Ups And Downs

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
I followed up yesterday’s Yellowhammer sighting by going back for pictures on a quiet and sunny Sunday morning. Yellowhammers tend to be late breeders and it’s not unusual to see and hear them in full song in the latter half of the summer. I saw nothing of the female today, just the male sending out his song acrosss the landscape. His mate is obviously sat on a second brood of eggs not too far away from the various song posts. YellowhammerYellowhammer YellowhammerThe Yellowhammer is in poor shape in this part of Lancashire, part of a national and European decline caused by decreased survival rates and agricultural intensification. I can’t do better than quote from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) website and include their graph that really says it all. “Yellowhammer abundance began to decline on farmland in the m...
Continue Reading » Ups And Downs...

Back On The Patch Via Cumbria

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I seem to spend all my time apologising for not posting too much recently, and my usual excuse is that I have been busy. I suppose I'm lucky in that when I am busy it means that I am busy with conservation related work, so busy, long days at work are days out in the field generally observing and recording wildlife!I've been in Cumbria these past ten days. Earlier during this period I was in the southwest along the Furness peninsula. Highlights at this newly planted woodland site included a Grey Wagtail, eight Linnets, two Chiffchaffs, two Stock Doves, four Siskins, three Willow Warblers, a Song Thrush, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Blackcap and a Sedge Warbler.Later in the ten day period I was in north Cumbria not far from Wigton, and I had Gail assisting me with my bird and tree survey. Highlights here included a Yellowhammer, a Great Spotted Wo...

Saturday 22nd July

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
What a rotten week it’s been. Rain most days, often windy and nothing like summer. Saturday promised slightly better so I set off on the usual trail over the moss and in the general direction of Conder Green. I hit upon a young Kestrel and then a singing Yellowhammer, the latter not quite as rare as hen’s teeth but certainly getting that way. It took me a while to locate from where the male proclaimed his “little bit of bread and no cheese” until I spotted him 30ft up a roadside post. YellowhammerSeems there was a Cattle Egret at Conder Green during the week, a one-day wonder on Thursday that a good number of people saw but perhaps not enough to ensure the species figures on everyone’s British List. Just as well I saw one there on April 2nd, part of  a small invasion of the species to the UK. But the Cattle Eg...
Continue Reading » Saturday 22nd July...

Five Days Later.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
On Thursday, five days since my last visit to Conder Green, it seems the juvenile Common Tern have already dispersed, the whole party of two adult a three juvenile were all present on my last visit on Friday 14 July, but I've not found young anywhere here or on the Lune Estuary from Glasson to Cockersand. Two Common Tern adult were on Conder Pool, with a count of up to 150 Lapwing noted. I saw just 2 Little Grebe on the pool today, with a drop in number to 8 Common Sandpiper in the creeks with 2 Greenshank and 5 Little Egret.On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, 3 Mediterranean Gull were seen as an adult and two 2nd summer, 2 Common Tern adult fishing here were probably the Conder birds. An estimated 350 Dunlin and 250 Redshank were feeding on the tideline from the bowling green to the Conder mouth, and I counted 17 Littl...
Continue Reading » Five Days Later....

June’s Ringing Totals

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Over on the right you will see that I have updated the ringing totals for Fylde Ringing Group until the end of June, and we are still playing catch-up after the various ringing suspensions that I have blogged about previously due to Avian Influenza outbreaks locally. We are 370 birds down on where we were last year and need some good weather through autumn to catch up.Twelve new species for the year were ringed in June and these were Kestrel, Curlew, Woodpigeon, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Sand Martin, Swallow, Cetti's Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Whitethroat and Carrion Crow.The top four ringed during June and top 10 'movers and shakers' for the year were as follows:Top 4 Species Ringed during June1. Pied Flycatcher - 542. Goldfinch - 313. Reed Warbler - 144. Great Tit - 13Top 10 Movers and Shakers1. Goldfinch - 81 (up from 4th) &n...

Pied Flycatchers on a High

Posted on - In North Lancs Ringing Group
Now got full results of our Pied Flycatcher study. In total we had 141 occupied nests of these 121 successfully produced some young. This compares with 120 and 65 last year. Although we missed ringing a few broods we managed a record total of 722 nestlings 223 up on 2016. A total of 65 new adults were ringed and 113 adults retrapped. Most of these were birds first ringed in our area but we had two from Durham and one from North Yorkshire ringed as nestlings there, but now nesting in our woods.There was little predation this year compared with 2016 when weasels played havoc in some woods. Perhaps due to this year being a good vole year. Brood size at ringing averaged 6.5 compared with 6.0 last year with 20 broods of 8 nestlings and one of nine.Of the retrapped birds, 17 were 3 years old, six four years,one five and three six years....

Blog Post: Exciting times: Hen harriers the next generation

Posted on - In Sky Dancer
We've received more brilliant news this week - in her first ever breeding attempt, our Northumberland female, Finn, is successfully rearing one chick at her nest in Southwest Scotland! The discovery was made by specially trained and licensed staff following up on Finn's welfare.  Finn's offspring - a single, large but still downy chick hidden in the heather. (Image: RSPB)  Hen harriers don't always breed in their first year, in fact historical records estimate only between 8-30% of first year birds make the attempt. And often when they do, the risk of failure is greater due to inexperience or laying infertile eggs. So although a single chick may not seem like much, for our young Finn, it's a fantastic achievement.  All being well, we expect that Finn's chick will fledge in the next 7-10 days.  Finn herself was named after teenage conse...

Back Up the Hill!

Posted on - In Birds2blog
The weather on Monday was perfect for another trip into Bowland, and an update on Hawthornthwaite Fell produced a whacking 10 Stonechat. Well it had to be 'whacking' as I don't find that many Stonechat anywhere these days, though with two broods from two pairs that I had seen a month ago on 18 June you obviously can, today's sighting was seen as a male, two female, and seven juvenile.The next best sighting on Hawthornthwaite was a Peregrine Falcon which I appropriately reported. The bird was mobbed several times by one of two Kestrel in the air at the time, a Buzzard had been seen earlier, and a lone Raven was over. Also of note, 11 Meadow Pipit, 4 Wren, and 2 Grey Wagtail were on Hawthornthwaite Greave where at least 20 Sand Martin were flying up and down.I found only 17 species in a four hour trawl between Marshaw and Trough Bri...
Continue Reading » Back Up the Hill!...

A Little Bit Of Blackpool

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Tuesday meant a ringing trip to Marton Mere, Blackpool. This Lancashire seaside resort is famous for many things, including a 1937 George Formby song "With My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock", a ditty banned by BBC radio of the day for having suggestive lyrics. Nowadays, anything goes in trendy but traditional Blackpool. Two miles from the world famous Blackpool Tower, the Pleasure Beach, the honky-tonk Promenade and alleged debauchery of Blackpool nightlife is Marton Mere. The mere is a water body believed to occupy a kettle-hole formed during the last glaciation over 14,000 years ago, and is thus one of only two remaining water bodies in Lancashire of natural origin, the other being Hawes Water at Silverdale, also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Marton Mere is now local nature reserve, a tranquil refuge on Bl...

Blog Post: Guest Blog: Stunning hen harrier chase on Isle of Man

Posted on - In Sky Dancer
Peter Christian is a birdwatcher and photographer with a keen eye for detail. Here, he describes how he was lucky enough to capture an incredible photographic series of a hen harrier in pursuit of a meadow pipit, providing a rarely glimpsed view into lives of these extraordinary birds. All photographs are kindly reproduced with Peter's permission and remain his copyright.  As a keen birdwatcher and hobby photographer on the Isle of Man, it's thankfully not too uncommon to encounter Hen Harriers. On a walk on an upland track recently however, I witnessed something I've never seen before.  Initially distant in the valley below I spotted the unmistakable presence of a male Hen Harrier. A striking bird to say the least. What's more, it was hunting a Meadow Pipit - wow!  They looked to be heading my way, so I grabbed the camera and tried ...