Please note; A large selection of this diary records details from Seaforth N.R., It must be pointed out, there is no public access to this site due to security reasons, and any unauthourised access may result in prosecution and or cars removed by the Port Police.
Viewing may be possible through the fence at Crosby Marine Park.
The reserve is maintained by volunteers who have identification permits and are authorised to record and help maintain the site for breeding and passage birds.
The Scilly Season
The last day is always a short one, packing the bags and off to the heliport in the taxi, dropping them off and then a short walk nearby, we decided to go down to Porthellick and give it a last looking over.
The Siberian Chiffchaff was on show with a Yellow-browed Warbler in the same bushes the Blackpoll Warbler has been, a Blackcap was also feeding in the bright sunlight.
A Merlin shot passed us in hot pursuit of something as we walked back to the Airport and a lapwing was seen in flight near the top with 10 Fieldfare.
And so ends another year on Scilly, not a great year, but 2 Blackpoll Warblers and a Grey-cheeked Thrush are always good birds to see, it was just missing the biggy, the Blackburnian Warbler will go down as the one that got away.
A much better sunny day with light SE winds still, birds on the move overhead with the usual Siskins, Redpoll, Chaffinch, Fieldfare with a flock of 30+ and smaller numbers of Redwing.
A Black Redstart was on the Porthloo Beach again, with another at the standing stones field at Lower Moors, as well as 1 Greenshank and 4 Snipe on the pool, no sign of the Wilson's Snipe.
The 2 Ravens flew over on que as if that was their job for the day, and a Redstart up at Penninas trail was nice as well as 2 Firecrest that fed in the pittisporum.
From the top a huge gathering of Gannets could be seen feeding in a mass frenzy with at least 2,000+, and below them as is usually the case a pod of Common Dolphins with about 20+ jumping out of the water as they got stuck into the shoal of fish.
In a weedy field at the top of Penninas on the Porthcressa side, 2 Bramblings amongst several hundred Chaffinch with the odd Skylark amongst them.
A Yellow-browed Warbler was calling in Lower Moors as we walked through, another Black Redstart on a window ledge in Porthloo Beach area and the first Little Egret I'd seen all week was on the beach briefly.
A change in wind direction to a light SE has brought a few more migrants, more Fieldfare flying over with a group of 9 and 20 Skylarks an lots more Siskins and chaffinch.
2 Black Redstarts were up at Telegraph near the coastguard buildings and 2 Blackcap in the hedge behind. A 1styr male Red-breasted flycatcher was showing occasionally at Newford Duck Pond, with a slight redish wash on the breast, but not as good as I have seen with an adult in full summer in autumn on the east coast.
Another Yellow-browed Warbler was showing at the dump clump were a probable Blackburnian Warbler had been seen by the same birder that found the Blackpoll Warbler at Porthellick.
The 2 Ravens flew over Lower Moors again and 2 Kingfishers were on rocks in Porthellick Bay and 4 Greenshank. Another Yellow-browed Warbler was in bushes at Porthellick and a Jack Snipe was bobbing at Porthellick pool.
By Higher Moors the Siberian Chiffchaff was moving through the willows, a much paler bird more sandy buff and calling a high pitched "peooo".
The weather was only slightly better than yesterday, but the rain was more showery and light drizzle, with sunny breaks in between, it was birdable but was probably not going to produce much.
A Greenshank at Porthloo Beach was seen flying off round the corner and out of sight, the usual mix of waders with nothing new amongst them, we walked up to the Garrison again which is always a good spot for finding Yank Warblers after SW winds.
The first bird seen up there was a Yellow-browed Warbler feeding amongst the Elms and calling occasionally, also a Garden Warbler, 2 fem Blackcap and several crests.
The Blackpoll Warbler was still showing well in the garden and the conifer and are always worth another look.
Walking back towards Lower Moors, 2 Ravens flew over calling and a Willow Warbler was in bushes there, with lots of Siskins, Linnets, Pipits and a Wheatear in a weedy field on the way up to Penninas Head.
At the top near the lighthouse a Black Redstart was feeding amongst the rocks and several Clouded Yellow Butterflies flew past including a Helice race which is paler almost white compared to the others.
With the weather so bad today, very heavy rain and strong Sw winds, no birding was done apart from a Black Redstart near the chalet at Porthloo.
Up bright and early and out up to the airfield were a Short-toed Lark was feeding on the edge of the runway, these seem to be annual on here along with Snow and Lapland Buntings, of which a Lapland Bunting just so happened to be here, it even rubbed shoulders with the Lark at one point as they fed with Skylarks and a Wheatear.
With the handy use of a two-way radio, the news is instantly broadcast, so it was down to the dump for the next bird, a Little Bunting which had been found in the allotments next to the incinerator.
The bird had flown over the hedge just as most people arrived which is the usual thing on here. After a twenty minute wait it reappeared in the ploughed field and showed well at fairly close range. It was slightly messed up on the left side with a couple of tertials missing as if something had tried but failed to catch it.
Two more Black Redstarts could be seen on a house roof at the back of the allotments.
A walk up to Telegraph produced a Whinchat in a weedy field and better views of the Osprey as it did a tour of St Mary's. Near Newford Duck Pond a field held a mixed flock of Redwing and Fieldfare with 6 and 10 respectively. The Yellow-browed Warbler that was also here showed really well and was calling like mad, always helpful when trying to keep track of it in the thick Willow bushes.
The second day on Scilly, but the first full day, after breakfast we set out and checked the beach near the chalet, Porthloo beach, it usually has the best flock of waders, with Sanderlings, Ringed Plovers, Turnstones and Knot. One bird stood out and was being chased by the Ringed Plovers, slightly darker than the others, this was probably a Tundrae race Ringed Plover which we often get at Seaforth in May.
It also has Black Redstarts regular and today was no exception, with 2 on the art studio roof, a 1stw female and a cracking adult male, 2 Wheatear were also on the beach.
Down Porthloo Lane 3 Skylarks flew over calling 15 Redwing, 1 Raven and lots of Siskin and Chaffinch were on the move.
A distant view of the Osprey that has been around for some time, sat on a large boulder on the Samson side of Bryher, probably the most distant osprey ever seen.
A firecrest wizzed through "no bird lane" with a couple of crests, a few Blackcap were seen feeding in the hedge and 3 Red-legged Partridge flushed from the field.
Up on the Garrison a 2nd Blackpoll Warbler was located feeding in a large conifer in a garden, showing well before disappearing through the gardens.
At Lower Moors a Wilson's Snipe was on show feeding amongst Common Snipe, its dark stripey barring on the flanks and slightly darker upperparts, long-legged appearrance stood out in comparison, it was also a lot thinner looking and reminded me of a Water rail from behind.
A few Swallows flew over the pool and more Siskins coming down to drink and feed at close range.
After the usual long and exhausting overnight journey we arrived at Penzance quite handy, first stop was get the shopping in for breakfasts we'll be having on the Scillies.
A quick breakfast and we boarded the Scillonian 3 for the Scillies, the usual annual pilgrimage of these beautiful islands was about to begin, the team of John Donnolly, Alex Fenton, Tony Small and myself.
On the crossing we managed to see 3 Sooty Shearwaters, 4 Bonxie, 2 Arctic Skua, 1 Puffin and Siskin which tried to land on the boat, several porpoise and 35 Common Dolphins which came in close to bow ride giving great views.
The first stop was with the Grey-cheeked Thrush at Porthloo lane , which has been proving very hard to connect with, people have been here a week and still haven't seen it.
After 30 minutes of waiting around I was in the right place at the right time for a change, as the bird flew out of the weedy field and over the road showing the underwing pattern, and landing in a tree before eventually settling for the back hedge and showing well for 2 minutes or so before dropping down out of sight.
Next stop, and another yank, this time a Blackpoll Warbler at Porthellick/Higher Moors area, always nice birds to see, and this was quite a bright bird and showed well as it moved through the willows.
A walk up to see the Woodchat Shrike at Carn Vean tearooms produced two firecrests near Holy Vale cottages. The Woodchat was seen sat on the edge of a field in a hawthorn hedge and showing well, dropping into the field to catch beetles and other insects.
A Red-breasted Flycatcher was seen briefly in a large Pine tree at the top of Holy Vale, and a couple of chiffchaff and a Yellow-browed Warbler was seen well in willows near Lower Moors.
Not bad day cast for just 4½hrs birding!
The male Scaup has re-appeared having been missing a few days amongst 60 Tufted, 10 Shoveler and 10 Little Grebes.
A Rock Pipit appeared outside the hide on rocks, my first of the autumn, and good numbers of Robin and Blackbirds around with 20 and 6 respectively.
Despite the calm conditions there were still large numbers of Cormorants with 400+ roosting mostly on the causeway.
A dull overcast day with little movement, 2 Siskin flew south, 3 Mistle Thrush and 2 Grey Wagtails and small numbers of Meadow Pipits, 3+ Chiffchaff were in the bushes as well as 1 Goldcrest, 1 Male Blackcap and a Whitethroat.
Two Jack Snipe were flushed from the reedy pool on the reclaimed area, while overhead 41 Pinkfeet flew North.
On the fresh water pool, am ale Wigeon for its 2nd day flushed from the reed bed pool, and 12 Shoveler, 10 Little Grebes and good numbers of Tufted Duck, 5 pochard and 100+Teal.
An Adw Med Gull bathed briefly amongst the Gulls, while 200+ Cormorants lounged about on the now sinking Tern rafts.
Despite similar conditions as yesterday, the bird movement was much slower today,
Great Tit 10
Blue Tit 19
Song Thrush 2
Grey Wagtail 2
Mistle Thrush 5
Meadow Pipit 500+
Coal Tit 6
Collared Dove 5
Greylag Goose 2>N
With a possible Blyth's Reed Warbler found by Mark Garner and Kenny Dummigan on the Saturday, it was officially put on the pager as one mid-morning, the bird had been seen well by quite a few birders and had rsponded to tape calls of Blyth's Reed Warbler and good quality photos which show the main features were obtained.
I headed over with Chris Gregson and joined a few familiar faces at Red Rocks and waited paitiently for the views which I could identify the bird as a Blyth's Reed Warbler.
It took 3hrs of standing there before I managed to get everything I needed to be sure, a handy Reed Warbler was in the same patch of Willows, showing how pale the Blyth's is in comparison, the longer bill was evident with a pale lower mandible, pale throat, breast and belly, with slight greyish wash on flanks, the short primaries and the cold grey legs being the clincher.
A great bird to see in the North West, with so many turning up along the East coast, with at least 7 and more on the Shetland Isles, this has been an remarkable Eastern Autumn.
A hazy calm morning and perfect for Visible Migration, the numbers of birds moving South this morning were good, the numbers below are only a small portion of what was really seen, most birds were uncountable but still seen over houses and beyond the counting area.
Grey Wagtail 1
Mistle Thrush 21
Collared Dove 15
Meadow Pipit 1,500
Song Thrush 5
Carrion Crow 2
Pied Wagtail 33
Stock Dove 2
Tree Sparrow 5
Blue Tit 16
Great Tit 4
Reed Bunting 2
A Fem/imm Whinchat and a male Stonechat were on the edge of the saltmarsh and a Goldcrest was near shepherds mountain.
A large movement of Meadow Pipits was evident as I arrived for a Diurnal at Seaforth, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker flew high South, 1 Chiffchaff in the bushes calling, and small groups of Blue Tits and Great moved between the bushes.
Blue Tit 10
Great Tit 2
Grey Wagtail 4
Meadow Pipit 2,000+
Pink-footed Goose 350>N
Stock Dove 2
A bizarre sight was seeing a Jack Snipe flying past with a group of Greenfinch, before it dropped onto the salt water pool.
With the news of an absolute Mega on the East coast late afternoon y'day, there was only one thing for it, and that was get up early and get over there, we set off at 05.00, myself, Pete and Grandpa grump, aka Alex, and arrived at Flambourgh Head at 07.45 with news that the Brown Flycatcher was still present and showing well!, yessss!
We walked the longest walk along the old fall hedge with people already walking back having seen it, we tried hard not to look stressed out as we passed the smiling groups that passed us, but inside we were just thinking, dont bloody fly off now yer B@&*~'#.
We soon arrived at the plantation and were soon enjoying the bird as it perched up in dead trees, the grey upperparts, with obvious white edges to the tertials, clean white throat, breast, belly and undertail coverts, large eye and broad based bill.
It became very active and then dissappered for 45 mins, before putting on a performance again, a superb bird.
A Yellow-browed Warbler was in the back of the plantation and several Chiffchaffs and a Richard's Pipit flew over calling.
We set off for South Landing and had a full English breakfast before searching the trees for migrants, it was very quiet with only one or two Chiffchaff, 1 Lesser Whitetroat several Yellowhammer, lots of Redwings and 20+ Swallows.
A Male Red-backed Shrike was found at North Landing and was showing well not long after arrival, in bushes close to the road, with another Yellow-browed Warbler in the same bushes and a Lapland Bunting flying past calling.
As we we not far from the Turkestan Shrike, we did the trek down Hoddy Cows lane near Buckton, and had reasonable views again of the bird perching on willows, more active than last time, constantly dropping down to the ground to catch insects before returning back to the bush to eat it.
Another great days birding on the East coast!
A brief watch this morning produced 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker flying South, 1 Mistle Thrush, 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 50+ Meadow Pipit, 6 Skylark, 20 Greenfinch, 2 Grey Wagtail, 5 Chaffinch and the juv Scaup on the fresh water pool.
The favourable winds from the South-East continue, as does the Diurnal todays list includes,
Grey Wagtail 4
Coal Tit 2
Reed Bunting 8
Mistle Thrush 11
Blue Tit 10
Great Tit 4
Meadow Pipit 876
Song Thrush 10
Collared Dove 4
Reed Bunting 8
Pink-footed Goose 3,500+ >E
25 Robin, 2 Goldcrest, 4 Chiffchaff were in the bushes and several Small Coppers, 2 Migrant Hawkers and a Silver Y moth.
An early morning diurnal at Seaforth had quite a good variety of birds,
Grey Wagtail 16
Stock Dove 5
Meadow Pipit 100+
Song Thrush 3
Mistle Thrush 5
Tree Sparrow 8
Collared Dove 8
Pink-footed Goose 59>N
Reed Bunting 1
Blue Tit 10
Great Tit 4
Other birds included, Fem Ruddy Duck, juv Scaup, 8 Shoveler, Little Stint on Marina, Juv Curlew Sand and 1 Chiffchaff.
A phone call from Tim got me out of my bed and driving to Crosby Marina gardens, a Firecrest the second of the Autumn, after missing the 1st bird, I was keen to connect with this one.
It took a while for me to refind it, as it wasn't calling much, but then it showed well and started to sing a subdued sub-song, a cracking bird, a Chiffchaff was also in the park.
News on the pager of a Long-tailed Duck and 2 Little Stints on Crosby Marina, had us guessing who had found them, the Long-tailed Duck was a superb summer plumaged Male with long tail intact, and the two Juv Little Stints were very confiding on the edge amongst the foam.
There was some bird movement overhead with 100+ Chaffinch, 5 Siskin, 500+ Mipits.
On the fresh water pool, 10 Little grebe, 3 Gadwall, 10 Shoveler, 80+ Teal, 1 Juv Curlew Sand, 120 Knot, 1 Adw Med Gull and an Adult Shag amongst the 200+ Cormorants.
With continuing Easterly winds, an East coast trip was called for, the crew of Pete, John, Tony and myself, we set off early to arrive at Spurn Point for 07.45, upon arrival it was evident there were a lot of thrushes flying over, mostly Redwing with a few Fieldfare and Song thrush and Blackbirds.
A Ring Ouzel was found while we searched for a Grey Shrike Sp which had just been reported on the pager near Easington, no sign of the Shrike so we headed up the road to the Crown and Anchor pub car park.
A Yellow-browed Warbler was found as we arrived for the Greenish Warbler in the same area, good views of the YBW as it moved through the willows.
A female Redstart was in the car park and lots of Goldcrests calling everywhere, the Greenish Warbler was picked up and it showed well just yards from the YBW.
A walk down the road towards the Bluebell cafe, JD picked out a Great Grey Shrike on wires in the field next to the church, it showed well before flying towards Beacon Lane.
A quick seawatch from the ever crumbling road past the Bluebell (another 50yds had gone since I was here in July), produced 2-3 Sooty Shearwaters flying North, afew Common Scoter but not much else.
We walked down Beacon Lane, where a Woodcock flew past us, Siskins flew overhead and 1 Chiffchaff was in the hedge, but very quiet here too.
A flock of Redpolls were in the field next to a caravan, feeding with Goldfinch, another Woodcock flew past and over the road, we set off down to the point.
There were hundreds of Redwing flying in and dropping into the Buckthorn, 5 Ring Ouzel and a few Fieldfare, 2 Garden Warbler, 5 Brambling and 4 more Chiffchaff.
A Common Seal Pup was on the beach by the Warren and a Whitethroat was trying to get into the trap.
News of a Isabelline Shrike at Buckton near Flambourgh had been found, so we headed up there, and after a stressfull car journey (not because of the bird, I had to use my Jedi powers to avoid a young lad that had been pushed off his bike into the road by his mate), we arrived and were faced with a mile and a half walk to view the bird.
The Isabelline Shrike (Turkestan Shrike) was on show distantly in a hedge but showing in full view, a well marked bird with an obvious dark mask, slight brown cap, scalloping on sides of breast and mantle,and orange-red tail.
We moved on to Flambourgh head to see the Juv Buff-breasted Sandpiper, the bird was on the golf course and was viewable distantly from the road (too knackered to walk up the hill for point blank views), a juv/fem Merlin flew in from the sea and wizzed past us inland, the Juv Sabine's Gull had flown off from feeding in the field before the lighthouse.
A good days birding, but this part of the coast dipped out on the big birds found elsewhere along the east coast today, like Red-flanked Bluetail Norfolk, Blyth's Reed Warbler Northumberland, Red-breasted flycatchers most places, Barred Warblers, Wrynecks and other good birds.
A cold North-East wind but sunny, it felt like winter, not much movement noted, a flock of 16 Pinkfeet flew over the reserve and a distant Buzzard was noted going South, 2 Goldcrest were calling from the bushes, 2 Grey Wagtail flew over calling and 40 House Martins were still feeding over the marina.
On the fresh water pool, 5 gadwall, 3 Shoveler,144 Teal, the Male Scaup still present, amongst the waders, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 120 Knot, 10 Dunlin and 1 Juv Curlew Sand.
A nice Southerly wind was blowing upon arrival at Seaforth, time for another diurnal, the birds were moving overhead as I walked to the long bank area, Lots of Meadow Pipits, Chaffinch, Swallows, House Martins and more.
A Seaforth scarcity was found on the reclaimed area to the east of the reserve, a female Pheasant which was flushed from cover and ended up in the coco warehouse yard.
Total Diurnal day count:
Tree Sparrow 2
Collared Dove 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker 3
Meadow Pipit C1,000
Grey Wagtail 4
Reed Bunting 4
Mistle Thrush 9
House Martin 150
Blue Tit 16
Great Tit 2
Stock Dove 2
Other birds on the reserve included, 3 male Shoveler, 1 Juv Ruff, 2 Adw + 1 1stw Med Gulls, 1 Snipe and 2 Juv Curlew Sands.
A short visit today at Seaforth produced 1 Juv Curlew Sandpiper on salt water pool amongst 120+ knot, 100+ Redshank 1 Bar-tailed Godwit,70+ Black-tailed Godwits and 30 Dunlin.
The Male Scaup was on show amongst the Tufted, 3 Shoveler still present, as were 10+ Little Grebes, 30+ Teal.
Low tides at the moment don't help much, no gulls in and low number of waders, combined with light Westerlies, not very productive.
I arrived at Seaforth having seen the overnight forecast to be light Northerly with 2-5 mph winds, and an overnight frost (first of the Autumn), which I thought might induce a bit of movement, but as I got out of the car, it was obvious from the direction the wind turbines were pointing, it was an Easterly, excellent!
The first meadow Pipits were calling overhead, and small groups of Chaffinch all heading South, in the bushes by the path a Whitethroat, followed by a Chiffchaff and as I walked a bit further a Lesser Whitetroat, Song Thrush, several Blackbirds and 15+ Robin.
The Male Scaup was visible on the fresh water pool amongst the Tufted Duck, several Teal, Little Grebes and 3 Shoveler still.
More Chaffinches calling overhead, 2-3 Skylark, 3-4 Grey Wagtails and 30+ Woodpigeon, 2 Reed Bunting and the first of many Blue Tits, with 9 flying into the bushes towards the office.
The familiar call of a Great Spotted Woodpecker had me turning round to see 2 birds flying higher and higher over the reserve and over the dock estate, 2 together is a good record here as singles are still scarce, (my brother had called me to say he had seen a Great Spotted Woodpecker on Bootle golf Course earlier), these were followed half an hour later by another bird heading SW over the pool towards the Wirral.
More Blue Tits were arriving in the Marina bushes, with 12 more birds with 4 Great Tits, 3-4 more Chiffchaff feeding on the edge of the fence, the Lesser Whitethroat again, Willow Warbler and a male Blackcap.
A single Wheatear landed on the fence and small groups of Swallows and House Martins paused briefly to feed before flying South, more Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Meadow Pipits,Skylarks, and a small flock of Long-tailed Tits with about 3-5 moving through the bushes.
A distant flock of 50+ Pink-footed Geese could be seen over Crosby, and a Sparrowhawk flew low over the fence.
One Adult winter Med Gull was on the fresh water pool, several Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Bar-tailed godwit and 120 Knot.
Not a bad mornings birding on the local patch, its days like these that make you get up a bit earlier than normal, first decent spell of the Autumn so far.
Total Diurnal day count:
Meadow Pipit 60+
Great Spotted Woodpecker 3
Blue Tit 21
Great Tit 4
Long-tailed Tit 3+
Song Thrush 1
Reed Bunting 2
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Willow Warbler 1
Grey Wagtail 4
Pied Wagtail 19
House Martin 50+
Pink Footed Goose 50+
Collared Dove 1
A lot cooler and fresher today with the wind from the South-West, and a lot more cloud, not as much moving, just a few Swallows and House Martins.
The Male Scaup was still present, 3 Shoveler, 50+ Teal, 60+ Tufted, 5 Gadwall, 10 Little Grebes and 1 Wigeon.
On the salt water pool, 120+ Knot, 95 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Turnstone, 120 Redshank, 50+ lapwing and several groups of Golden Plover flew in up to 89 birds, the highest total so far this Autumn, and only 45+ Dunlin feeding mainly at the far end towards the radar tower.
A flock of Terns flew in with 3 Black Terns over the fresh water pool, the Common's flew back towards the beach area but the Black Terns disappeared into thin air, where they had gone was a mystery.
More Pinkfeet were seen distantly over the Little Crosby area, with about 60+ birds and a large group of over a hundred Terns were seen following a boat into the mersey.
Again southerly winds, and the birds where on the move, Tim had a good morning with Tree Pipit, 9 Jays, Coal Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Reed Warbler and a few odds and sods on the other side of the fence at Crosby marine Park, when I arrived the Meadow Pipits where just about audible over the near by dock noise, with at least 50+ heading South and several Grey Wagtail, Chaffinch, Dunnock, small groups of Blue and Great Tits and a Reed Warbler in the bushes by the path.
Several Swallows and House Martins were also on the move as were 2 Jackdaw and a group of 5 Pink-footed Geese flew NW over the reserve, with other distant groups of 70+ and 50+ over the Little Crosby area.
The Migrant Hawkers were on show again over the reed bed, and the wader flock was just starting to build up on the newl exposed Mussel bed in the middle of the salt water pool, the pool itself hasn't fully flooded fot 2 weeks or more now for some reason, leaving most of it dry as a bone.
An adult male Peregrine had a couple of attempts at flushing one of the Black-tailed Godwits out of the flock, but they held their nerve and stayed put in the water, before it gave up.
A single Buzzard was spotted heading over the back of the reed bed and over the main grain shed, with 2 more closely behind heading South, this is a good number of birds to be seen together here, with the most there has been in one day being just over 5, so imagine the surprise of seeing 14 birds together thermaling over Waterloo just 30 mins after these 3 birds had gone over.
It was like a scene from the straights of Gibraltar, the group split up into 2's and 3's and all drifted off South.
At last a change of wind direction, with an overnight breeze (hardly a Breaths worth) from the South-East and slight misty conditions, it felt more like Septmber, I had a message from PK saying there was a Whinchat at the Marina.
I arrived to calm conditions, the Marine lake like a mirror, with nothing at all on it in the way of birds, and no sign of the Whinchat, the message didn't actually say where exactly it was, but a Chiffchaff calling from the bushes and several Swallows heading South.
At Seaforth, a 2ndw Med Gull was on the fresh water pool a new bird on the scene, with 3 adult winter birds later, one had a White darvic ring on the left leg, but couldn't be read due to it only showing as it lifted to shake in the water.
The pool looked impressive with nearly every area covered in birds, such as 83 tufted, the Male Scaup,3 Shoveler, 12 Little Grebe, 120 Coot, 150 Canada Geese, 1 Greylag, 200+ Cormorants, 60+ Teal, 1 Pochard, 20+ Moorhen and lots of gulls.
The Salt water pool hasn't flooded to its usual full extent for a while, leaving most of it dry thick mud, great for waders, 120 Knot, 57 Black-tailed Godwits and 2 bar-tailed Godwits, 1 Turnstone, 10 Golden Plover, 60 Dunlin, 120 lapwing and over 20 Herons all feeding in various parts of the pool.
The 1st Juv-1stw Yellow-legged Gull of the year flew in and bathed on the fresh water pool with Lesser Black-backed Gulls, clean white head all black bill, quite a lot of new grey mantle feathers appearing, a nice neat bird, it began to plunge dive at stuff below the water and showed off its chocolate underwing and gleaming white uppertail coverts and a broad black tail band.
Just a handfull of Common Terns remain with numbers below 50 mostly juvs and a few adults.
A Common Buzzard flew low over the reserve heading North, without much disturbance to birds on the pool.
A nice surprise was a Kingfisher which landed on the crossbar outside the hide, enough for Mr Young to blast it with a 300mm Nikon lens he was testing out, before it dissappeared as quickly as it arrived.
The Migrant Hawkers were showing well in the reed bed, 5+ males and 2 female (1 pair in cop), and several Common Darters, a Sedge and a Reed Warbler were skulking in the reeds as were a few Robins which have increased to over 20+ birds.
With overnight strong NW winds and rain, it was just the recipe for a seawatch off the Radar Tower, before I arrived the pager had already mentioned a Leach's Petrel off New Brighton, so I was hopeful that I might catch one going out of the river.
I wasn't there long when I got a phone call from Pete Kinsella who was watching from the prom at Crosby Marina, he had a small Skua on the sea which looked interesting and was waiting for it to take off.
I managed to get onto it as it flew North and couldn't see any white flashes in the wing, it was small and very bouyant in flight, it was almost certainly a dark juv Long-tailed Skua.
Another Skua that was further out also on the sea was probably an Arctic but was lost to view, I missed a Leach's Petrel that Pete picked up on going out distantly towards the Wirral coastline.
A nice view of a Juv Arctic Tern just off the rocks was nice with 3 others on the fresh water pool when I left, and 3 Gannets distantly heading North was the signal to end this poor seawatch, the conditions were not really suitable, the wind was not as strong as forecast and the bright sunshine and lack of showers didn't help matters, there will be better days to come no doubt.
A cold grey day at Seaforth is usually the signal to go home early, as I did, not knowing there was a Firecrest on Crosby Marina, as I couldn't remember were I'd left my mobile phone and didn't find out about it until it was too late to see it.
A single Chiffchaff was calling in the bushes with a few Great and Blue tits, but not much else was on view.
The fem/imm Ruddy Duck was still present and the male Scaup and all the usual numbers of Tufted and Shoveler the same.
Back at Seaforth today with very little change, everything that has been around is still present the Golden Plover flock again to 21, still low numbers than we normally get, 2 grey Wagtail were busy chasing each other near the path as I walked up, and a Sparrowhawk had 2 flyby's at the flock of finches on the long bank.
A single Swift was still over the fresh water pool with 50 House Martins and a Med Gull was on the fresh water pool and the Teal have rapidly increased to 61, but still no Garganey.
Another return trip to Southport Marshside RSPB, but this time I was more successful, as the Great White Egret was on show in the middle of the field with a Little Egret at its side for excellent size comparison, almost out of a page of a field guide.
The Glossy Ibis is well settled here now and was strolling around like it owned the place in full view near to the Sandgrounders hide, with still 12 little Egrets around the reserve on view.
The Great White Egret was a new bird for Lancs for me and a Marshside tick, 298 and 183 in that order.
A trip up to Southport Marshside RSPB in search of the Great White Egret that has been there for nearly a week ended in failure, I only managed to see the Glossy Ibis walking in and out of the deep creeks, as soon as it goes into one, the bird completley dissappears.
There were lots of Little Egrets on show with up to 12, and a juv Marsh Harrier was hunting the outer marsh and an Adult Yellow-legged Gull was on polly's pool briefly to bathe before flying out onto the beach.
I left Marshside for Seaforth, were I noticed a new arrival amongst the duck, it was a fem/imm Ruddy Duck diving amongst the Tufted, the male Scaup was also in the group and 5 Shoveler and 10 Little Grebes.
The Golden Plover are now up to nine, with still good numbers of Black-tailed Godwits with 200+ and 150+ Knot, 1 Juv Curlew Sand and 120 Redshank.
Two adult Med Gulls put in appearance and adult and 3rdw Yellow-legged Gulls came in to bathe before roosting.
The Juv Curlew Sand was still present today on the salt water pool with 60 Knot,227 Black-tailed Godwit and the first Golden Plovers of the Autumn with 7 amongst the lapwing, still in partial summer plumage.
A single Sandwich tern was still lingering around with much reduced numbers of Common Terns with only 80+ left. Amongst the ducks, 5 Shoveler, 24 Teal, 50+ Tufted and 10 Little Grebe huddled in small groups around the edge of the pool.
The sun was out this morning but the cold Northerly still cools the temperature down to almost winter level, a quick scan of the salt water pool produced 260+ Black-tailed Godwits with 20 Juvs, several Knot and at last a Juv Curlew Sandpiper, which was quite distant feeding with the Dunlin.
All the usual duck that have been present for some time were still in the same numbers, but the Little Grebes have gone back up to 10 with several juvs amongst the group.
2 Adult Med Gulls, and an Adult Yellow-legged Gull were in the roost, and a possible 1sts Yellow-legged Gull which was hard to see in the middle of the flock.
At least one Common Sand is still present, with an absence of some time before the last one, and up to 4 Swifts flying over the reed bed catching newly emerged Mozzy's.
Highlight of the day was the sight of two young scally's who had got through the fence and started to strip off and bathe in the fresh water pool, still clutching the bottle of Smirnoff, totally off their faces, and could hardly stand, swaying all over the place, until they realised how cold the water is here and left.
The cold Northerly is still blowing in across the pool chilling those inside the hide at Seaforth, not really ideal conditions for the time of year, little chance of any decent migrant arriving to brighten the day.
The same numbers of duck were present with the Scaup, 2 Pochard, 30+ Teal, 50+ Tufted, 5 Shoveler and no sign of the Wigeon.
A walk around the far end of the reserve produced 3 Snipe near the small pool, several Common Darter and 1 Migrant Hawker, with several Painted Lady Butterflies.
An Adult Med Gull, ad Little Gull and adult Yellow-legged Gull all familiar birds having been seen already this week, were on the fresh water pool.
Continuing good numbers of Black-tailed Godwits feeding on the salt water with 225, with several Knot and a few Dunlin.
There are still 2-3 Swifts hanging around, with most of the local breeders gone now, and small family groups of House Martins.
An eclipse male Wigeon arrived overnight and was feeding with 5 Shovelers, the Teal numbers continue to climb to 32, the male Scaup was still present with 52 Tufted Duck and 2 Pochard.
Black-tailed Godwits were feeding on the salt water pool mud and totalling 215, with still only small numbers of Dunlin, and Lapwing, one species that is missing for the time of year is Golden Plover, there are normally up to a hundred amongst the Lapwing, where are they?
An Adult Yellow-legged Gull was in the Gull roost, with 350+ Common Terns mostly on the salt water pool roosting on the mud.
A North-North East wind was blowing through the reserve today, and with it a feel that there should be migrants, a few Swallows started to drift south, an Adult Med Gull flew in from the docks and went straight through to the beach.
On the salt water pool, a nice collection of mixed waders, with 170 Black-tailed Godwits, 40 Knot, 30 Dunlin, 120 Redshank, 200 Lapwing a few Curlew, Herons, and Common Terns in small groups on the mud.
In the reed bed a couple of Reed Warblers were showing occasionally with food, before diving into the dense cover to feed their young, 80+ Goldfinch were feeding around the edge on fluffy thistles and Ragwort, and in the rubble mounds a few Wheatear "chacked" from the rocks.
The male Scaup was still present and 2 Pochard, 5 Shoveler, 45 Tufted, 16 Teal and 5 Little Grebes.
An adult Yellow-legged Gull was bathing on the fresh water pool, amongst growing mini-flocks of juv Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls.
A dull drizzly grey day, but which had the right effect in bringing in a few birds grounded, including 3 juv Greenshank which landed briefly at the top end of the causeway, and a juv Goosander, a scarce bird here at any time of year, swimming along the the edge of the long bank with Tufted and Teal.
The male Scaup was amongst the Tufted Duck, 2 Pochard, 5 Little Grebe and 5 Shoveler, while 70 Black-tailed Godwits were joined by 1 Turnstone, 170+ Knot and 30 dunlin on the salt water pool mud.
An Adult Little Gull was roosting amongst 450 Common Terns on the mud, while an Adult and 4thw Yellow-legged Gulls bathed and joined the roost on the long bank.
With the wind blowing from the North West again, I took a chance there may be something offsore and was rewarded with 6 Storm Petrels going out of the river past the radar tower, also 1 Bonxie and 2 adult Arctic Skuas, a dark phase and a light phase, but not much else of note.
On the reserve the male Scaup was still present also 1 Shoveler, 6 Teal, 70 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Knot and 300 Common Terns.
An early morning start to Southport Marshside RSPB, after late news of a possible Baillon's or Little Crake seen briefly from Nel's hide, I was joined by Pete kinsella in the hope of catching up on what is potentialy a great bird either way for lancs.
A scan amongst the close flock of Teal produced an eclipse male Garganey, which was showing well, several Ruff, 900+ Black-tailed Godwits and Golden plovers were also on the flooded marsh.
We were joined by Tim Vaughan and Simon Jackson, but there was no sign of anything that might even have been mis-identifed as a Crake species.
A quick search from near the Sandgrounders hide for the glossy Ibis, revealed 10+ Little Egrets and a distant Marsh Harrier but no sgn of the Ibis.
On the way back we called into Altcar Withens after a report of a Red Kite that had been seen earlier, a drive down one of the tracks gave good views of a Juv Marsh Harrier flushing a flock of 6 Grey Partridge.
A couple of Stonechats were perched along the ditch, and then we got onto the bird we came to see, the Red Kite, it was flying over the back of some farm buildings across the road, we drove over to get closer views, and managed to see it come off the ground after being flushed by a tractor.
Two more Marsh Harriers and 2 Common Buzzards were also seen in the area.
A slightly more cooler day today due to wnw winds, but the birds don't seem to mind as they just keep arriving, the Black-tailed Godwits have increased to 194 with a few juvs amongst them, and a new Med Gull (adw) which hasn't been seen before and also another new Yellow-legged Gull, a 4ths bird with hints of brown in the upperparts.
On the fresh water pool an Adult winter Little Gull appeared to bathe, and then to roost along with 2 Sandwich Terns they joined the Common terns on the causeway.
The duck numbers were the same as the day before, and similar amounts of Dunlin were feeding on the salt water pool.
A cloudy start to the day, with warm sunshine later made for good birding weather, at Seaforth a few of the regulars were out in force, and there was a feeling that there might just be something turning up today.
A male Peregrine flew over the reserve heading over docks, a Willow Warbler was calling from the bushes, while the fresh water pool was filled with birds.
The Tufted Ducks were now at 59, 1 male Scaup, 7 Shoveler, 2 Pochard and now 10 Little Grebes and 12 Teal both have increased overnight.
A juv Marsh harrier was picked up flying in from the Wirral past the radar tower heading north and gaining height, without flushing anything on the pools.
A Common Buzzard flew south down river a short time later, and clearly showed the differences in flight I.D.
In the gull roost, 2 Ad Yellow-legged gulls, and 2 Ad Med Gulls and the first juv Common Gull of the year.
A warm sunny day, and birds are in evidence of moving into the southerly wind, such as 20 Swallow and small groups of Swifte a Reed Warbler was glimpsed flying across the reed bed, now silent.
The male Scaup was still present with Tufted, 8 Shoveler, 2 Pochard and 7 Teal, 7 Little Grebes were in small groups around the edge of the pool and 95 black-tailed Godwits were roosting on the long bank.
An Ad med Gull joined the gull roost, and a Juv knot was on the salt water pool with Dunlin, the single Little Ringed Plover was feeding in the company of a Common Sandpiper.
Butterflies were out in force, with 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Painted Lady, 4 Peacock and a Common Blue.
A total change in the weather with fairly stiff WNW winds making it feel much colder in the hide, the male Ruff was on the causeway again, and 64 Black-tailed Godwits were on the long bank roost, while 150+ Dunlin were on the salt water pool feeding on the mud.
A male Pochard was a new bird in amongst the Tufted, also the male Scaup, 3 Little Grebes and 2 Shoveler.
An Adult Med Gull flew in as I left to go to Anglesey with Tim for the Black Stork.
We arrived at the Alaw Estuary were the Black Stork was showing on the opposite side and distant in the heat haze, it wasn't doing much at the time before a quick wing stretch and preen it began to feed along the muddy edge of the estuary.
We watched the bird for some time before trying to see if we could get round the other side to view at a closer range, the problem was when we arrived on the other side, a couple with a dog passed us, as did a man walking from the direction the bird was feeding.
As we got to the shoreline there was no sign of the bird, it had obviously been flushed before we got there.
Also on the estuary were 4 little Egrets and several Whimbrel and a couple of Common Buzzards.
Its a nice feeling having a warm southerly blowing and the sun shining for a change, this is what a lot of birds have been waiting for, as streams of Swifts were flying south with a 100+ at a time, and smaller numbers of Swallows and House Martins.
No sign of yesterdays Ruff today, but 40+ Black-tailed Godwits, 1 knot, 200 Redshank, 30 curlew, 400 Lapwing, 150+ Dunlin, 1 Juv Little Ringed Plover and 1 Common Sand.
An adult Yellow-legged Gull was on the fresh water pool bathing, as were 2 adult winter Med Gulls and a ads-w Little gull.
The male eclipse Scaup was amongst the Tufted Duck, with 2 Shoveler, 2 Teal and 3 Little Grebes.
A colourful flock of summer plumage Turnstones flew in totalling 125, a big flock these days here.
A walk around the reed bed brought my attention to a Dragonfly fluttering over the reeds, often just gliding for long periods, a strange flight pattern than I've seen before, its wings had a bronze colour which would change golden in the sunlight.
I still wasn't sure what it was, as it was hard to keep up with it as it chased insects, when it passed by fairly close, a black looking body could be seen, and now and again a hint of blue at the base of the thorax, it was a medium sized Dragonfly about the size of Migrant Hawker.
My thoughts were confirmed at home as to its identity, it was a Lesser Emperor Dragonfly, a first for me and the reserve, I hadn't realised how much smaller they would be compared to Emperor, and never really thought about them having colouration in the wings like that, it was almost but not quite, like a Brown Hawker in the amount of golden in the wings.
A male Ruff which was first seen yesterday was still present today at Seaforth, feeding on the fresh water pool to the left of the hide and showing well, the first of the year here.
On the salt water pool, a mixed flock of Dunlin, Redshank, Lapwing and 28 Black-tailed Godwits were feeding on the exposed mud, with a small group of Common Terns roosting.
Large numbers of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were roosting on the long bank or the fresh water pool, with smaller numbers of Black-headed and Common Gulls, also 2 adult winter Med Gulls came in to bathe and joined the roost.
Another flock of Black-tailed Godwits flew in making the total 70, with some fresh juvs amongst them.
Around the edge of the pool were a couple of Common Sands and the juv Little Ringed Plover, several juv Dunlin, a few Teal and 2 Shoveler.
Two adult and 1 juv Little Grebes were showing really well outside the hide on the so called scrape, diving and then coming up calling.
A nice mix of common birds, which are always the backbone for encouraging the rarer birds to drop in and join them, just got to keep checking everything, twice!
No sign of yesterdays Roseate Tern, but still good numbers of Common Terns, and a single Sandwich Tern, also growing numbers of juv Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls in the gull roost.
On the long bank wader roost, 30 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Turnstones 2-3 Common Sands, 300+ Dunlin feeding on the salt water pool but hard to pick anything out amongst them due to the heat haze.
The Male eclipse Scaup was amongst 45 Tufted Duck and a single Teal.
Two Ad Med Gulls came in to roost after a quick bathe as did a couple of Kittiwake.
The juv Little Ringed Plover from this years brood was feeding around the wader scrape, and a small movement of Swallows and Sand Martins flew south.
With news on the pager of a probable Eastern Olivaceous Warbler in the middle of Manchester City Centre, I travelled down with Pete Kinsella and was soon watching the bird high up in a Silver Birch (as well as my car parked on near by double yellow lines), and coming to the same conclusion as most people that it was either this species or Syke's Warbler, but leaning towards the former.
The long bill and sloping forehead, pale grey-brown upperparts, pale below, white outer tail feathers, pale lores, longish primary extension, square cut tail, seen to pump down only once, straw coloured legs all favouring Eastern Olivaceous Warbler.
It was right in the heart of China Town with lots of the locals very curious as to what all the fuss was about, and were just as keen as we were to see the bird.
This is were the Black Redstarts had been nesting close by, as to how the bird was found by visiting birders.
Still a great find, as by watching the tree for long periods of time without so much as a bit of any sign of anything being there.
The North West strikes again!
A brief visit to Seaforth was slightly spoilt by three of the local youth walking down the entire length of the causeway, flushing everything in sight.
After the flush had died down, I set about checking the waders again on the salt water pool, as good numbers of Dunlin were feeding on the exposed mud.
A whimbrel was calling from the far side of the pool, and then the distinctive call of a Roseate Tern was heard amongst 50+ Common Terns feeding over the pump, it took a while to locate as they were mostly into the sun and even the Common terns were looking white (formby seawatchers beware).
Several Common Sands were feeding on the now exposed muddy edge to the fresh water pool as the water is slowly dropping a couple of inches, and were joined by a few Turnstone, still looking smart in summer plumage.
The Little Grebes have increased to 3 birds and the Common Terns now at 400+ but flighty on the causeway, 18 Black-tailed Godwits were feeding in the small pool on the causeway as were 3 Common Sands, while 100+ Dunlin were on the salt water pool, but no sign of the White-rumped Sand.
A quick look offshore revealed an adult Black Tern on the stiff North West breeze force 2-3, it was hoped there may be a Petrel or two ( as was off Hilbre Island) but again it was too sunny and a lack of showers proving this seawatches downfall, although Mark Garner had an Arctic Skua in the morning.
Having just arrived at Seaforth, as was Steve Young, we had to get back into the car to go down to Crosby Beach as Tim Vaughan had relocated the White-rumped Sandpiper feeding with Dunlin and Sanderling and showing quite well.
We arrived just as the heavy rain came and there was no available shelter, there was nothing for it but to get wet, but we did get good views of the bird and seen it in flight several times as the nervy group of birds failed to settle.
Steve managed to blast it in reasonable light, but I struggled to get anything decent with the speed the bird was moving, and my poor set up of wobbly tripod and screw on adaptor.
Back on the reserve at Seaforth, the Common Terns were slowly increasing to 200+, 1 Teal, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 48 Tufted Duck, 2 Common Sands, 2 Kittiwake and 2 Little Grebes were new in.
A trip to York City Centre was quickly organised when news broke of a Chimney Swift which had been seen several times near to the River Ouse.
I was joined by Tim Vaughan and Pete Kinsella (now out of hibernation) and we met up with Chris Galvin at the car park where the bird had been seen.
While standing on the Millenium Bridge for 15 mins or so, the crowd that were on the bridge started to walk back down to the river side, were a group of birders had obviously found the bird, and were looking above their heads.
I managed to get onto the Swift that was distant but the lowest bird in the group of Swifts, Pete also located the bird but Tim couldn't get onto it.
We joined the group down by the river thinking we'll soon be enjoying it at close range, when the Swifts departed over the houses and away.
We had two more views brief and distant but not good enough for a tick, we made the mistake of leaving early at 19.30, and the bird was seen again some 20 minutes later, we even turned round in the hope we might still connect with it, but to no avail, it will have to go down as a dip, oh well.
The White-rumped Sandpiper from yesterday was picked out again distantly amongst the dunlin mid afternoon, it made its way up to the middle of the salt water pool giving reasonable views.
On the fresh water pool, 3 Med Gulls (Ad, 2nds and a Juv), 4 Sandwich Tern (inc 1 Juv), 1 1sts Little Gull, 4 Common Sands, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, the male eclipse Scaup amongst 48 Tufted Duck, 2 Shoveler and 250+ Lapwing.
What was planned to be another day of digging the ditches to drain some water off the fresh water pool, turned into a red letter day for Seaforth.
I walked down to the hide with Steve Young with spade and pick axe (and scope and bins), and checked out to see if it was worth Steve staying long so I could get on with the job in hand.
There was lots of the usual Common Terns and just a few gulls due to the low tide, on the salt water pool there was quite a few Dunlin feeding in good light and in full view ( now that i'd cut the Ragwort and Thistles down).
Steve was outside scoping while I was in the hide, I quickly called him in saying I think I've got something here, it looks like it might be a White-rumped Sandpiper!
He joined me in the hide and quickly got onto the bird, and after a few moments it flew revealing the square looking white rump, it was a White-rumped!
After several phone calls and texts, we were joined by most of the permit holders and also put the news out on Birdline North-West, as it could be viewed from Crosby Marina through the fence.
It was always with the dunlin and was nearly always distant, at 14.50 it flew off towards the beach at Crosby, before returning at 15.25 and much closer than it had been.
A few record shots were taken, but was quite difficult due to the speed it was feeding, hardly ever keeping still.
Also on the reserve today were the male eclipse Scaup amongst 50 Tufted, 2 Shoveler, 2 Ad and 1 1sts Med Gulls, 1 1sts Little Gull, 4 Sandwich Terns, 200+ Dunlin, 2 ads Knot, 2 Turnstone, 1 Whimbrel, 250+ Lapwing, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 12 Ringed Plover and the Fox was seen hunting the edge of the causeway.
The rain continues its never ending onslaught, combined with Northerly winds and low tides = no birds.
150+ Dunlin were feeding on the salt water pool, with 1 Turnstone, 250+ lapwing, 16 ringed plover and 2 common Sands were on the fresh water pool.
The male eclipse Scaup was still amongst 48 tufted duck, and 2 Shovler were on the scrape to left of the hide.
A steady passage of Swifts has been noted on several occasions heading South, while up to 500+ were feeding high over the Marina.
Several juv Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls have arrived amongst the small number of gulls on the reserve.
Another evening visit, but this was to do some work on the reserve, the water levels is just too high now, so I set about lowering it, by digging out one of the channels which had silted up.
I managed to get this one flowing again but the second channel needs more digging out with a pick axe, as the clay and stones were too much for just a spade.
I spent 3 hours in total, doing both channels and some Ragwort cutting, as this is now blocking the view of the salt water pool from the hide.
4 Common Sands were still on any available land around the edge of the pool and 32 Black-tailed Godwit settled on the newly cut causeway, while 80+ Dunlin were feeding on the salt water pool, now visible again from the hide.
A brief evening visit produced 8 Common Sands, 1 Little ringed Plover and the male eclipse Scaup.
News of a Roller at Easington on the east coast yesterday, I travelled over with Tony Small today after early morning news confirmed it was still present.
We arrived near to the site and saw two birders scoping the telegraph wires in the distance, we pulled over and asked if there was any sign?, "yes, its just been on the distant wires about two minutes ago, before flying off towards that church " they pointed.
We got out and set up our scopes, and I instantly picked up an Adult Hobby flying over the telegraph wires towards us, it showed well as it went by hawking insects.
I started to look around and picked up the Roller on the wires in a different direction it had been last seen, a Cuckoo was also on the same wire.
Soon before we new it, we had been joined by 30+ birders who had started to drive towards the latest pager news of the last sighting.
The bird showed well but distant, occasionally dropping into a field to catch an insect or something, before returning back on the wires.
From this distance the sandy brown back could be made out, with the aqua-marine head and breast, and darker and quite long tail.
We drove around to the other side to get a closer view with slightly better light, it was seen to fly into a bush in the middle of a field, before flying off further and lost to sight.
We moved on to Spurn to look for Dragonflies and Butterflies, and arrived at Clubley's scrape, from the hide two male Black-tailed Skimmers were flying over the juncus edge of the pool.
Other things of interest were lots of Ringlets, Meadow Brown, Green-veined Whites, Small Heath, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Small Skipper.
Along the canal, 2 Common Darters and a Emperor Dragonfly, while on the estuary, 30 Adult summer Little Gulls, lots of Sandwich Terns, 30+ Whimbrel and a close Green Sand near to the path, also a family party of Yellow Wagatails.
Offshore, the sea was quite calm and tide just rising, but birds were on the move with, 80+ Whimbrel flying south, 50+ Sanderling, 13 Common Sands which landed on the beach in front of us, single Turnstone and small groups of summer plumaged Knot, Golden Plover.
Two groups of 20+ Common Scoter drifted past on the sea, with another flock of 30+ flying north, 12+ arctic Skuas mostly dark phase adults went south or lingered to chase the Sandwich and small groups of Gannets and Guillemots.
Another flock of 5 adult summer Little Gulls flew over towards the estuary as did a pale phase adult Arctic Skua.
We left to go home, and paused briefly to view the Roller again from the roadside, it had only just been relocated after being missing for 4 1/2 hours, by now there was at least 100+ birders viewing it, a great bird and only my second i've ever seen.
With a West wind blowing force 5, myself and Tim walked down for a seawatch, not expecting too much with the sun shining and no sign of any rain.
We managed 2 distant Manx Shearwaters and 2 Gannets, very poor.
On the reserve itself, a male Scaup in eclipse was showing well outside the hide, at times too close to photo with the digi-scope.
Amongst the gulls an Adult summer moulting into winter Med gull, 2 Adult and 2 1sts Little Gulls and several Kittiwakes. There was also 2 1sts + 2 Ads Arctic Terns still, and several Sandwich Terns.
A small flock of Dunlin was flying around the salt water pool, but nothing with them, 6 Black-tailed Godwits flew over south, and the Curlew flock was now at 35+ on the long bank.
Around the edge of the pool, 3-4 Common Sands were trying desperately to find the edge of the pool, with the water level way too high, there's not much room for them to walk around to find food.
With the sun beating down trying to make up for the lack of it, a few Butterflies were out in small numbers, the vast majority of them being Meadow Brown, with several Small Tortoiseshells, Large Whites and Gatekeepers and a single Small Copper.
An Emperor Dragonfly was patroling one of the pools by the main path, now back to full capacity.
A late afternoon visit to see the Glossy Ibis at Southport Marshside RSPB, the weather had improved with bright sunshine but still breezy, the bird was a sleep amongst some Canada Geese quite distantly.
It woke now and again to reveal a large curved bill,the body a dark almost black looking colour from a distance, but did have a dull purple colour when the sun came out.
It started to feed on the edge of the pool, before flying into long grass and in amongst some creeks.
Other birds near by included 50+ Black-tailed Godwits and 5+ Avocets feeding in one of the creeks with Shovelers, Teal and lots of Canada Geese.
The sun has finally started to shine, but the wind is at a good enough speed and direction for seawatching, the ideal conditions would be cloudy with squally showers, (as if we haven't had enough rain), this would bring in the Manx Shearwaters and Gannets, Skuas and Petrels closer to the Mersey Mouth.
There were storm Petrels seen offshore today, but I didn't take a look myself.
The reserve was as busy as it has been with lots of terns and gulls roosting, with the adult summer and 2 1sts Little Gulls still present, as well as 2+ Arctic Terns, 15+ Sandwich and 250+ Common Terns.
The Little Ringed Plover family are still doing well and 3 Juvs have been finally seen, also Lapwing with young on the far bank.
Other waders included, 5 Common Sands, 100+ Redshank, 27 Curlew, 80+ Lapwing and small numbers of Dunlin.
With the wind still blowing strong overnight with heavy showers and from the North-West, I went straight to the seawall for a look for Stormies, I wasn't there long when a single Storm Petrel flew out of the river close in.
It was nearly an hour later that I saw the next bird, 2 Manx Shearwaters and 3 Gannets heading north distantly on the horizon. There were lots of Common and Sandwich Terns and Kittiwakes in the river but not much else.
On the reserve 3 1sts, 2 Ads + 1 2nds Arctic Terns, 30+ Sandwich Terns, 6+ Kittiwake, ads + 2 1sts Little Gulls.
Amongst the waders 20 summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwits, 4+ Common Sands, 12 Dunlin and 100+ Redshank.
The really bad weather continues with daily heavy rain, the water level at Seaforth is so high there is not much of a pool edge as such, and the small islands have nearly vanished, pushing the large gulls down towards the hide to roost.
A short seawatch offshore before the high tide produced 1 1sts Arctic Tern and what may have been the Caspian Tern slowly moving north quite distant at 12.05, but was lost to view when a passing ship sailed out of the river.
The Caspian Tern was seen at 14.45 at Fairhaven Beach near Blackpool, before it flew off west a minute later.
The causeway was busy with 250+ Common Terns, 2 Ad + 2 1sts + 2 2nds Arctic Terns and up to 33 Sandwich Terns of which more were arriving as I left.
Two female Shoveler were new birds in, 50 Tufted, 6 Teal and the first flight of the 6 Juvenile Shelduck flock, around the saltwater pool.
More Juvenile Black-headed gulls were noted amongst the growing numbers of Adult birds, and several Kittiwake including a 1sts bird.
An adult in full summer Little Gull was an early returning bird with 2 1sts birds that have been around for a while.
The Swifts increased to 300+ when the rain got really heavy, they must be finding it hard to find any food in this weather.
Amongst the waders, 3 common Sands, 120+ Redshank 30 Curlew 100+ Lapwing and 150 Oystercatcher, as well as the pair of still calling Little Ringed Plover ( still haven't seen any young).
Yesterdays misty, rainy day seemed ideal conditions for Roseate Tern, so it was no surprise to be told as I arrived in the hide at Seaforth, that there was 2 on the causeway today.
One bird bearing the diagnostic ring on each leg, the other with none.
Scanning through the flock it became obvious there was three birds, a pair displaying and flying around calling sometimes with a fish in the beak of one of the birds, and the other staying close but noticeably on its own.
The Sandwich Terns with juvenile still being fed, were at 23 birds with 2 adult and 2 1sts Arctic Terns, the whole place alive with the mix of tern calls, and lots of activity of birds coming in from Liverpool bay with their fish for their partners or juveniles on rafts.
The Arctic Terns put in a brief appearance on the crossbar outside the hide, were Steve Young was able to blast em, before they flew off.
Several Dunlin, 3 Little Ringed Plover, Redshank and 2-3 Common Sands were feeding around the edges of both pools, but no new waders in despite the overnight heavy rain.
Amongst the gulls a few Kittiwake including a badly oiled bird, but not much else.
A Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler were in the bushes with a few juv Great and Blue Tits, the Autumn passage has started.
Despite the rain I still arrived at Seaforth, with not much change from Thursday, 2 Common Sands, 2 Turnstone, 80+ Lapwing, 100+ Redshank (inc leucistic bird), 16+ Sandwich, 3 ad + 2 1sts Arctic Terns (Little Tern here Yesterday),300+ Common.
A 1sts Yellow-legged Gull was amongst the few Lesser Black-backed Gulls at the far end of the causeway. A few record shots were taken for reference purposes.
Most of the time was spent reading Common Tern rings on the posts outside the hide, this can sometimes take up to an hour for a ring to be fully read, as the bird shuffles the ring round for you during preening, I managed just two complete rings before I got bored.
The male Fox was seen searching the edge of the salt water pool, with 12+ Dunlin and a small flock of Redshank feeding close by.
As the rain got heavier the amount of Swifts increased to over 100+, with up to 35+ House Martin.
The bad weather continues, with flooding widespread across the country, this must surely go down as the worst summer ever, down at Seaforth, the Little Ringed Plovers seem to be guarding their young as they come calling as you walk down the path, how many they've got is unknown.
A few juvenile birds have been seen today with the first Black-headed Gulls, Redshank, a Sandwich Tern and a locally bred Grey Wagtail.
At least one pair of Arctic Terns are still nest building, with a 1sts and 2nds near by, also 14+ Sandwich and 150+ Common Terns.
An adult Greenshank was in the roost amongst 100+ Redshank (including a Leucistic bird), 80+ Lapwing, 28 Curlew, 6 Dunlin, 1 Turnstone and 2+ Common Sands.
The Tufted Duck numbers have increased to 44, with 4 Teal, 1 male Pochard, 2 Greylag and 300+Canada Geese.
Amongst the Swifts is a bird first seen in late May, with a white patch on the undertail and white throat, it certainly makes you look twice.
With the wind a light North-West, I thought I would give it an hour or so looking offshore ( with a hope there may be a Storm Petrel or two in the river), within minutes of me watching a flock of 11 Common Scoter (male and females) were seen heading north.
It was a good while later that I saw the next bird of interest, a small black looking auk zooming at a great rate of knots, this was probably a Puffin but was too far to call.
An Arctic Skua was seen heading north with a brief pause to chase a tern before continuing its journey, and a Male Common Scoter was seen heading out of the river at close range.
While walking back the hide, I heard the distinctive calls of Arctic Terns, a more higher pitched chipping call than the Commons raucous screeching, two birds were circling the fresh water pool and then landed on the causeway.
The Little Ringed Plovers have finally hatched off four young and a single Lapwing chick was seen legging it across the grass, with all this heavy rain, there in the lap of Mother Nature wheather or not they will survive.
A check through the Terns revealed 2 pairs of adult Arctic Terns displaying and 2 1sts birds amongst 16 Sandwich and over 100+ non nesting common, although one pair have made their own nesting area on the large granite block next to the causeway.
The 1sts Med Gull flew in as did 2 adult summer Kittiwakes and 2 1sts Little Gulls.
The Canada Geese which are in heavy moult and some being flightless, have increased to a new record 330, also 2 Greylags amongst them.
The first signs of autumn has started already, with returning waders, the summer seems to get shorter and shorter, the common Sandpiper (pictured below) has been around for a few days now, with numbers of Lapwing increasing and small flocks of Redshank back feeding on the salt water pool.
A trip up to Heysham-Walney-Leighton Moss was delayed until today, and hopefully the birds would stay put till we get there.
The first port of call was Heysham, were myself and Tony Small were soon enjoying the 2 Summer plumaged Black Guillemots, located on the sea and drifting in towards the wooden Jetty.
They soon took flight and landed on the now derelict structure and began inspecting certain areas for suitable nesting, one bird was seen here last year going in and out of the holes in the harbour wall, but this time it has a mate, so maybe they will settle here to raise young.
After taking a few record shots, we left for Walney and arrived 45 mins later into a sudden downpour, the bird we had come to see was on show out on the marsh, the Hudsonian Whimbrel.
The bird soon took flight due to the rising tide, giving us the view we needed to clinch the identification, the all dark rump and all dark underwing were clearly seen, it landed showing fairly distantly, but still visible were the dark crown contrasting with the rest of the body, the pale supercilium, and pale breast and belly.
The fairly short bill with slight curve towards the tip, much smaller than the near by Curlew.
After a few more short flight views it was flushed and was seen flying off strongly over the main road of the Island and out of sight.
Several Eiders with young were also seen out on the marsh.
We arrived at Leighton Moss knowing there had been no sign so far of the White-tailed Plover, a female Marsh Harrier was seen several times flying low over the reed bed, sometimes carrying a young Coot.
At the back of the reed bed at the Grisedale hide, 3 Red Deer were grazing in the water, 2 female and a young male.
The Eygptian Goose was seen from the Lilian's Hide with the flock of Greylag Geese, 4 Ravens flew over the reserve calling.
A quick look from the Eric Morecambe hide produced only 3 Avocet, the rest had gone due to the nests being flooded out, and 1 Black-tailed Godwit.
No sign of the Roseate Tern today but, the Sandwich Tern flock increased to 27 with a lot of displaying still going on, also 3 Arctic Terns with 2 new birds a 2nds and a 1sts with the adult from yesterday.
The 1sts Med Gull was still present with an increase in Black-headed Gulls to over 100+, a summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit arrived to bathe, and a few Redshank and Dunlin were feeding around the edge of both pools.
Several Large Skipper, Small Heath and Small Tortoiseshell were on the wing as well as the first Red Admiral of the year and a fly through Painted Lady.
The Roseate Tern was still present today on the causeway and showing well amongst 100 Common Tern that haven't found a tern raft to nest on yet, also the 1sts Med Gull in amongst the Black-headed Gulls.
The Sandwich Terns were steadily building up during the day with up to 24 and the first Black Tern of the year arrived, a fine adult summer bird, as did an adult Arctic Tern, five Tern species in a day is pretty good, the only other that might of turned up is usually the most scarce, being Little Tern, even though it breeds at Gronant, it is usually poor weather that brings them in.
It seems the constant singing of the Reed Warblers may have paid off, as another non-singing bird was seen in the Reeds while the other two were busy shouting their presence.
Other birds that may be breeding are Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler round the edge of the salt water pool, in suitable habitat.
Typical June weather the last few days of heavy rain has kept me indoors, today started no different until a message on the pager, of a Roseate Tern at Seaforth, I shot down there straight away, half expecting it to have already flown off as I entered the hide, I was greeted by the finder Tony Small (who had his hands full at the time outside the hide), to be told it was still here.
Not on view immediatly, it flew out of its hiding place to land amongst the Common Tern on the causeway, a nice pink flushed bird with the now expected ring on each leg.
It flew around a couple of times calling and tried the usual landing on a tern raft routine, but as always it was sent packing by the more aggressive Common Terns.
Also present on the causeway, a 1sts Med gull and 9 Sandwich Tern, the Little Ringed Plover was on the wader scrape and single male Pochard, 4 Teal, 12+ Tufted Duck.
A change of scenery today with a walk around Lunt Village in search of Butterflies, Hobby and possible Quail, it was a great day to pick being very hot and very calm.
Large Whites were very numerous with several Painted Lady zooming around, Common Blue, Large Skipper, Small Tortoishell and 2 Meadow Browns.
Several attempts were made to photograph Cinnabar Moths, but they never keep still, so I quickly lost patience.
No sign of any Hobbys flying around, just 1 female Sparrowhawk and a Common Buzzard, several fields looked good for Quail but none heard calling.
On the nearby river Alt on Sefton Meadows CP, 1-2 Emperor Dragonfly were busy patroling the field edge, and for the first time that I've ever seen on here, 20+ Banded Demoiselle Damselflies all males were flying low over the water.
I first found Banded Demoiselle on the Leeds-Liverpool canal near to my home about 10+ years ago and on Rimrose Valley stretch, but only singles, these have obviously colonised this stretch of the Alt fairly recently.
In a small dyke a Male Broad-bodied Chaser was seen landing on vegetation near to the edge of the bank and 50+ Blue-tailed Damselfly.
Another warm and sunny day, with a slight mist over the sea, lots of Small Heath, Common Blue and several Large Skipper and 1 Painted Lady were busy flying around the reserve.
The causeway was slowly filling up with gulls and terns, also 60+ Lapwing, 1 1sts Grey Plover, 6+ Redshank, a few Dunlin and 10 Sandwich Terns.
The 1sts Common Tern was still around and a 2nds bird was new in, 3 male Shoveler have joined the non-breeders, 5 Teal, 4 Gadwall, 14 Tufted Duck.
A search for Bee Orchid only produced one and several Broomrape a lot of the vegetation too high in the usual places.
A quiet day down at Seaforth after the euphoria of a couple of days ago, it was back to reality, the 2 Reed Warblers were still battling it out to attract a mate in the reed bed, 1 Emporer Dragonfly and lots of Blue-tailed Damselflies also in the reed bed.
On the causeway, still lots of gulls coming in with Kittiwake, 50+ Black-headed Gulls, lots of Herring and Lesser Black-backed and a 1sts Little Gull.
A male Pochard was amongst the non-breeding ducks, with 4 Teal, 12 Tufted Duck. Lapwing numbers have risen to about 60+, and still several Dunlin feeding on the scrape.
A walk around the reserve produced 2 Large Skipper, 6+ Common Blue, 5 Small Heath and a Painted Lady and several Cinnabar Moths.
A day that was meant to be doing gardening for my sister, was rapidly cancelled, when news broke on the pager of a White-tailed Plover at Caerlaverock WWT in Dumfries and Galloway, an absolute Mega!
A quick phone call or two to gather the troops, or should that be troop, as the only other birder able to go at the drop of a hat (and wasn't playing golf) was Tony Small.
I picked him up at his house and tore off down the M58 en-route for the M6-M75. The traffic was light and going slightly faster than is legal, we arrived at Caerlaverock 2hrs 10mins later.
The bird was on show immediatley that we walked into the hide, walking around the edge of a flooded field, but quickly dissappeared behind the clumps of Juncus and stayed out of sight for over an hour, much to the frustration of the large crowd of birders still arriving (some close to collapse).
Eventually it started to show tantalising views before flying out onto the island and showing well, the long yellow legs were evident straight away, with its strange german goose step type of walking, pale sandy upper parts, greyish front from throat, breast and down to the belly, black wing tips protruding beyond the tertials, fairly short blackish bill, and whitish face and short supercil.
A superb bird which is only the 4th or 5th (a bird in 1984 was possibly the same, seen in Co Durham and Shropshire) record.
An Osprey was seen flying over the hide carrying a fish, which is nesting near by, and a Roe Deer was seen feeding in the long grass close to the pool.
A cloudy but warm day, the rain that was forecast for overnight, is now due later on this evening, but with southerlies the hope of a new bird appearing is still possible.
The two Reed Warblers still singing in the reed bed are a good sign they may attract more birds in, the Large Skipper seen yesterday still flying around the edge of the reed bed with 2-3 Common Blue Butterflies.
A 1sts Knot was on the causeway amongst 15 Dunlin and 5 Redshank, the Teal have increased to 8 (6 Male + 2 Female) and a 1st s Grey Plover that is in partial summer plumage may be a new bird.
A bird seen flying low over the causeway being chased by a Common Tern, turned out to be a real Seaforth Scarce occurrence in the shape of a Cuckoo, a seaforth tick for Tim, it even landed out of sight in the bushes on mount shepherd.
The gull numbers were increasing as the day wore on, with over 200 Lesser Black-backed, 100+ Herring and smaller numbers of Black-headed and Common.
But the real gem of the day turned up at 14.30 when a 1sts Iceland Gull was located amongst the gulls at the far end of the causeway, busy preening.
These are real rarities today, with the lack of local tips and cleaned up sewage outfalls, numbers of these arctic birds has dropped dramatically, with some years drawing a blank on records.
It stayed for 35 mins, which is about average, a quick bathe, preen and off, it flew off south down river and possibly hinting that it is the bird from the Richmond bank/Moore tip area that has been around since January.
A full house at Seaforth today, must be the southerly winds, with no less than 8 regulars present, not that there was much on show, now 6 Teal (4 Male + 2 Female), 1sts Common Tern, 53 Shelduck + young, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 13 Dunlin, 30 Lapwing, 3 Little Grebe.
Best birds of the day were 2 singing Reed Warbler in the reed bed, last year they bred late on from end of June to early July.
Several Common Blue Butterflies, Large and Small Whites, and a newly emerged Large Skipper were on show around the edge of the reed bed, with lots of Blue-tailed Damselflies, 1 Common Blue Damselfly and a probable Broad-bodied Chaser seen briefly over the reeds.
A warm and sunny day with southerly winds, 5 Sandwich Terns on the causeway with one bird with a white head, no sign of immaturity in the wings, also a 1sts Common Tern with obvious black on the carpal, white head all black bill.
An adult Arctic Tern was possibly the bird that has been around on and off, a 1sts Knot was a new bird in and 3 male Teal have appeared.
Its my birthday and I'll cry if I want to, no I'm not crying because I'm old, just the fact theres no birds, this May has to go down as the worst ever, it seems like the good weather we had in April, should have been May's weather and vice versa for May.
Down at Seaforth small groups of failed or non breeding Lapwings have appeared, which is a lot earlier than normal, as were 2 Goldeneye (male and Female) they've never stayed this late or are they returning?
There seems less birds today than there have been, hardly any Dunlin to check through, less terns and gulls, although there was a 1sts Yellow-legged Gull amongst the lessers.
A walk round the reed bed revealed a large emergence of Blue-tailed Damselflies and one Four Spotted Chaser, Summer is here.
After an early morning thunderstorm and torrential rain, I was half expecting something good might have dropped in at Seaforth, the wind says it all WNW 2-3 and cold.
Still a lot of Swifts around with 150+, and several Swallow feeding low over the pool.
A new 1sts Curlew Sandpiper was a sleep amongst the Dunlin and an "Arctica" raced Dunlin feeding close by, these are smaller, greyer on upperparts, thin streaks on breast and a small broken belly patch compared to "Schinzii".
Two Sandwich Terns flew in and landed briefly had a bathe and left, and the female fox was seen limping back along the edge of the fresh water pool to her den.
Cold Northerlies, not great for the end of may, this should be one of the busiest birding times of the year, but the pagers are quiet and so are the local patches.
A mass feeding frenzy of at least 300+ Swift were flying low over the pool and surrounding area, mixed with the odd Swallow, House and Sand Martins.
Amongst the Common Terns now at 200+, a single Arctic Tern, only the third of the year, and small groups of Dunlin still passing through.
A cool breeze from the north west made for a chilly days birding from the hide at Seaforth, with about 100+ Swift zooming around, several Swallow, a handful of House Martin and up to 4 Sand Martin feeding over the pool.
The 2nds Ring-billed Gull came into roost amongst the Herring and Lesser's at the top end (last seen here on the 13th), and a probable Caspian Gull which may have been the 3rd bird that was seen here on the 20th.
There is still the odd Wheatear hanging around the mounds, and small groups of Dunlin feeding on the scrape and edge of causeway, another flock containing 2 "Tundra" race Ringed Plover flew through without landing.
A pair of Buzzards were seen displaying over the near by Rimrose Valley C.P. with their tumbling display and a big female Sparrowhawk caused panic amongst the Terns.
Highlight of the day was the bizarre sight of an Adult Herring Gull flapping about in distress on the fresh water pool, it looked from a distance to have caught its bill amongst its flank feathers and had become stuck, causing the bird to panic and everything else around it.
After watching for a few minutes wondering what was going on, the bird disappeared around the corner of the causeway out of sight.
A decision was made to go out and see if the bird could be caught to see if it could be helped, myself Mark and Kenny, walked out onto the causeway and found the bird on the edge motionless, but with just a few feet of actually grabbing hold of the bird, it took flight still holding its head into its side, before flopping back down a bit further away.
It did this several times before I managed to throw my jacket over it.
Upon examing the bird it was clear that its bill was snagged by a fishing hook, which had pierced its side, and as it had obviously tried to free it, the birds bill had got caught also.
After 10 minutes or so I managed to free the hook from the bill and cut it free from the birds side, leaving a small but healable flesh wound, the bird was released and flew off strongly non the worse for its ordeal of which would almost certainly have killed it.
With recent news of a pair of Eagle Owls nesting in Lancashire, a trip to Dunsop Bridge in the Trough of Bowland was called for.
After walking the 3 miles to the viewing point, myself and John Donnolley were rewarded with great views of one of the adult birds, sitting on the scree on the side of the hill.
The bird was actively looking around and the occasional wing stretch, before it flew a short distance nearer the second bird which was perched in a tree.
I managed to get a record shot off before the battery in the camera died. (must remember to charge it up).
The first bird was being mobbed by a Kestrel at first and then a passing Sparrowhawk had a go at it, the Eagle Owl just made itself bigger by raising its wings and called a couple of times.
There was no sign of the 3 juvenile birds that have been seen previously, but must of been near by.
Although the news was only released a couple of days ago, the birds have been around since at least last year when they raised an unknown number of young, this has only come about due to two walkers that had been attacked by one of the birds protecting the nest, hospitalising them.
Since that incident the public footpath has been closed due to public safety.
Now we must wait for the BOU, to get their act together and get these birds on the British List, regardless of their original origin, they are breeding across the country in an unaided way and natralised fashion, unlike the re-introduced Red Kites, Ospreys, White-tailed Eagles, Cranes and Great Bustards.
Other birds seen include a Hen Harrier carrying food, Raven flying over calling, and a pair of Spotted Flycatcher's nesting in an open fronted nest box by the post office in the village.
Good news, the Little Ringed Plover has finally pinned down a female and have already set about nesting, which didn't seem likely at one point.
Several birds with young on the reserve today include, Canada geese with 6 young goslings, two lots of Shelduck with 10 and 8 and a family of Mallard with 8.
A check amongst the Dunlin revealed an Adult moulting into summer Curlew Sandpiper, the first of the year.
Amongst the 150 or so Common Tern, a Sandwich and a Little Tern were roosting on the causeway.
Whilst still trying to wake up slowly in bed, casually looking at the pager, I shot up and out bed quickly on the next message that appeared, Woodchat Shrike Southport Marshside RSPB.
I was there within 40 mins and with a fuel stop on the way, I joined Southport Birders, Neill, Paul, John and Simon who were watching the bird.
It had just been relocated having been missing for 30 minutes or so, and was showing very well, perched on posts and occasionally on bushes, it was actively feeding and was seen to catch a bee at one stage.
This was a Lancashire tick for me, having not seen the Fairhaven bird of the 80's, I'm not sure how many records there have been, but it certainly made this very poor spring a thing to remember.
I made my way back to Seaforth in bright sunshine what a difference compared to yesterday.
The 1sts Med Gull was a sleep on the causeway, with 150+ Common Terns, 30 1sts Common Gulls and a flock of 200 Dunlin.
A check up the far end of the causeway produced another 1sts Caspian Gull amongst the Lesser Black-backed gulls, amazing!, thats the third I have found in two months here now, to see one bird is quite something, but to see three is something else.
There have been a large number of Lesser's moving through and the guess is they have arrived with these.This is still a very unusual occurrence in the north west, as they are still a very scarce bird if not rare.
The light was too bright for any decent shots but I managed to get some record shots for comparison to the other two birds, which are distinctly different to each other.
As I just put the phone down from talking to Tim, I noticed a Little Egret feeding on the salt water pool, this must have only just flown in as I had checked the pool for a second time from the reed bed.
It turns out the Little Egret had been seen earlier at Hightown by Jack Taylor whilst on the WEBB's count, he saw it flying south from there at 14.00, I first picked it up at 14.10, so it was pretty quick getting here.
It was too much for Tim to bare (Little Egret is still a rare visitor here), he arrived with wife in tow to see the bird, which had moved closer to the pump station edge of mud.
Not a bad days birding in the north west, at two of the best sites locally.
I joined three of the regulars to huddle under the hide b screen in what can only be described as monsoon conditions, it was chucking it down with hail included, the problem was the screen wasn't offering the best protection from the elements, as we were getting almost as wet as if we were outside.
As the showers decreased slightly, I took my chance to get to the other hide, but still managed to get caught by a heavy one.
The causeway was packed out with gulls and terns, a 1sts Med gull with a bright orange bill was standing amongst the few Black-headed gulls present.
The 1sts Grey Plover was on the end of the causeway as was the Little Ringed Plover, and 120 Dunlin flew in to bathe on the edge.
Gavin Thomas noticed 2 adult Little Terns flying in, which promptly landed on the causeway amongst the Common Terns, these are the first for the year here.
Whilst checking through the gulls, I managed to see a bird drifting between some Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls which stood out, it was another 1sts Caspian Gull, with a classic long dark bill, long sloping pale head, long primaries, holding them up high whilst on the water.
I managed to get some record shots (digi-scoped) off, although it was distant (as always ) on the cormorant island.
Other birds included the 2nds Ring-billed Gull in again, a 1sts Yellow-legged Gull, 2 1sts Little Gulls and the 1sts Grey Plover.
The weathers a touch cooler today, with a force 4 NW blowing into the hide, the 1sts Grey Plover still around on the salt water pool, 3 1sts Little Gulls, 35 Swift, 45 Swallow, 6 House and 1 Sand Martin.
A sunny start with some heavy showers greeted my arrival at Seaforth, A single Sedge Warbler has taken up a corner of the reed bed, while the Whitethroat still sings from below the mound.
There are still 2 1sts and 1 ads Little Gulls feeding over the pool, and the Common Terns are now at 150, also on the increase are Common Gulls, particularly 1st s birds with 35 on the causeway, and the 2nd s Ring-billed Gull.
Groups of Dunlin have been moving through, with a total of 200+ today, amongst them what looked like an arctica race bird.
The 2 Greylag Geese still present from yesterday, also 30 Swift, 8 House Martin, 13 Swallow and 2 Common Sandpiper, on what was a cold cloudy day.
With overnight rain, I was hoping for a few grounded birds, but sadly the wind was from the north-west, not a good sign.
The only new birds in were a pair of Shoveler on the scrape in front of hide C and a noisy pair of Greylag Geese.
The Whitethroat was still holding territory below the mound, as was the lone Little Ringed Plover still looking for a mate.
A misty start, and the wind still from the SE, surely something will turn up today, (or should that be Tern).
A 1sts Grey Plover was hiding amongst the strandline rubbish on the salt water pool, while 2 Whimbrel flew north and another landing on the long bank.
The Little Gulls are still present with 17 birds, and the odd summer plumaged Kittiwake are dropping in for a bathe on the fresh water pool, probably from the breeding colony on the dock wall.
On the causeway, 80+ Common Terns with a group of 5 Sandwich dropping in to join them, and at last an Adult summer Arctic Tern was gracefully flying over the fresh water pool dipping low to pick insects off the surface of the water.
The 2nds Ring-billed Gull flew in to roost amongst a handful of 1sts Common Gulls, which are slowly building up, and hopefully with another 1sts Ring-billed appearing with them.
The 2 Sandwich Tern came in again, and the Little gulls have gone back up to 16, the feeling this year is that they haven't done the usual build up by feeding on here and Crosby Marina, but they have stayed feeding offshore and then left in smaller groups than they do normally when the conditions have been favourable.
Another group of Black-tailed Godwits have arrived today with 20 birds of various stages of moult, also 6 Little Gulls still present and a familiar call rang out before 2 Mediterranean gulls flew in a handsome 2nds and a 1sts, both calling as they circled round the reserve before leaving without landing.
These are the first Meds I've seen since early february on here, March was very and unusually quiet for them.
The first Sandwich Terns to actual land on the reserve came in noisily and settled on the causeway amongst the ever growing numbers of Common Tern, now at 80+, also 1 Greenshank feeding on the salt water pool and 2 distant Buzzards were the other highlights for today.
At Seaforth a new 2nds Yellow-legged Gull was bathing on the fresh water pool, this bird having a subterminal band on the bill compared to the last one I had here.
Not much else a part from the first migrating group of Dunlin moving North with 9 birds calling like referee's whistles.
40 Swift, 2 Sand Martin, 5 House Martin 10 Swallow where also on thre move, with 10 Wheatear still feeding along the long bank area.
News of a Black Kite that had gone to roost at Barnston on the Wirral, had me arrive early today at Seaforth in the hope that it would continue on its journey Northwards and over here.
As I missed the only record for Seaforth in 1994, there was no way I was going to miss the chance of catching up with it here.
A phone call from Tim, who was heading over there to see it, still couldn't drag me away, what if I go over there and the bird flies off in the direction of Seaforth?, I would go up the wall to put it mildly.
I politely refused and carried on my lone vigil, scanning from hide C which gives a more open view of the reserve, if it flies over now I'll see it for sure.
After an hour or so, Tim phones to say the bird has left the area and is possibly headed my way, he didn't managed to get there in time before the bird flew off NE.
Still nothing flying over, it must have changed direction, damn it, I've missed another chance. I walk out of the hide to go to hide A to check out the causeway, as I got to the end of the path, a bird flushed from the ground calling, it was a Woodlark !!, it flew low over the fence towards the small nature reserve in the South-East corner of Crosby Marina.
I phoned Tim to tell him the news, who immediatly left the Wirral and headed for the marina.
When he arrived however, there was another birder walking inside the fenced off area, who may have inadvertently flushed it off without recognising the call as a walk around revealed nothing.
This was the first record for Seaforth and only the second for Lancashire, so it was worth staying put after all.
Other birds here today included the 2nds Ring-billed Gull, 1 1sts + 1 2nds Yellow-legged Gulls, 50 Common Tern, 2 Sandwich Tern, 11 Whimbrel flew North, 17 Little Gulls, 45 Swift, 4 Sand Martin, 10 Swallow, 10 House Martin.
A new bird for the year at Seaforth, a Greenshank flew up from the edge of the fresh water pool, and landed on the small scrape in front of hide C.
Not much else new in with birds still lingering from the other day.
Another day at Seaforth with a similar picture of yesterdays birds, still 5+ Wheatear, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Willow Warbler and now 2 Little Ringed Plover, 2 common Sands, 10 House Martin, 1 Sand Martin, 50 Swallow and 30 Swifts.
The wind is still from the SE, and with it a small trickle of migrants arriving at Seaforth, with 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, 10 Wheatear, 15 White Wagtail and 2 common Sands.
Small numbers of hirundines were moving through, with 15 Swallow, 5 house Martin also 30 Swifts.
A quick look offshore produced 4 Sandwich Terns and 2 Harbour Porpoise just off the radar tower.
On the causeway, 10 Little Gulls, 1 1sts Yellow-legged Gull, 25 Common Terns and the 2nds Ring-billed Gull which has started to put more appearances in here.
Bird of the day however was a 1sts Caspian Gull, located at the far end of the causeway, several photos were obtained including some underwing shots to help in getting this record accepted, there have been several Caspian Gulls here and elsewhere on the Sefton coast that have not been given the seal of approval as it were.
Another good feel factor type of day, produced 1 Male Lesser Whitethroat singing from the marina Buckthorn along with a Blackcap, 3 Willow Warbler were in the bushes on the long bank, 2 Whitethroat, 15 Wheatear, 25 White Wagtail and a Sedge Warbler singing from the reedbed.
Bird of the day was heard then seen in the brambles below the mound, in the form of a Grasshopper Warbler, the last one I saw here was over 13 years ago, so was most appreciated.
The Common Terns have increased the noise level a touch with 13 birds screaming about the place, (it was so peaceful in the winter), 2 Common Sandpiper and 2 Buzzards flew North, a good days birding on the local patch.
Overnight rain had worked its magic, with a small fall of common migrants, 7 Willow Warbler, 5 Whitethroat, 3 Yellow Wagtail amongst 50 White Wagtail and an impressive 50 Wheatear.
A cracking male Redstart was singing in the buckthorn just the other side of the fence but elusive. Other birds included 30+ Swift, 10 Swallow, 10 House Martin, 2 Common Sandpiper, the Little Ringed plover still present, 8 Little Gulls and 7 Common Terns mixed with a few remaining winter visitors like, the 1stw Female Scaup, 3 goldeneye and 1 Pochard.
It is the anniversery of the Black Kite today, 13 years ago this bird graced the skys above Seaforth, and I missed it!, it still hurts to think of it, there is always a possiblity of another, but when?
The Little Owl put in another showing today and a Buzzard flew South, the Little Gulls have increased to 40 and the White Wagtails are now at 50, apart from that nothing else new.
Not much change at Seaforth, the same list of birds with nothing new, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 35 White Wagtail, 30 Swift, 7 Swallow, 20 Sand Martin, 4 Little Gulls and 58 Black-tailed Godwits.
A wet morning has brought a lot of hirundines down at Seaforth, with 50+ Swallow, 12 House Martin, 10 Sand Martin and also 28 Swift feeding low over the pool.
The familiar crys of 2 Common Tern heralded their return, still 7 Little Gulls, 15 Wheatear and now 45 White Wagtails one of which was found to be wearing a ring from Iceland (read via digital photo).
A Whitethroat has set up territory on the mound and now 2 Little Ringed Plover the returning pair?, and the Black-tailed Godwit flock stands at 50 and getting more colourful.
A better feel to the birding today, a noteable increase in most birds today with 20 Wheatear, 30 White Wagtail and amongst them the first Yellow Wagtail, a nice male which was quickly chased off by an aggressive White.
Two other new birds for the year were a Common Sandpiper on the edge of the fresh water pool, and a Little Ringed Plover on the long bank.
Birds moving through were 10 Swallow, 10 Swift and 4 Sand Martin, 7 Little Gulls were feeding over the pool, 3 Kittiwake came in for a quick bathe as did the usual 2ndw-s Ring-billed Gull.
A nice sunny morning and winds light and from the SE, but there appeared very little moving at Seaforth. 3 Whimbrel flew NE, 1 Willow Warbler in the bushes, 10 White Wagtail on the long bank, 6 House Martin, 8 Swallow, 6 Swift and 5 Little gulls feeding over the fresh water pool, with 42 Black-tailed Godwit on the salt Water pool and 1 lingering 1stw Female Scaup.
Whilst gardening in my sister's garden, I was alerted to the Lesser Black-backed Gulls crys, signaling a nearby raptor.
A distant view of a bird large enough to be a Buzzard was seen flying away, but as I turned to carry on my work, I looked up to see a Red Kite drifting slowly over on bowed wings.
I raced to my car to get my bins and watched the bird circling overhead, twisting its tail rudder like, before it eventually drifted North.
An excellent local record, unfortuneatly for Tony Small, who lives nearby, he was at work when I phoned him it was probably over his house at the time.
Today seems a typical spring day, sunny with a cool light breeze from the North, 20+ White Wagtail feeding on the long bank, 6 Whimbrel on the Salt water pool, 3 House Martin, 4 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, 4 Wheatear and just a single Little gull, when usually around this time of the month there should be between 150-300+ with bigger counts on later dates.
A foggy morning greeted my arrival to Seaforth N.R., it soon cleared to reveal 2 grounded Fieldfare on the long bank, 6+ Wheatear, 10+ Swallow, 1 Sand Martin and a Chiffchaff.
Over the main pool 26 Little Gulls were feeding on the newly emerged Chironimids, and the 2nd w-s Ring-billed Gull was on the causeway.
A quick walk around the Rimrose C.P., produced 8+ Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, 15+ Willow Warbler and a Jay.
A male Blackcap in the bushes at hide B at Seaforth indicated more migrants had arrived, also 1 Whimbrel flew north, 1 Redpoll also flew north calling, 1 Sand Martin and 3 Jackdaw.
Birds which were on the reserve included, 6 Wheatear, 45 Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Little Gulls, 10 White Wagtail and 10 Reed Bunting.
An early morning start at Seaforth N.R. was rewarded with a Tree Pipit flying over calling, and other signs of spring included, Willow Warbler singing, 11 White Wagtail, 8 Wheatear, 2 House Martin, 1 Swallow and 60 Little Gulls.
Another new migrant in for the year with 3 male Blackcaps singing on Rimrose C.P.
The Willow Warbler from yesterday still singing along with the Chiffchaff and the first 2 Sand Martins flew through the Rimrose C.P.
A walk arond Rimrose valley C.P. produced the first singing Willow Warbler of the year, also 3 Chiffchaff.
A cool but sunny day had obviously enticed a flock of Little Gulls onto Crosby Marina with 60 birds feeding over the main lake, and another 11 at Seaforth.
On the long bank near hide C, 2 Wheatear were feeding around the rabbit burrows, 4 Shoveler on the small scrape and an imm Peregrine flew over.
As I approached the hide at Seaforth N.R., a Little Owl flew off the wall that leads to hide A, its nice to see its still here.
Not much else of note today apart from an Ads Yellow-legged Gull amongst the gulls and 1 Adw Little Gull.
A handsome Male Ruddy Duck was a new bird in for the month, also 1 Male Wheatear still present, and an ever increasing flock of Black-tailed Godwit now standing at 45.
The 2ndw Ring-billed Gull made an appearance on the fresh water pool, the first time i've seen it on here, this bird turned up last May as a 1sts and has been hard to connect with especially for me personally.
A walk around the long bank at Seaforth N.R. finally paid off with a cracking Male Wheatear at last!
It was looking like a blank month for the first time ever, and time was running out, its always a bit of a competition who will find the first of the year, I thought I'd found until I was told JD had already had it in the morning.
Other birds on the reserve today included, 2 Shoveler, 3 Female Scaup, 30 Goldeneye and 1 Adw Little Gull.
A local trip to Southport Marshside to see the Green-winged Teal, seemed like a visit to Norfolk, as the first birds I saw and heard were Avocets flying past the car park, a surreal event which is still only a new found thing, look back 5 or 6 years and they were still a rare bird in the North West, now there breeding at 4-5 well known birding sites.
The Green-winged Teal was very easy located outside the main hide and at times to close for the telescope.
Other birds included 35+ Avocets, 100+ Black-tailed Godwits, hundreds of Wigeon, Teal, Pintail and Gadwall.
As it is the month of March, it was only apt to see some mad March Hares, boxing and chasing each other on the far side of the reserve.
A little further North at Crossens marsh, 4 Little Egrets were seen feeding out in the ditches and small pools.
Nearing the end of March and still no Wheatears, will we get the first time ever that no Wheatears turn up in March at Seaforth?
1 Adw little Gull still lingering after the gales, and amongst the gull roost on the causeway several Scandinavian Herring Gulls.
Searching through the gulls on the pool, a 1stw Kumliens Gull was located, pale edged primaries with slightly darker brown centres, pale greater coverts, light brown tertials. The bill was two thirds dark pale at the base. In flight it revealed a thin light brown tail band, pale windows on inner primaries with dark tips, similar to Thayer's Gull.
A quick visit to Seaforth revealed 3 Scaup and 1 Adw Little Gull.
Still cold and very windy, 12 Little Gulls taking shelter on the causeway, 37 Goldeneye and still one Female Scaup, 1 Male Shoveler provided a touch of colour on this dull grey day.
Very strong overnight winds from the WNW force 7-8, forced a large group of Little Gulls with 131 seen (128 Ad + 3 1stw) onto the fresh water pool at Seaforth, also 1 Adw Yellow-legged Gull and 7+ Scandinavian Herring Gulls, 4 Kittiwake.
A scarce bird here these days, Red-breasted Merganser was also brought in by the winds with 3 birds (2 Male + 1 Female), other birds of note included 30 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 30 Dunlin.
Mid March and still no sign of any Wheatears, but 7 Adw Little Gulls were flying around Crosby Marina, 1 1stw Yellowlegged Gull was on the fresh water pool at Seaforth with 26 Goldeneye and 1 Scaup.
The 2ndw Ring-billed Gull was finally seen today after 20+ visits to look for it this year, it was feeding on Crosby Beach and showed well.
A brief walk around the Crosby Marine Park to look for Wheatears, revealed none found but 2 Whooper Swan seen flying off from Seaforth N.R. past the radar Tower and down the Mersey.
The first signs of spring today at Crosby Marine Park, with a Chiffchaff singing in the Marina gardens, and a White Wagtail feeding on the grass near the small boating lake.
With the continuing cold spell, there were slight increases in the duck counts, Tufted have increased to 30, Pochard 31,19 Goldeneye and 14 Scaup while 6 Sanderling were on the beach at Crosby.
The fog cleared, but the weather still cold with an overnight frost, 1 Female Scaup with 27 Pochard and 29 Tufted while 2 Adw Med Gulls were in the roost.
A cold and foggy day at Seaforth produced only 7 Little Grebe, 25 Pochard, 18 Goldeneye and An Adult w Med Gull.
An early start saw the Scilly Team, John, Tony, Alex and myself in the middle of Yorkshire to see the Pacific Diver which had been well picked out by a sharp eyed birder at Farnham gravel pits, who noticed the birds smaller size, notable dark neck band and lack of white thigh patch being the most notable identification features of seperatng this potential split from Black-throated Diver.
The bird performed well for the large crowd as it dived close in on occasions, and the in frequent preening allowing all the features to be examined closely.
After having our fill, we decided to take the opportunity to see the American Robin which was only 25 or so miles away in Bradford.
The bird was on show upon arrival feeding on a track at 60yds range, just behind some gardens on a piece of parkland.
Another great bird and my fourth following birds at Cornwall, Grimsby and Scilly.
A short trip to Downholland Moss was called for, to see the Ad Lesser Snow Goose which had been easily picked out amongst the 200+ Pink-footed Geese, being a white phase bird.
It was seen feeding close to the road which is a bonus here as sometimes the geese are miles out, thus allowing good scope views.
After watching for 20 minutes or so, I started to scan the rest of the flock, and picked out a Eurasian White-fronted Goose with its pink bill seperating the race from Greenland birds which are more commoner winter visiters here.
There was also an odd hybrid amongst them, of unknown parentage.
A quick check at Seaforth N.R.revealed 3500+ Common Gulls, 10500 Black-headed and 10 Scandinavian Herring.
The Scaup flock counted 40 and with it a hybrid Lesser Scaup type bird which gained a second look.
Just 2 Ad w Little Gulls and 1 Adw Med Gull ( a new bird with dark legs) being the other interesting birds.
Not much of note today other than the Scaup flock, which has now gone up to 41, with 310 Teal, 27 Pochard and 16 Goldeneye.
The continuing stormy weather, bringing heavy hail showers amongst the high winds, has increaed the number of Little gulls sheltering on the causeway to 30 (27 Adw +1 1stw +2 2ndw), as wll as an Adult w Med Gull and 4 Kittiwake.
Stormy weather overnight and continuing today, WNW 8-9 making watching from the hide very uncomfortable to say the least.
The Scaup flock has increased to 34, with 21 Goldeneye, and what was notable were 63 Adult and 2 3rdw Scandinavian Gulls, amongst the 3000+ Herring, also 10 adw + 11stw Little Gulls and 2500 Common and 1 2ndw Med Gulls.
A visit to Crosby Marina in windy conditions, SW 5-6 with occasional showers, produced 1 Adult Little Gull on the small boating lake, joined in the roost by an Adult Med Gull.
At Seaforth Nature Reserve, 2 Little Gulls, an Adult and a 1stw, 2 Adw + 1 2ndw Med Gulls, An Adw Yellow-legged Gull and a flock of 30 Scaup amongst 22 goldeneye were the highlights.
6th January 2007
The first days birding of the year, brought myself and Tim Vaughan to Moore Tip in Cheshire, on a wet and cold day, not very comfortable watching gulls on the side of the hill.
It took 25 minutes or so to get the eye in, with so many gulls whirling around, focusing in on any one bird can be daunting.
We soon came across large numbers of Scandinavian Herring Gulls (Argentatus), of all ages, amongst them an Adult Yellow-legged Gull was easily seperated by its clean white head, smaller white tipped primaries and of course its yellow legs.
A little while longer, a 1stw Iceland Gull appeared amongst the many thousands of gulls, gleaming white and easy to follow, it gave good views before dissapearing behind the mound out of sight.
Another bird that became obviously different was a 4thw or Adult Kumlien's Gull which was seen a dozen times or so in flight and briefly on the ground.
It was picked out by its Iceland Gull structure and similar paleness, with restricted amounts of black on the primaries.
Close views were had of a 1stw Mediterranean Gull feeding amongst the Black-headed Gulls, joined shortly later by a 2ndw bird.
On the near-by Nature reserve, Treecreeper, Jays, a good selection of garden and woodland birds were attracted to the feeding station, also 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers.