Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Prescot reservoirs,
Engulfed in a blanket of freezing fog the birds were not easy to see but the great northern diver was just about visable as was the dunlin on the causeway. A couple of snipe and a meadow pipit were around the new pond.
Good luck in the new year and happy birding to one and all.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

juv great black backed gull

adult great black backed gull

Prescot Reservoirs
A female Goosander joined the Great Northern Diver for a stickleback feast at the reservoirs today. The long staying diver is still showing well on no4 reservoir and a female goosander was on no3 for an hour or so. There was an excellent selection of wildfowl on show also with
10 pochard,
4 wigeon
3 teal
12 shoveller
2 gadwall
15 ruddy duck
23 goldeneye
60 mallard
107 tufted duck
6 little grebe
Also adult yellow- legged gull, 18 snipe, 1 buzzard, 8 redpoll, 2 siskin.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Eccleston mere,
No sign of the short eared owl this evening but was seen late afternoon yesterday.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Prescot Reservoir,
The great northern diver was showing well this morning and was joined by a first winter iceland gull on no4 res. The great northern diver now present for 3 days seems settled. The iceland gull coming in for a quick wash and drink before it flew off south east after a 30 min stay. Picked up flying in by A.S. I only managed a couple of minutes view just as I arrived before it flew off. Adult med gull also today. Chris D reports the short eared owl and barn owl close by at burrows lane early morning. BH had golden plover south over the reservoirs early pm. Certainly a little purple patch of late locally.
Merry Christmas to one and all

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Twite update,
The colour ringed twite photographed below was ringed in Askam in Furness on the Duddon estuary, Cumbria. It was rung between 23 oct 08 and 12 nov 08 and was almost certainly a west coast of Scotland/Western Ilses bird moving south in stage migration. Please send any sightings of colour rung twite to (remove xxx on email address) for a very prompt reply of where your bird was rung and input your info to the NW twite ringing project.

Prescot Reservoirs,

The juv great northern diver was still present this afternoon. Also adult yellow legged gull, 13 pochard, 31 goldeneye, 11 ruddy duck and 7 little grebe. Short eared owl seen at eccleston mere late afternoon by JT.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Short eared owl in St Helens,
It was a nice suprise to see a short eared owl hunting over a rough field just west of eccleston mere at 15.45 today. Viewed from burrows lane it was seen in flight and perched on a post for 15 minutes before being chased by a couple of magpies south . It looked like it came down in another field .
A great northern diver at Prescot reservoirs today also.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The shortest day,
A trip up the Sefton coast to see the twite at Weld Rd, Birkdale today. A flock of about 40 were showing fairly well just north of the car park. Several with coloured rings on thier legs. Apparently the birds that winter on our coast are from the Outer Hebrides, the pennine twite wintering in Norfolk. I will check out the ring on the bird photographed and let you know any details.
It was then on to just north of the pier were some snow buntings had been reported. I had only just got out the van when a very large falcon flew south, low along the beach towards the pier it then turned and flew off high over Southport. It had rufous brown mantle and wing coverts with contrasting dark primaries and dark tail.This very impressive falcon was bigger than a peregrine and probably a Saker / hybrid type falcon.
Initially no sign of the snow buntings but another check before we left produced 3 flighty birds just south of the salt marsh. Another flock of about 4o twite here also.
On to the sandplant and a superb male hen harrier gave an good show hunting fairly close on the salt marsh. 2 merlin also here today with several hundred pinkfeet.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Moore NR,

A visit to the eastern reedbed first today to take a peek at the bitterns. One obliged floating over the reeds in the morning sun after a half an hour wait. A pair of wigeon on here also.
It was then back up to birchwood pool. A bullfinch flew across the path on the way to the hide. There were lots of gulls on show and the first gull of note was seen before I had even put my scope down. A 2nd w or 3rd w iceland gull . A grey mantled bird with very pale wings was seen for about 3 seconds before the lot went up .It would have been nice to have had a good look at this bird. The gulls were so flighty today. A good start and it was not long before a 1stw glaucous gull arrived and stayed for an hour or so. A kingfisher shot across the pool and landed on a overhanging branch. 4 adult yellow legged gulls were seen throughout the day. Early afternoon produced another iceland gull ,this time a first winter. A different bird to the one I saw on Friday. Not a sniff of a casp today but all in all an excellent days birdwatching.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Crosby Marine Park,
A Long tailed duck on the marina was showing well in the south-east corner. A 1stw/female type found by local birder Dave Thompson co-incides with one arriving at west kirby marina today
Also today 20 goldeneye, 2 little grebe, 40 tufted duck, 1 kingfisher, 1 goldcrest and 10 long tailed tits

Saturday, December 13, 2008

West Kirby marina,
The juv great northern diver was seen to come in off the sea, do a couple of circuits around the marina and then fly back out. Obviously too many people and dogs about this morning for it to land on the marina. 10 red breasted mergansers and 4 goldeneye were showing well. It was high tide and the waders were nice to see at close quarters roosting on the rocks. About 100 brent geese were flying around little eye and the then landed on the sea .

Friday, December 12, 2008

Moore Nr,
A 1stw iceland gull ,4 yellow legged gulls and an adult med gull were on birchwood pool today.
The iceland gull had a darkish head and chest with pale wings. One of the yellow legged gulls was looking casp-like but the general view is 4th w yellow legged gull.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Waxwing and gulls,

My route to Moore NR takes me through a houseing estate with plenty of rowan trees planted in the gardens and verges. Over recent years I have often commented this looks perfect for waxwings and today it was. A couple of redwing caught my attention in the berry trees so I stopped to take a closer look. I then scanned the nearby trees and bushes and a lovely waxwing was sitting in one of the taller trees preening itself.

It was then on to Moore NR for some gull watching. The best of the gulls for me on birchwood pool were an adult med gull and an adult yellow legged gull but others had 2nd w, 3rd w, and adult caspian gull earlier and nearby. The tawny owl was in its usual tree.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Some recent watercolours,

Black headed Gulls on the sea wall at Hoylake
A cormorant study

Winter Wren

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Crosby marine park,
A couple of adult yellow legged gulls were on the shore with only a handful of gulls . A pair of stonechats and a couple of corn buntings were in the dunes. 10 great crested grebes 3 goldeneye and 10 tufted duck were on the lake.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Prescot reservoir,
The adult ring billed gull was present this morning on pr4 . An adult med gull and 2 argentatus were also present. 12 snipe, 6 pochard, 19 goldeneye, and 40 redpoll.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What have I become?
The occasional twitch is definitely good for you but today I went mad with 3 twitches in one day. With 3 quality birds over in Yorkshire and Lincs but some distance apart we decided to try and see all three in one day.I left Merseyside at 6 am after picking up Billy and Chris and was at Grainthorpe Haven about 8.45 am to see the Steppe grey shrike. Such a confiding bird and great views as it flew about feeding close by. At one point flying over our heads and landing on a sign post 10 feet away.Only 20 or so birders here today. We left about 9.45 and it was on to Bilsdale in north yorkshire.
It was about a 3 hours drive to the layby at Garfitts farm but the drive along Bilsdale was a delight with stunning scenery on this late autumn day. A long walk up the track to the farm was well worth it as the two barred crossbill showed very well in the front garden on the peanut feeders and in the surrounding trees. What a stunning bird this male was and definitely the bird of the day for me.
We left here at 1.40 pm to head for the east coast just south of Filey.
This part of the journey took 90 minutes and we were parking up at Reighton sands holiday park at 3.15. There was about 15 birders wandering about but no sign of the Pied wheatear. We walked along the cliffedge were we were told it had been seen this morning but no sign. The light was starting to go and it didn't look good. I looked at the site and said to myself where would you expect to see a northern wheatear here. A service road that led away from the toilet block up the hill and around the top end of the caravan park looked a likely spot. I headed over to that area and there it was sitting on a bench behind a caravan. I alerted the other birders some of which were getting into their cars ready to leave and all had good views in the fading light. Not the prettiest bird this female pied wheatear but was still an interesting bird on the identification front. A fine end to a very successful day.
We left here at 4pm and arrived back on merseyside around 7.15 after clocking up 540 miles. With over 10 hours in the drivers seat it was nice to get home and have a nice cup of tea. Does this mean I'm a twitcher? I don't think so. I only cracked after the birds being present nearly a week . These were 3 new birds for me which was great but I much preferred finding the ring billed gull at prescot res yesterday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Last years bird

Prescot reservoirs,
A cracking ring-billed gull was on no4 reservoir this morning. I found this adult with only a handful of common gull about 10.10am. but it did not stay long and was gone by 10.20am. This adult has a bright golden coloured bill with a strong black band in comparison to the adult I found on here last October ( bottom picture) which had a dull greyish pink coloured bill.
Also today an adult med gull , peregrine and 12 goldeneye.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Not this time,
A charcoal sketch of a juvenile peregrine attempting but failing to take a leach's petrel on the Mersey in October earlier this year.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Astley moss, Manchester,
A great white egret was showing well feeding along a roadside ditch.