Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Masters of Camouflage

Ring-Necked Duck, Marton Mere Ring-Necked Duck, Marton MereMet up with Mike "the cockney" Brown yesterday and took a trip up to Marton Mere, Blackpool to catch up with the male Ring Necked Duck, didn't have much trouble with that as there was only one area of the mere unfrozen, and what luck directly opposite the hide adjacent to the camp site. The only trouble was that it hardly ever woke up, as the photo shows! Still a really nice bird and it was good to catch up with one as I haven't seen one for a few years now.

Whilst watching the Ring Necked Duck we where lucky enough to have a Bittern fly past the hide and out of sight in the reeds to the right, what was even more bizarre is that Mike actually spotted it along with a possible Cettis Warbler!

Long-Eared Owl, Marton Mere Long-Eared Owl, Marton MereWith or without the Ring Necked Duck and Bittern, Marton Mere deserves to be visited for its roosting Long-Eared Owls, we took a walk around to the Northern end of the reserve to find 6 birds roosting no more than 30 feet away! It was a real privilege to get so close to these birds as they have become much rarer over recent years, with regular roosts in North Liverpool and Pennington Flash becoming very unreliable. Check out the pictures to understand the post title!

Long-Eared Owl, Marton Mere Long-Eared Owl, Marton MereAfter leaving Marton Mere we headed up to Leighton Moss and we where delighted to find 2 separate flocks of Waxwings (yes Waxwings again) with at least 30 birds involved, unfortunately the weather had taken a turn for the worst and had become the most murky afternoon imaginable, not very good for Waxwing photography! Bullfinches, Marsh Tits and Nuthatches around the feeding station. We headed up to the Lower Hide (a regular pilgrimage for Otter watching), unfortunately the gloom was against us and no Otters appeared, however Water Rails and Bearded Tits showed and Roe Deer could be heard barking away, a great end to a great day.
Waxwing, Leighton Moss Waxwing, Leighton Moss

Waxwing 6

Had a quick check around the Allerton area yesterday morning for Waxwings and had 4 birds flying over Allerton Library towards Green Lane area at around 9:45, they are still lurking around somewhere, or is "lurking" a little harsh for these beauties?

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Waxwing Bonanza

I cant help but trip over Waxwings lately! I was out Xmas shopping along Allerton Road this afternoon when I found 30+ Waxwings in the Plane trees outside the Barclays Bank, they where soon joined by other smaller flocks and flew off towards Green Lane where they where joined by another mobile flock, when I left them there was at least 60 birds on Allerton Road.

I returned at 2:30 and they where still present (about 40) together with other smaller flocks, again they flew off towards Green Lane and where joined by many more birds, all together at least 120 birds! I stayed in the area (near the Barclays Bank) for around 30 mins and when I left about 40 birds where still present, yet other smaller flocks regularly returned and departed.
I get the feeling that if you are lucky enough to have berry bearing shrubs or trees in the garden in the Allerton area you could well be treated to stonking views of Waxwings.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Waxwing 4

Waxwing, Allerton Success at last! I finally caught up with Waxwings on Booker Avenue today (albeit only one) after dipping yesterdays flock on Allerton Road. No sign of the flock of 50+ that have been further down near Brodie Avenue, but I managed to catch up with this bird towards the top-end of Booker Avenue, going towards Calderstones Park; and I'm pretty sure I heard a few more too. This bird was loosely associating with the mixed Thrush flock, which included Fieldfares and Redwings, as was reported yesterday by Sean O'Hara, so a big thank you is deserved. The flock was mostly moving through the back gardens, so more Waxwings could have been involved. After a short time the Waxwing took off and flew down Booker Avenue and carried on past Mather Avenue. It appears that 2 flocks are roving the area and smaller numbers are now tied up within Thrush flocks, where next I wonder?
Also at least 5 Brambling at Sudley House this afternoon and 4 Moorhens tucked away under a Cotoneaster on Greenbank Road opposite Penny Lane!

Waxwing, Allerton

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Muntjacks in Wavertree!

I couldn't believe my eyes today as I was walking over Mill Lane railway bridge and looking towards Wavertree Technology Park I saw 2 Muntjack Deers bounding across the tracks into cover, either side of the tracks here are flanked by birch scrub and provide adequate cover. These animals must be new to the area; maybe attracted further into the city from areas like knowsley (via the railway lines)to escape the cold spell or are they resident now? A number of years ago they could be found in Everton Cemetery in the north of the city, are they more urbanised than we think, certainly they are increasing and in the south of the country they can be found in many habitats including semi-urban areas. Roe Deers are also increasing around the borders of the city, in the last couple of years there have been animals at Switch Island, Knowsley, Fazakerley, Ainsdale, Sefton to name but a few. I also found a female Stonechat near to the bridge, a good record in itself!

Elsewhere I had a Rock Pipit over Wavertree Mystery Park and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Grey Wagtails, and plenty of Fox footprints everywhere in the snow!

Waxwing 3

Visited Greenbank and Sefton Park (to play in the snow with the boy) had a Waxwing flying South over Greenbank Road and 5 Nuthatches in the park.

I was in Croxteth Park on Friday and found 2 Buzzards, Harris Hawk (without jesses), Sparrowhawk, GS Woodpeckers, Fieldfares, and Nuthatches.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Waxwings 2

Again I accidentally bumped into a flock of Waxwings today whilst working in Bootle at about 2.00pm, a flock of 15 birds came from the area of Merton Grove, flew over Stanley Road and appeared to go down around Pembroke Road/Balliol Road near to Hugh Bird College. This was a great relief as I found out yesterday a flock of 50+ Waxwings had been found in Booker Avenue, Allerton (just down the road from me), but due to work commitments I have not been able to catch up with them as yet. I always find it a bit strange when another birder finds something in my local area, surely I need to try harder! Hopefully I will catch up with them tomorrow.
Surely with the amount of birds elswhere in the region Liverpool has a few undiscovered flocks lirking on cotoneasters near you!