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

Friday, 21 December 2018

Bowland Blue Birds.

Followers will be aquainted with the 'Blue Birds' of Birds2blog, and in 2018 I was rewarded with one or two pretty good ones on my Bowland visits, though three to Hawthornthwaite produced not a single Stonechat.

Feb 21. A winter wander around Marshaw - Tower Lodge - Winfold Fell produced 2 Woodcock of note. 

April 18. Two months later was better rewarded by 2 Ring Ouzel on the west side of Hawthornthwaite, always good to find your own away from the birding hot spot of Langden.  A pair of Stonechat were on the east side of the fell.

May 2.    At Barbondale, 4 Stonechat were seen as two pairs, and 4 Tree Pipit noted. 

May 15. At Birk Bank, 3 Stonechat seen as a pair and lone male, 13 Willow Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Tree Pipit, and 5 Buzzard.

May 23. Three Pied Flycatcher included a pair found nesting in a tree hole, a juvenile Crossbill seen drinking on the Marshaw Wyre, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Blackcap, a Siskin and Repoll seen, House Martin nesting at Tower Lodge.      

May 29.  At Barbondale, the peak count from three visits this year was 10 Pied Flycatcher, also 4 Redstart, a Garden Warbler, and Spotted Flycatcher.

June 5. At Harrisend, a male StonechatCuckooand 4 Buzzard. At Stoops Bridge, Abbeystead, 2 Garden Warbler, and a Spotted Flycatcher, and at Christ Church, 4 House Martin nests active, and 2 Buzzard soaring overhead.

June 12/27. Marshaw  - Tower Lodge - Trough Bridge, 7 Pied Flycatcher included the tree nesting pair, a young being attended by a female at a nest box hole in the wooded enclosure, and alone female seen above Trough Bridge, where a Siskin seen and 3 Redpoll included a young bird being fed. The peak count here this year was of 12 Spotted Flycatcher, 10 Grey Wagtail, 5 Common Sandpiper included a juvenile. A Nuthatch, Mistle Thrush, and Great Tit were all seen feeding young.

June 22. At Birk Bank, 9 Stonechat were seen as a pair with a full brood of five, a lone male and lone female. An excellent 5 Keeled Skimmer were seen on the bog, and included a male and female coupled, and one ovipositing.

Aug 3. Harrisend, 9 Stonechat included juveniles, and 6 Buzzard. On Hawthornthwaite, a stunning male Merlin took off ahead of me and obligingly went to perch the far side of Catshaw Greave on a boulder.

My birding days as I knew them, ended a month later on 2 September. Hopefully 2019 will change all that, and I'd like to wish everyone who kept in touch with Birds2blog and the little interest that it hopefully created....


Thursday, 13 December 2018


Interesting material for a gap filler on Birdsblog.

Lapwing. Bob Bushell 

Bob Bushells recent post coincided with 65 Lapwing flying purposefully East over Bowerham, Lancaster today, seen as an early movement on 13 December inland from the coast. 

Iv'e often recorded Lapwing on territory at Newby Moor, Clapham, N York's on the first days of February, but I'd need to be told if this wasn't the earliest record of movement to upland breeding grounds in December.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

After The Break!

After the break of fourteen weeks since the event of 2 September, thanks to my good friend Mike, I achieved a couple of hours birding in exchange for taxiing and escorting me around the Lune Estuary.

Of note on Conder Pool, 6 Goosander and 14 Wigeon. In the creeks, 3 Little Grebe seen, and a Kingfisher flew by c.150 Teal roosting on the marsh, also a Kestrel seen.

Goldeneye Brian Rafferty

On the canal basin at Glasson Dock, a decent early December count of 23 Goldeneyealso 4 Great-crested Grebe. Of note, two Goldeneye were still at Glasson on the canal basin last May.

On Jeremy Lane, 5 Whooper Swan were with Mute Swans, and with birds on the north side of Moss Lane by Clarkson's Farm, and in fields to the south side, up to 450 Whooper Swan present, and in the field south of the junction of Moss Lane/Slack Lane, 6 Bewick's Swan were seen as two adult and a full compliment of four juvenile. Six Bewick's Swan is a rewarding sight in itself, but a party of 4 immature is exceptional, another first for me in my book.

Kestrel Cockersand. Pete Woodruff.

Two sightings of Kestrel were at Bank Houses and Slack Lane, from where c.175 Golden Plover were with Lapwing, and c.250 Black-tailed Godwit seen in the air, then down in the field to the north behind Tomlinson's Farm, with a Buzzard perched atop of the hedgerow behind Crook Cottage, c.60 Twite flew over from the Bank Houses area to go down on to the marsh, a Reed Bunting seen by the Caravan Park.

Buzzard Cliff Raby

Two Buzzard were soaring over our house in Lancaster this morning.

The header image was taken on a beautiful cold and frosty December morning in 2010. Many thanks to Brian and Cliff for their photographs. 

Sunday, 28 October 2018


On a suggestion by the team, more occupational therapy was required. So armed with a pair of binoculars I could turn the therapy into a welcome spell of birding with KT through Williamson Park on Friday....Chocks away!

An influx of at least 12 Blackbird were attracted to berries on a beautiful Yew at Fenham Carr, they were accompanied by 2 Redwing and 2 Goldcrest, with 2 Robin seen, and a small number of Blue Tit, Great Tit, and Chaffinch. Most impressive was the 9 Nuthatch seen/heard on the visit.

Comma Lancaster Cemetery 26 October. Pete Woodruff.

Four October butterflies seen on a brief wander through Lancaster Cemetery on Quernmore Road, 2 Comma and 2 Red Admiral all pristine individuals on Ivy. Not many birds seen, but a Song Thrush is an excellent record in any birders notebook these days, and up to 12 Magpie and at least similar Wood Pigeon

This was OT at its best.


A Ring-necked Parakeet was reported seen in flight over Freehold on 14 October. Presumably the same bird had been heard three days earlier at the University of Cumbria, and I'm belatedly and reliably told of a bird heard again from St Peter's Road around the cathedral last Sunday 21 October.

Ring-necked Parakeet. Warren Baker.

Almost certainly, this is the same bird heard twice since the first sighting, and possibly still in this area.

Sunday, 14 October 2018


I spotted a moth to photograph in the garden in the week, which at least gave me a little material to give the breath of life to Birds2blog until I get the green flag for birding again. 

It was The Vapourer, a caterpillar of which I had photographed in the garden a couple of years ago. Only the male has functional wings, the female rarely moves from her cocoon, and usually lays her eggs on the cocoon itself.

The caterpillar is easy to recognise with red spots on it's hairy body, four cream 'shaving brushes' and assorted hairy 'horns'.


The Great Escape.

Thanks to Lynn Woodruff I was released from my housebound prison for the first time since the incident of 2 September, and was escorted along with KT on a walk along the Stone Jetty at Morecambe where I was rewarded with an October butterfly, a Wall Brown basking on the sea defences.

Wall Brown Marc Heath  

A species of conservation concern due to habitat loss and the resulting drop in population, reflected by my own records as the first and only one seen since 13 August 2017.

Thanks to Marc for the Wall Brown, and to Richard for the Iceland Gull header. I'm predicting one in our area before Christmas, probably at Heysham Harbour....Here's hoping I'm fit once again by then to able to go see it.  

Sunday, 23 September 2018

No Migrants For Me....

....nor any other birds sadly....but I live in hope!

 Black-tailed Godwit with Ruff. Howard Stockdale.

A disappointment in that a record was buried beneath my health scare before I could submit it to my man in Iceland. But I have now recieved the life history of a Black-tailed Godwit seen at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve 5 August 2018, subsequently recorded 31 times in 5 countries including a return to Iceland 4 times.....

5 in NW Spain 2005
3 in W Portugal in 2006
12 in W Portugal 2007
S Iceland on 12 June 2008
2 W Portugal in 2009 
S Iceland on 1 June 2009
Netherlands 2 April 2010
S Iceland 15 May 2011
W Portugal 3 Feb 2014
W Portugal 5 Feb 2015
S Iceland 23 April 2017
W Portugal 2 Feb 2018
NW England 5 Aug 2018

The bird was ringed YL-GL 13 years ago as a male pulli on 13 July 2005 in S Iceland. 

13/07/2005 Iceland,S Ice,Árnessýsla,Friðland í Flóa, 63.9001 -21.191
02/09/2005 Spain,NW Spa,Galicia,Pontevedra,O Grove 42.4962 -8.8712
04/09/2005 Spain,NW Spa,Galicia,Pontevedra,O Grove 42.4962 -8.8712
24/09/2005 Spain,NW Spa,Galicia,Pontevedra,O Grove 42.4962 -8.8712
28/11/2005 Spain,NW Spa,Galicia,Pontevedra,O Grove 42.4962 -8.8712
30/12/2005 Spain,NW Spa,Galicia,Pontevedra,O Grove 42.4962 -8.8712
27/11/2006 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
01/12/2006 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
10/12/2006 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
03/01/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
06/01/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
29/01/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
27/02/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
05/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
08/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
09/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
12/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
14/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
15/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
16/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
22/03/2007 Portugal, W Por, Aveiro ,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
12/06/2008 Iceland,S Ice,Rangárvallasýsla,Fljótshlíð,Fagrahlíð 63.7339 -20.098
20/01/2009 Portugal,W Por,Santarém,Tagus Est,Samora Correia 38.9461 -8.8401
18/02/2009 Portugal,W Por,Santarém,Tagus Est,Samora Correia 38.9461 -8.8401
01/06/2009 Iceland,S Ice,Rangárvallasýsla,Fljótshlíð,Fagrahlíð 63.7339 -20.098
02/04/2010 Netherlands,C Neth,Overijssel,Ijssel,Zwolle 52.4959 6.06211
15/05/2011 Iceland,S Ice,Rangárvallasýsla,Fljótshlíð,Fagrahlíð 63.7339 -20.098
03/02/2014 Portugal,W Por,Setúbal,Tagus Estuary,Giganta 38.9123 -8.9297
05/02/2015 Portugal,W Por,Setúbal,Tagus Estuary,Giganta 38.9123 -8.9297
23/04/2017 Iceland, S Ice,Rangárvallasýsla,Fljótshlíð,Kollabær 63.7344 -20.070
02/02/2018 Portugal, W Por,Tagus Est,Cara Larga, Porto Alto 38.9616 -8.9205
05/08/2018 England, NW Lancashire,M'cbe Bay, Leighton Moss 54.1500 -2.8129

I'm grateful to Boddi for his prompt attention to this record, and for the life history he sent me, also thanks to Howard Stockdale for the images he achieved at the Eric Morecambe Hide at Leighton Moss on 5 August, and to Martin Lofgren for his Leach's Storm Petrel header image.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

A Breath Of Life.

Sounds a little dramatic, but wasn't meant to, rather than meaning to give a breath of life to Birds2blog whilst I get back some sort of normality again, and just to thank everyone who passed on to to me their good wishes via e-mail, phone, and card, I really appreciate them all, and had no idea I had such a strong healthy following. 


It was also good to see Brian Rafferty back in business following a spell in hospital. Brian's Long-eared Owl is featured in my header image, and is one of two birds he saw on the the trip. The bird in the header being a juvenile, the other above an adult bird.

Pallid Harrier.  

Pallid Harrier Jan Larsson 

Pallid Harrier at write. 

Sunday, 9 September 2018

The Last Post....

....well hopefully not!

As luck would have it I had drafted this post last Saturday 1st September, the night before the stroke put me on the ground, and so it was almost ready to publish with a bit of an edit.

This post was always going to be titled 'My Kind Of Birding' as it was just that, being the area I was in on a nice sunny day searching for the Stonechat. But my book now reads the visit to Birk Bank was a disaster, in that I found none in four hours there. OK, so over the years I've already said all there is to be said about the Stonechat, so with nothing new to say, I'll spare the post any repeats.

Birds of note were few, 3 Red Grouse were on Birk Bank, 2 Jay flying towards the woods, a group of up to 8 Blue Tit, a Coal Tit, and a Goldcrest were in the woodlands by Ottergear Bridge. I paid two visits to Birk Bank bog, in the hope the sun had brought out any dragonflies, on my way out I saw at least one Common Darter and 2 Small Copper butterflies.

Golden-ringed Dragonfly. Warren Baker. 

On my return to the bog 4 hours later I struck gold, having stood around for about 30 minutes, I was fortunate to see a Golden-ringed Dragonfly, which I initially picked up above the tree-line before it dropped height for better views, but never came to land before being lost to view. 

There have obviously been a small number of previous records from Birk Bank, but this may be a possible first for 2018, and not being big on dragonflies, this was only my fifth Golden-ringed Dragonfly I've seen, previously one at Birk Bank, and three at Hawthornthwaite....Thanks to Warren for the excellent image.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Terned Out Nice Again!

Two adult Common Tern put in another brief appearance over Conder Pool again, one with a fish being chased by the other, but soon flew off. Although the breeders will have wandered during the summer months, for a species that breeds nowhere else in North Lancashire, with eight adult on Conder Pool at one time on 13 August, and birds seen at Glasson Dock and Cockersand, you have to wonder how many individuals have been on the Lune Estuary this year.

A lone Greenshank and 16 Little Grebe also present, and I had my fourth Kingfisher sighting in as many weeks upstream from the road bridge. 

To be honest, the creeks at Conder Green were virtually deserted, save 3 Common Sandpiper and a lone Black-tailed Godwit seen, and the channel from the iron bridge to the estuary, not a bird in sight.

I watched up to 1,640 waders being slowly pushed off the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock by the rising tide, with c.750 Redshank, similar Lapwing, 135 Curlew, 3 Dunlin, a lone Black-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank noted, with 4 Eider and a count of 32 Little Egret.

Whimbrel Plover Scar. Pete Woodruff.

The high tide wader count on Plover Scar was, 250 Dunlin, 28 Ringed Plover, 4 Turnstone, 3 Golden Plover, and a Whimbrel. An adult Mediterranean Gull was with Black-headed Gulls and 15 Eiderall drifting on a flat calm sea. A Peregrine Falcon was over flying east inland, and 12 Golden Plover came up off the shore below the abbey, accompanied by my third lone Black-tailed Godwit of the day. 

Thanks to Ana Minguez for the Hoopoe header. A little exotica to add some much needed colour to Birds2blog. 

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Anything Interesting....

....asked the man walking up to me at Cockersand.

Common Tern Plover Scar Cockersand. Pete Woodruff.

So I pointed out to him at the high tide roost at Cockersand, 2 Common Tern were on the seaward edge of Plover Scar with 330 waders landward, 130 Dunlin, 125 Oystercatcher, 68 Ringed Plover, 3 Redshank, 2 Turnstone, and 2 Whimbrel, 3 Eider were off the scar.

A similar count to last Saturday, was of 350 Golden Plover on the shore again as the tide ebbed, this time I was fully armed, 2 Wheatear and 12 Linnet seen around the abbey.

Three Common Tern paid a visit to Conder Pool, flying around a few minutes before moving on. I was hoping they had been two adult and a juvenile, not seen since seven days ago when they dispersed. 

Greenshank Conder Pool. Ian Pinkerton.

Also on the pool, 14 Greenshank on Tern Island are a first in my book in this number here. IP's 'clik the pikimage shows thirteen in view, and one on the back side of the island with the top of it's head just showing, also 19 Curlew, and 250 Lapwing. In the creeks, 2 Ruff with the Redshank again, 2 Common Sandpiper, 5 Dunlin, and a lone Black-tailed Godwit.

Of 18 Little Grebe seen, 16 were on Conder Pool, and 2 seen upstream from the road bridge was another first for me, also a Snipe.

What's The Bird?

Could have been a good mystery shot, an adult Common Tern, adult Mediterranean Gull?

Garden News.

Good to see a Holly Blue in our garden yesterday.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Oh No....Not Conder Green Again.

Conder Green addiction I hope I can never kick.

Greenshank Conder Pool 25 August. Pete Woodruff.

On a return visit to Conder Green in the afternoon, 12 Greenshank were in the creeks, ten of which had been on Conder Pool in the morning, a previous 16 Little Grebe count held firm again today, and 2 Ruff accompanied the Redshank in the creeks, with 2 Snipe seen. It was notable that at least one House Martin was seen entering a nest at Cafe d' Lune, but again I saw none at River Winds, 4 Speckled Wood seen along the coastal path.

Wheatear. Pete Woodruff.

A walk along the headland at Cockersand was rewarded by my first returning c.350 Golden Plover on the weed covered shingle, offering an opportunity to search for an 'American' with them, but I had left my telescope in the motor, no longer entitled to be called a 'real' birder any more....if I ever was. 

A Whimbrel was with the Golden Plover, and a Wheatear was my first returning bird to Cockersand, I had seen one here 3 weeks earlier on 4 August in 2017. A Kestrel was hovering over the abbey, and a lone female Eider and 29 Mute Swan were off Plover Scar which had been ruined as a high tide roost by the invasion of a couple with a dog.


Organised crime covered up by  government authorities.

Natural England chose to publish it's long awaited satellite tag data over this Bank Holiday period, quietly uploading it to the DEFRA website in the hope few - if anybody - would notice it, to reveal suspicious clustering of 'missing' Hen Harriers on English grouse moors.

Natural England are the Westminster Governments statutory Nature Conservation Agency, and along with them down the list from here, many other authorities - not excluding the silent RSPB - are creating a smoke screen to shield the Hen Harrier killers, instead of efforts to get them all to the courts, and closing down the vile sport of shooting Red Grouse.

Wonder how long this years fledged Bowland Hen Harriers will survive....WE WILL WIN is the cry....but don't hold your breath.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Two Around The Green.

Ruff Conder Green 23 August. Pete Woodruff.

In a couple of hours around the Conder Green area, I found another influx of 9 Common Sandpiper, I've never seen this number before at Conder Green in late August. A Ruff was in the creeks with Redshank and 2 Black-tailed Godwit. Down the channel from the iron bridge, c.250 Redshank, 12 Dunlin, and of 12 Greenshank seen, 9 were here, and 3 on Conder Pool, where from a few attempts, 14 Little Grebe counted were two down on Tuesdays peak of sixteen. Not the best of Ruff photographs, more like one of the worst....but I just keep trying!

The Conder Common Terns.

Despite two visits to Conder Pool during the course of the afternoon, there was no sign of any Common Terns, leading to the supposition they have dispersed. If I'm right about this, I'm really surprised these birds have moved on, particularly so the young bird, which in my opinion fledged early, if only by a couple of days, and from my observations was reluctant to take to the wing and fly around the pool very much, and certainly wasn't fishing for itself as it should have been, but was content to stand around begging to be fed by the parent birds.

Common Tern Conder Pool 22 August. Ian Pinkerton.

This is the last of many hundreds of images taken by IP the champion of the Conder Terns, an adult on Conder Pool on Wednesday prior to their departure. IP sent this picture to me as a lasting reminder of the excellent journey he followed with these brilliant birds at Conder Green.

My thanks to Cliff Raby for his Sanderling header image which is very much appreciated, and which acts as a reminder of the disastrous breeding season the Sanderling and other shorebirds have had in NE Greenland this year....An update on this is Here