Monday, 30 September 2013

30th September 2013

Weather: SE-3 to 4 later. Warm and clear.

Another blustery day with a stiff south easterly. 2 Chiffchaffs remained in Lingham Lane and a further 3 in the nature trail. 2 Wheatear dropped in late afternoon and fed amongst the rocks on 'Greenshank Groyne'.  The Linnet flock remained in the horse paddocks and has now increased to 70.

Other birds included an increase in the number of Robins and a few Great crested Grebe were offshore. Siskin (3), Grey Wagtail )2), Snipe (2) and Meadow Pipit (80) all moved south during the morning

A migrant Robin

Great Crested Grebe still in summer plumage

Sunday, 29 September 2013

29th September 2013

Weather: SE-3, Warm and clear

A blustery day with a stiff east south  easterly breeze making 'finding' conditions difficult. Grounded migrants included Chiffichaff (6) Blackcap (1) Wheatear (3). The resident Greenshank remained faithful to 'greenshank groyne'.

A small finch movement was noted with 9 Chaffinch moving south along with 18 Goldfinch. 2 Great spotted Woodpeckers also moved south.

Although Magpie is a common bird at the Lighthouse the number of migrant birds arriving today was  quite staggering with all birds arriving from the north and moving off south. A total of 57 magpies moved through including  flocks of 22 and 18. Other 'Corvids' on the move included 4 Carrion Crow and a single Raven all moved South.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

28th September 2013

Weather: East / South East, force 3. Mist early on clearing later

Two Mute Swans were a surprise find flying East along the sea defence  at the Lighthouse early morning. With the wind in the East visible migration continued throughout most of morning. Highlights included. Snipe (3) Skylark (4) Meadow Pipit (300) Grey Wagtail (4) Siskin (1) Chaffinch (9) and Great spotted Woodpecker (2) all heading South. 

Migrants remaining from yesterday included Chiffchaff (2), Blackcap (1). A single Wheatear remained in the horse paddocks.

A Kingfisher shot through under Lingham Bridge and will no doubt remain for the winter

Friday, 27 September 2013

27th September 2013

Weather: South East 3/4, clear and warm.

A quieter day today; despite the favourable conditions there was little visible migration. Migrants included Blackcap (2), Swallow (1) Chiffchaff (5) however Wheatears had increased to 6 near the Westerly kissing gate.

2nd winter Mediterranean Gull 

A second winter Mediterranean Gull dropped onto a sand bar at Dove Point as the tide flooded. Easterlies are forecast to continue over the weekend so we are hopeful of some interesting migration over the next couple of days. (AMC, KGRand JJ)

Thursday, 26 September 2013

26th September 2013

Weather: Easterly -2/3, slight haze, cool, warming later

Visible migration continued today with at least 150 Meadow Pipit in off the sea, moving south inland as did a single flock of 35 Skylark.  Grey Wagtail (2), Pied Wagtail (4) and Reed Bunting (4) were all seen to come ‘in off’ and move South. Also recorded were; Swallow (3), Blackcap (2), Chiffchaff (2), and a Spotted Flycatcher spent all afternoon catching flies from the Elder west of Lingham Bridge. A single Wheatear was in the Horse Paddocks and was probably one of two remaining from yesterday. 

The resident Greenshank was at the 'head of the flood' at Dovepoint Road, Meols this evening.

A skein of 120+ Pink footed Geese came in during the afternoon and continued overhead south, giving their constant contact call as they went – A fantastic sight. 
(AMC, KD, SRW) Photo's AMC except Greenshank


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Wednesday 25th September 2013

Weather;  Mist, especially over the sea, with sunny spells. Wind force 2 NE to NW. Visibility poor.


Misty conditions in the morning resulted in some visible migration with about 50 Meadow Pipits, 22 Skylarks, 30 Reed Buntings and smaller numbers of Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Pied Wagtails overhead in the lighthouse area. Some alighted while most continued to the east.
Grounded birds included 2 Snipe, 3 Wheatear, a Blackcap, a Goldcrest, 5 Chiffchaffs and 2 Reed Warblers.
2 adult Mediterranian Gulls were on the shore.
A further 2 Blackcaps and 3 Chiffchaffs were on Park Lane. (Observers KD,KAD & EW)

Monday, 23 September 2013

Monday 23rd September 2013

Weather: SE wind force 1. Overcast with  slight mist. Visibility poor.

A rather quiet day despite ideal conditions for observing migrants. 57 Grey Plover, a Greenshank and an adult Mediterranian Gull were on the sand prior to high tide at Leasowe.

Visible migrants overhead included 40 Swallows, 10 Skylarks and 6 Grey Wagtails heading east. Some raptors were also on the move including 3 Sparrowhawks and a juvenile Hobby which flew west.

Grounded birds in the coastal scrub around the lighthouse included a Blackcap, a Whitethroat, 6 Chiffchaffs and one of the first migrant Goldcrests of the autumn. (Observers KAD, EW)

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Almost a year to the day of last year’s Western Sandpiper (see picture below) at Hoylake shore, incredibly a moulting adult Semi palmated Sandpiper was found amongst a small group of Dunlin.

The bird in question is clearly a moulting adult showing a mixture of black, retained summer feathers and the greyer, new winter moult. The bird showed no rufous feather edges as would be expected in both Western Sandpiper and Little Stint The distant viewing meant some key features could have been seen a lot better including the palmations and bill. We will all be out tomorrow for better views. 

In light of just how tricky these peeps/stints can be, caution is the best way forwards when identifying these birds, particularly on poor views!
1st year Western Sandpiper (Hoylake, 20th September 2012) The long droop tipped bill and isolated  rufous scapulars distinguish Western Sand from Semi P in 1st winter plumage. Photo by Steve Young

Peep/Stint is centre bird 

An ID Challenge at this distance

Lynne Greenstreet

Offshore an estimated 3000 Common Scoter were seen from Hoylake shore. They were a long way off amongst the wind farms; however a few small flocks ventured closer to the land.

An adult Yellow legged Gull was again amongst the Gulls in the usual Hoylake Gull roost.

A Golden Plover remained faithful to this stretch of beach just west of the Lifeboat station. Incredibly this bird is the last of a trio that has been present for 8 weeks.

Friday, 20 September 2013

20th September 2013

Offshore from Hoylake as of 12.00, 6 Common Scoter, 2 Red throated Diver and a single Gannet moved West.

2 Yellow legged Gull remain in the Hoylake high tide Gull roost.

A late (ish) Whinchat was on rough ground west of  the Leasowe Castle Hotel. This is a favoured site for this summer migrant and always a great place to look at this time of year.



Other birds on the move included Meadow Pipit, Skylark and Swallow. With a high pressure system moving in from the south over the next 24 hours we are hopeful of more autumn migrants this weekend. (AMC, KD)

Thursday, 19 September 2013

19th September 2013

Weather: SE -2 moving West force 6-7, clear with excellent visibility

The mid day tide saw a large Gull roost at Hoylake which included at least 2 Yellow Legged Gulls among several hundred Herring and Lesser Black backed Gulls. One Lesser had some striking head streaking. Waders included 80 Grey Plover and 30 Bar tailed Godwit as well as the usual Dunlin, Ringed Plove and Knot..

As the tide began to ebb so the wind suddenly strengthened from the west. We had good numbers of birds offshore including Common Scoter (27), Red throated Diver (4), Gannet (8), Manx Shearwater (12),Kitiwake (2) Sandwich Tern (20) Common Tern (8) and a Juv Arctic Tern was new for the garden list.

Highlight of the day was a Bonxie and 3 Leach's Petrels along the ebbing tide line, the latter being hunted by an immature Peregrine out over the sea. (AMC and KD)

From the Gunsite 11 Leach's Petrel were seen moving west on the ebb tide.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013


Weather; force 6 West Northwest, visibility good.

The wind continuing  from the Northwest, once again sea watching was the order of the day. With the wind not quite as strong, numbers were lower than in previous days. Between 9 and 11.30 a.m we recorded from Hoylake the following: Gannet (19), Red throated Diver (3) Red breasted Mergnser (1), Commic Tern (1), Sandwich Tern (9), Fulmar (2), Manx Shearwater (4) and Leach's Petrel (1)

With the wind seemingly increasing during the day a Sea watch from the Gunsite (Leasowe) on the Ebb tide seemed like the logical decision and one that proved productive. Between 12.30 and 14.00 9 Leach's Petrel battled their way into the wind and a Grey Phalarope landed on the sea before continuing west. Some record shots of a mid distant leach's petrel were taken from the car !

Further west, a hopeful search in the low tide gutters and pools for the Phalarope produced some wind blown waders doing their best to stay upright in the strengthening wind.

            Cyanea capillata- one of many washed up during the storm

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


Weather; West force 6-7, squally showers.

Sea watchers were out in force this morning from New Brighton to Hilbre and all points in between.

Highlights included;

Leach's Petrel (12, New Brighton, 15 Hoylake, 70+ Hilbre)
Fulmar (1 Hoylake)
Manx Shearwater (50+ Hoylake)
Arctic tern (New Brighton)
Black tern (New Brighton)
Arctic Skua (Hoylake)
Long Tailed Skua (Hoyalke, Hilbre)
Bonxie (Hilbre)

With the wind backing off over the next couple of days, attention will turning once again to searching through the wader flocks on North Wirral

Monday, 16 September 2013


Weather: Force: 7 / 8 Westerly, Squally showers early on: clearing later.

The first big storm of autumn proved productive as the forecast was correct and Wirral was hit with a force 8 Westerly gale. Whilst big numbers were not recorded a good variety of species were logged across all the Wirral Sea Watching locations. With the wind backing off tomorrow it may be a chance for some further Sea Watching in less severe conditions. Sea watching started from early morning and the following highlights were recorded.

Red throated Diver (3 – Hoylake)
Storm Petrel ( 1 -New Brighton)
Leaches Petrel (8-New Brighton, 8 Hoylake, 20+ Hilbre)
Arctic Tern (4 New Brighton)
Black Tern (1 New Brighton, 1 Hilbre)
Long tailed Skua (2 Hilbre, 1 pale juv Hoylake)
Bonxie (Hilbre)
Little Gull (2- 1st winter, Hoylake, 1 New Brighton)

A windswept  North Wirral coast, hit by storm force 8 westerlies

Part of a flock of 277 Grey Plover facing into the storm during one of several squalls.

In addition, the resident Yellow legged Gull was on Hoylake beach near the old toilet block and many hundreds of waders were on the shore at Hoylake, including a flock of 277 Grey Plover.

                                                                    (AMC, SRW KD)

Sunday, 15 September 2013


Weather; SW – 6, rain early morning moving to West 7 gusting 8 later

With the wind only starting up early morning we were not expecting big things however  a Long tailed Skua on Hilbre gave us some inspiration. Sea watching highlights from Wirral included:

Arctic Skua (3)
Fulmar (4)
Manx Shearwater (8)
Sandwich Tern (28)
Gannet (50)
Guillemot (1)
Great crested Grebe (1)
Red throated Diver (2)

The Pressure chart above shows the weather for 07.00 on Monday 16th September. With the Low moving slowing East, Force 7 to 8 West to North Westerly winds are forecast. If the forecasters have got it right, we are hopeful of some exciting Wirral Sea watching over the next few days.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Wind NW-3, clear, sunny and warm

38 Jackdaw moved south over the Lighthouse late morning whilst only 3 Meadow pipit were recorded also moving south. Resident raptors included Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. The latter flushing a Snipe from a drainage ditch near the Westerly kissing gate. A Golden Plover was heard but not seen over the horse paddocks where 3 Wheatear and 1 Whinchat were also present mid morning. 

Warblers were very much in evidence taking advantage of the warm autumn sunshine. The large Elder bush west of Lingham Bridge held 4 Blackcap and 1 Whitehroat.  A dozen Chiffchaff remained in Lingham Lane whilst at ‘Raddes Ridge’ an Acrocephalus  warbler was glimpsed briefly and thought most likely to be a Reed Warbler 


A patient wait at Linham Bridge revealed 5 warblers in a seemingly empty Elder bush. (AMC)


Friday, 13 September 2013

13th September 2013

Autumn was very much in the air today. The season’s first roaming tit flock was found at Lingham Bridge.  It included up to 30 birds made up of Blue, Great and long tailed Tit.

Numbers were up on yesterday with a reasonable fall of migrants considering the unfavourable conditions. A couple of circuits of the Lighthouse produced good numbers of warblers including 6 Blackcap, 1 Willow Warbler and 15 Chiffchaff.  A number of Pied Wagtails were found in the horse paddocks along with 4 Wheatear which totalled 11 by the end of the day.  A Spotted Flycatcher dropped in at the westerly kissing gate but quickly relocated to Sandy Lane where it settled and ‘flycatched’ along with 2 more Chiffchaff.

All photo's AMC


The Mediterranean Gull remains on the pontoon at West Kirby marine lake. The black in the primary tips suggesting this is a second summer bird moulting into a (third) adult winter. 
                                                                              (AMC, EW)

Thursday, 12 September 2013

12th September 2013

A few migrants were at the Lighthouse this morning including 4 Chiffchaffs and 1 Whitethroat whilst the Swallow flock at Lingham Lane has increased to 17.

At ‘Greenshank Groyne’, the Turnstone flock is steadily increasing as autumn progresses and a Heron dropped in to feed in the gutter formed by the groyne. 

At Hoylake, a  massive 1500 Common Scoter were recorded offshore along with 4 Guillemots, 6 Great crested Grebe, 2 Red throated Diver and 2 Manx Shearwater.

A small group of  18 Sandwich Tern remain off Red Rocks and a Mediterranean Gull remains at West Kirby Marine lake.


One last yawn before the 'off'

Turnstone Flock

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

10th September

Weather: Northwest fore 6, gusting 7. Squally showers.

The overnight storm from the North produced little over the sea over the tide from Hoylake shore. This was as expected given the blow was less than 24 hours old, however as the tide ebbed a few birds started to move west including 20+ Gannet, 20 Sandwhich Tern, 1 Fulmar, 1 Great crested Grebe, and the first Red throated Diver of the autumn. 

Curlew Sandpiper and 2 Yellow legged gulls remain on the shore whilst a Wheatear was the highlight in the garden.

Adult Mediterranean Gull,  1st winter Kittiwake and 1st winter Little Gull were in the Mersey mouth from New Brighton.

Monday, 9 September 2013

9th September 2013

Mid morning showers grounded a number of wagtails on the  Lifeboat green; 8 Pieds and at least 2 Yellow Wagtails were recorded. These quickly moved on as the rain abated.

With the high tide came the waders, with numbers similar to previous days, however yesterdays Little Stint had moved on.

A few late (ish) Sandwich Tern lingered amongst thee Gull flock which in itself provided some interest including 1 adult Yellow Legged Gull, 1 Argentatus and another that left us a little head scratching. One for gull watchers. Some think Yellow Legged, some Caspian, others haven't a clue. Interesting never the less.

At 'Greenshank Groyne' a lone Black tailed Godwit took up temporary residence. Not too common at this site.

Further west a single Black tern was on the tide edge just east of Hilbre

Yellow Wagtail (Ed Williams)

Black tailed Godwit (Ed Williams) 

Adult Yellow legged and Lesser Black backed in foreground (Ed Williams)

Above, adult Yellow legged Gull and Argentatus (Ed Williams)

4th year Yellow legged Gull  (AMC)

4th year Yellow legged gull (AMC)

Flock of Curlew Sandpiper (SRW)
Peregrine hunting the waders (AMC)

(AMC, KD, MS, EW and SRW)

Sunday, 8 September 2013

8th September 2013

At Kings Gap, Hoylake, good numbers of waders again today with over 1000 Dunlin, 300 Sanderling, 9 Bar tailed Godwit, 29 Knot and the first Juvenile Little Stint of the autumn. Curlew Sandpipers have now increased to at least 18. 1 Gannet was seen flying east.

A small flock of 15 Sandwich Tern were at the high tide roost. As the opportunity of photographing Curlew Sands arrives but once a year below are a small selection including a ringed bird.

Below; a distant shot of the first juvenile Little Stint of the autumn

Below, one of several squalls moving in from the southwest

Oystercatcher, Curlew and Herring Gull in the Hoylake high tide roost (Lynne Greenstreet)