Sunday, 30 January 2011

Waxwing 10

Waxwing, Liverpool City Centre I caught up with the Waxwings on the junction of Scotland Road and Leeds Street again today, this particular flock of birds are very approachable as they feed away on the Cotoneaster berries, in total there where 37 birds this morning and early afternoon, but they are prone to flying off and disappearing for a good warned! Also there 2 Blackcaps, several Redwings and apparently a pair of Sparrowhawks have been displaying overhead over the last couple of days.
Waxwing, Liverpool City Centre
Waxwing, Liverpool City Centre Waxwing, Liverpool City Centre Bumped into another local birder who informed me of a male Goosander and 2 Mergansers on Princes Dock and a local pair of Peregrines in courtship lately.
Oh and to top it off I was interviewed for the Daily Post concerning the Waxwings, they are even getting into the local press!
Redwing, Liverpool City Centre

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Odds and Sods

Had a Raven East over Smithdown Road this morning and a pair of Peregrines hunting over St Helens town centre this afternoon.

Waxwings on the move!

I started the day well yesterday, as me and Mike "the cockney" Brown where sticking to a tight schedule we managed to tick the Waxwing flock on the junction of Scotland Road and Leeds Street in the city centre, without stopping the car! A sacrilege for sure! Maybe I will catch up with them during the next few days, I wonder if they where the birds I saw over the University of Liverpool during December?
We then had a quick look for the flock in Norris Green, but couldn't repeat the drive by pattern! Mike had 70 birds there on Townsend Avenue the day before. The birds I reported in Bootle during December are still around in that area too, there is plenty to go around!

Iceland Gull, Preston Dock

We traveled up to Preston Docks to catch up with the long staying Iceland Gull, a rarity nowadays away from areas like Moore and its adjacent tip, the bird duly obliged and could also potentially had been ticked from the car! How is it that so many decent birds over the years have been found near Macdonalds? Does this point to a higher than average rate of obesity within the birdwatching community?

Red Necked Grebe, Fairhaven Lake

We made are way up to Fairhaven Lake, Lytham St Annes,to see the Red Necked Grebe. The bird was in its usual area in the East corner of the lake and showed really well. Also on the salt marsh adjacent to the lake; a flock of 70 Twite (according to the RSPB visitors centre there has been 300 reported).

Red Necked Grebe, Fairhaven Lake

Our next stop was Lytham Crematorium for the resident Ring-Necked Parakeets, we easily found 4 of the birds, due to their ear splitting calls! 4 pairs of these great birds bred here last year, and with one of the 4 birds present yesterday a 1st winter bird; they seem to be doing well, especially if they can handle the last couple of winters, good luck to them I say. One of the male birds was actively displaying and calling, and according to a couple of local birders; they are already carrying nesting material! Now if these critters think spring is on the way, it really must be!

Ring Necked Parakeet, Lytham Crematorium
Ring Necked Parakeet, Lytham Crematorium

When leaving the Crem at the bottom of the access road where it meets the main road, we had a flock of at least 12 Waxwings fly past us, I have never known a winter like it for this species, its hard not to see them at the moment!

Iceland Gull, Preston Dock One last look at the Iceland Gull on the way back rounded the day off nicely.

Sunset over Preston Mariner

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

A Morning in Sefton

Little Grebe, Sefton Park
Mandarin Duck, Sefton Park
Canada Goose, Sefton Park
I had a really good morning in the local area today starting with 450 Pink-Footed Geese heading NW and 25+ Redwings in Wavertree Mystery. The Pink-Feet presumably migrating North from East Anglia.

Later in Greenbank Park the male Grey Heron was ever present, Redwings, 4 Nuthatches and a female Brambling, pair of Mute Swans, and the Farm Goose. With a further 2 Nuthatches on the University land.

Tufted Duck, Sefton Park At Sefton Park the 4 Little Grebes where still present along with a female Mandarin Duck, 5 Tufted Ducks, Grey Heron, hybrid Goose, 17 Mute Swans; with the resident pair trying in vain to drive the others off, 3 pairs of Coots nest building, Sparrowhawk, 3 Nuthatches, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 20+ Siskins, and a colour ringed Coot (yellow and white on the left and red on the right).
Although I did miss out on a Kingfisher that was seen by a local birder, earlier in the morning, oh well maybe next time!

GreylagxCanada Goose, Sefton Park This is the first Kingfisher I have heard of in the park since the works where completed, at one time they had become fairly regular during the winter months, hopefully they will become so again.

Later in the day I had another 160+ Pink-Footed Geese heading NW over the mystery and a Grey Wagtail over Greenbank Road. Pretty good local birding.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Goal Hanger

Common Buzzard, Otterspool I was surprised yesterday to find a Common Buzzard on the football pitches next to Jericho Lane, Otterspool. The bird first flew down from the woods and landed on the pitches (in the process scattering all of the gulls) and then flew closer to Jericho Lane, landing on a goal, where it perched up for at least 20 minutes, they really are getting closer and closer to the city centre now.

There was nothing much on the shore as it was high tide, yet a flock of around 75 Redwings on the football pitches and Great Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch in the woods.

Common Buzzard, Otterspool On Sefton Park lake the 4 Little Grebes are still present, along with 4 Tufted Ducks, the GreylagxCanada Goose, and 17 Mute Swans including the 2 imm birds from Greenbank and 2 adult birds already paired up around the island (I wonder if one of these is the male who's mate was killed by a dog last summer). Nuthach, Redwings and Great Spotted Woodpecker in the park too.

Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Heron, 2 ad Mute Swans and the usual Farm Goose in Greenbank Park

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Two in Two Out

Grey Heron, Greenbank ParkThe 2 adult Mute Swans have now returned to Greenbank (Saturday), the adult birds have now kicked out the 2 imm Birds from last years brood, and the male bird has started pursuing all the geese on the lake, it wont be long before there all gone and the Swans start nest building, again signs of Spring creeping in!

Grey Heron, Greenbank Park
Again on Saturday a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was calling from the tree canopy on the SW end of the lake, before flying into the University halls land on Greenbank Lane.

A breeding plumaged male Heron has been regularly seen around the lake lately and today I found it today struggling to swallow a long dead fish, and I mean long dead, see the photo, urgggh! Treecreeper and Nuthatch in the park also.

Grey Heron, Greenbank Park

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Lesser Spot in Greenbank

1st w male Pintail, Greenbank Park

I had a Lesser-Spotted Woodpecker calling in trees on the Liverpool University Campus opposite the main gates to Greenbank Park on Greenbank Lane at about 1:00 pm. I have had Lesser Spots in this local area a number of times during late winter/ early spring and one was in the exact same place last year around February or March. It seems likely that there may be a small population in the area, as other birders have noted them locally around Greenbank and Sefton Park in the past.

Other birds included a Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, GreylagxCanada Goose hybrid, and the 1st w male Pintail was still present, sporting a yellow ring on its left leg.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Greenbank Park: The Mysterious Case of the Dead Carps

I walked through Greenbank Park yesterday afternoon with Dylan, some decent birds there; female Pintail, Fieldfare, male Sparrowhawk, Nuthatch, Great-Spotted Woodpecker, Redwings, Goldcrests, 2 imm Mute Swans, and the ever present Farm Goose.

Half of the lake is still frozen, with many dead Carp frozen to the underside of the ice, five days ago when the lake was still frozen solid, literally hundreds of fish, mainly Carp could be seen frozen below the ice. I don't know what caused it, I can only guess that the ice was so thick, not enough oxygen could penetrate the surface or simply the Carp could not cope with the severe low temperatures. Even so I was amazed at how many where in the lake, I hope some have survived.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Worlds End at the Years Beginning

Went for a great walk today from Llangollen over the moors to Worlds End and back along Offas Dyke and the Clywydian Way (harder than usual after the Christmas excesses). Apart from a particularly heavy snowstorm it was a lovely day, reminiscent of spring even (yes I did say spring) especially with the Ravens partaking in their tumbling courtship display; well they are one of the earliest breeders of the year.

Although upland birding is not at its best at this time of year we did manage to flush (accidentally of course) a cock Black Grouse from the moorland tops near Worlds End, other highlights included a Mink (maybe not a highlight?), Dipper, Peregrine, Buzzard, and Siskins.

A pair of Mandarins where a nice surprise on the canal in Llangollen.

male Mandarin Duck, Llangollen Canal We finished the day off nicely with a dusk visit to Valle Crucis Abbey before walking back to Llangollen.

Valle Crucis Abbey Valle Crucis Abbey

Waxwing 8

Waxwings where still present around Allerton Road yesterday with 3 birds in Plane Trees opposite the old Cinema at 12:30 and later 13 where reported on Birdline.

A Peregrine was perched on top of the high-rise block on Greenbank Lane at 3:00pm and a Grey Heron was later perched in the tree canopy in Greenbank Park at dusk.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Speke/Garston Coastal Reserve - Its Not All Quad Bikes and Pit-Bulls

Took a visit to Speke/Garston Coastal Reserve this morning and found a few goodies in before the threat of dodging doting dads taking their loved ones on their first Quad Bike ride of the year and the threat of marauding Pit-Bulls became to great (as usual when birding in urban areas an early morning visit is preferable). On the shore near Garston Docks I found a flock of roosting Redshanks complete with 3 Spotted Redshanks, my first in the South Liverpool area, see the photo below - one on the far left, one on the far right, and one crammed in to the main flock.

Spotted Redshank and Common Redshank, Speke/Garston Coastal Reserve Other birds on the shore included a flock of 60 Linnets which contained at least 3 Twite, these could easily be found feeding on the salt-marsh. Male Pochard, male Shoveler, 3 Grey Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, 7 Canada Geese, and a Raven.
Speke/Garston Coastal ReserveOn the reserve proper there was very little in the way of passerines, 13 Reed Bunting only, this is very unusual as at this time of year the site can usually boast Stonechats, large numbers of Skylarks, Mipits and Skylarks; maybe the cold snap has moved them on or finished them off! 13 Grey Partridge and a Weasel where a nice surprise however.

Candlesnuff Fungi Xylaria hypoxylon<br /><br /> After the Coastal Reserve I headed into Speke Hall Estate, again only small numbers of passerines with hardly any Tits, Finches e.t.c. Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 3 Goldcrest amongst the highlights. Some nice fungi in the woods though with loads of Birch Polypore present amongst others, and a Blackthorn on the moat bearing the first leaves of the Spring, surely a bit early!

Birch Polypore, Speke Hall Woods Cant believe it no Waxwings today!

Oh and dont let the Blog post title deter you, this really is a great site.