Thursday, 30 April 2015

30 April 2015

Weather: NW-4, cold and sunny

A quiet day at the Lighthouse produced few migrants. Another stiff north westerly kept migration at bay in the main however at least 13 Wheatear were between the paddocks and Leasowe Common.

Two male Whinchat were near the Western kissing gate mid morning and another was present late afternoon in the fields inland from Park Lane.


Monday, 27 April 2015

27th April 2015

Weather: W-2, increasing 4 later, cool & overcast

Yesterdays Pied Flycatcher had moved on overnight. The day was quiet on the whole with few new migrants in today. Two Whinchat were in Kerr's field mid morning but moved  through quickly. Two Whitethroat were new in at Lingham Lane whilst Reed and Sedge warblers are now well established on territory.

16 Sand Martin moved North during the day as did several Swallow.

Surprise of the day was the reappearance of the male Green Woodpecker seen flying over the paddocks and lost to view over over Parkfield House. A Welcome 'pullback' for those who missed this Lighthouse MEGA when it was first discovered  on 5th April.


Sunday, 26 April 2015

26th April 2015

Weather: W/NW-3, cool and sunny.

A cool stiff westerly slowed migration temporarily today with just two new Reed Warbler and a Whitethroat recorded along the 'nature trail' today whilst only two Wheatears were found in the paddocks.

Highlight of the day was a stunning male Pied Flycatcher in track side bushes along Park Lane. A scarce bird on the Wirral this is our second of the spring . Present for most of the day the bird was obliging and allowed many to catch up with this stunning summer migrant!

JB, AMC, AE, KD & MGT  et al

Pied Flycatcher (Jeremy Bradshaw)

Pied Flycatcher (AMC)

Friday, 24 April 2015

Friday 24th April 2015

Weather; Sunny early on then cloudy and hazy. Winds NW-NE F2.

Our fourth Osprey of the spring so far passed through at 9.30 a.m. flying over the lighthouse in a north-easterly direction, the usual line of travel for them here at this time of year. Other overhead travellers included over 20 House Martins, 30 Swallows and 24 Sand Martins headed east. 2 Tree Pipits and a single flava Wagtail headed north.

Other migrants new in around the lighthouse included 5 more Reed Warblers, most of which were in song and, it is hoped, will stay to breed. Most Sedge Warblers also seem to be on their territories now although there were several obvious migrants in areas far from reeds. 3 Grasshopper Warblers were in song and at least 6 Whitethroats are now apparently on territory.

Over 20 Blackcaps were in the area today, concentrated mainly in the Lingham Lane area, especially around Lingham bridge. 2 Lesser Whitethroats and a female Redstart were new arrivals on Lingham Lane this morning. 

11 Wheatears were on Meols common this morning, some of which re-located to the paddocks. Around 20 Willow Warblers were also scattered around the area, including another grey individual, probably of the Scandinavian race acredula, seen at Lingham Lane.

Migrating Osprey.   AMC
A further small arrival of migrants arrived mid afternoon, as is often the case here. These included an additional 6 Wheatears and two Redstarts, a female and a first summer male, in the area of the nature trail and the embankment. A male Yellow Wagtail appeared at the same time on the nearby Lingham Lane paddocks and an mixed assemblage of over 50 Swallows and Sand Martins gathered on wires in Park Lane. Observers AMC, DH, MGT, EW.
Female Redstart,  Lingham Lane     EW

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Thursday 23rd April 2015

Weather;  Fine and sunny, rather hazy. Wind very light NE to NW   F1-2.

Summer migrants continued to arrive in the Leasowe lighthouse area today with good numbers of Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers now singing from regularly occupied territories. One or two Reed Warblers are in full song in the area of the pond. 5 Grasshopper Warblers were also reeling from various locations although most of these will probably move on.

The first Lesser Whitethroats arrived this morning with 2 in Carr Lane and another 2 along the nature trail. 

Around 30 Wheatears moved through in the course of the day, most being in the paddocks. 3 White Wagtails were also here and a Whinchat and a male Redstart were in the inland fields opposite. Another male Redstart was in Park Lane while a male Ring Ouzel spent much of the day in the Lingham Lane paddocks. A single Tree Pipit was in Kerr's field.

Good numbers of Blackcaps continue to pass through with a total of 29 birds logged today. Around 15 Willow Warblers and 10 Chiffchaffs were also in the area.

Female Wheatear. Many of the Wheatears now passing through appear to be of the large Greenland race.  EW
Hirundine passage was again rather sparse today with a small movement of 20 Swallows and 9 Sand Martins moving east along the embankment in the mid afternoon. Observers;  AMC, DH, JJ, MS, EW.
Chiffchaff      EW

Wednesday, 22 April 2015


Weather: SE-2, sunny & warm all day.

Despite the clear conditions it was apparent from the start there had been a small 'fall' of Phylloscopus Warblers including 57 Willow Warbler and 12 Chiffchaff between Lingham Lane and Park Lane. An arrival of Blackcap had also occurred with at least 20 birds being logged , principally  feeding among the Hawthorn flowers in Lingham Lane.

A single male Yellow Wagtail was in the eastern most Horse paddock mid morning.

Several Sedge Warbler and a single Reed Warbler were singing at the Lighthouse pond. At least 3 male Grasshopper Warbler were 'reeling' from various locations between 'sandy lane' and the East Bank.

As the morning progressed so it became more about quality than quantity and at approximately 09.30 a stunning Male Pied Flycatcher was found by Lighthouse regular David Haig (DH) in track side bushes at Park Lane. This is only our second since 2013. A great bird which sadly didn't stick around for the masses. Equally brief and equally exciting was an ALPINE SWIFT also found by (DH) which flew past a quintet of locals who happened to be on site watching the Pied Fly. An incredible 10 minute spell for those lucky but well deserving few.

Also present on Park Lane was a single Male Redstart whilst 6 Greenland Wheatear and a female Whinchat were found in 'Hoopoe Hollow' mid afternoon.

Numbers of Dunlin are beginning to  build with most in smart breeding plumage. At least 700 are currently roosting on the foreshore at Dove Point, along with several Turnstone, Redshank and 3 Whimbrel.


Pied Flycatcher (DH)

Monday, 20 April 2015

Monday 20th April 2015

Weather;  Warm and sunny all day. Wind SE F2.

Offshore at the lighthouse today were 106 Great Crested Grebes and a single summer plumaged Red-throated Diver.

Most passerine migration took place in the morning today with a passage of 60 Swallows and 35 House Martins passing east. Hirundine numbers trailed off in the afternoon with just a handful of Swallows passing through, these on a more northerly course offshore into Liverpool bay. A single Flava Wagtail flew over this morning.

Male Redstart near Lingham bridge      AMC
Grounded birds in the Leasowe area included over 30 Wheatears, 4 White Wagtails, 1 Sedge Warbler, 3 Grasshopper Warbler , 3 Whitethroats, 16 Willow Warblers and 8 Chiffchaffs. Most of the Wheatears had moved through by the afternoon. 3 Redstarts were also in the area, probably new birds, with a male and a female in the Park Lane area and a further male near Lingham bridge.
Male Redstart near Lingham bridge         AMC

Willow Warbler. Note the almost white underparts on this individual with almost no trace of yellow. The mantle is a pale grey-brown colour lacking in any of the usual olive tones. Greyish birds such as this predominate in northern regions of Europe such as Scandinavia which is where this bird could possibly be headed. Some authorities consider them a separate race, acredula. The apparently different colour legs is probably caused by light and shadow. Both Willow Warbler shots are of the same bird.  EW. 
There was also a decent arrival of Blackcaps today with a total of 13 birds seen. 5 females appeared together this morning at Lingham bridge with a further 5 mainly male birds appearing mid-afternoon by the duck pond. 3 others were seen at other locations.


Willow Warbler         EW

Sunday, 19 April 2015

18th April 2015

Weather: NE-2-4, sunny and cool.

A quieter day today than of late. 3 Sedge Warbler and a Grasshopper Warbler were singing by the Lighthouse pond early this morning.

A small passage of 30 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 4 Sand Martin and our first Swift headed north.

Despite good numbers of Common Redstart during recent days only a single female remained today with most birds having moved on during the recent clear conditions.  Several Wheatears arrived  in paddocks, whilst a stunning male Whinchat could be found near the western Kissing gate.

Several Wheatear, 8 White Wagtails and a pair of Ring Ouzel were present near the Langfields , Hoylake mid morning

Many thanks to Adam Jones for his shots of the stunning male Whinchat present today. Check out his blog :


Whinchat (Adam Jones)

Whinchat (Adam Jones)

Friday, 17 April 2015

17th April 2015

Weather: SE-2, cool & overcast, warmer later.

The day started quietly with  a small passage of Sand Martins North and only 9 Wheatears and a single Whinchat present  in the paddocks by 08.00 Two stunning male Redstart were found along Park Lane whilst offshore the Common Scoter flock remained.

In the afternoon it quickly became apparent there had been a second arrival of birds with  an additional 8 Redstarts being logged ;bringing the days total to an incredible 10 birds and 19 for the week.

Over 50 Willow Warbler and 3 Blackcap were also found in Park Lane. Interestingly all these birds were to be found feeding on the ground. Several Chiffchaffs were around the Lighhouse pond and in Lingham Lane.

3 Sedge Warbler also arrived mid afternoon whilst a passage of 34 House Martins was also noted


Common Redstart (AMC)

Common Redstart (AMC)

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Osprey !

Weather: NE-2 , sunny spells

The day started quietly with the first circuit of at the Lighthouse producing just a single male Redstart in the western dunes near 'Wryneck Ridge' . Singing Sedge and Grasshopper warbler and 2 Blackcap  were in at the Lighthouse pond and our first Whitethroats were heard singing in Sandy Lane at the Hotel.

A decent passage of Hirundines occurred mid morning with at least 200 Sand Martin and 70 Swallow Passing NE. Other overhead movement including 2 Redpoll also headed North.

Wheatear were thin on the ground with no more than a dozen birds being recorded.  A fantastic male Yellow Wagtail was present briefly in the horse paddocks mid afternoon and an additional 3 male Redstart were logged at various locations.

An Osprey flew through the Lighthouse recording area around 12.30. Having initially been picked up from Hilbre the bird continued to fly NE. This is our 3rd of the year. 


Blackcap (EW)

Yellow Wagtail (EW)

Osprey (AMC)

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Weather: SW-1-4, cool & overcast.

A windless morning saw the arrival of 22 Wheatears in the Lighthouse paddocks. As usual with Wheatears here, they had all moved through by 08.00 to be replenished by a second wave of 12 birds at 11.00.

2 Whinchat were also in the paddocks whilst at least 14 Willow Warbler, 8 Chiffchaff and 2 Blackcap were recorded by the Lighthouse pond. A Sedge Warbler was heard singing from the nature trail reedbed.

Two Tree pipits announced their presence with their distinctive 'buzzing call' as they passed overhead.

Away from the stiffening from the breeze a male Ring Ouzel and 2 stunning male Common Redstart were found in Carr Lane.

Offshore two Surf Scoter remain among 4000 Common Scoter.


Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Tuesday 14th April 2015

Weather; Cloudy early, then fine and sunny. Winds light SW F3

The first Grasshopper Warbler of the spring was at the duckpond this morning at Leasowe lighthouse.

Other new arrivals today included a Whinchat and 2 female Ring Ouzel in the fields inland from the paddocks. The Ouzels occasionally gave close views and were visible on and off from the path running just to the south of the paddocks.

Numbers of Wheatears increased today to 19 and Willow Warblers to 23. Other migrants included 4 Blackcaps and 12 Chiffchaffs. Hirundine passage, however, was almost non existent today with just a single Sand Martin and a handful of Swallows moving east.

A large flock of over 100 Linnets were in the paddocks today. Numbers vary greatly day by day through the spring which suggests these birds are migrants rather than the wintering flock still lingering.

A Hoopoe was seen this morning in Royden Park but has not been relocated since. 2 Surf Scoters were also seen today off the East Hoyle bank. 

Observers; AMC, KD, SS, MGT, EW et al.

Ring Ouzel   AMC

Ring Ouzel   AMC

Ring Ouzel   AMC

Monday, 13 April 2015

Monday 13th April 2015

Weather;  Cloudy but dry and clear. Wind South to SW F3

The total number of Surf Scoters present off the East Hoyle bank is believed to be 9. While this number have not been seen together the figure has been reached by adding the total number of each age and sex group seen by separate observers.

The clearer weather made for a quieter day of spring migration in the Leasowe lighthouse area, the highlight being a female Black Redstart present this morning in private land off Park Lane. Unfortunately it could not be located this afternoon and is believed to have moved on.

A steady trickle of hirundines moved east along the embankment through the day with around 25 Swallows and 9 Sand Martins being noted. Around 50 Meadow Pipits also moved through.

Grounded birds included 8 Wheatears and 4 White Wagtails in the paddocks and around 10 each of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, together with 2 Blackcaps, in coastal bushes and trees. Observers AMC, KD, EW.
Willow Warbler.    EW

Friday, 10 April 2015

Friday 10th April 2015

Weather;  Fine and sunny. Wind southerly F3

The warm southerly wind, fine conditions and just that hint of mistiness combined to make for ideal arrival conditions for many migrants in the Leasowe lighthouse area today.

A large arrival of Willow Warblers took place in the morning with over 40 individuals being logged. The arrival appeared concentrated in the Park Lane area where no fewer than 25 birds were counted feeding out on the open grass in just two small market garden fields. Smaller numbers of Chiffchaffs were also involved with 8 being in this same area and another 10 elsewhere in the lighthouse vicinity. 2 Blackcaps and 5 Wheatears were also in the Park Lane area. The Little Owls also continue to show well here. 

An early male Whinchat spent the day in the westernmost horse paddocks often showing at close range, together with up to 6 Wheatears and 7 White Wagtails.

4 Ring Ouzels arrived in the large willow trees at the western kissing gate in the early afternoon before flying into the inland fields where they became very elusive. There has been a large arrival of this species in the region today with 8 at Red Rocks, 3 more on Hilbre and a flock of 20 on the Great Orme.

4 Tree Pipits passed overhead in the late morning and hirundine passage consisted of 11 Swallows, 22 Sand Martins and a single House Martin. Around 50 Meadow Pipits also moved through.

Ring Ouzel    AMC
Whinchat in the paddocks,   AMC
6 Surf Scoters were seen off the East Hoyle bank at low tide this morning.   Observers;  AMC, KD, AO, JJ, CT, EW.    
Male and female Ring Ouzels, Leasowe.  EW

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Weather: S/SE-0-1, NE-3 later, sunny and warm.

A fairly busy day at the Lighthouse with a number of birds on the move. Grounded migrants included 5 Goldcrest, 8 Twite, 7 Chiffchaff, 6 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 22 Wheatear and 2 White Wagtail. 

Our first Yellow Wagtail of the year dropped in late afternoon, fed briefly in one of the paddocks but had moved on within 10 mins. This is one of our earliest ever by some time

At Park Lane 3 Little Owls have now taken up temporary residence in one of the dead Willows. Meadow Pipits continue to move with at least 200 birds heading north during the course of the day.

Hirrundines were scarce with just 14 Swallow and 9 Sand Martins being recorded.

Offshore 3 Sandwich terns where off the East Hoyle Bank. The  Common Scoter numbers remain impressive albeit todays count of 10,000 being  lower than of late. 1 drake Velvet Scoter and 2 Long tailed Ducks were also recorded. The Surf Scoter numbers have increased massively today with at least Seven birds recorded including 2 (1st summer) 1 (1st winter) 2 adult drakes and 2 females recorded this morning.

Some distant video of an adult drake was taken and although a bit hazy we hope you enjoy it nonetheless. Best viewed full screen


Video AMC

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Wednesday 8th April 2015

Weather;  Fine and sunny. Wind light SW - SE F2

Migration is picking up a notch in the Leasowe lighthouse area with the appearance of more summer visitors today.

A Little Ringed Plover was found this morning in the westernmost horse paddock feeding alongside a large pool of standing water (CT). It remained here all day.

There was a small influx of Willow Warblers with 6 birds new in this morning. Also new in were 9 Wheatears, all males, and a Blackcap. Most of these birds had moved on by midday. 

Overhead around 80 Meadow Pipits moved mainly eastwards together with 4 Redpolls and 2 Swallows.

Other birds in the lighthouse area included 4 Goldcrests and 6 Chiffchaffs. 2 Little Owls were in the Park Lane area this morning. 
Little Ringed Plover   EW
Observers AMC, KAD, JJ, CT, EW.
Little Owl   EW


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

2 Ospreys !!

Thick sea fog again shrouded the coast this morning which dissipated around 11 a.m only to return at around 4pm. Between these times North Wirral enjoyed dazzling sunshine and temperatures around 15C. Sea breezes NW2-NE2.

The mist retreating obviously encouraged birds to move north following over two days of fog enveloping the coast.

The first of two Ospreys circled the sea around some distance off the sea wall near Park Lane at 1pm, flushing a flock of loafing large gulls which had been pushed in by the incoming tide. The bird hovered and circled distantly before heading off purposefully east and out of sight.

The second Osprey was detected an hour and a half later by alarm calls from a flock of large gulls flushed from the gull roost on the roof of the old Cadbury's factory in Moreton. The Osprey then appeared flying powerfully over Pasture Road in a north easterly direction. Both birds were photographed but the picture below is as good as it gets.

The sea mist that blanketed the North Wirral coast over the past few days may well be responsible for both birds appearing within such a short time of each other; both moving north/east. 

A visiting birder ventured out to the tideline off Hoylake after the tide and was rewarded with one male Surf Scoter and two Long tailed Ducks before the afternoon fog drove him back to shore and to safety. (N.B.) It is imperative to check the tide and weather conditions prior to walking out to the low tideline.

The Green Woodpecker is still in the area and was seen close to the pond and heard calling there later. This is the third day that this lighthouse rarity has been here.

The Meadow Pipit passage continues unabated with many overhead and over 200 feeding in coastal fields. Three Sand Martins moved through east and three Wheatears graced Meols common west of the groyne.

Two White wagtails fed in the paddocks and seven Chiffchaffs sang around the area. A male Teal lingered on the River Birket.


Osprey record shot over the Lighthouse (KD)

Monday, 6 April 2015

Monday 6th April 2015

Weather; Very foggy, light westerly wind F2

The impressive movement of Meadow Pipits in the Leasowe area continued today, again affected greatly by the thick fog. An estimate of 1,600 birds were involved in today's movement, the majority moving gradually eastwards along the coast. Early this morning birds were carpeting every area of exposed grass and meadow along the north shore. Although most appeared to be heading eastwards other large parties flew bravely into the fog on a direct northerly course into Liverpool bay. Many groups were seen flying in the opposite direction back towards land, presumably deterred by the thick bank of fog ahead. Many must have continued, however, as we received a report of 'small brown stripy birds' landing exhausted on a fishing boat well out in Liverpool bay.

Surprisingly few other species were involved in today's movement. Other overhead migrants in the lighthouse area included, 2 Swallows, 2 Redpolls and 6 Skylarks.

Grounded birds around the lighthouse included 14 Goldcrests and 6 Chiffchaffs, possibly left over from yesterday's small fall of these species. 2 Common Snipe and 18 Fieldfare were in fields just to the west of Lingham bridge and a White Wagtail was in the paddocks. A Peregrine flew north over the Cafe.

The Green Woodpecker was heard early this morning from west of Lingham bridge but has not been recorded subsequently. A Little Owl was in trees in the field opposite the junction of Bennett's Lane and Park Lane in Meols.

Many thanks to Stan Davidson, who called today with information regarding an earlier Lighthouse record of Green Woodpecker. In fact, he reports seeing both Iceland Gull and Green Woodpecker on April 3rd 1988. It's incredible to see that both species were again recorded, almost to the day, some 27 years later!

  Observers; JB, AMC, KAD, DH, CS, EW.
Chiffchaff.    EW

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Lighthouse MEGA

Weather: NE-variable-1-2, overcast, poor vis due to fog.

An exceptionally foggy day greeted birders at the Lighthouse today. The main feature of the day was the impressive Meadow Pipit passage that seemed to last all morning. At least 1000 birds passed through the Lighthouse whilst observers on the East Hoyle Bank recorded 300 moving north. Some birds were seen to double back as they became disorientated in the worsening mist. 

Offshore observations were particularly difficult due to the poor visibility however one adult male Surf Scoter (IF) was picked out by one observer during a momentary lift in the mist.

A small fall of 12 Goldcrest and 8 Chiffchaffs were recorded in Lingham Lane. Bird of the day must however go to our second ever Green Woodpecker found by (JB) at Lingham Fisheries. We can only speculate as to where is was going or where it had come from but the low mist clearly had an influence on this unusual migrants arrival. It is of interest that another displaced/migrant Green Woodpecker was also recorded at Frodsham Marsh today suggesting some sort of local movement. This was only their 4th ever record further highlighting just how rare this species is at migration watch points such as ours. .

The day ended as it had began, shrouded in a low sea mist however the Meadow Pipit passage eventually finished whilst the Green Woodpecker was heard calling late afternoon.

Our first Whimbrel of the year was seen and heard yesterday flying inland between the kissing gates.

Keen Wirral Ornithologist Elliot Montieth has just started a new and exciting blog. Do take the time to check it out


Saturday, 4 April 2015

2 Surfies!

Weather; Cloudy early clearing to sunshine. Dry, wind NE f3

A great days birding today along the North Wirral shore.

Today's  highlight was the discovery of a second male Surf Scoter amongst the huge numbers of seaduck off Hoylake. Suspicions were recently raised as to the presence of a second bird with separate observations of an adult male, rather than the original first winter bird, by local observers Mark Turner and Mark Garner. The presence of two individuals was confirmed this morning by Frank Duff, who watched two drake Surfies swimming together from the low water line off Hoylake. 
Other interesting sightings off Hoylake today included 4 Velvet Scoters, 2 Long-tailed Ducks, 1 drake Eider, a 1st winter Glaucous Gull and a 1st winter Iceland Gull. A number of Red-throated Divers were also seen. The Iceland Gull showed well for a prolonged period at high tide. 2 Swallows also flew west here.

In the Leasowe lighthouse area 65 Great-crested Grebes and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore.
A Green Sandpiper flew south over the embankment to the Birket, from where it was again seen later this afternoon near Park Lane. This species is rare here.

There was a considerable amount of overhead movement in the lighthouse area with a Merlin flying north west, singles of Swallow and Sand Martin flying east and a continual movement of over 400 Meadow Pipits throughout the day. These headed mainly east until the cloud lifted, whereupon many were seen to head directly north-east across Liverpool bay. A single Rock Pipit went the same way.

1st winter Iceland Gull, Hoylake. A very pale individual.   AMC 
Grounded birds in the lighthouse area included 3 Chiffchaffs in the duckpond and nature trail area. Another 3 were in the Lingham bridge area, together with the first Willow Warbler of the spring. A single Tree Sparrow flew east, alighting briefly in bushes at Lingham bridge before continuing it's journey. Tree Sparrow has become rare in recent years and it is now barely annual at Leasowe.
1st winter Iceland Gull    AMC
Observers; Too many to mention today but many thanks for all your sightings.
Tree Sparrow at Lingham bridge   EW

Thursday, 2 April 2015

2nd April 2015

Weather: wind variable-2, overcast & mild

Scoter hunters on the Hoylake tideline this morning were lucky to find a 1st winter Iceland Gull among a large flock of mixed Gulls that have formed a feeding association with the scoter flock.

Approximately 10,000 Common Scoter were again off the East Hoyle Bank and the drake Surf Scoter was again present on and off for most of the day, although choppy conditions made viewing difficult today.

Few migrants were at the Lighthouse today. A small party of mixed waders including Greenshank were on the sea defence just below the Lighthouse Car Park today.

As ever the Laughing Gull remains on New Brighton Marine Lake

With light winds forecast for this weekend, an ideal opportunity exists for seeing the Surf Scoter however anyone considering venturing out to the low water mark are asked to be aware of tidal gulleys and an incoming tide