After The Deluge

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
We’ve had a lot of rain. On Thursday we had a month’s average rainfall in less than a day. Fifteen miles from here the River Conder burst its banks just south of Lancaster and flooded the village of Galgate. The story made the national TV news. When I set off birding this morning I ran into still partially flooded roads that criss-crossed acres of waterlogged fields. Three miles south of Lancaster and on the other side of the River Lune the fields surrounding Cockersands Abbey (circa 1184) were some of the worst. That’s the tiny ancient abbey in the centre of the picture with Mute Swans installed on the flood. Slack Lane, Cockersands  Cockersands AbbeyAs might be expected the floods held lots of birds looking for food washed from the ditches, dykes and already saturated ground following historic summer rain. Too many to...
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Black-headed Gull.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
On Friday last, I found a marked Black-headed Gull on the Lune Estuary at Glasson. The instant I read the ring it registered with me that I had not only seen this bird before, but that I had seen it at the same location on the Lune Estuary 3 years ago in September 2014.Black-headed Gull. Pete Woodruff. The bird was marked with a white darvic ring and a three black alpha-numeric code on the right leg and a metal ring on the left, and has been re-sighted and read five times, three in Denmark, and two on the Lune Estuary in Lancashire. I'm grateful to Kjeld Tommy Pedersen for dealing with this record, and for forwarding the history of the bird to me.Black-headed Gull 6CY.Ringed as an adult male in Svanemøllebugten, København, Denmark on 21 March 2013, and re-sighted....27 March 2013. DKHS&nbs...
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The Working Week That Was

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Most of my birding of late has been in order to keep the wolf from the door and I am in the middle of a number of wintering bird surveys. I'm not going to complain, but when it comes to weekend the weather hasn't played ball and I have struggled to get out. I think it's called sod's law, but I suppose I shouldn't complain as I am doing some birding!About a week ago I was surveying inland at a farmland site, and it was fairly mundane, but as I am fond of saying there is always something to look at. On this particular morning there did seem to be good numbers of thrushes along the hedgerows and I counted 25 Blackbirds, 96 Fieldfares, two Redwings and two Song Thrushes.Raptors were represented by a male and female Sparrowhawk and a Buzzard being mobbed by two Carrion Crows. Grey Wagtail and Siskin put in a appearance, as did six Tree Sparrows,...

Wading In

Posted on - In Birding Aldcliffe
Great to see a green sandpiper back on the patch this morning. I was beginning to think that we wouldn't have one in the Aldcliffe area this winter. I suspect that it will remain elusive in the coming weeks but we'll wait and see. Today it was on The Flood.The Flood, along with the fields by the Wildfowlers' Pools, are looking fabulous at the moment. The high water levels of recent weeks have receded and as a result the fields are nicely boggy and seemingly hooching with invertebrates. There were loads of teal dabbling in the muddy shallows this morning along with multiple redshanks, curlews, snipe, up to 11 dunlin and a couple of black-tailed godwits.It could be well worth keeping an eye on these wet fields as anything could potentially turn up - past winters have seen such oddities as lesser yellowlegs, wood sandpiper, knot and little sti...
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The GP’s Have It For Me.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
Greenshank. Conder Pool Friday 17 November. Pete Woodruff.A snoozing Greenshank on Conder Pool was good enough to get me off to a nice start on Friday morning, 17 Wigeon were also of note here, and the 180 Teal at Conder Green were split between the pool and creeks, where I found 7 Little Grebe and the Common Sandpiper which was down by the now finished and newly painted bridge....must have cost a fortune.The Lune Estuary was quiet wader wise, apart from the presence of the usual several hundred Lapwing, 320 Dunlin and 7 Snipe, with c.350 Wigeon seen.The Cockersand at least 500 Whooper Swan were initially in the field by Bank Houses as seen from the headland, but by the time I got there they had been disturbed and were eventually scattered over five fields. On Plover Scar, c.450 Oystercatcher, and little more than a two hande...

Stone Me

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Next week’s weather looked dire. Sunday might be the only opportunity to get some ringing done. So with a promised 3mph I drove up to Gulf Lane and an early start. No Andy today. And he had the single panel nets in his car except for a brand new Ecotone that languished in my boot. I put up the one net but it was shiny and pristine, straight out of the packet from Poland and by now the rising sun lit up the mesh. Mist nets are better when the new shine has worn off and they take on a greyer tone that merges into backdrop of the customary British weather. Anyway that’s my excuse for catching just 4 Linnets in a couple of hours. And I think the number of Linnets around at 180-200 suggests that this consistent count of recent weeks holds regular birds and few newcomers. But that miserly four equates to 251 new Linnets for the...
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Mix And Match

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Today’s forecast was a little over the top windy for ringing at our exposed sites so I indulged in a few hours birding, camera at the ready. It turned out to be a day of mixed fortunes with both sunny and cloudy periods, showers, and even a spot or two of sunshine. At the end, a few photos to share. The drive across Stalmine Moss found three Kestrels, a hunting pair and then at the junction of Lancaster road a third one in flight. I slowed to scan the fields where a Barn Owl might be seen but none emerged from the post dawn light, just three chattering Fieldfares. The thrushes carried on south but I would see a number of others soon. I stopped at Gulf Lane to count the Linnets and drop food. Still 130+ Linnets, plus a number of Tree Sparrows at the farm 50 yards away. We don’t include the sparrows in our counts as they do no...
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Uphill Struggle.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
Hawthornthwaite Fell.It was an uphill struggle to find the birds in more ways than one on Wednesday, but literally so on Hawthornthwaite. Apart from the fact the Stonechat isn't as easy to find as it was during it's upturn in status which peaked during the early 2000's, I'd got 3/4 of the climb to the peak before I found a distant pair of Stonechat, the only two seen on my visit, and at a higher elevation than Iv'e ever seen them here before. But ne'r mind....mission accomplished. Wren. Martin Jump. Four Wren on Hawthornthwaite seems to indicate a good colony, I had six seen here on 18 October, also 10 Red Grouse. Marshaw - Tower Lodge - Trough Bridge.A Dipper was seen on the Marshaw Wyre with a juicy aquatic invertebrate in it's bill, but it was ...
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More Linnets Please

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Just yesterday I entered some recent counts of Linnets at Gulf Lane into the BTO’s Bird Track. The system flagged up that the counts were of an “unusually high number”. Well BTO it’s good to hear that, especially as discovering more about winter Linnets is the objective of our project here. BirdTrack - BTOThroughout September and October spot counts here varied between 50 and 100 Linnets during a period of poor and mostly wet and windy weather. In the last week and into November and with more settled weather there have been nearer 200 birds at any one time. Wednesday 15th and at last a morning of less than 5 mph winds. I met Andy at 0715 and ten minutes later the single panel nets stood ready for the Linnets as they arrived from roosts ready for their first feed of the day. Parties arriving varied between 3 and 30 i...
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….And The Cockersand Whooper.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
Monday's birding didn't fail me again even if it was a little lower down the scale in the quality department.The number has increased to around 550 Whooper Swan in the field adjacent to Bank Houses at Cockersand SD432534. It was a treat to hear them all bugling away, standing erect and necks stretched to the limit at the sight of someone watching them from the lane. In the same field, 48 Redshank 2 Snipe, and several hundred Starling, there was also quite an impressive count of at least 1,500 Wigeon in the Cocker channel. From Slack Lane, 120 Golden Plover in fields, and my first albeit a solitary Fieldfare gave me good views in the Willows.On the Lune Estuary at Glasson, 450 Common Gull were of note, 24 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Goosander, and singles of Bar-tailed Godwit and the no better than scarce here T...