Monday, 31 March 2014

Monday 31st March 2014

Weather; Sunny spells after cloudy start, wind SE force 2

A Great Northern Diver was off Leasowe over the high tide period together with 53 Great Crested Grebes and 8 Red-breasted Mergansers.
Meadow Pipits continue to move through Leasowe with over 100 logged today along with a Rock Pipit, 9 Swallows, 1 Sand Martin, 3 Redpolls and 2 Siskin. Wheatear numbers were down to 3 present in the coastal fields along with 5 White Wagtails.
2 Sand Martins were at Dove point, Meols. 

Observers; KD, DH, EW. MGT.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Sunday 30th March 2014

Weather; Hazy sunshine, warm, wind SE force 2-3

Another interesting day in the Leasowe lighthouse area as early spring migrants continue to arrive in ideal weather conditions. Meadow Pipits continue to form the bulk of the movement with over 400 logged in the course of the day. Also recorded were 23 Skylarks, 35 Pied Wagtails and 9 Siskins.
As regards 'proper' summer migrants 2 Swallows, 2 Sand Martin 20 Wheatears, 4 White Wagtails, 9 Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler were logged, together with the site's first Ring Ouzel of the spring.  This bird, a male, was seen on and off from 08.00 until 12.20 in the paddocks area.
Offshore 2 Great Northern Divers were present while a Sandwich Tern was seen on the beach.

Observers; DH, JB, CT, KAD.


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Saturday 29th March 2014

Weather; Early mist followed by hazy sunshine. Wind S.E  force 3

The South-easterlies produced a greater number and variety of migrants today in the lighthouse area. Grounded birds here included 13 Wheatears, 2 White Wagtails, 8 Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler.
Overhead birds were also in evidence, the vast majority moving east. 2 Swallows, 2 Sand Martins, 11 Siskins, 2 Redpolls and over 250 Meadow Pipits were recorded. Good numbers of the Meadow Pipits were alighting briefly in the paddocks before continuing east. Among them were several individuals with a strong orange-buff wash to the underparts considered a feature of northern-west breeding populations in North-west Scotland, Ireland and Iceland which some consider to be a separate subspecies whistleri. One such individual is pictured underneath.
Photo E.W.
Observers; KD, DH, EW, JJ.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Friday March 28th 2014

Weather; Sunny spells, cloud cover 3/8, Wind E.

A constant trickle of early migrants continues to move through the Leasowe lighthouse area. Today there were 7 Wheatears, 5 Chiffchaffs and a single White Wagtail here. Offshore were 220 Common Scoters and 23 Great-crested Grebes. With the wind swinging around to the south-east and the temperature rising over the weekend larger numbers of summer arrivals are hoped for.

Observers; D.H. & K.D.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Thursday 27th March 2014

Weather; Sunny spells, cloud cover 4/8, hail showers. Wind E force 3.

A single Grey Partridge present yesterday in fields south of the paddocks near Leasowe lighthouse was a noteworthy record. They have become extremely rare in North Wirral in recent years.
Today 9 Wheatears were present in the lighthouse area together with 4 Chiffchaffs, 4 Common Snipe and 30 Meadow Pipits. The 2 Twite remain with the main Linnet flock of around 20 birds. They often seem to favour the small field to the right of and just west of the western kissing gate accessing the horse paddock path.

Observers; D.H. K.D. E.W.    

Monday, 24 March 2014

24th March 2014

Weather: SE-3 becoming variable - 6, sunny and cool

A singing Chiffchaff was in the'LEO' copse first thing along with a couple of migrant Mistle thrushes. Other migrants included 2 White Wagtail and a Wheatear in the paddocks and the 2 Twite continue to associate with the Linent flock.

A single Sand Martin flew east along Hoylake shore at 09.00

Saturday, 22 March 2014

22nd March 2014

Weather: SW-6-7, cool and overcast. Light rain

As might have been expected the weather did little to facilitate migration this morning. Despite the stiff southwesterly some migrants managed to push through including three Wheatear, our first Swallow and unusually for the Lighthouse a spring Jay.

Residents included the wintering Greenshank and two Twite, the latter, as ever in the horse paddocks with the Linnet flock. 

One adult Little Gull was in the Mersey mouth over high tide.


Friday, 21 March 2014

Goshawk returns !

Weather: SW-6, cool with sunny intervals

The paddocks this morning held five Pied Wagtail, several Skylarks, Fifty Linnet and two Twite. West of 'wryneck ridge', Meols three Wheatear fed up amongst the coastal dunes no doubt wondering what to make of the stiff south westerley. An additional two Wheatear were at the inland fields, park lane and a single Redpoll over west. Other migrants today were one Chiffchaff (our first of the spring) several Goldcrest and a small trickle of fifty Meadow Pipit over. 

Meanwhile the escaped Goshawk continues to upset the local avifauna, whilst other raptors today included two Kestrel, a distant Peregrine and four Common Buzzards.


Very fearsome, almost straight out of a Finnish Larch forest or in this case a cage! AMC




Thursday, 20 March 2014


Weather: SW-3, clear, turning wet and windy later.

A small trickle of migrants arrived at the lighthouse prior to this afternoons rain. The paddocks aagin held host to the regular finch flock which still includes two Twite. New arrivals included 5 White Wagtail and two Wheatear.

The Greenshank remains at the groyne


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Goshawk !

Weather: S/SW-6, overcast and mild

No migrants again today bar a couple of Siskin overhead. The two Twite remain with the Linnet flock whilst the overwintering Greenshank could be found roosting on 'Greenshank Groyne'

A quiet day was livened up  just after Midday today when agitated Corvids raised the alarm of a raptor. A stunned observer was  amazed to see a stunning Goshawk appear from the inland fields,  fly over the coastal scrub and disappear west followed by a small group of crows.

Delight turned to disappointment as a closer look at the photographs just show the jesses above the talons ruling it out as anything other than an escaped falconers bird. The darkish collar may even suggest the influence of  another species. Non the less quite a sight not least for the resident crows. The bird was seen again around 15.00.

AMC, KD and  EW




Tuesday, 18 March 2014

White Wagtails

Weather: W/SW-5-7, cool and overcast.

The Lighthouse was fairly quiet today but despite the inclement weather 2 White Wagtails were new in at the Horse Paddocks early morning.


Many thanks to Phil for these photo's taken yesterday of the two wintering Twite.

Phil Woollen

Phil Woollen

Sunday, 16 March 2014

16th March 2014

Weather:  Low cloud with strong SW to NW winds

The Greenshank was again with the flock of Redshank on the lee side of the groyne sheltering from the strong wind.  No sign of any spring migrants but in the horse paddocks a mixed flock of Linnet, Goldfinch, Skylark  and Meadow Pipit contained 2 Twite.  Highly mobile the flock could be found in any of the fields but with patience came quite close.  Also here a leucistic Meadow Pipit,  which caused the heart to race when first spotted !  No sign of the Chiffchaff seen recently around the nature pond.  

Of interest:: Stop the use of Diclofenac, the vulture killing drug in the EU.

Not quite a Leasowe Lighthouse Birding issue but one that should concern all birders !

Cheshire Birder John Gilbody has started a petition on as he wants to see the use of Diclofenac banned in the EU. Over 11000 people have signed so far since he started it on Wednesday 5th. Birdlife International and the RSPB are happy with the petition (they have given him the contacts at the EU which he needs to send the petition to) although they say it's best to keep it from a member of the public as they are campaigning for a ban as a charity body.
He's also put a petition in with the European Parliament’s petition Committee (as advised to by the RSPB) which then will have to be discussed in the parliament.

You can see full details of the petition here :. campaign:

Please sign up and spread the word.  This is an important issue for birders.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Friday 14th March 2014

Weather; Mist early with sunny spells, Wind W to NW force 2-3

A short spell of overhead movement took place this morning after the mist had cleared with around 60 Meadow Pipits, 15 Skylarks, 2 Siskins, and 2 Grey Wagtails passing overhead in various directions. Grounded birds included around 30 Meadow Pipits, a Grey Wagtail, 7 Goldcrests and 28 Redwings. A singing Chiffchaff in the poplars in the paddocks was also a new arrival. The 2 Twite remain with the Linnets in the paddocks. The wind strengthened and moved to the north west in the early afternoon which appeared to kill off any further movement. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Wheatear !

Weather: N/NE-2, sunny and  cool.

A cool Northerly wind greeted us today at the Lighthouse. A good number of Skylark and Linnet remain in the horse paddocks as do the 2 Twite although the flock was somewhat more mobile today, perhaps sensing the urgency to move north.

Siskin were heard but not seen overhead and up to 50 Meadow Pipit also moved through.

A male Stonechat was singing from the coastal scrub by the pumping station east of Dove Point.

The Lighthouse is traditionally one of the best places to find the first Wirral Wheatear of the year and this year was no different as just after midday today the first Wheatear of the year was found, making this one of our earliest ever.  A stunning male could be seen in a field inland from the Westerley kissing gate. Using the mole hills as a vantage point this harbinger of spring spent it's time fly catching and feeding up before quickly moving on North. There was no sign of the bird by 15.00. 





Sunday, 9 March 2014

9th March 2014

Weather: W/SW, variable later. Warm and sunny

A quieter day today although there were still numbers of 'migrants' in the horse paddocks with Pied Wagtails increasing to 24 and again the 2 Twite remain.

A pair of Peregrine were displaying over the sandbank offshore were there were also 40 Common Scoter and 70 Great crested Grebe. 

A Blackcap, presumably an overwintering bird, was singing in a West Kirby garden this morning. 

Saturday, 8 March 2014

08th March 2014

Weather: W-2/3, warm and mild later.

Good numbers of early migrants were in the horse paddocks including, 17 Pied Wagtail, 28 Meadow Pipit, 2 Reed Bunting, 6 Goldfinch, 10 Skylark, 60 Linnet and 2 Twite remain.

A surprise find was a Weasel climbing an old Willow in Lingham Lane. 

With a high pressure system building over Iberia and the bay of Biscay early next week there is every chance of the first 'true' summer migrants arriving at the Lighthouse at the end of the week, if not earlier.

A male Sparrowhawk was caught and ringed in a West Kirby garden where there were also a flock of 20 Redpoll. A great photo of this fearsome looking male below.

AMC, JJ and KN.

Alan Hitchmough



Thursday, 6 March 2014

6th March 2014

Weather: Variable, becoming S/SW-3, cool and overcast.

A female Peregrine was present on the East Hoyle bank before being pushed on by the incoming tide. Also moved on by the rising tide was the wintering Greenshank on the west groyne.

The linnet flock still held the two Twite which were the most confiding they have been since their arrival.




Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A Day for Ducks

Weather: SW-3, mild and overcast - cooler later

Two Twite still present in horse paddocks west of Lighthouse and showing well. - (AT) and seven migrant Siskin flew east along Hoylake prom early morning.

A sea watch on the flood tide from the Lighthouse, car park bench proved productive. In addition to several Red-throated Divers and Great crested Grebes, Sea duck were clearly on the move. 12 Red-breasted Merganser, 8 Goldeneye, 3 Teal, 2 Pintail, 3 Eider- (2 drakes) and several Common Scoter were all recorded during a half hour stint.



Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Tuesday 4th March 2014

Weather; Sunny spells, wind S.W. force 2-3

The 2 Twite are still present with the linnet flock in the paddocks and showing well although slightly distant. A trickle of Meadow Pipits was also evident indicating the start of their spring passage northwards. 10 Skylarks were also in the paddocks. A high tide roost of 217 Curlews was in the field at the bottom of Pasture Road with around 40 Curlews elsewhere in the lighthouse area. Around 30 Teal were scattered along the Birkett in small groups.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Weather: SW-1, warm and sunny,

Common Scoter were the main feature of todays Hoylake seawatch. At least 3000 were noted although there were many more were reported from Hilbre. A female Goldeneye flew east at high water and 27 Great crested grebe were also offshore. 3 Red -throated Diver were also recorded.

The two Twite were still associating with the Linnet flock in the Lighthouse horse paddocks this afternoon.

Waders were abundant today allowing several photo opportunities. As the tide began to ebb it was interesting to watch a crow heading out across the sea to join the gulls on a distant sandbank.emerging from the tide. Learnt behaviour ?




Saturday, 1 March 2014


Weather: N-1, warm and sunny

Very few wades were in the Hoylake high tide roost today and  despite the large number of Gulls loafing on the water, nothing of note was picked out.

With the sound of croaking frogs at the Lighthouse pond and snow drops appearing it felt once again very much like spring. 

A circuit of the paddocks was initially proving a little quiet until two Twite were initially picked up overhead on call. They promptly disappeared, however after a short search they were relocated feeding in the paddocks with a small flock of linnet. (See Jeremy Bradshaw's entry 6th Oct 2013) Always distant they were difficult to get a clear shot of. For the sake of posterity three record shots below are the best of a bad lot !