Wading In!

Posted on - In Birds2blog
Waders were back in the fields at Cockersand in their thousands again on Friday. On the day I saw up to 4,500 Golden Plover, c.3,000 here and 1,500 at Glasson. An estimated 2,500 Dunlin were with the Golden Plover, and the uncounted Lapwing, Curlew, and Redshank created an impressive total of c.7,000 waders in the Cockersand fields today. There was also an exceptional count of at least 90 Meadow Pipit in one field today, with an absolute minimum of 8,000 Starling, and to add to the wader spectacle, the 5,000 Wigeon count of 5 February were again strung out along the tide between the lighthouse at Cockersand and Bank End. On Plover Scar, 550 Oystercatcher, 82 Turnstone and 3 Redshank, with 11 Eider seen off here, 3 Red-breasted Merganser drake were seen as one so...
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First Trickle Of Vis

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I headed to the southern section of the Obs recording area and had a walk over the farm fields and a brief look on the sea. I had 6 oktas cloud cover with a 10 mph southeasterly wind..There was quite a few Magpies around this morning and in total I had 15. If any of them had been flying a little higher I would have said that they were on vis. However, I did have the first trickle of vis this morning in the shape of 13 Woodpigeons, five Skylarks and two Siskins. All were high and heading S/SE into the wind. Ian had a similar mix of species at the Point with the addition of Grey Wagtail and Mistle Thrush.Pink-footed Geese were dropping in to the farm fields across the road from first light. I could hear them, but not see them, other than a group of 97 and another skein of 50 heading north.I just go to the sea wall as the tide was turning and ...
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VP Red Kite and Raven

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Yesterday morning I was out at one of my wintering bird survey plots on some Lancashire mossland carrying out a Vantage Point (VP) and transect survey. It was a lovely clear day, for a change, with a light southwesterly wind and Gail had joined me for a bit of fresh air and exercise. Gail does occasionally join me and in addition to providing me with some most welcome company, another pairs of eyes is useful. She is very good at picking birds up at a distance, even though she might not be able to identify them, and sometimes gets on birds before me! I had quipped on Facebook yesterday that it was a belated Valentine's Day treat for her, but in reality the treat was the sighting of a Red Kite.Anthony McGeehan in his book 'Birds Through Irish Eyes' says Red Kites are big, lanky basketball players. Gangly at rest, with long limbs and a loping ...

Another Good Year

Posted on - In North Lancs Ringing Group
With all the data now in it was another successful year for the group with total handlings of 15,940 made up of 9152 new fully grown, 2950 nestlings and 3838 retraps or recoveries.Top of the pile as usual was Blue Tit with 2399 handlings of these 994 were nestlings from our various nest box schemes and 472 retraps. Our RAS schemes featured highly with Pied Flycatcher having their best year ever with 944 handlings made up of 754 nestlings, 115 retraps and 75 adults. Sand Martins had a reasonable year with 757 handlings but Reed Warblers  at 389 were down due to access difficultiesWe have five colour ringing schemes. Nuthatch with 773 records of which 651 were re-sightings was the most productive. Bearded Tits with 437 records of which 405 were sightings. These are both local species with only very occasional movements out of the ar...
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A Photo Or Two

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
I didn’t get many photos this morning. As each week passes the adult birds and those born last year get older and wiser about birders and keep out of the way of cameras and bins. An early morning Barn Owl is pretty much guaranteed at the moment when food is scarce and the owls spend longer on the hunt. So it was this morning as the owl stayed alongside the moss road but hidden by distance and the straggly hedge at eye level. I made do with a Kestrel and then a Buzzard just sat in the opposite field but keeping a wary eye on passing cars. It looked like last year’s bird. BuzzardAlong Lancaster Road a farmer was out early taking the tops off and shaping the hedgerow. It rather stopped my looking for finches and much else but the flood at Rawcliffe/Pilling held 4 Fieldfare, 1 Kestrel, 180 Lapwing, 10 Pied Wagtail and 8 Meadow Pip...
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Up With The Lark.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
Following a damp start, by mid-day on Monday the day came good with wall to wall sun, though the wind took the edge off it and was strong and very cold along the headland at Cockersand. Seen as at least a decent count, up to 65 Skylark were in the field to the north of Bank Houses........Skylark Eagland Hill. Barry Dyson.....But an even more exceptional count was made on 7 February, when BD achieved an amazing 470 Skylark at two locations in the Eagland Hill area, making my count at Cockersand look paltry by comparison, but a grand total of at least 470 Skylark is an inspiring sight, even seeing 65 in my case at Cockersand, and the perfect example of 'right place right time' to see a gathering of large scale cold weather movement of a bird like the Skylark. The female Stonechat&nbs...
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Headstarting

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
I guess I missed this when it first appeared during the summer of 2017.But now in early 2018 comes up-to-date news to add to the earlier picture of a small but significant conservation experiment. It’s an account of a technique known as “headstarting” of birds and the first time this method has been used in the UK.The species is Black-tailed Godwit, in this case the subspecies that occurs in the British Isles, Western & Eastern Europe, the ‘nominate’ race Limosa limosa limosa. This race of Black-tailed Godwit differs slightly in appearance from the Icelandic race Limosa limosa islandia which occurs as a migrant to the UK but does not breed here.The UK breeding population of Limosa limosa limosa is limited to a few small areas of Norfolk where successful outcomes are not always guaranteed and where the overall population i...
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The Wildfowl Have It….Again.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
I decided to give Cockersand and the howling cold wind a miss on Friday, instead I cut the estuary visit short and got my nose in on the parish of Aldcliffe for a couple of hours where wildfowl was the main feature.With 3 Goldeneye and a Red-breasted Merganser all there was to note on Conder Pool, up to 450 Black-headed Gull dropped in, presumably a fragment of the couple of thousand seen off Jeremy Lane in the large recently sprayed field, on their way back to the Lune Estuary.I legged it along the coastal path from Conder Green to Glasson Dock to find the low tide estuary pretty much the same as Wednesday, with just 75 Black-tailed Godwit and 5 Goldeneye of any significant note. On the canal basin, 9 Goldeneye, 2 Goosander drake, and a Great-crested Grebe, with the...

Ducktacular!

Posted on - In Birds2blog
Following Mondays spectacle, there was another on Wednesday, when I walked the length of coastline from Crook Farm to Bank End by which time I'd estimated at least 5,500 Wigeon stretching the entire length in some impressive rafts drifting in on the tide and including 13 Pintail and 12 Shoveler.Stonechat Cockerham Sands 7 February. Pete Woodruff.On the way to Bank End I saw the Cockerham Sands female Stonechat again. In the field NW of Bank End Farm, 245 Whooper Swan were accompanied by 2 Bewick's Swan. Returning from here, 7 Greenfinch seen, and 35 Twite were in the rough field behind Bank House Cottage.At Conder Green I found 8 Little Grebe, my best count here in up to 3 months, probably dispersed from some frozen pool somewhere, six of these were in the creeks and two on Co...
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Little But Not Often

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Some news from Europe about the Little Owl, Athene noctua, sýček obecný, recently chosen by the Czech Society for Ornithology as their “Bird of the Year”. Though common in Europe, Northern Africa, parts of the Middle East and Asia, population numbers of the owl fell significantly over the last half century in the Czech Republic, as birds disappeared from farmland areas; as a result the Little Owl is on their endangered list. The Czech Society for Ornithology wants to make the public aware of the bird’s plight and that population numbers of the once widespread species fell dramatically over recent decades. Little OwlThe society’s Martin Šálek: “We chose the Little Owl because this is an owl which not long ago was very common and widespread. We wanted to reveal the plight of the bird and other animals which live ...
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