Wednesday, 25 May 2016

25th May 2016

Weather: N/NE-2, overcast & cool.

A typical late spring day at the Lighthouse today with passage now down to a trickle. Many Warblers are now on territory including Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Reed Warbler. 28 Swifts moved through ahead of light mid afternoon shower, whilst a flock of hirrundines included 25 House Martin and 12 Swallow feeding over the inland paddocks. A perfect place to find a Red rumped Swallow alas no joy today despite our best efforts. 

Hoylake shore held a mixed flock of waders including 1000 Dunlin, 70 Sanderling, 70 Ringed Plover and a smart summer plumage Little Stint.


Little Stint (MGT)


Sunday, 22 May 2016

Saturday 21st May 2016

Weather;  Showers with sunny spells. Wind SW F3

The pair of Stonechats breeding in Kerr's field have successfully fledged at least one young, this in spite of all the digging and fence building going on there recently. Stonechat is a rare breeder on the Wirral so this is a welcome record.
Juvenile Stonechat, Kerr's field.      Tim Kinch
Late spring migrants continued to trickle in with a Wheatear and a Whinchat on the earth bund bordering the cable laying access road. A single Spotted Flycatcher was inland from the paddocks and a Lesser Whitethroat was near the duck pond.
Juvenile Stonechat.  Kerr's field.         Tim Kinch

Friday, 20 May 2016

Friday 20th May 2016

Weather;  Sunny spells, cloud later. Wind W F3-4

Breeding activity has now taken over from migration as the main aim of most summer visitors in the lighthouse area. There are 5 singing Reed Warblers on territory in the duckpond and nature trail areas  together with around 3 Sedge Warblers. A further 3 Sedge Warblers and a Reed Warbler are singing in the Lingham Lane area. A single Willow Warbler continues to sing near the duck pond and it is hoped he will breed again this year. They are rare breeders in north Wirral. No singing Lesser Whitethroats were still in the Lingham Lane area today, unfortunately.
Two pairs of Skylarks are in the long grass field inland from the paddocks and a further pair continue to brave the dog walkers on Meols common.
20 Scoters were on the sea off Leasowe at high tide.
Newly arrived migrants today consisted of a single Spotted Flycatcher on Park Lane and a Lesser Whitethroat at the duckpond.
Skylark.     EW
Overhead around 35 Swallows, 3 Swift and a single Siskin flew east.
Spotted Flycatcher      EW

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Thursday 19th May 2016

Weather; Sunny spells early with rain mid-afternoon, Wind SW F2-3

Yesterday (18th May) there was a male Whinchat in the paddocks area and a single Spotted Flycatcher near the duck pond.

Today there was a small movement of Swifts, many going west, with around 40 birds logged. 2 Siskins and 3 Redpoll also passed overhead in an easterly direction. A single Yellow Wagtail flew west over Kerr's field, where a pair of Stonechats are breeding.
2 Spotted Flycatchers were new in on the nature trail this afternoon just ahead of the rain.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Tuesday 17th May 2016

Weather; Warm and sunny, clouding over later. Wind SW F2

There was a decent passage of around 160 hirundines moving mainly east in the lighthouse area today. Most were high flying House Martins. 16 Swift were also counted with them.
A Hobby flew south across the paddocks west of the lighthouse this afternoon and a Cuckoo flew south-east over the car park. There have been a number of recent sightings of both these species in the Leasowe/Meols area and it is difficult to determine how many birds are involved.
A Grasshopper Warbler was seen in the hedgerow bordering the cable laying track just to the east of Lingham Lane.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Sunday 15th May 2016

Weather;  Sunny and fine. Wind NW F3

A Hobby was present yesterday in the Park Lane/Bennett's Lane area (SRW, MGT)  but could not be located today.
Many birds are now on territory in the lighthouse area, including a pair of Stonechats on Kerr's field, two singing Lesser Whitethroats at the top end of Lingham Lane and a Willow Warbler near the duckpond. Willow Warblers bred here last year and it is hoped we will get a repeat performance as they are a scarce breeder in North Wirral.
Lesser Redpoll. A pale Mealy-like bird with pure white wing bars which has lost much of the brown and buff tones typical of the race as often happens at this time of year. A faint buff suffusion, however, is still visible on the breast sides, flanks and undertail coverts.      EW
There was a small scattering of migrants today which included a Cuckoo near Park Lane this morning and a female Yellow Wagtail in the paddocks. A female Whinchat was at the east end of Meols common all day. 2 Wheatears and a White wagtail were also in the paddocks area. 2 Lesser Redpolls fed on the pathway near the western kissing gate this afternoon.
Whinchat. Meols Common.       EW

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Tuesday 10th May 2016

Weather;  Warm and muggy early followed by rain in the afternoon. Wind E F2-3

There was an attractive selection of summer plumaged waders at Meols on the flood tide today. This included 5,000 Dunlins, 8 Bar-tailed Godwits, 5 Grey Plovers, 35 Sanderling and 3 Knot. 2 Curlew Sandpipers, however, one in full summer plumage and the other in partial, were the highlights of the assemblage. 30 Sandwich and 4 Little Terns were also present. A single Gooseander flew east.
Passerine migration in the lighthouse area has been less impressive despite the apparently ideal conditions today. A single Spotted Flycatcher was near Lingham bridge this morning and 2 Wheatears were in the paddocks. A reeling Grasshopper Warbler was on the nature trail this afternoon. 5 Blackcaps were also present and 2 Lesser Whitethroats were singing from the top end of Lingham Lane.
Around 120 House Martins and 7 Swifts appeared in the paddocks area this afternoon just ahead of the approaching rain front.
Singing Lesser Whitethroat,  Lingham Lane.     EW
Redpolls continue to move through the area, mainly eastwards, with around 6 birds seen both yesterday and today. Both Lesser and Mealy Redpolls have been noted amongst the few that have landed.
Mealy Redpoll near the duck pond.     EW

Saturday, 7 May 2016

7th May 2016

Weather: E-2, Warm and sunny, cloud later

From the start this morning it was clear there had been a small arrival of Spotted Flycatcher. Within the first hour, a minimum of 9 birds had been logged. However this "small" fall quickly turned into our largest ever day total for this species wit a final conservative figure of 27 birds being recorded. They seemed to be on every bush or barbed wire fencing, with singles or small flocks of 3-4 birds seemingly everywhere. Quite an impressive and exciting sight. Many other migrants had also arrived overnight including, Grasshopper Warbler(1), Reed Warbler(22), Sedge Warbler (10), Blackcap, Garden Warbler (1), Lesser Whitethroat (5), Redstart (1) Wheatear (7) and a Whinchat . A single singing Cuckoo was present throughout the day but could be elusive and difficult to see. Overhead passage included Goldfinch (28), Siskin (2), Redpoll (11), Flava Wag (1) Jackdaw (9), Carrion Crow (12) and a small passage of Hirrundines.

Waders on the foreshore included a single Whimbrel, however Dunlin numbers appear to have dropped significantly to around 500.  Offshore single Gannets passed North whilst several Sandwich Terns and 4 Little Tern could be found from the Lighthouse car park.


All photos AMC & Liz Pitchford

Liz  Pitchford


Thursday, 5 May 2016

Thursday 5th May 2016

Weather; Warm and sunny. Wind SE-NE F2

Clear overnight conditions may have resulted in a clear out of many migrants from the Leasowe area. Numbers of Willow Warblers were well down with only 8 being logged today and none of yesterday's  Redstarts and Whinchats could be re-located this morning. Wheatear numbers were also down into single figures. 
It was a different story with Sylvia warblers, however, with 30 Whitethroats, 25 Blackcaps and 3 Garden Warblers being logged. There was also a good count of 7 Lesser Whitethroats, mainly in the Lingham Lane area but with singing birds along the nature trail, the embankment and the paddocks path. Hopefully some will stay to breed. Breeding has not been recorded for several years here due to hedge removal and disruption from the cable laying operation in the inland fields. The blossoming Blackthorn bushes along Lingham Lane are attracting many of the Sylvia warblers to this area and are well worth spending time examining.
A Cuckoo put in an appearance this morning in the Kerr's field area but could not be located thereafter.
A few new migrants started to appear in the afternoon with 5 Wheatears and a Whinchat in Kerr's field and another 4 Wheatears, also with a Whinchat, in the paddocks. 
Most of the local Reed and Sedge Warbler territories now appear occupied.
Overhead passage today consisted of singles of Yellow Wagtail, Tree Pipit and Siskin, 4 Redpolls, 6 Sand Martins and around 10 each of Swallow and House Martin.

Some belated news from yesterday concerns the presence of a male Blue-headed Wagtail in the paddocks discovered and photographed by Dave Wilson. A good find of this very scarce local bird. There is a photo of this smart bird on the Dee Estuary Birding website.  Unfortunately it could not be re-located today although it could still be concealed in one of the long grass paddocks.
Garden Warbler on Lingham Lane.      EW

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Wednesday 4th May 2016

Weather;  Sunny and warm. Wind SW F2

Sedge Warbler in hawthorn hedge. Most seen today appeared to be migrants rather than our resident birds.   EW
The warm southerly wind encouraged the big backlog of migrants held up by recent bad weather to continue arriving
Whitethroat.  Lingham Lane.    EW
today in the lighthouse area.
Offshore 7 Gannets, 50 Sandwich Terns, 6 Common Terns, 1 Arctic Tern and 2 Little Tern were logged over the high tide.
There was finally a good arrival of acrocephalus warblers in the Leasowe area with at least 8 Reed Warblers and 16 Sedge Warblers being noted. Most of these were in coastal bushes and trees away from water indicating birds on the move. Whitethroat numbers were also up with 18 being seen. 6 Lesser Whitethroats were noted, mainly in the Lingham Lane area. Other grounded migrants included 20 Blackcaps, 2 Grasshopper Warblers, 32 Willow Warblers, 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Whinchats and 25 Wheatears . There was a good count of 5 Redstarts, mainly in the Park Lane and paddocks areas.
There was some overhead passage, mainly eastwards, with 4 Swift, 30 House Martins, 25 Swallows, 11 Redpoll, 3 Siskin and a single Yellow Wagtail being logged.
A flock of 16 Carrion Crows was seen to fly in off the sea this morning, an unusual sight.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Tuesday 3rd May 2016

Weather;  Sunny with brisk westerly wind.

A warmer day than of late with reasonable numbers of migrants in the Leasowe area.
15 Wheatears were logged, mainly in the area of the paddocks, together with 4 Whinchats of which one was in the paddocks and 3 along the earth bund bordering the cable laying access track.
A Cuckoo was calling early this morning from the inland fields but was not located subsequently.
Most of the local Whitethroats now appear to have arrived with around 10 singing birds on territory. Not so Reed and Sedge Warblers with only one of the former and 2 of the latter being noted. Both these species appear to be late this year.
23 Willow Warblers were recorded, mainly along Park Lane and the Lingham Lane areas. Also in the Lingham Lane area today were 14 Blackcaps, 2 Grasshopper Warblers and 4 Lesser Whitethroats. A 5th Lesser Whitethroat was at the duckpond.
There was little overhead movement, however, with only 20 Swallows and a single Whimbrel east and a Raven west. 8 Sandwich Terns were offshore.
Wheatear in the paddocks.    EW

Monday, 2 May 2016

02 May 2016

Weather: W/SW-3/4, rain to start clearing later.

Again the westerly wind meant blustery conditions for observers. Despite this there had been an overnight arrival of migrants.  A fine male Redstart was found in the coastal paddocks.  8 Wheatear and 4 Whinchats were also new in. A Cuckoo was also present in Meols dunes and either it or another was found near the Lighthouse late morning. A small arrival of Lesser Whitethroat was evident with at least 4 birds present between Linghm Lane and the Eastern kissing gate. A Common Whitethroat was present at the Lighthouse car park. 2 Blackcap were along Lingham Lane. There was a small passage of Siskin today including one that landed briefly to have a quick sing before heading off North.
Hirrundines moved through late afternoon with at least 22 House Martin, 18 and Martin and 34 Swallow all passing Northeast.


Lesser Whitethroat (Tim Kinch)
Singing Siskin (Mark Turner)

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Hooded Crow & Hobby

W-2/3, cool with constant showers.

A cool North/West wind and constant showers over the last couple of days have made it hard for observers to find much of interest, however persistence paid off yesterday (30th  April) when a Hooded Crow was found by Jeremy Bradshaw. The bird spent a short time commuting between the inland sheep fields and the beach This is only our 4th record of Hooded Crow at the Lighthouse and remains an extremely rare Wirral bird. Other migrants recorded on the last day of April included 2 Wheatear, Whitethroat and female Redstart.

Conditions today failed to improve and although it was a little warmer showers persisted throughout the day. Those who braved the elements were rewarded for their efforts. 10 Wheatear, 1 Whincat , and 3 Whitethroat were recorded around the coastal paddocks. A single Swift was recorded in off over the sea defence. Passage waders have seen a large increase in recent days off Hoylake / Meols with a good variety being recorded including. Dunlin 2750, Knot 250, Grey Plover-122, Sanderling-3, Ringed Plover-17, Bar tailed Godwit-1, Whimbrel-2. Many of the Knot and Grey Plover are in their stunning summer plumage. Offshore 28 Common Scoter passed West whilst a female Goosander was found fishing in the Leasowe gutter and later recorded flying west past Dove point. Bird of the day however must go to an adult Hobby found by Lighthouse regular Tim Kinch and Elliot Montieth.  This is our first Hobby of the year which was followed late afternoon by our first Osprey of the year. The Osprey was found by (EM) being mobbed by Gulls offshore from the Lighthouse.


Hobby (Tim Kinch)

Hobby (Tim Kich)
Whimbrel (Elliot Montieth)

Goosander (Elliot Montieth)