Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Tuesday 30th September 2014

Weather; Warm and sunny with a light south-westerly wind.

31 Common Scoter and 48 Great-crested Grebes were counted on the high tide today off Leasowe lighthouse. Earlier 14 Grey Plovers and the Greenshank were on the sand flats together with larger numbers of Dunlin and Curlew.
Visible overhead migration was more obvious in the morning with 4 Jays, 18 Skylarks, 10 Meadow Pipits and 15 Grey Wagtails moving mainly east with the exception of the Wagtails, all of which were on a westerly course. Just a single Swallow was seen flying east. 
A Kingfisher was at the duckpond this morning with another being seen at the more regular site of Lingham bridge. This species is showing very well at the moment and a sighting is almost guaranteed following a patient wait at Lingham bridge.
Grounded migrants in scrub and trees in the lighthouse area included 12 Chiffchaffs, 13 Goldcrests and a rather late Willow Warbler.        Observers;  AMC, DH, EW, SRW.    

Monday, 29 September 2014

29th September 2014

Weather:SE-1, variable. Warm and overcast, light rain later.

A much improved day today than of late with plenty of grounded migrants, overhead passage and some birds out to sea too!

The morning overhead passage started with a single flock of 27 Magpie moving south. Magpies continued to trickle through thereafter bringing the day total to 37. Other Corvids on the move were 2 Jay and 2 Jackdaw also moving south.  Further overhead passage included Skylark (24), Meadow Pipit (57), Grey Wagtail (8) Snipe (3), Chaffinch (13) and our first 3 Siskin of Autumn came in late morning.

Grounded migrants around the Lighthouse today included Goldcrest (15), Chiffchaff (11) Blackcap (8) Stonechat(1) and a Lesser Whitethroat. The latter bird was found feeding in a tree canopy and loosely associating with a tit flock giving the observers a moment of excitement that it could have been something a little rarer. Always great birds to see with their subtle tones and black 'mask' .

At the the Groyne a 'migrant' Kingfisher was found fishing from a  navigation post whilst a Rock Pipit fed amongst the boulders. Two Greenshank were also in the tidal gutter.

Other birds offshore today included Great crested Grebe (369), Common Scoter (500), Guillemot (15) Red breasted Merganser (6) and three Red throated Diver.

AMC, DH and EW

 Lesser Whitethroat (AMC)

Kingfisher (AMC)

Stonechat, bearing a shiny ring on it's left leg. (DH)

Saturday, 27 September 2014

27ty September 2014

Weather: NW-1-2, variable, sunny and warm later.

Life at the Lighthouse was pretty quiet today with just a handful of Chiffchaffs and 2 Goldcrests feeding amongst the coastal sallows. 

With a favourable mid day tide most effort was concentrated at the Hoylake high tide roost. As the tide flooded the wader count included Sanderling (350), Dunlin. 150, Knot, 17, Curlew (135), Bar tailed Godwit (1) , Ringed Plover(65) and Grey Plover (9).

Two Brent Geese  were picked up just beyond the tide line flying west, presumably to join the wintering Hilbre flock. Other birds over the sea included Common Scoter (370), Red throated Diver (8), Sandwich tern (2) whilst a Peregrine kept a watchful eye over the proceedings.

The highlight amongst the large Gull flock on the foreshore were two Scandinavian Herring Gulls (Larus Argentatus). Picked out by their larger size, darker mantle colour, extensive white primary mirrors, heavily streaked head and nape and to me, brighter pinker legs. The distant record shot below shows at least some of these features,  I hope ! 


Scandinavian Herring Gull, centre top of picture. (AMC)

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Thursday 25th September 2014

Weather; Dull but clear with light south-westerly winds

A seawatch off Leasowe produced 107 Great-crested Grebes, 300 Common Scoters and 2 Arctic Skuas.
A Water Rail was feeding in the open on the Birkett underneath Lingham bridge and the Kingfisher was also again here. It is being seen very regularly at the moment.
There was a noticeable mid-morning arrival of Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests in the lighthouse area. Very few were noted early on but numbers rose to over 35 Chiffchaffs and 20 Goldcrests by midday. One or two of the Chiffchaffs were rather grey-brown individuals which suggested a more eastern origin although they could not be racially assigned. 
Chiffchaff. A 'normal' Collybita race individual.   EW.
Also grounded in the lighthouse were 6 Blackcaps and a single Lesser Whitethroat.
Chiffchaff.  Note the grey-brown appearance and faint wing bar suggesting the Siberian race 'Tristis'. The yellow vent and yellow on the super in front of the eye, however, rule this race out.    EW
There was a strong passage of Grey Wagtails today with over 20 being noted.  Observers; KD, DH, EW.
Grey Wagtail .  DH.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

23rd September 2014

Weather: SW-3, overcast and cool, showers later

A cooler day today than of late, however Phylloscs continued to arrive with at least 12 Chiffchaffs and 1 Willow Warbler present in Lingham lane and the coastal sallows where there were also 5 Blackcap. Goldcrest numbers were up with 8 recorded in Lingham Lane. 

Birds on the move today included Snipe (4), Jay (5) Grey Wagtail (18), Reed Bunting (7) and Meadow Pipit (27). Hirrundine numbers continue to decrease day by day with just seven Swallow recorded today. As usual the Greenshank remained faithful to the western groyne,


Monday, 22 September 2014

Monday 22nd September 2014

Weather; Cloudy start cleared to a warm and sunny day. Winds light north-west.

There was some corvid movement this morning at the lighthouse with a group of 30 Jackdaws flying straight in off the sea. Around 8 Jays were also in the area. Other overhead migrants included 2 Common Snipe, a Teal, 14 Skylarks and 9 Grey Wagtails.
An adult Mediterranean Gull was offshore and 2 Wheatears were on the embankment. 
A Spotted Flycatcher was again hunting in the grounds of Greenacres Cottage at the top of Lingham Lane, possibly a different bird from the one there on Saturday. Good numbers of Goldcrests were still in evidence in the area with around 5 near the duck pond and 2 or 3 others along Lingham Lane although there was no sign of either of yesterday's Firecrests despite much searching. A Kingfisher was again at Lingham bridge together with 4 Blackcaps and a Garden Warbler which was seen to fly in from high to the east. Around 8 Chiffchaffs were also in the lighthouse area.
The Linnet flock in the paddocks has built up to over 100 birds. Hirundine passage, however, has dramatically reduced as is usual at this time of year with only occasional small groups Swallows heading purposefully eastwards.
A further 6 Chiffchaffs were seen this evening in willows bordering the eastern side of Kerr's field. Observers; AMC, KD, DH, EW.     

Sunday, 21 September 2014

21st September 2014

Weather: NE-2, warm and sunny

An exciting day started with what was an obvious fall of Goldcrest around the Lighthouse. At least 20 birds were in coastal scrub and Lingham Lane feeding energetically  on the southerly migration. At around 09.00 the first of two FIRECREST was found in privet near Lingham bridge. The bird quickly moved through and was not seen subsequently. 

Other migrants at the Lighthouse today included Blackcap (4), Chiffchaff (6) and nine Jay moved through mid morning.  At approximately 10.00 a second Firecrest was located in a private garden just east of Leasowe Castle Hotel. Again this bird quickly moved through but not before a record shot of this little 'jewel' was managed. Always in the canopy it was a tricky bird to photograph. 

Other birds seen today included Teal (6), Greenshank (1) and  Kingfisher (1) 


Firecrest (KD)

Saturday, 20 September 2014

20th September 2014

Weather:NW-2 NE laterl variable. Overcast and warm

The day began slowly; perhaps as would be expected in a northwesterly. Only 5 Goldcrest were recorded today along with just 7 Chiffchaff and 1 Willow Warbler. No Wheatears were recorded.  Four Blackcap were in Lingham Lane whilst the Kingfisher made a brief appearance from the bridge.

A single Jay was a sign there was some movement happening and the usual Med Gull and Greenshank were to be found on the foreshore.

A migrant Great spotted Wooddpecker made a brief stop in the 'Greenacres' bungalow garden where a Spotted Flycatcher spent most of the day catching insects from the highest poplar. We have had good numbers through the Lighthouse this autumn. This charismatic bird showed well so the photo opportunity wasn't passed up!!




Thursday, 18 September 2014

Thursday 18th September 2014

Weather; A murky morning gave way to a warm sunny day. Winds light easterly's. 

An adult Mediterranean Gull was on the beach this morning together with the usual Greenshank. 
There were less migrants around today with Chiffchaffs being down to 8 and Willow Warblers, now well past their peak passage period, were down to one. 3 Blackcaps were in the Lingham Lane area. There was also a noticeable reduction in the number of hirundines passing overhead with only a few small groups of mixed Swallows and House Martins moving quickly eastward. Also passing east overhead were 4 Jays, 4 Skylarks,
6 Grey Wagtails. A single Great Spotted Woodpecker was also observed flying very high eastwards, being eventually lost to sight towards Wallasey.
There were some new arrivals, however, including an increase in Goldcrest numbers to 8. A Wheatear and a White Wagtail were at the groyne, a single Whitethroat was in Kerr's field and a Garden Warbler was at Lingham bridge. Observers; AMC, DH, CT, MGT, EW. 
Goldcrest, Lingham Lane.  EW

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

17th September 2014

Weather: SE-2, warm and sunny

Another day of migration at the Lighthouse with different birds in from yesterday and a small movement overhead. Most notable today was the movement of Jackdaw moving south. A total of 65 birds were recorded in three separate flocks the largest of which numbered 30. Jackdaws at the Lighthouse are always a sign of autumn as are Jays, six of which also moved south. 

Other overhead birds were Grey Wagtail (7), Meadow Pipit 37, Skylark (3) and Pied Wagtail (4).

Expectations were high on the grounded migrant front and whilst numbers were not high the variety was good. Wheatear returned today following a period of no records. Two birds were in the paddocks mid morning. A single Spotted Flycatcher was in Sycamores next to stone cottage and the first 'Acro' for a while; a juvenile Reed Warbler was in the nature trail. Other warblers today included Willow Warbler (5), Chiffchaff (18), Blackcap (4), Lesser Whitethroat (1) and five Goldcrest. 

Other birds recorded were Peregrine (1) and the ususal Greenshank at the western groyne.


Wheatear (DH)

Juvenile Reed Warbler (AMC)

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

16th September 2014

Weather: SE-2, warm and sunny

In the first couple of minutes this morning it was obvious there had been a small overnight fall of Warblers, Thrushes and Chats. As usual Lingham Lane was the best site which held Willow Warbler (2), Chiffchaff (7) and Blackcap (14). Numbers of Robins were higher today than of late and a small arrival of thrushes included Blackbird (11) and Song Thrush (5). 2 Whinchat dropped in mid-afternoon near the western Kissing gate whilst 3 Goldcrest were in the nature trail. A single Lesser Whitethroat was in coastal scrub near the Lighthouse pond mid afternoon.

Other migrants on the move today included Grey Wagtail (11), Meadow Pipit (45), Jay (4), Snipe (2) and Jackdaw (11)

Raptors on the move included Buzzard (7), Sparrowhawk (3), Kestrel  (1), Peregrine (2) and a Short eared Owl flew high southwest.

Other birds seen today were Med Gull (2), Kingfisher and Greenshank (1) 

So no surprises today but a lovely day with plenty of nice birds to see on a beautiful September day.


Greenshank on the flood tide (KD)

One of several Chiffchaffs fly catching from the Lingham  ivy hedges (AMC)

Sunday, 14 September 2014

14th September 2014

Weather; SE-2, cool and overcast to start, warmer later.

Many of yesterdays migrants remained today with numbers very much the same. In Lingham lane there were several Warblers incluidng Willow Warbler (2), Chiffchaff (6), Blackcap (4) and Goldcrest (2). Up to five Wheatear were between the sea defence and the western groyne.

Overhead passage included Jay (3), Swallow (140), House Martin (60 Grey Wagtail (2) Yellow Wagtail (1) and Meadow Pipit (30).

Other birds seen today were Great spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard (4) and good numbers of finches.

AMC, KAD, KD, SD, AEH,  JJ  and CT

Saturday, 13 September 2014

13th September 2014

Weather: SE-2 warm and overcast.

Visible migration at the Lighthouse started with at least 120 Swallow, Skylark (1), Jackdaw(4) Grey Wagtail (3) and 35 Meadow Pipit all moving South. Later a single Raven also moved through as did a single Jay. Our first Jack Snipe of the autumn also arrived today, flushed from the Lighthouse pond early morning. Grounded migrants included Garden Warbler (1), Blackcap (6) Chiffchaff (4), Willow Warbler (2) and Goldcrest (3). Small numbers of Finches have started to move. In addition to the resident Finch flock passage birds included Goldfinch (19), Chaffinch (8) and a single Bullfinch. 

On the Leasowe Castle Hotel Groyne 220  Sandwich Tern and a single Common Tern roosted over the high tide. Further West on the Meols groyne waders included Little Stint (1), Curlew Sandpiper (1) and a White rumped Sandpiper was seen briefly by Mal Seargent before being flushed by a dog. It was not seen again.

Two Kingfishers were again seen from Lingham Bridge. At least one bird has now been present for a couple of weeks however  patience and a touch of luck is required to see them.

AMC, KD, DH, MS and EW

Friday, 12 September 2014

Leatherback Turtle

Of interest; on our offshore survey on the 10th September this 5ft adult Leatherback Turtle was spotted only 34 Nautical miles north of the Lighthouse in the North Irish sea. This fantastic (if a little ugly) reptile has likely swam the thousands  of miles across the Atlantic from its Caribbean breeding grounds, following the Jellyfish swarms on the warm Gulf stream current that spans the Atlantic Ocean. It is not inconceivable therefore that this Turtle passed through Liverpool bay on its way north and may well pass through again on it's way south, so most definitely worth keeping an eye out for on any autumn seawatch. 

Rarely does my work present many memorable highlights such as this so it was quite a moment for us all on board ! Many thanks to Bill Aspin for his photographs. 

BA, AMC and JK

Weather: SE-2 warm and sunny. 12th September Bird News

A slow start early morning saw only a single Willow Warbler and two Chiffchaff moving through  whilst a single Blackcap was in the Nature Trail. As is the case at the Lighthouse things began to improve around lunchtime and by mid afternoon our day totals had improved significantly to include Blackcap (6), Lesser Whitethroat (1), Willow Warbler (3), Chiffchaff (9), Goldcrest (7) and Wheatear (7). Overhaead passage included Jackdaw (8), Grey Wagtail (6) and Meadow Pipit (45) all moving South East. Highlight of the day was our second Hobby of the autumn.  Unlike our last one it didn't stick around and shot through quickly continuing its southward migration.

AMC, KD, DH, CT and EW

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Thursday 11th September 23014

Weather;  Warm and sunny. Light easterly winds becoming variable later.

In the Leasowe lighthouse area a party of 4 Greenshank and a Common Snipe were together in the area of the groyne on the flood tide. Good numbers of Redshank, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Turnstone and Sanderling roosted on the groyne over the high tide period together with a single Little Stint.
As regards passerine migration the day started very quietly with just 2 Chiffchaffs and 3 Grey Wagtails overhead. In the early afternoon there was a small change in from fairly clear, sunny weather to slightly more cloudy and hazy conditions. The wind also became variable, swinging briefly to the west. This subtle change may have prompted a small fall of migrants consisting mainly of Chiffchaffs, with 7 birds appearing together in willows near the western kissing gate and at least another 15 along the nature trail. Other arrivals included 6 more Grey Wagtails, 3 Blackcaps, 3 Whitethroats, a Willow Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler and a Tree Sparrow. The last species is barely annual here.


A Kingfisher was seen at Lingham bridge. Observers AnC, SR, MGT, EW. 
Dunlin and Sanderling    EW  

Monday, 8 September 2014

8th September 2014

Weather: NW-3, mild and overcast.

The high tides this week are conducive to wader watching at Hoylake and today's highlights included 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint and 11 Bar tailed Godwit with some in summer plumage. 

Migrants at the Lighthouse were fairly numerous given the North Westerlies. At Lingham bridge there were at least 4 Blackcaps feeding in the Riverside Elder bush. Seven Goldcrest  fed in Sycamores was an increase compared to previous days numbers along with several Chiffchaff.

Seven Wheatear and 1 Whinchat were in the paddocks mid afternoon when there was a light Hirrundine passage south.

KD and SRW

Photo KD

Wheatear (KD)

Saturday, 6 September 2014

6th September 2014

Weather: NW-3 early rain with sun later.

Yesterdays Wryneck had departed overnight having last been seen at approximately 19.30 in the same place it was first discovered at 14.15. Despite the Northwesterly winds, migrants continued to push through. A Whinchat and 12 Wheatear in the inland fields were new in whilst Lingham Lane held a Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff (3), Blackcap (1) and Garden Warbler (2). A single Whitethroat was discovered near the eastern kissing gate.

Other birds seen today included two Mediterranean Gulls and 2 Curlew Sandpipers on Hoylake shore.


Friday, 5 September 2014


Weather: NE/NW variable, warm and sunny

A Lighthouse and Wirral MEGA was found near the western kissing gate mid afternoon by Lighthouse stalwarts Kenny D and Eddie W. This time a stunning Wryneck was discovered feeding on the inland path that runs between the eastern and western kissing gates. This is our second Wryneck at the Lighthouse, the last one being recorded on 14th September 2010. Today's bird was found within 500m of the last one which coincidentally was also found by Kenny D.

The arrival of this great Wirral bird was part of a larger arrival of migrants at the Lighthouse  including Yellow Wagtail (2), Tree Pipit (1), Whinchat (1) Redstart (1) Spotted Flycatcher (1), Blackcap (5). Other passage birds overhead were Snipe (11) Grey Wagtail (7) Meadow Pipit (34) and Sparrowhawk (3).

Other birds seen today included Great spotted Woodpecker, Grey Plover 174,  Sanderling (97) Ringed Plover (157),  Knot (212) and 31 Sandwich Tern.

With the High pressure system remaining over Scandinavia and the near continent until next week , we look forward to the next 'biggy'


Photo AMC and KD

Wryneck (AMC)

Wryneck (KD)

Redstart (KD)

Thursday, 4 September 2014

4th September 2014

Weather: E/NE-2, warm and sunny

A much quieter day today than of late with  few grounded migrants. Singles of Blackcap and Wheatear were in Lingham Lane whilst  a Swift flew over the fisheries.Three Chiffchaff were also present.

Singles of Curlew Sandpiper and Greenshank were present at low water next to the groyne.

6 Med Gulls were recorded this evening with three chasing emerging antsi n the paddocks and a further three on the flood tide.

AMC, DH, CT and EW

Migrant Hawker at the Lighthouse pond (Les Hall)

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

South Easterlies !

Weather: SE-2. overcast and warm.

Many of yesterdays warblers had moved out overnight as numbers were clearly lower ; that said diversity remained high and again Lingham Lane was the place to be holding Blackcap (9), Garden Warbler (2), Lesser Whitethroat (2) Chiffchaff (5), Willow Warbler (1) and a  Goldcrest.  Numbers of Spotted Flycatchers remained with 2 at Lingham bridge and 2 between the kissing gates.

A Reed warbler gave a short burst of sub-song near the nature trail whilst a Water Rail was seen swimming along the River Birkett.

Overhead migration was steady with most birds heading South. By mid morning we had a number of species over including Snipe (2), Grey Wagtail (6) Siskin (1) Jay (1) Jackdaw (2) and a single Skylark.

As the heat of the day increased so the hatching of ants began and this saw a flock of approximately 500 Black headed Gulls all eagerly snapping them up. Amongst the flock two Mediterranean Gulls were picked out wheeling higher and higher with the ever increasing flock. Something smaller and darker was picked out amongst the flock getting ever higher. A Hobby ! Incredibly an adult hobby had joined the gull flock and was also catching ants. Only our second of the year the hobby eventually drifted off south but not before getting a couple of record shots.

Other birds today included large numbers of finches a Great spotted woodpecker and the regular Greenshank had been joined by an additional two juvenile birds at the groyne. 

AMC, KD,LH. DH, and EW

Hobby. This bird was very very high up so a record shot was the best that  could be achieved (AMC)

Getting higher ! (AMC)

Juvenile Willow Warbler  (AMC)

Spotted Flycatcher (KD)

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Autumn Migration

Weather: NE/NE variable - 2, warm and sunny

The morning started quietly with just a few birds on the move and few grounded migrants. 2 Wheatears a Snipe overhead and the usual adult Mediterranean Gull on the foreshore was the best on offer. By late morning however, as the day warmed up so did the birding and it seemed every bush had something in it. 

With Blackcaps seemingly everywhere numbers were significantly higher than in recent days with most birds being recorded along Lingham Lane. Totals for the day were Blackcap (19), Garden Warbler (1) ,Whitethroat (2), Lesser Whitethroat(6), Willow Warbler (2), Chiffchaff (9) Goldcrest (4) Spotted Flycatcher (4) and Redstart(1).

Also on the move were 60 House Martins heading  south and a single Teal. In the horse paddocks the Wheatears had increased to seven by the end of the day.

Other birds present today included Great spotted Woodpecker , Buzzard (4), Sparrowhawk and Kestrel.

A fantastic day of migration enjoyed by all present and with the winds continuing from the east we remain hopeful for the coming days!!


All photo's AMC

Lesser Whitethroat

Male Redstart

The pale tips to the greater coverts show this is a 1st year bird

A stunning Hoylake sunset to end a fantastic day.