Up North

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I have had a full week of 'stupid o'clock' alarm calls to head up north to Cumbria to complete the second surveys of the plantation woodlands that I am surveying for birds. On Monday Gail joined me at an upland site where there are tremendous views of the Solway and over to the Criffell in Dumfries and Galway.These second surveys tend to be the quietest of the three as they are at a time where a good percentage of breeding birds are feeding young. This site was no exception and the few highlights included a Song Thrush, a Chiffchaff, a Stock Dove, two Siskins, two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Buzzard, a Willow Warbler and a Blackcap.An early start, means an early finish, so afterwards we had finished the survey we headed over to the Scottish side of the Solway to have a look at the seabird colony at Balcary Point. We did a four mile circula...
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Shooting Times

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
After the mishap in Menorca my Canon lens has gone to the lens doctor for a thorough examination. It may or may not come back, and it could be three to four weeks before the decision. I chanced upon a possible replacement, a Sigma, a lens which by all accounts performs quite well. So I waited for a sunny day to test out the substitute, and when this morning dawned bright I took off for the hills of Bowland with fingers crossed. Lapwings and Curlews were in good numbers but I struggled to see and photograph both Oystercatchers and Redshanks. Maybe another week will see more activity as young emerge from the mostly distant nests I could see and hear but not picture. The Lapwing I photographed had young, perhaps obvious from the demeanour of the adult as it frantically warned the youngsters in the field to run and hide. It’s unusua...
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Pleasant PM With BD On BB.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
A bit short notice for BD but his enthusiasm won the day and he came to meet me at Rigg Lane car park just before noon and we went off on a circuit over Birk Bank and back down to the delightful area around Rushy Lee. Four-spotted Chaser Marc HeathWe hesitated at the bog to see 2 Four-spotted Chaser, and a few Large Red Damselfly some in tandem.  Birds of the day for me had to be the 3 Stonechat on Birk Bank, seen as a pair and a lone male, but still no evidence of breeding. Thanks to some acute hearing 3 Redpoll went over, one of which came briefly into a tree. With a risk of duplication, 7 Raven - certainly five - was a decent count, whilst 5 Meadow Pipit was a low one, and just one female Red Grouse was also surprisingly low, 2 Song Thrush is always a bird to rate as excellent for me, 2 Swift were over...

More On Pied Flycatchers

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Earlier in the week Gail and I checked our nest boxes in the Hodder Valley and it is looking very good for Pied Flycatchers. We definitely have eleven occupied boxes and they are all incubating completed clutches. I lifted a further three females off the nest and one was one of ours (ringed as a chick last year), and the other two were controls.I was very interested in the good numbers of Pied Flycatchers occupying our boxes and through social media I asked other nest recorders if they were finding similar. Interestingly one local scheme reported average numbers as did a recorder from Wales, but mainly it would seem that most observers are reporting increased occupation. Several reasons have been put forward for this and include good over-winter survival, increased survival during spring migration and poor breeding success for Tits last yea...

Pied Flycatchers and Barn Owl do Well

Posted on - In North Lancs Ringing Group
Yesterday's visit to my main wood for Pied Flycatchers saw a further increase. We now have 16 pairs compared to just 11 last year. One at least already has young. Reports from other members of the Group who monitor nest boxes suggest a similar increase. Last year we had a total of 79 occupied boxes. Our peak was 90 in 2015. Good chance of reaching 100 this this year! The only downside was a blue tit nest which had been woodpeckered. Removing the young after enlarging the nest hole.We checked our Barn Owl box and were surprised to find 5 young and two eggs. Last year they had only two eggs and reared one young. We ringed the two oldest chicks. A clue as to their success this year was the pile of ca 10 voles or mice in the box, obviously a good year for small mammals.On the way home we ringed a further 3 Lapwing chicks and our first Curlew ...

Conder Pool….Up And Running.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
This time last year, an Avocet pair had only arrived at Conder Green three days ago on 20 May. This year there are now three pairs on Conder Pool all breeding, with two still sitting yesterday.Returning to Lancaster on the A588, with my motor unable to drive through Conder Green, it automatically turned left at the bridge for me to check out Conder Pool to find Avocet present and accompanied by two young out of the nest.Avocet Conder Pool. Pete Woodruff. With luck this means a fledge date of June 23-26, but luck was already needing to be on their side, with a Grey Heron and Lesser Black-backed Gull close by as I observed two marauding Carrion Crow whilst two adult Avocet and Common Tern attacked the corvids for several minutes. Also roosting on Conder Pool, 110 Black-tailed Godwit.Oystercatcher Nest Conder Green. Pete Wo...

Three Finches

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Our targeting of finches at Oakenclough near Garstang paid off again with three very interesting recoveries via the BTO - a Siskin, a Goldfinch and a Lesser Redpoll. A Goldfinch we ringed with letter/number Z470813 on 18th February 2016 was later recaptured by members of Grampian Ringing Group at Newburgh, Aberdeenshire on 1st March 2017, just over one year later and 381kms north of Oakenclough. We tend to think of Goldfinches as a somewhat sedentary garden bird but the species is a partial migrant throughout its extensive range in Europe and Asia, with its northern limit approximately along the line of the 60° latitude. Aberdeen is situated at the latitude of 57 degrees. This first year female had probably moved south to winter in England for 2016/207 but was returning to Scotland as early as 1st March 2017. GoldfinchG...
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Bob’s Yer Uncle!

Posted on - In Birds2blog
With ten days behind me, a trip to Barbondale and another to Bowland since my last visit to the Lune Estuary, it was good to be seeing double on Conder Pool when I saw 4 Avocet there on Friday, the pair of originals are going about their breeding, whilst it's anybody's guess what the other two are up to, but when I returned later they had gone to the creeks to feed.Common Tern. Conder Pool. Pete Woodruff.Other than occasionally loafing on the frame, the Common Tern pair have previously ignored the pontoon on Conder Pool as a breeding site since it was installed, before today I've never seen these two actually inside it, but have certainly moved in this year giving us birding dudes a grand stand view of progress. Also on Conder Pool, a pair of Wigeon, 6 Tufted Duck, and a lone Lesse...
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Living Dangerously

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
After yesterday I just knew that Oystercatcher nest was close to the road. But why would the silly birds make their nest just 12 inches from the verge where vehicles whizz by and where just yards away large wagons and other vehicles park while the occupants stretch their legs.  Feet away on the other side of the hedgerow is Conder Pool with tons of places they might set up home. The “oyks” picked a spot where a tiny area of gravel lies next to a roadside marker post. Good luck with that - they will need it. Oystercatcher Oystercatcher nestOystercatcher nest Maybe the other pairs of Oystercatchers, at least four others around the pool, chased them away, or possibly the two pairs of Avocets? I noted that the female Common Tern is now sat on her nest on the floating pontoon, the bird just visible behind the opaque screen whi...
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BBQ.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
One or two Bowland Birds of Quality seen yesterday, though there were some blank spells, not least when I walked the length of track from Tower Lodge up by the plantation and back - a thirty minute crawl - and saw not a single bird but heard one Chaffinch, and in the entire 7 hours birding I heard not a solitary Willow Warbler let alone saw one, found no Redstart, and heard no Cuickoo.But it was good to find 4 Stonechat on Hawthornthwaite Fell, seen as two pair with no evidence of breeding. Up to 12 Sand Martin were flying up and down Hawthornthwaite Greave were I saw a Grey Wagtail, also 6 Meadow Pipit, a Mistle Thrush, and a Wren, a Buzzard with a couple of primaries missing, was the only raptor seen all day. Siskin Noushka @ 1000-Pattes At Marshaw, a pair of Siskin and 2 Spotted Flycatcher wer...
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