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

Friday, 29 June 2018

Taking Stock.

Testing....Testing....27 June. Ian Pinkerton.

Looking good at Conder Green yesterday, with increasing returning numbers at every visit. At one point 9 Common Tern were on Conder Pool, with all round encouraging signs about the three youngsters on the pontoon, and prospects of an early fledge by the eldest of the trio. 

The second adult pair of Common Tern look to be set to go for a second brood - that's if they ever had a first - and IP always claimed to have seen eggs in the scrape at the first attempt.

Common Sandpiper Conder Pool 28 June. Pete Woodruff. 

In the numbers up club, of the 12 Common Sandpiper seen, nine were on the near island at my first visit, on the second visit all twelve were in the creeks, 242 Redshank were strung out and roosting along the far terrace accompanied by a Greenshank and a Black-tailed GodwitThere are now 3 Little Grebe back on Conder Pool, an Avocet still sitting on the right hand edge of Tern Island, and a Redshank had only one chick on show today from two seen on Monday.

Eider Off Plover Scar 28 June. Pete Woodruff.

Notes from a token visit to Cockersand....12 Eider were off Plover Scar, 2 Whitethroat heard, 3 Skylark were in the air together, 5 Pied Wagtail were around the dregs left in what was the large flooded ditch through the field by the junction with Slack/Moss Lane, where the sick/injured Whooper Swan has remained for in excess of six months.

Butterflies seen were a good number of uncounted Large White, up to 14 Meadow Brown, and 2 Small Tortoiseshell. A Green-veined White was in our garden yesterday.  

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Hot Spots!

Making Progress 26 June. Ian Pinkerton.

On Conder Pool Monday, 7 Common Tern, being the pair and three young, and two outsiders which are adding nothing to the population of this Amber listed species, but the three young on the pontoon will hopefully have fledged around 10 July.

Tern Attack. Ian Pinkerton.

But there's still a lot of action around and about, a pair of Carrion Crow were paying attention to the contents of one of the boxes on the island, and actually appeared to be feeding on something, but the terns didn't like their presence and repeatedly attacked them. 

Also on Conder Pool a Redshank with two chicks little more than a day old on Tern Island, Avocet still sitting on this island, the summer plumage Little Grebe seen again, and the lone Whooper Swan which is now established to have a foot missing.

I set off on a wander along the coastal path to Glasson Dock, to return to Conder Green via the canal tow-path. In the creeks, 6 Common Sandpiper seen, and along the coastal path a Whitethroat and 2 Reed Bunting noted. At Saltcote Pond, 5 Meadow Brown and a Small Skipper were the only butterflies seen in four hours.

Brown Hawker. Warren Baker.

At Christ Church, a Brown Hawker was patrolling the floating vegetation on the opposite side of the canal. With it's all brown body, and amber wings shimmering in the sunlight, a glimpse is all that is needed to ID this brilliant hawker. In the woodland by the church, 2 Blackcap were a singing male, and good views of a more elusive female later....By the time I got back to Conder Green, I had seen 5 Emperor Dragonflies along the tow-path to Thurnham Mill.

PHEW....26 degrees and counting.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Red Letter....Continued.

By the time I had soaked up the enjoyment of the Keeled Skimmers on Birk Bank bog, then done the 5 mile circuit, to returned to the bog for another dragonfly session, I'd had the perfect example of a good days birding which took me five hours to complete.

The Red-Letter day continued when I had climbed up to the two styles to reach the top of Birk Bank where I found 9 Stonechat, a lone bird on the wall looking east to Clougha, eventually turned out to have been a part of the family party of a pair with a full brood of five young, later at the NE end of Birk Bank I saw a distant lone male, which - with the distance between them - probably wasn't connected to the female seen further on.

In the circuit I noted 18 species including, Garden Warbler and Blackcap heard from the bog. I saw but mainly heard 8 Willow Warbler, 5 Mistle Thrush, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Wren, Chaffinch, Wood Pigeons, and 3 Curlew with their variety of calls. My miserable year with the species continued when I saw just one Meadow Pipit....unbelievable.

Of 10 Red Grouse seen, I'd flushed four adult and six young at four sightings. A flock of c.70 'corvid' exploded into the air, the majority were Rook with Carrion Crow, they were flying all over the place, and were very vocal for some reason. As I walked the return along Rigg Lane I found a Sedge Warbler, and by then had probably seen 60 Swallow feeding over the fields.

IP's Conder Update.

Though the war rages on, and four adult Common Tern have been in battle on the pontoon on occasions over recent days, which could all too easily turn nasty for the three young which are coming along in leaps and bounds, being fed large fish at times, and even some early wing flapping exercises now and again, though I reckon 15/16 days yet before they become fully functional.

Common Tern Young 24 June. Ian Pinkerton.

Evidence in the image above, of three Common Tern young thriving, despite conflicting reports of only two birds four hours before this shot was taken. 

The Avocet pair are still in the breeding business, with the female sitting tight, and the male preening and feeding occasionally in the creeks.

Thanks to Mike Atkinson for the excellent header image of the stunning male Stonechat.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Short But Very Sweet.

A red-letter day at Birk Bank....Not least because 5 Keeled Skimmer were on the bog, with the bonus of a pair seen copulating, followed by the female observed ovipositing minutes later. Also on the bog, into a double figure of up to 10 Four-spotted Chaser, later a Broad-bodied Chaser was on the damp patch at Ottergear Bridge. 

The images just about manage to creep up to my standard.

Keeled Skimmer Birk Bank Bog 22 June. Pete Woodruff.

Keeled Skimmer Pair Mating 22 June. Pete Woodruff.

Birds of the day on and around Birk Bank to follow when time allows me.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Mainly Conder Green....What Again!

I got no further than the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock after my visit to Conder Green on Monday, where I saw more early returning waders when I found 4 Common Sandpiper and up to 145 Redshank, there was also the first returning Little Grebe in it's fine summer plumage. I was a little surprised to find my record of an even earlier Little Grebe here on 9 June 2017, but it'll be a while yet before the number builds to a double figure on Conder Pool by the autumn.

Seven Common Tern were on Conder Pool, four adult and the three chicks still looking good Tuesday morning according to IP's report, despite savage attacks by the invaders from the island the previous day. The island pair have abandoned their breeding attempt, but an Avocet at the opposite end leads me to suspect they might be nesting on the back side of this island, also noted 19 Tufted Duck. Lone birds were a Tree Sparrow in the hedgerow, a Swift over the pool, and a Black-tailed Godwit and Whooper Swan in the creeks.

Two Common Tern plunge diving on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock were probably Conder Pool birds, otherwise six adult in the area, 3 Eider were the only other birds to note here at high tide.

The Cinnabar.

I saw not one butterfly today, but was treated to a beautiful Cinnabar moth in the long roadside grasses at Conder Green.

Cinnabar Larvae Fluke Hall July 2017. Pete Woodruff.

Cinnabar Moth. Ian Kimber 

Except for maybe Burnets, the Cinnabar is not confusable with any other British species, it is a fairly common moth. With yellow and black hoops, the larvae generally feeds on ragwort and other related plants. 

I'm grateful to Ian Kimber@ UK Moths for allowing me the use of his image.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Conder Pool....Mainly.

Seven Common Tern on Conder Pool Friday were as seen a week ago on 8 June which was the last time I was there. Other than the three chicks on the pontoon have grown a little, there was no change regarding these seven, but it makes watching the young chicks a little more anxious when the adults keep leaving them unattended whilst they go off fishing, I personally didn't think this would have been their behaviour to leave them at the mercy of predation....Wrong again!

Common Sandpiper Conder Pool 15 June. Ian Pinkerton.

An early returning Common Sandpiper flew in, one last seen at Conder Green 26 April, and certainly not expected back here in my book just yet. At least one Avocet seen, but no idea what they're up to at the back of the pool, as I've not yet done any trespass to find out, there's also the surprise of 3 Little Ringed Plover here on 4 June but not since, to ponder over. A number of Redshank, 15 Tufted Duck, a lone Black-tailed Godwit, and a few Sand Martin were over the pool, and a short walk across the A588 road bridge upstream saw a Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting.

Mixed Bunch. Ian Pinkerton.

The farmyard brigade appear to have a couple of Pink-footed Geese latched on to them on Conder Pool Friday.

A circuit of Cockersand to see if a little something unexpected could be found, but wasn't. Up to 90 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover, and 3 Stock Dove were in the field off Slack Lane, a pair of Eider off Plover Scar. A Swallow or two, and more surprising a House Martin were around Bank Houses, 2 Sedge Warbler, a Reed Bunting, Kestrel, and 5 Skylark in the air all singing their never ending fast paced rolling, chirruping, whistling flight song....Brilliant.

Another day with just one butterfly seen, a Small Tortoiseshell.   

Sunday news and images from IP on Conder Pool re the Common Terns was worrying and not good. In these two shots, the island adult is seen being serious in an attack on the pontoon chicks which was part of a battle royal on the pontoon between all four adult birds at one point, the island female having left its nest of three eggs for up to 2 hours according to IP's report.

Monday morning news was good news from IP, all three CT young on the pontoon were OK....Thanks for keeping in touch, and for the images Ian, it is much appreciated.  

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Flycatcher Festival.

On a few hours spent in the Marshaw - Tower Lodge - Trough Bridge area earlier in the week, it was rewarding to find 7 Pied Flycatcher. 

Priority of the visit was to get up to date on the pair found tree nesting on 23 May. Today they were both watched regularly returning to the nest feeding young, quite the opposite to the female seen leaving the nest box at Tower Lodge, with at least one young poking it's head out of the box, but despite a couple of prolonged watches, I saw no adult birds returning over a total of 30 minutes. 

Pied Flycatcher

A pair were seen at another nest box in the compound, but better still was yet to come when I got to the top of the hill beyond Trough Bridge, I saw a bird in flight, and picking it up in a tree it was a female Pied Flycatcher offering the possibility of a second pair tree nesting in the area, but despite a lengthy wait I saw nothing other than the female flighting here and there, but no evidence of a male or potential nest hole. During this watch, a Redpoll seen feeding a wing flapping young bird, and a lone Siskin in an adjacent tree. 

 Spotted Flycatcher

Numbers are down here again this year, but it was good to find 3 Spotted Flycatcher which included the bird seen again as 23 May near the tree nesting Pied Flycatchers. I found 10 Spotted Flycatcher in this area of Bowland 7 years ago on 9 August 2011. 

Of note with the 24 species seen, juveniles accompanied the 9 Grey Wagtail and similar Pied Wagtail seen on the Marshaw Wyre, 2 Common Sandpiper with one bird calling probably with young nearby, 6 Willow Warbler, 3 Song Thrush2 Nuthatch2 Mistle Thrush, and 2 Robin. House Martin and a Swallow nesting at Tower Lodge, and a Green-veined White was the only butterfly seen in 5 hours. 

Thanks to Simon Hawtin for the excellent images for this post.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

A Conder Update.

Strapped for birding and blogging time, and unless things change for the better soon, probably not able to get to Conder Green - or anywhere else - until Monday. 

But I have IP to be thankful to for keeping me updated with news and pictures on Conder Pool matters, where life and death is at the forefront of things.

The pontoon Common Tern now have three chicks taking a first look at life through the window....I'd like to think, with good parentage and no predation, we'll see these three flying around the pool, having escaped to freedom from their prison around 10 July.

Whilst as predicted from the start, inevitably the Oystercatcher pair have now lost all three of their young, the evidence of one remaining in the pontoon....the other two? 

Killer in the garden.

This Sparrowhawk was the first thing I struck eyes on when I opened the kitchen blind yesterday morning. One of our Blackbird males flew over its head, then ran along the garage roof without a flinch from the hawk, then a Blue Tit landed on the arch behind it living life dangerously. I reckon this brute had already taken and eaten one of the local Starlings, as we found feathers later in a pile at the back of the garden, and when I found the Sparrowhawk, it was quietly digesting breakfast whilst glaring at the Blackbird on the rooftop without as much as a blink....Lucky Blackbird.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Birds, Butterflies, & Banded.

A Conder Green - Glasson Dock circuit proved eventful, and started at Conder Pool where 7 Common Tern were seen as two adult on Tern Island, two adult on the pontoon which now have two chicks, and a loose bird departing the pool toward the estuary. 

Image. Ian Pinkerton.

The Oystercatcher pontoon pair having had three young, are now down to two, one has 'disappeared'. IP's image shows the continuing hostilities, with the Common Tern attacking the unguarded Oystercatcher young, 'clik the pik' for a blow up of the picture to better see the unfortunate chick through the now heavily soiled perspex. A pair of Avocet seem to have settled in on the backside of Tern Island, and 15 Tufted Duck were also noted on the pool.


The latest news re Conder Pool, is that both adult terns left the two chicks unattended in the pontoon there's a surprise, and no young Oystercatcher were seen by IP in the pontoon on his brief visit before leaving the area for a couple of days.

Banded Demoiselle Marc Heath

Staking out by the now quiet and gentle flowing River Conder upstream from the A588 road bridge, perfect habitat for finding 5 Banded Demoiselle including a stunning metallic green bodied female. I then went on to the canal tow-path and headed for Glasson Dock, a Sedge Warbler was in song along the way, a male Emperor Dragonfly was patrolling a well vegetated section of the canal side, and a male Blackcap was at Christ Church.

Painted Lady. Pete Woodruff.

A record shot of my first Painted Lady on Buddleja globosa by the bowling green at Glasson Dock. I had a decent year in 2017 for this butterfly, seeing 13 in total at 9 locations, the first on 31 May at Langden Brook, Bowland, the last at Heysham NR were I found two on 27 August. As a migrant from N.Africa, the Painted Lady feeds on many sources of nectar, and can be found at a variety of habitats, it is a rapid flyer, and can be seen and breeds anywhere in Europe.

Along the coastal path to Conder Green, 15 Small Skipper, and 3 Speckled Wood counted, a lone Tree Sparrow was my first ever along here. I made a request to take a look around River Winds at Conder Green, to find the best ever count here of an impressive 22 House Martin nests, another seven are at Cafe d' Lune.

A Red Admiral in our garden yesterday was my first this year. 

Thanks to Marc Heath for his stunning female Banded Demoiselle, and to Ian Pinkerton for his dedicated watch of Conder Pool, and for the excellent illustrations and daily updates he sends me. Ian is also keeping his eyes on the current Starling roost at Glasson Dock, to look for a possible Rose-coloured Starling with the murmuration around Glasson Marina....can't keep a good man down.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Pleasant Bowland Birding.

Cuckoo. Cliff Raby @ Fylde Coast Wildlife  

Another perfect day for a wander on the Bowland Fells which paid off nicely, not only because I heard my first Cuckoo from Harrisend, distant and sounding like it came from the Grisedale/Nicky Nook area. 

It took me two hours to find the only male Stonechat seen, it was alarm calling with it's sharp whistle and throaty clicking, the female no doubt somewhere on the nest, 13 Meadow Pipit was two up on my last low count of eleven here on 8 May, 3 Linnet, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Wren, a Mistle Thrush and Blackbird. A Kestrel with two tail feathers missing, and of 4 Buzzard seen, one over high had prey dangling from it's talons, which on size and shape looked suspiciously like a Stoat. 

Of 5 Reed Bunting seen there was some odd behaviour by a male which scuttled through the heather, at one point I observed it moving along the ground with wings held up like a butterfly with closed wings. I have no understanding of this behaviour, and not seen anything like it before, I was beginning to think it was unable to fly, but it did eventually take to the wing.

Butterflies including several Large White were, 11 Small Heath and a Small Copper.

On Hawthornthwaite were I found no Stonechat, 11 Meadow Pipit, 2 Mistle Thrush, 2 Blackbird, and a lone Red Grouse was the only one seen on the two fells today, up to 10 Sand Martin were over and around Catshaw Greave, butterflies seen were 7 Small Heath.

I gave 20 minutes at Stoops Bridge, Abbeystead, to find 2 Garden Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher, and finished the day to see 8 House Martin with four active nests at Christ Church, 2 Buzzard soaring together overhead.

Thanks to Bob and to Cliff for their images, they are much appreciated. 

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Briefly Post Meridian.

A bit of PM, with just time for a look in at Conder Pool, and a bit of time for some playing around to try for some piks at Cockersand. 

IP continues to monitor the goings on at Conder Green, and documents the inmates of the pontoon on Conder Pool with illustrations. His latest pictures show the intensity of the situation between the Common Terns and Oystercatchers, showing the male CT weighing up the young Oyks in his top pik, before attacking them in the bottom one....

Things can only worsen when the CT's hatchlings turn up on the scene.

Herring Gull Plover Scar. Pete Woodruff.

A small group of age assorted Herring Gull were with barely a total of 50 Ringed Plover and Dunlin on Plover Scar, whilst in the field behind me, five Stock Dove, 2 Reed Bunting singing, and Skylarks.

Reed Bunting. Pete Woodruff.

I always vowed I'd never combine photography with my birding. But I was quite pleased with this bit of improvised photography, the singing Reed Bunting was 1/3 mile away with a digi camera hand held to a zoom telescope lens.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

In On The Action.

Plenty of action to entertain on Conder Pool yesterday.

Oystercatcher with young Conder Pool. Ian Pinkerton.

The three young Oystercatcher are now up and running, though not running very far, imprisoned in the confines of the pontoon for five more weeks and dependant on their parents to deliver the much needed food supply, unless they can jump up on to the frame, to dive off and swim to freedom. Oystercatcher chicks normally remain in the nest for only a couple of days after hatching, when they leave to follow the parent birds and collect their own food like the ones are able to do on the island in IP's pik above.

Grey Heron Conder Pool 4 June. Pete Woodruff.

Meanwhile the Common Tern is sitting tight in the pontoon, with much dive bombing at every thing that moves around them, the tern on the island was also sitting tight, that is until the dreaded Grey Heron turned up on the scene to get attacked by 2 Common Tern and a couple of Black headed Gull.

So the records on Conder Pool yesterday read....4 Common Tern, a Bar-tailed Godwit, two pair of Oystercatcher with young, 17 Tufted Duck, a Mallard female and six ducklings, the sick/injured Whooper Swan, and the result of an extended search was of 3 Little Ringed Plover adult, with much flying around and some display by one individual at the back of the pool. A Reed Bunting seen, a hovering Kestrel over the creeks, and an Orange Tip butterfly was the only one seen.

Banded Demoiselle Conder Green 4 June. Pete Woodruff.

Seven male Banded Demoiselle were upstream at on the quiet flowing river. This was my third sighting of this brilliant 'riverside butterfly', my first was one at this very spot on 28 July 2014, the second on the canal at Glasson Dock on 31 May. 

As Britain's commonest riverine species, it nevertheless excited me no end to see this creature on the River Conder again SD460588 UK Grid Ref Finder.

Six adult Common Tern reported at Conder Green yesterday per LDBWS.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

B'dale....Part 3.

On a third visit to Barbondale, I found an excellent 10 Pied Flycatcher, it also gave me my first Spotted Flycatcher here which I saw from the gate into the plantation where I stood for several minutes to also see, 4 of the 10 Pied Flycatcher seen on the day, one of 4 Redstart, a Nuthatch, and heard the Garden Warbler singing again. 

Willow Warbler. Cliff Raby @ Fylde Coast Wildlife 

Singing Willow Warblers were resounding through the woods, 3 Dunnock were in pursuit zipping through the trees, a male Great-spotted Woodpecker seen, and a Dipper on Barbon Beck over which was a lone Swallow, notably seen as the only one on the visit, 2 Meadow Pipit, a singing Reed Bunting, Buzzard and kestrel. With the exception of a few Large White, a Small Heath was my first this year, and the only other butterfly seen....Thanks for the Willow Warbler Cliff.

Bull Beck.

Broad-bodied Chaser. Warren Baker.

I called in at Bull Beck on the way back to Lancaster. Along the path through the trees to the river, 2 Garden Warbler, and 2 Blackcap. I found a lone Little Ringed Plover on the shingle bank, with 55 Lesser Black-backed Gull loafing further upstream, a healthy looking uncounted colony of Sand Martin, and a Broad-bodied Chaser patrolling a shallow stagnant pool which it had to itself, with no competition to chase off.    


Birds missing from my records at Barbondale include, Common Sandpiper not seen here for up to 10 years when I previously saw them breeding here, Whinchat not seen since 2015, no Wheatear, and no Stonechat.

Many thanks to Paul Foster for his Serin header.