29 Feb 2008
A text from one of the birding regulars informed me it was still there as I still driving through pouring rain! Luckily Janet Jones had waited for me and managed to get me straight on the the drake G W Teal before retiring back to her car! As is usual with these birds it wasn't doing much but sitting minding its own business. The obligatory 'record shot' was secured for the rarities committee before I left it to its own devices and walked down to Pumphouse Flash for the 'resident' juvenile Iceland Gull (with deformed bill) and adult Yellow-legged Gull.
The feeding station was swarming with Tree Sparrows and I was informed the record count at this site is over 200.
Can you spot the Green-winged teal?
With the weather clearing but with high winds coming from the west I decided to take a punt on the N Wirral coast in the hope that something had been blown in! From the Gunsites car park the wind rocked the car but I could see plenty of birds moving in the Mersey mouth so headed for Fort Perch. A good move. A 1st winter Little Gull and two adult Kittiwakes were amongst the throng of gulls around the massive 'Atlantic Conveyer' being manouvered into the docks by three tugs! A check of the marine lake, boating pool and surrounding grassy areas produced the usual gulls but no Med Gull. At least 200 Starlings fed on a grassy bank alongside the main road.
20 Feb 2008
Whilst in the Macclesfiled area it seemed churlish not to look for Dippers at Wildboar Clough and Red Grouse on the nearby moors. The Dipper was hard but the Red Grouse performed well!
One of the highlights of this week has been the appearance of Siskins on the garden bird feeders. Favouring the Nijer seeds at least 4 of these beautiful little finches have been fighting off all comers. These are the first in our garden for at least 7 years.
17 Feb 2008
Statto Williams found another very interesting and very dark 1st winter Herring Gull at Arpely. Not the same bird but another very good candidate for a 'smickers'. Not only did we finally catch up with this bird but there were two different Glaucous Gulls an two different Iceland Gulls present.
One of the Icelands was a big bruiser whilst the other was quite a dainty looking bird:
To cap a good weekend I managed to get the Cetti's Warbler at Neston Old Quay in another long wait in the frezzing cold.
14 Feb 2008
One shows me about to ring a Blackbird, another shows two Manchester University Bird Club stalwarts ( Dr Mike Hounsome & Dr Martin Jones) about to partake in a Coot lamping expedition whilst the third shows a number of the bird club members relaxing!
The guy next to me leaning on the wall went on to become science correspondence for theBBC - Dr Dave Whitehouse. Graham Megson married Cathy and they now reside in Northumberland where Graham works as an envoronmentalist for local Government.
Note the standard student dress of tight Levi's, ex-armed forces knitted jumpers and long hair! Anyone watching 'Ashes to Ashes' on BBC 1 will instantly recognise the era. Some people I know are still stuck in the 80's!
12 Feb 2008
10 Feb 2008
Anyway, I digress. I agreed to join Mark and give him a hand as it also gave me a good oppurtunity to give Molly a good walk. Initial fog gave way to glorious sunshine and we were soon racking up the counts.
Checking Kidd Brook for a possible wintering Green Sandpiper we came across a very showy female Lesser-spotted Woodpecker. A patch year tick for my Mark but my 2nd of the year. No sign of a Green Sandpiper but we did get one flying off Whitton Brook later! A large Redpoll flock on Neumans proved to contain Lesser's only. Walking round to Haydn's Pool we came across more Redpolls - one was obviosuly very pale and white and was picked up with the maked eye in some alders before we realised there were other Redpolls with it! Not a classic male Meally but probably a 1st winter / female type.
A very satisfying 4 hours birding.
9 Feb 2008
Things looked up for us when a 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull was found and then a lanky looking gull was agreed by all to be 3rd winter Caspain Gull. Yet another one......................
Eventually the Iceland Gull showed itself and I managed a quick record shot. There was some debate as to whether this was a 1st or 2nd winter bird. it has the plumage of a 1st winter but the bill colouration of a 2nd winter.
With the tide racing in all the gulls dispresed and I headed home to pick up Molly and stomp around Stanney Woods.
Here is where the springing and sprunging comes in - one of the ponds was heaving with fornicating amphibians. Frogs and their spawn everywhere! I managed to locate the resident Marsh Tit(s) first on call and then later as it sang.
8 Feb 2008
Big ugly juvenile Glaucous Gull - only its mum could think it pretty!
5 Feb 2008
I'd planned to go gull watching at Richmod Bank with a group of like minded idiots who like nothing better than standing in the freezing cold watching gulls come to bathe after feeding frenziedly on the nearby tip.
With Caspian Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Glaucous Gull and Iceland Gull all having been seen recently (and all by me!) this is the place to be................
I decided to spend the morning traipsing around the Dee Marshes with Molly (my black Labrador) looking for an elusive and highly dodgy Great-white Egret.
Why did I do that when the lads found a 1st winter American Herring Gull on Richmond Bank!!!!
A great effort by the Seaforth crew who were joined, in part, by the Marbury patch lads.