A Gamekeeper From Bleasdale

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Readers of Another Bird Blog will remember that I am a frequent summer visitor to the beautiful part of Lancashire known as Bowland.The same readers may also know that the bird ringing site of Oakenclough mentioned frequently on this blog is bordered by the shooting estate of Bleasdale highlighted below.  As I turn into the track to our ringing site, immediately opposite is a gated track that heads alongside Harris End Fell and into the secret world of the Bleasdale estate.  Bowland, Lancashire I am grateful to http://raptorpolitics.org.uk/ for the following. “28th September 2017 was a landmark day in Bowland’s dark history of ongoing raptor killing, when Mr James Hartley a 34 year old gamekeeper from the Bleasdale estate appeared in the dock at Preston Magistrates Court facing nine charges relating to the alleged killing of...

The final installment from the Solway Firth

The Safari enjoyed a calm moonlight night over the sea listening to the calls of Oystercatchers and Curlews out on the mudflats.The following morning out with Monty we saw a few Octopus Jellyfish washed up on the sands.A Merlin was twisting and diving chasing a Meadow Pipit right above our head, the pipit escaped by the skin of its beak. Moments later a Peregrine was cruising low over the rocks causing mayhem among the gulls and waders, it eventually landed on one of the outer rocks the master of all it surveyed.We got a final visit to RSPB Mersehead in too. There we found a pair of Stonechats working their way a;long a fence-line. Behind them the Roe Deer were out in the paddock again looking splendid with the sun behind them.We also saw one of the leucistic Barnacle Geese They were a flighty bunch and although they were well back in the m...

17 for 5.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
After the passing of Ophelia, it was a brilliant morning on Wednesday and I was keen to get off into Bowland to check out the early winter status of any birds to be found wherever I decided to go up there. One thing for sure, despite it now being mid-October, it was guaranteed I wouldn't be seeing many if any raptors, at least two species of which I certainly wouldn't be seeing, and at least a couple more I wasn't likely to, in the end I found just one....Imagine that, one raptor for 5 hours in Bowland in the 21st century.But it was good to see 3 Stonechat on Hawthornthwaite Fell, distant and together, I'd suggest a female and two juveniles, with no adult male present. The count with the most interest was of 6 Wren, with 13 Red Grouse and 2 Meadow Pipit bringing up the rear.Of the 17 species found, 14 were between Marshaw - T...
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Farmland Vis

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Yesterday and today I have been doing some bird surveys, yesterday in the Fylde and today in the Lune valley. The vis hasn't really been part of the surveys, but I record it anyway for my own interest, and after the stormy weather earlier in the week the flood gates opened.  The day dawned with clear skies and very little wind, perhaps just a tad from the east, and birds were on the move straight away. My totals below don't really justify the true numbers of the birds involved, as I was having to concentrate on other things, but the species make-up is accurate. So a flavour of yesterday morning included 654 Pink-footed Geese, 49 Skylarks, 4 Woodpigeons, 13 Meadow Pipits, four Redwings, a Snipe, a Tree Sparrow, 44 Jackdaws, a Lesser Redpoll, five Alba Wags, two Grey Wags, a Brambling, a Greenfinch, a Siskin, a Raven, a Fieldfare and nin...
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Thrush Rush

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
There was no post-Ophelia rush of Redwings on Wednesday with just a single one caught out of the less than 40 birds on the move. Andy and I met up again on Thursday where we hoped to improve on our previous catch and also to witness something in the way of visible migration. October is generally one of the better months to do so, weather permitting. Visible migration "vis-mig" is the observation of bird migration during daylight hours, a bird watching principle pioneered by Dutch ornithologists in the 1940's. At suitable locations and at the appropriate times of the year it is possible to detect bird migration as birds follow their favoured habitats and routes to reach their destinations. Under certain conditions at Oakenclough, near Barnacre on the edge of the Pennines and looking north to distant Morecambe Bay about 12 miles a...
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Single observer decisions!

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
Plumped for a vis mig session from the concrete road between the western and central marshes at Middleton and that wasn't a bad choice but what was elsewhere?  I'll have another session later, but it is absolutely typical sods law that the main ringing team is not available on the two peak late autumn migration days (today and tomorrow).   Vis mig Middleton 0800-0930Skylark - 31 SEMeadow Pipit - surprisingly plentiful this late with 43 SEReed Bunting - 7 SESparrowhawk - 1+1 high southGrey Wagtail - 3 together then a singleton SEalba Wagtail - 26 SEGoldfinch - 24 SEGreenfinch - 2 SEChaffinch - 65 Sunidentified Chaffinchish finches - c60 SLinnet - 23 SELesser Redpoll - 2 SECarrion Crow - 46 S (incl flock of 21)Jackdaw - just the one flock of 16 S - prefer clearer and calmer weather!Blackbird - 18 dropping from height from the n...

Partial migrants on the rampage

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
One of the highest non-Swallow-roost ringing totals for here today without any relationship to a 'fall' of migrants.  Therefore the composition was more 'west coast cat food' than 'eastern promise', exemplified by eight un-ringed Wrens.  There was a decent movement of Coal Tit, but very difficult to document as they were in the corridor of migratory uncertainty ranging from those accompanying 'grounded' roaming tit flocks and noisy 'top of the bushes' single-species movers.  There were certainly no noisy high-flying flocks as on some previous irruptions and, as implied, many of them were mixed in with similar numbers of un-ringed Long-tailed Tit and Blue Tit.Blackcap have been conspicuous by their absence for several weeks, so five un-ringed birds were welcome, and equally welcome was an un-ringe...

The Birding Highs and Lows of Ophelia

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
The press has been full of reports of the damage and sadly loss of life that ex-hurricane Ophelia wreaked upon the UK, particularly Ireland, Wales and southwest Scotland. Luckily here in northwest England we escaped the full force of the storm, but when I went out sea watching at the Point yesterday it was still a force 9 southwesterly!I was at the tower for first light and was soon joined by IG and GH, and later AD. The first bird I had was a dark morph Arctic Skua shearing west, but sadly it was some way out. We had another two Arctic Skuas, and these were followed by both Great and Pom. We had three Bonxies head west and then at 1140 whilst I was on the phone to my Doctors I heard IG shouting for me to get back up quick. Two gorgeous Pom Skuas were heading west and they were close in. Both were adults; one was in winter plumage and the o...