BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY THE FOREST OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND.................................................................................................SKYLARK GERALDINE STOCKDALE

Sunday, 24 April 2022

Negative Turns Positive.


It's rare that I use the word negative to describe any of my birding, but a session in the Lune Valley turned out to be the most negative experience for me in ages.

Sand Martin Bull Beck April 15 2021

At Bull Beck where I had hoped to find Little Ringed Plover and the more guaranteed Sand Martin. I found neither, despite the date being a week later than the 'good number' of Sand Martin seen at the breeding colony last year.

Positive compensation was a Kingfisher whizzing past me downstream, a Common Sandpiper and a Goosander hauled out on the shingle. Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler seen from the footpath.

A wander down the River Wenning west from Hornby, then north-east upstream by the side of the River Lune to Lloyn Bridge, was an even bigger disaster than Bull Beck. I made notes of Willow Warbler, a Goosander on the river, and 5 Orange Tip.

Although I saw perhaps 30 Sand Martin milling around over the river, I saw the remnants of what was a thriving Sand Martin colony for as long as I can remember on the opposite bank on the River Lune. The area is now boulders and grassland. A little further downstream there is plant machinery, and an area marked as a tarn on the OS map known as The Snab is now a skeleton of what it was and has been drained, with not a bird in sight. 

For the time being, I'll make no further comment until I know the facts. Meanwhile question....what's going on here!


I'm grateful to Howard Stockdale for the excellent header image of the stunning adult Mediterranean Gull in breeding plumage on Conder Pool Friday morning.  A bird currently at the head of a list of 'goodies' on Conder Pool in recent weeks, making it the top birding spot on the Lune Estuary including....

Avocet peak count of 19 on 5 April, and one seen with yellow flag 63, was one of last years young. Per Ian Hartley.

Short-eared Owl

Little Gull

Spotted Redshank


Little Ringed Plover 4 

Water Pipit

Black-tailed Godwit

Bar-tailed Godwit


Green Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper

Barnacle Goose

So what's next on Conder Pool.

Well, the Common Terns return is imminent, but what will they think of the something like 20 pairs of Black-headed Gull thinking of nesting there....No room at the inn! 


Richard Pegler said...

That must have been very disappointing, Pete, especially the second part of your travels along the Wenning and Lune. I hope that mitigation measures are going to be put into action. I'll keep my fingers crossed for a good outcome. It sounds as if the Common Terns are going to face a bit of a problem at Conder Pool! Best wishes - - - Richard

Marc Heath said...

I've noticed this too. Haven't seen hardly any hirundines, just a few Swallow. I'm hoping the winds have slowed them down and that they will arrive soon in good numbers. If not, another worry. Take care.

Ian Mitchell said...

That was one of my favourite walks with the dog from Hornby to where the Wenning flows into the Lune but on the south bank rather than the north bank as you took.
I seem to remember that the bank with the Sand Martin colony you show in the video was damaged by storm Desmond and they have tried to stop any further erosion with boulders. For the last couple of years there has been a small colony on the south bank of the Wenning near to where the two open fields meet, perhaps they relocated there but the last time I had a walk along there a couple of weeks ago I didn't notice any there but there were very few Sand Martin about anywhere.

That area was pretty good for Otters as well but haven't seen any there for a couple of years now.

Stay safe - Ian

Pete Woodruff said...

Richard....The first Common Tern arrived back to Conder pool again on Sunday. To be honest, I don't think there will be any problem with the BHG's, my comment was a bit tongue in cheek.

Marc....Thanks for your input. I see you dragonfly season has taken off....mine hasn't!

Ian....I'm making no more comments re 'vandalism in the countryside' I try to keep controversy to a minimum on B2B, might upset some of the punters.