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

Sunday, 30 August 2015

With Determination.

Tied up almost all day on Friday, with determination I eventually escaped, but not until after 2.00pm, enough time to take a look at Conder Green, the Lune Estuary, and a wander off Jeremy Lane and on to some accessible farmland, all of which turned out to be quite sparse, though the Lune Estuary held good numbers of waders mainly RedshankDunlin, and Lapwing, viewable from the bowling green, but all too distant and hazy for anything like easy observations. But I was able to achieve the best ever number of the species in my book when I counted at least 50 Ringed Plover. I know I'm repeating myself here, but this is not a bird to be found at all regularly on the Lune Estuary at this location, and certainly not in this number.

At Conder Green, the place was deserted, with the American gone and birders having had their fill, or decided it was no longer to be found. The place was almost deserted by the birds too, but 3 Common Sandpiper were in the creeks, 4 Little Grebe were on Conder Pool, and good numbers of Redshank and Dunlin down the channel from the railway bridge. 

Goldfinch Jan Larsson  

The permitted wander round some farmland at Lower Thurnham had me finding a flighty 25 Goldfinch2 Wheatear, a hunting Kestrel, and a Brown Hare lazing horizontally in a field.

Ban Driven Grouse Shooting.

Red Grouse Brian Rafferty 

The petition to Ban Driven Grouse Shooting has gone into snail pace mode.

After having been up and running for just two of it's life expectancy of six months, it has collected just 14,500 pitiful signatures. Mark Avery can't be anything other than extremely worried about what is heading for the second failure of this important step in the right direction to help stamp out the illegal persecution of the Hen Harrier.

I'd like to add another of my three pennyworth in promoting this petition to ask visitors to Birds2blog - and those they wish to pass the message on to who have not yet signed - if they would consider doing so right now, it will also go towards proving me wrong about the impending failure.

Obviously few want driven grouse shooting to be banned....Well there's a sickening surprise. 

The link to sign is at the top of my sidebar, and also Here    

Thanks to Marc for the shrike, Jan for the finch, and to Brian for the grouse....Brilliant on three counts.

Friday, 28 August 2015

No Sign.

If you visited Conder Green yesterday to see the Lesser Yellowlegs as I did, or Glasson Dock to see the Spoonbill, you was out of luck as the day ended with no sign of either. I reckon yesterdays tide was the first the American had encountered which covered the mud banks at Conder Green since its arrival on went off to roost somewhere and didn't return....neither birds have been reported today.

To be honest, there was no sign of much else anywhere I paid any attention to yesterday, but apparently I missed the Wood Sandpiper at Conder Green, and the Little Stint at Glasson Dock.

But enough of this negativity, here's what I did see.... 

The species number had increased again at Conder Green when I saw 7 Common Sandpiper, five in the creeks, one in the channel from the railway bridge, and one on Conder Pool, 4 Little Grebe were also on here again. About 8 Linnet seen, and c.150 Redshank and 25 Dunlin where downstream from the railway bridge, and a Painted Lady was good.

I did a circuit at Cockersands with some detours to little avail, but c.80 Linnet were off the headland again where I saw 2 Wheatear, 14 Greenfinch on Slack Lane, and 12 Tree Sparrow around Bank Houses.

Linnet Behaviour.

Linnet Warren Baker

Some interesting behaviour by two Linnets from a group of eight which flew across the creeks, these two individuals were behaving like petrels and were pattering their feet on the deep water surface. I watched these two birds in this manner through a telescope for 10 seconds....Odd and amazing. 

East is east, and west is west. 

An estimated 230 Pied Flycatcher at Spurn Point on the east coast earlier this week.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Yellow....Legs And Tail!

Mondays birding started yellow, and ended yellow.

River Conder. Conder Green. Pete Woodruff.

Tourism at Conder Green has taken an upturn since the arrival of a North American wader which was still present for it's third day yesterday.

As far as I know the Lesser Yellowlegs has remained in precisely this area of the creeks since it was found on Sunday morning - 'clik the pik' for a full frame view - it was on the waterline between the two boats on both occasions I went there.

Lesser Yellowlegs and Co. Pete Woodruff,

I got my second helping of the Lesser Yellowlegs when I visited there again on Monday, and put in a little effort at photographing the bird with the only publishable shots including some intruders when one of 2 Ruff, a Black-headed Gull, and a Mute Swan all got in on the act.

Also of note, 5 Common Sandpiper including one on Conder Pool, where 3 Little Grebe, and the Kingfisher put in another appearance, this time perched distant below the terrace at the far side. At least 80 Redshank and 10 Dunlin were downstream from the railway bridge.

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, 2 Mediterranean Gull were both adult, also 5 Black-tailed Godwit, and up to 3,000 Lapwing present.

Linnet. Pete Woodruff.

These four were from a number I estimated to be 350 strong at Cockersands last year on 2 October. At Cockersands on Monday, a flock of c.120 Linnet were along the headland, with 2 Wheatear also here, 3 Greenfinch were along Slack Lane.

On the way to Bank End, apart from several white butterflies, the only other one seen was a Gatekeeper. The trek here was rewarded by the sight of a stunning male Yellow Wagtail....yellow start, yellow finish. 

Talking of yellow....

At least 500 Yellow Wagtails at Dungeness Observatory in Kent on Sunday, probably came down in a downpour, not prepared to continue their journey across an expanse of water in such conditions.

Monday, 24 August 2015

As For Last Week!

The Kingfisher.

Last week had its own brand of birding interest for me, not least because on Monday the Conder Kingfisher obliged at last. Having been elusive for me recently - never in the right place at the right time -  I found the bird perched close by, it posed perfectly for a few minutes for me to try out any photographic skills I might have.

Kingfisher (Female) . Pete Woodruff.

I was pleased with some of the results, one of which I thought qualified for the new header for Birds2blog.

Martin Behaviour.

Some behaviour I observed was interesting at Conder Green on Friday when, in the Cafe d' Lune area, up to 8 House Martin were collecting mud in the creeks. These birds may well be having a second or even third brood, as the House Martins breeding season can sometimes be prolonged and into autumn, in which case it's interesting to note, the young from earlier broods are known to help feed those from later ones.

Black-headed Gull.

Also at Conder Green I saw a Black-headed Gull in the creeks, the bird appeared to be injured or was stunned. It was trying to take to the wing with out success, it was covered in mud and was a pitiful sight about which I could do nothing. Another Black-headed Gull was by its side squealing all the time, and attacked the bird pecking at its head a couple of times, a Little Egret also came on the scene, and I was convinced this bird would also attack the gull, but I scared the pair of them off. A few minutes later when I looked, the gull had shuffled itself on to the water, and a few more minutes later when I looked again it had disappeared. I had to convince myself it had been stunned for some reason, and had eventually flown off, though it had appeared to me like it was never going to be able to.

The Spoonbill.

Spoonbill. Chris Batty. 

The Spoonbill is now into its third week on the Lune Estuary, and Chris is the only birder I'm aware of to get an image of the bird which - as in this record shot - has always been distant at the mouth of the Conder viewed from Glasson Dock, though when I found it on Friday 7 August it was 100 metres nearer the bowling green viewpoint than it has been since.

Yellow Wagtails.

My weeks birding had an excellent end to it, with at least 6 Yellow Wagtails on the edges of Cockerham Marsh on Friday. This was the best example of what birding is all about, to find stunning birds like these....Next please!

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Up The Creek.

I was grateful for a call this morning at 10.49am - even before I'd recieved the pager message at 11.03am - to alert me to a North American wader in the creeks at Conder Green....WHAT!!  

Lesser Yellowlegs. Martin Lofgren @ Wild Bird Gallery 

With KT on board I shot off to achieve excellent views of my sixth UK Lesser Yellowlegs, this one an adult. At one point the bird was in the same view as 2 Ruff, 2 Common Sandpiper, and a Greenshank.

Thanks to Martin Lofgren for the excellent image of this equally excellent Nearctic wader.

My previous sightings of Lesser Yellowlegs have been....

Eric Morecambe Complex a 1st winter 18 October 1995
Eric Morecambe Complex a 1st winter 13 September 1997.
Banks Marsh a 1st winter 6 February 1999.
Eagland Hill a juvenile 14 September 2002.
Glasson Dock a juvenile 24 September 2011.
Conder Green an adult 23 August 2015. 

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Cloudy, Rain Later.

My records for yesterdays birding reads....'Cloudy, rain later'.

An English Summers Day. Pete Woodruff.

I was an idiot to drive to Cockersands mid-afternoon when I could see what was about to happen with the weather, and when I arrived at the lighthouse car park this was what was heading towards me, it came down in buckets full the rest of the day....I went home!

Yellow Wagtail. Noushka Dufort @ 1000-Pattes

But hey....Earlier on the marsh and embankment at Bank End I saw at least 6 Yellow Wagtail with in excess of 100 Pied Wagtail, all of which went towards taking the sting out of the downpour which followed soon after round the corner at Cockersands.

Noted on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, a 3cy Mediterranean Gull, a Greenshank, 10 Little Egret, and c.35 Ringed Plover just moments after I had told a birder from Norfolk who was with me, that the species is at best unusual here....Mmmm, big mouth!

At Conder Green, I found just one Common Sandpiper in the creeks, with 3 Greenshank, c.150 Redshank, and 2 Dunlin. On Conder Pool 3 Little Grebe and the drake Wigeon.

Garden Wildlife. 

Painted Lady. Pete Woodruff.

The latest record for the garden was of a Painted Lady on our Buddleia yesterday morning.  

Clik the pik....The weather one is grim, the wagtail - thank you Noushka - and butterfly are excellent....even though the latter is one of mine!

Friday, 21 August 2015

Green, Dock, And The Nab.

It was looking like I was going to have to report none seen at Conder Green yesterday, but just as I was about to leave 4 Common Sandpiper flew together down the creeks, also a Greenshank and little more than 20 Redshank seen. Conder Pool was quiet save 3 Little Grebe, 2 Little Egret, and the all alone drake Wigeon waiting for the arrival of the relatives

At Glasson Dock on the Lune Estuary, the Spoonbill was duly present at the mouth of the Conder again, with 2 Mediterranean Gull being both adults, a Ruff was with c.150 Redshank close in from the bowling green, and 12 Little Egret counted. 

Mediterranean Gull Red Nab 20 Aug Pete Woodruff

At Heysham Red Nab high tide roost, just the one adult Mediterranean Gull found with c.200 Black-headed Gull, 2 Sandwich Tern, and c.2,500 Oystercatcher with uncounted Redshank and Curlew.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Late Start Early Finish.

It was a late start yesterday, and by 1.30pm the rain - which lasted until early evening - brought about an early finish by the time I got to Glasson Dock where I found 12 Little Egret assembled on the marsh for the high tide roost about an hour away.

At Conder Green, in the creeks I found only one Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, c.150 Redshank, a single Dunlin and Snipe, and saw House Martins around the Cafe d' Lune area still. On Conder Pool, 2 Wheatear were something of a surprise, with 24 Goldfinch on the thistles, 4 Little Grebe, and a Collared Dove on here was unusual.

A big disappointment as I was looking forward to another good wander again but finished up with a pitiful short list. Some you win, some you loose, talking of which....

The Yellow-breasted Bunting.

Yellow-breasted Bunting Arkive 

The Yellow-breasted Bunting is an extremely rare vagrant to the UK, the first record being of a female found in Norfolk in September 1905, the latest one being of a juvenile at Brownsman, Farne Islands, Northumberland, in September 2013. 

As one of Eurasia's formerly most abundant species, the Yellow-breasted Bunting (YBB) has declined by a staggering 90% and retracted its range by 5,000km since 1980.

High levels of hunting appear to be responsible for this decline of the YBB, and at night time roosts where the birds gather in huge flocks on migration and on wintering grounds, they become easy targets for trapping in huge numbers. The species is known in Chinese as 'the rice bird' and following initial declines, hunting of them was banned in China in 1997, but millions of these and other song birds were still being killed for food and sold on the black market as late as 2013. 

Back in 2001 an estimated one million YBB were being consumed for food in one Chinese Province alone, and the species has now all but disappeared from Eastern Europe, European Russia, large parts of Western and Central Siberia, and Japan. 

Hard to believe that, in the 21st century, man needs to be better educated on the consequences of eating wildlife. 

Homo sapiens....The greatest and most ruthless of all know predator species.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Birding High's And Low's.

I got off to a good start yesterday at Conder Green, when the elusive Kingfisher was waiting for me to spy it on the edge of the outlet on Conder Pool. It was soon followed by a Green Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Little Egret, and 8 Teal, all in the creeks. Four Little Grebe were on Conder Pool, and a Reed Bunting was the only other reward for my efforts on the circuit.

Green Sandpiper Jan Larsson 

It's many a year since I saw a Green Sandpiper at Conder Green, and when I have they've always been upstream on the Conder from the A588 road-bridge. But yesterday I heard one call as it lifted off the creeks and climbed quite high to fly north.

The Spoonbill was present on the Lune Estuary, it was by the Conder mouth again. A Mediterranean Gull, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, and 14 Little Egret were the only other notes I made, though Lapwing numbers are now up to four figures.

I have to say, the visit to Cockersands was a dreary affair, and from here on the birding low's set in despite spending four hours plus in the area, including covering from Crook Farm to spend some time on Plover Scar ahead of the high tide - where I noted up to 80 Dunlin and 8 Ringed Plover - and on to Bank End where - apart from a few 'black and white' wagtails and some roosting 'large' gulls - I noted nothing. Up to 15 Goldfinch and similar Tree Sparrow were around Bank Houses horse paddock.

Buzzard. Ana Minguez @ Naturanafotos

On Moss Lane the Buzzard was seen again, and apart from several 'white' butterflies the only other one seen on the day was a Gatekeeper....What a difference a day - or two - makes. 

The Silver Y.

Silver Y. Pete Woodruff.

This appropriately named Silver Y moth found its way into our kitchen last night, I released it after I had taken a few shots of it. Probably the most common of the UK's immigrant moths, in the right conditions they can turn up in their thousands. 

Thanks to Jan and Ana for the much appreciated excellent 'clik the pik' images.

Sunday, 16 August 2015


Back On The Ranch.

I got to Plover Scar on Thursday just before high tide to eventually arrive at an estimated little over 400 waders, 250 Golden Plover, 150 Dunlin, 8 Ringed Plover, 2 Knot - one of which still retained fading red underparts - and a single Turnstone. Around 20 Linnet were on the headland, and good numbers of Swallow seen today with lots feeding over the fields at Cockersands. A wander down to Bank End produced 3 Black-tailed Godwitup to 100 Redshank with fewer Dunlin, and a Kestrel seen.

Painted Lady. P.Tomkinson @ Wildsnaps 

It's often good for butterflies along the stretch from Cockerham Country Park to Bank End and today I collected 11 species, being the same 9 species list as Wednesdays with two to add, being Painted Lady and Red Admiral.

Having disappeared recently, the Spoonbill was back on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock just upstream from the mouth of the Conder, 15 Little Egret were also of note. The Spoonbill was reported again at mid-day yesterday.

At Conder Green I could find only 2 Common Sandpiper in the creeks, with 3 Greenshank and a Snipe. Three Little Grebe were all that lit up Conder Pool.


Rare in the UK, Bee-eaters are breeding at Low Gelt Quarry which is just SW of Brampton off the A69 at Grid Reference NY522588, they can be seen from the car park, but better still from a viewing area 200m away from the nest....Bee there!

Thanks to Phillip for the excellent Painted Lady, and to Noushka for the Dunlin and the Bee-eater header. 

Friday, 14 August 2015

A Trip Down The A588.

The original plan on Wednesday was to leg it along the coastal path from Fluke Hall to Knott End, but in the end I did a U turn at Cockers Dyke where the gulls were a bit thin and no more than eighty strong, with not a stray wader in sight with the few Lapwing present. So the gains were a Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, and 4 Little Egret.

But it was at least a decent butterfly day and I notched up 9 species along the walk from Fluke Hall to Cockers Dyke, and probably saw at least 200 individuals. I made no attempt at accurate counts and the list notes estimates only....

Large White 80
Common Blue 40 including 2 male
Small Copper 30
Gatekeeper 25
Meadow Brown 20
Small Tortoiseshell 4 
Peacock 2
Green-veined White 2
Small White 1

Clouded Yellow.

Clouded Yellow Warren Baker @ Pittswood Patch

Nine years ago on 7 August 2006 I counted 12 Clouded Yellow butterflies all flying east along the same route as today between Fluke Hall and Cockers Dyke, a record I have yet to better, I also saw six other butterfly species here on this date.

I made a brief call at Pilling Lane Ends to see a Kestrel dwarfed by the Peregrine Falcon it was mobbing at some height. Another brief call was at Conder Green on the way back to Lancaster to find 4 Common Sandpiper and 2 Greenshank in the creeks, with just one Little Grebe noted on Conder Pool. A Sparrowhawk surprised everything in the creeks to clear the lot out before diving out of sight having taken out one of the waders.

Little Egret.

Little Egret. Pete Woodruff.

These seven Little Egret were from fifteen on the River Lune at Glasson Dock yesterday where double figure counts have been regular recently, but on Tuesday evening at Burton Mere Wetlands in Cheshire an amazing 200 Little Egret went to roost.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

All Of Sudden.... favourite colours are yellow and blue.

My visit to Cockersands yesterday wasn't exactly a riveting affair, but it did end as such, and it was yellow. I saw 2 Wheatear on the shore at the start of their return journey south, I later saw a lone Sand Martin flying purposefully south. I saw c.20 Linnet on the headland, with a similar number of Goldfinch at Bank Houses, also 2 Whitethroat seen, one of which was feeding young somewhere with food in it's bill, and a Wren likewise with food in it's bill. Six Greenfinch were in the winter crop section of the field opposite Lighthouse Cottage.

Yellow Wagtail Martin Jump 

But before I found the Greenfinch I had seen 12 Pied Wagtail in the dried up ditch in a field to the south of Slack Lane to find a smart Yellow Wagtail with them. Driving away from Cockersands, on Moss Lane a Buzzard flew out of a tree ahead of me.

But my day started at Conder Green - nothing new there then - where 6 Common Sandpiper was today's total, with 2 Greenshank and the juvenile Ruff seen again along with 4 Little Egret all in the creeks. On Conder Pool, the only note I made was of 3 Little Grebe seen. The Spoonbill was again on the Lune Estuary at the mouth of the Conder.

Common Blue Wildsnaps  

Butterflies at Conder Green were, 2 Gatekeeper, a Small Skipper, and my first Common Blue of the year.

Thanks to Martin and to Phillip for the yellow and the blue, excellent and much appreciated.


It's The Glorious Twelfth today.

Hen Harrier. Howard Stockdale.

Another Hen Harrier has been found shot dead in Scotland, a satellite tagged bird called 'Annie' was part of the Langholm cohort. Annie is now seen as another success in the furtherance of the persecution of birds of prey on the grouse moors in this country, to secure the future of the multi million pound shooting industry and the boys and girls in tweed. 


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The Spoon On The Loon!

I come across some truly naff titles on birding blogs including this one of mine for this post. But it was good to see the Spoonbill had returned to the Lune Estuary again yesterday, and was at the mouth of the Conder mid-afternoon, having apparently been 'spooked' by dogs - BASTARDS - on Sunday to fly off upriver.

Juvenile Common Tern. Pete Woodruff. 

But for me the Spoonbill sighting was overshadowed by the two juvenile Common Ternsalmost certainly the Conder birds which I keep thinking have dispersed, one of which was initially at close range from the bowling green, then went on to the buoy a little further off, just one disappointment was that all three juveniles were not present.

Another excellent sighting was that of a Barn Owl which came from behind me and crossed the river to do a U turn and fly off out of sight in the direction it came from. It's reasonable to suggest this is the bird recently seen in the Jeremy Lane/Dobs Lane area. Also of note on the Lune Estuary, a 3cy Mediterranean Gull.

At Conder Green, the prize went to the juvenile Ruff in the creeks, with 5 Common Sandpiper, 3 Greenshank, 4 Little Egret, and a Swift south. On Conder Pool, 3 Little Grebe, and c.250 Redshank were of note.

I gave Bank End an hour, to find several Pied Wagtail mostly on Cockerham Marsh, but nothing of a yellow colouration. But my birding ended up being a most enjoyable five hours with some nice sightings recorded.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Gotta Keep On Lookin!

Thursday 6 August.

Mediterranean Gull. Red Nab. Heysham. Pete Woodruff.

visit to Heysham on Thursday produced just 3 Mediterranean Gull, all adult at the Red Nab roost, with a Whimbrel noted. Whilst I was at the south wall, I have no idea where the bird came from, but I picked up a Little Egret flying through the harbour and out of the harbour mouth before veering left to fly south.

The Harbour Plover. 

On 16 July I found a Ringed Plover on the quayside at the south wall of Heysham Harbour, the bird was close to me all the time I was there calling as if to young which I dismissed as odd behaviour as I could see no other birds adult or young. When I returned eight days later on 24 July I found a pair of Ringed Plover and a downy chick, it was obvious now that the bird I saw a week ago was alarmed at my presence because its mate was sat on a nest in an enclosure of stony/concrete rubble.

When I arrived another two weeks later at the south wall on Thursday, one of the adult birds was again calling as if to young of which I could find none despite a 15 minute search, nor was there any other adult about. So I assume the chick didn't survive, but why was this lone adult still contact calling apparently to nothing.

Friday 7 August.

Spoonbill. Hanne and Jens Eriksen @ Arkive

On Friday I did the Lancaster - Glasson Dock hike, sad to say little of which inspired me for it's near nothingness, until I got my eyes on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock to see a large white bird by the Conder mouth which instantly wasn't a Little Egret at all if only for its feeding action, it was a Spoonbill....nice one.

Freeman's Pools had 6 Little Grebe to note. I kept to the road straight through to Aldcliffe Hall Lane which offers very limited views over the wildfowlers pool, as opposed to my usual walk along the embankment which offers decent ones....The flood was deserted. 

Female Blackcap. Richard Pegler @ Pegler Birding

It's a long walk to Conder Green to log a female Blackcap and 23 Little Egret, albeit the latter is a good count. At Conder Green, I found just 2 Common Sandpiper in the creeks, and 3 Little Grebe on Conder Pool. 

And the butterflies....

Meadow Brown 12
Large White 14
Gatekeeper 3
Small Tortoiseshell 1
Speckled Wood 1
Peacock 1

A disappointing trek with an excellent gotta keep on lookin!

Friday, 7 August 2015

Monday All Over Again....

....well almost, but Monday does get a mention four times in this post.

I looked in on Conder Pool just after high tide on my way back to Lancaster on Wednesday to find up to 500 Redshank roosting there, probably seen as an all time highest count for the species on the pool.

Greenshank. Howard Stockdale.

Back at the beginning, 2 Greenshank were on Conder Pool with a 'few' Redshank, and I saw only 3 Little Grebe. My routine circuit produced little save 10 Common Sandpiper, seen as the same count as my last visit on Monday, also a Grey Wagtail. An increase of two on Mondays single butterfly sighting - WOW! - was 2 Gatekeeper and a Small Skipper.

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, Mondays 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull seen again, also a Greenshank, c.350 Redshank, and 12 Dunlin were all at reasonably close range from the bowling green, with 2 Red-breasted Merganser noted.

At Cockersands, Plover Scar was as far as I got on Wednesday to find a similar number to Mondays 120 Dunlin, 38 Turnstone, 32 Ringed Plover, a Whimbrel, and c.40 Golden Plover, up to 200 of which I had seen come up off the shore whilst I was walking towards the scar to find pastures new over the high tide.

I saw 5 Swift on the day, possibly the last ones for me this year. Thanks to Howard for the excellent Greenshank images, the in flight one in particular.   

It was a worry to find this article in a current local magazine, it tells the reader how to get there, and how to scramble down on to the shore to find many crabs, plants, and shells, and that they can get out to the foot of the lighthouse on a low tide....I'm hoping nobody takes any bloody notice of it!

The Petition.

The petition to Ban Driven Grouse Shooting has now reached beyond 10,000 and the government responds to all petitions that get more than that number of signatures. If you have'nt already done so, would you consider signing now Here please. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015


I was pleased to find 7 Sanderling on Plover Scar at high tide on Monday where there was much coming and going of birds during the hour I spent at the scar, my best estimated peak count was of 120 Dunlin, 65 Ringed Plover, 11 Turnstone, and a single Knot. I did little wandering around today, but noted 5 Greenfinch, a Whitethroat, and saw c.170 Golden Plover over Lighthouse Cottage and going down on to the weed covered shore below the abbey again, a favourite haunt for these birds on recent visits.

Common Tern. Pete Woodruff.

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, an adult Common Tern was on the buoy, with what little mud exposed on the south bank after the tide holding c.350 Redshank with not a Dunlin in sight, a 2nd winter Mediterranean GullGreat-crested Grebe scarce here these days, and 65 Mute Swan counted.

At Conder Green, 4 Little Grebe on Conder Pool sees the winter number build up here, also up to 400 Redshank and 3 Dunlin noted. A scour of the creeks showed 10 Common Sandpiper, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, and 4 Little Egret. The House Martins are visiting nests at Cafe d' Lune still, with a lone Swift over, and I saw from here c.700 Lapwing come up from the Jeremy Lane area.

Butterfly and Moth. 

Small Skipper. Pete Woodruff.

The only butterfly I saw all day was the Small Skipper at Conder Green with some interaction between these two.

Humming-bird Hawk moth. Peter Rhind.

Our garden was honoured by a visit from the Humming-bird Hawk moth which I watched for three minutes at close range moving to feed from flower to flower on our Centranthus Alba pura.

Thanks to Peter for his excellent image of this brilliant moth.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Book Review....

....and a Barn Owl.

I've been contacted with a review of Mark Avery's new book Inglorious which I thought you would like to see copied - with permission as in the last sentence - directly from my inbox. 

Hi Pete, 

As you know, I had my reservations about the author, the book and what conclusions that it might reach - well I found it a thoroughly good read. All the statistics, facts, evidence, etc. were presented in a very easy to read and honest way and were even tinged with humour in places. Reading it, it is impossible to come to any other conclusion than that presented by Mark, that driven grouse shooting in it's current form needs stopping.

As you know, I take part in each winter's monthly harrier roost counts here in Sheppey and last year saw a total absence of Hen Harriers going in to roost on count evenings at my traditional site, probably the first year that has happened and reading Mark's book I don't hold out much hope of that changing this winter.

I shall be recommending the book to anybody that will listen, and feel free to use my comments in your blog if you see fit.



Ban Driven Grouse Shooting. 

Regarding the subject of Mark Avery's petition to Ban Driven Grouse Shooting which I have of course signed. But by the way....The RSPB as a society haven't signed this petition yet, and didn't do the last time round either.

A quote from Mark Avery....'Those who oppose all field sports, in whose number I DO NOT INCLUDE MYSELF'....unquote.

So there you have it. If you didn't already know, Mark Avery isn’t opposed to shooting birds - and neither is the RSPB - but just wants to dictate to others what methods to use to do it, and which birds to shoot and which not to shoot. The land owners and their acolytes ain't going to buy this one, excuse the pun....Mark my words.

And The Barn Owl.

Barn Owl. Howard Stockdale.

I'm grateful to Howard for pointing me in the direction of the Barn Owls in the photographs above, seen recently on a regular basis in the Glasson Dock area.