Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Blue Heaven,
I hesitated to go for the bluethroat about 4pm after negative news appeared on birdguides. I should have gone then but decided to wait. After eating my evening meal some positive news came through so off I set for Hilbre at 6pm. " You must be mad " my wife commented but 40 minutes later I was parking up at West Kirby with the long trek across the sands awaiting me. It was quick march as the sun was starting to get low and it would take 40 minutes to get across. Thankfully the state of the tide was favourable. I met a landrover full of happy smiley faces about half way across . With Steve Williams at the helm I asked what news of the Bluethroat. "It was showing well when we left". I asked how many other visiting birders were on the island but was told that I was the only one mad enough to be heading there at this time of the day! So off I continued with renewed vigour with the positive news but wondering if I was slightly mad as my legs ached and the scope strap dug into my shoulder. It was a beautiful evening with warm sun and a light breeze and I had islands to myself. I finally arrived on Hilbre and I was looking at a small pond were the bluethroat was last seen. I met the only other person on the island , an observatory staff member, who was very helpful and invited me onto the obs veranda which looked right over the small pond. The sun was now low and there was no sign for 15 minutes before this stunning 1st summer male showed itself. It was very confiding and sat in the open for 10 minutes and allowed great views and photos.
Was I mad? Not a chance. While Alan kindly made me a cup of tea and everybody else in Europe was watching 22 overpaid footballers strut their stuff I had this wonderful bird all to myself on an island in the middle of the Dee estuary with a gorgeous sunset as a back drop. Just perfect.
After thanking Alan for my cup of tea I set off back across the sands to suburbia and it didn't seem a far to walk this time round!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Red theme for Merseyside,
A red rumped swallow performed superbly today at Leasowe . It was with several other swallows hunting insects in a horse paddock just west of the lighthouse. A lifer for me.
It was then off to Formby moss to see the red backed shrike which was just in Merseyside.(Only knew that after reading Menzies blog). It had a liking for the local bumble bees and caught several while I watched it. A quail was calling in a field opposite.
A excellent weekends birding.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cheshire birding,
It was across the Runcorn bridge into rainy Cheshire today. It was a grey day but the birds certainly brightened up the day. First stop was Frodsham marsh to see Menzies temminck's stint. Thanks to Frank for putting me right on to it. This bird was certainly a dot on the huge no6 tank and it would have took some finding. The stint preferred its own company and did not join the small flock of dunlin and ring plovers. Also Grasshopper warbler reeling and little ringed plover here.
Onto Inner marsh farm and an excellent selection of birds were on offer here. 3 drake garganey, an adult spoonbill, 3 med gulls (2 1st summers and a 2nd summer), little ringed plover and a whiskered tern that eventually showed after a 3 hour wait.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Another wood sandpiper was present at the pools this morning but no sign of last evenings temminck's stint.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Seaforth nr,
A visit to hightown dunes produced a grasshopper warbler. Reeling and showing briefly. On the shore at crosby 50 sanderling were present some in summer plumage. A couple of wheatear were on the rocks by the radar tower. The 2 spoonbills flew into seaforth at midday after spending the morning feeding on the shore up at coastguards. A 1st summer med gull , a kittiwake, an adult yellow legged gull and 17 1st summers, 1 2nd summer and an adult little gull. An artic tern was with the common terns.
A barwit and blackwit flew around the freshwater pool a couple of times together and it was interesting how much smaller the barwit was compared to the blackwit.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Seaforth nr,
It was nice to see the lads today and a face from the past that I have not seen for many years. The birdwatching was excellent with a pair of immature spoonbills taking centre stage. They were mostly asleep but they did take up an unusul stance resting on thier leg joints. 4 adult black terns put on an arial show hawking insects right in front of the hide with a supporting cast of 15 1st summer little gulls , lots of common terns, 2 sandwich terns and a few kittiwakes. 1 dunlin and 2 little ringed plovers also. A common buzzard was distant.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A painted lady was the star migrant today closely followed by a greenshank both on the Mersey shore today. Its incredable that this butterfly has just migrated from north Africa. 2 grey plover, 4 ringed plover, 2 curlew and 4 dunlin also . At least 6 singing reed warblers and 4 male reed buntings in the reed beds and rape fields. Back at Carr lane pools 50 black tailed godwits, a wheatear, sedge warbler, yellow wagtail, and corn bunting. No sign of the recent wood sandpiper.

Star of Bethlehem

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Showing really close today and much better light. What a delightful wader.
145 black tailed godwits today.

Monday, May 05, 2008


A wood sandpiper was feeding on Carr lane pools this morning and showing very well. A very smart bird with its spangled upperparts and delicate bill. The black tailed godwits are still finding the pools to thier liking and I counted 72 this morning. A handful of wheatears also. 17 whimbrel flew over Lower road ,Halewood as I drove home.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


No sign of last evenings wood sandpiper but 1 whichat,6 wheatears, 1 yellow wagtail, sedge warbler, corn bunting, ring plover and 60 black tailed godwits.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Prescot reservoirs,

A male whinchat still, with 5 wheatears , grasshopper warbler,3 common sandpipers,5 ringed plovers, 1 little ringed plover, and 1 dunlin. A big increase in swift today with 200 swarming about hawking for insects.