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BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY THE FOREST OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND.................................................................................NORTHERN MARSH ORCHID PETE WOODRUFF

Friday, 18 June 2021

Bog Bonanza.

Having enjoyed finding my share of the mega invasion to Birk Bank Bog to count at least 40 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, 9 Large Red Damselfly including two pairs coupled, and 4 Four-spotted ChaserI had a lucky break, and found a female Keeled Skimmer quietly ovipositing....Excellent dragonfly, shame about the pik.

Keeled Skimmer Birk Bank 17 June. Pete Woodruff. 

This is my fifth consecutive year to find Keeled Skimmer on the bog at Birk Bank, and an amazing coincidence, as it was on this very date I found a pair of Keeled Skimmer here last year on 17 June 2020.

Keeled Skimmer/Large Red Damselfly Birk Bank 17 June 2020. Pete Woodruff. 

Some more notes on a wander around the area, at least 28 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, a Garden Warbler, a Buzzard drifting over, and a Cuckoo made just two calls and went silent. Other insects were, 7 Small Heath, a Small Tortoiseshell, and a Green Tiger Beetle.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Lancaster Orchids.

Northern Marsh Orchid. Pete Woodruff.

A pleasant walk with KT to see the Lancaster Orchids was rewarded by finding a species not known by me to be seen in these parts, when an estimated 65 Northern Marsh Orchid were found.

Common Spotted Orchid. Pete Woodruff.

White Variant Common Spotted. Pete Woodruff.

More expected were 35 spikes of Common Spotted Orchid, seen as beautiful as any other orchid despite 'common' in the name. The variant white stands alone as it did in the very same place last year.

Mistle Thrush Fledgling. Pete Woodruff.

KT heard a Jay in the trees, then saw a young bird begging and being fed by a parent bird. I thought maybe I'd seen my first Jay fledgling, but in editing the image taken in the shadows of the tree, I discovered it was a Mistle Thrush. Also seen, a Chiffchaff, and two moths, the Silver-ground Carpet, and Nettle-tap

Silver-ground Carpet. Pete Woodruff.

Nettle-tap. Pete Woodruff.

The Nettle-tap is probably the most widespread and common micro-moth across Britain. 

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Start, Chaser, & Chats

A Redstart, and Four-spotted Chaser at Holme Wood, and Stonechats on Hawthornthwaite Fell, were the top trio for my little black book. But blink and you'll miss the male Redstart. Eyes right of centre where the video arrow points to the small branch on the tree....View Full Screen


Two young Redstart are now being fed at Holme Wood, but I found neither female or young on this latest visit.

Other good news from here was a Four-spotted Chasermy first dragonfly of the year, and the Cuckoo made itself know to be present calling a few times. Also of note, two pair of Dunnock with a juvenile seen, 4 Grey Wagtail on Grizedale Brook, with 4 Mistle Thrush, a Treecreeper, Willow Warbler, juvenile Goldfinch, and a Buzzard over. Butterflies seen were 12 Small Heath and 10 Large White.

A hike up Catshaw - well half way up - to look for Ring Ouzel reported to me complete with a detailed map, wasn't successful, but that's what makes birding what it is. But 15 Meadow Pipit, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Large White, a Small Heath, and a Brown Hare came as compensation for the effort.

On Hawthornthwaite, I was well rewarded by finding 5 Stonechat, including the first breeding evidence here, with two young seen. A lone male Stonechat put on a display, when I first saw the bird c.100m in the air, I thought it was a Meadow Pipit in silhouette, hovering for a few seconds, then parachuting down before leveling off to make a direct flight for around 200m. Also here, a Grey Wagtail which is scarce on Catshaw Greave, I don't recall the last one seen here, 8 Sand Martin flying around, with no colony established that I'm aware of, and 5 Meadow Pipit. Butterflies, 7 Small Heath and 2 Small Copper.

Ignorance Is Bliss!

Clik The Pik

The notice kindly erected at Cam Brow by FOBMG and says....SAND MARTINS NESTING PLEASE KEEP AWAY TO AVOID DISTURBANCE.  

Conder News.


On 26 April Howards Stockdale took this photograph of a CanadaxGreylag on Conder Pool....Sometimes nicknamed 'Granada', this is a frequent hybrid combination.
 

On 7 June, Howard got another shot, this time there was a surprise - third young from left - with this Canada Goose family on Conder Pool. Also here, the first Common Tern chicks were seen this week.


This record shot shows breeding evidence of a Redshank with four young on Conder Pool.

Thanks to HS for keeping in touch with info and images. 

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Turned Out Nice Again!

A pleasant stroll along the Glasson Arm of the canal to Galgate resulted in a disappointment at not seeing a single dragonfly. So no points scored in this department this year as yet, but I was compensated by seeing - and photographing some - large numbers of Blue-tailed Damselfly, and a male Large Red Damselfly along the length of this nice stretch of the canal.


The taxonomy of the Blue-tailed Damselfly is quite complex, making life too difficult for my liking. Some variation was found, this example is of an immature female of the form Rufescens.


An immature male Blue-tailed Damselfly....


....and a teneral male Blue-tailed Damselfly.

All these damselfly records are up for debate, and the one above has already attracted a comment regarding the complexities of the Blue-tailed Damselfly, and which offers the opinion that 'this is a mature female of the rufescens obsoleta form which is what the pink 'rufescens' ones mature into'....Now I'm even more confused!

Common Blue. Pete Woodruff.

Butterflies were scarce too, with 8 Large White, 2 Orange Tip, a Common BlueSmall Tortoiseshell, and Speckled Wood seen. 

I started the walk at Saltcote ponds where I saw a male Azure DamselflyRaven came to ground and hung around the lock at The Mill at Conder Green, also a Buzzard seen overhead. Along the stretch of the canal, 5 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, a pair of Reed Bunting, a lone House MartinReed Warbler, and Song Thrush. Three pairs of Mute Swan had 4-5-6 cygnets.

Tadpoles Early June.

I'm told I didn't need to be so surprised to see tadpoles in the canal first week in June....But they did have a kind of calming effect, and the singing Chiffchaff in the background added to that.

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Conder Update.

Avocets Conder Green 8 June. Howard Stockdale.

Not for the first time, 13 Avocet young have crossed the busy B5290 to go into the creeks on the River Conder. The bad news is, that one has been recorded 'lost', it being one of the five ringed birds. 

Thanks to Howard for the news and image, gratefully received.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

The Mixed Bag.

A bit of this and that in this post....The main purpose for a visit to Birk Bank was to find my first odonata of 2021, well I've been late finding just about everything else this year, so why not dragonflies! 

The boardwalk was in need of repair, several sections of it were collapsed and had left dodgy wide gaps. The guys were doing a good job, and whilst there could be no evidence of disturbance, Radio One and Jay-Z with a Hip-Hop mix at a large amplitude certainly wasn't a good combination for the area and couldn't possibly have contributed to finding dragonflies. But anyhow, lets move on to see what else was on offer here today....

Three Cuckoo were heard calling, including one with a notably high pitched first syllable. From Rigg Lane, I timed a Cuckoo calling almost continuously for 15 minutes, during which time it clocked 540 calls at 36 per minute. At least 21 Willow Warbler mainly heard only, but good views of two, 5 Blackcap, 5 Meadow Pipit, 4 Mistle Thrush, with one obviously feeding young somewhere, a Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, and a Buzzard overhead. Six House Martin were over Cragg Cottage, but I saw none approaching the property at any time.

Cragg Wood. Pete Woodruff. 

The River Conder - and sometimes the Golden-ringed Dragonfly - flows delightfully through the equally delightful Cragg Wood from where I glimpsed a Roe Deer

On the day, I counted 9 Large White, and with the exception of a Speckled Wood, surprisingly I saw no others in 5 hours and perfect weather....But the Painted Lady has arrived!

Cream Wave. Pete Woodruff.

Confusable this one, but I'm sticking to this being a Cream Wave moth until someone corrects me, it compensated me perfectly for the dearth of butterflies.

Bowland/Conder Pool.

I've had good news passed on to me by AC in Bowland, where he found 6 Spotted Flycatcher, also a pair of Pied Flycatcher feeding young at the tree nest hole I recently found, plus a male with the female seen last week at Trough Bridge.

From HS, as at Thursday last, 15 Avocet young and 6 Common Tern nests at Conder Pool. The bad news here being, the date for the re-intro of livestock is 16 June, when there will still be unfledged young and eggs in and around the nests. 

Redstart Holme Wood. Howard Stockdale.

The Holme Wood Redstarts are due to have young fledge in the next few days. I reckon Howard Stockdale will be the first to know when that happens.

Thanks again to Martin and Howard for news and images, as always much appreciated. 

And Finally....

Juvenile Dunnock. Pete Woodruff.

We were delighted to find two fledged Dunnock in our garden this year, a first and probably nested in our neighbours garden, and are now about three weeks old.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Taking Stock.

More excellent birding experiences were on offer again this week, when I paid another visit to Bowland. This time I took stock taking a little more serious with the usual disappointments, but with a few memorable positives to more than compensate.

Marshaw - Tower Lodge - Trough Bridge.

The day got off to a pretty good start, when I found a female Redstart at Marshaw. 

Spotted Flycatcher Marshaw 27 May. Pete Woodruff.

Also at Marshaw, I found the first of 2 Spotted Flycatcher, this one on sentry duty by the Marshaw Wyre, the second was at Tower Lodge.

Two of 4 Pied Flycatcher seen, a pair were seen at one of the two remaining nest boxes in the compound at Tower Lodge. I understand a pair are using the other nest box, but I made no contact with these. Better still, a male was singing around a nest hole east of here, and further east a female was around the plantation at Trough Bridge. Despite me lingering at both these two sites, I saw no mate with these two birds.

Six Common Sandpiper were on the Marshaw Wyre, where I found just 5 Grey Wagtail

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The sight and sound of 7 Willow Warbler was down on the last visit, but this one was in good voice. At least 12 House Martin were busy around the lodge, there was no sign of these birds here on my last visit on 14 May. The Cuckoo was calling from the woodland strip above here. Also noted, 4 Mistle Thrush, and 2 Song Thrush.

Stoops Bridge.

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On my way back to Lancaster, I called in at Abbeystead to hear more birdsong, predominantly Mistle Thrush in this footage of the Marsh Marigold and Bluebells at Stoops Bridge. Also Chiffchaff, Song Thrush, and Willow Warbler.

Summary.

Redstart.

The Redstart at Marshaw was my second on territory in a week in Bowland, and the first one to be found in the area around Tower Lodge since I found five here in June 2013. I don't recall seeing any reports of the Redstart from anyone/anywhere over this period, so looks like 8 years since the Redstart made an appearance here.

Grey Wagtail

Five seen today, follows two previous visits here when I found none on this two mile stretch of the Marshaw Wyre. This compares miserably with 12 Grey Wagtail all adult seen here on 29 May 2013. This may well be 8 years ago almost to the day, but unless these birds are evading me, this is a notable decline for the species at this location.

Spotted Flycatcher.

Two birds was a disappointing count this visit, considering the area is/was a stronghold in our recording area, with 12 Spotted Flycatcher seen 27 June 2018.

Dipper.

Notably, I've not yet seen a Dipper on the Marshaw Wyre at this location, despite recently spending up to a total of 12 hours here. 

Taking Stock....To be continued.

And Finally.

Red-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lapidarius. Pete Woodruff.

This distinctive bumblebee was seen on Cotoneaster in our garden recently. The Red-tailed Bumblebee is said to have a liking for yellow flowers - Common Ragwort and Bird's-foot Trefoil for example - but our individual seemed fond of pink. The Red-tailed Bumblebee is confusable only with the Red-shanked Carder-bee which has never been recorded in Lancashire. 

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Miscellany.

A few miscellaneous bits of interest....Well, hopefully of interest. 

With the Tawny Owl sighting in Holme Wood last week, I was reminded of the brilliant image featured in the header, which Martin Jump sent me recently.

Cam Brow.

Sand Martin Excavating Cam Brow. Howard Stockdale.

Three pairs of Sand Martin were observed excavating at Cam Brow recently, but an overhang above the bank collapsed, causing the birds to leave the area, to my knowledge have not yet returned. To make matters worse, the bank has since collapsed again before the overhang could be trimmed as planned, taking some nest holes with it. I understand the Sand Martins haven't returned to a regularly used bank elsewhere in Bowland.

Male Stonechat With Begging Young. Howard Stockdale.

This brilliant image accompanied the news, following no sign on 18 May, the Cam Brow Stonechat family were relocated three days later on Friday 21 May, when the parent birds were seen feeding three young.

Pied Flycatchers.

A pair of Pied Flycatcher are nesting in one of the boxes in the Tower Lodge area, and I'm reliably informed of two female seen recently in other 'new' areas here.

Conder Pool.

Great news that 5 pairs of Common Tern are now currently nesting on Conder Pool.

Garden Birds & Bees.

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The footage isn't world class, taken through the patio window, well that's my excuse anyway, but it was pure magic watching the young Dunnock in the garden again today.  

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There was in excess of 50 Tree Bumblebee Bombus hypnorum on the Cotoneaster in our garden yesterday.

I'd sooner be birding!

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Quality Birding....Quality Birds.

On a wander through Holme Wood, Grizedale Valley and Harrisend, some quality on offer earlier this week.

Redstart. Pete Woodruff.

I saw 5 Meadow Pipit as I walked towards Holme Wood, where a pair of Redstart stole the show for me, followed by a few tasty warblers to make up a list of 17 bird species, 6 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Garden Warbler, and 2 Blackcap. Thrushes seen were, Song Thrush, 3 Mistle Thrush, and 3 Blackbird. A single Grey Wagtail and Pied Wagtail were on the brook. They came in two's, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, and Long-tailed Tit. Making up the list were, 6 Robin and 3 Wren.

Tawny Owl.

A Tawny Owl flew across Grizedale Brook which runs through the woods, to perch briefly on a branch before promptly flying off, but not before I got a 30 second video of this beautiful bird. In the shadows, but nice....excellent even.

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There are lots of carpets of Bluebells in the woods where I found, 8 Orange Tip, 3 Green-veined White, and a Speckled Wood.

Harrisend.

A couple of hours on Harrisend produced, 5 Stonechat, seen as a pair and three lone birds. I was two Stonechat down compared to my last visit here 30 April, seen 1/4 mile away from these five today, probably six breeding pairs here to date. Also noted, 6 Meadow Pipit, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Wren, and a Reed Bunting. I saw 2 Kestrel in the air together with some interaction, later the Kestrel pair seen again were engaged in an aerial dispute with a Peregrine Falcon. Butterflies seen were 6 Peacock.

Garden Birds.

We were delighted to see our first juvenile Blackbird, and two fledgling Dunnock in the garden this week.

Picture Gallery.

Dandelion Clock. Pete Woodruff. 

Photographed in our garden....Everything has its own beauty.

And Finally

A couple of excellent photographs appropriately credited. Featured to show my appreciation for keeping in touch with news and images, and adding more quality to B2B.

Dipper Bowland 19 May. Martin Jump.

Woodcock Bowland 19 May. Howard Stockdale.

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Briefly In Bowland!

My last visit to Hawthornthwaite didn't have the result I hoped for, but I did find 4 Stonechat that had evaded last time here 12 May. I heard a Cuckoo calling around the Catshaw plantation, and heard a second calling whilst watching a male Pied Flycatcher in the woodland at the bottom of Cam Brow, with a Buzzard over.

In the area east of Tower Lodge, walking alongside the Marshaw Wyre, meeting Martin Jump who reported four sightings of interest for me to look for. I called here to see if the Pied Flycatcher pair seen around a nest box 28 April, had taken to the box to breed.

Grey Wagtail. Howard Stockdale 

Three Grey Wagtail got my records off the ground, having previously failed to find any here this year, also a Common Sandpiper took the count to six in the area, eight if my bird wasn't one of Martin Jumps two seen earlier.

Conder News.

Avocet Conder Pool 17 May. Howard Stockdale.

Howard Stockdale forwarded me some good news, telling me there are nine chicks from three nests to date, with another five Avocet sitting. Thanks to Howard for the images, much appreciated.  

Thursday, 13 May 2021

RO's....The Mission.

For the past five years I've found Ring Ouzel on Hawthorthwaite, this year I'm hoping to make it six. I was in the area yesterday, which was two days earlier than last year, when I found a singing male Ring Ouzel 14 May, the same day I had 5 Cuckoo in the same area of Bowland.

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As I stood on the bridge over the Marshaw Wyre I saw 4 Mistle Thrush, at least one of which can be heard singing in this footage. I was heading to the track on the east side of Hawthornthwaite, perhaps it was a good idea to check out Black Clough for the Ring Ouzel.

As I set out on the track, a Common Sandpiper flew across ahead of me, whilst the song of a Willow Warbler rang in my ears, with the call of a Cuckoo probably in the area around Tower Lodge. I saw just 3 Meadow Pipit and a lone Red Grouse, but was rewarded by 3 Stonechat, seen as two female and a male.

An hour on the west side of the fell drew a blank on the Stonechat, but 4 Sand Martin were in the air, with 6 Meadow Pipit, 4 Wren, a Willow Warbler, and another lone Red Grouse seen. The Sand Martin colony at Cam Brow appears defunct, though I've yet to linger to be sure.

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At the foot of Cam Brow, I was chuffed to find a pair of Stonechat feeding young. In the woodland opposite, which is strictly private and difficult to access anyway, a pair of Redstart seen briefly. 

The mission continues... 

Sunday, 9 May 2021

7 Up....Again!

....and another pik in the amateur bracket by yours truly.

Stonechat Birk Bank 5 May. Pete Woodruff.

Following on from the seven chats on Harrisend 30 April, I found another 7 Stonechat on my latest visit to Birk Bank, they were seen as three pair, the seventh bird a male I regarded as a lone individual independent from the six.

Also seen on this enjoyable if mostly cloudy and cold upland safari, 10 Willow Warbler were seen as an abundant, ever present, and most vocal of our summer warblers, 5 Wren, and 4 Meadow Pipit. Then they came in two's, Chiffchaff, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, and Red Grouse, one of which was a female, something of a scarcity in my records despite seeing numbers like 40+ males on visits around Clougha over the years. Raptors seen, 2 Kestrel together, and a Buzzard which showed off its ariel skills hanging and hovering on the wind. I also saw a single Green Hairstreak and a Brown Hare.

Conder Green.

Common Tern Conder Pool. Howard Stockdale.

The absence of livestock on Conder Pool seems to have greatly contributed to an excellent six breeding pairs of Avocet to date, with one nest set to hatch in the coming days, also a pair of Common Tern observed with pairing behaviour as the image above illustrates. A pair of Mediterranean Gull were also seen on the pool behaving in a similar manner, though these were immature birds.

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The Bar-tailed Godwits are at best irregular at Conder Green in my records.

I'm grateful to Howard Stockdale and Ian Hartley in sending me this info and records, and to Howard for the image and clip.  

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Brief But Brilliant.

A surprise at the snow on the Lakes mountains yesterday, quite a fall and not just a dusting....Was this really 5 May. But a bigger and better surprise was in store for me 4 hours after I took the header photograph. 

As I came off the grit track from the route up the east side of Clougha, a bird on a fence post some distance away caught my eye. As I walked to get closer, sods law, the bird took off went and out of view. Another one to get away me thinks, but luck was on my side, I picked it up again, but unfortunately just as far away as ever. This bird was giving me the run around, now it was atop of yet another tree even further away, and worst still, promptly decided to disappear, this time for good. A search in the disused quarry which is where I thought the bird had flown and was perfect habitat for the species, proved fruitless.

Back Redstart. Image Credit Greg Bradbury.

I'd have been elated to have had excellent views of my bird in the Birk Bank area yesterday like this one, but I did see enough of it to ID as a female Black Redstart, sooty brown and lacking white wing patch, though a 1st summer male also lacks this.

For me, this was a well overdue sighting with a bit of quality. The last being nearly 4 years since I found a Wood Sandpiper on Conder Pool 7 August 2017.

Monday, 3 May 2021

Fellside Fest.

Stonechat Harrisend. Pete Woodruff.

I found 7 Stonechat on Harrisend, on what turned out to be a bit of a fellside fest. The chats were seen as two pair and three male, I reckon possibly five breeding pairs on Harrisend now, but I'll be back for more clarity on this in the coming weeks. Also in a three hour spell on Harrisend, 9 Meadow Pipit, 5 Willow Warbler, 5 Raven, 4 Wren, a Buzzard and Kestrel.

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I never thought I'd have to wait until early May to find my first Wheatear of the year, not as a migrant on the coast, but on a fell in Bowland. Also 2 Cuckoo heard, one from a distance at the east end of Harrisend, the other as I returned to the motor, heard somewhere west in the Grizedale Valley area. Last year was a good year, when I found 9 Cuckoo, all in Bowland.  

A brief visit to Hawthornthwaite didn't seem to be going to serve much purpose in the time I was able to spend there, but I did find 2 male Stonechat, 2 Wheatear, and 2 Wren. There was 3 Sand Martin flying around Catshaw Grieve. I've no idea what these birds are doing here this year, there's no sign of any nesting activity here, nor at Cam Brow yet as I see it.

Williamson Park.

A little local interest at Williamson Park, where I found a Little Grebe on the old hospital reservoir at Fenham Carr. The grebe's were here last year, when they were seen as a family group of two adult and five young on 6 July. Also on the reservoir, a pair of Tufted Duck, seen as a first here.

Hawthorn Shield Bug. Pete Woodruff.

I found this Hawthorn Shieldbug on a bench in the woodland, difficult to separate from Birch Shieldbug in this image. The bug has something attached to its rear end which puzzles me. I couldn't make much out of it at the time, my best guess was a piece of grit off the track, but that somehow didn't seem feasible to me, and the pik isn't in focus and doesn't help.

And Finally....

I'm reliably informed of a pair of Mandarin Duck on the River Hindburn in Wray last week.

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Bowland Again....My Kind Of Birding.

My kind of birding in Bowland with some good results, and I had the good company of Martin Jump for my second visit in six days.

Mistle Thrush Fledgling. View Full Screen.

Over my two visits 23/28 April, I've notched up 23 true thrushes, being 19 Mistle Thrush, including a family of 2 adult and 3 fledglings found in the woodland strip on the track from Tower Lodge, a Song Thrush, and the bonus of 3 Fieldfare, being the first late April birds I've ever recorded. Also here, a pair of Blue Tit were seen copulating. 

Having failed to find any on my last visit, it was good to see 5 Common Sandpiper, seen as 2 pair and a lone bird. A count of 10 Willow Warbler was two up on the last visit, 2 Pied Wagtail and 2 Meadow Pipit seen, and a Kestrel was being mobbed by Lapwing over the lower moor of Hawthornthwaite at Marshaw.

I think my hopes for some tree breeding were dashed today, when I found a pair of Pied Flycatcher in the same area a male had been seen flitting around the trees last week east of Tower Lodge. The pair were in an area where one of the recently erected and branded FOBMG nest boxes.

Whilst the Common Sandpipers made up for a blank day on the Marshaw Wyre 23 April. Today, after a combined 9 hours, no Grey Wagtail seen here yet....not good. I found 15 Grey Wagtail here last year, on 14 May 2020.

Dipper Abbeystead 28 April. View Full Screen.

On my way back to Lancaster, I paid a brief visit to Stoops Bridge at Abbeystead. I was rewarded there by good views of a Dipper, and heard a Chiffchaff in full song.   

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Too Good To Miss.

There can't have been anything more I wanted to do, than to get myself off to Bowland on Friday morning to spend a pleasant 5 hour wander from Marshaw-Tower Lodge-Trough Bridge-Winfold Fell.

I saw Swallow and House Martin around Marshaw Farm. As the summer progresses, I'll try to get some numbers here.

My first sighting was this Common Toad, seen as the largest and heaviest amphibian in Britain, it was slowly heading toward the stream running off Hawthornthwaite Fell, and looks to have an injury running over it's eye.

  

In this crop, I notice the unfortunate Toad appears to have lost it's left eye to some attack or accident. I guess the dark colour is dried blood. 

The Toad was behind the small plantation at Marshaw, where I also saw 3 Lesser Redpoll. Later, I found 3 Pied Flycatcher, all male, with two in the area around Tower Lodge, and one seen mid-way between there and Trough Bridge, so hopefully a tree nesting pair away from the boxes again this year. I heard at least 8 Willow Warbler and saw 10 Mistle Thrush on the visit. Also noted 3 Meadow Pipit, Blue/Great/Coal Tit, and saw just one butterfly, being a male Orange Tip.

The Negatives....It was disappointing to get some poor results from this area of Bowland today, some expected, some hoped for.

In addition to seeing just the one butterfly, I saw no Grey Wagtail, Dipper, or Common Sandpiper on the Marshaw Wyre. No House Martin at Tower Lodge, and found no Spotted Flycatcher, nor heard the Cuckoo, but perhaps in these latter two cases, I was a couple of days too early.

The plan was to wait until the end of April for this visit to Bowland, but with wall to wall sun, and barely a breeze, it was just too good to miss. 

I was pleased to see for myself, the sign at Cam Brow, where the bank isn't looking all that good at the moment. Thanks to Howard Stockdale for keeping in touch and for the picture.

Conder News.

My suggestion that the Common Tern would possibly make a first ever April appearance this year on Conder Pool has proved correct, when one arrived yesterday morning 24 April. Hard to believe that it is 9 days short of 3 months earlier than the first Common Tern to arrive here 7 years ago on 2 July 2014.

Three Avocet nests all have eggs, with a Little Ringed Plover present, and a Spotted Redshank also gracing Conder Pool.

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This 'rather shaky' Spotted Redshank with Black-tailed Godwits gave me much pleasure on Conder Pool in May 2019. 

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Birk Bank.

A pleasant spring day for upland birding, with one or two good rewards and three decent butterfly records.

Not the most attractive of woodlands at the start of the path to Clougha, but by the time I got here 20 minutes from the car park on Rigg Lane, I had seen/heard 10 of the 22 Willow Warbler on the day.

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Finding 5 Stonechat on Birk Bank today, including two seen as a pair. I reckon possibly four breeding pairs here to date. One lone male seen, had the largest white wing patches and neck collar I've ever seen. I really need to get back up here again to try for an image of this 'unusual' Stonechat.

My other notes include, 2 Green Woodpecker, one around the area of Rigg Plantation, the other at Gibson Wood. Also, 5 Red Grouse, 4 Wren, 3 Mistle Thrush, surprisingly only 2 Meadow Pipit, one of which I watched take off to take out a small white moth on the wing flycatcher style. Raptors seen, 2 Buzzard, and a Kestrel.

Butterflies.

Green Hairstreak. Pete Woodruff.

I made casual records of 12 Green Hairstreak, no doubt many more to be found here today if my focus had been on them. Also, 9 Peacock, and an Orange Tip.

Particularly with dragonfly larva in mind, I definitely didn't like the look of this pair of Mallard on the bog at Birk Bank. Despite throwing a few small missiles to flush them, they remained unmoved

Rare & Scarce. 

Brimstone was rare, and the first ever in our garden, and a scarce here male Orange Tip also seen.