Mersey Birders

Birding the North West

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. A small number of permits are available from the Seaforth office contact Steve White for further details on 0151 920 3769.

Birders Diary 2007

Birders Diary 2008

May

11th

A very early rise this morning to catch up with the Dotterel at Plex Moss, I arrived at 06.00, as the sun was just getting above the trees, I managed to find 6 of the 18 birds that had been present the day before, 5 females and 1 male, nice birds, always distant and the light was a bit bright from the side, so only a record shot of one of the females, 20+ Whimbrel were also in the same field and several Wheatears.

record shot of Dotterel at Plex Moss May 09

I moved onto Hightown Dunes and had 1 Grasshopper Warbler reeling, and several Whitethroats, Sedge Warblers, lots of Swallows on the move and 1 Redpoll over.

Sedge Warbler Hightown Dunes May 09

Male Stonechat Hightown Dunes May 09

I carried onto Seaforth and joined PK who was already there, we walked around to the reebed and from there a 1sts Iceland was picked out on the fresh water pool at the far end, another bird for the year, and different to the bird on Friday, bringing the total so far to 8 birds.

1sts Iceland Gull Seaforth May 09

A Drake Whinchat sat up on the fence briefly before heading into the rubble mounds with the Wheatears, a nice bird, lots of Swallows were still moving thru here also, and a total of 100 had been logged before leaving.

Male Wheatear Seaforth May 09

2 1sts Med Gulls arrived separately, one bird with a green ring on, but it flew off without it being read, a 2nds Yellow-legged Gull was also in the roost of 550+ Herring Gulls mostly 1sts birds.

The noise from the Terns was quite deafening today, as they seemed to have come in en-mass, with 250+ Common and 24 Sandwich, but no sign of any Arctics.

Dunlin Seaforth May 09

While raptor watching an imm Peregrine was picked up high over the marina, it was then seen to mob a passing duck which turned out to be a Drake Goosander heading South-west, not a bad days birding, with 10 species of gull seen including 2 1sts Little and a Kittiwake.

10th

At last a change in the wind direction to a cold NE, but at least it has the easterly element to it, which is what you want in May, 2 Whitethroat had arrived overnight, and several more Wheatears, 100+ Swifts but distant and no sign of the Pallid Swift, which may have gone.

The Arctic Tern was still around with 33 Sandwich Terns, and an Ad male Peregrine flushed things for a while, while an overwieght copper plodded about on the long bank scaring even more birds than the Peregrine.

Flat foot on patrol Seaforth May 09

9th

The wind still in the West and quite strong, as it has been all week, but it didn't stop a 1sts Curlew Sandpiper from coming in with a flock of Dunlin, first of the year, a 1sts Yellow-legged Gull was near the causeway and showing well, 1 Whimbrel, 1 LRP, 200+ Dunlin and 2 Arctic Tern amongst the now growing Tern flock.

1sts Curlew Sand Seaforth May 09

1sts Yellow-legged Gull Seaforth May 09

Arctic Tern Seaforth May 09

Whimbrel Seaforth MAy 09

The Pallid Swift also came in over the reserve again over the long bank by hide c and was showing well, flying low over the bushes with several Swifts, the dull light not making it easy to pick out until it flew with something dark in the background, nice to be able to see a Pallid Swift on a regular basis on the local patch.

3rd

A short afternoon visit to Seaforth in bright sunshine, with nobody down and the Pallid Swift was flying around very low over hide a and showing very well, I even managed a record shot hand held with the compact Digital camera, its not brilliant but it shows a bit of brown on it.

Pallid Swift Seaforth May 09 (Honest)

2nd

With the Collared Flycatcher still at Portland Bill in Dorset on the Friday, an overnight trip was carried out, by myself, Tony Small and John Donnelly, with Pete failing to show, we arrived early into the street the bird had taken up residence in and waited for the sun to get the bird active, which it did after only a half hour wait with a growing crowd of 300+, anxious for a view.

the crowd outside the Flycatcher site.

Garden the Flycatcher was in

The bird showed well in the blossoming apple tree, and was heard to sing at times, only a record shot was taken as it was a bit more flighty than it had been over the past few days.

Record shot of Collared Flycatcher Portland May 09

A superb bird and a long awaited tick, we moved on towards the bird observatory but there were few migrants in, the weather was too good, hence why the Eastern Bonelli's Warbler which had been found on the Friday, had gone overnight.

Portland Bill Lighthouse

Portland old lighthouse bird Observatory

Broad-bodied Chaser Portland May 09

We asked for the directions for the Wall Lizards at the obs, and drove to the quarry were they were, and found about 25+ showing well basking on the scree of the disused quarry, much larger than Common or Sand Lizards and easy to get fairly close to.

Wall Lizards Portland May 09

A Spot Fly was newly arrived, with lots of Whitethroats, and a pair of Peregrines flew overhead from another quarry where they most probably breed.

1st

A sunny but showery day, which kept most of the Swifts that were around distant over Crosby, and that meant no sign of the Pallid Swift.

1 Arctic tern was amongst the Common and 32 Sandwich Terns, good numbers of Swallows moving thru and still good numbers of Wheatears arriving with 20+ birds and 19 Little Gulls were still hanging on.

The Pallid Swift came in late afternoon for those that missed it and showed really well over hide c again and then on Crosby Marina.

April

30th

An urgent text from Pete to phone him, got me dashing down to Seaforth sharpish, as he had a probable Pallid Swift flying over the long bank with Swifts.

I arrived to hide C were both he and Steve White were still watching the bird, it was distant at first but came closer to show all the features of Pallid Swift, it was one and showing well, excellent!

More phone calls and texts were made while one of us kept on the bird, it stayed long enough for Steve Young and Chris Galvin to quickly return from their journey South for the Crested Lark in Kent, luckily they had only got as far as St Helens.

They managed to get some shots of the bird, which isn't easy as the bird zoomed overhead and then changed direction, but Steve is well practised on Common Swifts and is a master blaster, and got some awesome shots of it, it was seen only by 7 of us before it drifted off with the improving weather, just as most people were arriving.

Pallid Swift Seaforth NR April 09 Steve Young (for better quality and updated pics of this bird see www.birdsonfilm.com).

The weather got considerably worse with heavy rain coming in for a good few hours but as some Common Swifts came in close to be checked there were others on Crosby Marina too far to see any detail, but the Pallid Swift didn't return.

Just when you thought you'd all ready had a good day, it got better with another excellent bird for the North-west with a Stone Curlew at Leasowe found by Mark Turner, myself and Pete dashed over and joined the small crowd of familiar faces and watched the bird in the same ploughed field that has had a Stone Curlew in, some 22 years ago amazing!

The bird was distant and the light wasn't so good for photos, so a record shot was all I could get, a great day in the North-west.

Stone Curlew Leasowe Wirral April 09

25th

A showery day with light rain brought in more Swifts with 12+, 12 Sand Martin, 10 House Martin and 50 Swallows, a Sedge Warbler (first of year) was in singing in the reedbed, 30+ Wheatears, 30+ White Wags, 1 yellow Wag, 2 Whitethroat and 2 Willow Warblers.

38 Dunlin flew inland on the light ESE winds, and the Little Gulls managed to get to 27, with 1 Arctic Tern and another new record count of Sandwich at 84.

Arctic Tern Seaforth April 09

Sandwich Terns on raft Seaforth April 09

24th

The first Swifts of the year arrived over the pool with 2 flying over the long bank area before drifting off, nice to see them back, also good numbers of Swallows, Sand and House Martins moving thru, a good fall of 30+ Wheatear were scattered all over the reserve, with 2 Yellow Wagtail and 30+ White Wags.

Wheatears at Seaforth April 09

2 Whitethroats were singing in the bushes with 1 Willow Warbler, a Common Sand had come in overnight, and the terns had increased to 35 Common, 80 Sandwich Terns (site record) and 2 Arctic Terns.

Common Sandpiper Seaforth April 09

23rd

Dunlin were on the move with 18 birds and 4 Ringed Plovers, probably tundrae race birds, but didn't stay long, 5 Wheatear came in late afternoon and brought with them a cracking male Whinchat, the first of the year.

Male Whinchat Seaforth April 09

22nd

A slightly better sunnier day, but still quiet for bird movement, a pair of Peregrines were displaying high over the reserve, a few Swallows were flying thru, a single Siskin flew South, 3 Whimbrel flew over and the Sandwich Terns have gone upto 36 and 20 Little Gulls.

21st

A cold North-west wind and slightly cloudier day than yesterday, which usually means no birds, and this held true, as there was very little around, just 2 Willow Warblers, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Chiffchaff, 5 house Martin, 6 Sandwich Tern, 4 Common Tern, 2 Whimbrel and a Common Buzzard flew North.

19th

Another warm and sunny day, I decided to have a go up at Hightown for the Grasshopper Warblers, there was a slight mist over Wales and north Wirral, but was still fine this side, the first Grasshopper Warbler was heard reeling from the Golf course side, and slightly distant, I caught up with SY, who had just arrived also and we had two more reeling birds, one of which started to show, but only for short periods, I managed a couple of quick record shots, before the cloud and cool breeze kicked in and stopped play.

11 Redpolls flew over calling, while out on the Alt estuary, thousands of Knot, Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Redshank, Sanderling and Turnstones were flying around, looking quite amazing.

I set off for Seaforth and left Steve to it, as I got to Seaforth I was told by Gav, that i'd just missed a Little Egret flying east, typical!.

A walk around checking all the bushes produced, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Fem Blackcap (first of year), 15+ White Wags, 7 Wheatear, 3 LRP and 2 Repoll over.

A flock of 4 Whimbrel flew over calling heading South, and a small trickle of hirundines, with 35 Swallow, 5 House and 1 Sand Martin, a group of 6+ Arctic terns flew past the hide and landed briefly on the causeway before departing, 8 Dunlin arrived in and settled on the causeway, 34 Little Gulls, 4 Common Terns, 6+ sandwich Terns and a Common Buzzard flew South.

Common Sandpiper Seaforth April 09

Common Tern Seaforth April 09

Overnight a male Pochard had joined the Tufted Ducks and the ads Great Crested Grebe flew from the marina and started to fish the FW pool, which is unusual, but very successful.

Great Crested Grebe Seaforth April 09

18th

A much warmer day with light South-east winds, plenty of birds on the move high overhead, mainly Gulls, but also 4 Redpoll, 27 Swallow, 5 Sand Martin, 4 House Martin, 1 Common Buzzard South and another flew north, and what looked like a Buzzard with a white tail distantly flying North, turned out to be a Harris hawk complete with jesses (has to be the same bird reported over Liverpool last week as a Rough-legged Buzzard), 1 Sparrowhawk flew very high North and a 1sts Iceland Gull (the bird with missing primary on left wing) flew south.

In the bushes 4 Willow Warblers, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Chiffchaff, 15 White Wags on the long bank, and the 2 LRPs were joined by another female.

A flock of 5 Common Terns flew in and 20 Little Gulls were feeding over the pool, when there was a big dread, everything taking off all over the place, I looked up above the hide and there was an Osprey hovering less than 100ft above the pool, a superb bird, which quickly turned and headed North, our 4th this spring.

Osprey over hide at Seaforth NR April 09 S.Morris

Ads Little Gull Seaforth NR April 09

17th

Another cloudy showery day, but warmer than of late, 2 Common Sands were around hide A on the scrape, 2 LRP, 16 Sandwich Terns and a better total of 73 Little Gulls which is still a low count for the time of year.

Ads Little Gull Seaforth NR April 09

The rain bringing in more Swallows, with 37+, 7 House and 5 Sand Martins, 50+ White Wags, 5 Wheatears and 2 Willow Warblers.

A male Peregrine flew low over the pool without catching anything and 2 Common Buzzards were soaring nearby.

A quick trip over to the Wirral to see the Red-rumped Swallow with Tim and Pete which has been around a couple of days, upon arrival we had just parked up when we told not to park there, as the guy had got his car stuck on the soft verge and was waiting for the AA to arrive.

We told the guy, get in we'll get you out and started pushing, as we did the Red-rumped flew over us, we paused briefly to look at it and thought, no problem get the man on his way and continue watching it, wrong!, as the guy gratefully got going again we started to look for the bird again, it took an hour later with a deadline looming before it came in close to the road and started showing well again, with just 5 mins to spare before we had to get back, nice bird, has to be last years bird returning to the same area again, just slightly inland from where it was last year.

16th

A much cooler day, the wind still ESE 1-2, but cloudy and showery, but ideal for bringing in birds, this was in evidence with 25-30 Wheatears, the largest count of the spring, most birds are Greenland birds, and some 10+ were caught and ringed, to add to a good number already caught this spring.

Greenland Wheatear Seaforth NR April 09

Amongst the Wheatears were 50+ White Wags, a male Yellow Wagtail on the ground briefly and a probable Blue-headed Wagtail seen distantly but had flown off before being confirmed.

A Common Sand was a new spring bird, with one on the Crosby Marina early morning, single Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were in the bushes, but very little else.

The Little Gulls arrived in with 20 birds all ads, and 12 Sandwich Terns, 2 Common Terns and 30 Swallows tried to catch what little there was in the insect world over the pool, with 10 House and 10 Sand Martins.

Ads Little Gulls Seaforth NR April 09

15th

The heavy showers have brought in 30 Swallows, 8 House Martin and 5 Sand Martin flying low over the pool, 50+ White Wags still around on the long bank area, with 2 Yellow Wagtails seen in flight calling, but not landing.

There were at least 12 Wheatears moving around the mounds and the long bank area, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 LRPs still and 2 grounded Song Thrush.

Wheatear Seaforth NR April 09

Near the tide, 14 Little Gulls came in (13ads + 1 1sts) and 28 Sandwich Terns, unexpected was a Little Tern which came in with 4 Common Terns.

Ad Little Tern Seaforth NR April 09

Sandwich Terns Seaforth NR April 09

A 1stw-s Yellow-legged Gull was in the roost on the long bank with good numbers of 1sts Herring and a mixture of ages of Lessers.

1stw-s Yellow-legged Gull Seaforth NR April 09

A summer plumaged Great Crested Grebe was still on the Marina and 25 Goldeneye were still on the fresh water pool with 8 Shoveler and 25 Tufted.

14th

A quiet day with little arriving or moving thru, just 2 Little Gulls all day, 1 Willow Warbler, 5 Sand Martin, 6 House Martin and 9 Swallow, with just 1 Wheatear amongst 40+ White Wagtails, these are obviously being held up somewhere, as numbers are usually much higher around these dates, hopefully there will be better numbers to come, when the conditions over Spain improves.

White Wagtails Seaforth April 09

Highlight of the day was the Female Peregrine which landed on the causeway and started to bathe in a small pool.

Ad Fem Peregrine Seaforth 14th April 09

mmmm.....Lunch!

13th

A foggy start to the day, eventually cleared late afternoon to bright sunshine, 2 Common Terns arrived and closely followed by 5 Sandwich Terns, which all roosted on the causeway, a Golden Plover was heard calling in the fog, and a small passage of hirundines moved thru with, 6 Sand Martin, 12 Swallow and 5 House Martin.

A flock of 20 Little Gulls came in briefly (19 Ads + 1 1stw-s), and 5 Wheatear moved thru the mounds, 2 LRP, 1 Chiffchaff were all that could be mustered for the day.

Ad Little Gull Seaforth April 09

12th

The good luck continued today, when a quiet Sunday with not much doing, became another red letter day, (in more ways than one), when a Red Kite drifted slowly over the saltwater pool at Seaforth, a large dread where everything totally freaked out, before it was located high up heading SW, a bird had been seen an hour or so before at Brockholes LWT heading West, so it was probably the same bird.

17 Little Gulls had a go at feeding over the pool, a Common Buzzard flew South, a Redpoll flew North and just one Willow Warbler singing near by.

11th

A cool North-Westerly blowing into the hide at Seaforth, usually means standing outside to view, good numbers of gulls were arriving all the time, and it had a good feel for a white-winged gull day, and we were not disappointed, when a 1sts Iceland Gull was located amongst the roost, as usual it wasn't seen to fly in, the interesting thing was when it started to preen, it revealed brown shaft streaks on the primaries and on tail, a slight mark was seen on the closed wing, this may well have been a Kumlien's Gull which was bleached and faded, as most of the bird was a very bright white.

1sts Iceland/Kumlien's Gull Seaforth 11th April 09

Movement was observed with a Raven heading North being mobbed by a Peregrine, another Peregrine flew high West, 2 Rook, 2 Siskin, 4 Common Buzzards, 6 House Martin and a few Swallows.

In the bushes 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff and 5 Wheatear in the mounds with 50+ White Wags, the Little Owl was on its occasional roost spot, 11 Little Gulls flew in and out again and 2 LRP.

Little Owl Seaforth 11th April 09

White Wagtail Seaforth 11th April 09

Surprise of the day was a Hoopoe, which was found by Tony Small as it came over the large wharehouse roof, being chased by a Magpie, it was in view for less than a minute, and then chased back over the wharehouse and lost to view, we searched all around but the bird couldn't be relocated, the second record for the reserve.

10th

An afternoon that seen the first rain showers for some time brought in 6 Willow Warblers, 2 Chiffchaff, 14 Swallows, 2 House Martin, 1 Sand Martin, 50 White Wags and 6 Wheatears and still only small numbers of Little Gulls with just 13 seen.

White Wagtail Seaforth 10th April 09

9th

The steady SE winds are still blowing today, and with it some arrivals, 6 Wheatear, 7 Sand Martin, 2 House Martin, 6 Swallow, 4 Sandwich Tern (first of year), 1 Willow Warbler and 3 Little Gulls.

6th

The hoped for Osprey from yesterday arrived at 11.15 and headed north over the marina and circled briefly before being lost in the low cloud, a Common Buzzard flew East, 2 Swallow and 7 Sand Martin were "grounded" by the light rain shower and a Willow Warbler has joined the single Chiffchaff in the bushes, 2 Wheatear on the long bank and now 27 White Wags by hide C.

5th

A much better warmer, sunnier day, and it showed promise of an Osprey today, with 4 Common Buzzards on the move, a Swallow and 3 Sand Martins, the Ads Ring-billed Gull came in briefly in the morning, before heading inland to feed on fields no doubt.

A trip up to Southport Marshside to see a Woodlark showing from Nels hide was made, the bird was distant and into a heat haze, but unfortunately the bird turned out to be a Skylark, several Avocets and Little Egrets were on show and a good flock of Golden Plovers were in summer plumage, it will be worth keeping an eye on these for a Yank Golden.

4th

Strong North-westerly winds were blowing in across the pool, whipping up streaks of foam, 8 Little Gulls flew onto the reserve and then back over the fence to Crosby marina, 4 Sand Martins braved the winds and headed North, and one chiffchaff still around the bushes, but the White Wags have increased to 10 birds but no sign of any Wheatears.

Steve Young arrived late morning and braved the elements till the afternoon and was rewarded with the Ads Ring-billed Gull coming in again late afternoon.

3rd

Despite the SE wind blowing it was a lot colder today and mostly cloudy, 20 Little Gulls put in a brief showing, flying in from the marina before going back out to sea, 3 Sand Martins wizzed thru, 4 Wheatears were on the long bank and still only 5 White Wagtails, a Jack Snipe flew past and landed on the saltmarsh, and the Ads Ring-billed gull flew in again late afternoon.

Ads Ring-billed Gull Seaforth NR Merseyside 3rd April 09

2nd

A lot warmer today, with the wind from the SE, and the sun came out in the afternoon, migrants included 3 Common Buzzards over 2 South and 1 East, a pair of Peregrines which wer probably local birds, and an unknown large falcon which was Gyr sized, which maybe an escape hybrid of some sort, and an Osprey flew North at 11.10, 2 migrant Sparrowhawks and one Kestrel high to the South.

The Little Owl was on the large shed in the usual spot, Chiffchaff in the bushes by hide B, 2 Wheatear on the long bank with 5 White Wags.

134 Black-tailed Godwits were roosting on the causeway, some looking nice in summer plumage, 4 Sand Martin flew over and 2 Rooks.

Just when it was looking quiet enough to grab some lunch, a 1sts Glaucous Gull flew in and landed on the fresh water pool, had a quick bathe and joined the flock roosting on the long bank, a large bird, just getting those white 1sts mantle feathers, while the rest of the body was in juv plumage, a smart bird.

1stw-s Glaucous Gull Seaforth NR Merseyside 2nd April 09

The Ads Ring-billed Gull also came in late afternoon same as yesterday's bird and an Ads Yellow-legged Gull put in an appearance, and 18 Little Gulls flew over from the marina at Crosby, but no sign of any Med Gulls today which only makes it 9 species of Gull again, Kittiwake being the hardest bird to get.

1st

Cold start to April, with North-easterlies blowing across the pool, but again plenty of birds were moving, a Chiffchaff was singing in the bushes,1 LRP, 5 White Wagtails, 5 Wheatear, 6 Stock Dove, 24 Sand Martins in small groups,2 Swallows went North and a Male Wigeon had arrived overnight, 7 Blackbirds were notable on the Shepherds mound and 6+ Reed Buntings.

An Ads Ring-billed Gull flew in at 12.20, a large bird and was another new bird for the year, again the primary pattern on P5 being the deciding factor, it stayed around until 16.30 at least.

Ads Ring-billed Gull Seaforth NR Merseyside 1st April 09

An ads Yellow-legged Gull came in for a bathe as did a 1stw-s Med Gull and settled on the causeway, before feeding off the pump station.

1stw-s Med Gull Seaforth NR Merseyside 1st April 09

March

31st

A Cloudy and quite mild day today, saw birds on the move, mostly gulls, a 1sts Iceland Gull came in with a missing primary and frayed edge to the left side of the tail, making this an new bird to the one the other day and also the one I had on 11th March.

A Common Buzzard flew over south, 2 Sand Martin and a possible Swallow flew south, 1 LRP was calling from the causeway and 3+ Wheatear on the long bank.

An Ads Ring-billed Gull came in early afternoon, a different bird to the one that Pete had on the 29th, the photos we managed to get of it wing flapping reveal a small not complete band on P5, the bird on the Sunday had a diamond shape to it on P5, so this was bird No 5 for the year here.

Ads Ring-billed Gull Seaforth Merseyside 31st March 09

The Ring-necked Duck X Tufted hybrid was still present as was the Male Pintail and 35 Goldeneye, and a female Teal was seen distantly with noticeable pale lore spots, could it be a female Green-winged Teal?

27th

A brief hour or so at Seaforth, payed off as I connected with one of the Iceland Gulls Pete had found today, the 2nds had disappered, but the 1sts was still present in the roost.

21st

The hybrid Ring-necked X Tufted Duck still present, and looking better than yesterday in cloudy conditions, and still looking remarkably like a real Ring-necked Duck, if this was seen on a distant reservoir, it would probably be logged as a one, not much else except a Goldcrest new in for the year.

20th

An early morning phone call from Mark Garner, alerting me that he'd just had a male Ring-necked Duck on the fresh water pool at Seaforth, excellent this would be a much anticipated first for the reserve.

I eventually arrived on site just as Pete had arrived, he'd seen the bird on the marina, and then it flew back over the fence, on the first scan of the pool, there was no sign, a few Tufted were on show, but not the bird we wanted.

A group of Tufted were seen distantly near the hide, and the bird was just coming out from the bank with them.

It showed fairly well all day, everything seemed to look ok, there were doubts over the extent of its crest, and the head had a green sheen to it, but the bill shape and pattern was spot on, the white surround of the base of the bill, black tip, white band, even the white around the nostrils were present.

Ring-necked Duck X Tufted Hybrid Seaforth 20th March 09

notice the slight tuft in this shot.

the green sheen on head showing in this shot, but notice the white around the nostrils.

the grey flanks showing slightly better on this angled shot

The grey flanks didn't look that dark in the bright sunlight, and the white flank spur wasn't easily seen but it was present, the tail length was good and it was also cocked, another good sign.

It was seen in flight briefly with the Tufted flock it had arrived with, and the wingbar looked grey, it was only on the digital photos, that it was realised that they were grey on primaries but white on secondries, making this a hybrid!

What a shame, another bird fallen fowl (excuse the pun) of the hybrid factor, it was a very good copy but not the geniuine article, will we ever get a real one.

Other birds today inculed, 7 Wheatears, 1 Siskin over, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and 1 Chiffchaff.

18th

A proper seach for migrants today at Seaforth on the right side of the fence, at least 4 male Wheatears were on the long bank by hide C, a Chiffchaff in the bushes near the path to hide C and 1 Little Ringed Plover flew over calling, as well as 2 Common Buzzards together flying low south with another further east a bit later on.

Fem Goldeneye Seaforth March 09

Not much else arrived but lots of gulls moving over and some coming in for a quick bathe, but nothing with them.

17th

With the migrants slowly moving in, I had a quick look thru the fence at Seaforth to see my first Wheatear of the spring, and a fine male it was too, hopping around on the long bank and looking as though it had just been painted, fresh as a daisy.

12th

A quiet day at Seaforth, with just a male Peregrine flying over, the regular duck that have been around, Pintail, 6 Scaup, Fem R.B.Merganser, PK had a 2nds Yellow-legged Gull briefly this morning, no sign of any migrants, lots of gulls in but nothing with them, and no sign of the Ring-billed Gull by 17.00.

11th

A more spring like day today at Seaforth with light South-westerly winds, and thoughts were on seeing the first Wheatear of the year, but without success, a good number of gulls were roosting with more dropping in all the time.

The Scaup were showing well with 2 Male and 3 Female, the female R.B.Merganser flew in off the Marina and 55 Goldeneye were busy in small groups displaying.

2 Male Goldeneye Seaforth Merseyside 11th March 09

Male Goldeneye displaying Seaforth Merseyside 11th March 09

Bird of the day flew in at 13.45, when a Juv Iceland Gull landed on the fresh water pool and began to bathe, before roosting on the long bank.

Juv Iceland Gull Seaforth Merseyside 11th March 09

It looked quite settled with the rest of the flock, until a Sparrowhawk flushed the lot, with some birds going onto Crosby Beach and others flying over the hide to the south, it wasn't picked up with birds heading to the beach, so may well have gone back down the river towards the tip at Arpley, this bird is almost certainly the bird that has been at Prescot Reservoir and at Arpley Tip this winter, with the bird showing a missing central tail feather, and a mottled mantle for ease of identification.

8th

With the overnight wind increase, and the blow still ongoing today, the thoughts were on finding the first Little Gull of the year and more amazingly the first Kittiwake, both of which have failed to show so far this year at Seaforth.

The WNW 6-7 made the gulls build up early onto the long bank, with a good mix, an Adult summer Yellow-legged Gull came in and settled amongst the 800+ Herring, 400+ Lesser Black-backed, 5,000+ Black-headed and 1,500 Common.

Ads Yellow-legged Gull Seaforth Merseyside 8th march 09

Then at last a 2ndw Kittiwake arrived, bathed and then roosted on the causeway, not long after 2 Little Gulls were located flying over Crosby marina heading in, but the wind was that gusty, they never made it, and were blown inland to the South-east.

Male Pintail Seaforth Merseyside 8th March 09

Female Red-breasted Merganser Seaforth Merseyside 8th March 09

The patience paid off as the Adw Ring-billed Gull flew past the hide and landed on the causeway with a now growing crowd of gulls, the ninth gull species of the day.

Try as we might, we failed to get 10 gull species logged for the day, with the more regular Med Gull not coming in, looks like the passage has dried up for now.

7th

A slightly breezy day with the wind changing direction from SW-WNW at Seaforth today, bringing in a lot more gulls to bathe on the fresh water pool, 2 Adw-s +1 1stw Med Gulls amongst 7,000 Black-headed, 1,500 Common, 300+ Lesser Black-backed, 300+ Herring and the star bird turned up a bit later than the other day, at 14.25 the Adw Ring-billed Gull arrived bathed and flew onto Crosby Beach.

Adw Ring-billed Gull Seaforth NR Merseyside 7th March 09

1stw Med Gull Seaforth NR Merseyside 7th March 09

the Kingfisher was still about, flying past a couple of times, and a couple of flushes from a Female Sparrowhawk and a Male Peregrine.

6th

The day started well at Moore NR, with the male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker showing well drumming and possibly excavating a hole, with Treecreepers also showing an interest in nest building, 2 Ads Med Gulls flew over Lapwing lane calling heading for one of the pools.

Male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Moore NR M.A.Small

Treecreeper Moore NR J.Donnelly

A look on Richmond Bank revealed 2 Juv Iceland Gulls, 1 Juv Glaucous Gull, 3 Ads Yellow-legged Gulls and 1ads Med Gull.

From Birchwood Poll hide the tip was showing as was a 2ndw Iceland Gull with a brief Juv Iceland and Juv Glaucous Gull, and a kingfisher showed well from Pumphouse pool.

5th

At last, the adw Ring-billed Gull came in for its usual quick bathe and off towards Crosby beach, just staying 3 minutes, I managed a couple of record shots in between it splashing around.

Adw Ring-billed Gull Seaforth NR Merseyside 5th March 09

Also 3 Ads Med Gulls came in to roost all new birds for the month, making it about 6+ birds so far, none seem to be hanging around, they are just going straight through to where ever they are heading.

Ads Med Gull Seaforth NR Merseyside 5th March 09

4th

A new Ads Med Gull came in today at Seaforth, nearly full hood, with a yellow tip to bill, a 2ndw Scandinavian Herring Gull was still lingering and a good count of 2,000 Common Gulls, but still no Ring-billed amongst them.

Adw-s Med Gull Seaforth NR Merseyside 4th March 09

Duck numbers have gone up with 15 Shoveler, 66+ Goldeneye and 8 Scaup, and with over 100+ Black-tailed Godwit.

1st

Spring is almost upon us, the months have flown by already, but winter has still not give up here at Seaforth, a cold WNW wind blowing drizzle straight into the hide, but at least it brought in good numbers of gulls, with 850 Herring, 1,500 Common, 4,000 Black-headed and smaller numbers of Lesser and Great Black-backed Gulls.

Amongst them 2 Adw-s Med Gulls with near full hoods, but no sign of the Ring-billed Gull.

The male Pintail is still here and 5 Scaup, and a male Peregrine flushed everything in attempted catch of a Teal, but left empty handed.

February

28th

Another tip watch today with a depleted squad of Gullers, and despite the cold wind and drizzle we still managed to find 2 Juv Iceland Gulls, 1 Juv Glaucous Gull, 1 3rds + 2 4thw + 1 Ad Yellow-legged Gull, before our time was up.

Juv Glaucous Gull (new bird this year)Arpley Tip Cheshire 28th February 2009

Juv Iceland Gull Arpley Tip Cheshire 28th February 2009

Juv Iceland Gull Arpley Tip Cheshire 28th February 2009

A quick dash round to Richmond Bank, produced a nice Adult Iceland Gull close in on the mudbank, and one of the Juv's from the tip as well as an Ad Yellow-legged Gull, before the Mersey Bore swept in and covered the exposed mudbanks flushing the gulls off.

Ad Iceland Gull Richmond Bank Cheshire 28th February 2009

At Seaforth Pete had the Ring-billed Gull again for 3 minutes before it flew onto Crosby Beach.

Adw Ring-billed Gull Seaforth P.Kinsella

27th

A short watch from Seaforth only produced 1 Adw-s Med Gull, the fem Red-breasted Merganser again and the 5 Scaup and Kingfisher.

26th

No sign of yesterdays 2ndw American Herring Gull at Seaforth today, despite the till dusk watch, but more new Med Gulls with 3 different birds compared to yesterday, one bird in winter plumage and virtually no mask as such, and one in complete black hood, superb birds!

Adw-s Med Gull Seaforth Feb09

Ads Med Gull Seaforth Feb09

The Kingfisher still knocking around and wizzing past the hide, and the 5 Scaup, male Pintail, 4 Bar-tailed and 100+ Black-tailed Godwits.

25th

A day at Seaforth hoping the Ring-billed Gull would fly in, proved fruitful, when Pete picked up a 2ndw Herring Gull flying in with an all black tail, we watched it bathing and noted the exact amount of black there was, reaching upto the uppertail coverts with no marbling or white patch at the top, like argenteus can sometimes but very rarely show.

Tail of 2ndw American Herring Gull Seaforth NR 25th February 09

Other features that were good were the white shaft streaks on the outer three black tail feathers, minimal white edge, remnants of barring on the uppertail coverts and slightly so on the undertail, dark tertials, dark secondry bar, plain black primaries with no mirrors or white tips, paling on the inner primaries giving that pale window effect, with  grey tongues on P7 onwards, dark lesser coverts, with slightly paler median coverts and darkening greater coverts and mid-brown primary coverts.

2ndw American Herring Gull Seaforth NR 25th February 09

The mantle and scapulars were pale grey, paler than the nearby argenteus Herring Gull it was flying closest, the underwing was a lovely chocolate warm brown on the coverts, paling on the underwing and giving a see through look similar to Thayer's Gull's venetian blind effect.

2ndw American Herring Gull Seaforth NR 25th February 09

2ndw American Herring Gull (bottom bird) Seaforth NR 25th February 09

The head was typically large and thick necked with bold spotting, creating a shawl which went down the sides of the breast and just under the wing, more blotching was noted around the throat and onto the breast, thinning out to the belly, the face was finely grey streaked with a darker area around the eye and the brow, giving it a more menacing look,especially with the cold grey eye, and with the large angular head shape and thick based bill, which was pale pink and dark tipped with a dark cutting edge along the bill.

2ndw American Herring Gull Seaforth NR 25th February 09

all photos Steve Thomlinson

The combination of all these features all pointed to a 2ndw American Herring Gull, which is regarded a hard to identify age group, I have personally only seen 3-4 of this age in Vancouver Canada of which only had small numbers of American Herring Gull, most of which were adult and several were juv-1stw birds, but several juv-1stw birds here.

Steve Thomlinson managed to grab a few flight shots at some distance and has done very well to capture the areas needed for a conclusive identification, this was confirmed in several e-mails to birders, (some of which were ex-pat Brits),from North America and are therefore used to British Herring Gulls and their variation.

The bird flew off after 5-10mins of watching and was lost to view over the fence towards Crosby beach.

Also on the reserve today were 3 Adw-s Med Gulls and an Ads Yellow-legged Gull, the Scaup flock was down to 2 males and 3 females, with 8+ Shoveler, 50+ Black-tailed Godwit and 10 Knot.

Adw-s Med Gull Seaforth Feb09

Adw-s Med Gull Seaforth Feb09

Ads Yellow-legged Gull Seaforth Feb09

21st

Another good turn out for the organised tip watch at Arpley Cheshire again today, despite the tipping area now a lot further away and a cold WNW wind blowing harder than predicted on the forecast, we stood our ground, with noses dripping and eyes watering, we still managed a good showing of Iceland Gulls, with 6 birds seen.

The first was the "grass walker" 2ndw Iceland from two weeks ago, this was on the plastic covered slope amongst many Herring Gulls, this was quickly followed by a Juv lower down, which shone in the bright sunshine, and stood out like a sore thumb.

Another 2 Juv Icelands were seen much closer on the drained pool to the right of the tipping area, one a similar very pale and dainty "typical" Juv and the other another monster of a bird, this is probably a new bird seen this month compared to the other big boy, seen on Thursday, this was paler with no dark markings in the primaries, similar Glauc like bill, big chest, again could they be very pale Kumlien's?

Juv Iceland Gulls Arpley Tip Cheshire 21st Feb09

Another Juv was seen, a slightly darker bird on the breast, amongst the rubbish dumping frenzy, but this disappeared quite quick, and then another Juv Iceland Gull which was probably the Prescot Reservoir bird with a distinctive notch in the tail landed on the open ground in front of the tipping area.

Only two Ad Yellow-legged Gulls were seen, which was quite low considering the numbers of gulls in the area, and no sign of any Caspian Gulls at all, although the distance and wind shake didnt help looking for them.

Adw Yellow-legged Gull Arpley Tip Cheshire 21st Feb09

A possible Juv Glaucous Gull was seen deep in the mass of gulls in front of the bulldozer for a brief second, but no other confirmed sightings of Glauc were seen.

After the 3 hours was up we crossed over to Richmond Bank to see what was on the mudbanks, there were still alot of gulls despite to reported nothing there now due to the high tide remark!

We relocated the large Juv Iceland Gull which had come off the tip now and was bathing and hanging out with the other gulls, also one of the pale Juv Iceland's briefly and the 2ndw bird showed well and at one point was in the same scope view as the big Juv.

2ndw Iceland Gull Richmond Bank Cheshire 21st Feb09

Juv Iceland Gull (large bird) Richmond Bank Cheshire 21st Feb09

Two ad and 1 4thw Yellow-legged Gulls were also located amongst the increasing number now flooding in from the tip, a Raven flew over and a couple of Buzzards and a female Merlin wizzed through as they do, not a bad day.

20th

An afternoon at Seaforth watching loads of Common Gulls and Black-headed Gulls pouring in for a bathe pre-roost, produced only two Adw Med Gulls, and only 2 Scaup with another 8 on Crosby Marina, the day before Pete Kinsella had a Little Egret on the salt water pool and 2 Yellow-legged Gulls in a just a few hours of watching.

Adw Med Gull Seaforth NR Merseyside 20th Feb09

19th

A few hours spent checking the gulls at Richmond Bank today produced a Juv Glaucous and a Juv Iceland Gull, the Glauc a smallish bird, and the Iceland a huge bird which is much bigger than most of the Herring Gulls it was stood next to, is it a very pale Kumlien's? the tail wasn't seen for a hint of a tail band, the belly and girth of this bird looks like it has eaten another large gull whole!

To quote the Helm guide 'Gulls of Europe, Asia and North America' the opening paragraph of Iceland Gull reads "Plumage almost identical to Glaucous Gull. Smaller (smaller even than Herring Gull) with short, rounded head and short bill, creating head similar to Common Gull".

This bird obviously hadn't read the book.

Juv Iceland Gull Richmond Bank 19th Feb09

Juv Iceland Gull Richmond Bank P.Kinsella

4 Ad Yellow-legged Gulls were also noted amongst the thousands that were coming and going from the nearby Arpley tip, with many more thousands down by Fiddlers Ferry on a mudbank down there.

Adw Yellow-legged Gull Richmond Bank P.Kinsella

Quite poor really, when you know there are several white-winged gulls using the tip, and where are all the Caspian Gulls?, good numbers of 1stw Herring Gulls were trawled through with nothing, not even a dodgy Herring that might have got some people going.

On the way to the viewing area we had a surprise, in the shape or sound of a singing Cetti's Warbler on the canal, singing from some reeds but not showing, good record for the area and still rare in the North-West with only a handful of places that have had records, Moore NR having one last year in the Eastern Reedbed, could be the same, or maybe one of Woolston Eye's birds they've had recently.

14th

With it being quite overcast, we decided to view Richmond Bank for a change before hitting Moore, the light was a little on the dark side with a light drizzle falling, but the gulls on the exposed mud were in good numbers.

Not long into the search, Pete picked out an Adw Ring-billed Gull, different to the Moore bird, this had an obvious dark mark on the right tertial and more head spotting, a good start.

Adw Ring-billed Gull Richmond Bank 14th Feb09

There were huge numbers of large gulls pouring in from the tip to bathe, and an increase in Lesser Black-backed gulls was noted, and with them have arrived more Yellow-legged Gulls, with 8 Adw/s birds being seen, including the metal ringed bird seen on the tip on the 7th Feb.

A small Juv Glaucous Gull had us guessing for a while until it showed better, a new bird from whats already been seen.

Juv Glaucous Gull Richmond Bank 14th Feb09

A brief view for some of a juv/2ndw Iceland Gull in flight as the birds were flushed towards fiddlers ferry.

A quick look from the Moore side only produced an Adw Med Gull on Pumphouse pool and a Woodcock that flew over us.

Onto Sandbach flashes to check out the Caspian Gulls that have been getting seen, we arrived to see a small gathering viewing the birds, 2 1stw Caspian Gulls were in the smallish roost on the grass and a Juv Iceland Gull was also noted, and a Juv Yellow-legged Gull was located quite easily if only Gull watching was as easy as that, stroll up and there they are.

2 1stw Caspian Gulls Sandbach Cheshire 14th Feb09

Juv Iceland Gull Sandbach Cheshire 14th Feb09

13th

Back to Moore NR, Birchwood pool was looking very quiet with only a few gulls using it, so we moved up to the Pumphouse pool were better numbers were gathering, amongst them, an Adw + 1stw Med Gulls amongst 5,000+ Black-headed.

From the other end, the tip was now visible from the path, a Juv and 2ndw Glaucous Gulls were located amongst the frenzy, a brief view of a Juv and a 2ndw Iceland Gull, but were soon lost to view.

A kingfisher was on the pumphouse pool and nearby a Green Sand on a small pool by the road.

8th

A quick visit to Seaforth today to see if anything new had popped in with the cold weather, most of the pool was frozen with 13 Scaup, 25+pochard, 30+ Tufted and 7 Shoveler on the open stretch, but not much else.

Down on Downholland, 4,500+ Pinkfeet were showing well before the bridge, some bearing neck collars, two of which were logged, and a party of 30+ Fieldfare looked nice in the now falling snow, which became so bad I lost visibility of the geese and had to call it a day.

Pinkfeet in the blizzard  Downholland Moss

7th

A good turn out for the organised tip watch at Arpley today next to Moore NR, despite the low temperatures,a huge gathering of gulls were viewed at close range.

Gulls over tip 7th Feb09

The first bird seen was a 2ndw Iceland Gull which showed well on the grass near by (this bird was seen on 23rd Dec08 on Birchwood pool), a 2ndw Glaucous Gull was glimpsed twice amongst the frenzy, another 2ndw Iceland (a pale bird with 1stw like mantle and scaps, pale pink bill with black tip, again seen on 23rd Dec08) superficially looks like a juv at a distance, but at closer range the amber coloured eye can be seen.

2ndw Iceland Gull Arpley Tip 7th Feb09

A 1stw Med was amongst the Black-headed Gulls and an Adult later on, 2 Adw Yellow-legged Gulls (one with a metal ring on left leg), good numbers of Scandinavian Herring Gulls and a Juv Iceland Gull seen in flight.

Ad Yellow-legged Gull Arpley Tip 7th Feb09

From the screen hide looking back towards the tip, a juv Glaucous Gull was seen in flight briefly, while an Adw Med Gull was on the ice out front, 2 Ravens flew over while walking back to the car.

Ad Scandinavian Herring Gull Moore NR 7th Feb09

Adw Med Gull Moore NR 7th Feb09

A look from Richmond Bank later on revealed huge numbers of gulls on the mudbank, and amongst these were a Juv Iceland (possibly from the tip earlier), a huge Juv Iceland Gull which may have been the one Steve Thomo had at Moore on Thurs 5th Feb, the 2ndw from the tip was also amongst the gulls.

An interesting gull was located, which may well be a 1stw Caspian Gull, the head and bill shape were good, it was very white headed compared to anything else around it, dark centres to the lower scaps, dark tertials with only a hint of pale tips, long thin legs which showed a lot of tibia, when it preened its tail, it showed a broad black tail band with a clean white uppertail with tiny black spotting, the wing coverts were paler than most 1stw I've seen before, but probably right for the time of year.

6th

Back at Moore NR again today, with Tim, Pete and myself, and also Terry and June put in an appearance, it was a nice, not too cold, calm sunny day, with a lot of ice on the pool when we arrived a bit late due to appointments.

There were a lot of gulls on the pool at first with several flushes before we saw the first bird, an Adw Med Gull amongst several hundred Black-headed Gulls, An Ads Yellow-legged Gull was next to show and another Adw Med Gull.

There were lots of Scandinavian Herrings coming and going, a lot in full summer already, an interesting Yellow-legged like Gull was picked out with a broad black band on the bill, it was in full summer with no hint of any brown in the wing coverts, suggesting it was a full adult bird.

After the next flush of gulls, more birds came back and with them an Adult Glaucous Gull, it was down on the water for less time than the Ring-billed Gull from the other day, with no photo's taken in time, before it was back across to the tip.

Next to come onto the water was a 1stw Med Gull, that didn't stay long either, and another Adw Med Gull was another brief stayer, the gulls more flighty today than they have been for ages.

1stw Med Gull Moore NR 6th Feb 09

A 2nds Yellow-legged Gull was picked out feeding on the side of the rubbish spoil on the tip, but no other decent birds were seen before leaving.

Male Tufted Duck Moore NR 6th Feb 09

4th

The first visit this month to Moore NR, for myself and Pete, we had heard via Steve Thomo, that he'd been there y'day and had no white-winged gulls at all, which sounded incredible since there has been regular sightings since late November.

The gulls were in small numbers on Birchwood Pool, with mainly Black-headed and a few Herring, but good numbers amongst them of Scandinavian Herring Gulls of all ages, amongst the Black-headed an Adw Med Gull was located, just moulting its hood, and then at 10.40 Pete found an Adw Ring-billed Gull, which took off and flew around before thankfully landing again for some record shots, before it returned to the tip, staying just under 3mins.

Adw Ring-billed Gull Moore NR 4th Feb 09

Another Adw Med Gull arrived on the pool and a 1stw was picked up on the tip, but still no sign of any white-winged gulls, either on the pool or flying around the tip, where are they all?

2ndw Scandinavian Herring Gull Moore NR 4th Feb 09

Adw/s ScandinavianHerring Gull Moore NR 4th Feb 09

The gulls today were still arriving from the river all day and even late on when they are normally returning towards the estuary to roost, we can only put it down to the very low tide at the moment, and todays mild weather, for their out of character behavior.

A few Redpolls were seen with one a Mealy feeding in the Birch, around the edge of the Birchwood pool, and a pair of Stonechats down by Moss side.

Bird of the day appeared late on, when Pete shouted out "Red Kite" which flew over the feeding station area heading South-west, freaking out all the gulls.

So for the first time we went home without any white-winged Gulls or even a Yellow-legged Gull, very poor!

3rd

A trawl around the mosses looking for geese, proved harder than we thought it was going to be, with none around Altcar or Downholland Moss areas, we found about 1,000+ at the start of Plex moss with nothing amongst them, so we tried a bit further up and found 5,000+ in a hard to get to area.

We eventually found a track that brought us right on top of them, and from here we managed just one Tundra Bean Goose, but the strong sidelight prevented a better view of the rest of the flock, which must have contained something else.

A few Fieldfare, Corn Buntings and a Chaffinch flock were the only other birds of note in the area, 2 distant Common Buzzards the only raptors seen.

Back at Seaforth, the Scaup flock had risen to 33 and were showing well from hide B, but again no sign of the Green-winged Teal, the numbers of Teal have dropped over the last couple of days, so it may well have moved on.

Scaup Seaforth Feb09

An Adw Med Gull came in late on, a different bird to y'days this having no mask, but a small smudge behind the eye, and was quite small.

2nd

No sign of the Green-winged Teal today at Seaforth in a check amongst the Teal, but the Chilean Speckled Teal was feeding on the causeway in much the same manner.

A Kingfisher was heard calling as we aproached the reedbed but it wasn't seen, and a Water Rail was seen along the bottom of the long bank as it ran and half swam into the juncus.

The snow began falling again after the overnight snowfall making viewing the pool more difficult, and as it was a North-east wind the snowflakes were entering the hide, it soon eased off in time to see a couple of Scandinavian Herring Gulls on the pool.

1st

A new month, and a good start too, a probable 1stw Caspian Gull was on the long bank at Seaforth for most of the afternoon, the uppertail looked a little on the dark side, but checking some pics from Finland, revealed similar looking birds.

Possible 1stw Caspian Gull Seaforth Feb 09

Better still Pete found a 1stw male Green-winged Teal nestled amongst the Teal on the causeway, it showed a little better on the pool briefly after a slight dread, and again a bit later nearer the hide, but the light wasn't too good then for photo's so only a couple of record shots were taken.

1stw Male Green-winged Teal Seaforth Feb09

An Adw Med Gull came in to bathe, before roosting on the salt water pool, and a flock of Bar-tailed Godwits of about 60+ landed there too.

The male Aythya hybrid was in amongst the Tufted and Pochard, an interesting bird and one that resembles a Lesser Scaup, with a pale grey back, dark head with peaked crown, but a broad black tip to the bill.

Hybrid Aythya Seaforth Feb09

January

31st

A visit to Seaforth today in a cold easterly near-gale, the chill factor must have been -3, but once inside the hide it wasn't too bad, An Adw Med Gull showed well on the choppy water as did a 1stw Yellow-legged Gull, with a few Scandinavian Herring Gulls coming in to bathe.

A look out of the left window to view the scrape revealed a Chilean Speckled Teal (Yellow-billed Teal), making itself at home sitting amongst the just emerging Flag Iris, this is the second record of this escape, in flight it looked fully winged (as it would have to be to leap the fence), and much darker and slightly bigger than the Teal it was with.

Chilean Speckled Teal (Yellow-billed Teal) Seaforth Feb09

The Scaup flock stood at 30 with 40+ Pochard, 30+ Tufted, and 30+ Goldeneye, with at least 400+ Teal.

Towards the end of the day the gulls had increased to 2,000+ Common Gulls, 3,000+ Balck-headed but only a couple of hundred Herring Gulls.

 

24th

With plenty of people on the organised tip watch, I stayed at the screen by Birchwood pool so that nothing was missed there, my first bird was a 1stw Med Gull which sat on the island for a while, the noticable difference is the gull numbers are way down on what they where before Christmas, with only an estimated 15,000 mixed Gulls.

1stw Med Gull Moore NR 24.01.09

An Adult Iceland Gull flew from the tip and landed on the pool and showed well for 40 mins or so, as did a 1stw Yellow-legged Gull and a good variety of ages of Scandinavian Herring gull.

Adw Iceland Gull Moore NR 24.01.09

Another Iceland Gull , a juv, was seen over the tip, but it never came onto the pool.

A couple of Redpoll flew over calling and a few Great Spotted Woodpeckers were drumming nearby, and a couple of Common Buzzards flushed the gulls off the pool, but it was a surprisingly quiet day.

Common Buzzard Moore NR 24.01.09

17th

My first visit to Seaforth for this year, so a lot of year ticks to catch up on, the Scaup flock was counted at 32 with 57 Pochard and 56 Tufted and a good sized flock of Goldeneye at 34, with a few Gadwall, 400+ Teal and 2 Shoveler.

A Grey Wagtail was still around the reclaimed area, and on the salt water pool 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Knot and a Turnstone.

The gull numbers built up towards the afternoon with 2 Adw Med Gulls and several Scandinavian Herring Gulls but not much else before I called it a day.

8th

Still trying to shake off the flu virus that wiped me out over Christmas, I had to drag myself out for my first outing of the new year with John and Tony to Cleveland in the cold North-east, to catch up with the Adw Glaucous-winged Gull which had been located near Billingham at Saltholme pools and the nearby tips.

We arrived at 08.30 after an early start, to a bright sunny morning, but freezing cold, with most of the pools at Saltholme frozen, with just a little patch of open water, where some gulls had already gathered and were bathing, also a few Pintail, Wigeon and Teal, but no sign of the bird we wanted.

Another birder was scoping the otherside of the road, and then two more arrived, the two newly arrived set off towards Dorman's pool and the nearby tip to look for the bird, while we continued to freeze by the side of the road and check the distant flock of gulls.

Within 10 mins the pager was proclaiming the bird was showing now at Dorman's pool, just 150 yds down the road, we jumped in and drove down to where the other birders had relocated the bird, a quick look through a scope that was on it, and there it was on the ice facing us but obvious by the small dark eye on a small rounded head, bulbous bill, large chest and bright pink legs and feet.

Adw Glaucous-winged Gull Dorman's Pool Cleveland Jan 09

We quickly set up our own gear and were soon watching the bird side on, although it would have a habit of going behind the reeds in the middle of the pool when it turned sideways, but you could still see the all grey primaries with white tips, concolourous with the upperparts, the head had a slight brownish wash of tiny streaks, and slightly so on the throat and breast.

Adw Glaucous-winged Gull Dorman's Pool Cleveland Jan 09

An adult Glaucous Gull joined the gulls from the tip and settled on the ice, meanwhile the Glaucous-winged Gull flew off over our heads towards the tip, showing the wing pattern more clearly in flight, and also a gap in the right wing near to the secondries.

Adw Glaucous Gull Dorman's Pool Cleveland Jan 09

It didn't stay there long as it was scared off by the loud bangs on the tip used to scare off the gulls deliberately, it settled on the ice again and fell a sleep.

An excellent start to the new year, lets hope it continues, must get back to Moore NR to find that Slaty-backed Gull, it has to turn up somewhere soon, keep checking your local pools and tips if you have one near you.

Site Last Updated

13th Jan 2014

On this day rare birds from the past

Monday, Oct 16 All Day
Monday, Oct 23 All Day
Wednesday, Nov 22 All Day
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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