Thursday, April 30, 2009

An up and down sort of a day,

With news of a Pallid Swift at Seaforth NR I made haste as quick as possible in that direction but alas it was well gone by the time I arrived. It showed well to seven observers and was last seen at 11.35 heading north . This bird being the first record of pallid swift for Merseyside and Lancashire.

I headed down to hide A and had a look at the little gulls with some superb 1st summer birds with a lovely deep pink flushes on their breasts. A couple of swifts could be seen over the marina but the heavy rain made it impossible to pick out the pallid swift so I left to have a look around the marina but no sign of any swifts when I got there. So it was off home with that just dipped on a mega Merseyside bird sort of feeling.

Then after dinner news of another Merseyside mega in the shape of a Stone Curlew at Leasowe on the Wirral. So a mad dash over there was rewarded with good views of this strange looking wader. The big yellow eye, yellow legs and yellow bill base giving it a prehistoric look somehow. Some of the lads who connected with the Pallid swift earlier in the day where there and had even bigger smiles after seeing a second great bird in one day. There had been a stone curlew in this very field 20 years previous so obviously a good spot to see stone curlew in a couple of decades time!! The bird was motionless most of the time but did have a couple of feeding sessions whilst I watched it. Grasshopper warbler was reeling away on the way back to the carpark.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Seaforth NR,

An early evening visit to see a blue headed wagtail on the reserve found by Steve M. It showed well from hide 'C' amongst the many white wags and wheatears. A really beautiful bird in the low evening sun.

At around 20.00 3 little gull were picked up circling high above and gaining height until they were almost out of sight they drifted east.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hale marsh,
Reed warbler and sedge warbler were singing on reeds lane and a couple of grey partridge were there also. On the marsh a single little egret ,7 wheatears,3 white wagtail,2 snipe, 2 redshank and 3 lapwing chicks being watched carefully by thier parents. A female sparrowhawk over.
Lots of green veined whites and a speckled wood butterflies. A single micro moth was fluttering about a hawthorn hedge. It was a male Incurvaria masculella showing its pectinate antennae (comb like) .

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lancashire mosslands and coast

Whilst scanning a good looking dotterel field which had at least 25 wheatears and 4 white wagtail feeding a peregrine falcon came in low over the field scattering everything as it persued a pheasant. It flew straight at us and then raced past only a couple of metres away at head hieght. A brilliant view of this impressive, powerful falcon as it hunted its quarry at eye level.

There were plenty of corn buntings singing along the roadside and a flock of about 150 common gull were flying east across downholland moss and probably a migrant flock.The local jackdaws found the cows a good source of nesting material plucking the cow hair from the hide.

Onto plex moss and the couple of cattle egret were showing well near the caravan park. Looking well in thier breeding plumage. A little further on a good flock of 59 whimbrel were feeding. No sign of the recent hooded crow.

A stroll around sands lake had chiffchaff , willow warbler and whitethroat singing. A small group of lesser redpoll were in the willows.

At marshside 3 swifts were my first of the year as were the sedge warblers singing in the scrub. A walk around the sand plant only produced a couple of wheatears. Big swirls of waders on the edge of the marsh as a peregrine terrorised them.
From nels hide a curlew sandpiper approaching full summer plumage was nice and a little stint was amongst the dunlin. A flock of 50 ringed plover drifted onto the marsh to join the blackwits and dunlin A few little egrets were around the marsh.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spring beauty

Formby Point,
Up to 8 wheatears around the Lighthouse road carpark this morning. A pair of sparrowhawks were displaying above and a single white wagtail was hopping about. Just as we came over the crest of the dunes and onto the beach an unexpected sight of 5 eider duck (4 drakes) flying south low over the waters edge. The drakes looking very smart in thier breeding plumage with the single female in stark contrast. Off shore 12 sandwich terns were feeding . 3 whimbrel were among the thousands of waders near the Alt estuary .

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Moreton, Wirral.
It was a very grey evening with heavy drizzle but no problem as this was probably the reason why the red-rumped swallow was still present around the brickworks on Carr Lane.It was hawking insects with house martin and barn swallows for company. Present since yesterday it was fairly distant but still a lovely bird. This bird follows on from last years superb red rumped swallow that I managed to see last May that was found less than half a mile away and only stayed a few hours.

Monday, April 13, 2009

An unfortunate tawny owl.
This owl was found dead outside Prescot reservoirs on the grass verge. It had been hit by a vehicle on the bypass during the night. I collected it in a carrier bag and took it home to make these studies. Its not very often you get the chance to look at a tawny owl so closely but I would have preferred not to have been given the opportunity. No doubt one of a breeding pair at the reservoirs or nearby woodlands.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Prescot reservoirs,

A juv iceland gull has been present for the previous 2 days but failed to show today. A couple of adult little gulls this afternoon was more than enough compensation for missing the Iceland gull. These birds being my first little gulls at the Prescot reservoirs. They came in about 12.15 and stayed to at least 14.30 when I left. They seemed to be feeding well picking insects off the surface of the reservoir and even the black headed gulls were feeding the same way but they lacked the agility and ease of the little gulls.
A male wheatear was in wheatear corner, a swallow and 3 sand martins north, singing willow warbler,blackcap and chiffchaff, little ringed plover but no sign of yesterdays common sandpiper were the other spring migrants.
24 goldeneye, 60 tufted duck, 4 gadwall, 1 shoveller,3 shellduck, 8 great crested grebe,and 1 little grebe also.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Seaforth nr,

An adult ring billed gull has been visiting here for several days and it showed today around 15.00 for 10 minutes before flying to Crosby beach. A chiffchaff , little ringed plover and white wag also today.

Friday, April 03, 2009

A trip into deepest cheshire in search of goshawks brought a handful of good birds. The forecast was for sun and blue skies but the closer we got to the goshawk site the more misty it became. We stopped at another site on the way and a pair of med gulls in full breeding plumage were looking settled. When we eventually arrived we couldn't even see the wood never mind the goshawks. So plan 'b' sprung into action, we would have a mooch around the adjoining woodland with public footpaths whilst hopefully the mist would begin to burn off. There was plenty of wood sorrel blooming on the woodland edge. A good flock of about 100 redpoll were feeding on the woodland floor and had at least 3 mealy redpoll amongst them. Their larger size and frostier plumage showing well next to the lesser redpolls. A cracking male lesser pecker was with a small tit flock and was a nice suprise. Marsh tit was calling but we never did clap eyes on it. The mist began to disperse and a raven floating over the hillside attracted our attention. There was a goshawk giving it some hassle and it did a good job of chasing it off before it retreated back into the wood. The sun and blue skies eventually won the day and another glimpse of a goshawk over the wood was had before we left. An excellent days Cheshire birding.