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...
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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 ...

Field Good Factor

Posted on - In Birding Aldcliffe
I had an extremely soggy trundle around the patch on Saturday morning, but it wasn't without its rewards.Freeman's Pools were relatively quiet; 3 tufted duck, a couple of little grebes and a few mallard, coot and Canada geese on the water. A reed warbler was half-heartedly singing but kept typically hidden.A single green sandpiper was at the Wildfowlers' Pools along with a shelduck and one fledged youngster. The sedge warbler-in-residence was belting it out from a path-side hawthorn.A lone breeding-plumage black-tailed godwit was also here, freshly returned no doubt from Iceland. Also back in the Aldcliffe 'hood were the first post-breeding greylags of the year - approximately 120 including a couple of collared birds.Out on the Lune the tide was low and as a consequence the mud was littered with lapwings and black-headed gulls. From among t...
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Green To Red.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
Two hours on Friday at Conder Green/Glasson Dock, and another two at Heysham Red Nab, was mainly dominated by gulls. At Glasson Dock, I spoke to a birder from Gloucestershire and made the comment, looking without optics, you would get the impression that the Lune Estuary from this viewpoint was void of any birdlife, an area where thousands of waders can be seen in the winter months. Well it wasn't exactly crawling today, and what birds were present were mainly camouflaged by the weed covered stones they were on at low tide, but by the time this birder came to talk to me, I had found 4 Mediterranean Gull in a group, distant and hunkered down on the weedy stones, all black hooded with 2 Black-headed Gull. Eventually two took to the wing to reveal both adult, the other two remained re...
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Skimmers, Chats, And Some Others.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
Perfect weather on Wednesday to take a look at the landscape on Birk Bank and Harrisend Fell on the fringes of Bowland....Of course I had a couple of targets. Keeled Skimmer . Birk Bank Bog 12 July. Pete WoodruffI had an excellent hour on the board-walk at Birk Bank, during which time I connected with 3 male Keeled Skimmer around the bog, the perfect follow-on to my finding a male here on 22 July last year. The bog wasn't exactly alive with dragonflies, but I did also see 4 Four-spotted Chaser, at least one Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and a Meadow Brown.Some searching across the top of Birk Bank was also well rewarded by my finding 6 Stonechat, they were seen as a pair, and a male with two juvenile on view, I'd like to think maybe three more young were keeping their heads down to make up a full brood, ...

More Smarties

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
A catch of Sand Martins was the major objective for today. I’d been to the colony in the week and noted lots of martins around with upwards of 450 flying around at any one time. I was due to meet Andy at the quarry at 0630 but first I spent 45 minutes at Conder Green. A pair of Oystercatchers had hung around the near island all spring and summer without much luck. They probably lost the first brood of eggs/young to predators but today, quite late in the season, their perseverance paid off when they appeared with a single newly fledged chick of one or two days old. Oystercatcher Two Kingfishers flew past at their usual breakneck speed but within ten minutes or so one of them (or perhaps a third?) appeared on the parapet of the outflow. The Kingfisher spent five minutes doing not a lot before it flew across to the far side of the...
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Butterfly Highlight.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
Ringlet. Pete Woodruff.Highlight for me on Monday was the Ringlet I found at Aldcliffe, very unexpected and probably a first for the area. The only other Ringlets I've ever seen aside from the one at Latterbarrow recently, have been at Witherslack were I saw twenty on 9 July 2015.I had only gone to Aldcliffe for the last hour for a quick whizz round, and in the warm and sheltered cutting near Stodday I found a little selection of other butterflies, including 3 Comma, 2 Red Admiral, 2 Meadow Brown, and a Speckled Wood.On a circuit along the high path and return via the lower, 4 Chiffchaff were heard, 2 Whitethroat seen, with a Sedge Warbler singing full throttle, a few Swift were over, but more notable was a movement probably of up to a three figure of House Martin. I counted 205 Greylag in a field, with two unreadable or...
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Notes From Conder Green.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
Common Tern Conder Pool. Pete Woodruff.Interesting and coincidentally, I took this photograph of these three juvenile Common Tern twelve months ago to the day, on 11 July 2016.There was a little extra interest at Conder Green yesterday, and it was good to see all three juvenile Common Tern which have soon learned the skills of fishing for themselves, and were hovering and dipping to take small fry out of Conder Pool. There was some interesting behaviour between two adult Common Tern, whilst one of the young had gone back into the pontoon which was guarded by an adult, another adult came in and dropped into the pontoon and was soon joined inside by the guarding bird which was obviously one of the parent birds, some serious loud and aggressive vocals, with necks stretched, heads up and drooped wings were on display when the vis...

Putting The Record Straight.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
Erratum.I need to correct the records I published in my last post with regard to the Lancashire Keeled Skimmers. It was an oversight that a record of this dragonfly in 2015 was missed off the list I drew up in the post.Keeled Skimmer. Birk Bank 22 July 2016. Pete Woodruff.Starting with the first Lancashire record, the corrected list....Grindleton Ponds/Levi Well 8 August 2013Birkdale Dunes 3 July 2015Birk Bank Bog 12 August 2015Birk Bank Bog 22 July 2016Birk Bank Bog 6 July 2017As I've previously expressed, the Birk Bank Keeled Skimmer records are excellent news for our area having now been found there for three consecutive years. That said, my reporting of ovipositing being seen can only be accepted with caution with no photographic evidence available. Four-Spotted Chaser. Steve Graham.  I'm grateful to Steve for s...