Seen Anything Interesting?….

Posted on - In Birds2blog
....said the man as he walked up to me at Glasson on Friday. I explained that everything in birding is interesting, but in varying degrees, in any case it turned out I had little time to find much at all, interesting or otherwise.

Another of those quick checks around the Lune Estuary on Friday, and noted on Conder Pool, 8 Snipe, 11 Little Grebe, a Common Sandpipera Sparrowhawk was over, and 8 Ruff flew in from the estuary, looked like they would drop in somewhere on the pool, but continued on in the direction of Jeremy Lane.

At Glasson, where you need to be there at least two hours pre high tide before everything gets washed away, I saw an adult Mediterranean Gull, up to 165 Black-tailed Godwit, 450 Redshank, 9 Curlew, and 4 Dunlin, all seen towards the Conder mouth from the bowling green.

The plan then was to go to Cockersand - now there's a surprise - but a text message meant I didn't go birding anywhere else at all today. 


WOT NO PIK'S

Yes there is actually, there's an excellent one of a Woodchat Shrike in the header....Many Thanks Ana.

Sweet & Sour!

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I spent a couple of hours at Cockersand on Tuesday, nothing new about that, but it was a pretty disappointing two hours with nothing more of note than a Stock Dove, and a Kestrel seen over Bank Houses, one later over Slack Lane could have been the same bird on wires with 22 Linnet close by at the cover crop. 


Whinchat. Ana Minguez @ Naturanafotos

But hang on....that's not a Linnet on the fence post is it, it's a Whinchat....nice one.

More on the 'nice one' list followed a little later when 6 Ruff were on the Lune Estuary at Glasson, and on Conder Pool, Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Snipe, and a new peak of 13 Little Grebe ended what I'd call Tuesday's birding sweet and sour.

Wednesday 20 September.

Wednesday didn't shape up much better either, and Plover Scar didn't pose any counting headaches, with 14 Dunlin, 11 Ringed Plover, and 2 Great-crested Grebe off here. A Wheatear seen, and c.450 Golden Plover flew south past the headland.

Bar-tailed Godwit. 


Bar-tailed Godwit. Noushka @  1000-Pattes 

I found 11 Bar-tailed Godwit feeding off Crook Farm on Tuesday as the tide dropped. Though the Bar-tailed Godwit can be seen in our area in all months, these were the first I've seen anywhere on the Lune Estuary since 10 on 5 May at Glasson.

Thanks to Ana and Noushka for the excellent images.

Monday’s Highlight Bird’s.

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Up and down like yoyo's, there's no easy way to get to grips with the number, but after a few attempts I eventually arrived at 12 Little Grebe again on Conder Pool, with 4 Snipe seen, 14 Redshank, and up to 120 Lapwing. In the creeks, the Kingfisher showed, as did the Common Sandpiper both down by the bridge, also 2 Snipe and a Sparrowhawk over. On the Lune Estuary at Glasson, 2 Greenshank, 13 Snipe, 2 Goosander, and a Great-crested Grebe.

At Cockersand from the coastal path, I watched a group of up to sixty birds flitting around the field and bushes, of which there was at least 40 Reed Bunting by far a personal best ever count in one sighting of the species, with Meadow Pipit and Skylark around.


Rock Pipit. Pete Woodruff. 

I found my first Rock Pipit of the winter, with 4 Wheatear off the headland. On the circuit, c.50 Tree Sparrow and a Reed Bunting around Bank Houses, also in two sightings a total of 120 Wood Pigeon, with 20 Goldfinch at the cover crop.

A visit to Gresgarth Hall on Sunday produced an impressive 65 Red Admiral on Sedum, 4 Comma, 2 Small Copper, 2 Peacock, and a Small Tortoiseshell

Mid September Bowland.

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On a more settled day, with some sunny spells and little wind, a visit to Bowland on Friday wasn't without some rewards. 

On Hawthornthwaite Fell I found 3 Stonechat, seen as a pair and a juvenile, something of a surprise was a lone Wheatear still up here, with 4 Raven seen in three sightings, 14 Meadow Pipit, and high overhead at least 30 House Martin hawking, 2 Red Admiral and a Small Tortoiseshell seen.


Spotted Flycatcher. Simon Hawtin. 

A Marshaw - Tower Lodge - Winfold Fell saunter started with a late Spotted Flycatcher which beats my previous latest in Bowland of 3 Spotted Flycatcher seen 7 years ago on 2 September 2010. Unexpected was 4 House Martin at Tower Lodge including entering a nest. Also of note, a Great-spotted Woodpecker, 5 Coal Tit, 3 Robin, and 2 Grey Wagtail on the Marshaw Wyre.

Red Grouse.


Red Grouse. Simon Hawtin.

At two upland locations on Friday, I saw an impressive 61 Red Grouse including flights of 24 from 30 on the fringe of Winfold Fell, and 15 from 31 on Hawthornthwaite Fell, by far my best one day count of this stunning moorland bird.

No Redpoll or Siskin seen today, and less expected, no Crossbill, the last of which were eight I found up here on 7 July 2016.

Thursday 14 September.

Conder Pool, 12 Little Grebe. Lune Estuary, c.750 Golden Plover and 58 Pink-footed Geese over >south.

Thanks to Peter Rhind for the header image, and to Simon Hawtin for his images in this post....Excellent times three.

Woe Is Me!

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Any birding plans I might have had have gone out of the window over the past few days, but on Tuesday I found myself returning via the A588 from a non-birding trip to the Fylde, I gave myself the time to call in at Fluke Hall and find an adult Mediterranean Gull, preening just west of here on Preesall Sands, with a Wheatear on the sea defence boulders.

Calling in at Conder Green on my way back to Lancaster, I found Conder Pool had resurrected itself from the dead, with 5 Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, and 12 Little Grebe all breathing life back into it, whilst saving me from a total blank for birding since last Friday. 

The Common Sandpiper at Conder Green is presumed to be this winters bird here, but the returning Spotted Redshank has yet to appear and had done so by this time last year on 12 September.

With birding prospects not looking good recently, and to be honest still don't....Woe is me!

The Redshank.


Redshank. Howard Stockdale.

This Redshank was ringed in France on 10 September 2010, it has only been recorded in England once in June 2016, and has since returned to France the following year in June 2017. 

14/09/2010 France MOEZE Tanne Round L. Jomat
21/09/2010 France MOEZE Tanne Round V. Lelong
19/09/2012 France SAINT-FROULT Monportail South W. Tijsen
04/06/2016 England LancasterOver Wyresdale H. Stockdale
22/06/2017 France TEICH (LE) Ornithological Park C. Feigné




I'm grateful to Howard Stockdale for sending me his sighting of the ringed Redshank he found, and to Richard du Feu and Vincent Lelong for dealing with the record which was unavoidably delayed.

Ruff Justice.

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A couple of hours before high tide on the Lune Estuary on Friday, 3 Ruff was some justice for what turned out to be a day struggling to find anything of substance, 8 Black-tailed Godwit also added a little interest to the area, with a good number of Redshank and fewer Dunlin hanging on to what mud was left as the tide raced in, later in the day a Peregrine Falcon was on Colloway Marsh. 

I stuck it out in a bit of a howler on Plover Scar up to high tide to find up to 200 Dunlin, 60 Ringed Plover, and 3 Turnstone. Whilst a shower blew through, I watched the sea from the motor for thirty minutes to see a Guillemot drift out of the estuary and noted 2 Great-crested Grebe off Plover Scar.

Apart from 12 Little Grebe on Conder Pool again, and a Greenshank down the channel, to say Conder Green was a struggle is something of an understatement.

Adding a bit of gloss and quality to Birds2blog....again!!


Wilson's Phalarope Alston Reservoir 9 September Paul Foster


A Wilson's Phalarope was found on Saturday at Alston Wetland, Longridge. A one day bird last reported at 7.45pm but not since. The first for Lancashire & North Merseyside since May 2010 at Seaforth NR, Liverpool....RBA 

The first for Britain was found as recent as 63 years ago in September 1954 at Fife, Rosyth. The bird needed to be observed in fine detail and studied in field guides before it could be named as a 1st winter Wilson's Phalarope. 

Many thanks for the image Paul. I'm really pleased you got to see this North American wader, and the excellent photographs you came away with too.


American Redstart

Female American Redstart. Eoligarry, Western Isles. Stuart Piner.

Another recent 'goodie' was found at Barra, Western Isles on 7 September. The first for Britain was found 50 years ago in 1967 at Porthgwarra, Cornwall, it was also identified from illustrations in a field guide as a 1st winter male American Redstart.

Many thanks to Stuart for the excellent image of this stunning little North American gem.

Petrel's & Gull's.

Leach's Petrel and Sabine's Gull all over the place today....I'm off to join the 'in crowd' first opportunity.

Long Day Short List.

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Round the bay and back for tea, with more pik's slipping through the quality control net again.


Sandwich Tern Red Nab 6 Sept. Pete Woodruff.

I decided to get to Heysham three hours before the tide on Wednesday morning. I took a look over Red Nab before walking to the power station outfalls and on to the south wall of the harbour. But Red Nab was the focus of my attention, the rest produced little of note.


1st Winter Mediterranean Gull Red Nab 6 Sept. Pete Woodruff.

Before the tide swallowed up Red Nab I found 12 Mediterranean Gull, eight of which were adult, with two near adult, and two 1st winter. By the time I was about to leave, 7 Sandwich Tern were present one of which was a 1st winter, I also had excellent views of the moulting adult Little Gull.

I dashed off to Cockersand to check Plover Scar before the tide dropped too much, but no surprises there, with c.600 Dunlin, 65 Ringed Plover, and 2 Turnstone. On a short circuit through Abbey Farm and back via the road, a flock of up to 80 Linnet were very mobile, and an impressive sight of at least 120 House Martin were feeding with Swallows over the field from Slack Lane. On the Lune Estuary at Glasson, 4 Mediterranean Gull were all adult, with 5 Goosander my only other notes from here.


Snipe Conder Pool 6 Sept. Pete Woodruff. 

At Conder Green, I was going to pronounce Conder Pool as 'dead', but in fact 12 Little Grebe on there was the new peak count, and a Snipe was hunkered down on the near small island from the viewing platform, a Greenshank and 2 Goosander were in the creeks with a Kestrel hovering over.

And a good time was had by all!

Briefly Around The Lune.

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Briefly birding again on Monday, and with at least fifty more sheep than birds on Conder Pool, where there was a grand total of 5 Little Grebe, 3 Black-headed Gull, a Little Egret, and a Grey Heron. A circuit of Conder Green produced a similar level of excitement, with 12 House Martin still around River Winds and Cafe d' Lune, and a Common Sandpiper in the channel, which is becoming more likely to be this years wintering bird here with every passing day.

Golden Plover at Glasson 4 September. Pete Woodruff.

On the Lune Estuary at Glasson, 2 Mediterranean Gull were both adult, a Greenshank, c.500 Redshank and a few Dunlin, with a lone Golden Plover seen close from the bowling green, and of 17 Little Egret counted, twelve were together in a tidal pool up stream from the Conder mouth.

Two Ruff were nice off the Lighthouse Cottage, they were a juvenile male and female feeding with a few hundred Dunlin and fewer Ringed Plover, a Wheatear was by Abbey Farm which was as far as I got today at Cockersand.


Adding a bit of gloss and quality to Birds2blog....


Purple Heron Brian Rafferty

The Purple Heron found 18 August, remains at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve, and can still be seen today mainly from the Grisedale Hide, but occasionally from Tim Jackson Hide....Thanks for the excellent image Brian.

Up & Down.

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Buzzard. Martin Lofgren  Wild Bird Gallery  

With 12 July my last time on Harrisend, I got myself back up there on Friday to be disappointed in finding just one lone male Stonechat, and lucky to find it at that. I spotted the bird on the skyline on the top of the ridge whilst attracted to watching 2 Buzzard soaring high, one of 2 Kestrel seen was in the same view, later it got better when a Peregrine Falcon also joined the raptor festival and was attacked by a Kestrel, at one point I had Buzzard, Kestrel, and Peregrine in my sights at the same time....pretty impressive stuff. 

I had seen a Peregrine Falcon on Hawthornthwaite Fell the last time up there on 17 July, judging by these two sightings, the chances of finding a Peregrine Falcon in Bowland these days is obviously better than that of seeing a Hen Harrier which is at best very slim. I was informed on good authority that the Hawthornthwaite bird was probably from a known breeding site which sounded excellent news with the current climate in Bowland.

I had also seen 2 Raven at the time I was watching the raptor fest, and there was some movement over the fell top, at one time when I looked skyward I saw c.70 Swallow bombing through with a purpose. Six Meadow Pipit seen, and I'd have to call 11 Red Grouse an excellent count on Friday, I don't recall the last time I saw them here on Harrisend Fell.

Butterflies, 10 Red Admiral, 8 Small Copper, and a Small Tortoiseshell.

Meanwhile....back on the ranch!

Nine Little Grebe were on Conder Pool, with a small gathering of up to 60 Lapwing, 2 Little Egret, and the female Tufted Duck now has just three young left. I watched a House Martin still entering a nest at River Winds, saw a Greenshank and Common Sandpiper down the channel, wondering if the latter was going to be the wintering bird at Conder Green. Along the coastal path, a Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, and 10 Large White butterflies seen.

On the Lune Estuary, c.300 Golden Plover, 60 Curlew, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, good numbers of Lapwing and Redshank, but barely a double figure of Dunlin seen, a Great-crested Grebe was on the river.

Garden Birds.

It was good to see a/our garden Robin returned on Friday, a sure sign of the approaching winter, also good to see a juvenile Greenfinch, not to be taken for granted, and certainly not so in our garden. 


Migrant Hawker @ Kent Dagonflies

I was pleasantly surprised to see a Migrant Hawker patrolling the bushes in our garden for a few minutes yesterday afternoon, a very unexpected first.

Thanks to Brian  for the brilliant in flight Hobby header, and to Martin and Marc for the Buzzard and Hawker images.    

Another Stonechat Safari.

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Stonechat @ Pegler Birding  

On Wednesday, a half decent sometimes sunny but cool day when exposed to a light wind, a late summer visit had me finding 6 Stonechat on Birk Bank, by something of a coincidence seen in the same combination as my last time up here on 23 July, a pair and two juvenile, and a male and female seemingly unconnected.

Some interest in their behaviour, in that they independently moved around considerably and at times flew some distance, in fact they were all over the place and difficult to keep up with, and in the time I spent with them in view, the distance between my first seeing two birds, and where the six were scattered about when I left was probably in excess of 400m. I've no idea what exactly was going on here, and why all the activity, but it was good to have collected another breeding record of this obviously declining species in Bowland.

Also of note in the area and on the track east side of Clougha, 20 Red Grouse included twelve past me together in flight. It was also good to find five raptors, 3 Buzzard and 2 Kestrel, with a Robin and Wren the only other birds seen in four hours. 

Butterflies seen, 9 Red Admiral seven of which I saw with 8 minutes of each other when the sun put in an appearance at around 1.30pm, and - significant or not - were all flying south east, also 3 Peacock, and 2 Small Tortoiseshell

Black Darter. Pete Woodruff.

Forty five minutes staked out on the board-walk over the bog produced a male Black Darter, and at least 4 Common Darter

Dead Again!

My being on a grouse moor on Wednesday, has reminded me to post about the latest act of raptor persecution that has taken place on an estate in the Cairngorms National Park. A recently fledged and satellite tagged Hen Harrier has 'disappeared' from there, and the last transmission was made from this bird on - wait for it - 12 August. 

Wonder what the tweedy dressed bastards will come up with when they're questioned about what they might know about all this then.