Saturday, 22 November 2014

Capel Gwyn, Anglesey

Purple heron 1 juv.
Stonechat 2 m & f
Raven 2
Greylag goose 40

After a depressing wait of around 3 hours on a chilly and showery morning, the sun came out and the purple heron decided to show itself. When it did it initially was just its head, then it flew and finally it showed exceptionally well in the bright sunlight. My first purple heron in the UK and another bogey bird bites the dust!

UK life: 402; Year: 279 (Purple heron)

The bird has been limping very badly. Take a look at it's left leg and see how thin it is compared to the right.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Lytham Moss

Great grey shrike 1
Stonechat 2

Not the big dipper today!

Lytham Crematorium

Ring-necked parakeet 6

Year: 278 (Ring-necked parakeet)

Hesketh Out Marsh, Ribble Estuary

Merlin 1
Whooper swan 50
Pink-footed goose 3000
Little egret 8
Curlew 50
Redshank 50
Goosander 1 female

Baxters farm, Banks Marsh, Ribble estuary

Great white egret 1
Wigeon 3000
Ruff 1

Curlew lane, Martin Mere

Pink-footed goose 5000
Whooper swan 200

Fantastic scenes in Curlew lane, with thousands of pink-footed geese and at least 200 whooper swans feeding on the fields. A farmer walked around the edge of the field and all of the geese took to the air in a deafening spectacle, yet strangely the swans didn't fly. No sign of the snow goose, though it was seen to fly over Martin Mere earlier in the afternoon.

Friday, 14 November 2014


Green-winged teal 1 male
Barnacle goose 7000
Whooper swan 60
Black-tailed godwit 60
Wigeon 500
Teal 900

Barnacle geese

Green-winged teal with Eurasian teal.

Green winged teal displaying to a female Eurasian teal.

Notice the wigeon with the patch of white on it's head. Behind the teal.

Thursday, 13 November 2014


Jack snipe 6 flushed
Woodcock 1
Merlin 1
Snipe 50

Monday, 10 November 2014

Appleton Reservoir, Warrington

Mandarin  1 female 
Shoveler 2 males 
Teal 1 female 
Tufted duck 19
Gadwall 13
Mute swan 2 adults 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Snow Goose, Downholland Moss

Snow goose 1
Pink-footed goose 500
Buzzard 1
Golden plover 50
Lapwing 100

Year: 277 (Snow goose)

My first proper snow goose (e.g. one with wild pink-feet) for 18 years. My last was also on Downholland Moss, in November 1996.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Slender grasshopper, Queens Park

I might not be seeing many birds at the moment, but I keep finding interesting things around the house. This little grasshopper, no more than 1.5cm long is slender grasshopper Tetrix subulata,  apparently the first record for St Helens. I'm not sure what it was doing in my backyard! The white on its face is paint. I can't find any other records of the species from St Helens.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Queens Park

Twenty fieldfare over the house this afternoon. Also at least one grey wagtail and a few redwings.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Eccleston Mere

Redwing 20
Mute swan 5 (3 ads, 2 juvs)
Coot 195
Grey wagtail 1

A new record count of coot but no diving ducks.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Appleton Reservoir, Warrington

Gadwall 36
Tufted duck 24
Shoveler 2 males
Teal 1 female
Kingfisher 1

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Denbigh Moors, North Wales

I was out on the Denbigh moors this morning checking out the extent of an area of moorland for a local farmer, when a ghostly male hen harrier drifted past at close range. It was no more than about 30m away when suddenly it dropped down after prey, but missed and then carried on its way.  Such great views of male harriers are always special, and it was a pleasure to be on the moors on such a lovely sunny day, especially following the downpour of yesterday afternoon.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Appleton Reservoir, Warrington

Gadwall 24
Tufted duck 20
Shoveler 1 male

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Black Spleenwort, St Helens

Whilst pulling out a few weeds from the wall today, I came across this fern which I didn't recognise. It's very leathery with large brown sori (spore producing structures) on the underside. Following a bit of research it turns out it's black spleenwort Asplenium adiantum-nigrum, which amazingly is a species I've managed to avoid seeing in the past, and is therefore unsurprisingly the first I have seen in St Helens. I suppose it does occur elsewhere in the borough, but not if you believe the NBN Gateway, which has no records of the species in St Helens.

Not bad, a new species for me and possibly St Helens whilst weeding! It just goes to show that it's always worth keeping your eyes open even in the most unlikely circumstances. This takes my wall fern list to five, the others being maidenhair spleenwort, hart's-tongue fern, wall rue and male fern. The black spleenwort is still there by the way, but I'm surpressing the exact location because I don't want a mass twitch.......

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Eccleston Mere

Snipe 2
Pochard 2 males
Pink footed goose 70 over north
Little grebe 2
Tufted duck 35
Redwing 10
Goldfinch 100
Goldcrest 1
Kingfisher 1
Grey wagtail 1
Mute swan 3

Good to see a couple of snipe in the fields, but nothing like the numbers of a couple of years ago when there were also a few jack snipe. The fields where much wetter then though.
I'm in the middle of some serious decorating at the moment, finished the hall, stairs and landing last week, half way through the yard this weekend (painted walls - yuk!) and still have the kitchen to do. Hence the lack of exciting birding recently, but normal service will be resumed soon (not soon enough!).

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Southern Scotland

Jack snipe 3
Snipe 40

Wet heath. The yellow / green shrub is bog mrtyle.

Red Grouse, Winter Hill

I just found this photo on my camera of a red grouse on Winter Hill from a few weeks ago.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Appleton Reservoir, Warrington

Shoveler 7 (4 males)
Gadwall 29
Tufted duck 8

Monday, 20 October 2014

Appleton Reservoir, Warrington

Gadwall 6
Redwing 10
Kingfisher 1
Grey wagtail 1
Tufted duck 6
Mute swan 2

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Eccleston Mere

Willow tit 1 in SW corner
Tufted duck 22
Coot 154
Black headed gull 150
Herring gull 20
Lesser black back gull 1
Treecreeper 1

Just a quick look around the mere today and not much has changed, except that there was a relatively large number of gulls on the water.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Appleton Reservoir, Warrington

Gadwall 14
Tufted duck 10
Grey wagtail 1
Mute swan 2 adults
Redwing 2 over

A big drop in duck numbers over the past few days, and not even the excitement of winter thrushes passing over in numbers today. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Appleton Reservoir, Warrington

Pink-footed goose 150 over west
Fieldfare 50 over south
Redwing 100
Grey wagtail 3
Bullfinch 3+
Gadwall 20
Shoveler 2 (m&f)
Tufted duck 10
Little grebe 1

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Eccleston Mere

Wigeon 1 female
Mute swan 5 (ad male & 2 cygnets + 2 adults)
Coot 158
Tufted duck 25
Buzzard 1
Sparrowhawk 1
Meadow pipit 15
Skylark 20 over heading SW.
Chiffchaff 2

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Appleton Reservoir, Warrington

Gadwall 87
Wigeon 2
Shoveler 6
Tufted duck 10
Mute swan 2 adults
Chiffchaff 1
Bullfinch 2

The gadwall gathering at the reservoir keeps increasing and has now reached quite impressive numbers for a lake which is half the size of Eccleston mere.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Appleton Reservoir, Warrington

Shoveler 9
Gadwall 20
Tufted duck 10
Chiffchaff 2

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Hilbre Island

Little egret 5
Pale-bellied brent goose 5
Goldcrest 1
Turnstone 20
Oystercatcher 500

Eccleston Mere

Little grebe 1
Kingfisher 1
Grey wagtail 1
Coot 150
Tufted duck 15

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Grey Phalarope Morfa Madryn, Llanfairfechan

Grey phalarope 1 1st winter
Little egret 10
Wigeon 200
Goosander 4
Redshank 40
Curlew 5
Teal 20

Year: 276 (Grey phalarope). This time last year I as on 236.

This is not me by the way!