Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Kinghorn, Firth of Forth

Long-tailed Duck 30
Common Scoter 100
Eider 100
Red-breasted Merganser 40
Red-throated Diver 1
Razorbill 2
Gannet 2
Sandwich Tern 5
Plus a few pairs of Fulmars nesting on the cliffs

Considering I couldn't see more than a couple of hundred meters due to the local haar, the list of sea ducks is very impressive!

Year 218. At the end of April last year I was on 182.

Fulmar. Great bills!

Pettycur harbour in the fog.

Kinghorn in the fog.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Collared Flycatcher, Mire Loch, St Abbs

What a stunner!! I drove for miles in beautiful sunshine until I got to within about 10 miles of St Abbs at which point I drove into a bank of east coast haar, a real pea souper. I was a bit depressed about this until it occurred to me that actually this might be good news because it would probably mean that the bird wasn't going anywhere!

When I got to the car park for Mire Loch there was one other car there and the occupants had just returned. They told me they had seen the bird but it seemed a bit of a hike and never having been to the place before I was a bit unsure that I could follow their directions especially in this fog.

I seemed to walk forever. There was some entertainment on the way, I managed to see a subalpine warbler and heard a lesser whitethroat, so not completely wasted even if I failed to find the flycatcher, but I did have a sinking feeling about it. There was just nobody else about. Eventually I found the boat house and I knew that it had been in this area but I searched for ages with no joy. Finally just as I'd given up hope it suddenly it flew onto a branch right in front of me, taking my breath away. What a bird!

UK Life: 398 (Collared Flycatcher), Year: 218 (Collared Flycatcher, Subalpine Warbler)

Mire Loch. The Collared Flycatcher was in the trees behind the boathouse. Just 10 miles down the road it was a beautiful sunny day, but here at St Abbs the coastal haar was in.

Collared Flycatcher feather. I found it  in the woodland in the area where the bird has been seen regularly, right behind the old boat house. I can't think of many other woodland birds which would have a black and white feather of that size. Great Spotted Woodpecker perhaps? Possible I suppose, but I didn't see or hear any in the area. And where would it fit on the bird? On the other hand it's a perfect fit for Collared Flycatcher.

Monday, 28 April 2014

King Eider, Ruddon's Point, Firth of Forth

King Eider 1 female
Whimbrel 3
Velvet Scoter 10 (5mm, 5ff)
Common Scoter 50
Eider 50
Red-throated Diver 2 (ads win)

Year: 216 (King Eider, Whimbrel)

The Firth of Forth is a fantastic birding place, especially for sea ducks, and even more especially if you're a visiting west coast birder who doesn't normally see them so well. The King Eider was my fourth, but my first female.

King Eider, complete with authentic bill shape and Mandarin like sails.

A female Eider for comparison.

Ruddon's Point.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Black Tern, Eccleston Mere

There was a superb Black Tern on Eccleston Mere this afternoon, I watched it flying around for about 20 minutes before it landed on a buoy, right in front of me! Thanks to John for the info.

Dairy Farm Road

Yellow Wagtail 3 males
Wheatear 1

The Yellow Wags were in the grassy field beyond the ploughed field to the south of Dairy Farm Road (i.e. the field which sometimes has cows in). There were probably more than three, but they were only visible when they sat up on the piles of earth.

Eccleston Mere

Mandarin 2 (male & female)
Common Tern 2
Kingfisher 1
Mute Swan 2 adults
Gadwall 1 male
Whitethroat, Blackcap, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs

At 6:30am the drake Mandarin was sitting alone on the jetty. At 10:30am, the female Mandarin was swimming alone around the base of the jetty.

Saturday, 26 April 2014


Night Heron 1
Whinchat 2 (m&f)
Channel Wagtail 1
Yellow Wagtail 10
White Wagtail 2
Lesser Whitethroat 2 singing
Grasshopper Warbler 1 reeling
Wheatear 10

Year: 214 (Night Heron, Whinchat)

A great day for common migrants at Leasowe was rounded off in dramatic fashion at 20:08 precisely, when right on cue, the Night Heron which has been present in the area for four days but only seen briefly in flight in the evenings, flew over the Lingham Lane Bridge and away down the river.

What a stunning bird, a presumed male Channel Wagtail. It was originally reported as a Blue-headed Wagtail, but it's head is perhaps a little too pale for that race of Yellow Wagtail, and it is more likely a Channel Wagtail which is a hybrid between a British Yellow Wagtail and a continental Blue-headed.

Ironically there may well have been a Blue-headed Wagtail at Leasowe today which was overlooked. This female is very well marked, perhaps too well marked to be Yellow Wagtail, and may in fact be Blue-headed.

Bloody Linnet spoiling the symmetry of the photo! The Channel Wagtail is the bottom left bird, whilst the possible female Blue-headed is on the bottom right.

Burton Mere Wetlands

Garganey 2 (male & female)
Avocet 68 (inc. at least 21 birds on nests)
Black-tailed Godwit a lot

Friday, 25 April 2014

Eccleston Mere

Common Tern 2
Swallow 50
Sand Martin 30
House Martin 20

Year: 212 (Common Tern)

The weather was a bit grim this evening, but you know what they say, "he who dares, gets pneumonia".

Houghton Green Flash

Little Ringed Plover 2
Common Sandpiper 1
Redshank 1
Pochard 2 mm
Wigeon 1 m

There might have been a lot more in the grass and around the edges, I only had time for a quick look from the road on my way to work.

More from the grebes

I don't know if the chicks always sit on the mothers back or whether they swap over between parents from time to time. Here you can see one of the adults offering a fish to the youngsters, but it looks a bit big to me and it took several attempts to get one of them to accept it. I noticed that before each time the parent offered the fish, it first dipped it in the water as if to help it go down.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Grebe family update

Out of the nest and on the move.

This male Reed Bunting was singing nearby.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Leighton Moss

Black Tern 1 adult summer
Little Gull 2 1st summers
Garganey 2 (m & f)
Reed Warbler 10 singing
Grasshopper Warbler 1 reeling near Lower hide
Marsh Harrier 4 (2mm, 2ff)
Avocet 60 (Eric Morecambe / Allen pools)
Black-tailed Godwit 200

Year: 211 (Black Tern, Reed Warbler)

Male and female Garganey at the Grisedale hide.

These drake Shoveler were having a little dispute!

Awesome bills! I really can believe that these are dinosaurs!

Black Tern. I saw this bird from the Public hide, but it also spent some time on the Allen pools.

1st summer Little Gull.

Black-headed Gull on a nest.

Female Marsh Harrier.

Eccleston Mere

Swallow 30
Sand Martin 20
House Martin  20
Gadwall 2 (m & f)
Mute Swan 2 adults
Kingfisher 1
Whitethroat 1 singing
Buzzard 1

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Eccleston Mere

Common Sandpiper 1
Mandarin 1 male
Whitethroat 3 singing
Blackcap 8+ singing
Willow Warbler 10+ singing
Chiffchaff 2 singing
House Martin 10
Sand Martin 20
Swallow 20
Mute Swan 2 adults

Monday, 21 April 2014

Flamborough Head

Lesser Whitethroat 1 singing alongside the B1229 between Bempton and Flamborough.
Great Skua 1
Eider 3
Common Scoter 1
Red-throated Diver 3
plus lots of auks, Gannets and Kittiwakes

Year: 209 (Lesser Whitethroat)

Bempton Cliffs

Great Skua 1
Puffins 20

Year: 208 (Great Skua)

The skua was harassing Kittiwakes. Click here to see a photo of the bird.

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