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...
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An Egret Or Two

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Stumbling across rare birds, scarce birds or “good” birds is often just that, an accident; being in the right place at the right time. That’s what happened this morning when driving through Cockerham where a sideways glance made the car screech to a halt. There it was, a Cattle Egret feeding on the grass verge, almost under a hedgerow and not searching the ground under cattle hooves as it’s supposed to do. Mind you, and this is partially the secret of the Cattle Egrets’ success, its ability to survive and thrive in a whole set of different environments. I’ve seen Cattle Egrets in the Lanzarote desert, amongst Egyptian gardens, stalking the Plains of Africa, nesting in Menorcan conifer trees and now plodding through the wet fields of a Lancashire winter. At least the egret is just scarce nowadays rather than a “mega...
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An Egret Or Two

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Stumbling across rare birds, scarce birds or “good” birds is often just that, an accident; being in the right place at the right time. That’s what happened this morning when driving through Cockerham where a sideways glance made the car screech to a halt. There it was, a Cattle Egret feeding on the grass verge, almost under a hedgerow and not searching the ground under cattle hooves as it’s supposed to do. Mind you, and this is partially the secret of the Cattle Egrets’ success, its ability to survive and thrive in a whole set of different environments. I’ve seen Cattle Egrets in the Lanzarote desert, amongst Egyptian gardens, stalking the Plains of Africa, nesting in Menorcan conifer trees and now plodding through the wet fields of a Lancashire winter. At least the egret is just scarce nowadays rather than a “mega...
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Against The Odds.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
Around the Lune Estuary yesterday, on a day that was against the odds and anything but ideal for birding, especially along the headland at Cockersand, where there was a mini westerly howler on a cold, dull, and damp day. I ended with an hour at Glasson and Conder Green, as the day progressed it wasn't until then that birding livened up if only a little.Curlew. Richard O'Meara. I'd got it into my head, that the 10.32m high tide might be best at Cockersand, when the fields would hopefully hold a few thousand waders again, but unpredictable as they are, in the main the birds were elsewhere, though notable were estimates of 150 Curlew, 120 Turnstone, and a similar number of Dunlin, barely 50 Golden Plover, with Redshank and Lapwing present. Two Kestrel seen were one hovering at Lighthouse Cottage and one at Bank Houses....
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Stormcock

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I was undertaking a winter bird survey on some moss land in west Lancs yesterday and even though it was a cold grey day, I did quite enjoy myself.As my blog title suggests Mistle Thrushes were a feature of the morning and I recorded 6 of these large, vocal thrushes. In fact one bird was singing, defending a winter feeding territory, and their singing during inclement weather in the winter months earned them their name of Stormcock! Mistle ThrushOther Thrushes that I encountered during my survey were 36 Redwings, five Blackbirds, a Song Thrush and 67 Fieldfares. The Fieldfares and Redwings were associating with some finches feeding in a large field, and the finches included eleven Linnets, a Corn Bunting, 60 Chaffinches and a Yellowhammer. There was probably more of each species, but it was difficult to see into the field properly.There...
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Another Week Gone!

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Last weekend the weather was horrendous; cold northerly winds both days with wind driven showers all day long! I didn't venture out as I couldn't motivate myself because of the weather. And then during the week Murphy's law kicks in and the weather is rather cold, but pleasant, and my birding is all to do with work.Five sites surveyed during the week and to give you an idea of the habitats I was in it was mossland/farmland 4, estuary 0! So a clear victory to mossland/farmland sites, so that will give you an idea of the species I recorded.My week kicked off with a fairly pleasant visit to some estuarine and associated habitats on a fairly overcast day, with the ever present north-northwesterly wind. This was my fourth visit to this site and my transect goes past a pond in some improved pasture, grazed within an inch of it's life and I haven'...
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A Ruff Passage.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
This year has seen an exceptional autumn Ruff passage in our area, since I found 2 at Cockersand on 4 September, to date I've seen 50 Ruff, the best being 14 on the shore off Lighthouse Cottage at Cockersand on 26 September, and 18 on the Lune Estuary at Glasson on 6 October. On Friday I found an adult male Ruff at Cockersand for the third time in a week, this time it was in the field beyond Bank Houses horse paddock with 5 Stock Dove and a few Redshank. In other fields, 550 Golden Plover and 150 Curlew. Seven Snipe came up off the marsh opposite the caravan park, up to 20 Twite were were mobile, initially in the rough field behind Bank House Cottage from where I watched a Merlin single out a Starling from the mass before being lost to view to see...
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Linnet Project 200 Up

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
I almost turned around and went back to bed when the drizzle wet the windscreen. But then close to Pilling village the drizzle suddenly stopped and the sky looked lighter. I carried on to Cockerham and Gulf Lane where I hoped to add more Linnets to the year’s total. No Andy today. He’s with Sandra sunning himself in Mexico so I was alone. It’s rather a shame we have no trainees at the moment to help with the load and for them to learn more about birds through ringing. But to become a bird ringer involves a time commitment, self-discipline and a willingness to sometimes forego the attraction of twitching or having a lie-in. Ringing also demands a responsible, sometimes discreet approach towards the often private places where ringing takes place so as to safeguard the birds and to respect the wishes of the property owners who gran...