4 Nov 2014

A pleasant weekend spent locally.

Friday afternoon and in warm autumn sunshine saw me sauntering down to Stanney Woods for a wander round to see if I could spot the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker now the leaves are coming off the trees. I didn't find the Lesser Spot but found something even better! Whilst wandering through the centre of the wood I heard a call I was instantly familiar with – as would be anyone who’d spent the autumns birding on Shetland. A YELLOW BROWED WARBLER! A first for Stanney and for the local area although relatively regular on the N Wirral coast. An excellent addition to the Stanney list. 

I watched the bird briefly high up in the canopy before it flew off with the tit flock it was associating with. Anything up in the canopy in Stanney is always difficult to see as the photo's above illustrate.

As well as the birds Stanney is a good place for fungi. There's lots of decaying wood on the ground left purposefully by the rangers to attract invertebrates and fungi. I think these are Sulphur Tuft's.
A measure of how warm it is was apparent when a Southern Hawker dragonfly was seen flying over one of the ponds in the woods – a real case of autumn waif meeting summer straggler.
The rest of the weekend was spent pottering around doing odd jobs but also doing some ringing in the garden and keeping an eye on the skies in case something interesting flew over. There have been a lot of Pinkfeet in the area recently and skeins have been regularly flying over the garden. 

Other visible migrants included Skylarks and Grey Wagtails as well as the expected Redwings. I didn't expect Whooper Swan though but one flew high heading SE on Sunday. Maybe to join the wintering flock on the Dee estuary? More unusual for the garden were three Mistle Thrushes that kept flying around making a racket.

Highlight of the ringing sessions were a Chiffchaff and a Nuthatch along with small numbers of Coal Tits and Goldcrests. Numbers really haven’t built up yet as the weathers been so mild.
Nuthatch under tail coverts.

It was nice to catch this young Blue Tit which was actually ringed in a next box in the garden in may this year and not seen since. It was one of a brood of 10  and the first one ringed!
Chaffinch numbers also seem to be increasing no doubt boosted by continental immigrants and this 1st winter female shows a good example of a juvenile type tail with generally pointed feathers and narrow central tail feathers. Several female birds had wing lengths around 82-83 mm suggesting they might be Scandinavian birds.

Finally my rescue of the two Kingfishers in an industrial unit at Sandycroft has been written up in the Autumn edition of Wirral Wildlife's newsletter. Click on the links: Kingfishers and my blog post here

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