Living Dangerously

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
After yesterday I just knew that Oystercatcher nest was close to the road. But why would the silly birds make their nest just 12 inches from the verge where vehicles whizz by and where just yards away large wagons and other vehicles park while the occupants stretch their legs.  Feet away on the other side of the hedgerow is Conder Pool with tons of places they might set up home. The “oyks” picked a spot where a tiny area of gravel lies next to a roadside marker post. Good luck with that - they will need it. Oystercatcher Oystercatcher nestOystercatcher nest Maybe the other pairs of Oystercatchers, at least four others around the pool, chased them away, or possibly the two pairs of Avocets? I noted that the female Common Tern is now sat on her nest on the floating pontoon, the bird just visible behind the opaque screen whi...
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BBQ.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
One or two Bowland Birds of Quality seen yesterday, though there were some blank spells, not least when I walked the length of track from Tower Lodge up by the plantation and back - a thirty minute crawl - and saw not a single bird but heard one Chaffinch, and in the entire 7 hours birding I heard not a solitary Willow Warbler let alone saw one, found no Redstart, and heard no Cuickoo.But it was good to find 4 Stonechat on Hawthornthwaite Fell, seen as two pair with no evidence of breeding. Up to 12 Sand Martin were flying up and down Hawthornthwaite Greave were I saw a Grey Wagtail, also 6 Meadow Pipit, a Mistle Thrush, and a Wren, a Buzzard with a couple of primaries missing, was the only raptor seen all day. Siskin Noushka @ 1000-Pattes At Marshaw, a pair of Siskin and 2 Spotted Flycatcher wer...
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Conder And How Not to Bird

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Things have sure moved on since last I was at Conder Green. There are now two pairs of Avocets breeding plus a pair of Common Terns showing all the signs. I was there this morning and somewhat surprised to see two Avocets flying from the pool to feed in the creek and to then see two pairs on the far island – six Avocets in total. The ones on the island are very distant but the two in the creeks gave a half decent chance for a picture. Early on I’d counted 170 Black-tailed Godwits, split 100/70 in favour of the creek. AvocetAvocet and Black-tailed GodwitBlack-tailed Godwit Also on the pool, a pair of Common Terns spent time and energy around the metal pontoon and fishing out towards the River Lune. I watched the male bring in small fish with which to entice the female to stay around; it looked like she was impressed. Commo...

A Menorca Mishap

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
We had a great time in Menorca. Two weeks of unadulterated sunshine and not a drop of rain. We visited most of our favourite island places and saw lots of birds. Birding highlights proved to be thousands of Common Swift delayed from heading north by days of northerly winds. Mixed in with the common we saw a few Alpine Swifts, Swallows and Sand Martins. We had a morning of migrating Red-footed Falcons together with superb views of a female Montague’s Harrier. There was a disaster when on day two I damaged my Canon 400mm lens to the extent that for the rest of the holiday I had to use a bog standard 35-135mm zoom – not good for taking bird pictures. Apologies then for the lack of bird pictures but please do enjoy the extra number of photographs of sunny Menorca. Don't forget to "click the pics" to enjoy the sunshine. We saw Scop’s...
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Blog Post: Another shot hen harrier… how many more?

Posted on - In Sky Dancer
This is not the news I wanted to wake up to. Just weeks after the Crown Office discontinued a high-profile case against a former gamekeeper for the alleged illegal killing of a hen harrier despite clear video evidence, another hen harrier shooting has come to light. Police Scotland issued an appeal this morning, for information relating to the lethal shooting of a hen harrier near Leadhills, South Lanarkshire. You can read the response from RSPB Scotland here . Fortunately and exceptionally, “a number of witnesses” have apparently come forward but whether that’s enough to secure a prosecution remains to be seen. After all, if video evidence , clearly showing a hen harrier being shot out of the sky and its body retrieved by a man with his face in full view of the camera, isn’t enough to secure a conviction or even a court case, it...

The Ruff , The Harrier & The Falcon.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
Turau Meadow in Belarus is currently the largest stopover site for this species during their spring migration across Europe, but this year the numbers amazed everyone. A group of ornithologists, including researchers from Birdlife Belarus and Turov Ringing Station, registered a record count of 120,000 Ruff in a single day, an unprecedented number since observations began at Turau Meadow 20 years ago in 1997.Turau Meadow is an open floodplain in the middle of Pripyat River and one of Europe’s most essential nesting and stopover areas for more than 50 migratory wading bird species, it is the largest stopover site for as many as 150,000 Eurasian Wigeon and 20,000 Black-tailed Godwit during their spring migration across Europe.In our recording area the Ruff is no ...

The Migrants Keep Trickling In…

Posted on - In Birding Aldcliffe
This morning I led a guided walk around the FAUNA reserve in Lancaster. It was the first one that I've done for a while and we had a great turnout. Thankfully the weather behaved and we saw a decent selection of common birds including both common and lesser whitethroat, reed bunting, stock dove and a pair of grey partridge.Afterwards I went off for a trundle around Aldcliffe to see if anything had dropped in. There were plenty of singing warblers around; willow warbler, chiffchaff, sedge warbler, both whitethroats, and blackcaps all belting it out.The highlight was a whinchat in the maize fields, followed by another by Freeman's Pools.  A few pairs of lapwing seemed to have resettled in the maize fields, along with a pair of oystercatchers. Hopefully they will have some success this time - it appears that the seed went down soon after ...

April’s Ringing Totals

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Over on the right you will see that I have updated the totals for Fylde Ringing Group up until the end of April. We are 375 down on where we were this time last year and this has been mainly as a result of avian influenza outbreaks. Talking of avian influenza outbreaks there has been another two in the Fylde at Hambleton and Thornton and we currently have another ringing suspension within the 10km surveillance zone! So that doesn't bode well for our totals going forward.Three new species were added for the year during April and these were Tree Pipit, Willow Warbler and Tree Sparrow. Below you will find the top three ringed for April and the top eight 'movers and shakers' for the year so far.Top 3 Ringed in April1. Lesser Redpoll - 482. Goldfinch - 133. Willow Warbler - 12Top Eight Movers and Shakers1. Lesser Redpoll - 65 (up from 3rd)2. Lin...

Catchers & Chats.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
Thursdays hunt was for the Flycatcher and the Stonechat.  Redstart Brian Rafferty At Barbondale I found 5 Pied Flycatcher, they were seen as a pair, two male, and a female, but despite my hanging around to pair up the single birds I failed to do so, but reckon three pairs here to date.Twenty two other species in the 2.5 hours here included, 4 Redstart all male, 4 Robin, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 Wren, a singing male Blackcap, Tree Pipit, Wheatear, Treecreeper, and a Mistle Thrush. Two butterflies seen were a Small Copper and an Orange Tip.The plan was that I now went to Newby Moor, another former chat stronghold where my records show that I notably found 11 Stonechat on a cold winters day nine years ago on 12 February 2008, I have doubts that number will ever happen again dur...
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Comment on Alleged hen harrier shooting case dropped

Posted on - In Sky Dancer
I am absolutely appalled at this decision. Someone in the criminal justice system has decided that the RSPB may not monitor raptor nest sites in Scotland, but if they do and detect criminality, that even viewing of a criminal act that this evidence can not be used in court. I have written to all my MSPs and although I was not able to be reasonable in my screed, I shall persist and if necessary meet each one to get a face to face response.  The organised criminal activity of driven grouse shooting has people in many places prepared to assist those who break the law, and the law needs to be changed to make this loophole closed to the organised criminals and their supporters. I shall draft a proposed change to the law to show how simple this would be. I believe that the RSPB should do the same. I would urge RSPB members in Scotland to contac...