Friday, 29 August 2014

Weather: SW-3/4, overcast and rain.

With the inclement weather at the Lighthouse today attention again turned to wader watching at high tide at Hoylake.

An Arctic Skua roosted on the sand briefly at Kings Gap just prior to high tide before eventually flying off to chase passing terns.

At least one Curlew Sandpiper was found among the 3000 Dunlin, 300 Sanderling, Bar tailed Godwit and Whimbrel on Hoylake shore whilst yesterdays adult Yellow legged Gull remains in the gull roost.

A flock of 6 Goosander flew west mid morning. A hurried photograph through the lounge window was the best that could be achieved as they quickly continued their journey low over the sand.

3 of the 6 Goosander (AMC)

Record shot of 6 'Red head' Goosander (AMC)

Whimbrel (SRW)

Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper (SRW)

Thursday, 28 August 2014

28th August 2014

Weather: SE turning SW-4, sunny and clear.

Many of yesterdays migrants remained at the Lighthouse whilst some, such as Wheatear had clearly left overnight leaving just a single bird in the dunes west of the groyne. Two Spotted flycatchers and a Lesser Whitethroat remained in Lingham lane. Overhead 3 Swift and 2 Sand Martin  headed southwest. A single Teal on the duck pond was an ironically scarce occurrence of a fairly regular bird at the Lighthouse.

The high tide wader roost at Hoylake proved interesting as numbers continue to build. Amongst the many thousands of waders the highlights were 3 Greenshank and two Curlew Sandpipers.

An adult Mediteranean Gull was found in the black headed gull roost just east of Dove point whilst further west in the  'big gull' roost an adult Yellow legged Gull was picked out roosting with Herring and Lesser black backs. August is a good time for Yellow legged Gull on North Wirral so this record fits in with the expected pattern of occurrence.  


Yellow legged Gull (nearest bird)  asleep for the whole time. (AMC)

And eventually a quick stretch of the legs ! (AMC)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Wednesday 27th August 2014

Weather; Sunny spells, light SE wind force 2. Force 3 in the afternoon.

The wind change to the south-east appeared to have prompted a considerable amount of migration through the Leasowe lighthouse area, especially this morning. Visible migration overhead early on included 9 Teal, 11 Magpies, 3 Jays, 2 Sparrowhawks, a Buzzard, 9 Swifts, 25 Meadow Pipits, 5 Reed Buntings and 8 Grey Wagtails. 
Hirundine passage was also evident with over 200 Swallows and 60 House Martins moving east. Among the House Martins was a beautiful all-white leucistic individual.
Grounded birds were much in evidence especially in the hedgerows along Lingham Lane south of the the fisheries alongside the old golf course. Here there were 6 Blackcaps, 3 Whitethroats, 3 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, a Garden Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher. Another Spotted Flycatcher was at Lingham Lane bridge together with a Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Blackcaps and, unusually for here, a Nuthatch. The Spotted Flycatcher, or a third individual, later relocated to the duck pond area, where there were also 3 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers.
5 Wheatears were in the paddocks together with around 30 Pied Wagtails. Most of these birds are juvenile or 1st winter types and easily confusable with similarly aged White Wagtails, many of which we surely overlook here. 

Ad White Wagtail. Note that the pale grey area of the rump between the middle tertials is the same shade as the mantle. On Pied this would be a much darker slate colour. This is perhaps the safest way to I.D. the confusing juvs and first winter birds in autumn. EW.
By midday a mass clear out had taken place with most of the above birds having moved on. The only new birds in the afternoon were 2 Wheatears and singles of Sand Martin, Grey Wagtail and an adult White Wagtail. Observers; AMC, KAD, DH, JJ, CT, MGT, EW.
Spotted Flycatcher.  EW.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

26th August 2014

Weather: SE-4 warm and sunny

Today's high tide roost at Hoylake saw an impressive array of species with numbers of waders continuing to increase.  In addition to the thousands of large Gulls there were 3000 Dunlin, 500 Sanderling,  1000 Ringed Plover, 162 Grey Plover, 302 Curlew, 1 summer plumage Bar tailed Godwit, 86 Knot, 2 Greenshank, 2 Little Stint, 1 Curlew Sandpiper and most unusually a male Ruff. 

A pale phase Arctic Skua gave a spectacular piratical display as it harassed the local Sandwich Terns.

Migrants at the Lighthouse included 4 Willow Warbler but just singles of Wheatear and Sedge Warbler.  


Sunday, 24 August 2014

24th August 2014

Weather: NE-2, Warm and sunny.

An Osprey was reported over the sea at Leasowe mid morning. Never common at this time of year, this may be the only record of the autumn for the Lighthouse.

Yesterday's Whinchats remained in the paddocks. Their  arrival  appeared to fir with a UK wide movement of this species. A single Wheatear was also in the paddocks whilst another was at Dove point. 

The warm conditions saw small numbers of Warblers arrive including 4 Whitethroat, 8 Chiffchaff and 9 Willow Warbler whilst the resident Reed Warblers continue to feed young. Other residents still present include the Greenshank at the Groyne and the Kingfisher from Lingham Bridge.

With Easterly winds forecast for next week and with a bit of luck we may see some drift migration in the coming days.


Juvenile Chiffchaff  showing a distinctive broken pale eye ring (AMC)

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Weather: W/SW-4, Showers and cool.

The westerly air stream continues which produced a couple of Gannets, 4 Common Scoter and a Juvenile Kittiwake from Hoylake shore.

Good numbers of waders continue to build including some photogenic summer plumage Turnstone on the sea defence by the Lighthouse car park.

Despite the brisk westerly wind some migrants did push through eventually grounded by some very heavy mid morning downpours. Up to 30 Pied Wagtails were in the flooded horse paddocks where there were also 2 1st winter Whinchats and a Wheatear.  


A distant record shot of one of the two Whinchats today.  (AMC)


Friday, 22 August 2014

Friday 22nd August 2014

Weather;  Showers with sunny spells. Wind NW force 3-4.

Offshore at the lighthouse today were 5 Grey Plovers, 30 Turnstone, 200 Redshank, the Greenshank and small numbers of Curlew, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. A Whimbrel spent much of the morning on the horse paddocks.
A Reed Warbler was seen feeding still dependent young but the local Sedge Warblers seem to have departed. 8 Chiffchaffs and 6 Blackcaps were in the lighthouse area.
Some overhead passage was apparent with 8 Mistle Thrushes flying south-east, 2 Common Snipe flying due south from Liverpool bay and a single Grey Wagtail heading east.
There was a sudden arrival of at least 10 Wheatears in the area of the western groyne mid-morning but these quickly moved through leaving just a single female behind in the paddocks by mid afternoon. 3 Willow Warblers were on the nature trail with a fourth east of Kerr's field near the cafe.
The recent heavy rain has created many small pools in the paddocks which have attracted around 30 Pied Wagtails, the majority being juveniles. A further 10 were off Lingham Lane. Hopefully something more exciting will be attracted to them soon.
Juvenile Pied Wagtail.   EW

Observers AMC, DH, EW.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Weather: NW-3, mild and overcast.

With the wind having been in the Northwest quarter for some time now there has been little in the way of migration; however today saw a small movement of Swift. Nine in total all heading south to their East African wintering grounds. Other migrants included a Wheatear on the Groyne where the ever present Greenshank remains.

Other birds of note today included a Black tailed Godwit over the shore whilst a secretive Kingfisher was seen to fly along the Birkett from Lingham bridge.

Several young Reed Warbler could also be found around the Lighthouse pond.


Juvenile Reed Warbler (Les Hall)

Friday, 15 August 2014

Weather; NW-3, warm and sunny

The torrential overnight rain helped ground a few Lighthouse migrants today. In addition to a good Hirrundine movement there were 8 Wheater around the paddocks and sea defence and 12 Willow Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Chiffchaff , 5 Blackcap and 1 Garden warbler around and along  Lingham Lane. 


Wheatear feeding by the Groyne  (DH)

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Thursday 14th August 2014

Weather; Sunny spells, wind NW force 4.

Offshore at Leasowe over the high tide today were 8 Manx Shearwaters, 6 Common Scoter, 1 male Scaup and 2 Teal. Small flocks of waders, mainly Redshank, Turnstone, Dunlin and Ringed Plover moved constantly west. Small numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plover alighted on the sea wall. 
Grounded migrants in the lighthouse area were rather few today but included 2 juvenile Willow Warblers and a very skulking Lesser Whitethroat at Lingham Lane bridge. 6 Chiffchaffs and 4 Blackcaps were in the area although some of these may have been local birds. A flock of 26 Pied Wagtails were on the horse paddocks. Observers;  AMC, DH, EW.
Lesser Whitethroat.  EW.
Manx Shearwater;  AMC
A second winter Mediterranean Gull was at Gilroy nature reserve.
Ringed Plovers and Dunlin.   Les Hall

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Hurricane Bertha

Weather: E/SE-2, W/NW 8 gusting 10 later.

From Hoylake shore Manx Shearwater numbered over 400 by mid morning. Blown in by the tail end of hurricane Bertha it was an incredible sight to watch these ocean wanderers as they could be picked out at distance as they sheered high over the waves in the stiff breeze. Other seabirds included 6 Great crested Grebe, 4 Gannet and 2 Common Scoter.

The high tide roost at Hoylake included, 200 Curlew, 2 Whimbrel, 5 Bar tailed Godwit, 1 Black tailed Godwit, 8 Grey Plover, 5 Knot, 200 Sanderling. 7000 Dunlin and 100 Ringed Plover.

7 Little Terns, 28 Common Tern and 300 Sandwich tern also settled on the foreshore over the high tide

AMC, FD and DH

09th August 2014

Weather: SW-4, warm and sunny

A stiff mid morning breeze saw up to 80 Manx Shearwater off Hoylake shore. Mostly heading west although a few were seen to fly east. 31 Gannet and several Terns continue to feed offshore, whilst the high tide roost saw 95 Sandwich Terns on the foreshore including several juvenile birds.

Waders on the move included a lovely summer plumaged Knot, 3 Whimbrel, 150 Curlew and 2 impressive looking summer plumaged Grey Plover.

At the groyne the Turnstone flock has increased to 65 whilst the Greenshank as ever remains faithful to the gutter just by the groyne.

Passerines on the move included 1 Wheatear, 3 Willow Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat.  A Cuckoo near Park Lane is presumed to be the same bird that has been present in the paddocks since last week.

Two Common Terns continue to fish the channel at the groyne.



Friday, 8 August 2014

Friday 8th August 2014

Weather; Overcast early a.m. sunny later and unsettled by mid afternoon. Wind E to NW later, light.

Early autumn migrants in the Leasowe lighthouse area today included a group of 17 Sand Martins which flew directly in off the sea, over the embankment, and due south without lingering. A further single was around the pond in the afternoon. A single Swift also powered through heading south over the cafe. The first migrant Wheatears of the autumn also appeared today with a single female on Meols common this morning followed by a further two there this afternoon.
Other migrants in the area included 2 Willow Warblers near the western kissing gate and another 2 near the duck pond. A single Garden Warbler remains in the area of Lingham Lane bridge from the 3 in the vicinity yesterday. There are also several juvenile Blackcaps with very faint brown crowns in this area to confuse the issue. The Lesser Whitethroat remains in scrub to the east of the pond near the bottom of Lingham Lane. It has been here for nearly a week. An even longer stayer, the Greenshank, was on it's usual groyne this evening. 
Record shot of Garden Warbler;  EW
On the butterfly front a Small Copper and a Painted Lady were on Meols common this afternoon (Colin Twist). Both have been very rare this year.
Female Wheatear. DH
Observers;  DH, CT, EW. 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Thursday 7th August 2014

Weather;  Heavy showers early a.m. clearing to fine and sunny. Winds light N.W.

Waders offshore at Leasowe this morning included around 40 Ringed Plovers, 60 Dunlin and 50 Turnstones, many of the latter still in fine breeding plumage. A Mediterranian Gull was at the cafe.
The heavy morning rain showers may have helped ground 3 Garden Warblers, at least 2 being in the Lingham bridge area with another near the pond. A Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Willow Warblers were also in the pond area together with the usual Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. Another Willow Warbler was on Lingham Lane. A single Sand Martin flew west along Meols embankment.
There was no sign of the juvenile Cuckoo today.
This evening 29 Manx Shearwaters and a single Arctic Skua were offshore at Leasowe on the incoming tide. Observers DH,  EW.
Summer plumaged Turnstone.  EW

Monday, 4 August 2014

Monday 4th August 2014

Weather; Sunny and warm. Wind light W to NW later.

Although it was low tide during the period of observations waders are becoming more obvious at Leasowe. 47 Turnstone and around 20 Ringed Plover were in the area of the groyne. Overhead 6 Swifts and 2 Sand Martins passed quickly through.
The juvenile Cuckoo was in the horse paddocks all day, using the fence lines as vantage points to capture caterpillars.
A general increase in birds was evident in the area of the duck ponds with more Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Reed Buntings present than of late. 3 Willow Warblers were also present here with further singles at Lingham bridge and on Park Lane. A Lesser Whitethroat was also at the duck pond.
Juv Cuckoo AMC

Observers; AMC, DH, KD, KAD, EW.    

Sunday, 3 August 2014

3rd August 2014

Weather: SW-5, warm and overcast.

Wader numbers have continued to increase on North Wirral over the last few days. At the Lighthouse Groyne s 19 Redshank. 1 Greenshank and 1 Whimbrel  were present mid morning.

As to be expected at this time of year the lemon yellow juvenile Willow Warblers continue to move through with 4 recorded in Lingham Lane.

At Hoylake beach a family of Peregrines appear to have taken up temporary residents with the adult birds partially disabling a prey item and allowing the chicks to finish the job. Fascinating to watch, if a little gruesome!