I managed to get to New Brighton yesterday for the Little Swift that has been present in the area since Friday; the bird has been elusive at times and highly mobile - ranging across the New Brighton area with local Swifts and has been seen crossing the Mersey towards Bootle Docks! The vantage point of the water tower gardens on Gorsehill Road (near to the large domed church) has been adopted as Little Swift Central (plenty of Holly Blues here too), which makes sense as it is the highest point in the area, yet the bird sometimes only makes very brief appearances and I put in six hours yesterday and only managed two brief views! The bird was seen to go to roost on the Pier House - a modern apartment set up opposite the coast guard on the promenade on Saturday evening with apparently the residents complaining of the huge amounts of birders aiming lenses up towards their windows (well the bird was roosting on a window ledge), with this in mind the bird may well still be roosting here....worth checking out. Checking photos of the bird it is clear that this is a juvenile from this year, which shows that this must have been a recent arrival, after fledgling in North Africa (or maybe Southern Spain) it has migrated North rather than South! I wonder how long it will take for it to realise? Whilst in the area I couldn't help thinking how many rare Swift species go unchecked in urban Swift colonies, I think we should check over these birds more often.
Last Tuesday evening I attempted to find the male Montagus Harrier that has been giving birders the run around for a while out on the mosses, I set up at the New Causeway at Great Altcar; being the site the bird has most regularly been seen from, but alas after four hours there was no sign, the bird hasn't been seen now for the last few days and the general feeling is that it has departed, however the moss lands of South-West Lancs are vast and the bird could still be around somewhere......fingers crossed! Montagus Harrier aside I did manage to find a good few sightings whilst in the area - Barn Owl, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Buzzards, 3 Kestrels, singing male Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Sedge Warblers, 2 Yellowhammers, 3 Whitethroats, Corn Bunting, 10+ Reed Buntings, and a Brown Hare....... not bad for a few hours birding. On the way home I got off the train at Saint Michael's and walked through Sefton Park where plenty of Pipistrelles could be easily seen right through the park and up Greenbank Lane, where a Fox rounded the night off nicely.
Elsewhere the Little Grebes are again attempting to breed in Sefton Park and the Mute Swan family was down to two chicks after the runt disappeared, the Parakeets in Greenbank Park raised at least one fledgling, on Friday night I was lucky enough to see a vixen Fox out with three cubs on the cricket pitch next to Penny Lane, with another in Greenbank Park, the Blackcap and Chiff Chaff are both still on territory off Penny Lane too.