9 Aug 2009

August and migration has begun.

A busy week at work meant I wasn't able to get out much during the week but did manage a short visit to Frodsham on the way back from Birmingham Thursday evening. No waders on No. 6 tank but plenty on the Weaver with a moulting adult Curlew Sandpiper being the best one. This bird was a moulting adult still with a lot of red in its plumage and was probably the same bird found by Frank Duff last weekend and subsequently seen again on the 4th August.

Autumn passage has begun with Willow Warblers being caught and ringed on Hilbre. A flyover Yellow Wagtail Friday morning was another migrant and wader numbers are beginning to build up with good numbers of Dunlin & Ringed Plover being seen and the first returning Whimbrel being recorded.
On the topic of migration it was interesting to note a female and juvenile Whinchat at Frodsham Saturday. Joined by Mark Payne and his hound 'Ronnie' we searched No. 6 tank in vain for waders (apart from some very distant Dunlin & Ringed Plover) as high tide approached. Were these locally bred birds or passage migrants? A flyover Yellow Wagtail was probably a local bird.

Star bird was the Barn Owl that suddenly appeared alongside the Landrover and conveniently landed in a tree as I jumped out with the camera. Closer examination of the photo's showed it was ringed but the number is unreadable.

A hike to the Weaver, closely accompanied by Ronnie and a swarm of Horse Flies, resulted in good numbers of waders including an adult Curlew Sandpiper - a different bird from the midweek one - and a leucistic Dunlin.

A Sunday afternoon jaunt to West Kirby with Al Conlin for a spot of high tide wader observation was a bit disappointing becuase of the heat haze. Small parties of summer plumaged Grey Plover and Dunlin were interspersed with larger numbers of Oystercatchers. Two adult Gannets were the only pelagic species of note. There were very few terns which made the counts from a mile down the road even more incredible - especially as they included a juvenile Roseatte Tern!!!

More locally things are still quiet. A singing male Yellowhammer and a Hobby taking a juvenile Swallow have been the avian highlights although butterfly numbers continue to provide winged interest.

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