Friday, 4 March 2016

Thursday 4th March 2016

Weather;  Cold start with showers. Milder later. Wind N.W f2-3

Apologies; This update is a day late due to I.T. problems.
The regular wintering Greenshank was on Leasowe shore along with an interesting alba Wagtail which broadly appeared to be a White. Dark feather markings on the mantle, however, indicated some probable Pied infusion. Both races interbreed and some birds, as with this one, cannot be confidently assigned to race.
A ringtail Hen Harrier, a Merlin and a Greenshank were off Neston Old Quay. Inland were around 50 Redwings and a Chiffchaff. 3 Water Pipits were on the freshwater section of the marsh. There have been good numbers of this species recorded this winter with a minimum of 6 wintering between Denhall Quay and Parkgate. Birds have been recorded this winter from Burton Marsh north as far as Heswall so the true number of wintering birds must be far in excess of the two or three winterers reported in the Cheshire
atlas. They will be colouring up into their attractive breeding plumage soon before departure in April.
Water Pipit in flight, Neston marsh. A quick view like this can capture all the i.d. features needed. Note the small white wedge at the base of the second outermost tail feathers, the rich brown upper tail coverts, rump and lower mantle changing to a grey shade on the nape and top of head.  EW
Separated by habitat some of the Scandinavian (littoralis) Rock Pipits further out on the saltmarsh are already in fine breeding plumage and can now be identified as such. 4 were recorded and were, as always, extremely shy unlike rock-loving petrosus race birds. Observer EW.
Breeding plumaged Scandinavian Rock Pipit. Neston saltmarsh. With it's grey head, white super and outer tail feathers, reduced underpart streaking and attractive apricot flush underneath this individual could be mistaken for a breeding plumaged Water Pipit. Water Pipits, however, never show the heavy and diffuse flank streaking shown by this bird.   EW  

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