Bridges of Ross 2016 and the tern that ate carrots

I’ve never really been a big fan of paying homage to the pomp and privilege of royalty, but sometimes you’ve got to make an exception. So last Friday, once Neill “Shangri-La” Hunt, Duncan “Skipper” Rothwell, Paul “Tropical” Thomason and I had deboated in Dublin, I floored it west across Ireland’s empty deserted motorway complex, waving at the Barack Obama Moneygall signs, Hooded Crows and Rooks of the Emerald Isle as we went. Steered by top info updates courtesy of Messrs Niall and Noel Keogh, we were at Littor Strand in County Kerry by 9am and watching the gorgeous Royal Tern at a small roost on the sands in fine morning sunshine. A cracker – we had it for about an hour while it roosted and occasionally set off on fishing forays, only to return and dwarf the Sarnie Terns beside i...

Last Swallows?

Monday evening saw Graham, Ian and Me ringing at the Swallow roost. At first we didn't think we were going to catch any, but at dusk just two hundred roosted and we managed to ring 35, taking the year total to 712.Over recent years we've found that the Swallow roost in the Obs reedbeds tends to break up towards the end of August and they switch to roosting in maize. We're going again this evening so it will be interesting to see if any are still roosting; fingers crossed!In addition to the Swallows we also ringed a juvenile male Sparrowhawk and a Sedge Warbler. The only other raptor we observed was a Buzzard and on the pools the point of interest was a Shoveler.I'll let you know how we get on tonight....
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Green For Go

Another Bird Blog often highlights bird species that are in decline. Today I feature a bird in the ascendancy but the story is not one that lifts the spirits. It is more a tale of man’s inability to recognise and face up to an environmental problem that is not only all too apparent, but once again, mainly of man’s own making. I first encountered Ring-necked Parakeets Psittacula krameri in India in 1996 when Sue and I took the Shatabdi Express from Delhi to Agra in pursuit of experiencing the legendary Taj Mahal. Incomparable it was. Standing majestic on the banks of the River Yamuna, the white marble and ornamentation of the Taj Mahal was everything and more that books and TV led us to expect. Huge lumps formed in our throats as we walked the central path towards the monument and then waited in turn to rest on Diana’s Seat. A few...
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The Mini-Marathon.

An excellent eight hours yesterday on a bit of a marathon which started with a nice Green Sandpiper on Conder Pool along with 3 Shoveler at best scarce for the pool, my third consecutive count of 12 Little Grebe, 8 Teal, and 3 Wigeon. On the circuit, 2 Common Sandpiper were in the creeks, 25 Goldfinch seen, and House Martins still visiting nest/s at Cafe d' Lune. By the entrance to the car park I briefly saw a Blackcap seen as a  well grown young but still with down, obviously a late second brood bird. On the Conder channel from the iron bridge, 8 Greenshank one of which was in company with c.420 Redshank.A planned visit to check Plover Scar at Cockersand was thwarted by a pillock on parade with his mutt on the rampage, I did a u-turn and went to Cockerham Sands Caravan Park and legged it to Bank End ...
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After The Thunderstorms

During the early hours of Sunday morning up here in northwest Lancashire we had some quite 'beefy' thunderstorms with some heavy rain. By about 6:15 a.m. it sounded like it had stopped raining so I got up and went out birding.My first port of call was the cemetery to look for any grounded migrants, but just as I arrived the heavens opened and I had to sit patiently in my car for three quarters of an hour until it stopped raining. On my walk round I didn't record a single grounded migrant, which wasn't completely surprising as the rain had started fairly early on in the night preventing a number of migrants from moving. Two Snipes and a Grey Wag over were the only species of interest that I entered into my notebook.There was a fairly early morning tide, and I was limited for time I decided to head to the Point and count the roosting waders. ...

Dawn And Dusk

Yesterday morning Ian and I had a ringing session in one of the reedbeds at the Obs. At first light we had 6 oktas cloud cover with a light southeasterly wind. There was much promise given the wind direction but in the end it was fairly quiet. We ringed thirteen birds as follows:Reed Warbler - 4Robin - 1Blackcap - 1Blue Tit - 2Greenfinch - 2Dunnock - 1Long-tailed Tit - 1Garden Warbler - 1 Dunnock Long-tailed TitRobinThe birding was fairly quiet too, but being of a certain age Cetti's Warblers and Little Egrets still excite me so a Little Egret over and three Cetti's Warblers during the morning was a result as far as I'm concerned!During the evening Ian and I headed to a different reedbed to hopefully ring some more Swallows coming to roost. The numbers of Swallows roosting had reduced to about 2,000 birds, probably as a response t...
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Blue tits have Excellent Productivity

After an excellent breeding season in our nest boxes with good sized broods and very few dead youngsters we expected good numbers of tits this summer in our mist netting sites. Our predictions proved true and although I have not got full details from all Group members as yet, all report good numbers of young birds, especially Blue Tits during August. For the catch of 240 that I have the data for, the percentage of adult Blue Tits in the catch is very low at just 5% suggesting excellent productivity. This compares with 2015 when after a poor breeding season the adult percentage was 37 % suggesting very low productivity.Great Tit suggest a similar pattern although we ring smaller numbers (74) but Adult percentage is 16% compared to 31% last year.Willow Warblers continue to pass through in good numbers, although as would be expected in sma...

Flood Alert!

I managed a count of 12 Little Grebe on Conder Pool on Friday, it was also notable that 32 Teal were on here too, with 2 Wigeon, and up to 100 Lapwing loafing around, 3 Little Egret and a Grey Heron represented the big birds. House Martin are still entering nest's at Cafe d' Lune, though interestingly I've seen no House Martin action in recent visits at River Winds. Down the Conder channel, 2 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, and 40 Redshank seen. The Lune Estuary had similar to Wednesday's 300 Golden Plover again, with a Greenshank and an adult Mediterranean Gull found with lesser numbers of gulls than of late here, which are no doubt scattered here and there on the numerous floods in our area and into the Fylde, all very much worthy of attention at the moment. Talking of which.... Black-tailed Godwit. Jan Larss...
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Circus Time And A Prickly Subject

The flood at Rawcliffe Moss came good this morning with a Marsh Harrier, a species that is still something of a speciality in this part of Lancashire. I set off early through Hambleton and Out Rawcliffe where an early Barn Owl proved a good omen the birds to come on the moss. The light was far from perfect but the owl was the ideal subject matter. Barn OwlOn my last post there was a picture of the flood out on Rawcliffe Moss. The water is still there, topped up by recent downpours. Rawcliffe Moss Today the majority of the birds on the flood were circa 400 gulls, split along the ratio of 5:1 Black-headed Gull and Common Gull with 20 or so Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A telescope earned its keep by locating in the distance 30 Mallards, 80+ Lapwing, 18 Black-tailed Godwit and 9 Snipe. There was single Spotted Redshank too, first...

Blog Post: Guest blog: Finn the hen harrier takes flight

Findlay Wilde is the young conservationist and blogger behind Wilde About Birds . Finn is a young female hen harrier who, together with her three brothers, fledged from one of two nests on Forestry Commission land in Northumberland this month.  Finn was satellite tagged as part of the Hen Harrier LIFE Project and is named after Findlay, who was one of the winners of Ecotricity’s Young Green Briton competition last year. Run by Britain’s leading green energy company, the competition looks to find the country’s greenest youngsters and gives them a chance to speak about a key environmental topic on stage at WOMAD Festival. Ecotricity was so impressed by Findlay’s passion and focus on the issue of hen harriers that the company funded the satellite tag.  Here, Findlay shares with us that passion for hen harriers and his hopes for our ...