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Crook O' Lune & local area forays.
Posted by Steve Graham
12/4 - Back home from 3.5 months away. The UK is certainly a very different one to the one we left in January.
Returned to lovely spring sunshine. Bird reports will be limited to the Hermitage Estate, Crook O' Lune and various local walks mainly on the cycle path to Halton or Caton. There are certainly worse places to be confined to during lockdown.
13/4 - Walk from the Crook to Halton on the cycle path during the permitted daily exercise slot. No bins as 'proper' birding not allowed in public at the moment.
2 Willow Warblers, 2 Blackcap and single Chiffchaff in song. At least 20 Sand Martins flying around just downstream of Forge Weir and 2 Common Sandpiper flying upstream here too.
Happy Easter and stay safe. Steve
19/4 - Osprey reported fishing unsuccessfully opposite Low Mill, Caton along with 2 Shelduck.
Lesser Redpoll over the estate and 2 Swallows N. Female Sparrowhawk being mobbed by 2 Mistle Thrush.
20/4 - Red Kite reported just upstream of Forge Weir.
A single Swift over the estate was my earliest ever here. Late afternoon produced a teneral Large Red Damselfly, probably my earliest ever.
Decided to get up early this morning to beat the crowds on another glorious Bank Holiday this year. Wait till lockdown lifts and the rain will arrive!
Postern Gate former LO Barn - Oystercatcher confirmed breeding again on corrugated roof. Medium size youngster seen. Also a pair of Stock Dove present.
06:40 Birk Bank - Car park still locked but several cars already parked up when I arrived. Early walkers/dog walkers I guess.
Cuckoo intermittently calling, Lesser Redpoll, Sparrowhawk and the usual suspects! Small Heath & Holly Blue out before 08:45 was a bit of a surprise.
Then onto Caton Moor from the cattle grid/Roeburndale Road approach. 2 Snipe chipping here. 3 Cuckoo calling from different directions - excellent. Wheatear male on stone wall. Single fledged Stonechat seen. Good numbers of Skylark singing, Kestrel & Buzzard.
Green Hairstreak, GV White, Peacock, Red Admiral and Large White all out before 09:15.
02/06 - Mallard with 8y at the Crook. Lesser Redpoll - 3N. Tawny Owl confirmed breeding on the estate with at least 2 young calling.
Sad to say Spotted Flycatcher has not returned to this traditional breeding site. There were 3 pairs in the vicinity within the last 5 years but now have all sadly disappeared. Habitat actually been improved for them in recent years and nest boxes provided. Looks like they are in trouble in their wintering/ migration stop overs.
Hill Farm - Brookhouse SD543 644
02/06 - Very surprised to find a Lesser Whitethroat singing most of the day here. Quite a scarce bird anywhere in the Lune Valley.
Confirmed breeding records at Hill Farm:
Starling 1 pair, Blue Tit 1 pair, Wren, Robin, Dunnock all one pair. House Sparrow 2 pairs, Jackdaws 2 pairs, Blackcap 1 pair, Great Tit & Long-tailed Tit 1 pair.
04/06 - Great views of an Osprey at the Crook this morning around 08:00. First noted being mobbed by a GBB Gull it landed on the western side of the Crook and remained for c35 minutes. It looked quite bedraggled plumage wise. I suspect it was having a rest after a failed fishing trip.
For the third day running a Lesser Whitethroat was rattling in the vicinity of Hill Farm, Littledale Road, Brookhouse. Not a common bird in the Lune Valley.
Osprey update : The individual remained at the Crook until 13/06 and gave fantastic views fishing here daily. Fortunately, I was able to read its ring through my scope and here are the findings:
Blue Darvic KS1
Ringed: nestling female Glaslyn, Snowdonia, Gwynedd 2/7/18
It was the middle one of 3 chicks and apparently very dominant in the nest.
Lesser Whitethroat singing regularly at Hill Farm, Brookhouse until 13/06.
19/6 - Rather surprised to see an adult Spotted Flycatcher on the estate briefly this morning and another possible nearby. Surely I have not managed to overlook these for the last month?!
3 Kingfishers all on the E side of the Crook. Looks like they have bred successfully nearby.
Mink carrying large prey swimming to the tip of the Crook at 07:00.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 19/06/2020 06:55AM by Steve Graham.
Quieter here in recent days due to high water levels.
1/7 - Dipper juv on western rocks.
7/7 - Grey Wagtail with at least 2 juvs on the western rocks. Also fresh Mallard brood of 8 young.
8/7 - As posted elsewhere GWE E over the Crook at 06:02. My second record here. 1 male and 5 redhead Goosander as river level starts to fall. Blackcap & Chiffchaff still regularly singing here and a Willow Warbler in subsong.
Probable Hobby in the area with the high pitched Lesser Pecker call heard several times in recent days but bird not seen yet. Also male Kestrel hunting around the Crook on a regular basis. Pair of Common Sand around and look to be breeding on the estate again but high river level may have come at the wrong time.
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