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Lancashire Wildlife Blogs


Lancashire Wildlife Blogs

http://www.lancashirewildlife.org.uk
Collecting together in one place the information about Lancashire wildlife published on blogs. To help people discover, enjoy and protect our local natural history. Please note the content of any blog post on this site is the property of the specific blog publisher and not this website.
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 23:45:46 +0000
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Coot
http://fleetwoodbirder.blogspot.com/2020/03/coot.html
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 21:00:00 +0000

http://www.lancashirewildlife.org.uk/?guid=c2a171467eda7b04fd548b96e560d7c5

<![CDATA[My alarm went off at 3 o'clock this morning as I had to drive to Berwick to complete the last wintering bird survey I had to do up there. Driving there and back I had plenty of time to think about the picture I was going to post today, and I had a few ideas from Scottish castles, to butterflies, to flowers and anywhere in between!

As I was unloading my car in the dark at about eight o’clock this evening, I heard a call that sounded familiar, but yet wasn’t familiar at the same time. It sounded a bit like a Coot in terms of the pitch of the call, but it was more of a trumpeting or bugling sound. A quick listen to a few Coot flight calls on-line, and bingo it was a Coot flying over in the dark, and my house is a long way from any Coot habitat.

Of course, Coots do move, and Kane Brides at the Wetland and WiIldfowl Trust (WWT) has done a lot of research into Coot movements through a programme of colour ringing, and a few members of Fylde Ringing Group helped with this locally. Through colour ringing Coots, Kane demonstrated how much Coots do move, with sightings of Coots ringed in the northwest of England from all over the UK.

One good example was a Coot that Kane ringed in Greater Manchester in December 2010, and it wintered in Greater Manchester in 2011, but in February 2012 it was sighted 260 km north at Straiton in Mid Lothian, Scotland. By December 2012, this bird was back in Greater Manchester.

The story doesn’t end there. This bird was observed at its Greater Manchester wintering site in January 2013, but a month later (Feb 2013) it was at Gunknowe Loch, Tweedbank, Scotland 229 km north. Amazing!

Coots aren’t the best of flyers, although they can’t be too bad to move such distances, and as such they move at night to avoid being detected by predators. In fact, one of the Marsh Harriers’ favourite prey items is the Coot, but of course these predators aren’t active at night, so night migration is safer.

Below is the only photo I have in my archives of Coot, and it isn’t the best of shots, but it very obviously is a Coot!

 click to enlarge

I didn’t have too much of interest on my survey in the northeast this morning other than eleven Eiders, three Shags, 25 Redshanks, eleven Curlews, a Red-throated Diver, twelve Turnstones and a pair of Goldeneyes.

I didn’t run my garden moth trap last night, but it’s on tonight, so I’ll let you know what I catch tomorrow.]]>

Chiffchaffs everywhere, but not much else
http://heyshamobservatory.blogspot.com/2020/03/chiffchaffs-everywhere-but-not-much-else.html
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 19:36:00 +0000

http://www.lancashirewildlife.org.uk/?guid=ebfda9ca9df9332029778f5a77d10521

<![CDATA[Light southerly wind and wall to wall sunshine meant genuine warmth. Chiffchaffs were singing in every area of the recording area checked, and many seen not singing. Butterflies also abundant, particularly Brimstone (4 male), also seen Small Tortoiseshell 3, Peacock 2.

Rock pipits – the lighthouse area bird was reported as standing guard over last year’s nest site. Plus 2 birds together on Red Nab.
Wheatear 1 male Red Nab.

Felt the need for some vertibrate images today after yesterday’s invertibrates, so by way of a change this is one of Wheatear taking off. It’s all in the footwork!
This one of Little Egret and Wigeon at Red Nab, just because it reflects how tranquil the day felt.

Middleton Nature Reserve
Stock Dove 2
Buzzard 1
Grey Wagtail 2 – one part of the colour ring scheme

This excellent picture from Janet

Also as part of this scheme:
ARB7379 plus crs Ringed: Middleton NR 1stW Male 14/9/19
Seen: Male holding territory 20 & 24/3/20 Teviot Haughs, Roxburghshire (NT684254) 170Km NNE

The warm sun brought the local newts to life, these Smooth (Common) newts were in the small pond between the dog walk and Red Nab

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In Control!
http://woodruff4.blogspot.com/2020/03/in-control.html
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 16:01:00 +0000

http://www.lancashirewildlife.org.uk/?guid=b28a0ca6af9636b5223e060956bcd6e2

<![CDATA[

Whilst the moors are fresh in my mind following a visit to Bowland last Friday. I learn of the fire brigade being called out yesterday to a moorland fire at Deer Hill Reservoir in West Yorkshire.
 
Photo West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service. Clik the pik

Thought to have been caused by an out of control ‘controlled burn’, the fire service is now calling for a ban on this practice of grouse moor heather burning. Fifteen crews with twenty appliances attended which had a mile long fire-front.

Of course there’s a connection between these burns, the grit roads featured in my last post, and wildlife crime, including the attempts to eradicate the Hen Harrier. I encounter traps for other small fry on my often visits to the moors, which gets in the way of the industry, whose motto is….if it’s wildlife get rid of it.

Apart from the fact heather burning is nothing more than vandalism on the moors and serves no other useful purpose, this burn is against the law, the legal dates for heather burns are 1 October – 15 April. 

On 21 March 2007, I did a survey in the Clougha and Birk Bank area and found 23 Stonechat which were seen as 11 pair and a lone male. Four weeks later I went to do my April survey, to find a heather burn had taken place, borderline or more likely outside the permitted date in mid-April. The result was to find just 4 Stonechat, with the rest of the 9 pair driven from the area and certainly nests/eggs and possibly young destroyed.

The Great Bustard.

I wanted you to see this ‘person’ who I featured in a recent post, but made the mistake of pointing everyone in the direction of my side-bar where it soon got buried beneath new posts on Tweets by RBA with which there is absolutely no connection to my comments below.


Here’s the nice man in India who shot the Great Bustard, then stood with it hanging from it’s wing, whilst he grinned his head off for a pik….BASTARD, he’s a even bigger bastard if you Clik the pik.

I found a Peacock in our garden today, my first identifiable butterfly of 2020. 

]]>

Rb Fotoman’s special plumage close-up photos
https://arnsidesilverdale.blogspot.com/2020/03/rb-fotomans-special-plumage-close-up.html
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 20:39:00 +0000

http://www.lancashirewildlife.org.uk/?guid=fe1f74f1a7b575f60cf50ead9ebab57e

<![CDATA[

Below are beautiful photos kindly shared to us here by Rb Fotoman
and they are portraying close-up plumage and other features of our feathered friends
Please click over the photo to enlarge to get the best


 Female Reed Bunting
Photo: Kindly shared to us by Rb Fotoman

 Robin
(Photo: Kindly shared by Rb Fotoman)

 Wren
Photo: kindly shared to us by Rb Fotoman

Wren No.2
Photo: kindly shared to us by Rb Fotoman

Barn Owl
Photo: kindly shared to us by Rb Fotoman

 Female Bullfinch
Photo: kindly shared to us by Rb Fotoman

Male Bullfinch
Photo: kindly shared to us by Rb Fotoman

Nuthatch
Photo: kindly shared to us by Rb Fotoman

]]>

Not quite straw clutching….yet
http://heyshamobservatory.blogspot.com/2020/03/not-quite-straw-clutchingyet.html
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 20:25:00 +0000

http://www.lancashirewildlife.org.uk/?guid=ab4b80cdc92063e5a121eaa0116eaf17

<![CDATA[
Obviously the current restrictions have an impact on obervation opportunities. Not a hardship compared to the real problems many face. Still, every effort will be made to continue this blog albeit at a much reduced level.

Ocean Edge foreshore early morning (actual caravan site avoided)
Wheatear 3
Meadow Pipit 14 north

Heysham Skeer late afternoon 
No sign of Shag this evening, presumably already eaten.
Eider 123 recognisable blobs counted, many more distant specks almost certainly mainly Eider too.
Great-Crested Grebe 5
Red-Breasted Merganser 3

This is something that I (MD) have never seen before. A Common Whelk had somehow got its scale plate (operculum) stuck between some old mussel shells and couldn’t retract to safety as the tide ebbed.

Lucky for the Whelk it was me, not one of the many gulls that found it first. I released it.
This shot shows the operculum on the foot.
When I placesd it the right way up, it “scurried” off.

Three species of Butterfly seen today, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and this female Brimstone.

Not too bad “in flight” pictures

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The Not So Humble Chaffinch
http://fleetwoodbirder.blogspot.com/2020/03/the-not-so-humble-chaffinch.html
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 20:04:00 +0000

http://www.lancashirewildlife.org.uk/?guid=2d64eca1294998cb4fad62c7822e6107

<![CDATA[I like Chaffinches, I always have. For many years, I along with other fellow ringers in Fylde Ringing Group have studied them every winter through ringing, and built up a database of movements of Chaffinches that winter in Lancashire and breed in Scandinavia. We’ve looked at wing length as a way of separating Scandinavian birds from British birds. As a general rule, longer winged birds within a population are generally longer distant migrants, as longer, more pointed wings create more lift for the same amount of effort. That’s an over simplification, but is more-or-less accurate.

I like to think that I have my finger on the pulse when it comes to UK bird populations, but I have to admit to be taken slightly aback to receive an appeal from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) regarding Chaffinches, and that is why I have posted the picture below of a gorgeous male Chaffinch.

 click to enlarge

I’ll quote the BTO directly:

“You may be shocked to hear that our Chaffinch population is collapsing. Our most familiar of finches is vanishing from our gardens and countryside…This sudden and pronounced decline is sounding alarm bells that we shouldn’t take its abundance granted any longer”.

The current conservation status of the Chaffinch is Green (of least concern and not considered to be at risk) in the UK. According to the BTO the size and speed of the decline suggests that they could be placed on the Red or Amber list of Birds of Conservation Concern when the next review takes place later this year!

Chaffinches can suffer from a disease called trichomonosis, which decimated the Greenfinch population following an outbreak in 2005-06. What remains unclear is why Chaffinch numbers only started to decrease dramatically in 2012, and not when the trichomonosis outbreak first occurred amongst Greenfinches.

So, the BTO are looking for donations to support an urgent appeal for Chaffinches. Only when they know the causes of the decline can effective targeted conservation actions begin. If you feel like you can help, I know we are in testing times ourselves, you can visit www.bto.org/chaffinch. Thanks.

Talking of the BTO and Covid 19, all volunteer BTO surveyors, including ringers, have been told that no survey work is to be undertaken from now until further government advice is received, if any travel to complete the survey work is involved. So basically, if it isn’t in your garden, you can’t do it. Sensible.

In case you were wondering I had five moths in my garden light trap this morning; two Hebrew Characters, two Common Quakers and a Clouded Drab. ]]>

Ribble Rivers Trust current works position
https://ribbletrust.org.uk/ribble-rivers-trust-current-works-position/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ribble-rivers-trust-current-works-position
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 17:37:58 +0000

https://ribbletrust.org.uk/?p=6472

<![CDATA[

Ribble Rivers Trust
Ribble Rivers Trust current works position

Ribble Rivers Trust has taken a huge number of actions in response to the COVID 19 Pandemic.  This includes effectively shutting our office, having all staff working from home, implementingContinue readingRibble Rivers Trust current works position

The post Ribble Rivers Trust current works position appeared first on Ribble Rivers Trust.

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Down But Not Out
https://anotherbirdblog.blogspot.com/2020/03/down-but-not-out.html
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 12:42:00 +0000

http://www.lancashirewildlife.org.uk/?guid=28935330b02819bcb2d0dfd2068c958d

<![CDATA[

Well that’s it then. We are in lock down for a month or two with no birding or ringing. Life must go on and luckily I have an archive of pictures and experiences to draw upon. In the garden there are Goldfinches without rings so I can do some ringing in the days ahead when the wind drops. 
For now here’s a post with pictures from way back in 2009. 
It was in November 2009 that Sue and I spent two weeks in Cyprus. Black Redstarts were absolutely everywhere and it proved impossible not to take lots of photographs of these welcome migrants from Europe.  
Black Redstart 
For anyone who isn’t aware, the Black Redstart is a surprisingly scarce UK species and where the breeding population may be about 100 pairs only. Since about 1900 the UK population grew to include urban habitats that resembled their ancestral habitat of mountainous stony ground. Both during and after World War Two this included bombed areas, and then in subsequent years the species also colonised large industrial complexes that have the bare areas and cliff-like buildings it favours; in the UK, most of the small breeding population nowadays nests in industrialised areas. 
Black Redstart 
Black Redstarts appeared very numerous in Cyprus, not entirely surprising as the species is a common winter visitor from October through to February. These birds are mainly of the European race Phoenicurus ochruros gibraltariensis which breeds in the bulk of Europe and east to Ukraine and Crimea. The area of the Mediterranean Sea is the main wintering area with a small number of birds as far south and east as Egypt and the Middle East. 
Black Redstart
During the latter part of November of the dozens of Black Redstarts I saw, all were of similar appearance: upperparts of grey-brown with brown, smoky/dusky washed underparts from the throat that merged gradually into a paler washed belly and a whitish vent area. It was often surprisingly difficult to see the orange-buff of the undertail, but easy to pick the actual birds out from way off due to their characteristic jizz, shimmering tail and sometimes surprisingly loud alarm calls. 
Black Redstart 
Black Redstart
Of course by November juveniles greatly outnumbered adults, and I thought that on most occasions I was watching a bird of the year. Additionally, from about August first year males have an almost identical appearance to the duller female, and the whitish wing panel of this western subspecies does not develop until the second year. In one or two photos there are the visible remains of a nestling’s yellow gape, and in the extended summers of parts of Europe this feature is perhaps to be expected in November. 
Black Redstart 
Black Redstart 
Unfortunately, with one exception, a confiding hotel garden bird seen above, the redstarts weren’t too easy to approach, like almost every other bird species on this over-hunted, infamous island. 
Back home in sunny Stalmine, this morning I went out to the shops for essentials, our local small shopkeepers, not the rip-off Co-op supermarket. Ten minutes from here at Knott End village is a wonderful array of shops; butcher, fishmonger, baker, cheese & delicatessen, fruit & veg. 
As we all cope with the current disruption to everyday life there is one thing that all of us can do that will help – shop local, shop UK, with YouK
Our society depends on farms, manufacturers, fishing boats, and UK businesses big and small. Without them there are no jobs, no income, no money for schools and hospitals. 
Home deliveries of household essentials from small companies will help support them, take pressure off supermarkets, and support delivery workers. Breakfast cereal, soap, tea, shampoo, jam, wine, hand cream, meat, cleaning products, face moisturisers, there are UK companies covering all of these everywhere. 
Pubs are closed – so let’s keep the brewing industry going so that things can start up quickly again with home delivery of UK craft beers – over 700 brewing companies across the UK. Most people will have many local options including ourselves with a local brewery, Farm Yard Ales along Gulf Lane, Cockerham – Farm Yard Ales.   
We are powerful together – help UK business, keep our jobs, and let’s get through this.

]]>

Down But Not Out
https://anotherbirdblog.blogspot.com/2020/03/down-but-not-out.html
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 12:42:00 +0000

http://www.lancashirewildlife.org.uk/?guid=28935330b02819bcb2d0dfd2068c958d

<![CDATA[

Well that’s it then. We are in lock down for a month or two with no birding or ringing. Life must go on and luckily I have an archive of pictures and experiences to draw upon. In the garden there are Goldfinches without rings so I can do some ringing in the days ahead when the wind drops. 
For now here’s a post with pictures from way back in 2009. 
It was in November 2009 that Sue and I spent two weeks in Cyprus. Black Redstarts were absolutely everywhere and it proved impossible not to take lots of photographs of these welcome migrants from Europe.  
Black Redstart 
For anyone who isn’t aware, the Black Redstart is a surprisingly scarce UK species and where the breeding population may be about 100 pairs only. Since about 1900 the UK population grew to include urban habitats that resembled their ancestral habitat of mountainous stony ground. Both during and after World War Two this included bombed areas, and then in subsequent years the species also colonised large industrial complexes that have the bare areas and cliff-like buildings it favours; in the UK, most of the small breeding population nowadays nests in industrialised areas. 
Black Redstart 
Black Redstarts appeared very numerous in Cyprus, not entirely surprising as the species is a common winter visitor from October through to February. These birds are mainly of the European race Phoenicurus ochruros gibraltariensis which breeds in the bulk of Europe and east to Ukraine and Crimea. The area of the Mediterranean Sea is the main wintering area with a small number of birds as far south and east as Egypt and the Middle East. 
Black Redstart
During the latter part of November of the dozens of Black Redstarts I saw, all were of similar appearance: upperparts of grey-brown with brown, smoky/dusky washed underparts from the throat that merged gradually into a paler washed belly and a whitish vent area. It was often surprisingly difficult to see the orange-buff of the undertail, but easy to pick the actual birds out from way off due to their characteristic jizz, shimmering tail and sometimes surprisingly loud alarm calls. 
Black Redstart 
Black Redstart
Of course by November juveniles greatly outnumbered adults, and I thought that on most occasions I was watching a bird of the year. Additionally, from about August first year males have an almost identical appearance to the duller female, and the whitish wing panel of this western subspecies does not develop until the second year. In one or two photos there are the visible remains of a nestling’s yellow gape, and in the extended summers of parts of Europe this feature is perhaps to be expected in November. 
Black Redstart 
Black Redstart 
Unfortunately, with one exception, a confiding hotel garden bird seen above, the redstarts weren’t too easy to approach, like almost every other bird species on this over-hunted, infamous island. 
Back home in sunny Stalmine, this morning I went out to the shops for essentials, our local small shopkeepers, not the rip-off Co-op supermarket. Ten minutes from here at Knott End village is a wonderful array of shops; butcher, fishmonger, baker, cheese & delicatessen, fruit & veg. 
As we all cope with the current disruption to everyday life there is one thing that all of us can do that will help – shop local, shop UK, with YouK
Our society depends on farms, manufacturers, fishing boats, and UK businesses big and small. Without them there are no jobs, no income, no money for schools and hospitals. 
Home deliveries of household essentials from small companies will help support them, take pressure off supermarkets, and support delivery workers. Breakfast cereal, soap, tea, shampoo, jam, wine, hand cream, meat, cleaning products, face moisturisers, there are UK companies covering all of these everywhere. 
Pubs are closed – so let’s keep the brewing industry going so that things can start up quickly again with home delivery of UK craft beers – over 700 brewing companies across the UK. Most people will have many local options including ourselves with a local brewery, Farm Yard Ales along Gulf Lane, Cockerham – Farm Yard Ales.   
We are powerful together – help UK business, keep our jobs, and let’s get through this.

]]>

Fact file: Horse Chestnuts

Fact file: Horse Chestnuts


Tue, 24 Mar 2020 10:26:30 +0000

Fact file: Horse Chestnuts

<![CDATA[

Ribble Rivers Trust
Fact file: Horse Chestnuts

Horse chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum) are actually a non-native species, introduced in the 16th century from Turkey, and planted widely in parks, streets, and gardens. This is why you rarely findContinue readingFact file: Horse Chestnuts

The post Fact file: Horse Chestnuts appeared first on Ribble Rivers Trust.

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