Stonechats & Dragons ’21.

My birding took a bit of a nose dive in 2021, it became fragmented, and by December made a crash landing to be honest, even worse, I've yet to see any sign of lift-off in '22. But that's a long story, and in the main boring material for a birding blog. 

From a personal point of view 2021 went out on a high, thanks to the one bird I hold above all others.

Stonechats 2021.

I made notes of an amazing individual 539 Stonechats in 228 records through 2021, the first on I January, the last 22 December, and none duplicated. The records were collected mainly from Fylde Bird Club, a few from LDBWS, and include mine in Bowland, with evidence of breeding, including lowland locations with young/juveniles present (*)

12 May Cam Brow, at least one young.

12 May Fairhaven Dunes, pair and 2 young.*

8 June Hawthornthwaite Fell, pair with 2 young.

13 June Fleetwood Marsh, male with juvenile.*

14 June Birk Bank, 2 pairs with at least 7 young.

22 June Hareden, 6 birds including 2 young.

29 June Catshaw Fell, family party seen.

1 July Harrisend Fell, 12 birds including 5 juvenile.

5 July Cam Brow, pair and 3 young.

17 July Brennand Tarn, pair and 2 juvenile.

19 July Starr Hills, pair and 4 juvenile.*

26 July Langden Valley, 6 birds including 3 young.

2 August Harrisend Fell, 18 birds including 9 young.

3 August Fleetwood NR, male and 4 juvenile.* 

4 August Hawthornthwaite Fell West, pair/female/male.

4 August Hawthornthwaite Fell East, 2 pairs and 3 young

25 August Wesham Marsh, juvenile seen.*

6 September Birk Bank, pair and 2 juvenile.

6 September Mythop, juvenile seen.*

13 September Heysham Head, juvenile seen.*

14 September Heysham Head, 2 juvenile seen.*

Pete Cook.

Whilst searching the LDBWS website for records, I came across the news which reminded me that Pete Cook had passed away on 5 January 2021, he was the LDBWS Hon Secretary for 19 years from January 2012.

Pete Cook had been an active birdwatcher from the early age of 12. His trigger point for birding was watching Stonechats which were then nesting on Heysham Barrows. Pete wrote an article for the LDBWS Annual Report in 2013 when he said....'My enchantment with the Stonechat led me to want to know more about birds in general'....and went on to add his disappointment that the Stonechat was no longer a regular breeding bird in coastal areas in the LDBWS area, including Heysham. This brings me to note, the last two records of juvenile Stonechat at Heysham Head in the list above, would have been autumn passage birds....or alternately something I don't know!

Though not at the age of 12 in 1958, I was to follow Pete Cooks footsteps with regards to the most endearing Stonechat and the fascination which goes with the species.

Odonata....This year I turned my attentions from birds and a little more towards dragonflies. 

For the fifth year I found Keeled Skimmer again at Birk Bank, with 8 seen on 21 July, including something of a surprise when three males were seen around boggy areas on the west side of Ottergear Bridge. I found a total of 14 Golden-ringed Dragonfly at 4 locations, including 8 on Grizedale Brook at Grizedale Bridge, where I found my first Common Hawker.

Another highlight was of up to 100 Migrant Hawker found along the Glasson-Galgate length of the Lancaster Canal during Sept/Oct.

And Finally.

A Blackbird was singing in our garden in the evening of New Years Day.