Trip reports

Conder Green and Glasson

Conder Green and Glasson
Conder Green (c) Graham Thomas

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Five of us met at the Conder Green car park to begin a New Year walk in anticipation of seeing the birds and other wildlife that frequent the estuarine reaches of the rivers Lune and Conder during the winter months. In view of the inclement weather that had been forecast we decided to change our planned route and instead head southwards towards Glasson Dock with the possibility of encountering a greater variety of species.

As the tide crept in and the mudflats disappeared many birds came into better view as they were driven from their feeding areas by the rising water, i.e. lapwing (many), golden plover, dunlin, curlew, redshank, black-tailed godwit, cormorant, little egret, starling, mute swan, red-breasted merganser, goosander, robin and house sparrows. Behind us on the flooded gullies of the Conder we could hear the bell-like calls of teal - these tiny ducks were in the company of several mallard and black-headed gulls.

The Glasson canal basin offered us good although somewhat distant views of coot, tufted duck, little grebe, great-crested grebe, yet more mallard, and that most handsome of wildfowl - a drake goldeneye.

From the top of Bodie Hill which overlooks the Lune Estuary and Sunderland Point, we spent several rather wind-blown minutes and we could see swirling flocks of golden plover, dunlin, lapwing and curlew. In the foreground were several shelduck and a large raft of wigeon just off shore. A flock of over 50 linnets flew from bushes to feed on weed seeds.

As we moved once more towards the village we saw several fieldfare and redwing, these winter thrushes had settled in a tree on the adjacent farmland. Further along although too far off to make a positive identification, three large white birds were grazing in a distant field; these were most likely mute swans.

The final leg of our walk was along the canal towpath where a a grey heron was spotted as it took to the air on slowly flapping wings, also seen were coot, moorhen and a goosander.

At the base of a south facing hedge we noticed a patch of lesser celandine that had started coming into flower - a reminder to us that Spring is just around the corner.

Michael Gardner