Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Wednesday 24th February 2016

Weather;  Cool and sunny except for brief mid-morning squall. Wind N.W. F1-2 

12 Purple Sandpipers were on the pontoon at New Brighton before high tide and an adult Mediterranean Gull flew west over Morrison's.
Several thousand Scoter were seen far offshore from the Meols lifeboat station over the high tide. Numbers could not even be guessed at as they seemed to be flying in different directions. Smaller numbers, around 80, were on the sea a bit closer with a drake Velvet Scoter among them. Around 200 Great crested Grebe's were also noted together with 3 Scaup. A separate drake Scaup flew east.
Purple Sandpipers with Dunlin and Turnstone on the pontoon, New Brighton.   EW
Inland at the lighthouse it was quiet as expected at this time of year. There were none of the usual high counts of Linnet with only 8 being present in the paddocks with 2 Meadow Pipits and 2 Song Thrushes. 6 Reed Buntings, a Bullfinch and 4 Goldcrests were along Lingham Lane. EW.
Sinensis race ('Continental') Cormorant. New Brighton.   EW

Monday, 22 February 2016

Monday 22nd February 2016

Weather;  Mild with sunny spells. 

Blog updates have been somewhat slack recently due to contributors being abroad, working away e.t.c. Hopefully with spring around the corner and people back in place updates will resume as normal.

A good bash around the Neston Old Quay area today produced the following sightings; 2 Hen Harriers (ringtails), a single immature Marsh Harrier and a Great White Egret were in the Neston Marsh area. A Short-eared Owl was off Denhall Quay. 6 Water Pipits were identified on the inner freshwater section of the marsh on a long transect between the Harp Inn and Parkgate. This species must be far more widespread than currently thought with recent sightings from as far south as Burton marsh and north to Heswall. 4 Rock Pipits were further out on the saltmarsh opposite the Old Quay, one being an obvious littoralis race bird and the others presumably so. Over 60 Skylarks were also counted here.
Inland 2 Chiffchaffs are wintering at the Neston sewage works together with around 10 Grey Wagtails.
Coburni (Icelandic) race Redwing on the right together with a nominate race bird illiacus. Note the great difference in breast streaking with coburni having much thicker and wider streaking which can coalesce into solid dark areas, especially around the upper breast sides and malar areas, unlike the nominate bird whose streaks are all well defined and separate. The noticeably darker legs typical of coburni can also just be seen in this shot.   EW
Coburni race (Icelandic) Redwing. On this view the dark under tail coverts can be seen. In life there were thin pale edgeings to them but as in this view the impression is of a solid dark area. On nominate race illiacus birds the under tail coverts appear white and although they can show some faint dark centres to the feathers it is never to this extent.   EW
A flock of 23 Redwings were in the field to the south of the path leading past the sewage works. Among them were two darker birds, one in particular ticking all the boxes for an Icelandic Redwing (coburni race) See photo's.  
Coburni race Redwing (right bird) with nominate race iliacus. Note the much darker overall impression of coburni. It's upperparts are darker with the crown especially being almost black compared with the paler brown crown of the nominate race bird. Note the ochre-yellow tinge on the super of coburni compared to the white on that of the nominate bird. The white looking undertail coverts can be seen on the nominate bird.          EW 
Observer EW.