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:
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