Eccleston Mere

The male goldeneye was back again this morning. No sign of the wigeon or teal but I didn't walk the whole way around so they could have been behind the island...

Goldeneye 1m
Bullfinch pair
Pochard 1m, 1f
Willow Tit 1
Treecreeper 1
Goldcrest 1 in SW corner
Reed bunting 1f


 
Damian P

My Garden, Eccleston

I managed to get a few photos of the female blackcap when it was visiting my garden yesterday. It flew onto my trellis and was after the few remaining berries on the honeysuckle. Blackcaps are fascinating birds, they only started to over-winter in the uk in the past 50 years or so and switch their diets from insects in the summer to fruits and berries in the winter.


 
Damian P

Eccleston Mere

Myself and Paul spent a few hours around the mere this morning, it was cold but lovely and bright. The highlights were the widgeon and teal which were on the water but easily spooked by the dog walkers.

Mute Swan 1
Wigeon 6
Teal 9 on the Mere + 4 in the woods
Common gull 6
Little grebe 2
Willow tit 2
Bullfinch heard
Kingfisher 1
Great spotted woodpecker 1
Redwing 1 heard
Fieldfare 1 heard
Grey Wagtail 1
Pochard 3 m 1 f
Gadwall pair
Treecreeper heard

Damian P

Forgot to mention the fox which was pouncing for something in the fields...


Widgeon

My garden, Eccleston

My garden has been visited by a male and female blackcap over the past few days. They tend to come every winter at about this time. I'll try and get some photos while I'm off work but the apples I put out in the tree yesterday were pinched by the squirrels!

Also yesterday was the daily visiting coal tit and a sparrowhawk which flashed through.

Damian P

Eccleston Mere

I had a quick look around late afternoon...

Pochard 5 (3m, 2f)
Gadwall 3 (2m,1f)
Mute Swan 2
Little Grebe 1

No sign of the Goldeneye from Sunday.

Damian P

Grey Seal, Newton-le-Willows

Surely this is one of the most amazing wildlife sightings ever in St Helens! An Atlantic grey seal in a field alongside Newton Brook. This incredible photo was taken by Colin Lane.

If it was you who found it, send us a write up of the circumstances so that we can post it here.


Eccleston Mere

The first time I've been around for a while since getting my new permit...

Goldeneye 1 male (thanks to Bill for pointing it out to me! )
Pochard 6-9
Mute swan 2 (1m,1f)
Lots of tufted duck (about 40), coot (about 80), and black headed gulls (about 80) and a few herring, lesser-black backed, and 1 common gull.

Also, a male great spotted woodpecker was on my garden feeders today - the first one for years.

Damian P

Colliers Moss & Developments

I had an interesting walk around Colliers Moss (http://www.discoverthemerseyforest.co.uk/Country-Parks.aspx?region=2&RefNum=CPK033)  today as part of a "reccie" with new owners Mersey Forest http://www.merseyforest.org.uk/

The idea was to get a feel for the place from numerous points of view because the place has changed dramatically to the last time it was officially surveyed.  See http://www.birdwatchinginsthelens.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/bold-moss.htm for an explanation of how it was regarded as one of the regions best wildlife sites, especially for odonata (dragon and damselflies).  

However, over the past decade or so woodland has begun to encroach the open heath areas thus reducing the opportunities for birds such as meadow pipits, skylark, linnet and (dare I say) cuckoo.  There is however a note of caution not to remove to much of the young birch/alder as the potential presence of birds such as willow tit and spotted flycatcher may be affected.

Elsewhere reeds and typher have begun to encroach seriously on the mosses thus intervention is needed to protect and restore these rare habitats.  One of these mosses is the only place in merseyside for cross-leaved heath (http://www.plantlife.org.uk/wild_plants/plant_species/cross-leaved_heath)

In other areas the reed has colonised the once open pools which has provided ideal habitat for reed warbler, reed bunting and water rail, only a little opening up of pools should be needed.  Oh and maybe a few features put in to make spotting wildlife a little easier :)

Each of these relatively small pieces of work should enhance the site for the return of the wide variety of odonata that the site was put on the map for over a decade ago.  And as you know where there are dragonfly .... there are hobby!

In order to carry out these much needed works the Mersey Forest people will be looking to a funding source and may need a crack team of volunteers to help them, I'm happy to throw my name in the hat  ...... As for now its a case of watch this space 

Whilst out and about the undoubted trip for me were the woodcock.  We had 5 fly out of an area toward Burtonwood Moss and 2 fly out of an area near to Sutton Moss.

Other birds of note:
Reed Bunting x3
Redwing
Fieldfare
Sing Thrush
Siskin (heard)
Goldcrests (heard)
Buzzard x2
Sparrowhawk

Cheers
Paul B

A little twist on Birding in Billinge

Had a lovely day out and about in Billinge with a new acquaintance included getting up close and personal with a few of my feathered friends ....


As you can see from the twitter account the photos are causing quite a stir!

If yo look closely at the photos you'll see me too!

Paul B

Rainford Mosslands

Whooper swan 1 adult Dairy Farm Road
Pink-footed goose 5000+ Old Coach Road (best viewed from railway bridge)
Corn bunting 11 (Dairy Farm Road and 10 in Moss Lane)

The whooper swan was my first in the borough for about eight years. It was in a field with sheep to the north of the road. More photos on my blog

Promised Land Farm

There was a large flock of Fieldfare here this morning. I didn't realise they had so much white on their lower belly!

East Lancs

Monday Morning. Mixed flock of about 30 Linnets and 20 Pied wagtails feeding in cabbage field alongside East Lancs. Near layby just before Knowsley turnoff.

Regards, Dave

Moss Lane

The fieldfare and redwing were a lot more settled today, there were about 10 of each on the berry bushes around the sheep paddock, I didn't see any flocks overhead today. A bit further on there were 7 corn bunting at the top of a tree. They're the first I've seen there for a while but they're much harder to find when they're not singing. The starling numbers seem to have decreased, only about 400 there today mixing with a flock of around 100 jackdaw. I had another glimpse of a stoat/weasel but it saw me before I saw it and refused to come back out of the undergrowth despite me waiting there for ages!

Corn Bunting 7
Redwing 10
Fieldfare 10
Reed Bunting 1
Tree Sparrow 1
Meadow Pipit 1 over
Pied Wagtail 8
Yellowhammer 8
Kestrel 1
Starling 400
Jackdaw 100

Damian P

Eccleston Mere

Goldeneye 1 female
Tufted duck 30
Coot 190
Little grebe 1
Great crested grebe 12
Mute swan  1 adult
Grey wagtail 1
 
 

Slender grasshopper

On Saturday I found this tiny grasshopper in my backyard, it's about 15mm long. I was quite excited by it, because I knew that I'd never seen this species before, and to find it in my completely flagged back yard in November seemed strange to say the least, for a group of inverts that I normally associate with flower filled meadows on hot sunny days in summer! On top of that, we don't really see very many grasshoppers of any species in St Helens, so I was quite keen to find out what it was.

The first thing to say is, I've been decorating recently, and this unfortunate insect seems to have walked into some white paint. So ignore the white bits, it's really completely dark brown!

A few tweets and messages later, I had my answer, it's a slender grasshopper (or groundhopper)  Tetrix subulata,  a species which is largely confined to the midlands and south east England, with just a handful of records from the Sefton coast and around Bolton. So it's not a million miles away from St Helens, but so far a I can tell, this is the first record for the borough.


Brick not Delicate

Last week I tweeted a photo of a moth which I thought might be a migrant species known as the Delicate. I was wrong, it turns out it was the Brick, not exactly common, but certainly not as rare as the Delicate.

Moss Lane to Sadlers Lane

I had another look for winter thrushes this afternoon at Moss Lane. After walking all the way to Sadlers Lane, and then most of the way back again, I'd seen very little, but then a flock of  about 10 thrushes landed in the hedge right in front of me. I was chuffed to see my first fieldfare of the autumn. Moments later a large flock of around 100 birds were flying directly towards me - more fieldfare! In the hedge around the sheep paddock, there was one fieldfare eating berries. These were the best photos I could get in the low light...

Fieldfare 100+
Mistle Thrush 1
Song Thrush 2
Starling 1500 getting pretty impressive
Skylark 4
Kestrel 1
Pied Wagtail 10
Yellowhammer 3
Linnet 15

Damian P


Eccleston Mere

I was having my roof looked at this morning after damage from the recent winds - two flocks of redwing flew over while I was outside - about 30 in total, the most I've seen this year. When I got to the Mere I realised I'd forgotten my camera but there wasn't that much there to photograph anyway. A few small flocks of redwing flew over and a larger flock of about 20 thrushes which looked a bit big for redwing but I can't be sure what they were.

Redwing about 25 in separate flocks
Mute swan 2 adults
Tufted duck 35
Grey Wagtail 1
Little Grebe 1
Sparrowhawk 1
Nuthatch 1 (pointed out to me by someone else!)
Coal tit 1

Damian P

Pink Footed Geese

I was wondering if all the geese around the vicinity of Heatons farm/Promised land farm will have left the area for good this autumn now? I noticed them last Saturday and didn't have my camera. Then when I saw the tweet about 3000 flying over last Tuesday , I was at work. I haven't seen any since!

Houghtons Lane and Moss Lane

After the Mere I thought Id have a look down Moss Lane to see if there were any redwing about. On the way I drove down Houghtons Lane and saw about 40 rooks in one of the fields - I don't often see rooks in St Helens.

When I got to Moss Lane, I possibly saw a few redwing in the hedges around the sheep field  but two people walked past and they flew off before I could get close.

I saw a very distant raptor soaring around which drew my attention - I had my suspicions but had to take a photo and then zoom in to be more certain - it looks like a peregrine to me.


Peregrine 1
Kestrel 1
Grey Wagtail 1
Grey Partridge heard distantly
Yellowhammer 15+
Pied Wagtail 20+
Meadow Pipit 1
Jay 1
Mistle Thrush 2

Peregrine  Falcon
 
Meadow Pipit
 


I also found this fungus, but know nothing about them - I'm guessing shaggy inkcap from a quick google search but confirmation would be welcome.


 
 
 
Damian P

Eccleston Mere

There were boats out on the Mere so I wasn't expecting to find much there and unfortunately wasn't disappointed! At least the boats pushed all the coot to one end making them slightly easier to count...

Coot 130+
Tufted duck 4
Little Grebe 2
Kestrel 1
Mute Swan 3

Damian P

Billinge Hill

Myself and Paul went for a walk around Billinge this morning. There wasn't much in the way of over-head passage but there seemed to be distant flocks of pink-feet all over the place.
We walked across towards Mountains Farm and could see a flock of pink-feet coming in to land somewhere near Heaton House, sure enough as we got closer we could see a large flock of pink-feet in the fields behind Heaton House and yet more geese coming in to land.

Pink-Footed Geese 2-3000 and lots more in the distance
Raven 1
Tree Sparrow 5
Redwing 10-15 near to Mountains Farm
Goldcrest - a few calling in the pine copse on the way to Mountain's Farm
Kestrel 2 being mobbed by crows
Few pied wagtails and meadow pipits over
Jackdaw - a few flocks
Jay 3
Buzzard 3
Yellowhammer 1 (heard)

and reported by Paul on the way back to his car...

Bullfinch 2
Sparrowhawk 1



Damian P

Eccleston Mere

Snipe 2
Pochard 2 (2 males)
Pink footed goose 70 over north
Little grebe 2
Tufted duck 35
Redwing 10
Goldfinch 100
Goldcrest 1
Mute swan 3

Good to see a couple of snipe in the fields, but nothing like the numbers of a couple of years ago when there were also a few jack snipe. The fields where much wetter then though.

Eccleston Mere

I had the afternoon off today so had a quick look around the mere to see if the wind had blown anything in...
Pochard 5 (1f, 4m)
Little Grebe 2
Tufted duck 35
Goldcrest 1
Blackcap 1f
Grey wagtail 1
Willow tit 1 heard in dead wood
Jay 1
Kingfisher 1
Mute swan 4 (2 adult, 2 juv)
 

 
 
 
Damian P

Hilbre Island

I went to Hilbre for the first time ever yesterday, I've been wanting to go for years. It was a cracking day - the scenery around there is amazing.

There were loads of birds around including:

Brent Geese
Oystercatchers (hundreds)
Turnstone
Great Crested Grebe
Redshank
Meadow Pipit (on middle eye and Hilbre)
Wheatear (on middle eye)
Great black-backed Gull

Brent Geese

Meadow Pipit
Wheatear
Ringed Meadow Pipit

 
Damian P

Possible Merlin or Hobby (?)

I was around the Promised land farm area late this afternoon and there were quite a few Buzzards and kestrels about. Then the following came into view. Its a poor picture cos it was quite rushed but I noticed the whitish neck and thought it may be something different from a kestrel; a hobby or a merlin? Ive never seen either before so can anyone id it?

Seven Stars, Eccleston

A grey wagtail on the roof of the Seven Stars seen while driving to work this morning.

Old Coach Road, Dairy Farm Road

We all went for a walk around the Old Coach Road this afternoon. There wasn't really much about and for most of the walk I could hear bursts of distant pink-footed geese calls but couldn't see them. As we were getting towards the end, thousands of  pink-footed geese took to the air from around about here - http://binged.it/1s7P68Y and flew off over Rainford in a few separate flocks. It was an amazing and very noisy sight. I'm not very good at estimating large numbers but I'd say there were over 2000. My five year old thought there were 'about a willion' but I think I'll go with my estimate!

Pink-footed geese 2000+
Raven 2
Jay 3
Skylark 10

One of the large skeins of pink-footed geese over Rainford


Damian P

New Cut Lane

I went for a look for redwing, fieldfare and hopefully brambling today around New Cut Lane although it's probably a bit early yet. I didn't find any of these - the best thing I saw was yet another stoat! I'd only ever seen one stoat before the one I saw In July and I've seen three more since then.

Yellowhammer 15
Linnet 4
Bullfinch 1 heard
Goldcrest 1 heard
Buzzard 1
Kestrel 2
Jay 2




Stoat 1

Damian P

France 2014

We went on a family holiday to Normandy this August and I managed to get in a bit of birding while I was there. The best birds were the 5 or 6 storks that we saw in various fields when driving around. The first one I saw was joined by two others just as I got my camera ready so was lucky enough to catch them landing. The firecrest was one of 3 I saw/heard over the two weeks - interestingly I only heard one goldcrest. Also seen were 6 spotted flycatchers and a marsh tit on a walk through the forest west of saint sauveur le vicomte. It's taken me ages to get around to uploading these...


 
 
 

 
Damian P

Dairy Farm Road and Old Coach Road

I did a lap around Dairy Farm Road and the Old Coach Road this afternoon. There were pink-footed geese around everywhere, mainly flying around but a flock of around 100 in the fields next to Sidings Lane, and a huge flock of around 1500 in the field at the end of Dairy Farm Road. I had a good look through them trying to find something less common and eventually found a single Barnacle goose (and two Canada goose) - no white-fronted though. (photos to follow later) The geese were still arriving when I left at around 6.15.

Barnacle Goose 1
Pink-footed geese about 1600
Grey Partridge 1
Chiffchaff 1
Skylark - about 20
Meadow pipit about 10 heard
Kestrel 3
Mistle Thrush 2

Stoat 1 (brief glimpse of it running across Dairy Farm Road in front of a car)
Brown Hare 1

Damian P

Barnacle Goose among the Pink-Footed Geese
 
VIDEO 

 

Eccleston Mere

I had a quick look around this morning...

Mute Swan 7  (2 adult, 5 juv)
Chiffchaff 1
Several more juvenile chiffchaff/willow warbler - too fast for me to id.
Goldcrest 1

Lots of coot and tufted duck on the water and one male mallard with a very pale supercillium that made me walk around to the other side just to make sure!

Damian P

Corncrake at Fir Tree farm, Kings Moss 1/9/14

On 1st September 2014 I was due to go to Warrington to harvest Lesser Knapweed seed. At 9am I received a call telling me that my expected lift would not be arriving til 11am. I had a quick look round Inglenook farm in Rainford,  where we are based. There was little around apart from my first returning Wheatear of the autumn. As I had time to kill I thought I'd go and have a look in the sheep fields at Windle Moss farm as I have had Common Redsarts there in the past as well as regular Tree Sparrows and Corn Buntings. On arrival the first bird I put my bins on was a Spotted Flycatcher flycatching from a Hawtorn bush. I watched it for while as it was constantly harassed by a Reed Bunting. Pleased with this sighting I headed back to Inglenook only to find that we had been let down with our lift. As well as our wildflower production fields at Inglenook we also have some considerable land at Fir Tree farm in Kings Moss so I decided to take my tractor up there and mow some weedy areas ready for re-sowing in the autumn. The area I was concentrating on was around 2 hectares sown in the spring with Cornflower and Corn Poppy but due to the heavy infestation with arable weeds it was not worth us harvesting it and a very thick sward had grown up. At around 14:00 I saw a small bird just behind the front left hand wheel of the tractor. My tractor is an old 1980s Ford (6410 if anyones interested) and this bird was therefore less than 6 feet away from where I sat. I watched it as it crept out into the newly mown stubble keeping on a low profile with its neck stretched out in front of it and its long strong looking legs behind. I was initially at a total loss as to what it was. I am very familiar with Pheasants and both Partridges of all ages and for some reason my initial thought was it was a Quail (a bird I have also flushed with our combine in the past). Then it dawned on me exactly what it was. By this time it had crept about 2m from the tractor and I was able to watch it closely though my bins which are always round my neck when I'm mowing (this habit has lead to stunning views of birds like Jack Snipe and Hen Harrier in the past). The bird appeared to be largely orangey brown with black spots along its back. The head appeared to be a similar colour with no obvious grey which leads me to think it was either a female or an immature bird and it had a pale strong looking billl. It was obviously smaller than a Partridge but larger and longer than a Qail. I watched until it reached the edge of the field a disappeared into heavy cover in the adjacent cow field. I sat and watched for about 30 minutes but there was no further sign. I put the news out on Twitter and Birdguides (who put it down as being in Manchester!). I stayed for another 45 minutes before leaving the site. I returned later where I told the farmer who owns the land. He was made up and said he remembers them being on the farm in the 1950's when the area was largely hay meadow. Following a tweet, Paul Brady turned up at about 17:00 and we searched for a further hour without success. Alan Abbot who owns the land did report seeing a small bird cross a tractor track and possibly hearing a Corncrake type call. I have been back up there today (3rd) and mown the rest of the field but sadly there was no sign. I am of the opinion that it is possible that birds like this and others like Jack Snipe and Quail are far more regular, on passage, in our area than we think. If I had not disturbed this bird it would have slipped under the radar as apparently they rarely call away from breeding sites. I've seen some amazing birds this year but this has to be up there with them all.
Kind regards
Damian Young

Eccleston Mere

Spotted flycatcher on the edge of the woodland by the stream this morning, also 4 teal, but no sign of yesterdays black tern.



Eccleston Mere

While the sun was shining this morning I went down to Eccleston Mere to see if there was any sign of the recently sighted Spotted Flycatchers.  I waited by the dead wood for about 20 minutes, looking at every small bird.  A single Spotted Flycatcher eventually appeared but while waiting I managed to see:

Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Great Spotted Woodpecker (juv.), Nuthatch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-Tailed Tit

Also 2 Kingfisher plus the usual suspects on the mere .


















Spotted Flycatcher

Billinge Hill - Migration Hat-trick!

I struck it lucky today as Billinge Hill delivered 3 good quality scarce migrants.

It was quite windy but with a couple of days of easterly winds and the east coast having already had many, many migrants I was rather hopeful.

On the way up not long after I spotted a family of grey partidge I heard a shrill, slightly drawn-out pipitty call from overhead, to me it recalled a quieter less harsh Richard's pipit, I thought the most likely candidate was a tree pipit given the location and time of year.  Upon a frantic search of xeno-canta I confirmed that to my ears it was indeed a tree pipit.

As mentioned it was quite windy so I decided to stick to the westerly side of the hill and look for sheltered spots.  The "raspberry" patch near to the bench and tarmacked road produced a tit flock containing blue, great, long-tailed and willow tit.  It also carried a chiffchaff .... though was I too optimistic in hoping for a yellow-browed warbler?  Keeping me entertained a blackcap tacked away whilst a whitethroat scolded me but no rare warbler.

I skirted the edge of the beacon and headed for the far side of the hill past the pine copse where the sun came out and I was out of the wind, this looked like a likely spot .... then a goldcrest called or was it?  then I heard a willow warbler or was it?  i found neither bird but locked onto a grey-brown, friendly faced, beady-eyed, tail-flicking bird and it was making the willow warbler noise!  I was confident I knew what it was and then a flash of orange-red from the rear confirmed a female redstart.  This was my 2nd for the hill in two years though the other was a spring bird.

A good find and I nice little icing on the cake would be that goldcrest (one of my faves) that was calling but then a familiar in-and-out flight caught my eye, sitting where the redstart had just been was a spotted flycatcher!  I watched both birds occupy this little sheltered spot for a while with the redstart favouring the fence and feeding on the floor whilst the flycatcher caught insects in the air from its favoured branch.

A robin flitted about too but then another suspiciously redstart/flycatcher bird was tantalisingly out of sight and seen only briefly ... it was like being on the east coast!

Running out of time I headed down the hill but not before checking out one of the local little owls, where I also saw and heard a bright, super-fresh willow warbler as yellow as a canary!

The winds are still easterly so tomorrow could hold one or two more, maybe even one of the much more vaunted east coast regular easterly migrants could be found on our patch?  Wryneck, red-backed shrike or barred warbler anyone?

Paul B


Eccleston Mere

Spotted flycatcher 2 in dead wood at southern end
Goosander 1 imm (male?)
Willow tit 1
Kingfisher 1
Buzzard 2
Chiffchaff 1 singing
Coot 130
Mute swan 6 (adult & 5 cygnets)


Eccleston Mere

Common tern 1
Coot 121 (a new record)
Kingfisher 1
Mute swan 4 (ad & 3 cygnets)
Swallow 50
House martin 20
Nuthatch 1 calling

Overheard and Overhead

Birdwatching never stops as I found out on Wednesday night as I sat outside the Mason's in Billinge, the local tawny's were putting on a aural show whilst the meteor shower provided a visual display.  I also heard what sounded like a very quiet (or very high up) oystercatcher - does anyone know if any other wader makes a similar night time migration call to an oyc but quieter?

In addition, I've just had two very high Raven over my house in Billinge a definite reason for keeping the windows open when you're inside - KRONK-KRONK!

Paul B

Newton Lake

Two visits in two days hoping that Bertha blew in a seabird or even (dare I dream?) a scarce wader ... unfortunately not!

The water level was very high on Sunday and hence no waders but then today even withdropping water level and the return of the mud there was still no waders!

However the usual suspects were present:
Kingfisher
Grey Wagtail
Little grebe x3
Gadwall x2

And the bonus for me were the presence of at least 5 teal ... is it autumn already?

Good Luck in your quest for the beginnings of autumn!

Paul B

Eccleston Mere

Common tern 1 adult
Coot 119 (a new record)
Kingfisher 1
Mute swan 7 (adult + 6 cygnets)
Great crested grebe families with 5 and 2 chicks.
Swallow 50

Billinge Area

There were very few birds around this afternoon probably due to the wind, but I was pleased to see little owls at both of the known sites in Billinge. The flock of mistle thrush was the biggest I've ever seen. They were in the field west of Red Barn Farm.

Little Owl 2 (One at Red Barn Road, and one near Promised Land Farm)
Mistle thrush 35 in a single flock
Kestrel 2
Yellowhammer 8


 
 
Damian P

Red Barn Road

We all went out to look for owls this evening. We couldn't see or hear the little owls, but saw a barn owl flying over the fields and heard a tawny owl and a grey partridge calling.

Damian P

Red Underwing Moth, My Garden Eccleston

I found this Red Underwing moth in my garden this evening. I saw it in flight at first and thought it was a butterfly, luckily it landed on my shed...



Damian P

Rainford Mosslands

There are still plenty of yellow wagtail in the potato field along the Old Coach Road. It's quite difficult to count them as they keep flying around disappearing from view. There were at least four today and of those that I could see well enough, there were two females and one juvenile.

The stoat was in front of me on the path between Moor Game Farm and Mossnook Farm. It kept popping (or is that a weasel!?) in and out of the undergrowth.  It was by far the best views I've ever had of one, and the first time I've managed to get a photo.


Yellow wagtail 4+ (2f, 1 juv)
Corn Bunting 1 (just North of Inglenook Farm)
Meadow Pipit 1
Yellowhammer 1
Kestrel 1
Buzzard 2

Brown Hare 2
Stoat 1

 
 


Damian P

Eccleston Mere

GS Woodpecker 3 (1m, 1 juv, 1?)
Blackcap 3 (1f, 2 juv)
Willow warbler 5 one still singing
Nuthatch 1
Treecreeper 1
GC grebe 2 family groups with 6 chicks

Damian P

A couple of surprises at Eccleston Mere

I arrived at the mere just as Damian was leaving and didn't see half of the birds he did. I did manage a couple of surprises though........

A female banded demoiselle in the hedge on the western shore of the mere was a very unexpected sight, and was unsurprisingly a new species of damselfly for the mere (as far as I know). They have become established in St Helens in recent years, but are still almost wholly confined to the Sankey brook, and any record away from there is a good one. They usually prefer slow moving, well vegetated, clear rivers, but it's not unprecedented for them to me found around lakes, and there have been a small number of records from Bold Moss in recent years. I can't imagine them breeding at the mere, there's just not the habitat, the stream is too small, so these extralimital records are probably individuals dispersing and looking for new sites.







Female banded demoiselle.




















On the water I was surprised to see a great crested grebe family with 5 chicks. I usually expect to see two or three. I don't think I've ever seen 5 before. There were at least 4 other chicks on the mere today, so if they can all fledge it looks like they will have had a good year this year.








Great crested grebe family.










Other birds at the mere today: Kingfisher, 2 mute swans with 6 cygnets, 100 coot, 12 tufted ducks.

I've put a piece about grasses at Eccleston Mere today on my blog.


Red Barn Road Billinge Sunday 20th July 9pm-10pm

Yellowhammers  (Several calling from different locations along the road and footpath)
Corn Bunting
Little Owl (2) One sat on a telegraph pole while a second one one on the roof of the old sheds near the sheep field)
Barn Owl (1) Sat on a fence post on the eastern end of the road towards Billinge.
Tawny Owl  Not seen but  heard calling.

Newton Lake

Green sandpiper present for a second day at Newton Lake. Info from Paul B.

Newton Lake

A report of a Green Sandpiper today at Newton Lake from Paul B. Damian

My Garden, Eccleston

Three ravens flew over my garden this afternoon heading South East.

Cheers, Damian

Dairy Farm Lane

Sent from my iPhone
17 Curlew in left hand field 3 o'clock Sat 12.
Cheers
Howard

Crossbill flyover

How lucky and random to have just had my first garden tick of common crossbill.

It came straight from the direction of Billinge Hill and was giving its distinctive flight call.

Tick

Paul B

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National Moth Night

 Last night I assisted the Sankey Valley Ranger Service with a public bat and moth event as part of National Moth Night. The bat walk was run by the Rangers, and went from the Visitor Centre onto Stanley Bank Meadow. The moth side of the event was run by myself and one of the Rangers on Stanley Bank Meadow. We had 53 species of moth, the best of which were:
 
Elachista maculicerusella 1 (37th record)
Cnephasia incertana 1 (38th record)
Gypsonoma dealbana 2 (32nd-33rd records)
Suspected 1 (9th record)
Small Dotted Buff 1 (27th record)
 
other species of note included Blackneck, Gold Swift, Buff Arches, Burnished Brass and for the micros, Hedya salicella, Aleimma loeflingiana,, Argyresthia brockeella and Helcystroramma rufescens. There was one new species for the site and this was the Rustic. Unfortunately the temperature dropped as the night wore on, so the number of bat and moths recorded were lower than we normally get. As far as I know only pipistrelle bats were noted.
 
RayB

Red kite.

Meant to post this last week.
I was up on Sandy Lane Bold and noted 2 Buzzards bombing/ attacking another bird of prey, so I
pulled over and got my bins out... What the other Raptor was and I'm 99% sure was a Red Kite. I know Colin D seen one at Moore earlier in the year. Are they about the north west? Anyone else seen any sightings?
Cheers
Howard

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Bardsey Island 1st July

Bardsey Island 

Amazing day on Bardsey Island after catching the 10.30am ferry from Porth Meudwy.
The weather was simply glorious. Plenty of birds, butterflies and other wildlife to see including close views of the Grey Seal colony on the island. Spent most of the time in the island filming the Grey Seals at Sol Fach beach etc rather than taking photographs though. The population of Puffins on the island is doing really well with numbers increasing considerably over the last few years and they were fare more noticeable in terms of numbers on this occasion.

List for the day:


Oystercatcher
Lesser Black Backed Gull
Herring Gull
Kittiwake
Gannet
Manx Shearwater
Guillimot
Fulmar
Puffin

Rock Pipit
Meadow Pipit 

Linnet
Goldfinch
Pied Wagtail
Stonechat
Wheatear
Skylark
Jackdaw
Chough
Buzzard
Peregrine Falcon
Grey Seals 20+