Pied Flycatchers and Barn Owl do Well

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Yesterday's visit to my main wood for Pied Flycatchers saw a further increase. We now have 16 pairs compared to just 11 last year. One at least already has young. Reports from other members of the Group who monitor nest boxes suggest a similar increase. Last year we had a total of 79 occupied boxes. Our peak was 90 in 2015. Good chance of reaching 100 this this year! The only downside was a blue tit nest which had been woodpeckered. Removing the young after enlarging the nest hole.We checked our Barn Owl box and were surprised to find 5 young and two eggs. Last year they had only two eggs and reared one young. We ringed the two oldest chicks. A clue as to their success this year was the pile of ca 10 voles or mice in the box, obviously a good year for small mammals.On the way home we ringed a further 3 Lapwing chicks and our first Curlew ...

Marsh Lousewort, Common Rockrose, Fly Orchid, Twayblade etc etc

Posted on - In I Love Arnside & Silverdale
This was some of my garden today - Park Wood, Hutton Roof Village (Click over to enlarge)I like these open areas and always think they might be suitable for "Flycatchers" as well as RedstartsTuesday 23rd May 2017 - The Rakes and Park Wood - East Side of Hutton Roof 1200hrs to approx 1500hrs.The weather was lovely and sunny and warm, and it turned out just another cracking afternoon with plenty going on as usual.  I thought I would try and check out the two Redstarts I have not yet been able to confirm having returned.  But again today I have ended up drawing a blank or they are remaining stum!  I will be back again very soon.Just at the new development in Hutton Roof village there must have been no less than 30 House Martins hawking the local skies and ticking away as they do - such a pleasure to see so many all really enjoyi...

Sanderling day

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
Not too bad a seawatch this morning given the lack of any substantial wind or showers (as per promise a week ago!)Sea 0715-0830Arctic Skua - light morph flew in heading NE, then turned and circled up and headed "over Barrow" - not seen this migration strategy before (but regular with Kittiwake)Red-throated Diver - 1 in distantly and a close 2CY outRazorbill - I in very close (nearly 'under' the scope!)Guillemot - 1 inRazorbill/Guillemot - 6 inKittiwake - single adult outSandwich tern - just the one - inCommon Scoter - flock of c25 inGannet - 17 in and a few distant 'outs' presumed sameSanderling - flock of 19 outOutfalls/Red NabSanderling - at least 40 amongst a mixed flock/tideline scattering of c350 small waders, mostly with 'pale bellies', therefore this or RP, mostly too distant to see in the heathaze.  Went round to Potts Corner b...
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Conder Pool….Up And Running.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
This time last year, an Avocet pair had only arrived at Conder Green three days ago on 20 May. This year there are now three pairs on Conder Pool all breeding, with two still sitting yesterday.Returning to Lancaster on the A588, with my motor unable to drive through Conder Green, it automatically turned left at the bridge for me to check out Conder Pool to find Avocet present and accompanied by two young out of the nest.Avocet Conder Pool. Pete Woodruff. With luck this means a fledge date of June 23-26, but luck was already needing to be on their side, with a Grey Heron and Lesser Black-backed Gull close by as I observed two marauding Carrion Crow whilst two adult Avocet and Common Tern attacked the corvids for several minutes. Also roosting on Conder Pool, 110 Black-tailed Godwit.Oystercatcher Nest Conder Green. Pete Wo...

It’s time for Angular Solomon’s Seal and more

Posted on - In I Love Arnside & Silverdale
This is how our Polygonatum Odoratum (Angular Solomon's Seal) looks today (Click over to enlarge)Monday 22nd May 2017 - Dalton Crags, Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT) Most of the afternoonGarden Warbler bubbling away shortly after leaving Plain Quarry, Also had a new in Lesser Whitethroat arrive and singing away half way up "Hypericum Way" in lower Dalton Crags, also the Common Redstart was heard.  Heading up into Dalton deforested (upper section) a couple of Tree Pipits were seen and heard, and also our regular Cuckoo was calling from near the Lancelot boundary. But new today for me was the recent arrival of a Whitethroat which was singing away near the top close to the boundary wall with the Common. Spending over 30 minutes observing the bird good views were made.First I thought I would check out the Cystopteris fragilis (Brittle Bladder ...

Three Finches

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Our targeting of finches at Oakenclough near Garstang paid off again with three very interesting recoveries via the BTO - a Siskin, a Goldfinch and a Lesser Redpoll. A Goldfinch we ringed with letter/number Z470813 on 18th February 2016 was later recaptured by members of Grampian Ringing Group at Newburgh, Aberdeenshire on 1st March 2017, just over one year later and 381kms north of Oakenclough. We tend to think of Goldfinches as a somewhat sedentary garden bird but the species is a partial migrant throughout its extensive range in Europe and Asia, with its northern limit approximately along the line of the 60° latitude. Aberdeen is situated at the latitude of 57 degrees. This first year female had probably moved south to winter in England for 2016/207 but was returning to Scotland as early as 1st March 2017. GoldfinchG...
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End of spring season feel

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
Having said that tomorrows seawatching might be a bit better in the SW winds.  Sea for about 30 minutesSandwich tern - 3 bloggingGannet - one outTurnstone - 129 on wooden jettyNothing at all of note around the other side with only 15 Common and 5 Black-headed Gulls accompanying small numbers of big gullsNo waders other than Oystercatcher and 5 Curlew on Red Nab/along tidelineWhite-shouldered House Moth in trap...

Bob’s Yer Uncle!

Posted on - In Birds2blog
With ten days behind me, a trip to Barbondale and another to Bowland since my last visit to the Lune Estuary, it was good to be seeing double on Conder Pool when I saw 4 Avocet there on Friday, the pair of originals are going about their breeding, whilst it's anybody's guess what the other two are up to, but when I returned later they had gone to the creeks to feed.Common Tern. Conder Pool. Pete Woodruff.Other than occasionally loafing on the frame, the Common Tern pair have previously ignored the pontoon on Conder Pool as a breeding site since it was installed, before today I've never seen these two actually inside it, but have certainly moved in this year giving us birding dudes a grand stand view of progress. Also on Conder Pool, a pair of Wigeon, 6 Tufted Duck, and a lone Lesse...
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Mulching the Garden

Posted on - In Roeburnscar Cottages
We're lucky to have had Caroline and Charlie ,our fantastic French volunteers, to help in the garden. Here they are mulching the Keder polytunnel and greenhouse with compost made from rotted down bracken. Our vegetable polyculture beds are a mixture of the no dig and hugel methods. No dig is particularly beneficial for the soil as the earthworms do the digging when the mulch is put on top and there is little disturbance to micro-organisms.Caroline filling wheelbarrow loads of compostCharlie in the Keder greenhousepulling out old nasturtiums which will go back into the compost heapsCaroline piling on the composthandfuls of compost go on top of the greenhouse beds...
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