Little Wonder

Posted on - In Birding Aldcliffe
Little ringed plover - AldcliffeMid to late March always has me anticipating the arrival of the first little ringed plover at Aldcliffe. They are extremely reliable here and turn up each year around the same date; March 17th in 2013, 19th in 2014 and 2015 and 18th last year.So when I clapped eyes on a lovely adult female on the Flood this morning I wasn't the least bit surprised.These dainty little waders are long distance migrants, returning to the UK each spring from their wintering grounds in Africa. They are as much a herald of spring for me as wheatears, sand martins and chiffchaffs.(The pic here was taken previously). Today's morning visit to Aldcliffe followed a few off-patch visits along with fellow birder and good chum Stuart Meredith. First we headed to Sizergh Castle in search of hawfinch. These dazzling and often elusive birds a...
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Garden Gore

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
The troublesome tail end of Stella has meant a week of enforced inactivity for yours truly. The local ban on ringing due to Avian Flu is now lifted but the wind and rain of recent days has given no opportunity for ringing or birding. In my own garden and those of close neighbours there’s been a Chiffchaff, a singing Mistle Thrush, a calling Tawny Owl, a steady stream of Goldfinches, plus a number of Dunnocks chasing around. ChiffchaffTawny OwlMore showers this morning, and as I typed away, Sue reported a killing taking place on the back lawn. From the bedroom window I saw that an adult female Sparrowhawk had just collared a Collared Dove and was in the process of finishing off the job by sinking its talons into the dove's flesh. A Collared Dove is a large bird and at the top end of the list of prey sizes a female Sparrowha...
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A Grand Day Out.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
Children from North Yorkshire will soon be enjoying a special conservation experience on grouse moors with the British Association for Shooting & Conservation thanks to funding from North Yorkshire Police.Moorland Heather. Pete Woodruff.A grant from the Police Property Fund will enable hundreds of youngsters between the ages of six and eleven to take part in experience days which will see them visiting the North York Moors, helping with conservation tasks and learning about habitat and wildlife unique to the region.  The police have been keen to support BASC's application with one of the funds largest ever grants which will provide an unforgettable experience for youngsters, and will allow them to find out all about life on the moors through the eyes of a local gamekeeper....well that'll be riveting.I ...
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Blog Post: A new season & hopes for the class of 2017

Posted on - In Sky Dancer
It’s that time of year... hope and trepidation playing on my mind in equal measure. The breeding season just beginning, and with it, all the excitement and uncertainty of what lies ahead for our hen harriers. Often it feels as though little has changed from year to year, but our recent adventures in satellite tagging have given my reflections this year a new focus. For months now, our remaining satellite tagged birds have been sticking tightly to their chosen wintering grounds – Aalin in Shropshire, DeeCee in the Cairngorms, Finn in Ayrshire, Harriet in the Lake District, and Wendy on Mull. Who knows, perhaps that immobility has been the secret of their success? Being young and immature, it’s unlikely (though not impossible) that any of our young harriers will attempt to breed this year. But experience shows that won’t stop them se...

In Only Seven Days…

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
...is a brilliant song by Queen, but it also only a short period of time when your blog can become out of date! In the past seven days I have been busy with lots of things 'birdie' but haven't seemed to have the time to update my blog!Last weekend I had a look on the farm fields on the coast hoping for an early Wheatear, but that wasn't to be. In fact grounded migrants were a bit thin on the ground and all I could muster was a male and two female Stonechats and a single Goldcrest. I suppose I would class the Meadow Pipits that had gathered on the fields as grounded migrants too, as they were certainly migrants and weren't going anywhere at present; in total I had 66!Vis was virtually non-existent as well with just two Alba Wags north. It was murky out at sea and as a result was very quiet other than the 25 Whooper Swans that I picked up on ...

Marked BTG.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
It's been a disappointing winter for me with regards to finding marked birds, I've had few chances to get close enough to the huge herd of Whooper Swans spending the entire winter at Cockersand, and getting close to any Pink-footed Geese hasn't happened. But it was excellent that just a half dozen of the 1,750 Black-tailed Godwit seen on Tuesday on the Lune Estuary at Glasson, had come to feed close in from my viewpoint at the bowling green the following day for me to find one of the birds was marked.The photograph of the Black-tailed Godwit below is courtesy of my man in Iceland who had sent me this copy last year when there was some confusion about a bird I'd found, the picture resulted in the confusion being resolved. Now I've seen this bird again on Tuesday, it was my fifth sighting of OR-GYflag which will be 5 years old ...
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A Little Routine….

Posted on - In Birds2blog
....with nothing 'new in' to talk about, save a White Wagtail on the flood at Cockersand, one of which I had seen here on Tuesday. Also on the flood, 26 Pied Wagtail, 4 Meadow Pipit, a Skylark, a pair of Shoveler, and 2 Dunlin. Up to 900 Golden Plover were in an Abbey Farm field, and 12 Tree Sparrow at Bank Houses was the best count I've had at Cockersand since I don't know when. On Plover Scar at high tide, 213 waders seen, 135 Turnstone, 68 Oystercatcher, 5 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, a single Knot and Golden Plover. I put in a bit more of a determined effort to count today to arrive at 460 Whooper Swan at Cockersand, not an easy task with birds spread across fields from behind Crook Farm all the way south to Bank End. On the Lune Estuary at Glasson, a much reduced number of 650 Bla...
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White Arse Works Wonders

Posted on - In Birding Aldcliffe
WheatearYet more indicators of the coming season came in the form of a smart male wheatear on the tide line on Monday morning.These long-distance migrants are always a pleasure to see and a real sign that there are tons more birds on their way to our shores!In case you're wondering, the name wheatear has nothing to do with either wheat or indeed ears.It is a derivation of the old name 'white-arse' - and if you've seen one flying away from you, you'll know why!Skylarks have been both passing through and singing over the marsh while meadow pipits continue to make their way north in small numbers. Chiffchaffs have arrived in notable numbers in recent days with a few birds singing in Freeman's Wood while others have been feeding quietly in the hedgerows.Presumably the same green sandpiper I saw last Sunday was again present at the Wildfowl...

Here And There

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
At last a half decent morning without that nagging breeze, a chance to go ringing at Oakenclough where at 0630 I met up with Andy and Dave. Our catching was steady and on the slow side. It was dominated by finches and signs of early returning birds with the recaptures of a Lesser Redpoll and a Siskin. The Siskin was first ringed 11th February 2016 and the Lesser Redpoll first ringed 25th March 2015. So they were both early springtime birds but neither of them recaptured in the intervening periods. Total birds processed 23 of just four species, including the two recaptures: 9 Goldfinch, 5 Siskin, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Chaffinch and 3 Dunnock. SiskinSiskin SiskinGoldfinchLesser Redpolls can vary in colouration with some individuals showing greyish tones with whiter wing bars than a typically brown example. They are however not to...
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