I’D SOONER BE BIRDING!

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I spotted a moth to photograph in the garden in the week, which at least gave me a little material to give the breath of life to Birds2blog until I get the green flag for birding again. 


It was The Vapourer, a caterpillar of which I had photographed in the garden a couple of years ago. Only the male has functional wings, the female rarely moves from her cocoon, and usually lays her eggs on the cocoon itself.



The caterpillar is easy to recognise with red spots on it's hairy body, four cream 'shaving brushes' and assorted hairy 'horns'.


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The Great Escape.

Thanks to Lynn Woodruff I was released from my housebound prison for the first time since the incident of 2 September, and was escorted along with KT on a walk along the Stone Jetty at Morecambe where I was rewarded with an October butterfly, a Wall Brown basking on the sea defences.


Wall Brown Marc Heath  

A species of conservation concern due to habitat loss and the resulting drop in population, reflected by my own records as the first and only one seen since 13 August 2017.

Thanks to Marc for the Wall Brown, and to Richard for the Iceland Gull header. I'm predicting one in our area before Christmas, probably at Heysham Harbour....Here's hoping I'm fit once again by then to able to go see it.  

No Migrants For Me….

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....nor any other birds sadly....but I live in hope!

 Black-tailed Godwit with Ruff. Howard Stockdale.

A disappointment in that a record was buried beneath my health scare before I could submit it to my man in Iceland. But I have now recieved the life history of a Black-tailed Godwit seen at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve 5 August 2018, subsequently recorded 31 times in 5 countries including a return to Iceland 4 times.....

5 in NW Spain 2005
3 in W Portugal in 2006
12 in W Portugal 2007
S Iceland on 12 June 2008
2 W Portugal in 2009 
S Iceland on 1 June 2009
Netherlands 2 April 2010
S Iceland 15 May 2011
W Portugal 3 Feb 2014
W Portugal 5 Feb 2015
S Iceland 23 April 2017
W Portugal 2 Feb 2018
NW England 5 Aug 2018


The bird was ringed YL-GL 13 years ago as a male pulli on 13 July 2005 in S Iceland. 

13/07/2005 Iceland,S Ice,Árnessýsla,Friðland í Flóa, 63.9001 -21.191
02/09/2005 Spain,NW Spa,Galicia,Pontevedra,O Grove 42.4962 -8.8712
04/09/2005 Spain,NW Spa,Galicia,Pontevedra,O Grove 42.4962 -8.8712
24/09/2005 Spain,NW Spa,Galicia,Pontevedra,O Grove 42.4962 -8.8712
28/11/2005 Spain,NW Spa,Galicia,Pontevedra,O Grove 42.4962 -8.8712
30/12/2005 Spain,NW Spa,Galicia,Pontevedra,O Grove 42.4962 -8.8712
27/11/2006 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
01/12/2006 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
10/12/2006 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
03/01/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
06/01/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
29/01/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
27/02/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
05/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
08/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
09/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
12/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
14/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
15/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
16/03/2007 Portugal,W Por,Aveiro,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
22/03/2007 Portugal, W Por, Aveiro ,Vouga Estuary,Aveiro Saltpans 40.6439 -8.6628
12/06/2008 Iceland,S Ice,Rangárvallasýsla,Fljótshlíð,Fagrahlíð 63.7339 -20.098
20/01/2009 Portugal,W Por,Santarém,Tagus Est,Samora Correia 38.9461 -8.8401
18/02/2009 Portugal,W Por,Santarém,Tagus Est,Samora Correia 38.9461 -8.8401
01/06/2009 Iceland,S Ice,Rangárvallasýsla,Fljótshlíð,Fagrahlíð 63.7339 -20.098
02/04/2010 Netherlands,C Neth,Overijssel,Ijssel,Zwolle 52.4959 6.06211
15/05/2011 Iceland,S Ice,Rangárvallasýsla,Fljótshlíð,Fagrahlíð 63.7339 -20.098
03/02/2014 Portugal,W Por,Setúbal,Tagus Estuary,Giganta 38.9123 -8.9297
05/02/2015 Portugal,W Por,Setúbal,Tagus Estuary,Giganta 38.9123 -8.9297
23/04/2017 Iceland, S Ice,Rangárvallasýsla,Fljótshlíð,Kollabær 63.7344 -20.070
02/02/2018 Portugal, W Por,Tagus Est,Cara Larga, Porto Alto 38.9616 -8.9205
05/08/2018 England, NW Lancashire,M'cbe Bay, Leighton Moss 54.1500 -2.8129


I'm grateful to Boddi for his prompt attention to this record, and for the life history he sent me, also thanks to Howard Stockdale for the images he achieved at the Eric Morecambe Hide at Leighton Moss on 5 August, and to Martin Lofgren for his Leach's Storm Petrel header image.

A Breath Of Life.

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Sounds a little dramatic, but wasn't meant to, rather than meaning to give a breath of life to Birds2blog whilst I get back some sort of normality again, and just to thank everyone who passed on to to me their good wishes via e-mail, phone, and card, I really appreciate them all, and had no idea I had such a strong healthy following. 


 

It was also good to see Brian Rafferty back in business following a spell in hospital. Brian's Long-eared Owl is featured in my header image, and is one of two birds he saw on the the trip. The bird in the header being a juvenile, the other above an adult bird.

Pallid Harrier.  


Pallid Harrier Jan Larsson 

Pallid Harrier at Cockersand....as write. 

The Last Post….

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....well hopefully not!

As luck would have it I had drafted this post last Saturday 1st September, the night before the stroke put me on the ground, and so it was almost ready to publish with a bit of an edit.

This post was always going to be titled 'My Kind Of Birding' as it was just that, being the area I was in on a nice sunny day searching for the Stonechat. But my book now reads the visit to Birk Bank was a disaster, in that I found none in four hours there. OK, so over the years I've already said all there is to be said about the Stonechat, so with nothing new to say, I'll spare the post any repeats.

Birds of note were few, 3 Red Grouse were on Birk Bank, 2 Jay flying towards the woods, a group of up to 8 Blue Tit, a Coal Tit, and a Goldcrest were in the woodlands by Ottergear Bridge. I paid two visits to Birk Bank bog, in the hope the sun had brought out any dragonflies, on my way out I saw at least one Common Darter and 2 Small Copper butterflies.


Golden-ringed Dragonfly. Warren Baker. 

On my return to the bog 4 hours later I struck gold, having stood around for about 30 minutes, I was fortunate to see a Golden-ringed Dragonfly, which I initially picked up above the tree-line before it dropped height for better views, but never came to land before being lost to view. 

There have obviously been a small number of previous records from Birk Bank, but this may be a possible first for 2018, and not being big on dragonflies, this was only my fifth Golden-ringed Dragonfly I've seen, previously one at Birk Bank, and three at Hawthornthwaite....Thanks to Warren for the excellent image.

Terned Out Nice Again!

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Two adult Common Tern put in another brief appearance over Conder Pool again, one with a fish being chased by the other, but soon flew off. Although the breeders will have wandered during the summer months, for a species that breeds nowhere else in North Lancashire, with eight adult on Conder Pool at one time on 13 August, and birds seen at Glasson Dock and Cockersand, you have to wonder how many individuals have been on the Lune Estuary this year.

A lone Greenshank and 16 Little Grebe also present, and I had my fourth Kingfisher sighting in as many weeks upstream from the road bridge. 

To be honest, the creeks at Conder Green were virtually deserted, save 3 Common Sandpiper and a lone Black-tailed Godwit seen, and the channel from the iron bridge to the estuary, not a bird in sight.

I watched up to 1,640 waders being slowly pushed off the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock by the rising tide, with c.750 Redshank, similar Lapwing, 135 Curlew, 3 Dunlin, a lone Black-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank noted, with 4 Eider and a count of 32 Little Egret.

Whimbrel Plover Scar. Pete Woodruff.

The high tide wader count on Plover Scar was, 250 Dunlin, 28 Ringed Plover, 4 Turnstone, 3 Golden Plover, and a Whimbrel. An adult Mediterranean Gull was with Black-headed Gulls and 15 Eiderall drifting on a flat calm sea. A Peregrine Falcon was over flying east inland, and 12 Golden Plover came up off the shore below the abbey, accompanied by my third lone Black-tailed Godwit of the day. 

Thanks to Ana Minguez for the Hoopoe header. A little exotica to add some much needed colour to Birds2blog. 

Anything Interesting….

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....asked the man walking up to me at Cockersand.

Common Tern Plover Scar Cockersand. Pete Woodruff.

So I pointed out to him at the high tide roost at Cockersand, 2 Common Tern were on the seaward edge of Plover Scar with 330 waders landward, 130 Dunlin, 125 Oystercatcher, 68 Ringed Plover, 3 Redshank, 2 Turnstone, and 2 Whimbrel, 3 Eider were off the scar.

A similar count to last Saturday, was of 350 Golden Plover on the shore again as the tide ebbed, this time I was fully armed, 2 Wheatear and 12 Linnet seen around the abbey.

Three Common Tern paid a visit to Conder Pool, flying around a few minutes before moving on. I was hoping they had been two adult and a juvenile, not seen since seven days ago when they dispersed. 

Greenshank Conder Pool. 'clik the pik' Ian Pinkerton.

Also on the pool, 14 Greenshank on Tern Island are a first in my book in this number here. IP's image shows twelve in view, and two on the back side of the island with the top of the head just showing, also 19 Curlew, and 250 Lapwing. In the creeks, 2 Ruff with the Redshank again, 2 Common Sandpiper, 5 Dunlin, and a lone Black-tailed Godwit.

Of 18 Little Grebe seen, 16 were on Conder Pool, and 2 seen upstream from the road bridge was another first for me, also a Snipe.

What's The Bird?


Could have been a good mystery shot, an adult Common Tern, and....an adult Mediterranean Gull?

Garden News.

Good to see a Holly Blue in our garden yesterday.

Oh No….Not Conder Green Again.

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Conder Green again....an addiction I hope I can never kick.

Greenshank Conder Pool 25 August. Pete Woodruff.

On a return visit to Conder Green in the afternoon, 12 Greenshank were in the creeks, ten of which had been on Conder Pool in the morning, a previous 16 Little Grebe count held firm again today, and 2 Ruff accompanied the Redshank in the creeks, with 2 Snipe seen. It was notable that at least one House Martin was seen entering a nest at Cafe d' Lune, but again I saw none at River Winds, 4 Speckled Wood seen along the coastal path.


Wheatear. Pete Woodruff.

A walk along the headland at Cockersand was rewarded by my first returning c.350 Golden Plover on the weed covered shingle, offering an opportunity to search for an 'American' with them, but I had left my telescope in the motor, no longer entitled to be called a 'real' birder any more....if I ever was. 

A Whimbrel was with the Golden Plover, and a Wheatear was my first returning bird to Cockersand, I had seen one here 3 weeks earlier on 4 August in 2017. A Kestrel was hovering over the abbey, and a lone female Eider and 29 Mute Swan were off Plover Scar which had been ruined as a high tide roost by the invasion of a couple with a dog.


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Organised crime covered up by  government authorities.

Natural England chose to publish it's long awaited satellite tag data over this Bank Holiday period, quietly uploading it to the DEFRA website in the hope few - if anybody - would notice it, to reveal suspicious clustering of 'missing' Hen Harriers on English grouse moors.

Natural England are the Westminster Governments statutory Nature Conservation Agency, and along with them down the list from here, many other authorities - not excluding the silent RSPB - are creating a smoke screen to shield the Hen Harrier killers, instead of efforts to get them all to the courts, and closing down the vile sport of shooting Red Grouse.

Wonder how long this years fledged Bowland Hen Harriers will survive....WE WILL WIN is the cry....but don't hold your breath.

Two Around The Green.

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Ruff Conder Green 23 August. Pete Woodruff.

In a couple of hours around the Conder Green area, I found another influx of 9 Common Sandpiper, I've never seen this number before at Conder Green in late August. A Ruff was in the creeks with Redshank and 2 Black-tailed Godwit. Down the channel from the iron bridge, c.250 Redshank, 12 Dunlin, and of 12 Greenshank seen, 9 were here, and 3 on Conder Pool, where from a few attempts, 14 Little Grebe counted were two down on Tuesdays peak of sixteen. Not the best of Ruff photographs, more like one of the worst....but I just keep trying!

The Conder Common Terns.

Despite two visits to Conder Pool during the course of the afternoon, there was no sign of any Common Terns, leading to the supposition they have dispersed. If I'm right about this, I'm really surprised these birds have moved on, particularly so the young bird, which in my opinion fledged early, if only by a couple of days, and from my observations was reluctant to take to the wing and fly around the pool very much, and certainly wasn't fishing for itself as it should have been, but was content to stand around begging to be fed by the parent birds.

Common Tern Conder Pool 22 August. Ian Pinkerton.

This is the last of many hundreds of images taken by IP the champion of the Conder Terns, an adult on Conder Pool on Wednesday prior to their departure. IP sent this picture to me as a lasting reminder of the excellent journey he followed with these brilliant birds at Conder Green.

My thanks to Cliff Raby for his Sanderling header image which is very much appreciated, and which acts as a reminder of the disastrous breeding season the Sanderling and other shorebirds have had in NE Greenland this year....An update on this is Here  

The New Post….

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....another original title!

Adult/Juvenile Common Tern Conder Pool 21 August. Pete Woodruff.

Four Common Tern seen, including the juvenile which I actually saw in flight for the first time yesterday, albeit just a couple of metres after enjoying a bathe, to fly back on to the island. But unlike the pontoon young when fledged, in no time were flying and diving like lifelong experts, this bird seems reluctant to spend much time on the wing, and certainly hasn't yet been observed to fish for itself a week after fledging, but is adept at begging.

Also on Conder Pool, a new peak of 16 Little Grebe, 6 Greenshank, and up to 200 Lapwing spooked into the air en masse. In the creeks, a juvenile Ruff was again with the few Redshank, a lone Dunlin, and 2 Common Sandpiper. Upstream from the road bridge is obviously my best spot for Kingfisher when I had my third sighting in recent visits here. House Martin were noticeable for their absence at River Winds and the Cafe 'd Lune, obviously dispersed.

Odd ones out on the relatively deserted Lune Estuary were an adult Common Tern, 2 Goosander, and a lone Black-tailed Godwit. Of 11 Speckled Wood seen, 3 were on the coastal path to Conder Green, and 8 at Aldcliffe where I saw my first post-breeding Wheatear on a fence post out on the marsh, a species with a very protracted migration period which can be seen as late as November. Although the pools at Aldcliffe are once again water-filled, an hour here was otherwise virtually birdless, and the Wildfowler's Pools deserted. 

Winter Birding!

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Friday seemed like winter birding was upon us, with a temperature drop, heavy clouds, some rain around, and windy too. I stuck my neck out and went to Heysham when it looked likely I might get a soaking, but in fact I got away with a dry shod visit to find 8 Mediterranean Gull, two adult on Red Nab, with four and two juvenile on No 2 outfall.



A small gull frustrated me, the only detail I got was a striking grey-black cap as I picked the bird up flying seaward down Heysham 2 outfall, but I was distracted by a tern, which I soon identified as a juvenile Arctic Tern. I then failed to pick up the small gull again, but have recorded it as the long stay adult Little Gull, though - as in the image of a 2nd winter bird above - my bird had a much bolder grey-black cap than I somehow felt the staying adult would have, apparently by now in winter plumage. 

On the beach at Half Moon Bay, I found 2 Rock Pipit, with 11 Ringed Plover on the shingle.

Common Tern Conder Pool 17 Aug 'clik the pikPete Woodruff 

On Conder Pool I found the fledged juvenile and one adult Common Tern

Common Tern Conder Pool 17 Aug 'clik the pik'  Ian Pinkerton

But I've yet to see the juvenile in flight, though IP did later in the day. 

Also 4 Greenshank, and a Common Sandpiper which I'm already beginning to think might be a/the wintering bird. Noted in the creeks, c.60 Redshank, 4 Dunlin, and a lone Black-tailed Godwit.

Thanks to Ian Mitchell for the excellent Sea Eagle header image, seen at Lochdon on the Isle of Mull.