Thursday, 30 April 2009

North Wirral CP, Leasowe

Stone Curlew 1
Grasshopper Warbler 1 reeling

The Stone Curlew was a great addition to my North West / Merseyside lists. It had been found at 17:45 in exactly the same field as the last Wirral record, 21 years ago! It stood motionless for long periods, but at last, at around 20:00, it started to feed and showed very well in the late evening sunlight.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Eccleston Mere

Common Tern 2
Grasshopper Warbler, still one singing in field in south east corner. May still be others.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Hilbre Island - long may the south easterlies continue!

Another day of south easterlies saw me once again on Hilbre. By the time I reached Middle Eye at 6:30am I had already ticked off Tree Pipit, 4 Wheatears, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll, and it was looking very promising.

A few minutes later I arrived at the main island to find that a male Redstart had already been trapped, and just as I arrived, a Common "mealy" Redpoll flew into a mist net. A very scarce bird on Hilbre, this was the second in two days. Since the vast majority of "redpolls" fly straight over and avoid the nets, it makes you wonder how many Mealys are passing over.

Once again there was a reasonable fall of Willow Warblers, with about 20+ trapped, and good numbers of finches, swallows, White Wagtails and Wheatears (at least 25), and a second Redstart, this time a female.

A weather front passed over the island from the south at midday, bringing with it a small fall of Willow Warblers and a single Garden Warbler.

On the shore there were at least 10 Whimbrel, 300 Oystercatchers, and about 15 Turnstones, including a few spectacular males in summer plumage.

The sea watch was a little disappointing, with 30 Gannets and about 40 Sandwich Terns, but not a lot else.

Redstart female

Mealy Redpoll

Garden Warbler

Mealy Redpoll

Burton Marsh, Dee Estuary

Short-eared Owl 4
Wheatear 2
Grasshopper Warbler 1 reeling

Inner Marsh Farm, Dee Estuary

Garganey 1 male
Little Egret 1
Swift 10
Wheatear 2

Eccleston Mere

Grasshopper Warbler 3 reeling
Cuckoo 1
Gadwall 1

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Eccleston Mere

Grasshopper Warbler 5 (inc. 4 reeling males)
Sedge Warbler 1 singing male
Whitethroat 1 singing male

An amazing day for Groppers. The first was singing in the hedge almost immediately behind the yacht hut, the second was seen singing in the field adjacent to the south east corner, the thirds and fourth were together in bramble to the right of the end of the stream (one presumably was a female responding to a reeling male) and the fifth was in the hedge over towards the cricket club woods.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Hilbre Island - a great day for migration

Once again I was on Hilbre at 7am, and conditions were perfect for migration. A gentle south easterly breeze and enough mist to make North Wales invisible from the island. I knew that it was going to be good, because long before I had even reached the island I had Lesser Redpoll, White Wagtail, Sand Martins and Whimbrel. All of these birds were seen or heard as I walked across the sands to the island.

I hadn't been on the island more than a few minutes, before a whistle from the observatory summoned me over, to discover that a superb male Redstart had been caught. A real stunning bird to start the day!

Around the island there were many Meadow Pipits, about five White Wagtails, and there was clearly a passage of finches, with about 30 Linnets, 20 Goldfinches, 15 Lesser Redpolls and a single Siskin seen. Overhead I heard two Tree Pipits, and then saw a third from the observatory building.

Out at sea Gannets plunge dived into the sea and I saw perhaps 20 Sandwich Terns and a single female Common Scoter.

Star bird of the day though was a stunning male Ring Ouzel which I saw very well twice from the observatory building. A Fieldfare came in off the sea, and there was a steady passage of hirundines, mainly Swallows, but also about 15 Sand Martins and one House Martin. On the shore, the seven Whimbrel were still present.

Once again, thanks to the observatory guys for making me so welcome.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Hilbre Island

Whimbrel 7
Red-breasted Merganser 1 male
Gannet 10

I was late on the island today, not getting there until 2pm, and it really showed, with hundreds of people walking out, and very few migrants other than a resonabale passage of Swallows. However, the Whimbrel were my first of the year and showed well on the rocks between Hilbre and Middle eye.


Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Monday, 13 April 2009

Eccleston Mere

Sand Martin 30
Swallow 20

Bradley, Frodsham

Cattle Egret 1

Burton Marsh

Spoonbill 2 adults
Little Egret 20

Hilbre Island

It was a cold misty start on Hilbre at 7am this morning, but at least the stiff south easterly breeze brought with it the possibility of some visible migration. Today there was a good passage of Siskins, I counted about 20 going over the island, and four of these were caught, which is apparently an impressive total for a species which is rarely trapped on Hilbre. Some of the males were really stunning birds, almost as bright as Canaries. Other finches today included a few impressive Lesser Redpolls, and some Goldfinches.

On the north end of the island, the female Merlin sat patiently, awaiting the arrival of tired passerines. Once I watched it as it hunted an unfortunate Siskin which came in off the sea. At first I didn’t realise that it was a Siskin until I heard it call, but then both birds flew towards me, and as is often the way with Merlins, it was so focused on the chase that it didn’t realise that it was within a few feet of me, and by now I could clearly see that the Siskin was a bright yellow male. The Siskin flew high and the falcon swerved to follow it, then the finch dropped like a stone and the falcon swooped, only for the finch to fly high again, with the Merlin twisting and turning in close pursuit. The chase lasted for about 3 minutes, and I was almost certain that the Siskin was deliberately flying towards me in the hope that my presence would deter the Merlin from close approach. Maybe it worked, because I’m fairly certain that the Siskin escaped.

Other highlights today, included Yellow and White Wagtails, a fly over Tree Pipit, a (Greenland?) Wheatear and a couple each of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs.

As usual it was a tremendous experience today, and special thanks must go to the guys at the Bird Observatory who as usual were very friendly and allowed me to feel very much involved. Click here for the Hilbre Bird Observatory blog, and the real story of today.

Hilbre photos

Canary or Siskin!

Definately a Siskin

A bit windy for the mist nets.

Saturday, 11 April 2009


Guillemots and Razorbills at South Stack. Notice how the black Razorbills really stand out in amongst the dark grey guillemots.

Hooded Crow Holyhead Breakwater park.

The stunning Newborough Warren. Is there a better or more beautiful beach anywhere in the World?

South Stack
Puffin 10 all on the sea.
Guillemot 1000 on the cliffs and on the sea.
Razorbill 200 on the cliffs and on the sea.
Chough 8
Raven 2
Also: Adder
North Stack
Chough 3

Holyhead Breakwater Park
Hooded Crow 1

Friday, 10 April 2009

Eccleston Mere

At least 150 hirundines, split about 60% Sand Martin, 40% Swallow.

Kingfisher 1

Hilbre Island

The 17th

Snowdonia and Point of Ayr from Hilbre


With south easterly winds and overcast, possibly light rain forecast for dawn, there was only one place for me to be today, and I was on the island at 7am.

Three weeks ago, the island was buzzing with Goldcrests, today it was the turn of Willow Warblers, with five birds in one trap alone, and at least 20 on the island. Also at least five Chiffchaffs. Another trap held a female Blackcap, and though I only saw one Gropper (Grasshopper Warbler), an amazing four were trapped on a quite early date for the species.
I saw at least three Wheatears, two White Wagtails, a few Swallows and a couple of House Martins. Many Meadow Pipits passed over the island, and there were a few Linnets and Goldfinches.

Out at sea there were at least 10 Gannets, one or two quite close, 10 Razorbills, a lone Guillemot, at least 100 Common Scoter, 4 Sandwich Terns and my first Arctic Tern of the year, flying over the West Hoyle bank, where about 200 Grey Seals were hauled up.

A female Merlin was at the north end, and showed exceptionally well, chasing waders and Meadow Pipits as they came in off the sea. On the rocks, there were still seven Purple Sandpipers, but the Brent Goose flock had shrunk to just five birds.

After leaving the island, I headed to Greenbank Road in West Kirby and very quickly found the three Waxwings which have been present for a few days. Then I went on to Red Rocks, which overlooks Hilbre from the mainland. Here there were at least five Red-throated Divers and 100 Common Scoter.

On the road to Red Rocks, I stopped off at the 17th green of the Royal Liverpool Golf club, where there was a flock of about 10 White Wagtails, 50 Meadow Pipits and two spectacular Yellow Wagtails, my first of the year.

All in all an excellent day. With more south easterlies forecast for Monday, guess where I'll be at 7am......

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Eccleston Mere

Black-necked Grebe 1 adult in summer plumage. My 159th species at the mere.
Willow Warbler 1
Blackcap 1
Sand Martin 5
Swallow 10

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Grand tour of North Wales photos

Red breasted Merganser Conwy RSPB

Hoodie South Stack

South Stack, Anglesey

Looking towards the Osprey nest at Glasglyn. Those are Whooper Swands in the foreground, with Snowdon behind.

Grand Tour of North Wales

Coed Llandegla, near World's End, Wrexham
Black Grouse 18

Eight males leking and five females also seen.

Glasglyn, near Porthmadog
Opsrey 2 on the nest
Red-breasted Merganser 1 male
Whooper Swan 27

Holyhead Harbour
Black Guillemot 5

Best sight of the day. Two birds were close and displaying.

Stouth Stack, Anglesey
Chough 2
Hooded Crow 1
Sand Martin 30
Raven 2

The Puffins are back, I just didn't see them. Most of the ledges were deserted, except for the Fulmars.

Conwy RSPB
Avocet 5
Red-breasted Merganser 4 including 3 males.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Eccleston Mere

Blackcap 1 singing male
Chiffchaff 7 singing males
Oystercatcher 3
Sand Martin 2

Popular Posts