10 Jan 2010

Shag movements.

These photo's really are poo! Those with a week disposition should look away now...........
A trip to  Hilbre Obs started at first light yesterday with a search of West Kirby marine lake as the sun rose. With many local freshwater ponds iced over the marine lake was heaving with birds.

I don't know where all these 'record' counts of Shags on the Marine Lake are coming from but yesterday morning I only saw 3 shags and 10 Cormorants! Plenty of Goldeneye & Red-breasted Mergansers also present along with a flock of displaced Tufted Ducks presumably from nearby Ashton Park. Star birds however were a pair of Scaup.

Hilbre was a superb place to spend the morning with the Obs staff being kept busy logging the various birds either on the island or overhead. The island itself provided temporary refuge to a Woodcock and two Snipe whilst on the sea Fridays fem / imm Velvet Scoter was viewable with a telescope off the north end. With several small parties of Scaup being logged and Pinkfeet overhead the morning could only be improved with bacon butties and Christmas cake!

After leaving HilbreSteve Williams & I drove along the West Kirby prom checking the marine lake. No sign of the early morning Scaup but a good oppurtunity in better light to get a few shots of some of the temporary residents including this immature Shag showing its disugst at being confused with a Cormorant. You can tell its a Shag by the colour and parabolic effect of its discharge. Cormorant poo is white............

So there you have it. A fail safe way to separate Shag from Cormorant!

        Drake Goldeneye

        Drake Red-breasted Merganser.

A walk round Stanney Woods late afternoon was rewarded with 2 Woodcock - a sure sign of cold weather if ever one was needed and part of a localised movement in Cheshire. Not much to report else where from the S Wirral but a morning spent garden bird watching was well spent as I logged 21 species around the feeders  including Moorhen, Redwing, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Blackbird, 3 Bullfinches (2 males and a female), Sparrowhawk as well as the more regular species. The poor Moorhens on our local pond have been reduced to visiting the garden feeders and eating ivy berries.

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