malta's legal deterrent against illegal hunting offences may be considered to be amongst the harshest regimes in Europe'.

Bird hunting in Malta continues to be monitored by the Commission and raised with the Maltese authorities. However the European Parliament is currently on recess due to the European elections and therefore you would be best to raise your concerns on this issue directly with the European Commission at this time.

I am due to step down as an elected European MP following the European elections on 22 May and therefore I would recommend that you make contact with your newly elected European MPs for the North West region, following the elections, in order for the matter to be raised in the new parliamentary term.

Yours sincerely

Arlene McCarthy

Mr Borg's comment which I have highlighted regarding Malta's legal deterrent against illegal hunting is a bit rich don't you think.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Back Down To Earth.

It looks like the curse of other things in life has taken over my birding addiction once again, and to make matters worse it looks like lasting all this week. So my birding is set to be patchy and I'm going to be stuck with grabbing every opportunity I get - when I get it - to put in some time with the birds, which is what I did on Friday when I found myself 5 miles north of Lancaster with a little time on my hands, so off I went to take a look over the Eric Morecambe Complex at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve for a couple of hours, better than no birding at all and thankful for small mercies.

After Thursdays brilliant Woodchat Shrike experience, I think this mediocre report below is called....back down to earth. 

Sedge Warbler Martin Lofgren 

A Chiffchaff was in song when I pulled into the car park, and I heard my first Sedge Warbler from the path to the hide. I grabbed a brief look at a flight of c.40 Black-tailed Godwit which promptly dropped down out of sight at the back of the flood where I could just make out 2 Greenshank. Between this pool and the Allen Pool there are currently up to 70 Avocet with some first chicks hatched I'm told. Also noted was a 1st winter Mediterranean Gull in the midst of a large number of screaming breeding Black-headed Gull, 3 Pintail, 4 Gadwall, 4 Shoveler, and 2 Little Egret.  

House Martin Astland Photography 

A brief visit to the Lillian Hide was well worth it if only to watch at least 100 Swift hawking, with which I kept seeing a 'few' House Martin and Swallow.

High pressure on the cards mid-week, and amongst lots of other places I need to get to I have a few upland locations in mind. So here's hoping the curse of 'other things' buggers off.   

Saturday, 10 May 2014

The Pipit, The Shrike, And The Dove.

 American Buff-bellied Pipit. Stuart Piner.

I appreciated a personal text message recieved last Sunday evening telling me of an American Buff-bellied Pipit at Cockersands, a MEGA find and a first for Lancashire. Unfortunately for those hoping to see the bird the following day they were to be disappointed as it was never found again.

The nominate race of Buff-bellied Pipit breeds from Greenland, across northern Canada, down the Rockies into the USA. It winters in southern USA and Central America. Until 28 years ago it was treated as conspecific with the Water Pipit.

In 1910 two ornithologists spent the autumn on St Kilda in the Western Isles and found 35 new species of birds to the island. In late September they were attracted by an unusual call amongst a flock of Meadow Pipits which proved to be the first Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus rubescens for Britain, though two previous claims from elsewhere were rejected. Ireland's only acceptable report was of a bird in County Wicklow in October 1967.

I'm grateful to SP for the images of Sundays bird at Cockersands.

Woodchat Shrike. Dan Haywood.

Could I ever have dreamt that four days later whilst on a prowl around the Aldcliffe Marsh area I would find my own rare vagrant in the form of a stunning male Woodchat Shrike, seen as the kind of sighting which goes to spur us all on in our pursuit of birds.

I recalled 28 August 1999 when I was with my much missed mentor John Leedal, watching Honey Buzzard in the Rusland Valley in the Lakes when news came of a Woodchat Shrike found in a hedgerow north of the Eric Morecambe Complex at Leighton Moss and JL and I became instant twitchers and went off to get good views of this bird, a juvenile and not half as attractive as the Aldcliffe male on Thursday. The LM bird stayed on all day here and was enjoyed by many visitors to the site.

A rare vagrant, though it was removed from the list of BBRC birds in 1990, by which time almost 700 had been recorded in Britain, and didn't include in excess of 60 birds recorded Ireland. The bird winters in a broad band south of the Sahara, and breeds across southern Europe, through the Balkans and Asia Minor into Iran.

The first acceptable record of the Woodchat Shrike was of a bird in Bradwell, Norfolk in 1829 which had been shot by a farmer who had the bird preserved and kept in his possession, the bird was recorded by the Paget brothers.

Turtle Dove. Howard Stockdale.

According to a report the following day whilst at the Woodchat Shrike location at Aldcliffe, another rare bird - the Turtle Dove - put in a brief appearance in flight, though no mention of this bird has been made since, it made up a trio of quality birds in our area of North Lancashire over five days. 

I'm grateful to Dan for the image of Thursdays Woodchat Shrike at Aldcliffe, and to Howard for the photograph of the Turtle Dove.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Shrike It Lucky!

I had dealt with some business in Lancaster by 12.15pm, but had to return there by 2.30. My best plan was to give Aldcliffe a couple of hours, a walk along the embankment, check the flood, and return via the path back to the depot at Keyline. 

I began to make my notes having heard a Blackcap and Chiffchaff both singing, a Song Thrush always a nice bird to see, and at Marsh Point a Whitethroat, male Reed Bunting, a Dunnock, and a distant Common Sandpiper along the edge of one of the smaller pools. I turn south to do the embankment trundle, a nice little Whinchat off here would have been nice. But never mind that, I've just lifted my bino's to take a good look through the stubble field from Dawson's Bank and the hedgerow running along the edge of it when....

Bank Pool From Dawson's Bank. Pete Woodruff.

....atop of this tree was a stunning male Woodchat Shrike waiting to be spotted and to send my passion for the birds through the roof once again.

Woodchat Shrike 8 May 2014. Joanne Bradley.

Thanks to Joanne Bradley for the much appreciated excellent image. 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Up And Down.

On Tuesday with my services needed to taxi a family member with a transport problem, the destination being Dolphinholme for 11.00am and collect at 2.00pm the obvious thing for me to do was to go into Bowland and dig around in some nooks and crannies off the beaten track for a couple of hours or so.

Garden Warbler Warren Baker

Nothing spectacular but I did find my first Garden Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher. I watched a Mistle Thrush feeding a fledged young, a Robin with a recently fledged young in tow, and saw up to 4 Song Thrush which included a pair also with a fledged young....The day of the fledged young, and very nice too. 

Treecreeper Phillip Tomkinson

I saw a Treecreeper doing what it does best - and as its name implies - creeping up a tree. I also found a perfect location for butterflies and saw my first 4 Comma of the year.

Returning to Lancaster with my 'unpaid' taxi fare, I went off for a brief visit to Conder Green to find c.75 Black-tailed Godwit in the creeks, with 2 Whimbrel on Conder Pool, being a first for the species on here in my records book, and a Whitethroat 'scratching' away loudly on the coastal path.

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, c.225 waders gave excellent and reasonably close views, being 160 Bar-tailed Godwit, two of which were in stunning breeding plumage, 50 Knot, which also had four in their brilliant red breeding plumage, 12 Dunlin, and 3 Redshank.

An enjoyable couple of hours up to Bowland, then down to the coast for another hour. 

Thanks to Warren for the Garden Warbler, and to Phillip for the Treecreeper.