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

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  

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

The New Post....

....another original title!

Adult/Juvenile Common Tern Conder Pool 21 August. Pete Woodruff.

Four Common Tern seen, including the juvenile which I actually saw in flight for the first time yesterday, albeit just a couple of metres after enjoying a bathe, to fly back on to the island. But unlike the pontoon young when fledged, in no time were flying and diving like lifelong experts, this bird seems reluctant to spend much time on the wing, and certainly hasn't yet been observed to fish for itself a week after fledging, but is adept at begging.

Also on Conder Pool, a new peak of 16 Little Grebe, 6 Greenshank, and up to 200 Lapwing spooked into the air en masse. In the creeks, a juvenile Ruff was again with the few Redshank, a lone Dunlin, and 2 Common Sandpiper. Upstream from the road bridge is obviously my best spot for Kingfisher when I had my third sighting in recent visits here. House Martin were noticeable for their absence at River Winds and the Cafe 'd Lune, obviously dispersed.

Odd ones out on the relatively deserted Lune Estuary were an adult Common Tern, 2 Goosander, and a lone Black-tailed Godwit. Of 11 Speckled Wood seen, 3 were on the coastal path to Conder Green, and 8 at Aldcliffe where I saw my first post-breeding Wheatear on a fence post out on the marsh, a species with a very protracted migration period which can be seen as late as November. Although the pools at Aldcliffe are once again water-filled, an hour here was otherwise virtually birdless, and the Wildfowler's Pools deserted. 

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Winter Birding!

Friday seemed like winter birding was upon us, with a temperature drop, heavy clouds, some rain around, and windy too. I stuck my neck out and went to Heysham when it looked likely I might get a soaking, but in fact I got away with a dry shod visit to find 8 Mediterranean Gull, two adult on Red Nab, with four and two juvenile on No 2 outfall.

A small gull frustrated me, the only detail I got was a striking grey-black cap as I picked the bird up flying seaward down Heysham 2 outfall, but I was distracted by a tern, which I soon identified as a juvenile Arctic Tern. I then failed to pick up the small gull again, but have recorded it as the long stay adult Little Gull, though - as in the image of a 2nd winter bird above - my bird had a much bolder grey-black cap than I somehow felt the staying adult would have, apparently by now in winter plumage. 

On the beach at Half Moon Bay, I found 2 Rock Pipit, with 11 Ringed Plover on the shingle.

Common Tern Conder Pool 17 Aug 'clik the pikPete Woodruff 

On Conder Pool I found the fledged juvenile and one adult Common Tern

Common Tern Conder Pool 17 Aug 'clik the pik'  Ian Pinkerton

But I've yet to see the juvenile in flight, though IP did later in the day. 

Also 4 Greenshank, and a Common Sandpiper which I'm already beginning to think might be a/the wintering bird. Noted in the creeks, c.60 Redshank, 4 Dunlin, and a lone Black-tailed Godwit.

Thanks to Ian Mitchell for the excellent Sea Eagle header image, seen at Lochdon on the Isle of Mull.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

The Moment Of Truth.

I received what must have been something like my 100th text over the weeks from Ian 'Pinky' Pinkerton at Conder Pool yesterday 15 August at 2.18pm, and I was as chuffed as a kid with a new toy, to read it saying that the lone Common Tern young from the second pair had fledged.

The images below and credited to Ian Pinkerton, illustrate the minutes leading up to the moment of truth, from the bird begging to be fed attended by a parent bird, then joined by two more adult birds, one or both could be either friend or foe. But the sheep were not welcome, and were attacked by adult birds, but the invasion by the sheep, brought about the desired result and the young bird took to the wing for it's maiden flight....ALLELUIA.

Bigger and better....'clik the piks'  

The Long Watch.

Ian Pinkerton has dedicated no less than 18 weeks to the Common Tern cause on Conder Pool. I can't remember how many hours it all adds up to, but give or take some essential days off, it was nothing for him to spend 5 hours on duty at the viewing platform to observe and record the comings and goings of the breeding Common Terns.

Yesterday was just reward for dedication, to be there at precisely the right time to see the climax of this 24 day old bird having found out what life is like on the wing.

So is this the end for IP at Conder Green, I doubt it, I think he'll wait until he's convinced the bird/s have moved on, at which point I reckon he will be asking, what can we expect to see next on Conder Pool.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Before & After.

I paid a couple of extended visits to Conder Green on Monday four hours apart, two hours before the tide, and two after, producing some interest and a little quality, albeit the time for quality ratio was a bit unbalanced.

Before the tide.

Greenshank. Pete Woodruff.

Four of 6 Greenshank seen later were roosting on Conder Pool before the high tide, also 11 Little Grebe, a Little Egret, and a Stock Dove, 2 Common Sandpiper and Snipe were in the creeks. 

Greenshank/Little Egret Conder Pool. Pete Woodruff.

After the tide.

Ruff/Redshank Conder Creeks. Pete Woodruff.

Initially roosting with up to 80 Redshank on the marsh, a Ruff was nice as the tide dropped off the creeks, seen later feeding on the mud.

The Conder Common Terns. 

Common Tern Conder Pool 13 August. Pete Woodruff.

When I arrived at Conder Pool I eventually saw 8 Common Tern, all adult flying around chasing each other noisily with their rapid series of quarrelling calls. I haven't the faintest idea what all this was about, but it was prolonged and unceasing for several minutes. Perhaps this is common behaviour within a colony of Common Terns even in mid-August, though no reference to this found in BWP

Meanwhile it was a concern that there was no sign of the young bird, which seems to have been the case since last Friday. But then I spotted movement in a gap beneath the slab in the picture above top right, it was the young bird cowering beneath this huge piece of stone.

I had to wait until I returned later after the tide to be convinced the bird was alive, it was out from beneath the stone, and looking good at 22 days old when I was there on Monday.....24 as I write.


No human has had a hand in the growing of this plant. I watched a Coal Tit one day during the winter, taking Sunflower seeds from the feeders and burying them in this pot in our garden.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Bowland Lost And Found.

Hawthornthwaite Fell.

I made only three previous visits so far this year and found not one Stonechat, and to turn this into an even bigger disaster found none when I went again last week. This looks like it's going to be a record at the end of the year that I never really wanted to collect, that the Stonechat was never found on Hawthornthwaite in 2018, let alone bred there. 


But as I came down of the fell, a bird hidden from my view took off out of the heather little more than 50m ahead of me and flew across the clough to perch, this is as good as it gets in Bowland, it was a stunning male MerlinThe only other birds seen were, 3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Red Grouse, and 3 Sand Martin flying around.

Harrisend Fell. 

I had made just two previous visits, to see a pair on 8 May, and on my last visit on 5 June I found a lone male, suspecting at the time there was a female somewhere around on a nest. But a much better result when I found 9 Stonechat there this time. 

Of 6 Buzzard seen, five were soaring overhead together, an impressive sight, 2 Kestrel represented the other raptors seen here. A good number of Swallow were feeding over the lower slopes, 3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Willow Warbler, and at least 5 Small Copper seen. 

It took me 2.5 hours to walk from Marshaw to 1/4 mile east of Trough Bridge and return, to at least enjoy finding a Spotted Flycatcher still up here, and House Martin visiting nests at Tower Lodge, otherwise....dire.

For the two excellent raptor images....Thanks to Brian for the Hobby, and to Noushka for the Merlin.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Next Best!

I had to postpone a visit to the Bowland Fells earlier this week....

Common Tern Conder Pool 9 August. Stephen Fairhurst. 

So it was best I went to check out Conder Pool to find 6 Common Tern including the young bird now back on Tern Island again, and as seen in the image above, getting the feel of it's wings with some exercise, which hopefully should have lifted it into the air by next weekend 18/19 August, when it will have fledged as the fourth Common Tern to be successfully bred on Conder Pool this year.  

Bird of the day was the Mediterranean Gull, a juvenile which honoured Conder Pool with a visit, albeit a brief one with Black-headed GullsAlso on the pool 12 Little Grebe eventually obliged by taking a rest, making the count an easy one. A Common Sandpiper was in the creeks with 3 Snipe, 3 Greenshank were down the channel with RedshankThough I saw no action at all around Cafe d' Lune, House Martin are still entering nests at River Winds.

With birds slowly returning to the Lune Estuary, things are looking a little more lively now, though gull numbers didn't reach three figures, but waders in view from the bowling green included, up to 350 Redshank, 150 Dunlin, and a lone Bar-tailed Godwit, with 24 Little Egret counted, 2 Common Tern were possibly of those seen earlier on Conder Pool. 

Thursday, 9 August 2018

The Ring Reading Problem.

Another ring reading problem has surfaced, this time with a bird seen to follow the Heysham Mediterranean Gull seen recently. 

Even though this excellent in flight image of the Bar-tailed Godwit was achieved, unfortunately what appears to be a yellow ring on the tibia of the birds right leg, is in fact thought to be a yellow flag with a three letter inscription to give the birds identity, but hidden from view on the blind side in this brief fly by.

The bird originates from the Norwegian Bar-tailed Godwit Ringing Project, and without the 'missing' details from this sighting, the bird cannot be identified as an individual from this project. How frustrating....better luck next time.


The Red Darvic ringed Mediterranean Gull seen at Heysham recently, was another good example of the problems of ring reading, which have to be complete and accurate, otherwise there's nothing conclusive gained in finding the bird in the first place.

The details of the BTG sighting went to Norway, and to Ireland.  I have already expressed my gratitude to those who helped me with details, but thanks again to everyone. 

Monday, 6 August 2018

Bogey Bird.

Believe it or not, despite birding for 150 years I'm still short on Hobby sightings, I think three is as good as it gets, all distant and short lived. So I was pleased that KT agreed we should go to Leighton Moss yesterday, to see if one of two being seen there - one as recent as the morning - would oblige us, but 3 hours between two luck.

Black-tailed Godwit/Mallard Grisedale Hide 5 August. Pete Woodruff.

Nine Black-tailed Godwit were see as two from the Grisedale Hide, and seven over towards the Eric Morecambe complex. Sightings between the two hides were of at least 6 Marsh Harrier, a male and five juvenile.

Red Deer Stag Grisedale Hide 5 August. Pete Woodruff.

Seven Red Deer from the Grisedale Hide were, two stag, four hind, and a fawn.

So the Hobby continues to be my birding nemesis, well one of them actually, but at least chasing this one has gone towards filling in a hole with a few bits and a couple of piks on Birds2blog!!

And Finally....

Large Rose Sawfly. Pete Woodruff.

Four Arge paganaknown as the 'Large Rose Sawfly', were egg laying on the stem of our Ballerina Rose in the garden yesterday.    

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Poached Egg On Toast Please!

The only thing promising about the weather yesterday, was that by mid-day it was going to be dull, damp, and murky, and by then it was just that. The plan was a look over Conder Green, then another trip to Heysham, but my enthusiasm waned rapidly as I sat around to see if this damp murky stuff was going to pass by, so off I went home for brunch and poached myself a couple of tasty eggs on toast....Isn't life great!

Five Common Tern on Conder Pool included the island chick, 10 Little Grebe seen again, with up to 200 Lapwing, 5 Curlew, and 2 Stock Dove6 Common Sandpiper were seen as two in the creeks, and four down the channel, also 2 Swift were my first autumn migrants purposefully south over the pool. 

The Conder Common Terns.

In the 4 hours IP spent at Conder Pool on Thursday, he had no sighting of the now 12 day old island chick, it had 'disappeared' and if your name had been Pete Woodruff you would have said it had fallen victim to predation. But hey....thankfully this time, wrong again, I found the bird on the near island looking south from the viewing screen, having swam there for whatever reason, it was being attended by both parent birds, but spending most of the time out of view at the back side of the island.

Thanks again to IP for the new header pik - yes it's another CT shot - this one being 'Pik of the Year' for me, even if it is only August. Yet another excellent image of - at the risk of repeating myself - the only breeding Common Terns in North Lancashire for many a year....More great stuff for the LDBWS records and the excellent Conder Pool.

Garden Visitors.

Holly Blue 2 August. Pete Woodruff.

A 'damaged' Holly Blue was on our Elecampane yesterday, you could spend the day and not get a pik with open wings at rest. Recently a juvenile and better still yesterday, a smart male Siskin visited the garden feeders.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Mainly Gulls & Terns.

A pleasant and enjoyable 2.5 hours at Heysham yesterday, sifting through the gulls between bouts of human disturbance. Interesting that my meager count of 26 Mediterranean Gull, was just a reversal of the number, when later in the day I find the report of an amazing 62 seen in the a.m. of the same morning.

Mediterranean Gull Red Nab Heysham 31 July. Pete Woodruff.

This was the result of my best opportunity of a pik, with 20 birds found on Red Nab, 4 on the south side of No 2 outfall, and 2 on the north. Also, the adult Little Gull barely beginning to moult out of summer plumage, 2 Whimbrel, and last Thursdays at least 1,000 Dunlin seen again.

Having not been to Conder Green since Thursday last, I was keen to see what the picture was there, to find 5 Common Tern, seen as the pontoon adults, and the island pair with the chick still surviving. It was good to find a new peak of 10 Little Grebe, 5 Common Sandpiper, a lone Black-tailed Godwit and Snipe, c.150 Redshank and similar Lapwing, and 9 Greylag dropped in on Conder Pool as they had whilst I was there 23 July.


I'm grateful to PJM and the ringers in Poland for dealing with this Red Darvic Mediterranean Gull which I found on Red Nab at Heysham last Thursday, when eventually it obliged by coming closer as the tide ran in. Although the blow up doesn't help, the difficulties of ring reading are clearly illustrated in this photograph, when the bottom digit on this bird couldn't be separated 4 from A through my telescope. But life was made easier when we find that the code is made up of three letters and a number, so the letter A was eliminated. 

Hence PKR4 had been found on 26 July on Red Nab at Heysham in Lancashire, England, 1518km WNW of Wisla, Mazowleckie, Poland, where it had been ringed 2 months earlier to the day on 26 May 2018 as a breeding 3cy female. Interestingly, the metal ring on the birds right leg was apparently already in place on this bird at the time of ringing.