Conder Green

A few weeks after the outing to Norfolk I wrote about in the last few posts, I found myself in a place called Conder Green, which lies on a small tributary of the River Lune in Lancashire, with Morecambe Bay to the west and the Lake District to the north east. I stayed in a hotel which was on the Lancaster Canal and surrounded by farmland, and there was lots of wildlife in the immediate vicinity.

Little egret at dusk on the Glasson Branch of the Lancaster Canal (Egretta garzetta, Dansk: silkehejre)

The little  egret, or indeed egrets in general, were birds I had always associated with more exotic  parts of the world. The first time I saw them in numbers they were perched on fish stalls in the market at Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles. Their numbers have been steadily increasing in England after they first began to colonise here in 1988 having moved across the water from France, where they had also been expanding their range northwards. But to see one in Lancashire reminded how far north and west they have migrated compared to the location of my first sighting!

Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus, Dansk: grønbenet rørhøne)

Goldeneye female on the Lancaster Canal (Bucephela clangula, Dansk: hvinand)

The moorhen and the goldeneye were on the canal adjacent to my hotel, and in the field next to that was a hare which appeared at first sight remarkably unfazed by my presence, until I got just a little too close, and then common sense prevailed and it did what hares do best, and ran:

The European brown hare (Lepus europaeus)

I was pretty happy with these two shots, I’ve previously got some good pictures of hares by creeping up on them very slowly when they’re sitting tight, but I’ve never got a good picture of a hare in full flight before.

The hare is a member of a taxonomic group called ‘Lagomorphs‘ along with rabbits and pikas. It’s a group that has been around for 90 million years, so hare-like creatures may have been running around with dinosaurs. The modern version evolved in central Europe but only since the UK split away, geologically that is, from mainland Europe. So it is thought that it was introduced to these islands around 2000 years ago by the Romans.

Wigeon (Anas penelope, Dansk: pibeand)

Just a short walk from the field where the hare was is the River Lune, which appears to be tidal as it’s so close to the coast of Morecambe Bay, so when the tide’s out there are extensive mudflats for waders and ducks including these wigeon, and I’ve also seen teal and curlew here:

Curlew (Numenius arquata, Dansk: storspove)

This bird, with its unfeasibly enormous beak, was one of a flock of around 100 curlew, and that’s an extremely unusual sight these days.

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10 responses to “Conder Green

  1. I still find the sight of egrets in this country a little strange, but your photograph brought back good memories of watching them fly into roost on autumn evenings in Spain.Your hare is superb!

    • I know what you man about egrets, they’re very exotic but they’re also so ‘common’ these days they’ve become part of the landscape. That hare though is one my favourite ever pictures, it’s not often I get close enough to get such good photographs of them.

  2. Your photo of the egret in flight is superb. Ah, the Seychelles–that has been high on my wish list of places to visit for many decades. I doubt that I’ll be able to make it at this point, but then again anything’s possible!

    • I ummmed and aaargh’d as to whether to use that image, It was at dusk and the light was fading fast, so I was pleased that it worked, and that you noticed it!

      Try to get to the Seychelles if you can, they’re absolutely spectacular!

  3. The hare pictures are great!

  4. Well done (capturing the hare in mid-flight)! 🙂

    The beaks on those curlews seem so out of proportion to the rest of the body. I have yet to see one myself, but I’m sure to one day.

    • Thanks Vicki, I’m very pleased with my galloping hare. And you’re dead right about the curlews beak, it’s enormous, and the end of it is soft and prehensile so it can wriggle around deep in the mud to find worms.

  5. I was surprised to see familiar (bird) faces when I visited the UK earlier this year, ducks and shorebirds in particular. The finches, however are very different from ours — you have much prettier ones.

    • Hello Sue, those migrant waders are properly global! I was in Canada (Toronto) a couple of weeks ago (I don’t know how far that is from where you are, and if the indigenous bird species would be similar), and apart from the sparrows, which looked like the same species as our house sparrow, I also noticed that the smaller songbirds including the finches were different.

      We are well blessed here in the UK for colourful finches, our bullfinch is one my favourite of all creatures, but the butterflies in N America seemed to be much bigger and more colouful than a lot of ours – monarchs, swallowtails and others I couldn’t name. They were gorgeous!

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