Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Change Of Plan

The forecast for Wednesday was decidedly “dodgy” but with it being the best for several days ahead, we decided to chance a ringing session up at Barnacre. The problem was when I got up at 0530 and looked out of the window the trees were wafting around so I sent Andy a text and said I’d go birding instead. 

I was early so stopped at Pilling Lane Ends to count the Little Egrets at the roost. Thirty-five was my total but I suspect many were hidden from view in this so called “amenity area” that is now just a neglected wilderness. 

At Braides Farm - 80+ Curlews and a roosting Buzzard. 

At Conder green Once again Lapwings proved the most numerous bird with at least 240 scattered around the site, on the island, the grassland and in the tidal creeks. Other waders were few and far between with just handfuls of Curlew, Redshank, and a single Common Sandpiper. Fishing the pool was a single Goosander, 4 Cormorant and 4 Little Egret. Two Little Grebe have moved to the creeks where I also found 8 Teal. 


Little Egret

It was on a circuit of Jeremy Lane that I stopped to look through a flock of 600-800 Black-headed Gulls. Almost on cue I found an adult Mediterranean Gull I had hoped to see. There have been lots of “med gulls” sighted along the coast in recent weeks and the best way to find one by searching through flocks of Black-headed Gulls. While it’s nice to see one, the “med gull” is no longer a rarity. 

Mediterranean Gull - adult winter by M. Jackson, Mull Birds

The Mediterranean Gull is the most recent addition to the species of seabirds breeding in the UK. By 2010, there were over 600-700 nesting pairs, mostly on the south and south-east coasts of England. 

The range of the Mediterranean Gull expanded markedly over the last 50 years. A westward expansion started in Hungary, where it was breeding regularly by 1953, then into Germany and Belgium during the 1960s and the Netherlands by 1970. Range expansion also occurred in an eastward direction during the 1970s and 1980s. The first breeding occurrence in Britain was in 1968, at Needs Ore Point (Hampshire). Thereafter, a pair bred at Dungeness (Kent), in 1979, increasing to two pairs by 1985. A site in north Kent was colonised in 1983, which later became established as one of the major colonies in England. Also during this period, a handful of other breeding attempts were made, including pairings with Black-headed Gulls.  

I wasn’t finding much around Jeremy Lane until I stopped to watch a Kestrel hovering over the footpath at Cockersands. There was a Marsh Harrier again, this one hunting the fields behind the old abbey, seen off in turn by Carrion Crows and Lapwings. After a while the harrier did a disappearing act, something they are good at for such a large bird. 

Marsh Harrier and Lapwings

I stopped at Gulf Lane where I dropped seed at the Linnet field and did a spot count for the week of about 100 finches - 50/50 Linnet/Goldfinch again. The weather forecast for the week ahead, wind above 15mph every day, will put paid to plans to ring any time soon. A couple of Stock Doves have found our food drop. 

Stock Dove

I was on the way to Knott End to grab some shopping but stopped along the promenade to watch the incoming tide. Recent days have seen good numbers of Sandwich Terns roosting on the sands at high tide, migrant terns that feed in Morecambe Bay while passing through the area on their way south to winter off West Africa. My minimum count was 250 with many roosting for a short period and then as the tide arrived, flying off over the jetty, south-west and up the River Wyre. 

Sandwich Terns

Sandwich Terns

 Sandwich Tern

Sandwich Tern - Range by CC BY-SA 3.0 Wiki 

Knott End Ferry

 Back soon with more birds on Another Bird Blog.  In the meantime I'm linking to Eileen's Saturday Blog.


Vandana Sharma said...

Today we had a poetry prompt to write about magic. Aren't these glorious creatures on nature the magic of great magician called god!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, great photos and birds. I love the lapwing. I have always wanted to see one in person. The Terns in flight are beautiful shots. Going birding was a good idea. Enjoy your day!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I didn't know until I read this post that Mediterranean Gull was a breeding species in the UK - and has been for some time. Had I seen one on a visit I would have thought I had found a rarity! I am very happy to hear that you found many Lapwings and the sight of all those Sandwich Terns would have been a joy to watch. You didn't get to do any banding, Phil, but you certainly had a great morning.

Linda said...

What beautiful photos!

Prunella Pepperpot said...

The Lapwing has beautiful colouring! Lovely photos Phil, have a great weekend :)

Anonymous said...

Phil, the weather is my guide so often...winds for the soaring birds are the best although difficult for kayaking...:)JP

Rajesh said...

Beautiful birds.

Jim said...

Great shot.
Sydney – City and Suburbs

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, I just wanted to stop back and say thanks for linking up this post. The birds are beautiful, awesome photos. Have a happy weekend!

sandyland said...

Beautiful lapwing come help me in this storm

A Colorful World said...

Lovely Mediterranean Gull, and that Harrier photo is so cool! Nice post as always!

Anni said...

I must be honest and admit my stumbling when it comes to IDing terns, but the sandwich tern is easily identified 'cause of its beak.

Happy to be back blogging after hurricane Harvey.

Karen said...

Great shots. The lapwing is an interesting looking bird.

Stewart M said...

Med Gulls and Little Egrets - something's changing I think.

Great set of pictures.

Fond memories of searching gull flocks in Gateshead for Med gulls many years ago.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

EricaSta said...

I enjoyed this Post again for the Tuesday theme IMAGE-IN-ING.

Martha Z said...

I always enjoy seeing birds from another part of the world.

Fun60 said...

More wonderful photos. Like the lapwing.

NCSue said...

Beautiful birds!
Thanks for linking up at

Kay L. Davies said...

Okay, Phil, I've decided...if I should want and/or need a bird, it will be a lapwing if I can get one in the beautiful colours of your first photo here. Wow.
And just how big is a little egret?
I've probably seen Sandwich Terns on your blog before, but the good thing about getting old and losing my memory is that everything is new again.
All the best to you and Sue.
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Lady Fi said...

Such wonderful shots. That lapwing is very pretty.

Lowcarb team member said...

You have some terrific photographs here Phil, lovely to see.

All the best Jan

Christina said...


Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Beautiful flight shot of the tern -- they're so pretty flying and you captured it perfectly. Wish I could see a lapwing for real.

A Colorful World said...

You captured the colors in the lapwings feathers so perfectly! Love the Mediterranean purely white! That kestrel photo was really awesome too. Looks like a good day.

GreenComotion said...

Hi Phil-
Lovely birds and great photos.
Rocking hairdo and plumes on the Lapwing :)
Have a Happy Weekend!
Peace :)

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