Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Wednesday 27th April 2016

Weather; Cold but mainly sunny. Wind NW F3

A brisk north-west wind and cold conditions never help with the arrival of migrants in the Leasowe area today. This is, however, peak spring migration time and birds must get to their breeding grounds so a meagre trickle of summer visitors nonetheless arrived.
A Sedge Warbler, thought to be our first of the year, finally showed up with a singing bird by the duckpond. 2 Wheatears and a White Wagtail were in the paddocks area.
Most migrants were located in the more sheltered areas of Lingham Lane. Birds seen here included 5 Blackcaps, 6 Willow Warblers, a Reed Warbler, 3 Whitethroats, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and a Redstart. A Kingfisher flew across Lingham paddocks.
Redstart (fem) Lingham Lane.       EW
Overhead movement was likewise sparse with just 10 Swallows, 4 House Martins and a single Redpoll moving east.
Lesser Whitethroat. Lingham Lane.       EW

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Saturday 23rd April 2016

Weather;  Wind NW f 2-3;  sunny and cool.

A quiet day with Northerley winds bringing most migration to an abrupt halt. A Cuckoo, probably Thursday's bird, and 2 Wheatear remained in the coastal paddocks whilst 4 Blackcap were in Lingham Lane. The only new bird in today was a male Lesser Whitethroat heard singing briefly along Lingham Lane. The biting wind didn't help seawatching either however 4 Eiders were recorded as was yesterday's Velvet Scoter which seems to be appearing offshore opposite the Lighthouse car park around high tide then drifting west as the tide ebbs.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Friday 22nd April 2016

Weather;  Mostly sunny with more cloud building up during the afternoon. Wind E - NE F2

1,000 Dunlin were logged offshore at Leasowe today along with a drake Velvet Scoter which flew in from the west before alighting on the sea with a small number of Great crested Grebes.
There was a small overhead finch movement mainly eastwards this morning involving 47 Goldfinch, 29 Chaffinch, 3 Siskins and 3 Redpolls. A single Lesser Redpoll unusually alighted near the duckpond. The vast majority of this species fly straight over. 22 House Martins, 20 Swallows and 6 Sand Martins also passed overhead eastwards.
Lesser Redpoll at the duckpond       
Grounded migrants were less evident today although 2 Redstarts were new in, one near Lingham Lane and another inland from the paddocks. Yesterday's Redstarts in the Park Lane area and the Cuckoo appear to have moved on. 3 Whinchats and 15 Wheatears were present, mainly inland from the paddocks, especially along the low earth bank bordering the cable laying access track. Whitethroat numbers are starting to build up with 5 being logged today. These are thought to be migrants rather than our resident birds which usually announce their arrival by vigorous singing. There was also an arrival of around 10 Chiffchaffs along the nature trail and below the sea embankment this morning. 25 Willow Warblers and 12 Blackcaps were also counted.
Redstart at the earth bank inland from the paddocks bordering the cable laying access track. This bank attracts many migrant Chats and other birds and is well worth scanning closely.   EW

21st April 2016

Weather: SE-2, sunny with some cloud later, mild.

An exciting day at the Lighthouse today with a good range of common migrants. A small Hirrundine passage occurred throughout the day with 35 Swallow, 8 Sand Martin and 2 House Martin being logged.  Siskins have been a feature of the last few days and today was no exception as a further 8 birds moved North during the day. 2 Redpoll and 28 Chaffinches also moved Northeast. Grounded migrants included 22 Wheatear, 4 Whinchat, 2 Redstart, 3Yellow Wagtail 12 Blackcap, 8 Chiffchaff, 13 Willow Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Reed Warbler and a Grasshopper Warbler.

2 Short eared Owl quatered the coastal fields early evening whilst the pair of Little Owls were viewable from Lingham bridge.

Bird of the day however goes to a singing Cuckoo found by Tony Edwards. The bird ranged widely during the day but was seen by local and visiting birders alike.

Cuckoo (Tim Kinch)

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

20th April 2016

Weather: SE-2, sunny and warm.

The total lack of cloud and clear conditions saw most migrants overshoot the Lighthouse so numbers were a little thin on the ground today. Nevertheless observers plugged away and a decent variety of species were logged by the end of the day. Hirrundines included 30 Swallow, 10 Sand Martin and 2 House Martin all moving north. Also moving north were 12 Siskin and 2 Redpoll passed over, the latter giving away their presence with their distinctive "buzzing" call. The coastal bushes held 32 Willow Warbler, 18 Chiffchaff, 15 Blackcap, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler and 1 Redstart whilst the coastal paddocks attracted the usual Wagtails including 3 White Wagtails and 4 Yellow Wagtail. 20 Wheatears were in the paddocks early morning but had all moved through by lunchtime.
Raptor interest was maintained with 3 Kestrel, 3 Sparrowhawk and 2 Buzzard. 

Offshore, Sandwich Tern numbers are building with a flock of 12 resting on the tide edge viewable from the Lighthouse Car Park.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Tuesday 19th April

Weather; Sunny and clear. Wind NE F2

15 Little Gulls and 5 Sandwich Terns were offshore over the high tide period at Leasowe today. A Whimbrel and a Common Sandpiper were at the western groyne.
A northerly wind never does much to encourage migrant arrivals to the Leasowe area and today was no exception. A few did trickle in, however, including our first two Grasshopper Warblers of the spring. A reeling bird was west of the duckpond this morning and a non singing bird was on Lingham Lane near to the railway bridge this afternoon. A male Redstart was on Park Lane. Other grounded birds included 4 Wheatears, a White Wagtail, 6 Blackcaps, 14 Willow Warblers and 8 Chiffchaffs.
Overhead passage consisted of 60 Swallows, 9 House Martins, 8 Sand Martins and 2 Siskin, all mainly headed east. A Raven flew west over fields inland from the paddocks. A Little Owl continues to call from near Lingham bridge.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Thursday 14th April 2016

Weather; Cloudy and cool early with light rain. Becoming finer and warmer later. Wind NE-SE F2

It was the same story today at the lighthouse with a quiet morning followed by an arrival after midday. 3 Wheatears, 2 Willow Warblers and a single Redpoll were the only obvious grounded migrants early on following a circuit of the area.
After midday, however, there was a small arrival of a further 5 Wheatears at the western groyne and into the paddocks. In the Park Lane area 2 Blackcaps, 8 Willow Warblers, 4 Chiffchaffs, a Wheatear and a male Redstart appeared in the area just west of the caravan park entrance. 
A further 15 Willow Warblers, 8 Chiffchaffs, 5 Blackcaps and 5 Goldcrests arrived in the Lingham Lane area.
There was some overhead passage today, the vast majority of which was west to east. This included a Sparrowhawk, 45 Swallows, 7 House Martins, 32 Sand Martins, 30 Meadow Pipits, 24 Siskins and 3 Redpolls.
There were two Lapwings displaying in fields inland from the paddocks. Whether they will be tempted to breed here in spite of the continual disturbance caused by the never-ending cable laying operation is another matter.
Phyloscopus passage is peaking now with many, such as this Chiffchaff below the sea embankment, bursting into full song. EW

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Wednesday 13th April 2016

Weather;  Fine and sunny following some early morning mist. Wind SW-W F2

In the lighthouse area a Short-eared Owl, presumably yesterday's bird, spent much of the morning hunkerered down behind a tuft of long grass in a field just inland from the paddocks. It was not seen in the afternoon.
Overhead passage was weaker than yesterday but 45 Swallows, 5 House Martins and 12 Sand Martins moved east along with 2 Redpolls and 60 Meadow Pipits.
There were few grounded birds apart from one or two wheatears and phyloscs early this morning but numbers built up, especially after lunchtime when new arrivals included 27 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel, 3 White Wagtails, 6 Blackcaps, 12 Chiffchaffs and a good count of 55 Willow Warblers. The latter species appeared concentrated in two areas, Park Lane and the vicinity of the duckpond and nature trail. The Ring Ouzel, a male, was seen to fly strongly inland from Lingham paddocks this afternoon and has not been re-located.
Willow Warbler; An obvious old facial injury didn't stop this little hero from making it all the way back from Africa. EW
A single Whimbrel flew over Park Lane calling continually.
Willow Warbler. A pale and greyish individual typical of those from north Scandinavian breeding grounds.  EW

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Tuesday 12th April 2016

Weather; Drizzle early becoming clearer and brighter later. Wind W F2

The main feature of the day was the first big hirundine passage of the spring in the lighthouse area. As usual most passage was west to east along the embankment and the paddocks inland from it. Swallows totalled over 160 birds although passage tailed off after lunchtime. Sand Martins, however, continued passing through in small parties right through the day with the total number logged at 126 birds. Good numbers of Meadow Pipits, around 130, were also passing throughout the day. A flock of 650 Knot flew high to the east and 2 Redpolls headed east over Meols common. 3 Jays flew west.
Grounded migrants included 33 Wheatears, 14 Chiffchaffs, 9 Willow Warblers, 8 Blackcaps and 2 Goldcrests. There was also a small arrival of around 20 Reed Buntings in addition to the resident birds. A Kingfisher was seen along the nature trail and also at the duckpond.
Blackcap on Lingham Lane.      EW
A Short-eared Owl showed up late afternoon in the area around the lighthouse itself, whist a White Wagtail dropped into paddocks. Of non birding interest was some interesting bracket fungi identified by Graham Connolly as Turkey Tail Fungi.  Observers GC, DH, TK, CT, EW
White Wagtail (Tim Kinch)

SEO (Tim Kinch)

Turkey Tail Fungi (Graham Connolly)

Monday, 11 April 2016

11th April 2016

Weather: SE-3, mild and overcast,

A mixed day today with the presence of both winter visitors and summer arrivals. A late Fieldfare was around the Lighthouse whilst a  Blackcap of the spring was found by the bridge down Lingham Lane. Other summer migrants included, 6 Willow Warbler, 11 Chiffchaff, 5 Wheatear, 7 Swallow and a single House Martin.  

With continued SE/E winds forecast we are hopeful of some decent migration over the next few days. 

DH, Alistair Orton

Saturday, 9 April 2016

9th April 2016

Weather: W-2, showers and sunny spells. Cool

Few new birds in today and in fact a few had departed overnight including the long staying male Ring Ouzel at Park Lane which was not seen all day. Our earliest ever Common Redstart remains faithful to its dung heap along park lane. Despite being a relatively common migrant at the Lighthouse it seems to be attracting a lot of attention. So for those looking for the correct field, it is approximatly 150m west of the westerly kissing gate, in a field on the seaward side of the track and is bordered by two balck and two white fence posts. The Redstart favours the far corner by the five bar gate next to the dung heap. A small pasage of Meadow Pipits mid morning saw 80 birds move north as did 3 Siskin. Although Stock Dove breed at the Lighthouse there was also an increase in numbers with at least 8 birds recorded. 2 Chiffchaffs and 1 Willow Warbler were found along the nature whilst a single Red throated Diver was recorded offshore.

The most significant movement of the day was of Pink footed Geese. Several skiens totalling 2850 birds moved north throughout the day. Leaving the North Wirral shore and crossing Liverpool Bay to the Lancashire coast.


Friday, 8 April 2016

Friday 8th April 2016

Weather;  Wind NW to W f3. Cloudy and dull becoming finer and warmer later.

A reduction in the wind strength made for easier birding conditions in the Leasowe area today. The male Ring Ouzel and male Redstart remain in the Park Lane area and were both showing on and off for most of the day.
A female Ring Ouzel was a new arrival in the Lingham Lane paddocks area this morning but could not be re-located later in the day. Other grounded migrants included 5 Willow Warblers, 6 Chiffchaffs and 2 White Wagtails. Meadow Pipit numbers were well down to around 10 birds, mainly fly-overs. Other overhead movers included 10 Swallows and 5 Sand Martins headed mainly west and 2 Siskins north over the cafĂ©. Around 60 Linnets were in the paddocks area.
Knot.  Lingham Lane. This bird is just starting to moult into red breeding plumage at the bill base.  EW
A surprise visitor to the Lingham Lane paddocks this afternoon was a single Knot which arrived from the south, landing and feeding for 10 minutes by a flooded section before taking off high and flying due north over the embankment and out to sea until lost to sight. An evocative picture of migration in action. Observers; DH, AE, LH, RW, EW and others.
Knot;  Lingham Lane      EW

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Wednesday 6th April 2016

Weather;  Very windy with heavy showers and sunny spells. Wind W F5

The strong westerly wind put paid to any new arrivals in the Leasowe area leaving just a handful of migrants from previous days.
One of the two Ring Ouzels is still present along Park Lane as is the male Redstart on the opposite side of the road. A single Wheatear was in the Lingham paddocks and 3 Chiffchaffs around the duckpond. 12 Meadow Pipits were logged.
Of interest was a Little Owl also seen along Park Lane. They tried to breed in this area without success last year. Another Little Owl was seen today amongst the farm buildings off Lingham Lane. Observers; AE, DH, SRW
Redstart, Park Lane.   SRW

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Tuesday 5th April 2016

Weather;  Cloudy and breezy early becoming finer and less windy at lunchtime. Wind W F4-3

A rather quiet morning in the lighthouse area with just 5 Wheatears remaining in inland fields from yesterdays mass arrival and 2 or 3 Chiffchaffs around the duckpond.
White Wagtail in the paddocks.     EW
Ring Ouzel. Park Lane.   Steve Williams
The male Ring Ouzel in the Lingham paddocks remained all day, however, commuting between there and Kerr's field. So too the male Ring Ouzel off Park Lane which was joined by a second male. Both birds showed here, albeit distantly, for the remainder of the
Record shot of spring's first Redstart. Park Lane.   Tim Kinch
As is often the case here, there was a small arrival of migrants starting in the early afternoon. Another 7 Wheatears arrived along the embankment and into Lingham paddocks. 2 White Wagtails appeared in the paddocks and 8 Chiffchaffs and 10 Willow Warblers were also new-in ,mainly in the duck pond area.
Later in the afternoon our first Redstart  of the spring was discovered in a small field to the north of Park Lane opposite where the 2 Ring Ouzels are. This bird is a good week earlier than the usual first arrival.
Overhead movement consisted of 4 Swallows passing east and 3 Siskin north. Observers; KAD, DH, TK, CT, MGT, EW and many others

Monday, 4 April 2016

Monday 4th April 2016

Weather; Fine and sunny following overnight and early morning rain and showers. Wind W F2

This time last week we were wondering where all the Wheatears had got to. We got our answer today with a massive arrival along the North Wirral shore. In the Leasowe area numbers were very difficult to estimate as they tend to arrive along the sea embankment and then filter westwards and inland. Most observers agreed on well over 100 birds. An east to west transect late morning from Kerr's field to Park Lane logged 76 birds but this did not account for birds passing through earlier or later. Also other good "Wheatear hangouts" such as Leasowe bay and the golf course were not looked at. By mid afternoon, however, numbers were much reduced with most birds being concentrated on inland fields.
Steve Williams has informed us that Wheatears the Hilbre team caught today had zero fat scores and low weights.  This indicates they were grounded when they met poor local weather conditions overnight and in the early morning while on a long haul flight. Several birds on the western groyne looked completely shattered this morning, this presumably being their first landfall site having come in off the sea.
A single male Ring Ouzel remains in the paddock just east of the lighthouse. (5 were reported from Kerr's field yesterday). Another male Ring Ouzel was new in today along Park Lane (MGT) and was still showing there late evening. 
Willow Warbler on Park Lane.     EW
Wheatear. Star of the show today.   EW
Other migrants grounded in the Leasowe area today included 5 White Wagtails, 14 Chiffchaffs, 11 Willow Warblers, 2 Blackcaps, 7 Goldcrests and a Stonechat. Over 150 Meadow Pipits were in the area together with 60 Linnets, a welcome return to form for the latter species which has been in much reduced numbers so far this spring. 6 Swallows and 7 Sand Martins were also logged passing overhead, mainly eastwards. Observers LH, JJ, MS, SS, MGT, EW, SRW and many others.
Ring Ouzel, Park Lane.    MGT

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Saturday 2nd April 2016

Weather;  Dull with rain for most of the day, brightening up late afternoon. Wind S  F2

A good day of early spring passage in Leasowe in spite of the persistent rain, probably encouraged by the southerly wind.
The first 2 Ring Ouzels of the spring were discovered in the Lingham Lane paddocks this morning (JB) and remained for the day, still being present this evening. They remained rather distant, however.
There was also a good arrival of Chiffchaffs this morning, especially among trees and bushes the Duck pond area which appeared festooned with them. A minimum of 25 birds was estimated here. Most of these had moved on by late afternoon with only 3 remaining.
Other migrants in the Leasowe area included 8 Wheatears, 1 Raven, 108 Meadow Pipits, 3 Goldcrests and a single White Wagtail.
Record shot of one of the two Ring Ouzels, Lingham paddocks     DH
Overhead passage consisted of 10 Swallows and 20 Sand Martins headed mainly east.
Chiffchaff.      MGT
A Little Owl was showing well on the old farm buildings west of Lingham bridge this morning.  
Wheatear on the embankment.    MGT
Observers; JB, DH, CT, MGT and many others.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Friday 1st April 2016

Weather; Cold and cloudy with some light rain. Wind S F3-4

The clear overnight conditions may have helped clear out the vast majority of migrants that were in the Leasowe area yesterday. No Wheatears were present and Chiffchaffs were down to 3 and Goldcrests to 4.
New arrivals were few but included 2 male Stonechats near the car park, a Willow Warbler along the paddocks footpath, 4 Pied and 1 White Wagtail in the paddocks and 2 Redwing off Park Lane. 14 Meadow Pipits and 6 Chaffinches were the only overhead passage birds, all flying east.
A pair of Bullfinches were along Lingham Lane and the Little Owl was again calling to the west of Lingham bridge from private land.
White Wagtail (right) with female Pied Wagtail in the paddocks. Easy to confuse at range.     EW