Wednesday, 30 April 2014

30th April 2014

Weather: E/NE, variable-1. Warm with sea mist.

A flat calm sea gave the seawatchers an opportunity to search for some sea duck. On the flood tide 112 Great crested Grebe were counted along with 2 Red throated Diver, 5 Common Scoter, 1 Scaup and the unusual site on the sea, a pair of Shoveler.

As the mist descended so did the migrants and 3 Whinchat dropped in near sandy lane whilst the paddocks held 10 Wheatear, 3 Yellow Wagtail and 5 White wagtail.. 3 singing Willow Warbler were also new in. A female Merlin came in off the sea and headed east much to the consternation of the local Swallows. 

There was also a reasonable passage of Redpoll during the day totaling 20 by the end of the day.The only other finch of note was a solitary Siskin.

5 Whimbrel could be found feeding on the sandbank opposite the groyne.

A Painted Lady butterfly was an early record.

AMC, DH, KAD,EW - photo's AMC



Painted Lady. Dr Paul Brewster

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

29th April 2014

Weather: SE-2, mist early morning clearing. Warm and sunny later

A much quieter day today with only 2 Wheatear  and a Whinchat in the paddocks whilst singles of both Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit overhead. A Lesser Whitethroat was in bushes next to the car park. 3 Grasshopper Warbler and several Reed warbler continue to hold territory,

Offshore over 100 Great crested Grebe  and 60 Gannets could be found floating on a flat calm sea. A summer plumage Red throated Diver could also be seen from the car park .


Monday, 28 April 2014

28th April 2014

Weather; NE/N-2, warm and sunny some haze.

The easterlies continue and so do the birds. In the paddocks early morning there were 3 Whinchat, 5 White Wagtail and 21 Wheatear, many of which were still present early evening. 2 Garden warbler could be found in the coastal bushes whilst 3 Grasshopper Warbler continue to hold territory.

A seawatch from the Lighthouse Car Park produced 56 Sanwhich Tern, 17 Gannet, 110 Great crested Grebe, 2 Scaup and 2 summer plumage Black throated Diver.

The Dunlin flock remained off Hoylake promanade.

Further west a male Little Bunting was trapped and ringed by (SRW and CJ) on Hilbre Island mid morning. A fantastic record for Hilbre and North Wirral. 

AMC, DH and EW

Alan Hitchmough


Sunday, 27 April 2014

27th April 2014

Weather: SE-3/4, sunny and blustery

Migrant Dunlin numbers are beginning to increase with 2000 feeding just off Hoylake promenade with 25 Ringed Plover. 17 Whimbrel and a single Bar tailed Godwit were in the high tide roost whilst several Gannet and Sandwich Tern could be seen feeding offshore.

Despite many migrants now in and breeding migration still continues with todays highlights including 1 Redpoll, 2 Tree Pipit, 2 Yellow Wagtail , 5 White Wagtails, 16 Wheatear, 2 male Redstart, 6 Whinchat, and 3 singing Grasshopper Warbler.
Several singing male Blackcap, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff were also present.

A small movement of Hirrundines took place mid morning but no significant numbers were recorded.

At approximately 17.05 the Night Heron was flying west along the Birkett and lost to view and then as on previous evenings could be seen to drop in from Lingham bridge at 19.15.

Two miles west of the Lighthouse a Wryneck was discovered by (JET) in marsh side bushes at Red Rocks. 



Saturday, 26 April 2014

The good run continues.

Weather: SE-3-4, sunny spells and squally showers.

Migration continues to hot up at the Lighthouse with good numbers of Yellow Wagtail starting to build. Whilst birds move through here all day a flock of at least 12 birds were found mid afternoon. Within the flock a smart looking 'Channel' Wagtail Motacilla flava flava x flavissima was found catching insects amongst the daisies. Thought initially to be Blue headed, however the pale throat, pale cheeks and very pale powder blue head suggest this bird is a Channel Wagtail.

Other migrants today included 1 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 15 Wheatear, 3 Garden warbler and numerous Blackcap, Whitethroat, and Chiffchaff.

At 20.10 the Night Heron flew into the river Birkett from it's daytime roost appearing to drop onto the river somewhere west of Lingham Bridge..


Photos- AMC

Friday, 25 April 2014

25th April 2014

Cloudy early, heavy rain from 14.00. Wind E 2.

In the Leasowe lighthouse area the Night Heron appeared again today at 7.15 p.m. when it was seen flying along the Birkett towards the fisheries.  
 Offshore today  were 90 Sandwich Terns and 24 Gannets.
A good number of grounded migrants were also in the lighthouse area, many of them new in today. These included 2 Whinchats, a male Redstart, 22 Wheatears, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Garden Warblers, 3 Grasshopper Warblers, and good numbers of Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs.
25 House Martins passed overhead.

Observers; JB,DH,JT

Taken on 24th  April (AMC)

Taken on 24th April (AMC)

Thursday, 24 April 2014


Weather: N/NW, variable-2-3, cool and overcast, sunny later.

Another walk of Lingham Lane pays off as the adult, or near adult, Night Heron flew from the trees near Lingham Bridge over my head and disappeared North, seemingly dropping down near the Lighthouse pond. Some record shots were rattled off as the bird gave far better views than the ones we had yesterday. A lovely evening and a fantastic bird.

A full update of the rest of today's birds later:

On the sea 65 Sandwich Terns, 83 Great crested Grebes and 17 Gannets were logged while a Peregrine was feeding on prey, a Gull, at low tide. A single Whimbrel was on the mud flats.
Overhead 50 Swallows and 4 Sand Martins flew mainly east.
A Lesser Whitethroat and a female Redstart were in the Lingham Lane area.
Other birds recorded included 21 Wheatears, 2 Whinchats, a Stonechat, 5 White Wagtails and 5 Grasshopper Warblers.

AMC. Photo's AMC

Just showing the white breeding plume

Wednesday, 23 April 2014


Weather: SE-2-4, cool overcast and moderate rain

From the start this morning it was clear today was going to be special as good numbers of migrants were evident in the coastal bushes and paddocks around the Lighthouse including 7 Blackcap, 3 Redstart, 1 Ring Ouzel, 50 Willow Warbler and  17 Chiffchaff, Grasshopper, Sedge and Reed Warbler numbers were all higher than yesterday. In the paddocks 5 Wheatear were recorded and our highest number of Yellow Wagails so far; (12) fed around the horses.

Our first Cuckoo was heard singing early morning only.

At approximately 10.30 visiting birder Stuart Gregory found our first real 'rare' of the spring; a NIGHT HERON. A fantastic adult bird seen on the River Birkett from Lingham Bridge. The first locals arrived quickly but the bird had vanished. However, the disappointment of the gathered quartet turned into relief and excitement when another visiting birder Mike Buckley refound the bird sitting quietly on the opposite side of the bridge. This is our second Night Heron at the Lighthouse. 

AMC, KD, DH, JJ, MGT,AT and EW ; also MB, SG and JT

Andy Thomas

Andy Thomas

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

22nd April 2014

Weather: E-2, cool and overcast. Light drizzle, heavy rain later

No sign all day of yesterday's Velvet Scoter bar a brief unconfirmed sighting at 10.30. 3000 Common Scoter were offshore from mid morning whilst on the flood tide, 27 Great crested Grebe, 2 Razorbill, 9 Red throated Diver and 30+ Sandwich Tern could be seen from the Lighthouse car park.

An early morning Marsh Harrier didn't stick around and quickly moved  through north. This is our first this year.

The mid morning drizzle saw Wheatears  'falling' out the sky, with a party of 5 taking shelter in the East paddock. A total of 29 Wheatear passed through during the course of the day. Additionally 3 Whinchat were in the horse paddocks along with a party of 30 Meadow Pipit whilst two Tree Pipits were heard overhead. Sedge Warblers and 4 Reed Warbler were also 'new in'. Other birds present were 15 Willow Warbler, 5 Blackcap and 2 Lesser Whitethroats.

Hirundines moved through all day however the peak movement was about 3pm with totals of 250 Swallow,  100 House Martin and 68 Sand Martin.

AMC, KD, DH, JJ, and EW


Monday, 21 April 2014

Fall of migrants

Weather: E/SE-2, warm and overcast

An overnight arrival of migrants at the Lighthouse included 1 Yellow Wagtail, 5 Tree Pipit, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Blackcap, 5 Redstart (1m, 4f), 20 Wheatears, 2 male Whinchat,  4 Grasshopper Warbler and 30+ Willow Warbler. 

Overhead, 20 Swallow, 8 Sand Martin and a single House Martin passed through mid morning.

A late afternoon seawatch proved interesting with several Gannets moving north and 70 Sanwich Tern and 7 Little Gulls feeding offshore. Bird of the day however must go to the stunning drake Velvet Scoter found by DH at around 4pm this afternoon. Velvet Scoter winter offshore with the thousands of Common Scoter. However they only seen perhaps three times a year from the North Wirral coast but never can it be recalled that one has ever come this close inshore. A fantastic bird !


Velvet Scoter (DH)



Stunning male Redstart, Lingham Lane. (Andy Thomas)
Lesser Whitethroat, (AMC)

Yellow Wagtail (AMC)

Sunday, 20 April 2014

20th April 2014

Weather: E/NE-2, cool and overecast

Wader on the Hoylake high tide included 2000 Dunlin, 50+ Sanderling, 7 Bar tailed Godwit and 8 Grey Plover plus a scattering of Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher and Curlew.

An impressive spectacle was the mass movement of Common Scoter. At least 5,000 were counted over an hours seawatch, with all birds flying North. Also offshore several Sandwich Terns could be seen fishing on the tide edge.

Migrants at the the Lighthouse today included Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat and 3 Wheatear including a Greenland Wheatear candidate, Oenanthe oenanthe leucohora  in the Westerly horse paddocks. (pictures below)

Another classic spring and autumn migrant at the Lighthouse is Short eared Owl so a bird flushed from the dunes at Meols early morning may well have been the same bird relocated mid afternoon just behind the sea defence at the end of sandy lane. A great bird on a classic date.

AMC, JB, DH.-photos - AMC

A typical date for this Lighthouse migrant

Add caption

Saturday, 19 April 2014

19th April 2014

Weather SE-3/4, cool and partly cloudy.

The only new birds of note today was a stunning male Whinchat near the Leasowe Castle Hotel. In addition there were two singing Grasshopper Warbler, a male Whitethroat and a small passage of Hirrundines here, late afternoon.

Other birds present around the Lighthouse included 2 Tree Pipits overhead, 2 Singing Lesser Whitehroat, 5 Sedge Warbler,  5 Blackcap and 1 Reed Warbler. 

MG, DH, and KD

Friday, 18 April 2014

18th April 2014

Weather: E-2, cool and sunny all day.

Migrants were fewer today with Blackcap numbers down to six in Lingham Lane where there was also several Willow Warblers and 2 singing Lesser Whitethroats. 

A Common Whitethroat was found on territory  mid morning. A high tide sea watch from the car park produced 12 Red throated Diver, 11 Guillemots, 57 Great crested Grebe, 3 Common Tern, 17 Sandwich Tern and over 1000 Common Scoter.

An early evening circuit of the paddocks produced 4 Wheatear whilst several parties of Dunlin fed up on the foreshore in the evening sunlight. 

AMC, DH, SRW - Photo's AMC

Freshly arrived Swallow 

Blue sky at the Lighthouse this evening 


Singing  Whitethroat

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Wednesday 16th April 2014

Weather; Warm, mainly sunny, wind SE 2-4

The ideal weather conditions resulted in an interesting day in the Leasowe lighthouse area.
New arrivals this morning included 2 Reed Warblers, 2 Whitethroats and a Sedge Warbler all apparently on territory. Other birds grounded in the area included 5 Wheatears, 7 Blackcaps, 12 Chiffchaffs and 14 Willow Warblers. A Lesser Whitethroat and an elusive male Redstart were in Lingham Lane.
Overhead movement was also varied with a Peregrine, a Merlin,40 Swallows, 4 Sand Martins, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit and 8 Redpolls. Most birds passed eastwards.
A second pulse of migrants arrived mid afternoon as is often the norm here. This started with a concentrated arrival of 7 more Wheatears and 2 White Wagtails all on the coastal groyne near the western kissing gate. These birds gradually filtered into the paddocks where they were later joined by the first 2 Whinchats of the spring.
Finally, this evening at Meols an Osprey was seen flying along the beach from the direction of Hilbre. It was seen to catch a fish and remained on a sand bank until dusk. This is the third Osprey at this location this spring. 
Observers; AMC, DH, EW.

Newly arrived Wheatears near the groyne. EW.
Whitethroat. EW

A Fantastic Hoylake sunset with an Osprey having just landed out of view on the tide line.(AMC)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

15th April 2014

Weather: SE-3, warm and sunny.

Overhead passage today included a small flurry of 30+ Meadow Pipits and 2 White Wagtail early morning. Offshore,  Sandwich Terns continue to arrive whilst small parties of Dunlin, Redshank and Ringed Plover were departing for their Northern breeding grounds.

A circuit of the paddocks produced only 5 Wheatear. Lingham Lane however proved more productive holding a Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat,9 Chiffchaff, 12 Willow Warbler, 18 Blackcap and the adult male Redstart found yesterday was joined today by a 1st summer bird.

A Garden warbler was heard and seen further east at Ditton Lane. Noteworthy is the apparent lack of Whitethroats, usually an abundant Lighthouse species at this stage of the migration season. A cause for concern or just later than usual?


One of 18 Blackcap arriving today (AMC)

One of two males present today (AMC)

Taking  a breather !  (AMC)

Monday, 14 April 2014

14th April 2014

Weather; W/SW-4/5 to 2, sunny and warm later.

Less than ideal conditions didn't seem to stop the migrants today. A single Siskin passed overhead as did our first House Martins of the year, 5 in total today. Swallows and Sand Martins also moved through whilst the resident breeding Swallows defended their territories from passage birds. 

Surprisingly there wasn't a single Wheatear today but a stunning male Redstart was located in Hawthorns at the south end of Lingham Lane. Several Willow Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat and a male Blackcap were also in the same hedgerow and a Grasshopper Warbler was discovered creeping around in the understorey . 

Offshore the Scoter Flock remained, whilst Sandwich Terns numbered 37 and Gannet 17

With a high pressure system forming over the near continent and UK over the next couple of days, the first major arrival of migrants and possibly something rarer is anticipated !

AMC, KD, DH.and EW

A record shot of what was a stunning bird (AMC)
Record shot of singing Lesser Whitethroat (EW)

Sunday, 13 April 2014

13th April 2014

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

A strong westerly wind kept most observers at home today. None the less a few migrants were recorded including 2 Wheatear, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Willow Warbler and a Ring Ouzel briefly in a field by the car park 


Saturday, 12 April 2014

12th April 2014

Weather: SW-3/4 cool and overcast, showers later.

Early morning seabird movement offshore included over 100 Gannet and several hundred Common Scoter from Hoylake and the Lighthouse car park.

A small passage of 30 Woodpigeon and 7 Magpie moved through early morning. In addition there had clearly been an overnight arrival of Warblers with several new arrivals in the Lighthouse area including; 3 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, 8 Chiffchaff and 15 Willow Warbler. 2 stunning male Ring Ouzel were located mid morning in Park lane giving everyone on site great views. Despite looking settled they quickly relocated and could not be re-found by mid day.  

Wheatear were suprisingly thin on the ground with only a handful being seen early morning as were 3 White Wagtails in the paddocks.

A small trickle of Hirrundines included 12 Swallow and 8 Sand Martin.


One of a small fall of Willow Warblers at the Lighthouse today. AMC

Friday, 11 April 2014

A day of firsts

Weather: NW- 2/3 cool and overcast

Despite the cool wind and Northerly winds there were up to 18 Wheatear in the paddocks although many had moved through, leaving only 4 by late afternoon.

Several White wagtails were also in and around the paddocks and over 100 were recorded on Hoylake shore this morning.  Our first Yellow Wagtail of the summer was also recorded late afternoon but this to moved through quickly.

The first Whimbrel of the year dropped in briefly, also late afternoon but this too flew off; calling after a short refueling stop.

Offshore 70+ Sandwich Terns were recorded from the Car Park as were a Little Gull and our first Arctic Skua of the year flew north this morning.




Thursday, 10 April 2014

Thursday 10th April 2014

Weather; Sunny spells, wind W 2

The first major arrival of Sandwich Terns occurred offshore at Leasowe lighthouse with a total of 63 being counted. Also offshore were 35 Gannets and 3 Little Gulls. 7 Swallows and 5 Sand Martins passed through the area and 8 Wheatear were grounded in nearby fields.

Observers KAD, DH.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Wednesday 9th April 2014

Weather; Sunny spells, wind W 3

A warmer day and lighter winds encouraged larger numbers of migrants through the Leasowe lighthouse area. Hirundines in particular were more in evidence with a total of 11 Swallows and 10 Sand Martins moving mainly north east. Grounded birds in the area included 7 Wheatears, 5 Blackcaps, 4 Willow Warblers and 8 Chiffchaffs.
A single Tree Sparrow was recorded flying west over Lingham Lane. This has become a very rare species in North Wirral in recent years. Yesterdays large numbers of Linnets appear to have moved on with only small numbers recorded.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Tuesday 8th April 1014

Weather; Sunny spells, Breezy, wind W, 5.

Not ideal conditions for migration today but summer visitors continue to push through the Leasowe lighthouse area nonetheless. A male Redstart, the site's first for the spring, was along Lingham Lane in the morning. Later a female Ring Ouzel was in the nearby fields. 3 Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap were also present. The Linnet flock in the paddocks has built up to over 100 at a time when one would expect them to be pairing off. The occasional large numbers at this time of year could be migrants moving north rather than local birds.
Ring Ouzel  KD 

Observers; KD, DH.


Friday, 4 April 2014

4th April 2014

Weather, NW 2, overcast and cool

A fantastic day at the Lighthouse started with a Ring Ouzel down Lingham Lane followed by our second Osprey in two days circling over the Lighthouse before drifting North.

Our first Whitethroat of the year was heard singing at the entrance to the LEO copse mid morning, whilst small numbers of other migrants included 2 Willow Warber, 9 Chiffchaff, 6 Wheatear on the circuit. 

No sign today of the Great Northern Divers from the car park but there were 1500 Common Scoter, 220 Great crested Grebes, 5 Red throated Diver and a Sandwich tern present offshore over the tide.

White winged Gulls on Wirral are an increasingly rare site over the winter and early spring has now become the best time to pick these Arctic wanderers up on their Northward migration. Following Wednesday's sighting of an Iceland at Hilbre, a brutish looking Glaucous Gull was found,  loafing on the sea just east of Greenshank groyne, drifting slowly west with the flood tide.

To end a great day a drake Green winged Teal was found on the sea off Red Rocks with a flock of about 400 teal.  BMW/IMF has the exclusive monopoly for this species so for one to be found on North Wirral and on the sea, is truly amazing !




Thursday, 3 April 2014

Osprey !

Weather: SE-2, cool, overcast and misty

A call from both Hilbre and the Lifeboat station alerted me to an Osprey on the beach in front of my house. Sure enough through the mist an adult Osprey was picked up on the sand eating a flat fish. A few phone calls later and a mini twitch ensued with a number of Lighthouse regulars managing to see the bird before it flew off east accompanied by a couple of crows. A great garden tick ! 

Migrant highlights at the Lighthouse included Redpoll, Siskin, 150 Meadow Pipit, 1 Goldcrest, 8 Wheatear, 8 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 4 Pied Wagtail, 6 Swallow and 20 Sand Martin moved North East throughout the day. A Willow Warbler was singing from a Hoylake garden.

Other migrants included Collared Dove, 6 Woodpigeon and a single Canada Goose also moved through mid morning.

Seawatching highlights from the Lighthouse car park were several Common Scoter, 50+ Great crested Grebe, Red breasted Merganser, 2 Red throated Diver, 4 Great Northern Diver and a small grebe spp thought most likely a Slavonian .


Goldcrest (AMC)

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

2nd April 2014

Weather: SE-4, cool and overcast.

Migration picked up today with the South easterlies.  At least 100 Meadow Pipit moved East as did 2 Greenfinch, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Sand Martin and 9 Swallows. A singing Chiffchaff was in the LEO copse and 2 Wheater where in 'Hoopoe hollow' and 1 in the horse paddocks.

Offshore several  Common Scoter and 48 Great crested Grebe could be seen from the Lighthouse Carpark. In addition 2 Red breasted Merganser, 8 Pintail and an incredible 4 Great Northern Diver could be seen from the car park. A drake Eider flew west at the top of the tide.

Several skiens of Pink footed Geese were seen flying North during the course of the day returning to their Arctic breeding grounds.  


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

1st April 2014

Weather: SE-3, mild and sunny

A mid afternoon visit to the lighthouse produced 2 white Wagtails and 5 Wheatear in the paddocks. Offshore proved a little more productive with 14 Brent Goose flying North as did a single adult Gannet. The Great Northern Diver continues to linger offshore