Monday, 23 April 2007

Warblers have arrived.

Heysham Nature Reserve (SD 407 601), is managed by the Wildlife Trust in agreement with British Energy. Nearest town is Morecombe. The habitat here is mainly Gorse, Hawthorn, with reedbeds and grass in abundance too. Over 21 species of butterflys have been recorded here, and today there certainly was evidence, that this was a popular site for them. Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, and Orange tips could easily be seen. During the main summer months, the site also attracts it's fair share of dragonflies and Damselflys - Ruddy Darter, and Emperor Dragonfly. From the foot of the old lighthouse, we can overlook a scubland oasis, which acts like a magnet for migrating birds. Today we had newly arrived Blackcaps, Willow Warbler, and a species which has eluded my list for a few years now - Lesser Whitethroat. Maybe 2 or 3 where seen displaying along the hedge on the right-hand side from the carpark. This reserve really needs some time spending here to cover all the areas on offer. And while your here, also visit Heysham power station. Along the now derelict jetty, many wading birds use it as a resting/roosting place when the tide is in. Look out for Purple Sandpiper, flitting about below the rotten planks.

New to list: include, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Purple Sandpiper, Lesser Whitethroat.

Year total: 117

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Crosby Marina, Merseyside

Easter Monday, I am at the mouth of another estuary. This time it's the Mersey. Crosby Marina, is well known to birders for the variety of gulls that are attracted here. It's list include gulls from the Americas, Scandinavia as well as below the Mediterranean sea. Today i have come to see one of the most delicate of gulls native to Britain. Little Gull. Noticeably smaller than the Black headed Gulls. With a pink flush to it's breast, and its distinctive black under wings, it has a butterfly type flight. About 50 Little Gulls are present today, in varying plumage's, and ages. If you are lucky, you may see the Ring Billed Gull - an American gull. I was not. Still cant' get them all, can you? While you are here, you must see the life sized sculpures of men on the beach. All the sculptures are planted all over the beach. All looking out to sea, as if there is something better out there. Awesome. At Hale, a Ring Ouzel, was present. This species is more commonly found on the moors. Also known as the Mountain Blackbird. Well that was a very busy Easter for me. What did you get up to?

New Little Gull, Turnstone, Swallow, Ring Ouzel.

Total : 112

Lytham St. Annes

After a long drive yesterday to Bempton. I am in need of something more relaxing. Lytham St. Annes, North shore of the Ribble estuary is a perfect place to wind down. whether it's looking at the sea, watching the colourful wildfowl on Fairhaven lake, or just a gentle shop through the Victorian town. Pace of life hear is much at an easier pace than what you find at Blackpool just up the coast. So before some shopping, there was a small matter of some Continental birds to see. In resent years, one can't help but notice that the once rare Little Egrets, each year have increased in numbers up and down the North West coast. Today, upto 10 birds could be seen through the heat haze, and a strange dark wading bird, that just shone in the sunshine. It was in fact an Immature Glossy Ibis. Common on the Mediterranean, and below, this bird turned up here earlier this year, and probably finds the weather and pace of things to it's liking, to stay here so long. Do visit the RSPB hut at Fairhaven Lake. cracking displays, and enjoy a gentle cruise around the lake on one of the many putt-putt boats.
New: Glossy Ibis and Little Egret.
Total 108.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Bempton Cliffs - Bird City

It's Good Friday, and I am off to the the East coast. Bempton Cliffs, Nr. Bridlington, is home to almost a quarter of a million seabirds. A short walk from the visitor centre takes you to a number of specially-created cliff top viewpoints, where the massed ranks of gannets, guillemots and kittiwakes can be seen (and smelled!). Close to the top of the cliff, you have a good chance to see colourful puffins, and some spectacular views. BEWARE, although the cliff top is securely fenced, you should exercise caution at all times, unless you want an expensive ride in a helicopter. While I was there, the Helicopter rescue was called out for some poor soul. A truly excellent day out.
Years total now : 106

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Monday, 2 April 2007

"Something old...Something new.."

Pennington flash, near Leigh, close to the East-Lancs road (A580), A typical flash, developed into a Country Park, with some rough scrub reed and rush areas. This week saw the mix of new arrivals, as well as some of the remaining birds from the winter. Earlier in the week, a small passage of Kittiwakes briefly showed, before taking a short-cut across to the east coast - probably? Both Ringed and Little Plovers where in small numbers, but easily viewable from the main hide - now with roof, after being blown off during the February gales. In the woods, if you was lucky, a Long-Eared Owl could be seen. You could not escape the monotonous di-syllabic sounds from the trees. Chiffchaffs announced that they are the years first warblers to arrive in this country. Calling from everywhere it seems. On the lake itself, three Black Necked Grebes, gave distant and close views. This like all the grebes, is absolutely resplendent. With golden plumes as ear coverts, against a black face and deep red eyes. (The picture was borrowed from Olia Roma tours). Also Sand Martins and a Swallow passed through. Long stayers still present Goldeneye and Goosander.
New to the list: Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Black Neck Grebe, Chiffchaff.
Total :98