Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Eccleston Mere

Wigeon 8 (4 males, 4 females)
Tufted Duck 6
Mute Swan 6 (3 ads, 3 imms)
Chiffchaff 3 singing males

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Leighton Moss

Osprey 1
Marsh Harrier 1 male

I can't believe my luck today. I've been visiting Leighton Moss for nearly 30 years, and though I've seen Ospreys there before in autumn, I've never acheved my ambition of seeing one on spring migration. Until today. And we weren't even birding!

We had just called in on our way somewhere else for a cup of tea in the cafe. My bins were in the car, and I said I'd just have a quick look from Lillians hide. Literally within two minutes of walking into the hide, somebody shouted "Osprey", and there it was, quite high but clearly an Osprey, we watched it for about a minute until it drifted off north.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Hilbre Island

It was a very different day today on Hilbre. Gone where the balmy blue skies of last week, and the flitting Goldcrests and Wheatears. Even Meadow Pipits were well down in number.Today was dominated by a cold, moderate to strong northerly wind, and small birds seemed almost completely absent. I stayed on for the tide, a full 6 hours on the island, with no shelter, no toilets, and certainly no coffee shop!

Most of what action there was, was out at sea. There has been a flock of around 6,000 Common Scoter at nearby Point of Ayr recently, so I expected to see a few, and wasn't disappointed, with 30 birds flying around and a few on the sea. Other highlights included 4 Red-throated Divers, a few Guillemots and 8 Gannets.

There were decent numbers of waders, with about 500 Oystercatchers on Middle Eye over the tide, and also about 100 Knot and 100 Curlew. Around the island there were about 100 Turnstones and 7 Purple Sandpipers. The Brent Goose flock still contained 70 birds.

Hilbre photos





Thursday, 26 March 2009

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Eccleston Mere

Green Woodpecker calling from woods near the cricket club
Sand Martin 8
Chiffchaff 4 singing males
Kingfisher 1
Nuthatch 1

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Eccleston Mere

Swallow 1
Sand Martin 8
Mute Swan 3 ads

Martin Mere

Avocet 50
Marsh Harrier 1 female

Hilbre Island - an early start

Little Gulls 30
Merlin 1 female
Pale-bellied Brent Goose 110
Red-breasted Merganser 15
Common Scoter 1
Wheatear 1 female
Goldcrest 10
Gannet 15

A fabulous morning at Hilbre, I was on the island at 7am and it was well worth it. The first thing I noticed was that there had clearly been a fall of Goldcrests, with three flying around one of the heligoland traps, and at least another seven across the island. Two were on rocks feeding amongst the sea weed, and one nearly landed on my shoe it was so close. Other small passerines included at least 30 Meadow Pipits (many displaying), two Linnets, two singing Wrens, a Dunnock, a Robin, a couple of Pied Wagtails and best of all my first Wheatear of the year, a female oenanthe on the north end.

Around the island there were upto 100 each of Turnstone and Curlew, and at least 10 Purple Sandpipers (see photo). The Pale-bellied Brent Goose flock had dropped slightly to 110 birds.

A regular feature at this time of year is the passage of Little Gulls, and today I counted at least 30 passing the island, with 16 in one flock. Also out at sea at least 15 Gannets, mainly adults, which entertained me with some spectacularly close fly pasts. Sea ducks included a male Eider, a few Common Scoter and 15 Red-breasted Mergansers.

As I watched the Little Gulls from the north end of the island, suddenly I heard the swoosh of wings, and a Merlin missed me by inches as it chased after a Pied Wagtail. This was the first Merlin I have seen on the island, and it capped a really good morning.

Hilbre photos


Turnstones and 10 Purple Sandpipers


Yet another photo of the Pale-bellied Brents.
They're just so photogenic, I can't resist.


Hilbre Island

Friday, 20 March 2009

Eccleston Mere 7am

Black-tailed Godwit 1 (flew over west)
Sand Martin 2
Chiffchaff 2 singing
Kingfisher 1
Tufted Duck 21 (inc. 16 males)
Goldeneye 4 females

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Eccleston Mere

Gadwall 2 m&f
Chiffchaff 1 singing
Bullfinch 1
Oystercatcher 1
Kingfisher 1

Flora: a few patches of Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage along the far end of the stream, with a few flowers of Lesser Celandine.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Eccleston Mere

Nuthatch 1 (calling)
Fieldfare 24 (flew over north).

Clocaenog Forest

Great Grey Shrike 1 (just below the mast on Craig Bron Banong)
Goshawk 2 (one male displaying and a large female sat in a tree)
Raven 3
Buzzard 1

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Hilbre Island



The Brents geese were very spectacular, feeding on the rocks with waves crashing behind them. 125 Pale-bellied Brents and two Dark-bellied. Also 13 Purple Sandpipers showing well. I had two new ticks for the island today, Stonechat (female) and Sparrowhawk.

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