BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY THE FOREST OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND.........................................................................................MIGRANT HAWKER PETE WOODRUFF

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Birding Unplugged....

....well badly fractured anyway!

I had to taxi a family member to Dolphinholme on Tuesday, to be picked up again in three hours to return to Lancaster. The perfect opportunity for me to go a few miles up the road for a couple of hours to Hawthornthwaite, to prove that I had missed the Stonechats wintering here on my last visit 10 November.

The trip wasn't the success I had hoped for as I had made the effort to make a video of the visit, but when I got the sequences on my computer, I found the wind had drowned out most of the commentary, and three of the sequences ended up in the bin. However, I salvaged the three remaining sequences, and made a little sense of them.

Three species are mentioned in the footage, a pair of Stonechat, a Merlin, and a Hen Harrier. Two species not recorded, 12 Red Grouse, and a Wren.

View Full Screen

I note a Common Sandpiper reported at Conder Green Friday 18 December (LDBWS). This is the first Common Sandpiper to be recorded at Conder Green in winter since the last sighting of a long wintering bird of the species on 11 October 2019. Another wintering Common Sandpiper was found at Skerton Weir 25 November, was probably the same individual seen two days later from Carlisle Bridge 27 November.

An ID puzzle was these eight footprints found in the mud on the bank of the River Lune in Lancaster. I more or less immediately thought Otter, but me thinks too small....Perhaps Stoat?

A Little Success.

It was great to hear about the success of breeding Little Tern at Blakeney Point off the coast of Norfolk, where the terns had their most successful season in 2020, fledging in excess of 200 chicks, and being the best result for more than 25 years.

Little Tern. Martin Jump.

The Little Tern is one of the UK's rarest seabirds, and has been in serious decline nationally for up to 40 years since the 1980's, it's status in the country stands at less than 2,000 pairs, with up to 155 pairs nesting at Blakeney Point this year. 

This wonderful good news story is believed in part, to be the result of fewer homo sapiens visiting this location earlier in the breeding season during the first national lockdown, due to the terrible pandemic which is currently a world-wide scourge. Another contribution is that the Little Tern chose to nest at the far end of the point this year, further away from the mainland, with fewer visitors deciding not to go to the trouble of walking the distance. Added to this, is the fact that the birds nested in a tight group, with fewer predator's affecting the terns this year too, seeming to add credence to the strategy of 'safety in numbers'.

As a rapidly declining species, what a sight it must have been to see so many of these tiny seabirds fledging the nest as creatures still very much at risk in a year that has - and still is - a challenge to us all. 

Thanks to Martin Jump for his image of the Little Tern that made a brief appearance at Preston Dock in July 2018.


Pasión por las aves said...

Felices Fiestas Pete.Un fuerte abrazo amigo.

Pete Woodruff said...

And a Very Merry Christmas to you too Antonio 🎅

Take Care Stay Safe


Richard Pegler said...

I always feel a touch of jealousy when I see the countryside that you have around you, Pete!

Have a very good, even if a little different, Christmas. best wishes to you both for 2021 - - - Richard

Pete Woodruff said...

I'm sure you also have some excellent countryside around you too Richard, but I know what you mean regarding the Bowland uplands.

Keep on keeping on with the Take Care Stay Safe. With Best Wishes to yourself and Lindsey 🎅

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Hi Pete!... Merry Christmas and happy and healthy new year.. Stay safe and enjoy yourself my friend...

Pete Woodruff said...

Feliz Navidad a ti también Ana. Tenga cuidado, manténgase Seguro.