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Post Info TOPIC: The Wirral


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The Wirral
 


A really decent day out on the Wirral today with Phil Kelly and Steve Burke.

Started at Shotwick Lake to try and see the good recent numbers of Bewick's Swans and also Black-necked Grebes on the water. We saw 30 plus swans feeding happily with a similar number of Whoopers, also 20 or so Mutes and a single Black Swan. The Bewick's were lifers for me and Phil, it was great to see a decent number, Steve had only seen odd singles before himself.

We thought we'd bagged one of the Black-necked Grebes easily initially, but lost track of it, never to see again, so it needs to go down as a probable really, except Phil got one view to confirm it for him. Also Gadwall, Wigeon, Tufted Ducks and Goldeneye on there with lots of Coots. Nice views of Linnets on the ploughed field next to the boat club.

Next we moved to Denhall Lane on Burton Marsh, little here other than some nice close Redwings, Fieldfares and other thrushes on the land side, a few Pink-footed Geese amongst a massive flock of Canada Geese and a female Stonechat.

Next stop was Neston Sewage Works, looking for passerines. A flock of 25 or so Linnet and a few Chaffinch and Redwings were a nice appetizer for a Water Pipit we managed to quickly scope as it perched on the fence of the plant. This was a really pleasing find, another lifer for Phil and I. The contrast to a Meadow Pipit was strong, we saw features like the dark legs, bold supercilium and white outer tail feathers really clearly. A close up Meadow Pipit seen perched later on just confirmed this bird even more for us. Also really well spotted by Steve was a wintering Chiffchaff on the filter beds inside the plant, with a few Pied Wagtails and one Grey Wagtail.

We got up to Parkgate in time for high tide. This was stated as 9.9m and with a brisk westerly wind we had hopes of a decent flood of the marsh and some Short-eared Owls. This didn't transpire though, the water stopped well short of the seawall. 2 Shorties were reported as seen from the ground from near us, well done to whoever managed that bit of work. It was generally underwhelming over the mid-afternoon, best bird probably a Merlin streaking low over the marsh. We apparently overlooked a Red-throated Diver at this point, probably because anything that didn't remotely resemble an owl was being ignored...there were mainly just the regular birds, Shelduck, Redshank, Teal, Little Egrets and so on. But there can't be many better places in Britain for a big sky and a feeling of being a tiny speck in the natural world.

But as we started shuffling back towards the car park things perked up. First Steve found one of the more or less resident Great White Egrets, and as we zoned in on it another was seen, they were both in the same scope view briefly. As we looked for the first Egret at one point, a Ringtail flew up and spent an obliging minute or two gliding around. Another appeared soon after and later just before dark both were visible simultaneously. Great birds. Also interesting was a male Pheasant on the marsh, not sure you'd expect that?

The day finished for me with 63 species and sore feet! I'll be back in Feb for the next big tides and with luck some owls

-- Edited by Simon Gough on Sunday 25th of January 2015 12:31:21 AM

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Hoylake high tide

7000 Knot
3000 Dunlin
300 Sanderling
200 Grey plover
150 Bar tailed godwit
4000 Oystercatcher
20 Redshank

Parkgate, 4pm

2 Great white egret (possible 3rd bird very far out)
1 Hen harrier (ringtail)
100 Pink footed goose
15 Little egret
Flocks of Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Knot, Redshank and Lapwing

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High tide at parkgate

10.1 m tide but was still about 1/2 a mile out ?
Hence distant views of

Short eared owl
Peregrine
2 ringtail hen harrier
Marsh harrier
Merlin
Plus the usual waders

Karl

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Stockport Birdwatching Society trip to The Wirral today in relatively pleasant weather (plenty of sunshine and not quite as cold as we were expecting). Highlights as follows:

New Brighton:
8 purple sandpiper mixed in with redshank, dunlin, turnstone and a single knot on the pontoons. Also a kingfisher flew in off the sea and landed on a post in the marine lake.

Meols:
Knot
Redshank
Dunlin
Curlew
Knot
Grey plover
Bar-tailed godwit
Common scoter

Parkgate:
Hen harrier (ringtail)
Merlin
Skylark

Decca pools:
2 great white egret
Whimbrel

Denhall Lane/Burton Marsh:
Redwing
Fieldfare
Mistle thrush
Merlin
Golden plover
Stonechat

-- Edited by Holly Page on Saturday 17th of January 2015 08:29:40 PM

-- Edited by Holly Page on Saturday 17th of January 2015 08:31:06 PM

-- Edited by Holly Page on Saturday 17th of January 2015 09:27:07 PM

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Heswall Shore, Highlights

Hen Harrier (Ring Tailed) quartering low over the marsh before high tide
Curlew 100's
Redshank 100's
Oystercatcher 100's
Shelduck 100's
Little Egret 2

Several large flocks of waders moving around too far out to ID but suspect Knot and Dunlin

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Sunday 11th of January 2015 06:01:28 PM

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Farm land around Shotwick Boating Lake

Whooper Swan 42
Bewicks Swan 5
Mute Swan 27
Black Swan 1, Probably the escapee usually seen at Burton Mere Wetlands,


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Round and about the New Brighton area today, 10:30 till 14:30,highlights including:
Two Snow Buntings showing extremely well, down to about six feet! on the strand line near the Harvester Pub, Leasowe.
We then stopped at the raised seating area near the clown roundabout- in the hope of finding the Purple Sandpipers that favour the
area at high tide.Alas no Sandpipers, but we were rewarded with the surreal sight of a Kingfisher, perched up on one of the rocks near the groyne.When it saw us peering over the sea wall, it initially flew upriver,then doubled back over the Mersey, back down towards Leasowe,it's iridescent flanks showing beautifully in the Winter sunshine.
Next onto New Brighton itself ,by now approaching high water. On the pontoon at the marine lake ,we caught up with the Purple Sandpipers, there were TEN of them,roosting with approximately 90 Redshanks,140 Turn stones and 3 Dunlins.
Along the prom towards Egremont, we saw plenty of roosting Turnstones, Redshanks, Oystercatchers,Ringed Plovers, Sanderling's and a few Dunlin, all roosting on the groynes. Also an adult Mediterranean Gull was lurking about with the Black Headed Gulls in the area.
Finally a quick look at Seacombe ferry ,but no sign of the recent Grey Phalarope.
Not a bad day ,cheers Chris.

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Had a stroll from Deeside to Parkgate yesterday (Sunday 4th) with a few birding mates. On the Wirral (English side) we had the following highlights:

Hen Harrier 3 birds, all ringtails (first on Burton Wetlands seen from outside reserve, second in Marsh near Neston and the third on the front very close at Parkgate)
Peregrine 1 adult at Neston
Merlin 2 birds (first between Little Neston and Neston attacking woodpigeons and magpies, second near Parkgate
Kestrel, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk in various locations

Single Jack Snipe with over 20+ Common in marshes between Little Neston and Neston
3 Great White Egrets (2 near Welsh Border and one towards Neston)
Rock Pipit at Little Neston (no sign of any Water Pipits, but lots of dog walkers about to be fair)
100s of Pink-footed Geese on edge of Dee
Small Canada type goose on water at Burton Wetlands

3 female Stonechats and a single male along the route.

We noted that there was a lack of small passerines along the whole stretch, with very few meadow pipits etc - perhaps the reason for Merlins seeming to be attacking larger birds)


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Sunday 4th January

A bit of a roving day taking in Parkgate, Hoylake and New Brighton.
Parkgate held nothing out of the ordinary. No sign of any Harriers. Lots of Redwings in one particular field with a smattering of Fieldfares. A Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming and lots of activity from Finches and Tits, on a cold morning.
Hoylake was timed badly in the end as the tide was well out. Just the usual suspects in attendance.
New Brighton was super busy. A few Turnstone, Redshanks and Oystercatchers were the best I could do.


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Cracking views of one of the two Snow Bunting showing on one of the tees on the golf course behind Leasowe castle this afternoon. So difficult to get a sharp image as it was gloomy and the bird was constantly moving. Managed half a dozen out of a 100 or so. Also male Stonechat on scrub area near car park.

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Like Mark, 2 enjoyable hours at Hoylake this morning - only thing I can add of note is 4 Common Scoter on the sea. I missed the Twite unfortunately - would have been a lifer.

Agreed on the two summer plumage Grey Plover - absolute crackers.

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a walk from heswall to neston sewage woks with simon gough between 9.30-3.30pm. high tide not very impressive but still 66 species seen.

1 ringtail hen harrier
1 marsh harrier
1 peregrine falcon
1 merlin
3 buzzard
1 sparrowhawk
1 kestrel
1 maybe 2 great white egret
lots of little egret
1 whooper swan flew past the old baths.
2 stonechat
several stock dove
7 little grebe, 2 snipe & 2 greylag goose on donkey stand flash.
large numbers of teal, pintail, wigeon, oystercatcher, lapwing, curlew, shelduck, redshank
hundreds of pink footed geese
lots of skylark, meadow pipit & linnet all around.
hundreds of fieldfares over.
flock of around 30-40 chaffinch feeding on the path between the golf course & the old baths.
plus all the usuals around.

smile

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North Parade, Kings Gap Hoylake 10.00 till 12.00pm over 9.6m high tide.

Hugh numbers of wagers very flighty all morning for no apparent reason, no raptors no dog walkers?

Dunlin 10000+
Knot 5000+ Some still in partial moult showing red summer plumage
Grey Plover 600+ 2 stunning males still in breeding plumage
Sanderling 800+
Bar Tailed Godwit 5
1 Peregrine over before wader numbers started to build up
1 Twite feeding on dandelion seed beside the RNLI station
Little Egret 4

Plus good numbers of
Curlew
Redshank
Shelduck

-- Edited by Mark Burgess on Saturday 8th of November 2014 08:23:43 PM

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Dropped in at Parkgate old baths this afternoon on the way back from Thursaston. Marsh Harrier seen quartering out from The boat house pub. Great White Egret in same area plus a few Redwing in the hawthorns in the car park.

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a nice big walk from west Kirby to leasowe 55 species seen.

waders inc..

oystercatcher
dunlin
knot
ringed plover
grey plover
bar tailed godwit
sanderling
redshank
curlew
lapwing
could only see 26 brent geese inbetween middle eye & hilbre.
distant common scoter & 1 flyby great crested grebe.
several shelduck amongst the many of thousands of gulls at kings gap, also a hobby flew past south.
1 little egret
2 buzzard
2 kestrel
3 raven
2 great spotted woodpecker
at red rocks lots of birds were passing over inc hundreds of chaffinch also skylark, meadow pipit, siskin, linnet & a few reed bunting also cettis warbler & water rail heard only. I missed the kingfisher that apparently was flying right towards me at red rocks & flew over the golf course, the first one there since 1976 I heard.
in the paddocks at leasowe a nice big flock of at least 150 linnet only other bird I could find amongst them was 1 greenfinch.
plus all the usuals

smile

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Two Leach's Petrels distantly out in Liverpool bay at around 08.30 and a very probable Storm Petrel about half an hour later that showed very briefly along the breakwater to the right of the lighthouse.

Had arrived at New Brighton at just before 08.00 with an eye on anything leaving the river early on, usually a good plan after such strong winds as yesterday - noted several Kittiwakes and three Little Gulls as well as many sightings of Common Scoter and a low flying Merlin that had us guesing for a time. Obviously not as windy as yesterday but quite blowy and chilly nevertheless.

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Tim Wilcox wrote:

Ian McKerchar wrote:

Originally posted today by Paul Brewster:

Popped up the top of The Wirral for the afternoon and was rewarded with a single Leach's Petrel at 2.10pm. I was nearly blown off my feet walking the few metres from the car to the usual shelter to watch from, but once under cover it was surprisingly comfortable. The petrel was on the far side of the river struggling to move 'out' of the river mouth but against the prevailing Northwesterly it had no chance and eventually let itself be blown up the river. A mate had an Arctic Skua and we had a few Little Gulls and several Kittiwakes. Another firend on Facebook opened his car door only to have his windscreen blow completely out & smash further across the car park. It really was pretty wild up there!

With a couple of Leach's Petrels seen being blown up the river early tomorrow is probably a good bet to see them making their way back out smile





Hi Paul ah so it was you had the Leach's Petrel pm! I was there am with some great chaps over from Yorks - v friendly bunch. We just had Kittiwake and Little Gull then bumped into each other at Burton Mere Wetlands where the rest of the day was whiled away with the two Great White Egrets, Marsh Harriers and Peregrine but no Cattle Egret on show. Got some footage of the waves from Morrison's CP and narowly missed the fate of another bloke who took a wave over his head and was completely soaked!



Hi Tim, yep a couple of us up there pm, but only the one Leach's to show for q.a long stint in the cold!! A couple of guys watching from a car nearer to Fort Perch Rock came up & they had had it too smile There was a feature on NW Tonight where they spoke to a couple of 'Twitchers' up at New Brighton who were taking pics in the morning of the waves breaking over the lighthouse, looked very spectacular smile It was one of those days when you suddenly realise that you've had enough and have to leave, I don't blame you heading off elsewhere to get some more civilised birding in, shame I missed you though - we could have bored the other birders silly with talk of lepidoptery wink

-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Wednesday 22nd of October 2014 09:38:58 AM

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Ian McKerchar wrote:

Originally posted today by Paul Brewster:

Popped up the top of The Wirral for the afternoon and was rewarded with a single Leach's Petrel at 2.10pm. I was nearly blown off my feet walking the few metres from the car to the usual shelter to watch from, but once under cover it was surprisingly comfortable. The petrel was on the far side of the river struggling to move 'out' of the river mouth but against the prevailing Northwesterly it had no chance and eventually let itself be blown up the river. A mate had an Arctic Skua and we had a few Little Gulls and several Kittiwakes. Another firend on Facebook opened his car door only to have his windscreen blow completely out & smash further across the car park. It really was pretty wild up there!

With a couple of Leach's Petrels seen being blown up the river early tomorrow is probably a good bet to see them making their way back out smile





Hi Paul ah so it was you had the Leach's Petrel pm! I was there am with some great chaps over from Yorks - v friendly bunch. We just had Kittiwake and Little Gull then bumped into each other at Burton Mere Wetlands where the rest of the day was whiled away with the two Great White Egrets, Marsh Harriers and Peregrine but no Cattle Egret on show. Got some footage of the waves from Morrison's CP and narowly missed the fate of another bloke who took a wave over his head and was completely soaked!

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Originally posted today by Paul Brewster:

Popped up the top of The Wirral for the afternoon and was rewarded with a single Leach's Petrel at 2.10pm. I was nearly blown off my feet walking the few metres from the car to the usual shelter to watch from, but once under cover it was surprisingly comfortable. The petrel was on the far side of the river struggling to move 'out' of the river mouth but against the prevailing Northwesterly it had no chance and eventually let itself be blown up the river. A mate had an Arctic Skua and we had a few Little Gulls and several Kittiwakes. Another firend on Facebook opened his car door only to have his windscreen blow completely out & smash further across the car park. It really was pretty wild up there!

With a couple of Leach's Petrels seen being blown up the river early tomorrow is probably a good bet to see them making their way back out smile

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Red Rocks 11-1:
Stonechat
5 Skylark
3 Reed Bunting
10 Meadow Pipit
6 Linnet
Hummingbird Hawk Moth
Kings Gap high tide:
Summer plumage Grey Plover
Bar Tailed Godwit
Gannet
Red Throated Diver
Many Sanderling/Dunlin/Ringed Plover
10 Knot
2 House Martin
2 Sandwich Tern
100's of Common Scoter
Leasowe lighthouse:
Little Egret
Turnstone


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27.09.2014

Kings Gap at high tide, tide was not really big enough.
pretty quiet due to 2 Kite surfers on the beach that put the main small wader flocks up which left the area, and the amount of waders seemed low for the time of year to me.
Oystercatcher - 400
Grey Plover -40
small numbers of Knot, bar tailed godwit, ringed plover,sanderling and Dunlin

Leasowe after high tide
little of note apart from
A few swallows south
Redshank -40
Curlew-25 south
a few knot, dunlin,
Turnstone
all waders on the rocky groin half a mile to the south of the lighthouse area

cheers John



-- Edited by JOHN TYMON on Saturday 27th of September 2014 07:27:30 AM

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Spent about 3 hours this morning up to and over high tide working along from Dove Point, Meols to Kings Gap, Hoylake.

Plenty of birds to be seen including:- Grey Plover, Redshank, Greenshank, Turnstone, Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin all on the beach. Over the sea:- Great crested Grebe, common Scoter, Cormorant, Gannet, 3 Manx Shearwater, distant Skua species, Tern species (probable Arctic) and the usual Gull species.

Nothing rare but a pleasant few hours especially when the wind dropped and the sun shone.

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Spent a couple of hours before high tide this am, at the Leasowe Lifeguards. No-one else was there - obviously not daft enough to give it a try. But I felt lucky.

So, arrived in a light squall, weather brightened very pleasantly. Moderate WNW wind with just a few white tops, weakened as forecast around HT (13:04)

Very little about, nothing unusual could be confirmed:

- highlight was several small groups of passerines whizzing South - probably all Meadow Pipits, total ~25
- probable Puffin belting along, but couldn't rule out Razorbill
- 4 Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Common Scoters (m) middle distance on water, could just about confirm their ID
- 30 Oystercatchers
- ~1500 very distant Pinkfoot Geese, mostly in 1 large flock near Blundellsands; couple of smaller flocks, too
- ~100 Cormorants, mostly ~2 miles out
- 2 probable Kittiwakes, in river mouth

- no other auks, petrels, skuas, shearwaters, late terns

Seemed to be plenty of birds some 3-4 miles out, but the wind just wasn't quite strong enough to force them over the shallower waters disbelief

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John Watson wrote:

There's a 11 mph (force 3) W wind today, and 18 mph (force 5) WNW tomorrow at Liverpool.

It certainly won't be spectacular sea-watching, but I'd be surprised if there's nothing.


Will possibly go over myself probably more to have a look at the waders as you never know what may turn up - Western Sandpiper anyone wink

There have also been various Skua sightings in the last couple of days, worth looking out for.

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There's a 11 mph (force 3) W wind today, and 18 mph (force 5) WNW tomorrow at Liverpool.

It certainly won't be spectacular sea-watching, but I'd be surprised if there's nothing.

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It doesn't look as if we are going to have Leach's Petrels over the waves on the Wirral coast this year. This spectacle doesn't happen every year and this year looks like a blank as the right condtions are not forecast. A strong north-westerly wind (force 5 and above) blowing for at least two consecutive days is required during the main migration time (September 4th to 22nd) to push them in from the Atlantic to the eastern side of the Irish Sea. In those conditions hundreds a day can be seen on the Wirral coast but unlikely this year by the looks of things.no

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90 ish Pink footed geese came in today about 11am flying over hilbre Island

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A first visit to Red Rocks for me today turned up two Wheatears, plus we heard two Water Rails (six reportedly here early in the week)- as expected loads of stuff over towards Hilbre, but we changed course for Burton. Still, a good first look at this vast and beautiful place....!

-- Edited by John Doherty on Friday 19th of September 2014 07:01:11 PM

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Weds Aug 10th. 09.30 - 12.30 hrs.

Heswall Shore.

17 Little Egret.
1 Great White Egret.
30 - 40 Oystercatcher.
1000 + Shelduck.
5000 Redshank.
1400 Curlew.

These last two counts I have taken from Deebirding as I had run out of fingers & toes to count the swirling flocks.

I then carried on to Burton & IMF to make up my treble with the Cattle Egret plus the other rarities present.

Great day out in the sunshine.

Roger.

-- Edited by Roger Baker 3 on Wednesday 10th of September 2014 11:51:01 PM

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Leasowe Lighthouse area this morning:

Single Wheatear and Whinchat (the latter not seen by me) both in the horse paddocks along with dozens of juvenile Pied Wagtails and 6 Curlew. 2 Juvenile Yellow Wagtail also reported but not seen by me.

On the groyne (just after high tide and the reported Osprey fly past) were a good selection of waders that included Turnstone, Redshank, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover. Masses of Swallow all along the shoreline too.

Earlier, a Kingfisher was reported along Lingham Lane.

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This afternoon: Purple Sandpiper on the rocks south of "Pirate Ship", Tower Foreshore, Egremont

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Hi Austin, our paths probably crossed as it seems we had similar sightings. The 2 Ringed Plover on the slope weren't with the Dunlin when I got there, they were further up towards Gunsight. Felt sorry for the Dunlin. I too got some cracking up close shots of the Dunlin.

Tanmay you took the words right out of my original post but I deleted the sentence before posting it as I wasn't sure.
1 probable Manx Shearwater out to sea but too far out to tell, there were plenty of Gulls doing Shearwater type manoeuvres so wasn't 100% and it soon disappeared among the squolls.

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Brief trip to Hoylake yday despite a middling tide

Biting winds and ate a lot more sand than is probably healthy!

Highlight was 1 common scoter (drake) on the beach.
Several dunlin, knot, sanderling, redshank, ringed plover, cormorants and gulls (nothing unusual amongst them that I could see).
1 probable manx shearwater at sea but too far out to tell for sure cry

Most of the waders in s/pl which was nice

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Hi Rob I too was out braving the windy Wirral conditions yesterday too and saw a huge flock of Linnet in the horse paddocks, got some nice shots of that Dunlin and its Ringed Plover companion sitting on the slope.

Have a look here

www.austinmorley.blogspot.com


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Visit up to Leasowe Lighthouse today after Pennington Flash.
Started off at the end of Pasture Rd where it meets Leasowe Rd and Lingham Rd and walked not quite as far as the Gunsight on the seafront. Then went over to the Lighthouse and walked out the other way up to the rocky outcrop.

Of note:
Plenty of Black-headed, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls incl juv,
Not as many Lesser Black-backed Gulls and only 1 Common Gull.

Wind was atrocious and resulted in the smaller birds seeking refuge where they could. Amongst the rocks were uncountable Redshank,
Turnstone,
Plenty of Oystercatcher
Ringed Plover
Starling
1 Dunlin choosing to brave it out by sitting in an aerodynamic shape on the slopes leading down to the waters edge,
2 Curlew
A few Swallows and House Martin ... 1 of the latter trying to seek cover from the wind on the ground near me
Plenty of Cormorant

Also quite a few little birds in singles and pairs of Finch-type and Warbler-type being relentlessly blown around and disappearing as they were hurled over me into the surrounding paddocks and vegetation. Only ones I managed to identify were a pair of Linnet which stopped on the seafront wall before risking it again. My eyes were streaming with the piercing wind.

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A very late post for Sunday August 3rd (I'm sure I'd posted this before but I mustn't have pressed submit)

Quick visit to Parkgate after Burton Wetlands.

Of note:
2 Marsh Harrier out hunting at the same time.
1 Kestrel
Numerous Little Egret
Plenty of Great Black-backed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls
A few Black-tailed Godwit

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A pleasant few hours over high tide at Leasowe Gunsight this afternoon. Although there were no Manx Shearwaters to be seen there were plenty of other species about with the groyne behind Leasowe Castle packed with Redshank, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Oystercatchers. On the sand, Pied Wagtails taking insects and 4-5 Wheatear flitting about. Also present several Cormorant, good numbers of Hirundines and 5 gull species including Common Gulls.

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12.30 - 2.00pm over 9.7m high tide, highlights

Dunlin c1000 adult and juvenile birds
Sanderling c200 adult and juvenile
Ringed Plover c300
Knot 6, 2 juvenile
Bar Tailed Godwit 3
Sandwich Tern 7
Arctic Tern 1 juvenile
Manx Shearwater 7 through just after high tide spectacular high/low gliding flight in the heavy winds


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Watched a male and a juvenile Marsh Harrier from our table in the Boathouse Inn restaurant Parkgate early this afternoon biggrinbiggrin

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First Marsh Harrier there for me personally, and it was really interesting to compare to Hen Harrier that I've seen frequently before. The behaviour was pretty similar but the bird was substantially bigger. It is one of my favourite places to go birding and even though it has been a great summer part of me can't wait for a freezing December day and a high tide!

Re-reading my previous post, it struck me that you might not need Sherlock Holmes to conclude that the best place to look for a Marsh Harrier might be on a big marsh! But I knew what I meant...

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Must have been following in your footsteps!

Nothing like eating fish'n'chips on Parkgate front watching a Marsh Harrier hunting over the estuary smile

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Walked the marsh from Station Road to Neston 1900-2000 last evening, wearily approaching 12 hours on the estuary at this point! First time I'd been there with summer greenery alive and well, it was very atmospheric though as always. Not may birds, just Little Egrets and gulls, then a splendid finish to the day, 2 separate good views of a big juvenile Marsh Harrier hunting. What a beauty! Had to smile too, we'd been talking to a guy in the Reserve about wanting to see a Marshie and he said "get out onto the marsh", he clearly knew his stuff...

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A dawn start this morning. A wander around Neston Marsh and Neston Sewage works area.

Great spotted Woodpecker feeding a very hungry youngster in tree hole.
Tawny owl coming in to roost in same area.
Single Grasshopper warbler.
Good numbers of Reed warbler, Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat.
Singles of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow warbler.

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Yesterday I was also at Leasowe, starting around 10am and leaving at 2pm. A similar experiance to David, with extra birds being seen after the mist had descended. My mate, Allan Conlin, author of Lighthouse Birders Blog, was also there so my reports are a summary of both our sightings. Pre-mist I saw 2 male Whinchats up from the paddocks off 'Sandy Lane', I also a Grasshopper Warbler which was seen & heard in the brambles in the same area. I also had 3 Yellow Wagtails in the paddocks with two White Wagtails & a Pied, Allan had 5 White Wagtails. I counted a max. of 10 Wheatears across all the paddocks and an extra Whinchat dropped in to make a total of 3 for this species. Out at sea I watched at least 20 Sandwich Terns plunge diving whilst Allan had 2 Red-throated Divers, 5 Common Scoters and a Scaup offshore and 5 Whimbrels off the groyne. He also had a Merlin in off the sea before I arrived.

My most surprising sighting was not avian but lepidopteran! I had an early Painted Lady Butterfly nectaring on Dandelions & Bluebells, a record shot is on the Lighthouse Birding Blog. This beats last years early date in Cheshire & Wirral for Painted Lady by 11 days smile

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A couple of hours after lunch around Leasowe lighthouse. Really warm as I arrived with nothing unusual around. Blackcap, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler and Reed warbler all evident. Then the sea mist rolled in and noticably cooler. So I made my way back through the paddocks hoping the weather had dropped some migrants. I was rewarded with 8 Wheatear. 3 Whinchat and 3 Yellow wagtail.

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A dawn mooch around Leasowe Lighthouse til 8.30 am. 1 Male Whinchat. 2 Wheatear. plus multiples of Reed Warbler...Chiffchaff....Blackcap...Willow Warbler....Sedge Warbler....Whitethroat. Single Grasshopper warbler heard. From the sea wall 3 Little Egret around the groyne then a flock of about 50 Dunlin landed just metres away from me happily feeding in the mud. Also the odd Swallow and Meadow pipit arriving off the sea. Certainly not all that was seen today here, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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26th april, leasowe, 1-8.30pm

after 3 hours waiting around for the NIGHT HERON I decided to give up, got about 50yds down the road & the little blighter flew right over my head, got some decent pics also biggrinwink lifer

other birds around...

grasshopper warbler reeling away then eventually showed itself about 15ft away
2 sedge warblers seen, more heard as were reed warblers
12 yellow wagtails inc what was first thought to be a blue headed then was reported as a channel wagtail
2 whinchats
at least 8 wheatears
whitethroats, blackcaps & chiffchaffs all around, surprisingly no willow warblers seen or heard
few swallows, sand martins & house martins
1 kestrel
1 buzzard
1 little egret & 1 shelduck on the beach, tide was well out.
lots of linnets around
plus all the usuals.

a great aft/eve birding
smile

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Female Marsh Harrier being mobbed by black headed gulls over Parkgate marsh at around 2pm today (life tick!) biggrin

Also at Parkgate:

Little egret-20
Grey heron-5
Mute swan
15 Shelduck
Oystercatcher-2
Plenty of skylark, meadow pipits and Linnets on the marsh
Buzzard-2

smile

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Surprisingly disappointing day yesterday at Leasowe, few hours but very few migrants and almost nothing on the sea except a few very distant and unidentified (even with a scope ) gulls, a couple of curlew flew in too.

Around the horse paddocks:

Lots of linnet including at least 3 singing males and a female collecting nesting material.
Skylarks singing (good views of one singing on the ground too, which was odd)
Single male wheatear in a paddock just as I was leaving
46 curlew flew in from sheep fields, presumably going to roost (1 was feeding close by in a paddock earlier in the afternoon)

Lots of the common tits and finches, several blackbirds (none of which were ouzels), 2 mistle thrush as well



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Decided on a day at Leasowe Lighthouse area again to see if any extra migrants had come in. News of another Ring Ouzel there greeted me as I set off but again it was gone by the time I arrived! Every time I choose to go up a Ring Ouzel appears there early, next time maybe I'll set off even earlier. Plenty of other interest though with my first Willow Warbler of the year - a non-singing bird, but showing beautifully feeding along Lingham Lane ranging between the bridge & the entrance to the path to the paddocks, with several Chiffchaffs also in the same area. Two or three Swallows flew in off the sea and lingered for a short time over the stables area near the paddocks, again my first for 2014. A single male Wheatear was in the paddocks with at least 5 more distantly in the sheep fields inland of the paddocks.

The most unexpected sighting came in the afternoon with news of a Glaucous Gull on the sea! It was always distant but showed very well in the scope as it just drifted about in the vicinity of the sea off Dove Point. A drake Common Scoter almost flew over us at one point with large rafts offshore towards the turbines. Several Red-breasted Mergansers and Great-crested Grebes were offshore as well as a few Red-throated Divers, no-one picked up any Great Northern Divers which had been seen earlier this week.


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