Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
The weather on Wednesday morning was cloudy, grey, windy, and nothing like what the forecast had been. Hardly to be called suitable for a visit to Bowland, but it turned out decent in the afternoon. In any case I had a man to meet for a survey of Hawthornthwaite Fell, but not until I'd been presented with a brilliant mounted photograph of a female Stonechat complete with a bill full of insects, including a Latticed Heath moth.There's quality loss from the original in the copy of this excellent photograph, but there's some improvement with a 'clik the pik'. Stonechat. Martin Jump.No Stonechat found on the west side of Hawthornthwaite, but 2 Ring Ouzel gave distant in flight views, before soon disappearing up Catshaw Greave. This sighting came two days earlier than a previous male Ring Ouzel I found here on 20 April 2...

Two more Black Redstart

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
There was a lot of Wheatears moving through today, associated with one mobile group of about 15 birds was a particularly ghostly female/immature Black Redstart, see snap below (it actually is on this picture). They were on the rocks and sea wall around Red Nab before drifting inland about 12:30.A second, also female/immature, Black Redstart was on the south wall roundhead. This was a more striking bird, but no sign of white wing patches. It initially flew to north wall, but quickly returned, unfortunately to the inside of the Power Station confines (so no pictures) 13:15. It was relocated at 14:50 by Jeff on the roundhead.Sandwich Tern - 29 offshoreRock Pipit - still around lighthouse area. Record shot below is slightly overexposed making it appear pale.Wheatear - minimum 27, between 11:30 & 13:30, most moving through.Whimbrel - 1Insect...

Where Are All The Swallows?

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Another bird survey for me today in north Cumbria, not a million miles from Wigton, and again in some plantation woodland. The woodland is part of a dairy farm and normally, even on the April survey, I have good numbers of Swallows flying from the buildings around the yard to forage for insects over the trees. But not today! SwallowSwallows are now a March bird and in recent years by this time in April you can record large numbers on the coast on vis, but not this year. At the moment at the Obs they are barely reaching double figures. Time will tell whether something calamitous has happened, perhaps on the wintering grounds in south Africa or on migration between Europe and Africa, or perhaps they have just been held up. I'll keep my fingers crossed for the latter.Ian tells me that there was a half decent arrival of birds today on the ...

The calm, hopefully before the storm!

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
A quieter day, by recent standards, but still not bad.Redwing ringed on HNRGreat Crested Grebe - 6 seen from Knowlys RoadRock Pipit, sitting quietly on steps near lighthouse on south wall roundhead (see yesterday's post). But as soon as a Meadow Pipit landed on roundhead it saw it off. It appears to be "on territory".......Arctic Tern on No.1 outflow. Arrived about 2hr before high water.Whimbrel 1 on Red Nab, another, or same mobile bird, on Ocean Edge salt marsh.Wheatears - minimum 4Middleton Nature Reserve1 Cetti's warbler and 2 Lesser Whitethroat singingTufted 2Teal 3(MD)...

Migration What Migration….Part 2.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
Conder Pool.The Avocet seem to be coming and going since their arrival on Conder Pool 28 March, now you see me, now you don't, with no sign on Monday, but a Greenshank was nice, with a drake Goosander and 11 Tufted Duck seen.Lune Estuary.Goldeneye Cliff RabyI was a little surprised to find 7 Goldeneye still here, with the exception of a lone bird flying downstream on 8 April, there was no birds here in 2017 after 4 seen on 21 March, and no Goldeneye were reported on the Lune Estuary in April in any of the 2015 or 2016 Lancashire Annual Reports. Hard to believe that you could count up to 200 Goldeneye on the Lune Estuary at Glasson in 2009, since then there has been a decline, and the last three figure count was 5 years ago when 122 were seen in February 2013. Void of accuracy, this winters p...

Scales and fluffy stuff

The Safari took advantage of some early morning sun in the weather forecast and planned a trip down the coast to the local lizard hotspot. CR drove the few miles south and pulled up in what he thought was a rather unusual spot, it was the right place and it is possible with a bit of luck to spot our quarry from the driving seat of your motor.It wasn't to be today as we had to walk up and down the bank a few times, taking care not to let our shadows fall on the vegetation. It took a while but eventually persistence paid off. Hiding under an extensive amount of overhanging Marram Grass was the first Common Lizard of the morning. Cautiously we approached as close as we dared to get a good luck at the little beauty.They like bare patches of sand that are lightly covered by vegetation. For some reason they don't seem to like to bask out in the o...

Ring Ouzel leads another decent haul

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
A southerly wind didn't promise much but there were definite signs that we perhaps should have put at least one net up in the shelter before the rain hit after 0845Ring Ouzel - female on top of bush by office late am - flew towards tank farm via mist net ride!Arctic Tern - one outfallsRazorbill - one in sp flew outMed Gull - 2CY outfalls but very mobileRock Pipit - still hanging around south harbourChiffchaff - one south harbourWheatear - at least four...

Black Redstart

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
New for the year today:  Black Redstart and Lesser WhitethroatBlack Redstart - a very elusive and secretive female/imm, spending large amounts of time in dark crevices between boulders at Red Nab - found by Malcolm late amLesser Whitethroat - one started singing next to HNR office middayLittle Gull - two adults flew in off the sea on to the outfalls near high tideShag - on the large skeer with Cormorants pre-tide then flew towards harbourEider - 175RB Merg - 9Great-crested Grebe - 9, including flock of 4 - all sp (north European birds??)PlantsPresumed fence-hopping Snake's Head Fritillary on Middleton now in flowerMammalsGrey Seal...
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A colourful day

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
New for the year: Firecrest, redstart and common sandpiper Firecrest - singing Male found by holly page in willows alongside the alder copse boardwalk.   Couldn’t be found later but searches impeded by difficult terrain in the NE cornerRedstart - Male ringed 0800Common sandpiper - oneLittle gull - two adult and 3cy at various timesShag - 2cy wooden jettyCommon scoter - one offshoreSandwich tern - two early amWheatear - 5No apparent sign of any Brent’s todayA steady trickle of chiffchaff, willow warbler and blackcap in the two nets set in the shelter below the old obs tower Vis 07:30-10:00Meadow Pipit 110Linnet 34alba wagtail 3Redpoll sp 4Siskin 4 On the seaEider 72Great-crested Grebe 1Red-breasted Merganser 2...
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One Of Those Mornings

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
It was one of those mornings where it wasn't brilliant, nor was it poor. It seemed to have promise, but failed to deliver. Perhaps frustrating would be a better description.I headed to the coastal farm fields at the Obs at first light to be greeted with 4 oktas hazy cloud with a 15 mph southeasterly wind. By 0800 the cloud had increased to 7 oktas, and as I found out when I tried to do a short sea watch it was pretty murky out at sea with poor - moderate visibility at best!The first bird I recorded was a singing Chiffchaff as soon as I got out of my car and this gave the feeling that there might be more grounded migrants. And there was, but not that many. In total I had three Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest, a Willow Warbler and best of all a singing, or should I say reeling, Grasshopper Warbler. Grasshopper WarblerThere was some 'vis' but it...