Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Short Eared Owls at Speke

I ventured down to the Speke/Garston Coastal Reserve this afternoon with the intention of playing with my new scope (boys and their toys!), there was plenty of waders to see on the shore; with over 2000 Dunlin dominating, with smaller numbers of Curlew (45), Redshank (175), Ringed Plover (2), Lapwing (67), and single Grey Plover and Oystercatcher, apart from waders 65 Teal, 5 Cormorant, and a Peregrine filled the bill. This amount of bird life on the shore was pretty impressive considering the presence of two tractors on the shore working on the sailing club slipway! On the reserve itself there was not a great deal showing (it was getting close to dusk by then) but Reed Bunting, 2 Skylark, 2 Bullfinch, 2 Grey Partridge, 2 Pheasant, and 2 Kestrels (quite rare now in the south of the city) where still out and about.
As I prepared to leave I was surprised to notice a Short Eared Owl hunting the East side of the reserve and the Speke Hall land, I watched it for around five minutes as it quartered the area and worked the many ditches looking for rodents, it then drifted further into the international business park, I followed and found a second bird in the area; together with another Kestrel and a calling Tawny Owl it rounded the afternoon off nicely.
I visited Childwall Woods with Dylan on Saturday for the Wildlife Explorers Big Garden Birdwatch event, he managed to see 5 Nuthatches, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Treecreeper, and a Fox.
On Thursday 2 Cormorants were fishing Greenbank Park lake at 8:40 am but when I returned half-hour later they had departed, but 2 Ring Necked Parakeets there.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Turning up the Heat

It felt a little bit Tropical in Sefton Park today, what with Macaws, Parots, Kookabura, Coatis, Meercat, Snakes, Tarantulas, and Scorpions; but before you think im totaly barmy it was the RSPB organised event at the Palm House for the Big Garden Birdwatch. It has to be said that this event was a great success and a great way to introduce youngsters to birdwatching and wildlife watching in general. All credit to those involved in the organisation today.

At the Palm House good numbers of Coal Tits could be seen on the feeders along with Nuthatch, Redwings and a Rook.

On the main lake the female Mandarin was back from last winter, coupled with a female Pochard (very good local record), 6 Little Grebes could be seen around the island and are doing well in the park now, 14 Mute Swans, and an incredibly early nesting Coot. Later in the afternoon an imm Grey Heron under the big bridge and 3 Ring-Necked Parakeets could be seen on the feeders behind the Palm House and a sparrowhawk circling overhead.

Dylan getting to grips with a Meercat in the Palm House.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Odds and Sods

Friday - 3 Whooper Swans flew NW over Greenbank Drive.

Sunday - Common Buzzard, Treecreeper, 5 Bullfinches, and flowering Snowdrops - Eric Hardy Nature Reserve, and a male Sparrowhawk caught a caling male Nuthatch at Clarkes Gardens, with Crocus and Snowdrop in flower in Springwood Crem.

Monday - female Perregrine, singing Grey Wagtail, 35+ Goldfinches, and a Starling singing during the evening under streetlights! - University of Liverpool.

Tuesday - Sparrowhawk - Catherine Street

- Peregrine hunting Feral Pigeons over Wavertree Mystery Park, 2 Rooks low East over Penny Lane, Gorse, Crocus, and Daffodils all in flower - Woolton Road (approaching Woolton Village), Snowdrops and a Sparrowhawk (with prey) - Mill Lane, Wavertree.

Thursday - Sparrowhawk hunting Long Tailed Tits, 10+ Redwing, Treecreeper, Grey Heron, hybrid Goose, and the pair of Mute Swans - Greenbank Park.
6 Ring Necked Parakeets went to roost in the dell (behind Sefton Park Palm House) and a female Brambling on the feeders their.

Friday - pair of Bullfinches, 2 Ring Necked Parakeets, and a female Tufted Duck - Greenbank Park.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Liverpool 'country' walk

Lesser? Canada Goose, Calderstones Park
I was going to go for a walk on the Wirral with the family yesterday but decided against it as it was blowing a gale out there.... fair weather birder! We eventually decided to take a walk around South Liverpool; from our area at Greenbank we walked through Calderstones park and followed the footpath to the East that crosses Allerton Golf Course and into Allerton Towers, then across Woolton Road into the Eric Hardy Nature Reserve, then into Clarks Gardens (including a quick pint in the pub in the park), through Springwood Crem and then followed the footpath alongside the cemetery towards Camp Hill, from Camp Hill we followed the path through the Woolton Woods and finished in Woolton Village; a great walk which I have never done in one go before, for the majority of the walk you could easily have been mistaken for thinking you were in the heart of the countryside!

Lesser? Canada Goose, Calderstones Park
As for the wildlife I managed to catch up with some half decent birds including a Red Legged Partridge, 2 Bullfinches, Goldcrests, Raven, and a Sparrowhawk at Eric Hardy Nature Reserve. Nuthatch and male Blackcap at Clarks Gardens, Buzzard at Springwood Crem, Red Campion in flower in the Golf Course, and in Calderstones Park I found what appears to be a small race Canada Goose; probably parvipes or Lesser Canada Goose; the bird was at least a third smaller than the others and with a slightly darker breast.... although not to spoil the birds credentials it did show clear signs of its primary feathers having been pinioned in the past and thus relegating it to the 'fence jumping' category, yet still an interesting find and I have no idea where it must have come from. Also in the park a strange hybrid Goose which is also new to the area, 9 Tufted Duck, Grey Heron, 20+ Coal Tits, 10+ Goldcrests, Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker, and last but not least a calling Green Woodpecker in the line of Beech Trees on the Harthill side of the park adjacent to the walled gardens.

dodgy looking primary feathers
hybrid Goose, Calderstones Park

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Love is in the air

Many thanks to Sean for the tip off of a male Goldeneye at Greenbank Park, my first for the area and it has been present all week now, apart from this a female Tufted Duck is still present also. The pair of Mute Swans have returned very early this year and are already in courtship display and have been seen attempting to initially start nest building, the male bird has started to pursue the Canada Geese around the lake and will eventually in the Spring drive them all off the lake. The Ring Necked Parakeets are still present with two birds regular this week in the poplars above the east side of west side of the lake; with more regularly heard calling in the direction of the allotments. Other birds in the park include Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, 40+ Goldfinches, Grey Heron, Farm Goose, and Redwings. The Daffodils are in full bloom now and on sunny days you could mistake it for April.
Elsewhere on monday 12 Siskins and 26 Pied Wagtails in Wavertree Mystery, Fox and Pink-Feet heard over Sefton Park on New Years Eve.
Today over Dovedale Road a pair of Sparrowhawks where in courtship display and a Peregrine flew East at 9:15.