Sunday, 10 February 2013

Larks in Full Song

I visited Speke/Garston Coastal Reserve on Friday morning, the weather was a bit grim and the place seemed fairly Quiet, yet on the shore plenty of common wader species could be seen huddled together on the rising tide; Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Bar-Tailed Godwit, Knot, Redshank, and Snipe could be seen together with Teal, Mallard, Shelduck, Grey Heron, Cormorant (including breeding plumaged male Cormorants with white head plumes and large white thigh patches), and a hunting male Sparrowhawk. Up on the reserve Kestrel, 5 Reed Buntings, 10 Meadow Pipits, 2 Redwings were all I could muster until a brief spell of sunshine seemed to lift a singing Skylark from every square foot of grass! At one point at least 20 birds must have been singing over the East-end of the reserve; wonderful to hear and see, and a vivid reminder that spring is ever encroaching. I checked the areas adjacent to the reserve on the business park for Short Eared Owl but sadly was unrewarded.

Speke/Garston Coastal Reserve, 8/2/13 -  9:30-11:30

450+ Dunlin
300+ Redshank
175+ Oystercatcher
45+ Curlew
17 knot
3 Bar-Tailed Godwit
3 Common Snipe
200+ Mallard
300+ Common Teal
50+ Shelduck
14 Grey Heron

The next day (Saturday) I managed to find a Short Eared Owl on the Business park adjacent to the reserve, perched up on railings on the waste ground at the shore end of Dakota Drive at around 4:00pm.

Today I was down in China Town for the Chinese New Year, a pair of Peregrines were very active around the area for most of the afternoon over China Town and around the adjacent Anglican cathedral, great to see such a magnificent bird over such an urban environment.


Neil M said...

Hi Danny, had a look down there myself a week or so back in an effort to see if the short ear owl was around but sadly no joy, but it was a really windy day and all i spotted of interest were larks. Will try again this weekend if possible, thanks for the tip off, good to know they're still in the area. On the up side I finally had the female sparrowhawk which i see fairly regularly in the lark lane area sheltering from the rain in the trees out the back of my house. Also have seen what seems to be a pair of long tailed tits on my feeders a lot recently, possibly he pair that nested in the overgrown garden out the back of ours last year. Do you know if they come back to nest in the same spot year on year?

Tony. said...

Short eared owls can often be seen hunting the rough field to the left of dungeon lane speke through out the winter,they take no notice of the easy jet planes coming into land above them,I seen 2 last week and a nice covey of 11 grey partridge on said field. This morning passing through town I stopped behind the Anglican to be greeted by a fantastic Arial display and vocal food pass by the resident peregrines,i think it was a woodcock he gave her.

Tony. said...

Forgot to say, been seeing a wing tagged buzzard round water lane,Tarbock since Xmas,blue/green tags but i couldn't make out the numbers.

Paul said...

Hi Danny,

I've just returned from the coastal reserve in the hope of seeing the SEO, but sadly had no joy. However, I did see the waders you mentioned in amongst the gulls and ducks. but the highlight of my walk came as I walked up the hill at the east end of the reserve that takes you up towards the business park. I had the airport and speke hall to my right, and the business park to my left, and up from the nearby meadow rose a Barn Owl! It showed really well for a long-time as it hunted at dusk, it was truly a marvelous sight, my first so locally, and made the trip worthwhile after all! Have you seen one round there at all?



Danny Foy said...

Hi Neil

I have known LT Tits to nest in the same area in consecutive years, however I dont know if they have been the same pair as they are very short lived, but it seems reasonable to assume that they would return if it had been successful the previous year, I do know that male Whitethroats return to the same territory in consecutive years, so LT Tits may well do also.

Danny Foy said...

Hi Tony

Thanks for the seems the SE Owls are more regular on the other side of the airport.
I too have seen the Peregrines on regular occasions over the last ten days or so.....fingers crossed, and Woodcock is a good record in the city on its own!

Danny Foy said...

Hi Paul

As it happens I worked night shifts on the business park for a short while about 13 years ago and Barn Owls were regular back then. I have seen them at night hunting the land Dobbies garden centre was built on....but not since it was built, so its great to know they are stilll around. The old ruined buildings on the waste ground on the business park adjacent to the reserve have old ruined/vandalised owl boxes in them, so they may have nested there for a while. Thanks for the post.

Neil M said...

just back from a stroll around the estuary business park area, not a bad hour and a half. the SE owl has eluded me for another year but i did flush out several snipe and a pair of grey partridge from the long grass in the field (tip - wear wellies if attempting to do this, it's more marshy than it at first looks!) lots of small species in the trees behind the ruined buildings at the back of the field singing beautifully. lots of goldfinches in particular. further down towards the sailing club in the scrubby grass area there were lots of larks rising out the grass very close, great to see them doing so well locally and then down to the slipway where i could make out heron, redshank, shelduck, curlew, other assorted duck types and small waders too far out for me to see clearly, think i need to invest in a telescope! a lapwing flying over was the first i've seen in the area. surprisingly, no raptors of any sort spotted in the entire trip.

robinsurtees said...

Waxwings on Cotoneaster trees by St Margarets School, Aigburth Road. Same place as a few years ago.Eating berries from the tree by the house which is being rebuilt.

Paul said...

Got the Waxwing's today, thank you for the tip-off Mr Surtees!

Danny Foy said...

Thanks for the Waxwing shout Robin