Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Years Eve

Weather: SE-2, - overcast and cool

One final circuit of the Lighthouse produced a small arrival of thrushes whilst the two Snow Bunting remain at the Western end of Leasowe Bay.

A single Common Snipe and a single Woodcock were flushed from a flooded field inland at Carr Lane, Meols.

As 2014 draws to a close we would like to thank all those who make this site what it is and thanks to all those who contribute with their records, their photographs and their company and we look forward to seeing you all again during 2015!

There are too many 2014 Lighthouse highlights to mention them all so we have selected a sample that we believe are worthy of a special mention.

Once again many thanks and see you in 2015

The Lighthouse team

Glaucous Gull- April 2014

Velvet Scoter- April 2014

Night Heron -April 2014

Male Little Bunting -Hilbre, April 2014

Wryneck-September 2014

Barred Warbler-West Kirby, November 2014

Sunday, 28 December 2014

28th December 2014

Weather: SW-0-1, very clear and sunny. cold.

The cold snap caused a small cold weather movement at the Lighthouse. 6 Skylark  and 3 Snipe were recorded overhead whilst a Great spotted Woodpecker stopped briefly to have its photo taken. 

The wintering Greenshank remains at the Groyne and a female Stonechat was again on Meols Common.

Observers made the most of the flat calm conditions and took the opportunity to scrutinize the Common Scoter flock from Bennetts Lane, Meols. At least 400 birds were recorded offshore along with 2 drake Goldeneye and a siingle Red throated Diver.

With calm conditions prevailing for the next few days we are hopeful of further sea duck records  from North Wirral.

DH- Photo DH

Great spotted Woodpecker-DH

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Winter Solstice

Weather: W/SW-5/6, mild

A recent quiet period at the Lighthouse coincided with the majority of members being away on foreign birding trips during the latter half of November and early December. Consequently updates on our website have been a little spartan. However today two Snow Buntings were located on the beach at the West end of Leasowe Bay this afternoon. 

Initially it was thought these two birds were the same two birds that graced the Leasowe Golf Course  during mid November however on comparing today's photographs with those from November, it is clear that at least one bird is significantly different, perhaps a 1st winter male showing a much reduced amount of white in the wing compared to the November birds. . Take a look for yourself and let us know if you think differently ??

Charismatic little birds it's hard to resist a photo opportunity.

AMC - photos-AMC

1st winter Snow Bunting

Male Snow Bunting

1st winter?   Snow Bunting

Sunday, 30 November 2014

30th November

Weather: SW-3, sunny and warm

29th Nov- Over 2000 Common Scoter were rafting offshore from the Lighthouse car park. Other birds on the sea over the tide included a count of 346 Great crested Grebes, 34 Teal and a single Greylag Goose sitting on the sea was an unusual sight.

30th- A quiet day today. Several wintering Stonechats gave a number of photographic opportunities whilst two Whooper Swans over Leasowe Bay were not so obliging.


Stonechat atop a Giant Hogweed (AMC)

Whooper Swans (AMC)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

25th November 2014

Weather: SE-2, sunny and mild

A fairly quiet day today at the Ligthouse with few passerines bar the resident Linnet flock in the paddocks. Even the Twite hasn't been seen for a couple of weeks now. A pair of winter territory Stonechat were in Kerrs field just east of the Lighthouse and  another pair were in the dunes at Leaswowe Bay.

Over high water a number of waders roosted on the Western Groyne including, Dunlin (200), Knot(8), Redshank (35), Turnstone(9), Lapwing (12) and a Grey Heron.

The most notable bird of the day however was a Short eared Owl. Whilst Short eared Owl is recorded annually at the lighthouse what was unusual was this bird spent 45 minutes 'quatering' the waves far out to sea over the East Hoyle Bank. After some attention from 3 gulls the Owl eventually drifted off very high west.

No bird photos today but a stunning sunset over Hilbre Island and North Wales. Taken from the house at 4pm; Its certainly getting dark earlier these days!!  



Saturday, 15 November 2014

Friday 14th November 2014

Les Hall
As usual for this time of year migration has now tailed off and winter is settling in the Leasowe area. Coverage has been somewhat reduced as a result. The main highlight has been the continued presence of the single Twite with the Linnet flock in the paddocks and also the two Snow Buntings which seem very settled just behind the Leasowe Castle Hotel.
Roger Wilkinson

Monday, 10 November 2014

Monday 10th November 2014

Weather; Very clear with sunny spells. Wind light SE to SW F3.

Large numbers of waders moved west off the embankment at Leasowe today on the flood tide. These included around 250 Bar-tailed Godwits and 20 Grey Plovers among many thousands of Knot and Dunlin. A Purple Sandpiper roosted with Dunlins over the tide on the eastern groyne (opposite Leasowe Castle Hotel) They are surprisingly rare here despite being regular at New Brighton to the east and Hilbre to the west. 283 Great-crested Grebes and 350 Common Scoter were offshore.

Overhead movement was sparse today with just 14 Chaffinches west and a single Rock Pipit east. A single Snow Bunting flew in high from the north and, joined by a second bird, remained on a small putting green on the golf course immediately to the rear of the Leasowe Castle Hotel where they showed well all day.

Over 30 Blackbirds, a Redwing, 8 Fieldfares and a Blackcap were in the Lingham Lane area and 3 Chiffchaffs and 2 Goldcrests were in the immediate area of the lighthouse.

There has been no sign today of yesterday's Barred Warbler in Tony Bell's West Kirkby garden. 

Many thanks to SRW for the following video link

Observers; AMC, KD, DH, EW, SRW.

Snow Bunting. EW

Snow Buntings near Leasowe Castle Hotel.  EW.

Sunday, 9 November 2014


Weather: SE-2, cold and sunny

Little of interest was on the sea today bar a few Common Scoter,Gannet and Red throated Diver.5 Goldeneye yesterday were our first of the winter.

At about 15.00 this afternoon I received a call from good pal Tony Bell about a Garden Warbler in his West Kirby garden. I suggested this was particularly late for this species and that I might pop around to see it. Lying on the sofa and struck down with man flu I couldn't decide if I wanted to or indeed was capable of dragging myself away from the fire. I am glad I did as after a  20 minute wait a Barred Warbler flew from cover and up into Tony's apple tree. I quickly put the news out and the first locals arrived within minutes. This 1st winter bird showed the relevant features including, some slight flank barring  a pale (ish) eye with dark iris and the clincher, dark tipped under tail coverts. In fairness to Tony the light was pretty poor by this point and the bird was nearly always obscured by foliage and apples so Barred Warbler wouldn't necessarily be your first thought. Many many thanks to Tony for the phone call and allowing the locals into his house to see this great bird and congratulations on his great find. .




Wednesday, 5 November 2014

5th November 2014

Weather: N-2, cold but clear and sunny all day.

No fireworks today at the Lighthouse but a steady arrival of winter thrushes in the coastal hawthorns kept observers interested. There was a steady overhead movement of Fieldfare. with the day count totalling 186. Some birds dropped onto the Hawthorns to feed on the remaining berries. Fresh arrivals such as these are usually quite nervous and these birds were no different so the photo opportunity that presented itself was a touch of luck! Other thrushes in the Lingham area included 22 Blackbird, 4 Redwing, 8 Song Thrush and 11 Mistle Thrush. 

A flock of 22 Golden Plover moved west at the Lighthouse whilst two Swan sp were spotted distantly from Hoylake shore.

A small number of Goldcrest made the day list  as did 4 Stonechat and a couple of overhead Skylark.

The Twite remained elusive for most of the day but was seen and heard late afternoon; as usual in the company of a few Linnets.  



Monday, 3 November 2014

Monday 3rd November 2014

Weather; Sunny spells, clouding later. Wind SE f 3.

A small amount of overhead passage at the lighthouse today included 10 Chaffinches, 6 Skylarks and 3 Reed Buntings south and 2 Siskins east.

A single Twite was located in the paddocks with the Linnet flock, probably the same individual seen a few days ago just inland from here. Hopefully it will remain for the winter.

The Siberian Chiffchaff was showing well at times this morning in 'Scat alley', the footpath just south of the duckpond. It can go missing for long periods, however, as it probably has a large feeding circuit. A collybita race Chiffchaff was also in this area, with another being seen in Park Lane, Meols.

Siberian Chiffchaff.   AMC
Other birds in the lighthouse area included a Greenshank, a Stonechat, a Blackcap and two Bullfinches.  Observers; KD, AMC, DH, WSM, EW.
Twite (right bird) with Linnet in the paddocks.  AMC

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Sunday 2nd November 2014

Weather; Warm, sunny spells early then cloud.  Wind S F 3.

The Siberian Chiffchaff, (see blog entry of 31/10), was well seen again today near Leasowe lighthouse and was also heard to call several times, the call exactly matching that of the Tristis race, a piping 'peep'. This, together with all the plumage features observed, firms up it's identity completely. The bird frequented the inland path immediately to the south of the duck pond known as 'Scat alley'. It has previously also been seen around the pond itself.

Other birds seen today in the lighthouse area included 2 Teal, a Greenshank, 35 Blackbirds, 7 Song Thrushes, 5 Redwings, a Bullfinch and a Siskin.  Observer AMC.   

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


Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Tuesday 30th September 2014

Weather; Warm and sunny with a light south-westerly wind.

31 Common Scoter and 48 Great-crested Grebes were counted on the high tide today off Leasowe lighthouse. Earlier 14 Grey Plovers and the Greenshank were on the sand flats together with larger numbers of Dunlin and Curlew.
Visible overhead migration was more obvious in the morning with 4 Jays, 18 Skylarks, 10 Meadow Pipits and 15 Grey Wagtails moving mainly east with the exception of the Wagtails, all of which were on a westerly course. Just a single Swallow was seen flying east. 
A Kingfisher was at the duckpond this morning with another being seen at the more regular site of Lingham bridge. This species is showing very well at the moment and a sighting is almost guaranteed following a patient wait at Lingham bridge.
Grounded migrants in scrub and trees in the lighthouse area included 12 Chiffchaffs, 13 Goldcrests and a rather late Willow Warbler.        Observers;  AMC, DH, EW, SRW.    

Monday, 29 September 2014

29th September 2014

Weather:SE-1, variable. Warm and overcast, light rain later.

A much improved day today than of late with plenty of grounded migrants, overhead passage and some birds out to sea too!

The morning overhead passage started with a single flock of 27 Magpie moving south. Magpies continued to trickle through thereafter bringing the day total to 37. Other Corvids on the move were 2 Jay and 2 Jackdaw also moving south.  Further overhead passage included Skylark (24), Meadow Pipit (57), Grey Wagtail (8) Snipe (3), Chaffinch (13) and our first 3 Siskin of Autumn came in late morning.

Grounded migrants around the Lighthouse today included Goldcrest (15), Chiffchaff (11) Blackcap (8) Stonechat(1) and a Lesser Whitethroat. The latter bird was found feeding in a tree canopy and loosely associating with a tit flock giving the observers a moment of excitement that it could have been something a little rarer. Always great birds to see with their subtle tones and black 'mask' .

At the the Groyne a 'migrant' Kingfisher was found fishing from a  navigation post whilst a Rock Pipit fed amongst the boulders. Two Greenshank were also in the tidal gutter.

Other birds offshore today included Great crested Grebe (369), Common Scoter (500), Guillemot (15) Red breasted Merganser (6) and three Red throated Diver.

AMC, DH and EW

 Lesser Whitethroat (AMC)

Kingfisher (AMC)

Stonechat, bearing a shiny ring on it's left leg. (DH)

Saturday, 27 September 2014

27ty September 2014

Weather: NW-1-2, variable, sunny and warm later.

Life at the Lighthouse was pretty quiet today with just a handful of Chiffchaffs and 2 Goldcrests feeding amongst the coastal sallows. 

With a favourable mid day tide most effort was concentrated at the Hoylake high tide roost. As the tide flooded the wader count included Sanderling (350), Dunlin. 150, Knot, 17, Curlew (135), Bar tailed Godwit (1) , Ringed Plover(65) and Grey Plover (9).

Two Brent Geese  were picked up just beyond the tide line flying west, presumably to join the wintering Hilbre flock. Other birds over the sea included Common Scoter (370), Red throated Diver (8), Sandwich tern (2) whilst a Peregrine kept a watchful eye over the proceedings.

The highlight amongst the large Gull flock on the foreshore were two Scandinavian Herring Gulls (Larus Argentatus). Picked out by their larger size, darker mantle colour, extensive white primary mirrors, heavily streaked head and nape and to me, brighter pinker legs. The distant record shot below shows at least some of these features,  I hope ! 


Scandinavian Herring Gull, centre top of picture. (AMC)

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Thursday 25th September 2014

Weather; Dull but clear with light south-westerly winds

A seawatch off Leasowe produced 107 Great-crested Grebes, 300 Common Scoters and 2 Arctic Skuas.
A Water Rail was feeding in the open on the Birkett underneath Lingham bridge and the Kingfisher was also again here. It is being seen very regularly at the moment.
There was a noticeable mid-morning arrival of Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests in the lighthouse area. Very few were noted early on but numbers rose to over 35 Chiffchaffs and 20 Goldcrests by midday. One or two of the Chiffchaffs were rather grey-brown individuals which suggested a more eastern origin although they could not be racially assigned. 
Chiffchaff. A 'normal' Collybita race individual.   EW.
Also grounded in the lighthouse were 6 Blackcaps and a single Lesser Whitethroat.
Chiffchaff.  Note the grey-brown appearance and faint wing bar suggesting the Siberian race 'Tristis'. The yellow vent and yellow on the super in front of the eye, however, rule this race out.    EW
There was a strong passage of Grey Wagtails today with over 20 being noted.  Observers; KD, DH, EW.
Grey Wagtail .  DH.