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Post Info TOPIC: Hale Head, near Widnes


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Hale Head, near Widnes


White-Tailed Eagle still present this morning opposite Hale Lighthouse on the far marshline, be aware if you go it's approx 1 2 miles viewing distance and useless without a scope ,but well worth seeing this special bird,  expecially if it flies round which this morning it did along the marsh edge about 5 times. 



-- Edited by JOHN TYMON on Tuesday 18th of July 2023 03:41:43 PM

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From Oglet Road, White tailed Eagle seen at distance & through varying heat haze. Took off & flew back & forth along marsh edge a couple of times, spooking gulls & geese in the process, too far for my camera!

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Sun 16th July

Hale Lighthouse.

- White-tailed Eagle
Morning visit to see 2nd summer female G542 from the Isle of Wight reintroduction scheme.
Parked up on Church Lane and walked down to the lighthouse. The Eagle was showing well on arrival but was distant on the banking of the other side of the Mersey on Ince Marsh. It never moved from its spot, pity as I wouldnt have minded a flight view.
Nice to meet the finder Dave Craven and surprisingly only a handful of other birders.

- Quail
As I started walking towards the lighthouse, I nearly jumped out of my skin, I flushed a Quail few feet away, it flew up over the hedge into a wheat / barley field, then started singing. There were hedge gaps every so often, I stood at one of the gaps listening to it then it suddenly flew up (around 5-6 feet away) almost like a jump, had a bit of a flap and went back down again. I heard it a few times after that then it went quiet. You dont get many views of Quail so I was pleased with this one.

Also of note
- 2 Raven
- 5 Little Egret
- 2 Linnet
- 8 Dunlin
- 1 Marsh Harrier - to be fair I didnt see the Marsh Harrier whilst there, it was on my short scope video when I was checking what Id got.



-- Edited by Rob Creek on Sunday 16th of July 2023 10:32:47 PM

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The long staying Twite that are always right in the sun with hundreds of Linnets at the gates on Within way was still there per other birder I was talking to on Carr Lane and was my only year tick of the day. The tide was right in and didn't see much else,

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Around midday

Walked along the Within/Mersey Way to just beyond the lighthouse.

The large flock of mixed finches mentioned in my January post were still hanging around the same area.

There appeared to be in excess of 200 birds in the flock, around 90% of these are Linnets, the remainder

being Reed Buntings (The males in superb fresh breeding plumage), Chaffinches, Goldfinches and Greenfinches.

Also in the area were 1 Buzzard, a flock of 27 Fieldfares, 1 Red-Legged Partridge (Probable release),

5 Collared Doves, a group of 20 Curlews(On stubble) and 1 Little Egret.

The high tide at it's peak reached the base of the reedbed.

A single Short-Eared Owl and a Kestrel patrolled the flooded banking, the owl then climbed and gave the

impression it was just passing through.

Lots of Redshanks, Teal and Mallard were tucked in along the top of flood, along with 12 Black-Tailed Godwits

and 6 Curlews.

A huge adult Herring Gull (probable "argentatus") flew passed offshore and a flock of 6 Reed Buntings were close to the lighthouse.



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John Williams


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Walked along the Within Way, passed the lighthouse to Icehouse Plantation and returned via same route.

Within Way:

1 Goldcrest, 1 Yellowhammer, a flock of 20 Fieldfares with a single Redwing, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrels and 1 Grey Wagtail.

A large flock of finches, the vast majority being Linnets, and appearing to number at least 200 birds, in which a

Twite has recently been reported, were mostly near the double gate leading to a small copse. This is just before

the path bends to run alongside the river. Beyond the gate is what seems to be a feeding area for game birds,

which is probably the attraction for the finches too. I could not find a Twite, but apart from the impressive numbers of Linnets,

the flock also contained lesser numbers of Greenfinches, Chaffinches and Goldfinches.

River Mersey and area around the Mersey Way path:

1 Bar-Tailed Godwit, a flock of 10 Meadow Pipits, 10+ Curlews, 4 Ravens, 4 Reed Buntings and 6 Wigeon.

In addition there were numerous Redshanks, Oystercatchers, Mallards, Teal and Cormorants.



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John Williams


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Arrived at Hale Head at 9am and 1000' of Gulls were flying around, but couldn't pick out the Sabine's.

There was a Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon and 4 Raven around. 

At 09.50 the Sabine's Gull then returned to it's favourite field just next to the main track and managed a few images and got cracking views of it flying too. 

A wander around the coast path East produced a Yellow Wagtail, 100+ Linnet, 3 Little Egret, Wigeon, Reed Bunting, 3 Chiffchaff, 17 Dunlin, 20 Meadow Pipit, 40 House Martin, 8 Swallow.

En route 15 Pink Footed Geese flew over junction



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Originally posted today by Brian Burnett

Had great close views of the juvenile Sabine's gull in the stubble field to the West of the light house down to a few  meters.

 

WARNING I parked near the last houses on Church road.only 200m from the bird. however with a 30 mins someone  smashed the rear window of my vehicle and took my camera bag, my wifes bridge camera and fleece. Fortunately my camera and big lens were with us along with all our optics. My advice is not to leave anything in your car if you visit this site.

 

Brian and Helen Burnett

 



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The juvenile Sabines Gull was out on the River Mersey this afternoon then flew low right over my head as it headed inland. It probably joined a large distant feeding flock of Gulls in a field that was partially hidden by bushes but couldnt be relocated.

Also seen:
1 Ruddy Shelduck - seen flying out over the Mersey as I was scanning the feeding Gull flock.
1 Great White Egret - distantly on the far side of river
3 Little Egret
1 Whitethroat
1 Great Crested Grebe on the river
A few Swallows and House Martin passing through.

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Juv Sabine's Gull still present this morning (to 9.00am at least) very close views, seemed settled , flocking with black neaded gulls

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 Hale near lighthouse. 11/9/2020.

   A Sabine`s Gull is a very uncommon bird in Cheshire, so a juvenile bird seen late on Wednesday was a real treat for the birders as they dashed down to the quaint village of Hale which overlooks the River Mersey, to see it. The bird remained there on Thursday and spent its time flying around a Kale field with Black headed Gulls catching insects from the ground. After checking out the bird information service on Friday morning I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bird was still present. After telling our regular team that I would be going to see the bird, I set off. The motorway system was reasonable and the strange journey through Widnes soon had me parking up in Hale. I saw a few birders returning from the lighthouse area, who informed me that the Sabine`s Gull was still present. After 15 minutes or so a fellow birder pointed out a dark bird on a distant mud flat, could this be the juvenile gull? Well it took off and began flying around in front of us, it was the Sabine`s Gull! The bird showed really well then settled down on the water in front of us, what a nice thing to do. A Peregrine Falcon fly past us all and news that a Lapland Bunting had been seen/heard and that there were Curlew Sandpiper`s on the foreshore, not seen by me, but a nice short trip out on a Friday was enjoyed.

Dave O.



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The Sabine's Gull stayed another day so I called in to see it. Mostly it fed over a stubble field, quite close at times and putting on quite a show. It would down to pick insects from amongst the stubble but didn't really land, rather like it would feed picking items off the surface of the sea. Later it did rest in the field for 10-15 minutes but then was off again. It also flew to the estuary and bathed and preened there.

I couldn't find the reported Lapland Bunting in the same field and the Curlew Sandpipers seemed to have moved elsewhere but I did see 3 Grey Partridges.

Cheers, John

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Having been at work all day yesterday I had to watch sightings coming out from Hale Head all day so I was relieved when the scarcity in question was still present today.

I headed out this afternoon to Hale and drove to the end of Church Road where I was lucky to get the last parking spot, it is very, very limited down there so walking from further out may be best. As soon as I arrived at the field where muck has been spread (just follow your nose!!) friends already there answered my question with a yes and I was soon looking at a cracking juvenile Sabine's Gull flying over the field. This bird was feeding with a small group of Black-headed Gulls and moved backwards and fowards over the field in front of us, occasionally landing but never for more than a few seconds at a time. It was really easy to follow in the scope and as all Sabine's Gulls are it was a really smart bird.

With time limited I headed off happy with my views and happy that it had hung around for a second day. Given that it's feeding well it may stay even longer and it it does it is well worth a visit, I may even head back when I have more time for seconds smile



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Circular walk along the Within Way to the lighthouse, then return along Church Road.

Also covered the riverside path to Icehouse Plantation. 09.30-13.30

2 charms of Goldfinches along the river bank (50+ & 60+), 1 Raven, 30+ House Martins,

2 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Kestrel, 16 Linnets, 50 Ringed Plover & 24 Dunlin resting on stubble

during high tide, 60+ Swallows swooping low over the fields near the lighthouse.

3 flocks of Starlings (Around 300 birds in total).



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John Williams


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20th April 2018.......18.00-20.00.

Circular walk along the Within Way to the lighthouse, then return along Church Road.

1 Great White Egret by the duck decoy, 3 Little Egrets were also there.

1f Kestrel by the Within Way was the only raptor seen throughout, a pair Grey Partridges were on farmland nearby.

7 singing Skylarks were recorded throughout. 6 Swallows passed the lighthouse heading North.

25 Black Tailed Godwits, 6 Ringed Plovers and a couple of Dunlin were on the rocky shoreline near the lighthouse.

Curlew, Oystercatcher, Shelduck and lots of Lesser Black Backed and Herring Gulls were on the estuary sandbanks.

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John Williams


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Yesterday 17.03.2018 09.30-13.00

210 Teal on the river by the lighthouse at high tide. 35 Redshanks and 1 Ringed Plover along the shore.

In the surrounding fields were 35 Curlew, 6 Skylarks, 20 Meadow Pipits, 7 Reed Buntings, 6 Linnets and 1 Greenfinch.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the woodland and a quite tame Song Thrush allowed close approach along riverside path.



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John Williams


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A pleasant walk round the loop on a falling tide was relatively quiet but managed to get 51 species of which the most notable were
Collared Dove - 35 - on house tops
Curlew - 150 - in the fields
Redshank - 125+ - along the waterfront
Ringed Plover - 25 - ditto
Pink footed geese - 15 - overhead but the flock has been around the area for awhile
Water Rail - 2 - having a confrontation in reeds along waterfront
Linnet - 30
Meadow Pipit - 20
Nuthatch - 2 - in adjacent woods


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Big potato field here looking striking all in flower, plenty of birds around this area. At least 5 Yellow Wagtails active, some juv birds. Linnets. Whitethroat. Sky Larks

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12.30-14.00

80 Curlew on the field bordering the path to the lighthouse, 12 of these later moved down to the mudflats, where 1 caught a small flatfish.

12 Linnets and 1 Jay in the bushes by the parking area. A charm of 60 Goldfinches moved along the river bank.

A flock of 17 Long Tailed Tits flitted through the copse just before the Merseyside border. 3 Fieldfares rested on a dead tree.

10 Redshanks and a group of 12 Teal on the edge of the river with a few Mallard and gulls. No Shelduck anywhere on the mudflats.

Amongst the Black Headed and Lesser Back Backed Gulls were 8 Common Gulls, and a single adult Herring Gull.

It appears that there simply isn't anywhere near as many waders, ducks and gulls on the mudflats as there were just a few years ago.

 

 



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John Williams


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On a very blustery morning a Skylark was singing as I headed for the shore. Also of note were:-

Curlew 62
Redshank 30
Turnstone 1
Oystercatcher 6
Canada Goose 72
Teal 9
Lapwing 2
Linnet 50
Starling 100
Stock Dove 6

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RE: Hale Head Widnes - Migration Watch


2.15-3.30
Grey Plover
Turnstone
3 Black Tailed Godwit
60 Curlew
14 Ringed Plover
100 + Linnet
40 Fieldfare
No sign of reported Lapland Bunting

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Stubble fields near lighthouse

Huge numbers of Meadow Pipits, tried to make a count but gave up, easily 200+.

With them were 6 "Alba" wagtails, 1 Wheatear, 1 Yellowhammer and 60 Linnets.

9 Curlew, 3 flocks of Goldfinches 86+38+25, and 1 Reed Bunting.

River & mudflats

15 Curlew, 1 Redshank, 1 Snipe, 5 Cormorants, 4 Grey Herons. A single group of 60 Mallards were just below the lighthouse, and as usual lots of others were scattered around the estuary.

6 Buzzards in the air together over Hale village.

30 or so Starlings roosted on the domed roof of the lighthouse for a while before moving off towards Runcorn.

A steady stream of Swallows and House Martins throughout, all flying West towards Oglet.

1 half grown Frog on river bank. 8 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies and 2 Southern Hawker dragonflies.

-- Edited by John Williams on Sunday 16th of September 2012 12:25:04 PM

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John Williams


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Not quite Hale Head but saw an amazing sight at Pickerings Pasture just down the river tonight a flock of at least 350 Golden Plover [an approximate count from the photos] - that really did look golden in the fading light, plus herons, a variety of gulls and lapwings on the sandbanks. Also a few Redwing over, Redshank from the hide, 150 Canadas on the Marsh and a roost of around 15 Collared Doves in one tree - never seen that many together before.

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Took part in the second day National Migration Watch at Hale Head, Widnes yesterday - movement of the following species was observed:

Woodpigeon 2290, Fieldfare 69, Greenfinch 58, Collared Dove 11, Song Thrush 1, Goldfinch 61, Great Spotted Woodpecker 3, Redwing 129, Linnet 31, Skylark 52, Mistle Thrush 8, Lesser Redpoll 2, Meadow Pipit 46, Great Tit 7, Yellowhammer 1, Water Pipit / Rock Pipit 2, Jackdaw 155, Reed Bunting 14, Grey Wagtail 2, Starling 55, alba wagtail sp.1, Chaffinch 123 .

Totals: 3121 individuals, 22 species, 4:00 hours (07.30 - 11.30)

Comments: Three count points manned along the profile of Hale Head. For largest species e.g. Woodpigeon only largest count taken. Finch species and other small passerines had combined counts as flight lines not crossing the seperate observer points. Redwing and Fieldfare, highest single observer count only. Migration sluggish and virtually died after 9.30am


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Hale Head, near Widnes


Had a morning at Hale Head, Widnes taking part in day one of the National Migration Watch series. The watch started at 06.45 and finished at 13.00 although I wasn't there all of the time. In total 513 individual birds and 12 species where counted. The full list was Merlin 2, Hobby 1, Skylark 54, Swallow 10, Meadow Pipit 267, Wagtail sp 47, Chaffinch 1, Greenfinch 4, Linnet 74, Reed Bunting 2 and Lapland Bunting 1 - the last bird was a probable as it was not heard calling but rose from a stuble field with Skylarks and the observer who is familiar with the species, which is an occasional visitor to the site in autumn was able to identify it from flight views obtained. An interesting morning.

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Sunday 9th of November 2014 09:36:20 PM

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