Chats & Swans.

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The Chats.Stonechat Half Moon Bay 10 December. Pete Woodruff.As it turned out yesterday, it was a smart idea that I decided to take a look over Heysham Head, to then find 2 Stonechat down on the shore at Half Moon Bay. Also noted here, 5 Greenfinch, 2 Robin, 2 Pied Wagtail, and a Meadow Pipit. An hours birding on a Sunday afternoon doesn't come much better than this for me, and the fact I failed to find the long staying Chough anywhere, turned into an irrelevance after seeing two Stonechat instead. The Swans.Whooper Swan Brian Rafferty  I found two more marked Whooper Swan at Cockersand 17 November, both are Martin Mere birds.YCC ringed as an adult female in February 2013.YCB ringed as an adult male in February 2015.Though the history of all three Whooper S...
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Buses, Boots, & Birds.

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First Snow On Clougha Pike. Pete Woodruff.Perfect yesterday for the plod along the coastal path from Lancaster to Glasson Dock from where I took this shot of the first snows on Clougha Pike with the Cafe 'd Lune and the newly painted old railway bridge over the River Conder in the foreground. On the River Lune off St Georges Quay, a pair of Goosander and Grey Wagtail seen. On Freemans Pools, a Goldeneye was close by, but any wildfowl on here were all at the far west end, amongst which a few uncounted Teal and Gadwall. In the field by Frog Pond, 15 Greylag and 10 Curlew were of note, and the Wildfowlers Pool which would currently be more appropriately called 'Wildfowlers Lake', held 4 Goldeneye three of which were smart drakes. There was probably up to 200 Canada Geese on Aldcliffe Marsh, but I didn't linger to count.One ...

Against The Odds.

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Around the Lune Estuary yesterday, on a day that was against the odds and anything but ideal for birding, especially along the headland at Cockersand, where there was a mini westerly howler on a cold, dull, and damp day. I ended with an hour at Glasson and Conder Green, as the day progressed it wasn't until then that birding livened up if only a little.Curlew. Richard O'Meara. I'd got it into my head, that the 10.32m high tide might be best at Cockersand, when the fields would hopefully hold a few thousand waders again, but unpredictable as they are, in the main the birds were elsewhere, though notable were estimates of 150 Curlew, 120 Turnstone, and a similar number of Dunlin, barely 50 Golden Plover, with Redshank and Lapwing present. Two Kestrel seen were one hovering at Lighthouse Cottage and one at Bank Houses....
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A Ruff Passage.

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This year has seen an exceptional autumn Ruff passage in our area, since I found 2 at Cockersand on 4 September, to date I've seen 50 Ruff, the best being 14 on the shore off Lighthouse Cottage at Cockersand on 26 September, and 18 on the Lune Estuary at Glasson on 6 October. On Friday I found an adult male Ruff at Cockersand for the third time in a week, this time it was in the field beyond Bank Houses horse paddock with 5 Stock Dove and a few Redshank. In other fields, 550 Golden Plover and 150 Curlew. Seven Snipe came up off the marsh opposite the caravan park, up to 20 Twite were were mobile, initially in the rough field behind Bank House Cottage from where I watched a Merlin single out a Starling from the mass before being lost to view to see...
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And Finally….The Owl.

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I took note of all 80 birds on Conder Pool on Tuesday, 36 Mallard, 33 Tufted Duck, 6 Teal, last Fridays Goldeneye, a drake Goosander, 2 Mute Swan, and a Lesser Black-backed Gull. In the creeks, 2 Little Grebe, a Grey Wagtail, and 2 Mistle Thrush over, a Common Sandpiper was again down the channel, and from the coastal path 8 Fieldfare and 44 Goldfinch.On the Lune Estuary, c.300 Golden Plover, 450 Wigeon, and 5 Goosander were of note. On the canal basin, my first drake Goldeneye seen, and in a flooded field off Jeremy Lane, an adult Mediterranean Gull was with a pretty even mix of c.600 Common Gull/Black-headed Gull. Mixed fortunes at Cockersand, included on the negative side, a shock clear out of the 550, leaving just 8 Whooper Swan in a mid-distance inland field. In the positive, at least 2,000 Golden Plover s...

The Red Pochard.

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The Pochard.The Pochard is listed as Vulnerable on the European Red List and the wintering population of Pochard continues to fall sharply with no sign of recovery. I actually saw a sighting in our area recently, refered to as a 'Mega' and last year was the first on record that the bird failed to achieve a three figure count anywhere in Lancashire where the main wintering sites are at Dockacres/Pine Lake and Seaforth on Merseyside, the flocks of which dropped by almost 50% on 2015 numbers.The loss of wintering distribution of the Pochard is most prominent in Ireland where there was a loss of almost 50% of 10km squares occupied, and driven by a large scale decline at the key wintering site of Lough Neagh, the largest freshwater lake anywhere in the British Isles with a surface area of 392 square kilometres, which has lost up to 20,...
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Cockersand Wader Festival.

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Up to 3,000 waders were in the field looking more like a lake behind Lighthouse Cottage at Cockersand yesterday. The field held an absolute minimum of 1,800 Black-tailed Godwit and 900 Golden Plover, with a male Ruff, single Turnstone, and uncounted Lapwing, Dunlin, Redshank, and Curlew, also seen in the field 10 Pied Wagtail and a Kestrel over Slack Lane. From the Lighthouse Cottage I saw a Peregrine Falcon clear out everything on Plover Scar, to leave it void of birds by the time I got there. Today's c.400 Whooper Swan herd had thinned out and spread out, mainly now in the Thursland Hill area, with 275 counted before they left the recently estimated 550 field by Bank Houses.Conder Pool was pretty lively and included the first Goldeneye on here this winter, a decent count of 28&nb...

Black-headed Gull.

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On Friday last, I found a marked Black-headed Gull on the Lune Estuary at Glasson. The instant I read the ring it registered with me that I had not only seen this bird before, but that I had seen it at the same location on the Lune Estuary 3 years ago in September 2014.Black-headed Gull. Pete Woodruff. The bird was marked with a white darvic ring and a three black alpha-numeric code on the right leg and a metal ring on the left, and has been re-sighted and read five times, three in Denmark, and two on the Lune Estuary in Lancashire. I'm grateful to Kjeld Tommy Pedersen for dealing with this record, and for forwarding the history of the bird to me.Black-headed Gull 6CY.Ringed as an adult male in Svanemøllebugten, København, Denmark on 21 March 2013, and re-sighted....27 March 2013. DKHS&nbs...
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The GP’s Have It For Me.

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Greenshank. Conder Pool Friday 17 November. Pete Woodruff.A snoozing Greenshank on Conder Pool was good enough to get me off to a nice start on Friday morning, 17 Wigeon were also of note here, and the 180 Teal at Conder Green were split between the pool and creeks, where I found 7 Little Grebe and the Common Sandpiper which was down by the now finished and newly painted bridge....must have cost a fortune.The Lune Estuary was quiet wader wise, apart from the presence of the usual several hundred Lapwing, 320 Dunlin and 7 Snipe, with c.350 Wigeon seen.The Cockersand at least 500 Whooper Swan were initially in the field by Bank Houses as seen from the headland, but by the time I got there they had been disturbed and were eventually scattered over five fields. On Plover Scar, c.450 Oystercatcher, and little more than a two hande...

Uphill Struggle.

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Hawthornthwaite Fell.It was an uphill struggle to find the birds in more ways than one on Wednesday, but literally so on Hawthornthwaite. Apart from the fact the Stonechat isn't as easy to find as it was during it's upturn in status which peaked during the early 2000's, I'd got 3/4 of the climb to the peak before I found a distant pair of Stonechat, the only two seen on my visit, and at a higher elevation than Iv'e ever seen them here before. But ne'r mind....mission accomplished. Wren. Martin Jump. Four Wren on Hawthornthwaite seems to indicate a good colony, I had six seen here on 18 October, also 10 Red Grouse. Marshaw - Tower Lodge - Trough Bridge.A Dipper was seen on the Marshaw Wyre with a juicy aquatic invertebrate in it's bill, but it was ...
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