BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY THE FOREST OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND....................................................................................................GREY HERON PETE WOODRUFF

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Gulls, Dragons, And Flutterby's.

I had other plans on Thursday, but they fell apart and I ended up at Heysham to check the gulls on Red Nab as the tide came in.

When I arrived at Heysham the tide was around 2 hours short of high and there was c.500 gulls on the seaward edge of Red Nab, so plenty to keep me interested for a while I thought. But the birds were restless and a few soon started to disperse and were flying off south, it soon became obvious they were not going to be pushed towards me by high tide at 1.00pm and there was only c.50 gulls left now. But I did manage to find 12 Mediterranean Gull including three juveniles. Worthy of note, a staggering 107 - possibly up to 117 - Mediterranean Gull were recorded at Heysham on 27 July. 

There was some added interest in the gull search, as one bird bore a green darvic ring and was probably the previously seen individual in July marked in Germany as an adult in 2012, and seen at Heysham in 2017/18/19, the bird was too distant for me to read the ring today. A second gull was also ringed, but frustratingly was again too far off to be read. This bird had a white darvic ring, and is established to have been marked in the Netherlands as a nestling in June 2019, it was seen in Wales later that year, and again in Wales February this year, before being seen again on the Heysham outfalls in mid-August.

As I came away from Red Nab, on the pond I saw, 2 Emperor Dragonfly, also a male and female Common Darter, and 2 Migrant Hawker. Though the weather was suitable, an hour at the west end of the reserve gave a small number of 7 species and 20 butterflies, 5 Common Blue, 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Meadow Brown, 2, Red Admiral, 2 Speckled Wood, 2 Gatekeeper, and 2 Small White.    

The Southern Hawker.

Southern Hawker Male. Pete Woodruff.

I watched a male Southern Hawker flying around the trees on the reserve, it appeared to never be going to settle, but it eventually did come to rest at the height of about 6 meters on a not very healthy looking conifer. I managed to locate the hawker with my camera steadied on a tripod and got a half decent shot. 

The Southern Hawker was first recorded in Lancashire in 1940, although it appears that they were not recorded for another 50 years in North Lancashire in the 1990's, and in fact not in East Lancashire before 2000.

The Spotted Flycatcher.

Spotted Flycatcher. Pete Woodruff.

I hear from a reliable source....The Spotted Flycatcher appears to have had a poor season this year at regular sites visited in Bowland including the area around Tower Lodge which is a stronghold in my records for the Spotted Flycatcher. 

I was concerned to hear the compound at Tower Lodge has been cleared of up to 60% of the trees, as a consequence the Pied Flycatcher nest boxes have suffered a near death, with little if any more than four now left from at least ten originally put up. The small woodland has been developed into some sort of mini safari and picnic area, with ducks, an odd looking turkey, hens, a trampoline, and table and chairs. 


Richard Pegler said...

You are doing better with Southern Hawker than I am Pete - you've managed to photograph one this year, which I have not yet, but at least I've had one in my garden - very briefly.

I'm guessing that that area at Tower Lodge was installed before the pandemic - if it was after the start of the pandemic, it would seem to be an terrible waste of money. What a pity to have destroyed an otherwise good environment.

Keep on keeping safe - - - Richard

Marc Heath said...

I've still yet to get my camera on a male Southern Hawker yet Pete so well done on any kind of shot. Take care.