19 Apr 2009

Waders, wellies and migrants.

The lighter evenings mean getting out for awhile after work and wardening work has begun at Neston Reedbed. A couple of trips down this week were rewarded with a late Hen Harrier dropping in to roost and the first Grasshopper Warblers reeling away in the brambles.

My local 'patch' is rapidly becoming the Gilroy of the South Wirral with Thursdays Spotted Redhank staying until at least Friday evening. Two Tree Pipits flying over early Friday morning and the first Common Whitethroat singing from a hawthorn hedge completed the haul. People may mock but when I find the spring Broad-billed Sandpiper on my muddy cow pat strewn local piece of field they will mock no more............................................................................................

Hilbre was the chosen venue for the weekends birding activities and walking through the channel resulted in wet feet meaning I'll have to buy my own magic wellies! Good numbers of migrants were about on both days although the early starts were a bit strenuous. Suprisingly its taken two weeks for Whimbrel to move the short distance from the birding blackhole in West Kirby to Hilbre where the first small groups were heard, seen and photographed.

Redstarts were a feature of the weekend with a female being ringed on Saturday and a male on Sunday. Wirral's premier Red-rumped Swallow finder, freshly bedraggled from celebrating his find in the pub Friday night, found a male at the Lighthouse whilst Roger Wilkinson found another at Neston Old Quay - where a Lesser Whitethroat also rattled last night as Jan & I took Molly for a quick walk before enjoying the evening sunshine sat outside the Harp with a pint.

Talking of Red-rumped Swallows - there is some confusion over when it was last seen. The last confirmed sighting was Friday night but there were two sightings Saturday, one of which was well away from its usual haunt. This was then deemed to be 'erroneous' by RBA but still feature on a local webiste. What is happening?

But I digress and mine is not to reason why. They must have their reasons. Hilbre also provided my first Yellow Wagtail(s) of the year with a bird heard Saturday and one seen Sunday. Along with several Tree Pipits a very elusive Ring Ouzel, double figures of Wheatear lots of phlylloscopus Warblers and a strong passage of both hirundines and Finches it was a good weekend to be on the Island.

Amazingly a single Fieldfare dropped into the Observatory garden Sunday before heading south of all directions. A couple of Common Scoter are still hanging around but most of the other winter visitors have departed.

A great weekend. Plenty of birds, good craic, good beer, a curry and beautiful weather. The only downside was a dead leg after being head butted by one of Hilbre's delinquent sheep that also tried to toss poor Molly over the fence. They obviously have a thing about men in wellies.......

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