Birding The Lune Estuary The Forest Of Bowland And Beyond.............................................................................................................HIGH BROWN FRITILLARY STEVE GRAHAM

Saturday, 29 June 2019

What's On!

Another one of those couple of hours yesterday, with just time to see what's on at the pool. 

Nothings changed on the pontoon, along with the Common Terns, the Black-headed Gulls having escaped the same fate as the Oystercatcher young a few weeks ago, all appear to be living in absolute bliss.

The first thing to note was a return to Conder Pool of a smart Little Grebe in full summer plumage, it was ten day's later than the first returner on 18 June in 2018, but if last year is anything to go by it will have been joined by a few of it's relations by the end of July when they might have reached a double number.

The 2 Avocet are still sitting comfortable it seems, and 2 Tree Sparrow were noted in the hedgerow. In the creeks, a Greenshank and 3 Common Sandpiper, the numbers of which didn't increase from 9 seen four days ago as anticipated, 12 were seen on this date last year.

Six active House Martin nest's are in view at River Wind's, but I saw no activity at the cafe despite my lingering there a while. Two Painted Lady and 2 Meadow Brown seen along the coastal path, and another Painted Lady seen in the car park on Rigg Lane, following a failed attempt - it was blowing a howler up there - to find Keeled Skimmer on the bog at Birk Bank, which was encouraged by finding five there last year on 22 June.

ZHF3 Conder Pool 24 June. Pete Woodruff.

This Mediterranean Gull was ringed as a young bird (pullus) in Senov, Volensky Fish pond, in the Ostrava District of the Czech Republic, on 8 June 2017. It was first reported at Kilkieran Harbour, Galway, Ireland, on 9 January 2019, and subsequently seen on three dates in June 2019 at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve, Lancashire before my sighting on Conder Pool, Lune Estuary,  24 June.

I'm grateful to Josef Chytil, Head of Department Ornithological Station of Comenius Museum for handling my report, and for sending me the history of this ringed Mediterranean Gull, it was very much appreciated.  

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Plan A....Other Things!

The plan yesterday was for other things to be done, but the pull on the Conder Pool magnate proved to much for me, in any case I needed to keep up to date with the state of play, so I managed to squeeze in a couple of hours there....Plan B.

There was a bit of a scare when I arrived at Conder Green, there was no sign of any Common Tern young, just the two growing well Black-headed Gull young. After around 15 minutes, and still no sign, an adult tern arrived from the estuary carrying a fish, the bird appeared to be going to feed the other adult the tasty fish, but heyup....having been hidden from view in the shadows, the two young terns came out of the depths of the nest box....Phew!!

Six Common Tern seen, which includes a third bird sitting at the backside of the small island left of the viewing screen. As far as I can see, there are two Avocet sitting, and I noted 6 Goldfinch flitting around. A Greenshank and 4 Common Sandpiper were in the creeks.

A walk along the coastal path produced 2 Painted Lady, 2 Speckled Wood, and a Cinnabar moth. An Emperor Dragonfly was patrolling the canal east beyond Christ Church. On the Lune Estuary, a Greenshank, 6 Eider, and 22 Greylag to note.

Painted Lady on Hebe. Pete Woodruff.

In our garden, 2 Painted Lady were nectar'ing on Hebe, and a young Dunnock was a nice surprise, and brought the tally to five species of young seen in the garden, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, and Dunnock.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Quality & Quantity.

There was a bit of a battle between quality & quantity yesterday, but in the end quality won hands down.

Adult Mediterranean Gull Conder Pool 24 June. Pete Woodruff. 

Conder Pool struck gold again yesterday - well in my book it did - when 2 Mediterranean Gull joined the now ever present Black-headed Gull colony and gave excellent views, they were in summer plumage wearing full hoods, one an adult.

2nd Summer Mediterranean Gull Conder Pool 24 June. Pete Woodruff. 

There was a bonus to the sighting, in that one bird was ringed. Iv'e submitted the reading and hopefully the result will be an interesting history from the 2nd summer bird.

Six Common Tern included the two young, with the second adult sitting. The Black-headed Gull family including the young birds, and the second adult sitting, are all apparently tolerant of everything around them. There are 6 Avocet still present on the pool, two of which are birds sitting. 

A Little Ringed Plover put in an appearance feeding, and a Stock Dove seen again. I watched a Kingfisher fly upstream from the A588, a blue flash about an inch above the reed tops.

I made a count of 9 Common Sandpiper, seven of which were seen in the creeks, and two  on Conder Pool.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Boring Birding!

For a day in June - a month when birding is regarded to be going nowhere - Friday was a good day which had some movement and action to keep me interested for an hour or two, and some butterflies came too....Boring Birding!....I don't think so.

Four Common Sandpiper were at Conder Green on Friday, they found their way into the little black book three days later than the four returning birds seen here on 18 June last year, when they peaked at thirteen on 17 July, we'll see if that figure will be beaten this year in the coming weeks.

On Conder Pool, 7 Avocet have decided to set up camp again, with two birds sitting, one of which showed at least two eggs as it got up to stretch it's legs. The same number of 7 Common Tern were doing much noisy flighting around, with two healthy growing young, and one adult bird sitting tight in the right hand corner of the pontoon. The Black-headed Gull young continue to grow apace, and on the whole, the pontoon remains to have a 'welcome to the pleasure dome' feel about it.

Also on a quite lively Conder Pool, a lone Black-tailed Godwit was feeding frantically, a Little Ringed Plover put in a brief appearance, as did 2 Stock Dove, and at least 85 Black-headed Gull have colonised the large island. But I reckon the bird to collect the most points on Conder Pool today was the drake Pochard, seen at best as irregular here. A summering drake Wigeon was down the channel from the iron bridge.

Painted Lady Conder Green 21 June. Pete Woodruff. 

A wander along the coastal path produced 6 Painted Lady, 4 Speckled Wood, and a Small Tortoiseshell. Along the canal tow-path Glasson - Conder Green, a Sparrowhawk flew from Christ Church across the canal, 2 Tree Sparrow seen again, a singing Sedge Warbler, and good number of Blue-tailed Damselflies.

Thanks again to Ian Mitchell, who sent me the excellent header butterfly which he took at Birk Bank recently.

The video is thanks to Ian Pinkerton, and shows the frantic feeding style of a Black-tailed Godwit and Avocet on Conder Pool. You'll need to try and ignore the traffic on the busy B5290, and watch on Full Screen for the big picture if you can.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Orc's In Lanc's.

I thought I'd glimpsed an Orchid from a moving car on Monday, so the following day I thought I should get myself off to investigate.....What a great idea.

Clik the piks, they're bigger and better.

Bee Orchid. 17 June. Pete Woodruff

I was delighted to find a few spikes of the brilliant Bee Orchid. Seen as one of the best known and loved Orchids, its flowering is sporadic, which accounts for failures to find it at the same location year on year.

Common Spotted Orchid. 17 June. Pete Woodruff.

With the Bee Orchids I found probably up to 100 Common Spotted Orchid. The most common of all the UK species, the flower of which can range from white to pale pink, through to purple.

Image courtesy of Julie Wareing

I was sent this moth for ID. Found in a Lancaster garden, it's a Buff Ermine, and many thanks for sending it to me Julie.  

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Barbondale Finally.

For several years I've gone to Barbondale around the end of April, then for three more visits during the breeding season, but unfortunately not this year. Yesterday wasn't the choicest of days, it was cloudy and with a chill in the wind, but I had it in my head to make the off I went.

The birds were almost as dull as the weather, but the sight of a stunning male Redstart, and a Spotted Flycatcher was all that was needed to lift the gloom nicely for me. Also amongst the 12 species count, a singing Garden Warbler, 6 Grey Wagtail on Barbon Beck, a Buzzard above the ridge, 6 Mistle Thrush included a juvenile, a Blue Tit with at least one young, a Great Tit, 3 Goldfinch, 2 Linnet, a Great-spotted Woodpecker, and the endless song of the Willow Warblers

Silver-ground Carpet. Pete Woodruff.

For the sake of a bit more accuracy on ID, I managed a record shot of the Silver-ground Carpet at Barbondale. A common moth throughout Britain, usually nocturnal but easily disturbed during the day.

On the way back to Lancaster, I called in to Birk Bank to see if I could find any dragonflies over the bog, this weather....dream on, 2 Swift went over. On Sunday a Painted Lady was a nice find in Scotforth.

I wonder if I'll get to Barbondale again this summer....well it won't be for the lack of trying. 

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Pontoon Peace.

There's no doubt about it, there appeared to be a reign of peace yesterday on the pontoon at Conder Pool, but you don't have to be an ornithological genius to see that things won't last.

Common Tern Conder Pool 14 June. Ian Pinkerton.

The first Common Tern to have claimed territory on the pontoon now has two chicks, with one bird already seen wing flapping in IP's image above. The other Common Tern is sitting in the right corner, a third Common Tern which at one point was obviously sitting at the right hand edge of the island behind the pontoon has disappeared, unfortunate in that Conder Pool was looking like it was going to have another first record with three breeding Common Tern in 2019.

Black-headed Gull Conder Pool 14 June. Ian Pinkerton. 

The seemingly long time sitting Black-headed Gull finally also has two chicks, with the second bird sitting close by. But with the potential of at least sixteen birds in this confined space in the coming weeks the apparent peace won't last.

A circuit took me to Glasson Dock, to return via the canal where I saw/heard 5 Sedge Warbler and a Whitethroat. A Tree Sparrow took me by surprise, the second sighting of the species, the first on 28 May was of three in the hedgerow at the backside of Conder Pool seen from the canal, today's bird was just past the road bridge east of Christ Church seen from the canal  tow-path. I'm not often in this area, but both these sightings of Tree Sparrow are new locations to me. Also seen from the tow-path, 3 Large Skipper.  

Large Skipper. Pete Woodruff.

Thanks to Howard Stockdale for his header image of the Dipper juveniles seen at Tower Lodge on 2 June.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Bowland Updated.

Weather-wise not quite the day I had hoped for on Monday, an hour into the visit I had to escape back to the car almost a mile away from a downpour. But it was actually all worth while when the weather dried up, not least because I eventually found 3 Pied Flycatcher, a male of which was at a natural hole in the same tree 100 metres east of Trough Bridge, where I've found them before in two previous years, I got no sign of any female in a lengthy stakeout. The other sighting was at a nest box with male and female entering to feed young.

Spotted Flycatcher. Howard Stockdale.

I found only 4 Spotted Flycatcher today, all at the backside of the plantation from Tower Lodge. Also noted of the 24 species counted, 10 Grey Wagtail were on the Marshaw Wyre including juveniles, also a similar number of Pied WagtailA few Sand Martin were at Marshaw, and at least four active House Martin nests are at Tower Lodge with Swallow around. On the Marshaw Wyre, 4 Common Sandpiper were seen as two pairs with behaviour indicating young around.  

I twice heard a Cuckoo calling, this one in the Marshaw area as opposed to the last visit when one was heard in the area of woodland above Tower Lodge. Nine Chaffinch seen included two juvenile, 2 Blackcap, 2 Mistle Thrush, and a singing Willow Warbler was the only one today.

I had no sighting of Dipper on the Marshaw Wyre, my last here was on 23 May 2018 despite at least four visits.

At Stoops Bridge, Abbeystead, another pair of Pied Flycatcher were seen visiting a natural nest hole to feed young, and a pair of Spotted Flycatcher, the female of which could be clearly seen on the nest.

Garden Birds.

Garden Blackbird 11 June. Pete Woodruff.

We now have a trio of young Blackbirds in our garden. It was a treat to see all three together in pursuit of an adult male, running down the path towards the kitchen door yesterday....Magic.  

Sunday, 9 June 2019

And The Winner Is....

7 June. Ian Pinkerton. (Clik The Pik)

This image shows the cramped style the birds are enduring on the pontoon at Conder Green, with two pairs of Common Tern and a Black-headed Gull all sitting on eggs. Already the week old Oystercatcher chicks have been dealt with, little doubt by the Common Terns, with two corpses in view as evidence, the Black-headed Gull and whatever it's nest produces will have been marked as the next. All this, and with tolerance tested to the limit between the terns when young are involved. There's only going to be one winner this space. 

Three breeding pairs of Common Tern seen, with just 2 Avocet and none seen sitting, adds to the negative news from Conder Pool. Up to 140 Black-headed Gull had assembled here again, and 2 Dunlin seemed out of place here. There are a healthy number of Swallow around Conder Green Farm, and I counted six active House Martin nests at River Winds. Elsewhere, the Lesser Whitethroat continues to sing from the coastal path, and a Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler noted.

Common Blue. Pete Woodruff.

On the headland, I saw 6 Common Blue as I walked to Plover Scar where I spent a pleasant 45 minutes to find up to 160 Ringed Plover, the bonus of which was three day old chicks, also 130 Dunlin present, and 2 Linnet dropped in briefly. 

Cinnabar. Pete Woodruff.

A Cinnabar was at Conder Green. A fairly common moth which is usually nocturnal, but easily disturbed from long grass during the day.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Climate Change.

Climate change has already made a significant impact on bird populations around the world and the impact is projected to become much larger in the future, increasing the risk of extinction for many species.


There's this guy, I think he's called the president of the US, and he's a climate change denier who is so deluded that he calls the whole thing a 'hoax', and he's been welcomed with all the trimmings on an official state visit to the UK by the PM and her cronies, who claim to be a government calling itself a global climate leader.

The hypocrisy of all this is a bit much, so while they're feeling the pressure to prove their climate credentials, we can put some serious heat on them to finally declare a Climate Emergency. 

Please consider SIGNING THIS PETITION ....I have.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Pool, Scar, & Garden.

The Oystercatcher family have disappeared from the pontoon which is now on a tilt presumably grounded, judging by the sustained dive bombing attacks I witnessed last Thursday, the chicks probably perished at the hands of the Common Terns, and the adults deserted.

There are three breeding pairs of Common Tern, with a second pair now having taken up in the right hand corner of the pontoon to join the left hand corner pair, and the Black-headed Gull still sitting at the rear. An error in the text sent to me on 30 May to say...'three B. H. Gull chicks still alive'....should have read Oystercatcher. The third Common Tern is sitting at the right hand edge of the island behind the pontoon. 

Also noted on Conder Pool, of 6 Avocet seen four are still sitting. For the first time I saw 2 Little Ringed Plover together, a Greenshank, 6 Redshank, at least 140 Black-headed Gull, and a few Sand Martin hawking insects. From the coastal path, a singing Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Whitethroat, 10 Canada Geese flew south off the Lune Estuary.

From Jeremy Lane, 2 Buzzard flew low over the fields towards Cockersand. On Plover Scar at high tide, c.200 waders seen as 120 Dunlin, 80 Ringed Plover, and a lone Sanderling.

Sanderling/Dunlin Plover Scar 3 June. Pete Woodruff.

I managed a poor shot of two roosting waders which were a long way off and a howler blowing on Plover Scar, the pale one had me guessing for a while and was much bigger than the Dunlin, both species being no more than 21cm in length, but the other bird being bulkier was a Sanderling.  

Garden Birds.

We had a family party of Great Tit with at least three young seen this morning, two sibling Blackbirds are thriving, and the young begging Goldfinch continue to visit the feeders. 

I got another short 'unsteady' video again on Monday, the Little Ringed Plover on Conder Pool is best viewed on Full Screen.


Sunday, 2 June 2019

And Finally!

After several failed attempts over a long period of time, I finally succeeded to upload a video I made on to Birds2blog. I'm not able to edit the film, and the small size is out of my control, so it's best viewed on Full Screen, it shows a sustained attack on the Oystercatcher by the Common Tern, a situation which will only get worse.


News from Conder Pool.

Thanks to Ian Pinkerton for his update of three eggs in the Common Tern nest, and three Black-headed Gull chicks seen Friday 30 May. Also, thanks to Ian Mitchell for letting me know about his Painted Lady butterfly seen around the Lighthouse Cottage area at Cockersand, where he also saw several Common Blue along the headland.