20 Jul 2009


The last few years have been good for Quail in Cheshire with at least a couple of singing birds being located. This year is no exception and thanks to excellent directions from my mate Pod I arrived at a weed filled field of maize near Farndon after taking the scenic route home from Birmingham. Forty minutes later I was rewarded with not one but two singing Quail! I managed to get a sound recording on the mobile but can't upload sound clips here yet!

Nothing much else to report since the weekend although Groucho's simple I.D guide to rare birds in the NW has a new addition with a nice diagnostic mock up of Terek Sandpiper showing the key identification features.

17 Jul 2009

Frodsham No. 6

Had a search for the Terek again last night - primarily cos I lost a pair of expensive sun glasses there Wednesday! No sign of the Terek but several Whimbrel and a leucistic Redshank and the missing sun glasses!! Result. I was really suprised that there was no one else looking for the Terek. All waiting on news I suppose.

Anyway, rain stopped play and soaking wet for the second time this week I gave up and set off steaming gently for home and dinner. Not satisifed with getting piss wet through once in a day I decided to check out the Wood Sandpiper at Frodsham No. 6. Luckily it was viewable from the back of the Landrover & I didn't even have to get out!

As well as the Wood Sandpiper there were a selection of other waders including Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, 2 Common Sandpipers and a small flock of Dunlin. Watching a Heron struggle with a large Eel provided the comedy moment as the bird struggled to subdue its slimy prey and eventually dropped it in disgust.

Not a good night for photography or driving - especially as the motorways seem full of numpties who haven't got a clue about lane discipline and force people to undertake as they're intent on hogging the middle lane( gripping the steering wheel and looking like frightened rabbits). Half our motorway congestion problems could be sorted out by giving lane hoggers a spot fine and 3 points.

16 Jul 2009

The crystal ball works!

No sooner had I posted about return wader passage throwing up something interesting then a Terek Sandpiper gets found on the Dee off Banks Road! Al Conlin, Paul Grennard & me were checking the roosting terns at the West Kirby wader lagoon formerly known as the marine lake (but currently containing no lake), when a call alerted us to the presence of a Terek Sand! Unfortunately it flew off as the tide dropped. I made a half hearted attempt to locate it on the way home but getting soaked in a thunder storm severely dampened my enthusiasm.

A meeting in Belfast found me on the way to Liverpool airport just after 6 am when Mr Conlin rang to say it had been found again! Luckily the meeting finished early and the new Easyjet policy of being able to catch an earlier flight at no extra cost meant I got back into Liverpool airport earlier and after charging through Liverpool city centre made it to the spot around 18.45!
As the tide dropped the Terek headed north with its Redshank cohorts and I eventually caught up with it from the cliff top almost as far north as the Thurstaston visitor centre! A cracking Cheshire & Wirral bird and a county lifer as well!

Interestingly it was reported at West Kirby 'marine lake' around 14.30 which seems a bit strange. Why would it fly away from its preferred feeding grounds on the Dee all the way around the N Wirral cost, drop in in at West Kirby for 10 minutes and then fly all the way back to where it was originally seen at low tide? High tide would seem more likely! There again, birds are always unpredictable!
No photo's of the Terek unfortunately but Mark Payne has excelled himself with this graphic illustration of Royal Tern. Hopefully it'll tern up at West Kirby or Hilbre before long & this photo should serve as a reminder of the clinching identifying feature..............

9 Jul 2009

Shhh. I'm asleep until Autumn.....................

It really is that quiet. Work means I haven't been able to get out and check the N Wirral shore for Storm Petrel in the current N Westerlies and rain has stopped birding after work. Nationally the conspiracy theorists are at it again suggesting photos of Blue-cheeked Beeeater in Devon aren't kosher as its pictured on a type of telegraph wire rarely seen these days....................

Groucho Payne refound the Norfolk Caspian Tern Sunday - a lifer for the Apprentice aka Al Orton. He kindly sent me a phone scoped picture to confirm the I.D and point out it had a humungous red conk unlike Royal Tern that has an equally humungous orange conk. Both shine like beacons and should be visible for miles out to sea...................................................a message to those who saw the Royal fly past the Orme but dudn't see the bill colour!

Return wader passage is well under way and hopefully we'll dig out something interesting in Cheshire over the next few weeks