Mersey Birders

Birding the North West

Birders Diary Blog

Nice couple of year ticks 13th Jan

Posted on January 14, 2014 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (7)

A long over due visit to Moore NR paid off with excellent views of the male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, busy digging out a new nest hole in a dead tree stump, it was oblivious to anyone watching it at a fairly close range.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Moore NR 13th Jan 2014

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Moore NR 13th Jan 2014

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Moore NR 13th Jan 2014

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Moore NR 13th Jan 2014


Other birds in the area included the usual  woodland variety, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Siskin, Jay, Redwing, Common Buzzard, and a quick look on the pools provided lots of Wigeon, a few Great Crested Grebe and Little Grebes, Shoveler, Gadwall, but nothing of note amongst the gulls.


We moved on to Burton Marsh for another look at the Buff-bellied Pipit, which was showing immediately upon arrival, and fairly close on the tide debris with Meadow pipits and 2 Stonechats.

Buff-bellied Pipit Burton Marsh 13th Jan 2014

Buff-bellied Pipit Burton Marsh 13th Jan 2014

Hen Harriers and Short-eared Owls 21 st Nov

Posted on December 31, 2013 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Good views of at least 2 ringtail Hen Harriers pre-roost in low winter sunlight, also at least 4 Short-eared Owls in the area and 1 Barn Owl at an undisclosed site.

Ringtail Hen Harrier 21st Nov 2013

Ringtail Hen Harrier 21st Nov 2013

Ringtail Hen Harrrier 21st Nov 2013

Short-eared Owl 21st Nov 2013

Short-eared Owl 21st Nov 2013

Also a couple of Stonechats, plenty of Common Buzzards and Kestrels about in the area.



Buff-belllied Pipit 28th Dec

Posted on December 30, 2013 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Not much birding has been done lately due to weather and the usual winter bugs, a brief visit was made for the drk Baikal Teal at Crossens Outer marsh, it was seen with Wigeon and Teal near the main southport coast rd after going missing for an hour or two, also seen were 2 Great White Egrets out on the marsh, but time was short and an appointment forced an early exit, with no time to see the Long-tailed duck at Marshside, still it was good to see a Mega not too far from home.


Another North-west mega turned up on a local marsh, this time on the Dee at Burton point, Denhall lane, where a Buff-bellied Pipit had been found feeding on the tide debris washed up after exceptionally high winds and tides produced a surge recorded on most of the UK's coastline, quite devasting on the east coast, causing flooding and sea walls/embankments to be breached.

Buff-bellied Pipit Burton Marsh 28th Dec 2013

Buff-bellied Pipit Burton Marsh 28th Dec 2013

Buff-bellied Pipit Burton Marsh 28th Dec 2013


Buff-bellied Pipit Burton Marsh 28th Dec 2013


The bird was heard to call and then seen in flight before it dropped down onto the marsh, but couldn't be relocated for some time, but eventually it showed well, with a few Meadow Pipiits, also 4-5 Stonechats and an unseasonal Wheatear, which appears to be wintering here, 1-2 Siberian Chiffchaffs showed well on the edge of the marsh, but didn't call once while we were there, a brief view of a Kingfisher flying across the sheep field the otherside of the road and several Redwing and Fieldfare were also in the area.

Stonechat Burton Marsh 28th Dec 2013

Wheatear and Stonechat Burton Marsh 28th Dec 2013

Wheatear Burton marsh 28th Dec 2013

Abietinus/tristis Chiffchaff Burton marsh 28th Dec 2013

Abietinus/tristis Chiffchaff Burton marsh 28th Dec 2013

Siberian Chiffchaff Burton marsh 29th Dec 2013

Weasel Burton marsh 28th Dec 2013



Large Heath and White-faced Darters 19th June

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (5)

A trip up into south Cumbria on a warm sunny day, for Butterflies and Dragonflies, paid off, as we connected with more than we expected.


First stop was Meathop Moss, just off the A590 heading for Barrow-in-Furness, J36 off M6, the area is a SSSI and is managed for its plants and Butterflies on this peat bog and is run by the Cumbria Trust.


As we walked through the small wood before getting out onto the boardwalk, a Spotted Flycatcher was heard and then seen in a bare tree with food, parties of tits called in the bushes and several Willow Warblers and a Sedge Warbler sang along the route.

Juv Robin Meathop Moss Cumbria 19th June 2013


Out onto the boardwalk, with Cotton-grass bobbing in the breeze, Large Red Damselflies and Four-spottted chasers were numerous, a Hobby flew low and away from us as we had our heads down looking for the Butterflies, it landed some distance away in a dead tree.

Large Red Damselfly Meathop Moss Cumbria 19th June 2013


After a short while we came upon our first Large Heath keeping low amongst the heather and cotton-grass, but it just continued without landing, another 3 were seen with one landing briefly but deep in cover.


Along the route, Sundew can be seen next to the track, a small Adder was located under a sheet of corrugated plastic.


After getting the target species we moved just a short distance across the A590 via the underpass to another SSSI site, to Latterbarrow, here Greater Butterfly and Common Spotted Orchids were abundant in the rich flower meadow, and 2 Fly Orchids were located amongst the grass, but the specialty of this small site are the Northern Brown Argus, and we managed to see two of these great little Butterflies.

Greater Butterfly Orchid Latterbarrow Cumbria 19th June 2013

Fly Orchid Latterbarrow Cumbria 19th June 2013

Northern Brown Argus Latterbarrow Cumbria 19th June 2013

Northern Brown Argus underwing Latterbarrow Cumbria 2013

Northern Brown Argus Latterbarrow Cumbria 19th June 2013


We carried on to Foulshaw moss, again not too far away, just a short drive back down the A590, this is a vast area of peat bog, again very similar to Meathop Moss in species, here we had 3 Tree Pipits singing in display flight, lots of Four-spotted Chasers, 2-3 Emperor Dragonflies, lots of Azure and Large Red Damselflies, and at least 3 White-faced Darters on the 3-4 newly dug pits, also here were more Large Heath and showing better, with at least 5-6 seen and one photographed, we also had a distant view of an Osprey, an excellent day out, another place to come back to in the summer months, as there are still more to see in the area according to butterfly and dragonfly flight times.

White-faced Darter Foulshaw Moss Cumbria 19th June 2013

White-faced Darter Foulshaw Moss Cumbria 19th June 2013

Large Heath Butterfly Foulshaw Moss Cumbria 19th June 2013

Common Lizard Foulshaw Moss Cumbria 19th June 2013

Here comes summer 5th-8th June

Posted on June 14, 2013 at 6:30 AM Comments comments (0)

The start of summer were birding can sometimes take a back seat, and Butterflies and Dragonflies grab the interest until the birding kicks in again, its been that quiet at Seaforth, you wouldn't notice any difference between spring and summer anyway.

Plenty of young rabbits this year

keeping an eye out for the foxes that are close by.


Great Crested Grebe Seaforth NR 7th June 2013

Lapwing Seaforth NR 7th June 2013


Loggerheads 4th June

Posted on June 13, 2013 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Another trip away from Seaforth, for a change of scenery, a short trip just into North Wales to Loggerheads near Ruthin/Mold, not the best time to go here as the leaves are fully out and shade the river, and bird song can be over for some species, but because of the late spring, there was a chance of some birds still setting up territory.


A pair of Dippers were on the river collecting food for young at a nest somewhere on the river, but the river was as expected shaded too much and was hard getting any decent shots, also a pair of Grey Wagtails with 3-4 fledged juvs.

Dipper Loggerheads 4th June 2013

Dipper Loggerheads 4th June 2013

Dipper Loggerheads 4th June 2013

Juv Grey Wagtail Loggerheads 4th June 2013


A single male Pied Flycatcher was located on top of the highest tree in the valley singing, this seems to be the only one here, a place that used to have several pairs, no Redstarts seen and just one Spotted Flycatcher, no Wood Warblers heard or seen, and maybe absent from here altogether.


A Treecreeper was seen entering a nest with food, and a Raven flew over with food, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaffs were heard singing.

Treecreeper Loggerheads 4th June 2013

Raven over Loggerheads 4th June 2013

Near by some scarce orchids were seen, Bird's Nest Orchids, with at least 6 located, not quite in flower.


A short drive up to Clocaenog forest produced one male Redstart singing near the picnic site, several Siskins, Goldcrest and Coal Tits in song, but not much else.

Raptors on the mosses 2nd June

Posted on June 13, 2013 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

A change of scenery, with the north-westerlies set in for a while, I gave up the idea of sitting in the hide at Seaforth, freezing in June, while the sun was shining, so headed up towards Altcar Moss.


Parking in the usual place for a couple of hours produced 6 species of raptor, with the usual kestrel x2, Sparrowhawk x2, Common Buzzard x6, Peregrine, a female Marsh Harrier which stayed out of photo range and a superb Hobby which was always distant, but a good prolonged view as it effortlessly glided over fields, being mobbed by Lapwings and then gained height to just below the Cumulus cloud base (roughly 1500ft), before coming down and speeding past, again too distant for a photo, before heading towards Ince Blundell.


Nearby at Lunt Meadows, Broad-bodied Chaser and Four-spot Chaser were on the wing in a warm sheltered woodland ride, with Peacock Butterflies, Green-veined, Large and Small Whites.

Broad-bodied Chaser Lunt 2nd June 2013

Four-spot Chaser Lunt 2nd June 2013

Peacock Butterfly Lunt 2nd June 2013


Lots of Reed and Sedge Warblers singing in the reedy ditches, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, and the Little Owl was located in some tall trees.

Willow Warbler Lunt 2nd June 2013

Little Owl Lunt 2nd June 2013

Good local birding 2nd Mar.

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Another return visit to Moore NR was called for, due to the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker showing very well all week by recent reports and photo's, unfortunately, it only showed briefly in the morning, and wasn't seen after that.


The trip wasn't wasted however, as the spring like conditions had a lot of bird activity, some of which was captured on film, so to speak.


The redhead Smew was still present on Birchwood pool and showing well, along with 2 Goldeneye, lots of Gadwall and Shoveler and Great Crested and Little Grebes.

Female Smew Moore NR 2nd March 2013

Female Smew Moore NR 2nd March 2013

Great Crested Grebe Moore NR 2nd March 2013

Shovelers Moore NR 2nd March 2013

Shoveler Moore NR 2nd March 2013

Siskins were still feeding  in Alders, Nuthatch and Treecreepers, Coal, Great and Long-tailed Tits singing, all the usual sound of a woodland, and Great Spots drumming.

Common Buzzard Moore NR 2nd March 2013


Lots of gulls were circling up overhead from the nearby tip and a juv Iceland was picked out as it spiraled high up with the masses, it or another was seen on the pumphouse flash amongst the flock and was joined by another, which looked like a juv, but on photos taken by Andy through his astro scope, have revealed a pale eye, which is a second winter feature, the mantle however was still juv like with no hint of grey, so possibly a retarded 2ndw, or a pale winged 2ndw Kumlien's which show the pale eye, but don't always have a grey mantle until much later on, this bird is quite a large bird and is possibly the bird seen distantly at Richmond Bank, were the eye colour can't be picked out. pic here http://www.flickr.com/photos/apbirdman/8526219120/in/photostream .

Iceland Gull/Kumlien's Gull 2ndw? Moore NR 2nd March 2013


As the cloud started to come in mid afternoon, we decided to go to Parkgate, in the hope of some Short-eared Owls which have been showing well from the old baths car park.


We were not there long when we had 2 male Hen Harriers hunting distantly over the marsh and flushing pipits as they went, a Merlin followed one bird and eventually chased a small passerine towards the prom.

Male Hen Harrier Parkgate Marsh 2nd March 2013

Short-eared Owls over Parkgate Marsh 2nd March 2013

Short-eared Owl Parkgate Marsh 2nd March 2013

Short-eared Owl Parkgate Marsh 2nd March 2013

Short-eared Owl Parkgate Marsh 2nd March 2013

Short-eared Owl Parkgate Marsh 2nd March 2013

Short-eared Owl Parkgate Marsh 2nd March 2013

Short-eared Owl Parkgate Marsh 2nd March 2013

Short-eared Owl Parkgate Marsh 2nd March 2013

Short-eared Owl Parkgate Marsh 2nd March 2013

Short-eared Owl Parkgate Marsh 2nd March 2013



Not long after this a Short-eared Owl appeared and started to hunt quite close in, followed by two more and put on a bit of a show, chasing each other at times, while Little Egrets flew past and dropped into ditches and tall grass out of sight.

Little Egret Parkgate Marsh 2nd March 2013


A couple of Med Gulls were picked out as they called distantly over a small flooded area of the marsh amongst lots of Black-heads and Commons, and a very brief view of a Spoonbill which flew distantly over the marsh before dropping out of site.

Mere Sands 27th Feb

Posted on February 27, 2013 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

At last the sun has decided to come out, so I decided to go to Mere Sands Wood, now that all the sprogs have gone back to school, it should be a bit quieter, how wrong can you get.


The sounds of chainsaws rang out across the woods, I never seem to come here when they are not doing something, oh well, make the most of it while I'm here, I thought.


Still plenty of activity at the bird feeders, with Bullfinches, Coal Tits, Nuthatches, Tree Sparrows were busy collecting nesting material for the nestboxes, a few Reed Buntings, a Water Rail showed well below the Lancaster hide, the one through the visitor centre, and a couple of Great Spot Woodpeckers drummed in the woods.

Female Chaffinch Mere Sands Wood 27th Feb 2013

Robin Mere Sands Wood 27th Feb 2013

Male Bullfinch Mere Sands Wood 27th Feb 2013

Coal Tit Mere Sands Wood 27th Feb 2013

Male Bullfinch Mere Sands Wood 27th Feb 2013

Nuthatch Mere Sands Wood 27th Feb 2013

Nuthatch Mere Sands Wood 27th Feb 2013

Water Rail Mere Sands Wood 27th Feb 2013

Water Rail Mere Sands Wood 27th Feb 2013


At least 15 Goosander where out in front of the Redwing and Rufford hides, 2 Great Crested Grebes, and what looked like a Little Egret in amongst the reeds on an island, one had been seen last week, all quite distant, no sign of the Kingfisher while I was there, I can be patient, but the hide gets busier than Lime Street station, with people coming in and out, and the door that slides and sounds like a train every time its opened, you soon get pissed off, and have to leave.

Male and Female Goosander Mere Sands Wood 27th Feb 2013

Male and Female Goosander Mere Sands Wood 27th Feb 2013

Male Goosander Mere Sands Wood 27th Feb 2013

I was going to go to Martin Mere, I drove past the car park and seen it was absolutley chocker, and the words of the McDonalds advert came to mind "na yer alright".

Richmond Bank again 23rd Feb

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Another trip to Richmond bank for a bit of gulling, better light conditions today with dull low cloud, but cold with a biting easterly wind.


The first bird seen before we got to the main bank area was a 2ndw Iceland Gull which was floating about, mid river with a small group of gulls but showing well, what was probably a Glaucous gull was seen in flight heading away down river.

2ndw Iceland Gull Richmond bank 23rd Feb 2013

2ndw Iceland Gull Richmond bank 23rd Feb 2013


The main bank area contained a disapointing small amount of gulls compared to what is normally filling the whole bank, but it was still a good portion to sift through, and it wasn't long before a juv Iceland Gull was picked out, looking very Glaucous like due to its huge size and Glauc like bill, it was pale like Iceland but as big or even bigger than some of the Herring Gulls, it showed a lot better to reveal long primaries.

Juv Iceland Gull Richmond bank 23rd Feb 2013 huge bird.

Juv Iceland Gull Richmond bank 23rd Feb 2013 huge bird.


A 3rdw Iceland Gull was then picked out roosting in the middle of the flock, and a couple of 4thw Yellow-legged Gulls were noted, and then a huge Glaucous Gull appeared without being seen flying in, amazing how they can sneak in.

Juv Glaucous Gull Richmond bank 23rd Feb 2013


A couple more Yellow-legged Gulls were picked out, adw and 1stw, a probable hybrid Lesser X Herring Gull but not much else came in off the tip, despite the huge numbers wheeling around overhead, there was also no bathing on the far left of the bend as they come off the tip for some reason.


After leaving here, dropping Chris off, we continued onto Seaforth, with the gulls dropping in late afternoon at least 2 adw Med Gulls were seen, the yellow darvic irish bird and the old one legged white darvic bird with quite a lot of black to rear of crown now.


The adw Ring-billed Gull was picked out at 3.58pm but was gone within seconds off to crosby beach, another one of those quick bathes and not lingering, good to see its still about this winter, the Goldeneye count had gone up to 43, with 3 male Scaup (ad + 2 1stw) and a hybrid Tufted with grey on mantle was noted,


Site Last Updated

13th Jan 2014

On this day rare birds from the past

Monday, Oct 16 All Day
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Friday, Dec 8 All Day

Photo Equipment Used

The photos on this site are mainly digi-scoped thru a Leica 77 telescope, using a Nikon Coolpix 995 3.4 MP for the older shots and the more recent shots are with a Fujifilm Finepix Z20 10 MP and a Samsung NV9  hand held to the eye-piece.

Also a Canon DSLR 40D with a 28-90 mm, 80-200mm lenses, 350D, Sigma 500mm f4,5 APO EX DG HSM, 7D.

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