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

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Late News....Again.

Can't keep up with all this birding, and certainly not blogging too. 

Avocet Conder Pool 28 March. Pete Woodruff.

I'd been looking for this bird at the left hand edge of this island on Conder Pool for the past few days, the very spot they nested last year, but I had to wait until Wednesday to find the Avocet had arrived here. The bird was attacked by a Black-headed Gull, and chased off towards the Lune Estuary where I found it 30 minutes later feeding by the Conder mouth. When I returned to Conder Green 4 hours later, the Avocet was back on Conder Pool. There was no sign of it yesterday in two visits 2 hours apart.

The Avocet has returned to Conder Pool for it's third year, 10 days earlier than it did in 2017, when AC found it there on 6 April, he texted me with the news, but the bird had left before I got there and I had to wait 4 days to see it  there on 10 April. In 2016 the Avocet was a late arrival, and didn't show here until 20 May, but a pair eventually hatched four young, but only one survived to fledging, the only one to have done so in both years.

A Cautionary Tale. 

Having walked past Bank Houses at Cockersand, I stood at the metal gate SD431534  looking across the field and heard a bird to my right briefly burst into song, 30 seconds later the bird again burst into song to my left. By now the bird I had clearly heard twice, was by song, a Common Whitethroat.

But wait a minute, for a bird heard only, you really do have to look more deeply into the claim. For starters, there are no Whitethroats mentioned as arrivals into the UK at the Portland Bird Obs and having given all the details to two other reliable birders, the most valuable suggestion being it was more likely I had heard a Dunnock being more variable in song than usual.

No point in going any further down this road of claiming to have heard a Whitethroat on 28 March at Cockersand, but, with a recording like this one below to listen to, I'm never going to convince myself I didn't.

The Golden Oldie.

I dug up my header image of the Pacific Diver that I saw at Farnham GP's N.York's Feb 2007. 

Found on 12 January 2007, it was the first confirmed record for Europe which was initially thought to be a Black-throated Diver, and at first posed something of a problem, in that Farnham Gravel Pits are privately owned, and at the time, members of a Yorkshire Naturalist Society bird-watched there as guests of the land owner. The news of this potentially first for the Western Palearctic was reluctantly suppressed before eventually being released. 


Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Hard Times!

I met three birders on Monday, one of them said he'd come out today with some target birds and had found none of 'em....Join the club.

Conder Green/Glasson Dock. 

Conder Pool was almost deserted, but 22 Tufted Duck, and 14 Oystercatcher seen. The Lesser Black-backed Gull pair had taken up on Tern Island, I've no idea what these two are up to, they take up residence here every spring, loafing around but never show any sign of action....until the Avocet hatch!

Raven. Cliff Raby @ Fylde Coast Wildlife 

I was attracted to 2 Raven calling very high over the Lune Estuary which I would otherwise have missed, larger in size than the Buzzard, and wedge tail was obvious once I got on to them. There was a little song along the coastal path, including that of a Wren, the volume of which belies this diminutive bird, also much calling and display by the Redshank in the creeks, a Reed Bunting and Kestrel noted. On the canal basin, a drake Goosander and 22 Tufted Duck seen.


Any birds to be seen at Cockersand on Plover Scar or along the headland, would have been a bonus for the pleasant walk here on a brilliant sunny and milder spring day.

White Wagtail. Noushka @ 1000-Pattes 

The inland section of the circuit produced 2 White Wagtail accompanied by 6 Pied Wagtail, at least 4 Skylark seen/heard, I saw just 3 Meadow Pipit on an apparently good visible migration day for the species, and watched 10 Snipe feeding in a flood strip in a field off Slack Lane, they were accompanied by a lone Dunlin

Cockersand Plovers and Swans....An Update.

After the first quarter of this winter, the Golden Plovers have consistently spent most of their time in fields at Cockersand, with in excess of 3,000 on occasions. Although numbers are now falling and fluctuating, 750 Golden Plover were again in the Abbey Farm field on Monday, a figure quoted independently by two other birders.

The Whooper Swans have spent their entire winter at Cockersand, averaging c.500 birds, though on Monday 26 February they reached a peak count of double that figure, with 1,000 in the area Jeremy Lane, and Moss Lane - Bank End. This Monday the count was of 290 Whooper Swan as agreed by JW who I met earlier in the afternoon. The Black Swan was with 33 Mute Swan in the field at the east side of Cockerham Sands CP.

Thanks to Cliff and Noushka for their images in this post, they are much appreciated.     

Monday, 26 March 2018

I'd Sooner Be Birding....

But by way of a diversion from birds, the main reason for this post is to publicise a victory for Holland & Barrett....A small victory in a big war.

Krill, without which most lifeforms in the Antarctic would vanish, is being sucked out of the Antarctic Ocean, pulped into oil, and sold as a health supplement on shelves in the UK supplied by a multi-million dollar industry putting the delicate balance of the Antarctic ecosystem in jeopardy.

But as one of the biggest sellers of krill oil products, even stocking their own brand which I've seen for myself, Holland & Barrett are to withdraw krill from their shelves, thereby giving a continuation, and living up to their name as a healthy planet loving company who were amongst the first major retailers to end the use of plastic bags in their stores.


Would you like to Sign The Petition to the UK government, calling for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary....With over 275,000 signatures already, yours could take it closer to 300,000.

Sunderland Point.

BTG Sunderland Point 25 March. Pete Woodruff.

A leisure hour with KT on a pleasant day yesterday, had at least 75 Black-tailed Godwit feeding on the tideline, 4 Eider drifting by on the tide, and a Buzzard and Sparrowhawk over.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

At Least Reasonable.

A sluggish start to Thursday's birding, with Conder Green appearing to have closed down for the day. Conder Pool was once more like a lake with the high tides, and little of note save a few Black-headed Gull bobbing up and down on the swell, and a pair of Lesser Black-backed Gull having taken a shine to the inside of the pontoon. 

Common Sandpiper. Conder Channel 22 March. Pete Woodruff.

But the reliable Common Sandpiper was down the channel again, and I got another grab shot for the record, the Conder Kestrel also put in an appearance.

The Lune Estuary wasn't much less sluggish, with little more than 80 waders in viewing distance, 60 Dunlin, 16 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, and a drake Goosander of note. Noticeably, not a Wigeon to be seen, and a little less surprising, no Goldeneye. A female Pochard on the canal basin was almost certainly the one with Tufted Ducks on Conder Pool recently, a Grey Wagtail also seen here. On Jeremy Lane 40 Whooper Swan and a lone Greylag

The Cockersand swans were again spread out from Moss Lane to Bank End almost 2 miles away, but remain at least 300 Whooper Swan, a Black Swan was with a group at Bank End. Plover Scar at high tide held 152 Oystercatcher, 95 Turnstone, 4 Grey Plover, and a lone Knot, a Rock Pipit dropped in as I was leaving. A 'few' Meadow Pipit were in the Cockersand Abbey field, and with numbers lower and fluctuating, c.950 Golden Plover were in the Abbey Farm field where I also saw a Buzzard on a fence post. 

I picked up a Merlin on a distant post as I watched a Raven heading towards Abbey Farm, and a Merlin I saw an hour later over the marsh and Cocker Channel was no doubt the earlier male seen. Of 6 Snipe seen, four were up off the marsh, and two out of ditches from the road, from where I saw 3 Shoveler on the flood.

Given the weather wasn't perfect for birding, it was still bloody windy, and still bloody cold especially along the headland at Cockersand, but it was at least a reasonable selection of birds seen.

Thanks to Martin Lofgren for the excellent header image of the Water Pipit, which reminded me of my less than excellent image of the bird I found at Conder Green in 2016.

Water Pipit. Conder Green 4 April 2016. Pete Woodruff.    

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Lancashire Coastal Way.

Aldcliffe Marsh High Tide 20 March. Pete Woodruff.

The weather having bucked up considerably on Tuesday, my best plan was to do the trek to Glasson Dock from Lancaster on a mainly sunny and calm day. Along the embankment at Aldcliffe Marsh was like the first day of spring, though by afternoon the wind got up, and it became quite cold again. 

It was unfortunate that I picked a day when management work was taking place on the Wildfowlers Pools, with two heavy plant machines at full throttle, also a man and wife team complete with a chain saw each, were pacing up and down below the embankment, and cutting up the driftwood into logs.

Shoveler. Wildfowlers Pools. Pete Woodruff.

Three drake Goosander were on the River Lune on the way to Freeman's Pools where I counted 19 Goldeneye and heard a whinnying Little Grebe.The only birds of note on the Wildfowlers Pools were 6 Shoveler taking a snooze at the south end, and the flood slowly drying up held a few Redshank, Teal, and 6 Pied Wagtail.

In the notes to Glasson Dock, 18 Blackbird, 9 Robin, a Goldcrest, Song Thrush, and a Sparrowhawk, 44 Wood Pigeon were in a field north of Conder Green. On the canal basin at Glasson Dock, 3 Goldeneye, a Goosander drake, and a Little Grebe....The bus back to Lancaster is cumin!

The Goldeneye.

Goldeneye Brian Rafferty

The current status of the Goldeneye in our recording area is of a fairly common winter visitor to the Lune Estuary. My count of 19 Goldeneye on Freeman's Pools today actually falls behind the 29 seen on Freeman's Pools on 5 March, and which is probably the best count this winter in the LDBWS area.

On the walks I've done from Lancaster to Glasson Dock this winter, I've seen no Goldeneye anywhere on the River Lune downstream from Skerton Weir to the estuary at Glasson Dock, from where I've seen them in the past, and have seen no reports elsewhere of them along this stretch of the river. 

I've seen few - if any - reports this winter of Goldeneye in Morecambe Bay, and as long ago as 20 years when the outfall a Sandylands was shut down in 1997, Goldeneye numbers became drastically reduced in the bay, where a decade ago Morecambe Bay was noted for being one of our most important sites for the Goldeneye, and that small numbers of the species regularly turned up at almost every inland waterbody, from park lakes in Liverpool to the largest reservoirs in the east. 

You have to go into reverse 12 years to find a three figure count of 200 Goldeneye on the Lune Estuary on 31 January 2006....I think the RSPB claim on their website, of a UK wintering population of 27,000 Goldeneye may be in need of a review.

Thanks to BR for his excellent image of the Goldeneye on the canal basin at Glasson Dock recently, including two drake displaying.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

A Little Quality.

Within the first few minutes into my circuit of Cockersand yesterday, I had found 3 Wheatear, all male on Plover Scar. If the Wheatears hadn't have been my first migrants this year, I would have said 'better still' when I got to Cockerham Sands I found 3 Stonechat, seen as two male and a female, also here was a nice Song ThrushIn the field off Slack Lane, behind Crook Cottage, another drastic reduction down to 175 Golden Plover, with 5 Linnet around the cover crop field, and a Kestrel and Snipe noted.  

Including some uncounted off Jeremy Lane, c.300 Whooper Swan are still in the Cockersand area, though at one point they were badly disturbed by Mr Farmer tearing through the field on his quad bike....Well he does have to make a living off the land you have to understand.

My only notes at Conder Green were of 32 Wigeon grazing on Conder Pool, and the Common Sandpiper 50m downstream in the Conder Channel.

Only ten species in four hours, but if I'm going to find 3 Wheatear (31 March in 2017) and 3's at least a bit of quality birding in my book.

The Mutt Problem.

The thing is....These people and their mutts are all perfectly entitled to excersise where and when they wish within restrictions. The problem is, some of the restrictions aren't in place, but need to be. I observed my latest example last week at Cockersand, when a minder and 8 mutts ran riot along the length and breadth of Plover Scar. 

The picture above is of four of the eight, seen later below the embankment at Plover Scar, which is where the minder was with the other four mutts out of my sight, presumably he was sat having a breather whilst the mutts sniffed around the area like they do.

I'm confident about a couple of issues being dealt with in the near future here. The individual minder in question here will be either spoken to by a contact involved with this problem next time, failing that, a note on his windscreen to politely explain the situation. I'm also confident via my contact, that notices are to be erected in this area sometime in the future....We'll await to see the results from that when it happens. But we really do need to be doing something about this avoidable bird disturbance, wilful or not. 

Monday, 19 March 2018

No Surprises There Then.

Friday was one of those 'couple of free hours in the afternoon' days, so I managed to squeeze a circuit of Aldcliffe into it, though it threw up no surprises.

Freeman's Pools was quiet, with little more than a dozen birds present, but of note were 4 Gadwall, 3 Goldeneye, and 3 Little Grebe. From the path to Marsh Point, a Goldcrest and Kestrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit were on the river with a handful of Black-headed Gull.

The walk along the embankment was anything but pleasant in a strong cold wind, and was the road to nowhere. On the flood, as opposed to my last visit here 6 March when I saw it crawling with in excess of 800 birds, today 65 noted, 28 Redshank, 24 Teal, 11 Pied Wagtail, a lone Dunlin, and a Little Egret.

The Wildfowlers Pool was also much quieter, but a pair of Pintail were nice, with 5 Shoveler, four of which were drakes, 4 Little Grebe, and a pretty smart looking male Sparrowhawk over the pool, but surprisingly few of the wildfowl budged.

The Aldcliffe Snipe.

Snipe was hunkered down in a small shallow hollow out in the open on the Wildfowlers Pool, but left the hollow when a Moorhen approached it. The Snipe scuttled a few paces away from the Moorhen, whilst fanning it's tail and cocking it upright, similar to but not as exaggerated as in the excellent image captured by Antonio Puigg.

I found no reference (BWP) to this behaviour by the Snipe, which was taken to be one of aggression towards the Moorhen, though the Snipe made no move towards it, but rather moved away from it. When the Moorhen had moved off, the Snipe soon returned to the hollow from where it had been disturbed....Amazing and interesting.   

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Spring In The Air!

Skylark. Pete Woodruff.

Despite a cold and windy day and the threat of the return of the beast from the east, a Skylark was singing it's never ending flight song at Cockersand on Thursday, making it sound like spring if it didn't feel or even look like it.

Noted off Crook Farm, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 52 Curlew, one of the Crook Cottage garden Tree Sparrow was seen, with a Goldcrest also here in the conifers. A field off Slack Lane was quite lively, with at least 10 Skylark, 35 Meadow Pipit and a similar count of 35 Linnet seen.

A drastically reduced c.450 Golden Plover were initially in flight as seen on Tuesday, to eventually settle in the Abbey Farm field. The c.60 Twite were in the rough field behind Bank House Cottage, 2 Stock Dove were seen. On the flood 4 Shoveler were seen as two pair, and a Sparrowhawk flew out of a ditch ahead of me with small prey in it's talons.

Pochard Conder Pool 15 March Pete Woodruff.

A 2nd class image of the 1st class Pochard female on Conder Pool again, the bird appears to think it's one of the 11 Tufted Duck it accompanies, it dives, rests, and preens with them. Also 22 Wigeon, a Goldeneye, and Goosander drake hauled out. In the creeks, the Common Sandpiper and a lone Little Grebe.

The Corn Bunting.

Thanks to Simon Hawtin for his header image of the Corn Bunting, the status of which in our recording area is of an irregular summer visitor, and hangs on the edge of extinction here.

I found a Corn Bunting at Cockersand on 30 May 2015, it is the only one of the species I ever found in our recording area despite a 'few' years birding, unfortunately the record was missed and never published beyond Birds2blog.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Plover Days Again.

It was good to see the first bird on Conder Pool yesterday was a Pochard, but not just any Pochard, a female Pochard, a bird of almost rarity status here. Also of note, by way of a change the Common Sandpiper was on the pool, with 5 Snipe, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, a Goldeneye, and 16 Tufted Duck. In the creeks, a pair of Goosander, and a Kestrel overhead.

Stonechat Conder Green 13 March Pete Woodruff. 

Bird of the day was a male Stonechat around the scrub by The Stork car park, of which I managed a record grab shot.

Waders on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock were at a premium, but 45 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, and 120 Curlew were noted, with 4 Shoveler drake a good record, 15 Goldeneye5 Goosander, and 135 Wigeon, 2 Goldeneye were on the canal basin.

At Cockersand, at least 70 Meadow Pipit and 24 Skylark with 4 Linnet seen. Two drake and a female Shoveler were on the Moss/Slack Lane junction flood where a Sparrowhawk was over, and c.60 Twite were again in the rough field behind Bank House Cottage, and although I didn't set out to count them, I saw 15 Brown Hare here today.

The Cockersand swans were spread out over inaccessible fields again, but including 75 counted off Jeremy Lane they stand at c.325 Whooper Swan.

My day ended as last Friday did, as I drove along Moss Lane I watched a Barn Owl hunting the ditches at Bamber's Farm, and the Stonechat I'd seen 6 hours earlier at Conder Green was still around as I drove past on my way back to Lancaster.

The Cockersand Golden Plovers.

The Lune Estuary plovers have consistently spent their time in fields mainly in the Abbey Farm area for several weeks now, and at least 3,000 Golden Plover were there again yesterday, initially seen in the air, but eventually settled in the field by Abbey Farm.

Golden Plover. Pete Woodruff. 'Clik the pik'

This photograph was taken at Cockersand in April. In a mix of GP's, there are at least five classic individuals of the Northern form, completely black from face to belly, but with a broad white supercilium which extends down the sides of the neck, to broaden on sides of the breast and down the flanks. I was looking through the Golden Plovers at Cockersand when I found the lone Dotterel with them here in April 2013.     

Sunday, 11 March 2018

....And A Close Encounter In The End.

I had a bit of an extended search around Conder Green and Glasson on Friday, but didn't accumulate the points I had hoped for for my efforts. I legged it along the coastal path to Glasson, to return along the marsh edge to around 1/4 mile north of the picnic area at Conder Green....If I'm honest I was out looking for Stonechats today.

The only birds of note on Conder Pool, a pair of Shoveler are at best occasional here. The Common Sandpiper was again down by the iron bridge, and the rest of the birds on the trek were, 3 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Wren, a Dunnock, 86 Curlew in a sheep field, a Sparrowhawk and Kestrel.

With some dispersal from Cockersand apparent, of the 625 seen last Monday, up to 400 Whooper Swan remain in three fields, seen off Jeremy Lane, the east end of Moss Lane, and the junction of Moss/Slack Lane, from where I saw 2 Buzzard soaring overhead, a Snipe rose out of the ditch, and a marauding c.6,000 Starling were seen again. 

The wintering female Stonechat moved ever nearer to Bank End today, with all the other six passage birds I saw last Monday moved on, the perfect example of right place right time, or you miss'em 'cos they've been and gone. The 60 Twite flock were again in the Bank Houses area, though highly mobile today, 5 Tree Sparrow also seen here. 

With just 19 Dunlin seen on a flood at Abbey Farm, I had thought these were the only field waders at Cockersand, until I found an impressive 3,200 Golden Plover later in an adjacent field. As the tide came up there were few waders to be seen, but 2 Knot noted with a solitary Bar-tailed Godwit looking smart in it's advancing breeding plumage, were feeding on the tideline, 21 Eider were off Long Tongue. 

The Barn Owl.

Barn Owl. Cockersand 9 March. Pete Woodruff.

The day ended on a high for me, as I rounded the corner at Bank Houses, a Barn Owl was on and moving along the fence posts, and for a moment appeared not to care that I was pointing a camera at it.


More good news on Friday, when another 7 Stonechat were in the Cockers Dyke area on the Fylde, five male and two female, all adult....Thanks for these AC.

Thanks to Noushka @ 1000-Pattes for some African exotica at the head of Birds2blog this week. The golden beauty appropriately named Yellow - throated Longclaw.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

On With The Show.


With 3 Stonechat seen Tuesday on the tide wrack at Aldcliffe Marsh, a male from the embankment behind the Wildfowlers Pools, and a male and female in the Snipe Bog area, they continue to show nicely for me, with a total of 14 Stonechat seen on three consecutive days this week looking good in my records....Bring 'em on!

I gave Aldcliffe - Stodday a four hour going over on Tuesday, making a start at Freeman's Pools as far as the back side of Ashton Golf Club before doing a U turn back to Freeman's Pools, where I had earlier noted, 14 Goldeneye, 5 Gadwall, and 4 Little GrebeAlso of note on Aldcliffe Marsh, 142 Golden Plover.

I'd have to refer to the condition of the flood at the bottom of Aldcliffe Hall Lane, as the best I've ever seen it, now covering almost a quarter of the field, it was crawling with up to 550 Dunlin feeding frantically with 138 Black-tailed Godwit, also 10 Snipe, 5 Pintail, and 120 Black-headed Gull

Snipe. Pete Woodruff.

On the Wildfowlers Pools, 2 Ringed Plover scarce here, 4 Snipe, 11 Shoveler, 4 Goldeneye, and 4 Little Grebe. I made no count of the Teal and Wigeon here, though the latter were few. From a distance I saw up to 650 Pink-footed Geese come up off the Frog Pond field, but I was distracted as to what happened next and I never saw them again.

Counts along the way, 24 Blackbird and 5 Robin, with a lone Long-tailed Tit, and a small mixed flock was of 8 Reed Bunting with Goldfinch. I watched a Kestrel drop into a field behind the hedge, then saw it flying low over the field to rise into the air with a vole in it's talons. 

Little Grebe.

The Little Grebe's on Freeman's Pools were very vocal, and I was treated to a chorus of resounding whinnying for long periods....Magic.


It was good to be sent news from the ever reliable AC, that he'd found seven Stonechat yesterday, with six on the Fylde, and the Cockerham Sands female seen again. 

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

7 Up.

A refreshing Lime & Lemon drink, but not as refreshing as the birds I saw yesterday, and yes, another Stonechat image, thanks to Richard O'Meara....Thanks also to Richard Peglar for his Jack Snipe. 

Stonechat. Richard O'Meara.

The Stonechats.

Seven Stonechat seen were, two male and two female at Conder Green, and two male and a female seen at Cockersand, presumably the female being the wintering bird here since 22 December. 

The Whooper Swans. 

All assembled in one field at Clarkson's Farm, with only a few out of sight, an assessment of the number was made easier for the first time this winter and stood at 625 Whooper Swan, with just one Bewick's Swan seen.  

Jack Snipe @  Pegler Birding 

The Supporting Cast.

Around the high tide, a Jack Snipe came rising off the marsh, with it's characteristic silent, direct and short escape flight, 4 Snipe also seen. Off Plover Scar, 24 Eider and 2 Great-crested Grebe, a lone Grey Plover was with Turnstones feeding as the tide dropped, c.650 Pink-footed Geese were heading SW over Cockerham Sands. Up to 60 Twite were again in the rough field behind Bank End Cottage, quite mobile, and at one point went on to the cottage roof to be counted, 65 Golden Plover were the only field waders at Cockersand today, 3 Song Thrush and 3 Meadow Pipit, a Jay flew across Moss Lane as I drove away.

At Conder Green, 2 Goldeneye, 4 Tufted Duck and 3 Greylag were of note on Conder Pool. In the creeks, 6 Little Grebe, a drake Goosander, and 2 Black-tailed Godwit. Along the coastal path to Glasson Dock, a Song Thrush, 4 Reed Bunting, 2 Dunnock, and 2 WrenI counted at least 150 Redshank feeding close in on the marsh as the tide rose. 

Monday, 5 March 2018

A Little Short, A Little Sweet.

Not least because of the weather, a break of six unwelcome days from birding hit the buffers with a brief spell yesterday afternoon.

Once again I talked KT into a walk, this time at Heysham to find 4 Stonechat, one of which was the wintering female again at Half Moon Bay, where we also saw the Chough in flight. The other three were two smart males and a female at the south corner of Ocean Edge saltmarsh, presumably three of the five reported to me on Friday.

Well, the man did say....Short and Sweet.

I'm also aware of at least six more Stonechat in two more areas I'm fast becoming aquainted with, and I'm off right now to find these and hopefully add some more to the list.

Thanks to Simon Hawtin for the Purple Sandpiper header. A rare and irregular winter visitor and spring passage migrant, of which I have no idea of it's 2017 status in our area, but just three records in 2016, all off Heysham Harbour North Wall, and all within 8 days in April.  

Friday, 2 March 2018

Weather Or Not!

I had reason to pay a visit to Lancaster University yesterday, and decided to do it on foot from Bowerham, via Hala Carr and Bailrigg Lane. Complete with bino's round my neck, to note, 7 Blackbird, 3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Robin, and a lone Long-tailed Tit.

Catching a bus at the University back to Lancaster, I paid a visit to Lancaster Cemetery - now there's a thought - via Williamson Park, which apparently has at least 131 nest boxes until I got fed up of counting....The ultimate of an ambitious and optimistic project it seems. 

Rewards in the cemetery were, a Great spotted Woodpecker, Jay, and Grey Wagtail, also 11 Blackbird, 5 Robin, 2 Blue Tit, a Coal Tit, Great Tit, and a KestrelOn a short cut home through the University of Cumbria campus I found up to 10 Long-tailed Tit.

The Jay and the Magpie.

Jay. Simon Hawtin.

A man in the cemetery came up to ask me what I was looking at, I told him....'an attractive and colourful bird called the Jay' which he said....'oh they're all over the place in here'....I reckon he'd confused the Jay with Magpie of which there was a few in the cemetery.  I'm finding Magpies in good number at various locations, no less so in the Glasson/Thurnham/Cockersand area, where John Bateman often commented their presence here was always in large number, in fact I got a parliament of 15 there recently.

Spring Is Here....

Wheatear. Simon Hawtin

.....but not in the air, and definitely not on the ground. 

A Wheatear was reported Wednesday in sand dunes by Fleetwood Marine Lakes, only two days later than the earliest ever spring record of Wheatear in Lancashire 15 years ago on 26 February 2003, the mean arrival date being 10 March....I reckon being caught up with the Beast from the East and Storm Emma, this bird will be thinking it read the wrong script!

Stonechat. Mike Atkinson.

A text to tell me of 5 Stonechat - four new birds - at Ocean Edge saltmarsh this morning was very much appreciated, and an excellent excuse for yet another image of these little gems....Thanks Mike.

Thanks also to Simon Hawtin for his Jay and Wheatear images.