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

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Stonechat Revival.

Yes....the Stonechat takes centre stage on B2B once again.

The last time I visited Birk Bank for any chance of seeing Stonechat or anything else, was on 22 June 2018. But last week I was on Birk Bank and well chuffed to find 14 Stonechat.

Over four birding days at four locations in as many weeks in Bowland, I've found 55 Stonechat

Aug 26 Caton Moor (18)

Sept 1 Harrisend Fell (15)

Sept 14 Hawthornthwaite Fell (8)

Sept 21 Birk Bank (14) 

This number reaches a Stonechat milestone for me, and if the figures in this sample are anything to go by, they appear to support the claim in a report I read recently, that the recovery of the Stonechat since its demise during the harsh winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11, has reached a healthy level once again in all seasons in Lancashire. A welcome return to the peak of 15 years ago....MAGIC

Common Darter Birk Bank 21 September

Black Darter Birk Bank 21 September

Other notes on this Stonechat mission....I found Common Darter and 3 Black Darter over the bog and basking on the boardwalk as in these images. I was a little disappointed not to have seen the Keeled Skimmer here again this visit, despite the most abundant flight period being past by the end of August, given the right conditions their flight season can be into November

Birds noted, 3 Buzzard soaring overhead, 5 Red Grouse, 5 Meadow Pipit, with a 'few' House Martin and Swallow south.

One of our female garden Blackbirds in moult, looking a little worse for wear and going bold. Pleased it wasn't caught out by the Sparrowhawk seen in our garden earlier.

Beware....This video may cause you to feel sea-sick, not easy to hand hold a digital camera at 20x optical zoom and make a film. 


But the House Sparrow it took out soon after I got this footage wasn't so lucky. 

Thanks to Martin Jump for the brilliant female Stonechat header image, complete with insects in its bill including a Latticed Heath moth.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Hawker Hunt.

When I looked through my records, by coincidence I had chosen the same date as last year for a saunter along the canal towpath Glasson Dock - Galgate yesterday. Having walked an extra 2 miles this time, I didn't even equal let alone exceeded the same 54 Migrant Hawker seen on 19 September 2019.

On this pleasant saunter, the dragonflies seen, 24 Migrant Hawker, 4 Emperor Dragonfly, 3 Brown Hawker and 2 Common Darter.

Green-veined White
Butterflies were sparse, with singles of Green-veined WhiteCommaSpeckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell, and 2 Silver Y moths.


Until I saw it on my computer, I had no idea the Comma that took off the instant I pressed the shutter, had resulted in this creative image. 

Tipula oleracea

The Crane-Fly caught my eye.
Birds of any note were also sparse, but a Chiffchaff was singing nicely by Christ Church at Glasson Dock....


....and at least 60 Swallow gave me a few extra minutes of feel-good factor on this enjoyable Hawker Hunt.

And Finally....  

Greylag Conder Pool 16 Sept. Howard Stockdale.

2016 Ambleside, Cumbria 25 June. Ringed SAN as a female.
2017 Barnacre Reservoir, Lanc's 9 October.
2017 Barnacre Reservoir, Lanc's 10 October
2017 Knaresborough, North York's 18 November.
2018 Nateby, Lanc's 24 December.
2018 Abbeystead, Lanc's 16 March.
2018 Langden Head, Bowland 26 June.
2018 Stocks Reservoir, Bowland 23 November.
2019 Stocks Reservoir, Bowland 21 January.
2019 Stocks Reservoir, Bowland 26 June.
2020. Conder Green, Lanc's 16 September.

Thanks to Kane Brides for the history of SAN. Also thanks to Howard for the excellent Little Stint header image.  

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Scratching The Surface.

Tip of the iceberg stuff in the expanse that is the Forest of Bowland, where we'll never know the true picture on the status of birds, in particular my very own favourite. 

trip up the west and east sides of Hawthornthwaite Fell earlier in the week, had my tally reaching 41 Stonechat at three locations visited in Bowland over 19 days. On the west side, 4 Stonechat, at least 80 Meadow Pipit and 4 Red Grouse. Butterflies seen, 16 Red Admiral, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, a Peacock and Comma.

Something of a surprise was a grounded racing Pigeon which was found to be marked, Pink left, White right. Enquiries with a neighbouring pigeon fancier about my find, indicated the colour combination was of a bird ringed in England. The bird was a smart individual with immaculate plumage, it appeared to be in good health and was feeding on heather seed.

On the east side of Hawthornthwaite, 4 Stonechat, a lone Meadow Pipit and 5 Red Grouse. Butterflies, 10 Small Tortoiseshell, a Red Admiral and Peacock. A Stoat ran across the grit track ahead of me. 

As I got to the gate to go back out and on to the Trough Road at Marshaw, I had a fleeting glimpse of two small butterflies between the canopies of two large Oaks. Purple Hairstreak surely?....but I don't record possible/probable.  

The Spider.

I watched this Garden Spider spinning its web as one of the endless wonders of the natural world for us all to see, the energy and determination of this creature fascinated me. In the present climate we find ourselves in, I had 84 secs of chilling out therapy in my own garden. 


Sunday, 13 September 2020


I've spent endless hours engrossed in birding at Cockersand, often there until dusk and beyond, and occasionally got drenched in a downpour with nowhere to hide. I always had my camera to hand for the scenery if not for the birds. 


With birds to be discovered, Cockersand sits on the chart in my book as the best in our area. Many are the times I've rocketed there in response to calls and text alerts from a birder to get gripping views of American Golden Plover (4) and Long-billed Dowitcher to mention but five.

The list of some of the birds found over the past 14 years....

2006. Broad-billed Sandpiper 15 May Maurice Jones.
2008. American Golden Plover 19 Nov Stuart Piner.
2009. Long-billed Dowitcher 13 Oct Stuart Piner.
2009. Black Redstart 9 Nov Pete Woodruff.

2011. American Golden Plover 4 Nov Stuart Piner. (Photo Stuart Piner)

2011. Kentish Plover 3 May Pete Woodruff. (Photo Mick McGough)
2012. American Golden Plover 5 Sept Stuart Piner.

2013. Dotterel 16 April Pete Woodruff. (Photo Chris Batty)

2014. American Buff-bellied Pipit 4 May Stuart Piner. (Photo Stuart Piner)
2015. Wryneck 13 April Pete Woodruff.
2016. American Golden Plover 28 Sept Stuart Piner.
2017. Lapland Bunting 24 March Pete Woodruff.
2017. Sabine's Gull 11 Sept Ian Hartley.

2018. Red-backed Shrike 27 May Kate Hughes. (Photo Ian Hartley)
2018. Pallid Harrier 16 Sept Ian Hartley.

And Finally....

I found Margery earlier in the year, she's been featured on B2B before, but certainly worth another look, and I'll swear the image of her husband is that of a birder I know!

Sunday, 6 September 2020


September has been a decent month for me in the past, and some searching through the records has turned up a little interest out of the little black book.

I have to divert from September to start with the oldest, and note the record of a Lesser Yellowlegs I found on the Eric Morecambe Complex at Leighton Moss on 18 October 1995, this was the first record in our area of this North American wader, it was followed by the second Lesser Yellowlegs found at the same location 2 years later on 12 September 1997 when this time I was in company with John Leedal. These two birds were the first of four more seen over the years....

Banks Marsh 6 February 1999

Eagland Hill 14 September 2002

Glasson Dock 24 September 2011

Conder Green 23 August 2015

Black-necked Grebe Juvenile Len Blumin@Flickr 

September continued to be good for me, in that I found a juvenile Black-necked Grebe on Conder Pool 1 September 2008, this bird obliged for 17 days, and was last seen on Conder Pool on 18 September.

Just 18 days after my Black-necked Grebe, I was coming back down Clougha Pike whilst doing my Stonechat survey of the area, as I reached the top of Birk Bank, on 19 September 2008 a Honey Buzzard gave me 90 seconds of pleasure as it flew by me south. 

My sighting was a part of an influx of Honey Buzzard in our recording area in 2008, thought to have been displaced Scandinavian migrants. It was one of 10 records including the first of these, which was of a juvenile female having been ringed and solar-powered satellite transmitter fitted at the nest in Scotland. This bird was known to have roosted overnight on the Cumbria border on 13 September, crossed the English Channel to France, then over the Straits of Gibraltar. It reached southern Morocco by mid-October, but by mid-November the transmitter was still at the same remote location in the Atlas Mountains, suggesting that it had become detached, or the bird was dead.

I spent many hours along with John Leedal staked out in the Rusland Valley in Cumbria watching Honey Buzzard during the early 2000's, mostly fruitless hours, but we did have our days, and we had them close one day on which I made an excellent recording of one bird calling reminiscent of Grey Plover....Halcyon Days. 

Red-throated Diver.

I was intrigued by the report on LDBWS website, of a Red-throated Diver swimming upstream in the River Conder on Friday morning. I've no doubt this sighting was seen as questionable, but I was in touch with Malcolm Sole about his report, he gave me some more details and further claimed the bird to be in winter plumage. If this wasn't the case, then the question has to be....what did Malcolm see in the creeks at Conder Green on Friday morning?  

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Another Excellent Plan....Again!

The plan yesterday was to check out Harrisend, but not until I had taken a look at Grisedale Brook for Golden Ringed Dragonfly. Maybe too late now, as the flight season runs out by late August, but being a good sunny warm day I thought maybe just a chance, but I drew a blank, it was too late, and I had to settle for a male Migrant Hawker, 6 Small Tortoiseshell, and a Buzzard soaring overhead.

But it was a different story for 3 hours on Harrisend, which resulted with 15 Stonechat found seen as adults and juveniles. Also of note, a Raven honking overhead with some excellent aerobatics seen, 2 Buzzard hanging on the wind over the ridge, a Kestrel hovering, and a Reed Bunting. Butterflies seen, 12 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Red Admiral, and a Small Copper, with 2 Silver Y moths seen.

Stonechat. Howard Stockdale.

So 33 Stonechat at two locations in 7 days. In the little black book, it looks a bit like the early 2000's all over again. Thanks to Howard Stockdale for the Stonechat on Abbeystead Lane 9 August.

I'd sooner be birding....Good to be birding again yesterday and always is, it's what I do, an illness for which I hope there's never a cure.