Comment on Second 2016 hen harrier goes missing

This is becoming a depressingly familiar story and only 10 days after the inglorious 12th - what a coincidence. If this was an illegal killing the perpetrators are getting smart enough to conceal any incriminating evidence.  

Shanks & Chats.

The Shanks.There have been good numbers of Greenshank seen recently on the Eric Morecambe complex at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve, the best count being Sunday when 22 were reported, but there have been double figure counts there recently prior to this one. Greenshank. Brian Rafferty.Brian took this shot of the Greenshank with the result of a successful strike in it's bill. When inspected closely whilst looking through his photographs of the day at Leighton Moss, Brian discovered the bird had taken what looked like a squid, it's small, so maybe a young squid. I was interested, not so much that the Greenshank had taken it as a food item, but what the item was and where it was found. I discovered that the squid is in fact found in the Irish Sea, one fishing expert says they can be found in the shrimping nets in...
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From Merseyside To A Few Soggy Migrants

I had a survey to complete in Merseyside last Friday (23rd) morning on some farmland habitat. It was a slightly overcast morning with a light southwesterly wind and there was a little bit of vis.Skylarks dominated the vis passage with 55 south and the best of the rest were eight Grey Wagtails, twelve Linnets, 29 Pink-footed Geese, 13 Meadow Pipits, 18 House Martins and nine Mute Swans. I was inland!Six Goldcrests, a Chiffchaff, two Buzzards and four Jays were around some of the woodland, but best of all were the five Red Squirrels that I had. Unfortunately every time I was about to press the shutter button on my camera they disappeared!Fast forward to this morning when it was raining, but looked like the conditions might have dropped a few migrants in. I had to go to the stationers to get some maps copied so I decided to call in at the ceme...

Blog Post: Second 2016 hen harrier goes missing

I’m sorry to have to report that we have lost another of this year’s satellite tagged hen harrier chicks. Brian, named after the very experienced raptor worker Brian Etheridge, was one of our non-public-facing birds. With the permission of the landowner and help of local Scottish Raptor Study Group members, he was tagged as part of the Hen Harrier LIFE Project on 4 th July on an estate in Perthshire within the Cairngorms National Park. He fledged from the nest and stayed close to the nest site until the beginning of August when he moved north into southern Inverness-shire. Brian then spent the next few weeks over various areas of managed grouse moor, within the National Park with frequent strong, clear transmissions from his tag providing detailed information about his daily travels. Brian having just received his satellite tag (photo:...

Comment on Second 2016 hen harrier goes missing

You get to a point where you're tired of commenting on how sickening this is - to watch these lovely birds grow up, and then you ring and tag them while trying to ignore the fact that at some point you'll probably have to tell the world that your beautiful tagged bird has abruptly vanished without a trace.  On this side of the border we really need to keep banging on about this horrendousness as Parliament prepares to debate the 'sport' of driven grouse shooting and all its dreadful consequences. ...

Ducktastic Day

Dodging the odd showery bursts this morning, I spent a couple of hours birding around the Aldcliffe area for the first time in a while.The combined forces of a bust work schedule and a few days visiting family on Jersey have meant that I've had little time to get out and see what's occurring on the patch.I did manage to see a few birds while on Jersey; migration was in full swing when I first arrived and I was treated to what is a rare sight in North Lancashire these days - flocks of yellow wagtails. 'Vis-miggers' on the south of the island had been logging literally hundreds of these lovely migrants, along with other classic autumn fayre, as they passed over en route to the continent and beyond.My encounters were more modest but even so, finding groups containing double figures as they fed around the hooves of Jersey cows was quite a treat...
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Land Management!

Fluke Hall-Knott End Coastal PathWhen I got to Fluke Hall last Monday I was disappointed to find the inland side of the coastal path had been cut down presumably all the way to Knott End c.3 miles away, bad enough it had been cut, but the big question is....when and how long ago? This is excellent butterfly habitat, personal past records include 12 Clouded Yellow in 30 minutes on this very path on 7 August 2006, and more recently, 9 species of butterflies with at least 200 individuals seen in 1.5 miles along this coastal path to Cockers Dyke on 12 August last year.OK, we're  talking late September here, and the records above were in August, and the Clouded Yellow record 10 years ago, but that's not the point, there are still plenty of butterflies around this year, and provided the weather and nectar source...
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A hard day in Holderness

Even with the wind clearly in the wrong direction you should never miss an opportunity to visit Spurn, but it was tough going today searching for goodies from Sammy’s Point to the Warren and back. Neill “Shangri-La” Hunt picked me, Alan Wright and Andy Pryce up in the godless hours and we sped cross country, so that we were stumbling around the lane at Easington Cemetery by 0830 in a strengthening south westerly that allowed startlingly white Med Gulls to sail over the fields. It was quiet, and while Sammy’s Point had 1 Yellow Browed Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Greater ‘Pecker, Whitethroat, Goldcrest, 2 Whimbrel, Golden Plover and overhead Skylarks and Siskins, none were showing particularly well (apart from the waders), and after meeting up with more windblasted visitors from our side of the Great Divide, we...

Bearded Tit Gritting Season Gets Underway

Spent nearly two hours watching the grit trays at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve this morning, hoping to get sightings of our colour ringed Bearded Tits. Just about to pack up when a male appeared at 09.33 and spent ca 4 mins gritting.At home checked its details on IPMR. It had been ringed as a juvenile in June 15th 2015 and had been seen at a successful nest in one of our reed wigwam nest box in early June 2016. The fascinating thing is that it was one of the first birds to start gritting in 2015 being seen on the trays first on 20th September.In total it was recorded on the trays on 11 days in autumn 2016 between September 20th and 23rd October.Bearded Tits need grit in the gizzard because this time of year they change their diet from insects to the much harder reed seed. A German study found up to 850 pieces of grit in one gizzard in a...

The Estuary & The Harbour.

The Lune Estuary, Heysham outfalls, and Red Nab yesterday to be precise.Didn't really expect the first bird seen on the Lune Estuary to be an Avocet, a good example of 'what next' when yer birdin', it was sweeping side to side with 5 Greenshank and a Spotted Redshank close by, an adult Mediterranean Gull bore rings on it's left leg, I got the colours but no chance of reading any marks. At least 500 Golden Plover came down onto the weed covered stones mid-river at low tide, 27 Greylag and 14 Wigeon also noted.I called in at Conder Green to check over Conder Pool and saw 13 Little Grebe in a single scan, and 6 Snipe. Adult Little Gull. Red Nab 22 September. Pete Woodruff.I was at Heysham 3 hours before high tide, checked Red Nab, went through the outfalls to the harbour and returned to Red Nab...