Back garden moth trapping

Sat morning and I had a good variety of moths in my moth trap.
Coxcomb prominent
White satin moth
Swallow tail
Clouded border
Buff ermine
These are just a tiny sample of what I caught, the trouble I now have is the House sparrows have caught on to were the trap is situated and are waiting for them to be released, some of the little beggar's are even getting into the trap as I am inspecting it.

Old Coach Road

I saw at least 7 yellow wagtail this morning. Four were sunbathing on the barn roof of Brown Birch Farm, and at least 3 were in the field north of the public footpath that runs East from Brown Birch Farm to Clare's Moss Plantation (photos now in gallery).

7+ yellow wagtail

Also small numbers of,
meadow pipit
common whitethroat
willow warbler

2 brown hare and lots of common butterflies

Damian P

Eccleston Mere

I popped in on the way home from work for 20 mins...

1 common sandpiper flying around the island

Lots of horseflies!

Damian P

Havannah flash

As always, Havannah flash was very quiet, but at 11-15am I came across a deadly menace, MINK.It came running across the footpath into the Sankey canal, this is the first Mink I have seen on the Flash this year, but I have been informed that they are on the increase, bad news for the little ducklings etc.

Eccleston Mere

I took my two girls to feed the ducks today so didn't do much birding! I saw this dragonfly and managed to get a flight shot for once. Does anyone know what type it is? I'm thinking black tailed skimmer but don't know much about dragonflies.

Damian P

Newton Lake, NLW - Monday

Late news for Monday 22nd July.

1 adult Little Ringed Plover.

1 juvenile Little Ringed Plover.

Both flew in together at dinner time.

Mountain's Farm, Billinge

I went to have a look for the yellow wagtail again this evening. One flew off calling just as I got there but that was it. There weren't many bird at all on the manure pile.
1 yellow wagtail
1 common whitethroat
1 reed bunting
1 tree sparrow

2 brown hare

Damian P

Newton Lake, NLW

I popped in on the way home at about 5.30, no sign of the LRP's.

Damian P


Barn owl on white post going up dfr parked side of nursery wood and watched it hunting for ten minutes.this was at 10pm friday always comes out about 30 mins after sunset.

Lyme & Wood Pitt Country park

House martins
Pied wagtail 1
Moorhen 4

Emperor dragonfly 7

Lastweek I paid a short visit to the two ponds situated on the right at the bottom of Grange valley, I was informed that this was a very god place to watch Dragonflies and was not disappointed with Emperor,Broad bodied and Black tailed skimmer all seen. This morning I made a return visit only to be disappointed with the amount of litter which had been left all over the area, along with the remains of fires, the water was full of beer cans etc.
This is a shame as the two ponds are a great place for anyone who has an interest in insects, but please do not be put off if you plan a visit.

Eccleston Mere

9 tufted duck
2 nuthatch
1 buzzard
2 blackcap (1m,1f)
1 gs woodpecker juv
1 treecreeper
2 mute swan
There's going to be a fishing match on today-will probably get busy.

Damian P

Newton Lake

I had a quick look around this morning-no lrp's visible.
1 kingfisher
2 little grebe
1 tufted duck

Damian P

Party of Five

A quick re-visit to Newton Lake proved worthwhile as this time a family party of five little ringed plovers were present - 2 adults and 3 young.

I wonder where they bred?

Newton Lake, Newton-le-Willows Friday 19 July

After an encouraging visit the other day and reading the sightings on here from the other guys I thought an early visit to Newton Lake was in order.

The lake has a good amount of mud and that kind of thing normally pulls in a wader or too even in St Helens!

Believe it or not most waders will have finished breeding by now and they begin to move south or to the coast. Mud on lakes like this can be a vital refuelling station on these long journeys.

A quick scan revealed maybe a hundred moulting duck. You know these guys are flightless during this moult and therefore the males lose their smart plumage evidenced by the fact that later on when some locals brought some bread and they simply swam over.

Just as I finished my 3rd or 4th scan of the mud I noticed 3 small waders getting up and flying high off to the west ( toward Pennington Flash perhaps ...). Their pale colour, white tail edges and lack of wing bars plus the fact that 3 had been reported recently made me put them down as little-ringed plovers - a rare treat in St Helens.

A little later on an oystercatcher appeared from nowhere probably the same one I had here the other day.

The local kingfisher kept me entertained whilst I waited to see if any more waders would magically appear. At one point a black-headed gull chased a kingfisher from it perch but the tables soon turned and the bully became the bullied.

Round the back of the lake several reed buntings were singing whilst the riar of the already busy M6 drowned out mist birdsong.

Back on the lake A pair of little grebes were whinnying ... Perhaps a late breeding attempt?

Arguably the best birds of the day though was a family party of grey wagtails who came the feed along the 'dam' wall. A single young bird begged for food from its mother. Later on a very smart dad appeared, I wondered did he do any parenting as he was so pristine.

Still after over two hours no more waders appeared .... Oh we'll there's alway tomorrow.


Mallard 4
Moorhen 1
Jay 1
Fox 1
Very quiet around Havannah flash, with nothing at all on the Sankey brook. I did come across a Fox at 8-30am, it was walking up Waggon lane and didn't seem bothered about me watching  it at all, it seemed to be pretty tame.

Eccleston Mere

Kingfisher 1
Mute Swan 2 adults
Tufted Duck 1
Coot 50
Nuthatch 1

Very quiet at the mere, but lots of disturbance isn't helping. Everyday at the moment there are gangs of teenagers swimming, drinking, shouting  and  sailing out on anything that floats! Oh for a stormy autumnal day.....


Just a sample of some of the Moths caught lastnight 16/7/2013 in my back garden.

Peppered moth 1
Swallow tailed moth 2
Brimstone 2
Scalloped oak 1
Large emerald 1
Buff arches 1
Poplar hawk moth 1

A Gull-a-part

Not often do I twitch but every now and then an opportunity arises that one shouldn't miss ... today one of those came along.

Working in an office in Lancaster has many downsides but occasionally there is an upside, the repeated news of a rare North American gull at a nearby birding hotspot was enough to convince myself and a couple of colleagues to make a short trip.

Ten minutes out of the office door and I'd arrived at the end of an unadopted road leading to the "Ocean Edge Leisure Park" which to the untrained ear sounds delightful but is actually right next door to Heysham Nuclear Power Plant!

Strangely reminiscent of my (true) home patch in the north east, it instantly filled me with hope of weird and wonderful birds from far flung lands.

After a brisk walk through a decent looking scrub area (maybe a visit in the spring is in order) we arrived on the sea front immeadiately in front of the power station where several birders where already present.

Several med gulls were present roosting amongst the massed black-headed gulls and the tide was slowly rising.  Curlews, oystercatchers and redshank fidgeted and shuffled for the best spot.

Luckliy for me a felow birder made the magical call, oft longed for by many a twitcher ... "I've got it!"

And doubly lucky for me another colleague of mine had the bird in his scope.  Easy tick you would think?  But thats when this easy twitch became a challenge ...

Short of time (or commited to my job!) I hadn't done my homework ... do you know the difference between a black-headed gull and a Bonaparte's gull???

Apparantely they should be like a smaller version of a black-headed gull with a true black head and pink legs.  But in the field in strong light and with lots of birds sleeping and shuffling in front of each other its not as simple as some would think.

With a lot of help I finally got the hang of it and relocated it using my binoculars and even saw the pale primaries as the massed gulls were given a spook by a marrauding large gull. 

Job done and home to St Helens with a view of more carefully checking the local gull flocks!

For another account of this trip and some photos please read which also details another ad hoc twitch for a melodious warbler with no binoculars!!!

Newton Lake, NLW

Quick visit 2 Little Ringed Plovers best viewed from side footpath, 2 Little Grebe, 1 Grey Heron, 1 common Gull, 13 Canada Geese 3 Tufted Duck. Peter.

Moss Lane

corn bunting 2-3
yellowhammer 2
whitethroat 2
skylark 5
common buzzard 1
tree sparrow 1

Getting decent photos of the corn bunting is impossible, this is the best I could manage today...

Damian P

Eccleston Mere

mute swan 2
nuthatch 1
gs woodpecker 2
treecreeper 1
jay 1
grey wagtail 1

Damian P

Back garden

Four Goldcrests were feeding in my back garden this morning, just posting this to see how things work.

Newton Lake

Mediterranean Gull 1 adult summer plumage
Little ringed plover 4
Green Sandpiper 1 probable

Thanks to Peter for the info. Guess where I'll be going on my way home!

Tweet us on Twitter @sthelensbirds

Hi Everyone out there,

I am really pleased to see this idea begin to take off (pun intended!)

I have also set up a twitter account for the blog so that we can instantly report sightings from the field as they happen.

If you use Twitter please feel free to follow @sthelensbirds for live sightings

See for the twitter feed.

I feel that this could be a really useful resource in the event of a rarity showing up enabling us to get the news out far faster than before.

For those of you that do not have access to Twitter on your mobile phone fee free to contact me for my phone number so that you can simply text me your sightings.  I can then arrange to get them on the Twitter feed ASAP.

My email address is bradinho8 "at"

Bye for now and Happy Birding


There were two adult Roseate Terns showing very well at Seaforth docks today, and one of them was a stunner. Also lots of Common Terns and some nice waders. It's permit only, but you can view through the fence from Crosby Marina. More information on my blog under the Wildlife Ramblings tab.

Eccleston Mere

Yellow Wagtail 1 flew over
Oystercatcher 2
Kingfisher 1
Mute Swan 2 adults
Cormorant 8 flew over

Mountain's farm 7.30am

Hi , just checking i can work this. Went to Mountain's farm this morning as i only live 1/2 a mile away. Saw one female (i think?) yellow wagtail, several pied wagtails plus one that looked more like a white wagtail. Ive posted a pic on my flicker account if you could confirm that it is indeed a female yellow?

Eccleston Mere

Common Sandpiper 2
Willow Tit 1 heard at the end of the stream
Bullfinch 1
Nuthatch 3
Kingfisher 1 heard
Tufted duck 3

Damian P


barn owl end of  nursery wood 1030pm                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

male blackbird bramcote ave 7pm this evening.Just checking i can do this blogging thing boys cheers andy

Lunar Hornet Moth

A Lunar Hornet Moth was found in Haydock on Wednesday. Have a look on google images for this stunning looking moth.

Eccleston Mere

Tufted Duck 5 males
Mute Swan 2 adults
Kingfisher 1

A quiet morning at the mere. I'll try again later!

Pennington Flash

Red-crested Pochard on Pennington Flash this evening. Either an eclipse male or possibly more likely a young male. Also Kingfisher and Common Terns. I didn't have time for a full look around.

Mountains Farm

3 yellow wagtail
2 oystercatcher
Also yellowhammer, tree sparrow, skylark, common whitethroat, and 2 brown hares.

All the yellow wagtails were juveniles today and were pretty inactive, mainly sunbathing and then occasionally snacking on the flies and chasing off the pied.

(See Gallery for recent photos from this site.)

Eccleston Mere

Common Tern 2 (adult and juvenile)
Pochard 1 male
Tufted Duck 8
Kingfisher 1
Mute Swan 1 adult
Coot 50
Buzzard 2

Autumn migration is now in full swing, Common Sandpiper yesterday and the first juvenile Common Tern today! The geese will be back soon........

Copulating Blue-tailed Damselflies.

Eccleston Mere

Common Sandpiper 1 flew from the SE corner to the island
Kingfisher 1
Mute Swan 1 adult
Coot 50

Eccleston Mere

Hobby 1 hunting distantly towards Prescot Reservoirs.
Common Tern 1 adult
Oystercatcher 1
Kingfisher 1
Nuthatch 1