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.