Quality!

Posted on - In Birds2blog
I had some thoroughly enjoyable birding around the Lune Estuary on Monday, it was pure delight along the headland at Cockersand, brilliant sunshine and barely a breeze, a scarce combination here.  1st Winter Male Stonechat. Brian Rafferty.I was almost back at the motor and was walking along the road to Crook Farm, and had noted 22 Greenfinch and 2 Chaffinch flying up off the tide wrack, soon followed by a Stoat disappearing into the marsh, then back in to view before disappearing again. A bird caught my eye ahead, it was the best bird of the day and had took me five hours to find, a stunning 1st winter male Stonechat. Twite. Pete Woodruff.In the rough field behind Bank House Cottage, at least 25 Twite, and in the field beyond Bank Houses horse paddock, c.450 Common Gull and 4 Stock Dove. Alo...
Continue Reading » Quality!...

No Two Days Are The Same

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
The past few days have been rather chilly here in Lancashire, as it has been throughout the rest of the UK. My Canadian family and friends would say "you call that cold"? And I suppose they're right, our cold snaps thankfully don't last too long.Having said that it was still cold when I was out surveying on Monday, in fact I had clear skies and it was very frosty. There were a few birds on the short stretch of inter-tidal mud flats that I had to survey, and on the associated fields. Waders included 238 Curlews, 155 Lapwings, 28 Redshanks, three Snipe and eight Golden Plovers. There was less variety among the wildfowl and I recorded 118 Teal, nine Shelducks and five Mallards.Little Egrets were ever-present, but I only had two, the same as the number of Grey Herons that I recorded. A brief bit of pandemonium set  in amongst the waders an...

No Snow, More Linnets

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
While the UK crashes to a halt after a few inches of snow, here in coastal and balmy Lancashire we escaped the white powdery stuff and made do with just a few frosty nights and days. It was the same this morning with a -3°C start but dry and wind-free for our ringing session in the wild bird seed mix at Cockerham. Andy and I were joined today by Seumus. After the ringing session all three of us were due to visit a farmland and woodland site in Cockerham where the owners had asked if we were interested in carrying out a bird ringing programme. The minus temperatures and frozen ground of this week may have already caused some Linnets to move off in search of ice-free feeding spots because our maximum spot count today was of less than a hundred Linnets. This compares with recent counts of 330 on 2 December and 140 on 10 December. ...

Bearded Tit Gritting Report & Reed Warbler Survival

Posted on - In North Lancs Ringing Group
The Bearded Tit gritting season at RSPB Leighton Moss, has just about finished. In total I have received details of 355 colour ringed sightings of 69 different birds. Of these 41 are adults and 28 birds of the year. Gritting started early this year in mid September and it appears to have finished earlier than usual. The number of times that birds visit varies considerably. Two birds both adults, were recorded on 15 days. While 20 birds were recorded just once. The ones that visit the most usually follow the pattern of gritting for a few days early in the season and then have a second bout of gritting, probably to top up later in the season.One of the joys of watching the birds so relatively close is the pleasure visitors get out of seeing these usually difficult to see birds so close and for so long. Last week I had three people who h...

Blog Post: Skydancing with Gill Lewis

Posted on - In Sky Dancer
Community Engagement Officer for England, Aimée Nicholson, talks about her experiences of working with children's author Gill Lewis. One of the greatest parts of being a Community Engagement Officer for the Hen Harrier LIFE project is being able to go into a school on a morning with children who know nothing about hen harriers and leave the same children, at the end of the day, Skydancing and singing about Harry the Harrier. It is a wonderful thing to behold a future generation of naturalists getting enthused over a very special bird of prey. Children’s author Gill Lewis has spent the past few years doing the same whilst researching and writing her book Skydancer. This is a story about young people living on the moors and their experiences when they encounter hen harriers on this moorland, which is managed for driven grouse shooting. Th...

Chats & Swans.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
The Chats.Stonechat Half Moon Bay 10 December. Pete Woodruff.As it turned out yesterday, it was a smart idea that I decided to take a look over Heysham Head, to then find 2 Stonechat down on the shore at Half Moon Bay. Also noted here, 5 Greenfinch, 2 Robin, 2 Pied Wagtail, and a Meadow Pipit. An hours birding on a Sunday afternoon doesn't come much better than this for me, and the fact I failed to find the long staying Chough anywhere, turned into an irrelevance after seeing two Stonechat instead. The Swans.Whooper Swan Brian Rafferty  I found two more marked Whooper Swan at Cockersand 17 November, both are Martin Mere birds.YCC ringed as an adult female in February 2013.YCB ringed as an adult male in February 2015.Though the history of all three Whooper S...
Continue Reading » Chats & Swans....

Knot update

Posted on - In North Lancs Ringing Group
On the 22nd September 2017 519 Knot were colour ringed at Formby point (see previous posts).  In the first couple of weeks we received about 100 sightings from the local area with good numbers feeding in land at Caldy wildfowl collection.  I knew Black-tailed godwit fed on swollen grain readily however I had never heard of Knot doing this.In the 74 days since ringing we have now received over 860 resightings of over 350 individuals from 15 observers.  So far four birds have been seen in Ireland (Dublin bay and Wexford) and five to Morecambe bay with the remainder remaining around Liverpool bay. To put some some of scale on these data in the last 10 years a total of 328 Knot have been re-encountered (mostly retrapped) within the same estuary as their ringing site. In just over 2 months the efforts of 4 main observers have...
Continue Reading » Knot update...

Cake, But No Hawfinch

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Yesterday morning I dropped Gail off at a cake decorating workshop at the National Trust property Sizergh Castle in south Cumbria. Gail went Christmas cake decorating and I took myself off for a walk for a few hours. By the way Gail's cake looked fantastic and you can see a picture of it below. I can't wait to get stuck in to it with a bit of tangy cheese! Gail's professionally decorated cake; very proud of her!It was a glorious crisp, frosty morning with clear skies. The views on my walk were superb with vistas out to the Howgills, Lakes and Morecambe Bay. Shortly after commencing my walk I walked through two large fields of unimproved grassland that were carpeted with ant hills, and sadly as you might expect they were an oasis in a Ryegrass desert! I made a note to myself to return in the summer and have a look at the profusion of wi...

Buses, Boots, & Birds.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
First Snow On Clougha Pike. Pete Woodruff.Perfect yesterday for the plod along the coastal path from Lancaster to Glasson Dock from where I took this shot of the first snows on Clougha Pike with the Cafe 'd Lune and the newly painted old railway bridge over the River Conder in the foreground. On the River Lune off St Georges Quay, a pair of Goosander and Grey Wagtail seen. On Freemans Pools, a Goldeneye was close by, but any wildfowl on here were all at the far west end, amongst which a few uncounted Teal and Gadwall. In the field by Frog Pond, 15 Greylag and 10 Curlew were of note, and the Wildfowlers Pool which would currently be more appropriately called 'Wildfowlers Lake', held 4 Goldeneye three of which were smart drakes. There was probably up to 200 Canada Geese on Aldcliffe Marsh, but I didn't linger to count.One ...

Snippets

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Sorry, there’s no local news today.  Instead a couple of snippets for those interested in protecting birds of prey followed by a cautionary tale about a twitch that never was. Raptor Persecution Positive news from Scotland on protection of birds of prey as the Scottish National Party (SNP) very recently adopted the policy of supporting the licensing of shooting estates. On Saturday 2nd December at the National Council in Perth, SNP activists voted in support of a resolution calling for the licensing of shooting estates to be introduced in Scotland. This made it party policy to support licensing for driven grouse estates and adds weight to the campaign for the licensing of all shooting estates in Scotland. The Scottish Government recently set up an expert group to consider issues around grouse moors, including licensing...
Continue Reading » Snippets...