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

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Conder Pool....The Bigger Picture.

Conder Pool East End. Pete Woodruff.

Since the landscape was restructured in Autumn,  the water level here for this time of year is far too low, and since the channels were excavated to a depth below the average winter water level, this hasn't been enough to retain a good level through the spring and into the summer. 

Depth Gauge Conder Pool. Pete Woodruff. 

The water level gauge is already at the pool side on dry land, if we continue to have some decent dry weather, and then go on to have a dry hot summer, evaporation will become an added factor for Conder Pool to become a glorified dried up gravel pit.

The general consensus is, we need some heavy downpours....You can make your own mind up if you think this is the answer to the problems of Conder Pool.

Overcrowding 28 May. Ian Pinkerton.

The Oystercatcher pair already have three chicks out of the box and into view, the Common Terns were making sustained dive bombing attacks, while the Black-headed Gull sits tight and waits to be involved in the war about to break out.

There are now 6 Common Tern on Conder Pool with three birds sitting. I watched one bird fly in from the Lune Estuary with a fish which was offered and taken by the female. Eight Avocet seen included last Fridays discovery of four sitting were seen again. The Little Ringed Plover was close in again, a few Sand Martin were hawking over the pool, and 2 Swift flew through.

Greylag. Pete Woodruff.

I saw 3 Tree Sparrow in the hedgerow at the back of Conder Pool, and 28 Greylag were in a field on the south side of the canal at Conder Green. It was good to see 2 Goldfinch young in our garden yesterday, also a young Blackbird made its first appearance out of the nest here.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Keeping Tabs.

It was a case of keeping tabs on Conder Pool on Friday, my birding allowance barely gave me time to do it, but it was my fix for the day and thankful for it.

The count peaked at 6 Common Tern today, two were visitors which flew around a few minutes and then disappeared towards the estuary, the other four are the summer resident two pairs, the females of which are now sitting, four of the 6 Avocet seen are also sitting, and at least 25 Sand Martin were hawking over the pool, the Little Ringer Plover allowed good views, Little Egret were in a gang in the creeks, and a Reed Bunting was in the hedgerow. 

Kestrel was hovering upstream from the A588 road bridge, with 2 Whitethroat, 2 Sedge Warbler seen as I made my way to the coastal path from where I picked out 11 Eider hauled out on the Lune Estuary at low tide. 

Common-blue Damselflies. Pete Woodruff.

Along the canal between Glasson and Conder Green, there was an abundance of damselflies on and around the sections of canal-side vegetation, and I spotted a pair of Common-blue Damselflies in tandem, a mature male coupled with an immature female....

Blue-tailed Damselfly. Pete Woodruff.

....and an immature male Blue-tailed Damselfly.

No Vacancies.

The Common Tern having been beaten to the pontoon by the soon to hatch Black-headed Gull, have been joined by an Oystercatcher with the same plan. All this - and the two ridiculous plastic decoys appearing to be dead and lying on their side - all makes for trouble ahead, and it's not going to be nice. 

Conder Pool 2018. Pete Woodruff.

Add to this, I recently roughly counted 90 sheep on the land surrounding Conder Pool, despite having it on good authority that....'The sheep weren't supposed to go on until mid July to reduce disturbance and try to get a taller sward for breeding Redshank'....Ground nesting birds and 90 sheep are not compatible and are a dangerous mix.


I've edited the post to add a relevant comment found in records from Conder Pool on Sunday....'Several sheep on the 'island' last week were practically standing on the nests'.... 

Thanks to Ian Mitchell once again for his excellent header image of the Conder Pool LRP.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

The Estuary Terns et al.

Not easy to be accurate about the number around the Lune Estuary yesterday, but I reckon over a five hour period 6 Common Tern were seen in five sightings. When I arrived at Conder Pool, two birds were present, whist I was there four joined the two and flew around the pool briefly before heading off towards the River Lune. In the afternoon a bird was patrolling the canal by Christ Church, later I presumed the same bird was leaving the canal basin towards the estuary where I found two birds plunge diving, both to return to the same area of the river bank before soon taking off to plunge again, they returned to the bank together three times. I went back to the car to get my telescope to see if I could make out what this behaviour was about, I thought perhaps a male was feeding a female, but when I returned the pair were heading back off the river towards Conder Pool. I drove straight to Conder Green to find 3 Common Tern on the pool, two on the pontoon and one in the background on the island.

There's no telling what will happen on the pontoon, having beaten the Common Tern to it, the Black-headed Gull is obviously sitting by now, and a Common Tern was creating a scrape yesterday and looking intent on nesting there. I think I know the this space.

Stock taking on Conder Pool, 6 Common Tern, 6 Avocet, a Little Ringed Plover, 28 Black-headed Gull, 13 Oystercatcher, 10 Tufted Duck, 2 Shelduck, 2 Wood Pigeon.

Turnstone Plover Scar 20 May. Pete Woodruff.

At Cockersand high tide, Plover Scar held up to 550 Dunlin, 80 Ringed Plover, and a single Turnstone, a Whimbrel was on the marsh off Lighthouse Cottage, and a Whitethroat was singing on the wires. The only butterfly was my first Common Blue at Cockersand, with 3 Orange Tip at Glasson Dock.   

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Late News....Again.

There was a peak count of 10 Avocet at Conder Green on Thursday, five in the creeks, and five on Conder Pool which brings me to believe only the one bird was still sitting. I saw a Common Tern briefly on Conder Pool, it was on the right hand end of one of the newly constructed islands behind the pontoon, but the next time I looked it had disappeared and I didn't see it again. Until I saw this bird it had been missing for two days with no sightings. Also of note on the pool, a Common Sandpiper and 3 Black-tailed Godwit. On a brief wander Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler.

Ringed Plover/Dunlin Plover Scar. Pete Woodruff.

At the high tide roost on Plover Scar it was good to find 3 Sanderling, seen as a wader with the status of being an uncommon passage migrant at both spring and autumn periods, and rare winter visitor in our recording area. Also on the scar, up to 550 Dunlin and 65 Ringed Plover, 3 Eider where off here.

Little Ringed Plover. Pete Woodruff.

I decided on a detour on the way back to Lancaster and went to Aldcliffe for a short 30 minute circuit. It was a good idea if only because I found 3 Little Ringed Plover along the edges of the Wildfowlers' Pools, with 2 Gadwall drake, and also noted 3 Whitethroat, a Chiffchaff, and 2 Song Thrush.

Thanks to Ian Mitchell for another of his Avocet images he kindly sent me in the new header.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

As Good As It Gets.

I had an excellent day between Marshaw and east of Trough Bridge to log 26 species yesterday. Not a mega number of species counted, but a good reflection of birds to be expected seen at this location. With some species missing, notably Redstart and Dipper not seen, but otherwise as good as it gets in Bowland. 

Two Pied Flycatcher were seen as a male with female probably sitting in a nest box, and a female, singing male Blackcap, Garden Warbler and probably up to 12 Willow Warbler. House Martin are nesting at Tower Lodge with Swallow present, 9 Robin, 5 Mistle Thrush and 2 Song Thrush, with Siskin and Lesser Redpoll seen and at least singles of Long-tailed TitCoal Tit and Nuthatch.

Pied Flycatcher. Howard Stockdale.

Six Spotted Flycatcher maintained the reputation of being the best location in our recording area for the species, 4 Common Sandpiper and 5 Grey Wagtail were on the Marshaw Wyre, and a Cuckoo called on and off all afternoon along the woodland strip above Tower Lodge. With a good number of 'whites' seen, 2 Orange Tip were the only other butterflies seen.

Thanks to Howard for his excellent images of the Bowland Flycatchers. 

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Should Have Gone To Specsavers!

I met a birder as he drove away from the car park at Lighthouse Cottage on Friday, to learn I'd missed a decent passage experience from here including 54 Arctic Tern....Thanks for the conversation and info Ian, much appreciated.

Perhaps some drifters from a major passage into Morecambe Bay which was observed and recorded by a dedicated team of four over a 9 hour period....Birding at the cutting edge.

Avocet Conder Pool. Ian Mitchell.

On Conder Pool, 42 Black-tailed Godwit included four in the creeks with a Greenshank. Also on the pool, the currently resident Spotted Redshank and 6 Avocet, a White Wagtail, and the Greylag pair with five young still thriving and surviving, and my first Swift went over.

On the circuit, the Lesser Whitethroat still sings north of the picnic area, with Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler. A pair of Dunnock and Reed Bunting of note along the coastal path, and I watched 2 House Martin collecting mud in the creeks to take it to two nests at the Cafe d' Lune

My little bit of passage came on a check of Plover Scar, and had 6 Sandwich Tern lingering briefly with their distinctive loud grating call to plunge dive around the lighthouse before flying off. On the scar, 485 Dunlin, 85 Ringed Plover, and 3 Wheatear. Off here, a pair of Eider and Teal.

Green-veined White. Pete Woodruff.

Of the good number of Large/Small White butterflies seen today - I didn't see a single 'coloured' one - I was able to identify 3 Green-veined White feeding.

Thanks to Ian Mitchell for the Avocet image he kindly sent me after I had met him at Conder Green last Tuesday.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

More Catch Up.

A couple of hours around Conder Green on Tuesday began with me looking for other people's birds again....This is in danger of becoming pretty boring.

Today's catch up was the Common Tern which had arrived on Conder Pool last Friday. The bird hasn't attracted any company as yet, though I'm told of two birds on the pool before my arrival, but I've yet to see any other reports to confirm the claim.

Little Ringed Plover Conder Pool 7 May. Pete Woodruff.

The Little Ringed Plover came to rest a while just off the viewing screen, giving the opportunity for a pik. Also on Conder Pool, 6 Avocet, a pair of Goosander, and the Greylag pair which have already lost four goslings, down to five from nine seen last Friday, 2 Sand Martin came down on a muddy edge and briefly showed pairing behaviour before flying off.

Spotted Redshank. Pete Woodruff. 

The Spotted Redshank was sweeping up in the creeks, also a lone Dunlin. On a wander, the House Martin are around River Winds and Cafe d' Lune, and there was healthier numbers of Swallow seen today particularly around Conder Green Farm. A singing Reed Bunting, with Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap, and 2 Orange Tip seen.

A look in on Plover Scar at Cockersand around the high tide produced a low count of Dunlin and Ringed Plover in a ratio of c.110/50, also a Wheatear on here, and 2 Whimbrel were off Lighthouse Cottage.

Thanks to Ian Pinkerton for his Sedge Warbler header.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Good Afternoon.

Having been a little tied up in the morning, I decided to give Conder Green the benefit of my birding for Friday afternoon, and spent what developed into a pleasing three hours there.

Spotted Redshank Conder Pool 3 May. Pete Woodruff.

As with Tuesday, when it was catch up with the Little Ringed Plover, I caught up with another 'Conder Special' this time it was the Spotted Redshank.

Spotted Redshank/Black-tailed Godwit. Pete Woodruff.

Thinking it was one of the 48 Black-tailed Godwit it was in company with, it was obligingly enjoying the feeding frenzy in front of the viewing screen at Conder Pool.

A mass arrival of Swallow and Sand Martin today included a mix of up to 200 over Conder Pool, with a few House Martin seen. A Little Ringed Plover seen again, with 6 Avocet and a pair of Greylag with nine gosling. In the creeks, a Greenshank and Common Sandpiper, and on a wander, a Lesser Whitethroat included my getting a good recording - but not quite as good as the one below - of the singing bird heard on Tuesday north of the picnic area at Conder Green. A Whitethroat, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler, and a Dunnock, a Whimbrel heard calling on the estuary.

Common Tern.

A Common Tern was back on Conder Pool again yesterday, the earliest date of the five previous years, and three days earlier than last years arrival on 7 May. Thanks to Ian Pinkerton for the alert text.  

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Back To The Future.

Well....back to the coastal path from Aldcliffe to Conder Green on Tuesday, an excellent five hour crawl even if the flood was totally deserted. I was well pleased with the results on the route to Conder Green along the old disused railway, always a good birding venue especially at this time of the year. 

Two Jay and a Mistle Thrush  were around Freeman's Pools, the Wildfowler's Pool hosted no more than 13 birds, being 3 Shoveler drake, a pair of Gadwall, 6 Mallard, and 2 Shelduck

The competition between two species ended with a draw, when I saw/heard 10 Blackcap and 10 Chiffchaff. Runners up on the warbler front, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, and surprisingly only 3 Willow Warbler, and even more surprising, only a single Whitethroat which sang at Stodday whilst I had stopped off there for refreshments.

I noted 10 Blackbird, 7 Goldfinch, Robin, and 12 Little Egret, 6 Whimbrel were across the river from Nansbuck Cottage. But I was about to get the surprise of the day, when I passed Waterloo Cottage and walked on about 200 metres, a Cuckoo called six times then fell silent, I noted the grid reference from the path was SD457567. 

At Conder Green, 2 Dunnock were in the picnic area, and a Greenshank was in the creeks. On Conder Pool, as Monday up to 50 Black-tailed Godwit again, 5 Avocet, and a pair of Goosander.

Speckled Wood. Pete Woodruff.

No more than 6 Swallow seen in the five hours, four of which were at Conder Green Farm. Butterflies of note, 14 Orange Tip one of which was a female, 6 Speckled Wood, 2 Green-veined White, and the butterfly surprise of the day, a lone Small TortoiseshellThe only pik I managed today was of the Speckled Wood with some damage to it's right wing.

In Memoriam.

 Woodchat Shrike. Jo Bradley.

Remembering the brilliant Woodchat Shrike found at Aldcliffe 5 years ago on 8 May 2014. Thanks to Jo Bradley, excellent image....excellent bird.

I'm also grateful for the LRP header image on Conder Pool from Ian Pinkerton.