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

Thursday, 31 October 2019

A Place For Plovers.

There wasn't much left of Plover Scar above the surface when I arrived yesterday at high tide, so no evidence of what the scar is, and what it really means to the birds when the tide is out.

Clik the pik to read the importance of this message 

But since I was last here on Monday, I was pleased to find the erection of this excellent sculpture and notice at the parking area by Lighthouse Cottage.

Great work by everyone involved in getting this much needed important message and excellent art work put in place....Well done, and a personal Thank You.  

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

High As A Kite!

Hard to believe I didn't get up Hawthornthwaite Fell this summer, the last and only time I was there was 22 April when I found none, but I derived great pleasure in finding 3 Stonechat at Hawthornthwaite yesterday, also a decent count of 22 Red Grouse and a Wren to note.

Red Kite Noushka @ 1000-Pattes Clik the pik

As I reached to top of the hill at Cam Brow, turning a bend I was confronted by a large raptor on a carcass in the road, the bird took off the minute it saw the car and flew north toward Abbeystead. I pulled off the road to walk back to see if I could find the bird, but it had disappeared, but soon came into view again flying south towards Hawthornthwaite Fell, it was a Red Kite. I'm grateful to Noushka for the excellent image of this stunning bird. 

At least 100 Chaffinch seen today. Walking up the track toward White Moor from Tower Lodge, c.40 were up and down out of the trees and onto the track, I found just 2 Brambling with them. Later another flock of at least 60 seen in the road east of Tower Lodge, this time up and down between the traffic with just one Brambling seen with them.

Good numbers in excess of 200 Fieldfare seen on the day, with estimates of at least 40 at Isle of Skye Farm, probably 100 at Fellside Farm seen from a moving car, and 70 in the Tower Lodge area. A Dipper was the only bird seen on the Marshaw Wyre. 

Marshaw Wyre Bowland. Pete Woodruff. Clik the pik 

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

The Great Escape.

Well a good escape if not great, my birding never drops below good, and it was good to get out again yesterday, Today would have been a week since my last birding day, and a week since B2B ran out of material, and I reckon that's an 11 year record down the pan. I was tasked to do some decorating, something I couldn't escape from....I signed the contract!!

At Conder Green a count of 13 Little Grebewith eight in the creeks and five on Conder Pool, also 3 Greenshank, 7 Goosander, and 2 Kingfisher seen within five minutes of each other, a Greenshank was down the Conder channel. Notably the 'winter' Common Sandpiper not seen again, last seen 11 October. 

Not before time, I saw my first Whooper Swan of the winter, albeit a lone bird drifting upstream. Also noted, a Greenshank close by which called in it's powerful whistling 'tyew-tyew-tyew' constantly for up to thirty minutes before falling silent, no more than 50 Golden Plover here today, 65 Wigeon, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Goosander.

Turnstone Cockersand. Pete Woodruff. Clik the pik

At Cockersand, at least 220 Golden Plover and 50 Turnstone, including ten roosting on a little terra firma over a 10.23m tide, with 140 Curlew in a field by Abbey Farm, 3 Wren seen on the circuit, and 3 Blackbird around Bank Houses were my only other notes here.

Thanks to Richard for the excellent nine Snipe in flight at Knott End yesterday.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

The Parish Of Aldcliffe And Beyond.

On Monday I went for another two pennyworth of the Snow Bunting on Plover Scar, saw a Sparrowhawk disappearing into a bush at Bank Houses, a Buzzard soaring over Abbey Farm, and a little evidence of Skylark and Meadow Pipit movement. Notes from the Lune Estuary included 128 Curlew, 11 Snipe, and 5 GoosanderOn Conder Pool, 9 Little Grebe, 3 Greenshank, drake Goosander, and 5 Tufted Duck. 

Yesterday I did a circuit of the parish of Aldcliffe and was asked by a regular birder here if I had a permit for the area, but I seemed to get let off the hook even when I said I hadn't!....Good to see you again Barrie.

On Freeman's Pools, 15 Gadwall, up to 60 Teal, 6 Tufted Duck, 4 Wigeon, and a Little Grebe noted. Off Marsh Point, 122 Herring Gull with a lesser number of Black-headed Gull. In the harvested maize field, c.250 Greylag and 62 Canada Geese, and on the Wildfowlers' Pool, the female Scaup had the place almost itself, this pool would be more appropriately called Aldcliffe Wetlands, and the birdless flood called a lake.

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, c.650 Black-tailed Godwit and 250 Golden Plover, with 8 Wigeon and 3 Goosander drake noted. A Merlin was squat quietly on the south end of Colloway Marsh. At Conder Green, 8 Little Grebe were seen as four in the creeks, and four on Conder Pool with a Greenshank to note, a Kingfisher flew the length of the pool, and 4 Tufted Duck seen numbered five on Monday, today the drake was missing.

Common Sandpiper Conder Green. Howard Stockdale. Clik the pik 

Despite five visits, I've not seen the Common Sandpiper at Conder Green since 13 October. Many thanks to Howard for the image. 

Sunday, 20 October 2019

The Triple Whammy.

It was one thing to get a phone call in the evening last Wednesday, but everything got a lot more interesting as it went along and blew me a little off balance.

Snow Bunting Plover Scar 16 October Clik the pik

I got news of a Snow Bunting found on Plover Scar that afternoon which I went to see the following day, and was rewarded with excellent views.

Cattle Egret Cockersand 16 October Clik the pik 

I then received a set of photographs of the Snow Bunting, but hey up, there's also included with the set, an excellent image of 2 Cattle Egret in a field...well blow me over! 

Then, as if that wasn't enough to be going on with at Cockersand. On my return from seeing the Snow Bunting on Thursday, Bob who was sat in his car at the car park by Lighthouse Cottage, tells me that recently he had seen a large seabird in the field between Crook Farm and Crook Cottage which he had identified as an immature Gannet.

Many thanks for call from Martin, the images from Ian, and the heads up from Bob about the Gannet....What next!

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Plover Scar Delivers.

There was a spectacular mix of corvids on the Lune Estuary on Thursday as viewed from the bowling green, they were all over the place and impossible to count, they numbered at least 500, with a maximum of probably up to 700. In order of numbers, the highest being up to 50% Rook, with Carrion Crow, and Jackdaw, they were on the mud, and scattered widely on the south end of Colloway Marsh, many distant with little if any chance of separation.

Otherwise, the estuary was on a quiet day, though up to 350 Golden Plover were present, and 3 Goosander were noted, also the crippled Curlew Sandpiper made it's third appearance for me in 14 days, still hoping on its left leg, the right one tucked under its belly.

Snow Bunting Plover Scar 17 October Pete Woodruff Clik the pik

The rest of the afternoon was spent at Cockersand with a Snow Bunting which showed well though often quite mobile and well camouflaged when it went way out on Plover Scar amongst the shingle. Seen as an early record for Snow Bunting, most of which are singles found on the coast from around mid-October, these tend to pass through quickly, this one hasn't been seen since Thursday seeming to confirm this, most turn up during November to January. 

A male Kestrel, was the only other bird I noted at Cockersand, and a Painted Lady in mid-October may well be my last of the year, in which case my tally for this brilliant butterfly in 2019 would be 417.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

A Change Of Scenery.

Curlew Conder Pool. Pete Woodruff. Clik the pik

I was desperate to get a pik for the post, so took this one of the Curlew on Conder Pool.

I wandered off down the A588 on Tuesday, but on the way, called in briefly to Conder Pool, I find it difficult to ignore Conder Pool....nay impossible to drive by and ignore. Today's count was 13 Little Grebe, 28 Curlew, with the ever faithful 5 Greenshankin the creeks c.82 Teal.

Common Darter Lane Ends. Pete Woodruff. Clik the pik

It was about high tide when I got to Pilling Lane Ends, but it was way out, only the highest of tides cover the marsh here. There was a minimum of 3,000 Pink-footed Geese present, and although there was large numbers of wildfowl, Pintail and Teal seemed predominant, with 6 Great-crested Grebe to note. Thirty minutes around the woodlands here produced 2 Robin, and a Common Darter, seen as one of the last dragonflies to be encountered in autumn, flying into November.

A Buzzard drifted east over Fluke Hall, and 2 Raven were quite vocal around the pens west of here. At Cockers Dyke, 260 Golden Plover included some en-route on Pilling Sands, c.550 Dunlin, 110 Redshank, and a lone Knot.

Rossall Shorelark.

In a telephone conversation last night, I had reliable  - very reliable - info of a Shorelark at Rossall yesterday afternoon. I appropriately reported the bird to FBC.


Since July 2018 until June 2019, Lush have donated £11,927,720 to grassroots charities, movements, and campaigns world-wide, including the fight against Hen Harrier persecution.

I recently did a clean up of my sidebar and deleted them from it. I now regret doing that, and am going to reinstate the link to Lush on there again.  

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

By Recent Standards....A Nice Day.

Weather-wise a nice day, if there's not even a hint of a breeze at Cockersand it's certainly a nice day, but a couple of bod's out on Plover Scar meant the end of any chance of a roost, but n'er mind, there's more to Cockersand than a high tide roost. And anyway....why wasn't I out looking for Yellow-browed Warblers!

On Cockerham Sands/Cocker Estuary, a conservative estimate was of 3,500 Wigeon, with an excellent count of up to 1,250 Curlew, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 275 Shelduckand 3 Great-crested Grebe, there was no significant numbers of uncounted Redshank and DunlinI was impressed by 25 Greenfinch flighty around the Bank Houses area, a sample of 18 Skylark which I could hear during my time at Cockersand, they were heading SW towards Pilling, also 15 Meadow Pipit, a Wren was around the abbey ruins and 2 Grey Plover were on the shore below the headland, c.250 Pink-footed Geese went over SW, and 8 Little Egret were in fields with 82 Curlew around Abbey Farm. 

Although c.750 Golden Plover were on the mud below Colloway Marsh, the Lune Estuary was otherwise pretty quiet, but 155 Dunlin noted, with 24 Curlew, 12 Wigeon, and the Black Swan emerging from the Conder Estuary. Conder Pool was equally quiet, with a roost of 6 Greenshank and just 10 Little Grebe seen today. In the creeks, 120 Teal, 4 Little Grebe, 2 Goosander, and 15 Goldfinch flighty as ever over the marsh.

Giant House Spider Tegenaria duellica Pete Woodruff Clik the pik

No appropriate piks for the post again, but thought you would like to see this beauty in our house recently, the coin for scale is a two pence piece. KT wasn't too keen on it staying here, so we decided to eject it from the living room and into the garden....Hope this wasn't a fatal decision for the spider, after all it is a House Spider.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Wot No Piks!

It's now even more difficult to access the still rising number of grebe on Conder Pool, with channels to go down, and islands to get behind now the pool has flooded again, but after the customary multi-attempts, at least 18 Little Grebe counted, also 4 Greenshank, 5 Little Egret, 2 Snipe, and a Kingfisher in flight across the pool. Another 4 Little Grebe were in the creeks, with up to 55 Teal and 5 Goosander, a Sparrowhawk was over the marsh, with c.40 Goldfinch flighty over. Down the channel, the now wintering Common Sandpiper seen, and 4 Greenshank down here were probably the four seen earlier on Conder Pool.

Checking the Lune Estuary at Glasson it was good to meet four Fylde birders, all high ranking in my book and much respected. Curlew Sandpiper which I saw briefly, was possibly another bird to the one I've seen here 3/8 October, based on SP - one of the four  - claiming this bird was mobile on both legs before it flew off prematurely, my bird had been seen as severely handicapped with one leg. 

count here was of at least 300 Greylag, but almost certainly many more were upstream and out of sight on the mud below Colloway Marsh, 2 Greenshank, and 82 Curlew, the Redshank and Dunlin went uncounted, but not exceeding 250 in total after a number of both left and flew off downstream, leaving behind at least 1,000 Lapwing

I found 5 Migrant Hawker, one seen at the west end of Conder Pool, and four on the canal at Glasson Dock east along the tow-path beyond Christ Church. I wondered at the time, if I've seen four in one small area, perhaps if I'd have walked a mile along the tow-path to The Mill at Conder Green, I would have found another good count of Migrant Hawker as on 19 September.

A skein of at least 200 Pink-footed Geese over Bowerham again yesterday morning. 


No piks in the post, but the header is another Golden Oldie of the Kentish Plover found on Plover Scar at Cockersand 3 May 2011. Thanks to Mick McGough for the brilliant image of this excellent rare vagrant. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Out For A Duck!....

....and one or two other birds.

There was no more than 40 Teal at Conder Green yesterday, but despite sifting through every last one of 'em, I failed to see the juvenile male Garganey....another first for the green, been here since 28 September.

Conder Pool is more appropriately called Conder Lake once again, and the best of four attempts resulted in 13 Little Grebe, with a few no doubt finding plenty of hiding places in the channels and out of view behind the islands. Otherwise quiet with 3 Greenshank and 21 Curlew making up the numbers. Two Goosander were in the creeks, and a Red Admiral can't have been the happiest butterfly on the wing today, windy, and lashing it down 15 minutes earlier.

Redshank. Howard Stockdale. Clik the pik

The left legged Curlew Sandpiper with injury to it's right leg, seen again on the Lune Estuary as last Thursday, it was accompanied by a Ruffwith Redshank and Dunlin amounting to little more than 200 birds. Of c.380 Greylag seen, I reckon those to make up last Thursdays count of at least 620 were out of sight upriver below Colloway Marsh where I counted 16 Canada Geese. A Great-crested Grebe and 17 Wigeon were noted, the Golden Plover were noticeably absent.

Home Sightings.

Four skeins of up to 300 Pink-footed Geese SW over Bowerham this morning, also a Red Admiral in the garden.

Thanks to Howard for the in flight Redshank and lone Dunlin, and to Martin for putting the record straight, that we've not had a Stonechat image on B2B for ages.

P.S....This is amazing, and a First for Ireland 

Saturday, 5 October 2019

A Little Healthier, A Little Longer.

A bit more action on Thursday resulted in a healthier looking list than Mondays shortie, and I was at Glasson Dock 3 hours before to see the rising tide moving birds around.

There was something of a spectacle with at least 620 Greylag on the Lune Estuary, a personal highest concentration to date seen in one sighting. Also of note, a Curlew Sandpiper which had an injury to it's right leg leaving the bird severely crippled, an adult Mediterranean Gull, 25 Curlew, 12 Snipe, 4 Greenshank, and 3 GoosanderOn Conder Pool, 10 Greenshank in the high tide roost, 15 Little Grebe, and a Common Sandpiper, c.120 Goldfinch were seen again as Monday, flighty over the marsh.

On only my fourth visit to Cockersand since the episode of last September, and my first circuit completed here since late August 2018. Plover Scar held up to 90 Turnstone, and a Sparrowhawk which I flushed from out of sight below the headland. A Rock Pipit was on the shingle, and I found 340 Curlew in fields by Abbey Farm, 220 in one, and 120 in another where there was at least 750 Golden Plover, 125 Lapwing and 5 Little Egret.

I saw 3 Kestrel on the day, two as I left Cockersand on Slack Lane and Moss Lane, and another as I drove by Ashton Golf Club.

Greenshank high tide roost on Conder Pool.

View Full Screen

I'm always singing the praises of Conder Pool, the header image continues the praises, albeit a Golden Oldie of the Temminck's Stint on 28 May 2011. 
Worthy of a mention on Birds2blog....On Wednesday, 500 Red Throated Divers at the rate of 100 per hour north past Maryport on a rising tide.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

The Short List.

If your name is on the short list in a competition it's good news, you'll be in with a chance, and could be a winner. But this short list was the result of a couple of hours birding yesterday, and certainly wasn't a winner, despite a bit of effort resulted in very little....But, if the birds ain't there, then the list is going to be short.

Nine Greenshank were in the high tide roost on Conder Pool with 11 Curlew, also 16 Teal, with 6 Little Egret, a Stock Dove noted, and the customary multi counts resulted in 20 Little Grebe again. Twelve Snipe came up off the marsh - thanks Howard - and headed off over the estuary, 2 Goosander seen.

Wheatear Cockersand 30 Sept. Pete Woodruff. Clik the pik

A brief visit to Cockersand saw a Wheatear, the smallest of Northern Wheatear I ever saw, the size of a Robin, and truly fooled me initially. Also seen, a Sparrowhawk, and at least 500 Curlew in two flights of 300/200 out over the marsh. At Bank Houses, 2 Swallow were on the wires, and similar at Lambs Farm, Moss Lane, and a Silver Y seen.