Friday, 31 October 2014

Friday 31st October 2014

Weather; Mainly overcast, warm with southerly wind f 3-4.

Most of yesterday's birds had cleared out today from the lighthouse area and it was a much quieter day. Some overhead passage was noted including 30 Chaffinches and 12 Siskins flying east and 25 Meadow Pipits and 6 Skylarks west. Leasowe seemed to be by-passed entirely by the impressive winter Thrush movements seen elsewhere on the Wirral with not a single Redwing or Fieldfare recorded.

Birds on the ground in the lighthouse area included 8 Goldcrests, a Stonechat, 11 Song Thrushes and 4 Chiffchaff. One of the Chiffchaffs at the duck pond, probably the grey-buff one seen badly yesterday, was seen well by several observers and seen to have a full set of features corresponding to the Siberian race 'Tristis'. As it was not heard to call though it can only go down as being a 'probable' To complicate the issue one of the other Chiffchaffs showed intermediate features but called like the 'normal' collybita race.   Observers;  KAD, DH, MGT, EW.  
Probable Siberian Chiffchaff. Not a great shot with some colour and shadow distortion. Some features can be seen such as the prominent pale buff super, cheeks, breast and flanks with no trace of yellow, the all black legs and bill and the buff-grey mantle. A faint greenish tinge on the remiges can be seen which in the field contrasted slightly with the buff-grey mantle. A faint wing bar can also be seen caused by pale fringing to the greater coverts.   EW

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Thursday 30th October 2014

Weather; Unusually warm; overcast with very light southerly wind f 1.

Over 250 Common Scoter were on the tide today together with smaller and more mobile numbers of Great-crested Grebes. The Greenshank showed well near the groyne.  

There were some large arrivals of late autumn migrants today. Over 50 Blackbirds were in the Lingham Lane area this morning, although by the afternoon this number had reduced to 10.  25 Song Thrushes where logged. The Song Thrushes appeared to arriving in the afternoon with numbers building up from the morning. Also noteable was an arrival of around 40 Reed Buntings, over 30 of which were grounded in coastal scrub and field margins with the remaining 10 being flyovers. Other grounded birds included 2 Redwings, 2 Bullfinch, 5 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaffs (including a very grey-buff individual) and over 10 Goldcrests.

Overhead passage, mainly to the south and east, included 200 Starlings, 5 Common Snipe, 4 Grey Wagtails, 8 Skylarks, 6 Chaffinches, together with a Bullfinch, 6 Redwing and a very late Swallow which flew south. A flock of 18 Siskins alighted briefly in alders at Lingham bridge before continuing their journey east. 

Female Reed Bunting Lingham Lane. There was a marked arrival of this species today.  EW
A Twite was well seen with a small group of Linnets in inland fields to the south of the paddocks. A Kingfisher was again at Lingham bridge. Observers;  KD, KAD, DH, LH, CS, EW.
Blackcap in an autumnal setting. Numbers have increased in last few days, possibly wintering birds arriving from eastern Europe rather than departing summer visitors. EW

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Wednesday 29th October 2014

Weather;  sunny early then overcast, light easterly wind f 2.

On the tide today off Leasowe there were 332 Common Scoter, 105 Great-crested Grebes, 38 Gannets and 3 male Goosanders which flew west.
Stonechat;   DH

Visible overhead migration today included a mainly southerly passage of over 400 Starlings 60 Skylarks and 15 Jackdaws. Birds moving mainly eastwards included totals of 55 Chaffinches, together with one or two calling Brambling, 23 Siskin and a single Bullfinch. Over 400 Pink-footed Geese flew to the south-west in 3 large skeins early this morning.

Grounded birds in the lighthouse area included totals of 20 Blackbirds, 11 Song Thrush, 1 Redwing, 40 Greenfinch, 6 Reed Buntings, 4 Bullfinch, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Stonechats and 14 Goldcrests. The vast majority of the 75 Meadow Pipits noted today appeared also to be grounded, mainly in the Meols common area.

A Kingfisher and 4 Grey Wagtails were along the Birkett.
Observers; JB, KAD, KD, DH, EW.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Tuesday 28th October 2014

Weather;  Cloudy and overcast, wind S.W. f 4. Rain took over in the afternoon.

200 Common Scoter and 100 Great-crested Grebes were counted on the sea over the high tide today.

Visible overhead passage picked up considerably today with sightings of Bullfinch being particularly interesting.19 Skylarks and 15 Meadow Pipits were seen to fly directly in from Liverpool bay and continue south over the embankment without pause. 
Larger numbers of birds were on a south-westerly passage and these included around 300 Starlings, 200 Chaffinches, 2 Bullfinches (flying with the Chaffinches), 6 Grey Wagtails and 3 Redwings. Grey Wagtails were also coming down onto the Birkett, where a Kingfisher was again noted.

There was a noticeable increase in grounded migrants in coastal trees and scrub around the lighthouse. Blackbird numbers increased to around 40, together with 15 Song Thrushes, 50 Chaffinches, 1 Brambling, 1 Fieldfare, 14 Goldcrests, 3 Chiffchaffs and 1 Blackcap. A single Wheatear remains on Meols common. 

Grey Wagtail on the Birkett.  DH.
A group of 5 Bullfinches were also found together near Lingham Lane. Bullfinches were residents until last year,when severe hedge cutting took place, since when none have been seen until today. Their presence here, together with the 2 over-flyers, indicates these are birds on passage.
Migrant Blackbird, Lingham Lane   KD 

Monday 27th October 2014

Weather; S.W. wind force 3, warm and cloudy .

Over 2,000 Gulls moved slowly west with the flood tide today opposite the lighthouse, nothing unusual being noted among them except an adult Mediterranean Gull, probably the same individual which has been seen regularly for some few weeks here. Around 10 Grey Plover moved west with good numbers of commoner waders.

Visible passage was almost non-existent today for some reason. 15 Meadow Pipits and a single Wheatear were grounded on Meols common near the western groyne.

Around 20 Blackbirds were in the Lingham Lane area together with 4 Goldcrests and a single Chiffchaff was with a Tit flock in sycamores just west of Kerr's field.   Observers;  KD, LH, EW.
Wheatear;  Les Hall

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Saturday 25th October 2014

Weather; Mostly dull with light westerly wind f2-3

There was no sign of yesterdays Grey Phalarope today despite much searching.
A large corvid movement, mainly of Jackdaws, took place south-east over the lighthouse area this afternoon. A group of 5 Jackdaws, together with a single Rook, were followed by a large group of 85 Jackdaws. Rooks are rarely seen here.

Grounded birds included 2 Grey Wagtails and 8 Goldcrests along Lingham Lane together with 20 Blackbirds.A Blackcap and 2 Goldccrests were in the duck pond area and 2 more Grey Wagtails flew over. The Greenshank roosted on the groyne.
Arctic Tern; From this angle the primaries look rather dark and there are distinct dark bars along the secondaries, very much a Common Tern I.D. feature which caused some confusion. None of us have seen this feature on Arctic Tern before.

Arctic Tern; From this angle the wing pattern appears more typical of Arctic Tern. KD
An adult Mediterranean Gull was offshore together with yesterday's odd 'Commic Tern'. The consensus is now that this bird is an Arctic Tern, probably in 1st summer plumage, hence the dark primaries. These, together with the bird unusually having the Common Tern feature of dark secondaries, led to initial confusion. Most 1st summers remain in the wintering grounds. Observers DH, KD.
Note the short, all dark bill, short legs, and rounded head shape typical of Arctic Tern.  KD.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Friday 24th October 2014

Weather;  Sunny spells, warm, westerly wind force 2-3

An interesting day in the lighthouse area with the sea providing most of that interest.

A Grey Phalarope nearly moulted into 1st winter plumage was found roosting on the western groyne with other waders before taking to the water and drifting west on the flood tide. It was observed at close range for around 45 minutes as it drifted to Dove point, occasionally alighting on the embankment. Unfortunately it unsportingly decided to fly off east a minute before anyone with a decent lens could get to it, hence the abysmal shots.

A Black-throated Diver flew past Dove point on the tide and a smart juvenile Little Stint was found roosting on the western groyne along with a late juvenile Sandwich Tern. Another late Tern with mixed characteristics of Common and Arctic was watched opposite the lighthouse which caused a great deal of discussion. An adult Mediterranean Gull was also watched offshore.

Grey Phalarope; Taken with 50 ml lens. It was actually only 15 feet away.  EW
Juv Little Stint on western groyne.  K.D.
2 Wheatears were logged, one near the western groyne and another in the paddocks. 30 Blackbirds were also counted in coastal scrub, indicating an a small arrival. Overhead 30 Skylarks, 25 Meadow Pipits and 8 Chaffinches moved west.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Hurricane Gonzalo

Weather: NW-7-8, squally showers.

With the last of Hurricane Gonzalo hitting the UK, seawatchers were out in force on North Wirral.

At the Lighthouse a single Goosander and Common Tern were recorded over the high tide. A possible Sabines Gull was reported from Dove point and may have related to a bird seen at New Brighton earlier in the day.

Our seawatch at Hoylake produced some interesting passage including, 75 Gannet, 3 Manx Shearwater, 48 Kittiwake, 3 'Commic' Tern, 12 Red breasted Merganser, 4 Red throated Diver and  29 Common Scoter,  A single Peregrine battled the severe conditions trying without luck to catch some prey.

Other highlights  included 4 Arctic Skua, 4 Bonxie and a stunning summer plumaged Great northern Diver.

Despite the squalls and Double glazing a couple of record shots were rattled off. Its not often you get to photograph a fly by Great northern Diver from your lounge !!

A great day with some great birds.


Bonxie (AMC)

Sum plum Great northern Diver (AMC)

Monday, 20 October 2014

Monday 20th October 2014.

Weather; Rain early, clearing up to a warm day with sunny spells. Wind west f3.

Not too much visible overhead passage today at Leasowe with 16 Meadow Pipits, 4 Skylarks and 10 Chaffinches west.

4 Teal were near Lingham Lane and a Common Snipe was flushed near the western kissing gate. 8 Goldcrests and a single Chiffchaff were in scrub and trees near the lighthouse and a female Sparrowhawk hunted the Lingham Lane area.

2 Wheatears arrived in the paddocks mid-afternoon. Both appeared to be large individuals, probably of the Greenland race leucorhoa. Observers AMC, EW
Both photos by AMC

Friday, 17 October 2014

Friday 17th October 2014

Weather;  A sunny start but clouding over after 12.00. Wind S.E force 3.

Visible movement in the area of the lighthouse today included totals of 40 Skylark and 25 Meadow Pipits, with birds moving both east and west. 10 Chaffinches and 4 Reed Buntings flew west along with a single Redpoll. Redpoll have been unusually scarce this autumn so far. 

Grounded birds in the area included a Common Snipe, a Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Wheatear and 6 Goldcrests. 4 Grey Wagtails were in the Lingham bridge area and a Kingfisher flew up the Birkett. A further 2 Chiffchaffs were near the Leasowe Castle Hotel.

There was a small arrival of winter Thrushes this morning with small skittish parties of Redwing and Fieldfare in the coastal trees and scrub. A total of 17 Fieldfare and 18 Redwing were logged. These birds are likely just the vanguard and hopefully a much larger arrival will take place soon.  Observers; AMC, KAD, DH, CT, EW.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Thursday 16th October

Weather;  A warm sunny day with light southerly winds;

Not much in the way of variety today but some interesting passage none the less. A seawatch over the tide produced 107 Great crested Grebes and 230 Common Scoters.

Overhead passage included 60 Meadow Pipits and 14 Skylarks heading east along with 4 Jays and 7 Jackdaws. 

2 Stonechats were at the Leasowe Castle Hotel and 5 Goldcrests, 7 Grey Wagtails and a Water Rail were in the area of the lighthouse. There was a large early morning arrival of Blackbirds with well over 50 birds being logged in the Lingham Lane area feeding on the many berry bearing trees here. The vast majority of these birds had cleared out by lunchtime.  Observers KD, DH.
Grey Wagtail on the Birkett.   DH. 

Update 14th and 15th October 2014

Tuesday 14th October 2014;  North-east wind force 3, sunny spells.

Some visible migration at Leasowe lighthouse included a Golden Plover, 40 Meadow Pipits, 32 Skylarks and 2 Whooper Swans which all moved east. A female Merlin was seen to head in from Liverpool bay and continue south without pausing. The first two Redwings of the autumn also flew south.

Grounded birds consisted of 4 Goldcrests, 3 Chiffchaffs and a male Blackcap in scrub and trees near the lighthouse. A Water Rail, a Kingfisher, and 4 Grey Wagtails were both seen from Lingham bridge.  Observers AMC, KD,DH, EW.

Wednesday 15th October 2014;

4 Stonechats and 2 Wheatears were new arrivals today. More winter visitors were recorded arriving with 28 Redwings, 15 Fieldfares and the first Brambling of the autumn all being logged.
Observers AMC, SRW.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

11th October 2014

Weather: SE-2, warm and sunny

A late afternoon circuit of Lingham Lane didn't find the hoped for YBW however there where a number of late migrants including Chiffchaff (2) and Blackcap (2). The Kingfisher was heard but not seen from the bridge.

A couple of Skylark headed south as did a Grey Wagtail and two Great spotted Woodpeckers.

Jays are usually flyover migrants at the Lighthouse so it was interesting to catch this one burying an Acorn for retrieval later in the winter. Jay acorn retrieval rates are as low as 30% to as high as 75% of Acorns buried. The higher retrieval rates are associated with landmarks of higher than 20cm as these are less likely to be covered during periods of high snow fall. per



Friday, 10 October 2014

Friday 10th October 2014

Weather;  Light southerly winds. F2. Showers with clear and sunny spells.

A sharp shower at around 11 this morning may have prompted 2 Wheatears to break their southward journey and rest on the embankment at Leasowe. These have been the first Wheatears for well over a week here.

Following the mid-morning shower the weather became sunny and very clear, prompting a large southerly movement of Meadow Pipits. Over 90 were logged with most birds coming straight in off the sea from Liverpool bay in small parties and continuing due south over the embankment without stopping. Other birds noted taking the same route included 2 Sparrowhawks, 6 Alba Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail and 3 Swallows.

Larger than usual numbers of Blackbirds were in the lighthouse area with 35 counted at the bottom end of Lingham Lane alone indicating these birds may have been grounded migrants. 5 Goldcrests were also on Lingham Lane. 2 Goldcrests and 2 Chiffchaffs were near the duckpond, where a Water Rail was also seen.
Leasowe embankment at high tide with Wheatear. (My long lens is kaput!) EW.  
Observers KAD, EW.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Thursday 9th October 2014

Weather; Blustery SW wind with showers.

Waders roosting on the groyne west of Leasowe lighthouse over the high tide included 200 Redshank, 150 Dunlin, 25 Turnstone, 13 Knot, 13 Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover and a Sandwich Tern.

Overhead passage included 8 Jackdaws east and 25 Meadow Pipits and 2 Swallows west.

Grounded birds in scrub and trees around the lighthouse included 6 Goldcrests, 3 Chiffchaffs and a single Blackcap.

Observer;  KD.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Wednesday 8th October 2014

Weather; Clear and sunny early, clouding over by midday. Rain set in mid afternoon. Wind SE.

Birding coverage around the lighthouse area has been sparse recently due to most of the regulars being away on various birding trips, hence the lack of recent blog entries.

Over the tide today there was a good assortment of waders roosting on the groyne west of the lighthouse. These included around 200 Redshanks, a Greenshank, 150 Dunlins, 6 Sanderling, 22 Knot, 40 Turnstone, 8 Ringed Plover and a Grey Plover. A Spotted Redshank flew east over the paddocks. 2 rather late Sandwich Terns flew east offshore.

Visible overhead movement eastward included 4 Teal, a Peregrine, a Sparrowhawk, 4 Great spotted Woodpeckers, 8 Grey Wagtails, 10 Meadow Pipits and a Swallow. Westward movement included 8 Skylarks and 6 Chaffinches.

Grounded birds around the lighthouse included 8 Goldcrests and 6 Chiffchaffs, all these birds being around the duckpond and nature trail area. A single Blackcap was at Lingham Lane. The reeds at the pond appear to be full of squealing Water Rails.  Obs KAD, EW.
Chiffchaff at the Duck pond. EW