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

Sunday, 13 February 2022

Clinch The Finch!

Friday was something of a re-run of my visit to a different location in Bowland on 20 January, in that the day was in the main dire for birds....until the final furlong.

The visit to Harrisend was uneventful save 12 Red Grouse, and 8 Greylag in flight west over the ridge, though a Stonechat caught my eye flying across the road ahead. It was the only one seen all day, though to be honest I wasn't hopeful of seeing any when I next went to do the Birk Bank circuit, via Cragg Wood-Littledale Road-Rigg Lane.

On the circuit, a single Red Grouse seen at Birk Bank, and a couple heard with their barking call. At Cragg Wood, 8 Long-tailed Tit, and along Littledale Road-Rigg Lane produced 7 Blackbird, 6 Goldfinch, 5 Robin, 4 Mistle Thrush, and 2 Redwing.

Bullfinch Pair At Rushy Lee.

For the second time in a few weeks, the glimpse of a red breast had me muttering to myself....Robin. But hey, surprise surprise, when I raised my binos, a stunning male Bullfinch was soon seen to be accompanied by a female, both were feeding on Damson trees along the path to Rushy Lee. 

This was my third 'Bowland Bullfinch' record away from traditional sites, mainly in the south-east of Cumbria, at Arnside and Silverdale, and the Lune Valley. The Rushy Lee record of Bullfinch, follows a pair seen in the plantation up from Tower Lodge on 6 November 2020, which I claimed to have been the first of the species here to my knowledge, though Brian Townson who I was with at the time, claimed whilst we were separated, a pair in the same area at Tower Lodge on 25 June 2010.

Other Bullfinch seen in Bowland in the past have been at Birk Bank in 2004, 4 seen 1 November, and 4 seen 22 November, the 8 seen 18 December were claimed to have been part of an exceptionally high number invasion of 'Northern Bullfinch' in 2004, and were identified by hearing the 'toy horn' call.

My other records away from traditional sites, a female Bullfinch from the coastal path between Conder Green/Glasson Dock 9 January 2017, 5 seen 30 October 2014 Lancaster Cemetery, and a male seen Lancaster Cemetery 17 December 2021.

Inside information tells me the Bullfinch has been around Rushy Lee on the fringe of Bowland for at least ten years, but no evidence has ever been found to prove breeding....Well there's a revelation!  


Richard Pegler said...

It feels a bit surreal when I see you extolling the excitement of Bullfinch sightings, Pete. They are still, I'm pleased to say, daily visitors to our garden, with three (two males and a female) visiting on Wednesday, although three IS a rare occurrence. I'd still happily swap my Bullfinches for some of the birds that are plentiful in your neck of the woods!

Stay safe - - - Richard

Pete Woodruff said...

A bird in serious decline in parts of the country Richard, though for the record, Lancashire's Bullfinches are regarded as doing well, which makes my account of birds seen away from traditional sites like mine seen in Bowland, sound a bit surreal to you.