BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY THE FOREST OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND.....................................................................COMMON TERN CONDER POOL PETE WOODRUFF

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Disaster...Well A Bit Of One!

I called the visit to Harrisend, Hawthornthwaite and deeper into Bowland a disaster, but I have to say that is a bit of an exaggeration, perhaps a disappointment would be more appropriate. But a few hours birding without the sight of a single Stonechat, did tempt me to call it a disaster.

I've not been on these two fells since 18 October, when I found a total of 15 Stonechat. Since then these birds have retreated to the lowlands, mainly on the Fylde coast, including Cockersand where a peak count of 8 Stonechat was made recently as the best ever winter count here. 

I was in the good company of Martin Jump on Thursday, and 2.5 hour on Harrisend has to be labelled a disappointment, but not never is.

Roe Deer Harrisend. Martin Jump.

Two Roe Deer seen at a range of 80 metres had to take top spot on the visit, they were seen 30 minutes later bounding off in the opposite direction and away from us. Also seen, 2 Raven, 2 Red Grouse, and 3 Buzzard. On Hawthornthwaite, Buzzard and Red Grouse were the only sightings. Martin took note of at least 8 Wren heard on the day.

Star Jelly.

Lets be honest, a frog has to take credit for a first and interesting record made on Hawthornthwaite Fell on Thursday.

Star Jelly. Pete Woodruff.

Void of anything scientific, or the folklore of which there is much surrounding it, here's the simple explanation and the most plausible theory of what we found on moorland on Thursday....This is frog spawn and reproductive organs, regurgitated by a predator that has taken and eaten a frog. On contact with water the mucus jelly has expanded in the stomach and the predator has vomited, leaving a perfect example of Star Jelly.

Black Redstart/Bullfinch/Little Owl.

Black Redstart Cockersand 26 January. Ian Mitchell.

Thanks to Ian for the excellent image of the long staying Back Redstart at Cockersand, and to Colin for reporting another brilliant record of 2 Bullfinch he saw on Rigg Lane on Friday, these follow my record of 2 Bullfinch seen on Rigg Lane on 24 October last year. Thanks also to Martin who found a Little Owl as he drove toward Oakenclough on Thursday late afternoon, seen as a scarce and declining breeding bird in our area.

Thanks also to Ian Mitchell for the brilliant header image of the Golden Plover at Cockersand....Note the stunning plumage detail. 


Richard Pegler said...

Now if that had been my day, Pete, I don't think that I would have been disappointed if I didn't know that Stonechat had been hoped for.

Star jelly - thanks for the warning - won't be ordering that from the dessert menu!

I find it strange that a record of 2 Bullfinch causes excitement in those parts.

Four Redpoll in the garden again today!

Best wishes to you both - - - Richard

Ian Mitchell said...

It is a while since I ventured into Bowland as well, my usual place at Langdon intake doesn’t seem to be very well blessed with birds these days at the best of times so usually leave it for summer and the insects.

Looks like the Stonechats have moved to Cockersand to make it easier for you!

Interesting explanation about the Star Jelly thanks, what do you suspect Buzzard or Heron maybe?

Bullfinch anywhere round me causes excitement as I very rarely see them. Must get to Lancaster cemetery sometime to see them, but only for a visit!!

Thanks for the update.

Cheers Ian

Pete Woodruff said...

Richard....Nothing strange about the excitement of Bullfinch seen particularly in the east of our recording area, perhaps a different story in south-east Cumbria. Four Redpoll in your garden sounds a good one for the Big Garden Watch.


Pete Woodruff said...

Ian....To be honest, my best guess would be Stoat taking the Frog out, given the moorland the Star Jelly was found on. But who knows, Buzzard, Fox?

Didn't see the Bullfinch last visit to Lancaster Cemetery.

Thanks again for the visit Ian and Richard.