Monday, December 31, 2007

Prescot reservoirs,

A flock of med gulls today. Well 2 ad w meds was a 100% increase on the regular single we have been getting this winter. A redshank on the causeway and 400 lapwing to keep it company.
118 Pochard is a record count for the reservoirs,11 ruddy duck,11 teal, 80 tufted duck and 14 goldeneye.
2 bullfinch,12 siskin, 12 goldfinch, 4o redpoll but no sign of the recent possible mealy.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Well I never expected that!
I visited an area that I would probably not have bothered to go birding around only that it is in the tetrad that I am surveying. A small green area with a busy main road running alongside one side and the M57 along the other nestled between Prescot and Huyton. A pond, a small brook running through and a small field partially wooded. Its frequented by fishermen and dog walkers but its quiet early on. A couple of goldfinch, a chaffinch and a grey heron was a reasonable start but as I approached the brook a Dipper flushed from below me and landed on a branch across the brook a little way down giving stonking views for 20 seconds.
I could not believe it, a dipper 5 minutes from were I live in suburban Huyton on a brook 2 metres wide. I had only left the car and the busy main road 30 seconds before. I followed the brook only ever catching a glimpse of the dipper again as it moved downstream. The brook flows under the M57 and the last time I saw the dipper was when it flew into the 2 m wide pipe that flows under the motorway.
I know its not a rare bird but I was absolutely thrilled to find such a bird in deepest suburbia.

I later visited Prescot reservoirs and 3 female Common Scoter and an Ad med gull were showing well .

Monday, December 03, 2007

Time to reflect,
The 'Yellow legged gull' that was present on Nov 5th at Prescot reservoirs and was well photographed below, failed to muster any imput on its id so I will have to draw my own conclusions on this interesting gull. I now think that this gull was an Argentatus herring gull.
All the 4 features below can occur on michahellis and argentatus : The last three features usually attributed to michahellis.
dark upperparts
red gonys spot reaching upper mandible
yellow legs
lightly streaked head in early winter
but the wing pattern of this gull can only be Argentatus.I have tried to find images of Michahellis without black on P5 and failed so this is the main reason for my decision.If I had not taken the photo of the open wing showing the primary pattern then I would have certainly recorded this bird as michahellis as I am sure most others would have.
Initially I thought eastern Mediterranean and Black sea populations would fit but these birds still show black on p5 although to a lesser degree.
So next time you see an adult winter 'Yellow legged gull' just take a closer look. I think if this bird would have been seen standing it would have made the id much easier but it was only ever seen on the water. Please feel free to agree or disagree with the above but for me this bird was an Argentatus.
I suppose now that I have made my mind up on what this bird was, it makes the bird even more interesting for me as I have never seen a yellow legged argentatus before. Anyway thats gulling for you, not everyones cup of tea I know but come the winter it certainly keeps me interested.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The worst picture ever of a couple of woodcock.

Prescot reservoirs,

5 woodcock showing well in the headlights of the van this evening. Also tawny owl, redshank, peregrine,1wigeon m, 98 pochard, and 16 goldeneye

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Prescot reservoirs,
A big arrival of gulls between 11.30 and 13.30 kept me happily occuppied for a couple of hours. Mainly Herring gulls and a count of 900 was made. A constant flow of birds arriving and birds leaving probably makes the count under what it actually was. A large ammount of the gulls were argentatus. I would guess about 10% of the herring gulls were argentatus. Amongst the herring gulls were 4 Yellow legged gulls. 1 1st winter, 1 2nd winter, and 2 adult winter. I was hoping for a white winger amongst this large gathering but no luck today.
A bar tailed godwit on the causeway with the lapwing was a rare visitor to the reservoirs today
Also today,
900 herrring gulls
262 black headed gulls
111 common gull
33 lesser black backed
8 great black backed.
1 adult med gull
4 yellow legged gull
97 pochard
94 tufted duck
1 ruddy duck
9 goldeneye
30 mallard
219 coot
7 little grebe
2 great crested grebe,
21 canada
100 lapwing
9 skylark
1 peregrine
6 snipe

Saturday, November 10, 2007

New Brighton,
A leach's storm petrel struggled its way out of the river Mersey at high tide this morning. 4 kittewakes also during a 2 hour seawatch. A good November record.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Another image showing the yellow legs and feet

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Detail of primaries.
Yellow legged gull still present today and yesterday on pr4.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Prescot reservoirs

An Adult winter yellow legged gull was at prescot res today. I managed a few records shots which seem to show an unusual wing pattern. p10 has a completely large white tip and p5 has only the faintest black mark at the tip. Maybe this is a bird from the eastern end of the range.Olsen/larsson say a completely white tip is more common in eastern mediterranean/black sea populations sometimes show white tip to p10 and only narrow black markings on p5. Any suggestions welcome from you gullers out there.
Also today,
Adult w med gull,11 wigeon,11 shoveller,49 pochard, 43 mallard,6 goldeneye 1m 5f,120 tufted duck, 2 f ruddy duck,4 little grebe, 1 siskin, 3 redwing, 1 stonechat and a peregrine.
I have not been able to get out birding lately but here are some recent reports from Prescot reservoirs.
2 Nov 3 whopper swans
1 Nov 115 fieldfare
31 Oct adult yellow legged gull
30 Oct 5 stonechat
21 Oct 163 fieldfare, 43 redwing, 2 stonechat and 1 ring ousel

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

First winter common gull and mystery birder!

Prescot reservoirs,
A 1st w med gull on posts around no 4 res today. Also 3 snipe, 1 curlew,4 skylarks, 10 redwing, 66 pochard, 1 wigeon, 8 little grebe, 3 cormorants, 10 chaffinch, 1 buzzard and female sparrowhawk. AS reports 2 raven today. BH reports female merlin and 2 crossbill in over pines yesterday and JT reports jack snipe on causeway last Thursday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Prescot reservoirs,

A superb adult ring billed gull graced the reservoirs today. This bird has arrived hot on the heels of red necked phalarope and little stint. Its certainly been a great year at the reservoir so far. Its a pity I was the only birder there today to enjoy it, hopefully it will return for others to see. Also today 29 pochard, 1 female goldeneye, 9 little grebe, 2 stonechats and AS reports 2 whooper swans early morning.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Red Rocks nr, Wirral, Merseyside.
A Blyth's reed warbler at the north end of the reserve today. Its been there a couple of days and showed well to me for about 10 seconds. An acro warbler, cold coloured grey brown, with none contrasting upper plumage, and a white throat and whiteish lower parts. A prominent eyering and a less prominent super in front of the eye and slighly behind. It was calling and responding to a couple of pebbles that I tapped together. The call similar to a sylvia tacking.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Prescot reservoirs,
A red necked phalarope was busy feeding on no 3 reservoir today. A first winter bird looking smart in its black and white plumage.
A male stonechat in the ranch and a wigeon on no4 also.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Flamborough Head was the place to be today. Brown Flycatcher, Izzy Shrike, Red Backed Shrike, and a couple of yellow browed warblers made this a day to remember. A little owl on a roadside telegraph pole on the way home capped off a great day.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Prescot reservoirs,
A whooper swan over and the first returning goldeneye (f) of the year gave this Saturday a very wintery feel to it. 10 redwing, 7 siskin, and the female stonechat added to this. A juv dunlin moulting into winter was an attractive bird on the causeway. Also 4 wigeon, 1 teal, 39 pochard, 7 little grebe,1 kingfisher,1 artic tern,4 buzzards, 6 skylarks and a tawny owl calling in yates wood. Swallows, martins and mipits moving through, throughout the morning. A large flock of pinkfeet, 500 approx dropped down on to catchdale moss.
3 whooper swans were also reported at Thrapston GP Northants and 8+ at Martin mere today ........

Friday, September 28, 2007

Prescot reservoirs,
A juv little stint was a nice suprise as I walked across the causeway today. It was very confiding as it feed on the edge of the water totally unconcerned by our presence. I noticed on bird guides that there seems to have been a big influx of little stints today.Not suprising with all the north easterlies recently. Also 1 dunlin, an juv artic tern, 1 shoveller, 6 wigeon, 45 pochard, 200 tufted duck, 7 little grebe,1 stonechat, 30 redwing and a swift. Still small numbers of house martins and swallows.

2 kingfishers today have been very showy lately, flying around and fishing at the reservoirs.
BH reported 2 sandwich terns through on Tuesday.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Prescot reservoirs,
Another spotted flycatcher today near the bandscreen. A late common swift went through today with 20 swallows and 9 house martins. 3 skylarks and 11 meadow pipits were on the move as were the newly arrived flock of 26 siskins. The female stonechat was still present in the ranch but no sign of the reed warbler seen earlier by AS. BH had spotted redshank over calling. A kingfisher was showing well around no4 res today.The pochard have now increased to 35 , the little grebe were at 7 and 1 female ruddy duck.
Yesterday in the torrential rain a peregrine, a knot, common sandpiper and a female wheatear were the best of it.
A couple of highlights through the week were lesser spotted woodpecker seen in the ranch feeding in the sallows by A.S. and yellow wagtail seen on the causeway by B.C.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Prescot reservoir,
3 Spotted flycatchers, 1 willow warbler, 4 reed buntings in wheatear corner. The stonechat still present by the pond, 2 skylarks over and 11 meadow pipits. Adult med gull on no4 res.
Juv cormorant and 17 pochard on no3 reservoir. Common sandpiper on cauaseway and Bar tailed godwit calling over.
BH reports pintail and juv little gull yesterday. Both cracking birds for the res and bothI have yet to see here.
BC reports 4 wheatear and a whinchat on thursday.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Prescot reservoirs,

2nd winter med gull and 5 wigeon on no4 res. A swift over no3 res with house martins and swallows.1 snipe flushed from new pond. 1 spotted flycatcher, 2 chiffchaff and a willow warbler around bottom wood.8 grey wag and 10 pied wag today.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

My lastest watercolour taken from a photo I took on a cold ,sunny, January morning in 2004 . A good winter for waxwings and these were on Queens drive by the queens pub in Liverpool.

Prescot res,
Med gull on no4 today, 3 sand martins, 13 pochard, 2 little grebe, 1 chiffchaff , 1 grey wag and 4 pied wags.

Crosby marina,
Firecrest in willows in s. e. corner of marina

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Prescot rerservoirs,
An adult med gull on post around pr4, Red breasted goose flew over with 40 barnacles, 10 grey wagtails and 14 pied wagtails on the causeway. The juv stonechat still present in the ranch. 2 treecreepers, 10 long tailed tits, 1 coal tit, 1 male blackcap and 2 chiffchaff amongst the tit flock.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Great white egret at Marshside

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Prescot Reservoirs,
A spotted flycatcher showing well near the new pond today. The juv stonechat still . Also 5 swift, 150 house martins, 20 swallow, 10 pochard, 3 little grebe,1 common sand, 7 grey wagtails, 4 pied wag, chiffchaff, whitethroat, and willow warbler present. 50 goldfinch in meadow.
Bh reports whinchat in the ranch on thursday.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Marshside RSPB,
I nipped up to Southport after work today to see the great white egret. It was a timely arrival of this bird as I was thinking of going to Lieghton moss to see their great white egret at the weekend. Saved me the journey. I was the only birder there and had the reserve to myself. I was expecting to see a few regular faces . It showed on polly's pool and then flew over the road onto the salt marsh. An impressive bird and a lifer for me.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Garden Wobbler at the res yesterday

Prescot reservoirs,
A female marsh harrier seen at 8.05 heading s.w. by BH was an excellent bird for the res. Several years since the last but given the number of marsh harriers in the north west lately it was no suprise. A juv artic tern was also on show early am.
A report from AS of an eclipse drake garganey next door in the safari park was another good bird for the area.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Prescot reservoirs,

An adult med gull today on no4 res. 10 buzzards up in the air together. 2 common sand, 2 little grebe, yesterdays female redstart was still present, 2 garden warblers and juv stonechat. The red breasted goose went over no4 with 30 barnacles.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Spotted flycatcher at prescot reservoirs

Monday, August 20, 2007

Prescot reservoirs,
A greenshank over no4 and then landing on the causeway and stayed for 30 mins. A spot fly still, in the ranch now. 4 wheatears were new in by the camera mast and the juv stonechat still. 3 pochard 2m 1 f, a pair of ruddy duck. 2 swift 40 swallow and 60 house martins.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Prescot reservoirs,
A spotted flycatcher was showing well today on the electric fence. A greenshank over no4 was a good bird as was the hobby BH had earlier in the day. Also 4 common sandpipers, 2 drake pochard, 10 pied wags 4 grey wags and a flock of 100 goldies. The juv stonechat still present in the ranch.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ayrshire, Scooootland.
A weeks family holiday in Largs, just a wee bit west of Glasgow was a very nice break. The holiday apartment was right on the harbour with excelent views across the forth of Clyde and the islands of Cumbrae and Bute. The gannets and manxies were constantly on show with a supporting cast of eiders,shags, guillemots, black guillemots, goosanders and gulls.
Best bird of the holiday and most unexpected was a golden eagle just north of Ardrossan from the coast road. I was driving back from a day out, along the coast road when I noticed this huge bird floating over the hills just inland. I quickly pulled in, grabbed my bins and camera and enjoyed this magnificent bird of prey for a couple of minutes before it closed its wings and stooped down at a steep angle out of sight.
It is not very mountainous in this area just hills and moors so this bird was a supprise. I spoke to a Scottish birder later in the week and he said that they ocassionally come across from the isle of Arran to feed.