The Lancashire & Cheshire Fauna Society publishes the annual Bird Report for the counties of Lancashire and Merseyside north of the River Mersey. Records are sent into the recorder (currently Steve White) and they disseminate them to section editors whose role it is to summarise these sightings into a readable and informative systematic list. The Society formerly published the Cheshire records but that responsibility now falls under CAWOS (Cheshire & Wirral Ornithological Society).
All of this is done by volunteers, the only costs generally being printing and distribution of the reports. Past copies of these reports are available as pdfs for non-commercial use.
We have published breeding and wintering atlases as well as an updated Avifauna for the county and in 2008, we published the latest county avifauna “Birds of Lancashire and North Merseyside”.
Atlas 2007 – 2011
The data from surveys conducted between 2007 and 2011 were compiled into an updated ‘Atlas’ that we decided to make available on-line. The ten pdfs that make up the ‘book’ can be viewed/downloaded.
The following species require a description as they are rare in the county. National rarities can be submitted via the recorder to the BBRC.
|Taiga Bean Goose|
|American Golden Plover|
|White-winged Black Tern|
|Lesser Spotted Woodpecker|
|Marsh and Willow Tit||(out of normal range)|
|Blyths Reed Warbler|
|Common (Mealy) Redpoll|
The following are addenda and errata to the “Birds of Lancashire” published in 2008. The list was published in the 2008 Lancashire Bird Report.
Errata to the Lancashire Avifauna
(White, S.J., McCarthy, B. & Jones, M. (Eds). The Birds of Lancashire and North Merseyside. 2008. Hobby Publications, Lancashire & Cheshire Fauna Society)
INTRODUCTION: A Short History of Ornithology in Lancashire
Paragraph 4: TA Coward was Keeper of Manchester Museum during the First not the Second World War.
WHOOPER SWAN Cygnus cygnus
Substitute second paragraph to delete reference to Cumbrian sites:
“The species’ status in north Lancashire has remained largely unchanged since Oakes’s day with flocks of 10-20 seen annually in the Lune Valley between Caton and Melling.”
GADWALL Anas strepera
Breeding was first confirmed at Leighton Moss in the early 1990s; furthermore, there is no evidence of any releases there.
Substitute second paragraph:
“There were widespread releases of captive-bred birds in Britain during the 1960s some of which became established in the wild, although there is some evidence that the breeding population may have been supplemented by wild birds. (Fox 1988). Feral breeding became established in West Lancashire between 1974 and 1986, when a full-winged population was allowed to develop at Martin Mere from captive stock. A final release of a small number of birds took place at Crosby, probably during the late 1980s. The origin of north Lancashire’s breeding population is not known. There have been no releases in the Leighton Moss area, where birds have been present since the 1960s but where breeding was not confirmed until the early 1990s.”
POCHARD Aythya ferina
Paragraph 2: There were 66 at Brockholes Quarry in October 2005 not just six.
EIDER Somateria mollissima
There have in fact been several additional counts in excess of 50 in north Lancashire in recent years, including 113 off Jenny Brown’s Point in October 2004 with 675 there in November 2005, and 165 in the Keer Estuary in July 2005.
COMMON SCOTER Melanitta nigra
Paragraph 3: Reference should have been made to Spencer (1969) whose study of overland movements in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cheshire revealed a consistent passage, predominantly of males, during March and April and more numerously in June to August.
GOOSANDER Mergus merganser
Paragraph 2: The breeding population on the Lancashire section of the Lune in 1976 was 15 pairs, the remainder being in Cumbria. The River Bela is also wholly in Cumbria.
Paragraph 1: 137 were on Stocks Reservoir on 6 January 1963. The record was not published at the time as this site was then in Yorkshire.
Substitute for paragraph 2: “Offshore occurrences are now very rare but they were seen regularly off Morecambe during the 1950s, persisting in the 1960s; counts included 50 on 20 December 1953 and 13 on 27 January 1963.”
MOORHEN Gallinula chloropus
Paragraph 5: An additional record was 110 in hard weather on Altcar Moss on 2 December 1973.
MANX SHEARWATER Puffinus puffinus
Paragraph 2: correct date for the 233 off Rossall Point was 10 August 1985.
CORNCRAKE Crex crex
Paragraph 5: Reference should have been made to the only bird known to have been ringed in Lancashire (and possibly the only one to have been photographed) at Formby Point on 2 May 1973.
OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus ostralegus
Paragraph 3: The 61 and 63 pairs nested not on the Eric Morecambe Complex but on the Carnforth Marsh section of the RSPB Morecambe Bay Reserve.
Paragraph 6: The Heysham helipad has been used as a roost continually right up to the present, not just for “a few years in the late 1990s”.
Paragraph 2: The gatherings of 15000+ occur not on the Eric Morecambe Complex but on the RSPB Morecambe Bay Reserve.
RINGED PLOVER Charadrius hiaticula
Paragraph 2: The apparent decline in wintering numbers in the Morecambe to Hest Bank area may to an unknown extent have been the result of difficulties in counting birds roosting on the recently created sea defences.
DOTTEREL Charadrius morinellus
Paragraph 4: additional records on Pendle Hill in autumn are – one from late August to 2 September 1979 and two on 6 September 1982.
GREY PLOVER Pluvialis squatarola
Paragraph 3: An additional inland record was of 60 ‘sheltering in a field’ at Altcar Withins on 18 September 1983.
KNOT Calidris canutus
Paragraph 8: An additional inland record was of 40 on Altcar Moss on 25 January 1975.
LITTLE STINT Calidris minuta
Paragraph 1: An additional inland wintering record was one on Altcar Moss on 17-18 February 1974.
DUNLIN Calidris alpina
Paragraph 1: 216 on Altcar Moss on 16 February 1975 was an unusually high winter count inland.
LAPWING Vanellus vanellus
Paragraph 6: The reference to the Eric Morecambe Complex should have been to the RSPB Morecambe Bay Reserve.
COMMON SNIPE Gallinago gallinago
The line drawing is by Richard Dale.
CURLEW Numenius arquata
Substitute for paragraph 3: “In eastern Lancashire the Curlew breeds both on moorland and in the larger hay-fields at lower elevations. During 1967-1991, between one and three pairs bred on 100ha of upland pasture at The Hile, Rossendale, while in the whole of Rossendale 17-29 pairs bred from the mid-1990s to 2002.”
REDSHANK Tringa totanus
Paragraph 2: Redshank were well established on Carnforth Marsh as early as 1948 with a large number of pairs nesting.
GREENSHANK Tringa nebularia
Paragraph 2: It was not the case that east Lancashire ‘was almost entirely avoided’ in the 1970s, small numbers were recorded regularly albeit mainly in autumn.
TURNSTONE Arenaria interpres
Paragraph 2: As with Ringed Plover, the apparent decline in wintering numbers in the Morecambe to Hest Bank area may to an unknown extent been the result of difficulties in counting birds roosting on the recently created sea defences.
GREY PHALAROPE Phalaropus fulicarius
The Longridge Reservoir record was present from 8-13 September 1992 and not just the 8th as stated.
COMMON GULL Larus canus
Paragraph 3: the increase in inland records since the 1950s should be referenced to Spencer (1959).
ROSEATE TERN Sterna dougallii
Paragraph 2: an additional record was of three flying over the reedbed at Leighton Moss on 16 May 1965.
KINGFISHER Alcedo atthis
Paragraph 5: Birds nested successfully at both Leighton Moss and the Eric Morecambe Complex in 2005.
SAND MARTIN Riparia riparia
Paragraph 5: The Kirkby Lonsdale stretch of the River Lune covered by the Waterways Bird Survey is in Cumbria not Yorkshire. However, all the Sand Martin colonies counted are in Lancashire.
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW Cecropis daurica
The Marton Mere bird was also present on 19 April 2004.
ROCK PIPIT Anthus petrosus
Paragraph 3: The ‘count’ of three at Rishton Reservoir on 7-21 October 1999 actually refers to separate records of a single on the 7th and two together on the 21st.
BLUE-HEADED WAGTAIL Motacilla flava flava
Paragraph 5: the breeding male was at Halforth not ‘Halford’, which is, in any case, in Cumbria not Lancashire. The reference to ‘Whittingham’ should read ‘Whittington’.
WAXWING Bombycilla garrulus
Paragraph 4: The influx of 2003 began, of course, in January 2003 not January 2002.
REDSTART Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Paragraph 5: Substitute sentence “In the north, the Downham/Twiston area, north of Pendle Hill, reported five singing males in 1996, rising to 25 in 1999 then twelve in 2002.”
WHEATEAR Oenanthe oenanthe
Paragraph 3: The decline at Carnforth during the nineties was due to the removal of a large slag tip which destroyed many nest sites.
SONG THRUSH Turdus philomelos
Paragraph 4: The twelve at Roughlee were on 8 March 1995 not 1996.
GRASSHOPPER WARBLER Locustella naevia
Paragraph 3: Delete sentence “BBS data, however, suggest a large recovery of 50% between 1994 and 2005, an increase which appears not to have been reflected in Lancashire.”
GREAT REED WARBLER Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Clarification: the record at Leighton Moss on 17 July 1963 remains accepted as the first record in Lancashire.
MELODIOUS WARBLER Hippolais polyglotta
Since publication of the ‘avifauna’ further information has come to light about the first-winter bird trapped at Haskayne on 28 August 1972. Stuart Thomas, the finder, has passed on his notes and photographs, leaving absolutely no doubt as to the bird’s identification.
This becomes the first record for Lancashire and means that the total up to the end of 2005 is increased to three.
CHIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus collybita
Paragraph 3: Delete “. . . . the middle reaches of the Ribble Valley . . . . ”
BEARDED TIT Panurus biarmicus
Paragraph 1: Reference to colour-ringed birds from Leighton Moss should read “Marton Mere” not “Martin Mere”.
COAL TIT Periparus ater
Paragraph 6: There were also significant numbers in Burnley during the irruptive movement of autumn 1957, including many in built-up areas.
ROOK Corvus frugilegus
Paragraph 1: Eleven of the 27 rookeries counted annually are in Cumbria. The figures quoted for north Lancashire include these.
RAVEN Corvus corax
Paragraph 6: only two of the three pairs in the Silverdale area were in Lancashire.
TWITE Carduelis flavirostris
Substitute for paragraph 3: “Surveying breeding Twite is a complex task and there were no reliable estimates of the size of the Lancashire population before the 1990s. However, intensive nest-record surveys carried out by the East Lancashire Ornithologists Club in 1967 and 1968 revealed a thriving population (Nuttall 1972). A total of 135 nests were located in both years; more than half of these were in the area east and north-east of Burnley in 1967 but they were evenly spread between Burnley, Rossendale and the area south of Accrington and Burnley the following year.
There can be no doubt, however, that the past 20 years or more have witnessed a drastic reduction in numbers, although the breeding range changed little until the beginning of this century. Birds were present in 16 10km squares during 1968-72, 17 during 1988-91 and 14 during 1997-2000, but within this range there were many local extinctions and previously large aggregations have shrunk to one or two pairs, exemplified by the declining number of 10km squares where breeding was proven during the three survey periods – 14, 12 and 10 respectively. A mere 27 nesting pairs were located during 1997-2000 but the Lancashire population was estimated at 40 pairs. These were found in 17 tetrads, at an average density of 0.6 pairs per km2, at the lower end of estimated densities in the south Pennines of 0.4-3.5 pairs/km2 (McGhie et al 1994). The south Pennine population, including Yorkshire, was thought to contain some 200-400 pairs in the early 1990s (Brown et al 1995), while estimates of the British population fell from 65,000 pairs in 1988-92 to 10,000 (600-800 in England) in 1999 (Langston et al 2006).”
Substitute for paragraph 7: “Nuttall (1972) described the commonest site for Lancashire Twite nests as ‘a recess in moorland grass, similar to the situation chosen by a Meadow Pipit’ but with others ‘slightly raised above ground level in rushes, heather, bracken, etc.’ More recently, nests have usually been found in old bracken and heather but some also use crevices in slopes, cliffs and quarries. Until recently it was not thought that loss of nesting habitat was a major factor in their decline. However, recent research suggests that mature stands of bracken may be a critical nesting requirement in Lancashire and may have declined significantly (A. Raine pers. comm.). Also implicated is the relatively recent intensification and simplification of upland agriculture, with the loss of arable fields, overgrazing of the in-bye, conversion of hay meadows to improved leys and early cutting of silage crops leading to reduced availability of grass- and other seeds on which Twite depend. In order partially to compensate, supplementary feeding stations have been set up in various parts of the United Utilities’ south Pennine estate.”
REED BUNTING Emberiza schoeniclus
Paragraph 2: An additional record was of 70 leaving a reedbed roost on Downholland Moss on 26 December 2005.
CORN BUNTING Emberiza calandra
Substitute first line of final paragraph: “Marton Mere supported a regular winter and spring roost of up to 130 in Reed Canary-grass in the 1950s until about 1969.”
ESCAPES & BIRDS OF UNKNOWN PROVENANCE – ADDITIONAL SPECIES
PASSENGER PIGEON Ectopistes migratorius
John James Audubon presented three to the Earl of Derby at Knowsley Park in 1832. These bred in captivity and reached a population of 70 by an unknown date when they were described as a ‘nuisance’ and released. It is not known how long they survived or whether they bred in the wild.
The last Passenger Pigeon was seen in the wild in the United States in 1900; it is intriguing to speculate what might have been possible had this captive population been retained in Lancashire.
NORTHERN FLICKER Colaptes auratus
On about 23 May 1964 one of the eastern form (Yellow-shafted Flicker) survived a crossing to Liverpool in RMS Sylvania. It was held in ‘partial captivity’ for some of the time, with food and water provided, and eventually presented alive by the Captain to Chester Zoo.
Even by today’s laxer standards this would not qualify for Category A status due to the assistance given to it.
BIBLIOGRAPHY – ADDITIONAL REFERENCES
Nuttall, J. 1972. The Status and Distribution of the Twite (Carduelis flavirostris) in East Lancashire with some notes on its breeding ecology. The Naturalist. October-December 1972.
Spencer, KG. 1959. On the Increase of the Common Gull in East Lancashire. 1959. The Naturalist. July-September 1959.
Spencer, KG. 1969. Overland migrations of Common Scoters. British Birds Vol. 62: 332-333.