Frog or Toad ? My garden Eccleston

My wife found this whilst gardening a few weeks ago. We get frogs in the garden every year around the garden, and in the 'pond' (Belfast sink!). I've not seen one this colour or this shape before, and they normally hop off as soon as you go anywhere near them. This one stayed put. Is it a frog or a toad?

Damian P

Rainford Mosslands

I did a lap of the Rainford Mosslands this afternoon starting at Dairy Farm Road, then South along the Old Coach Road, and then back via Clare's Moss Plantation, Moor Game Farm, Mossnook Farm, and Inglenook Farm. I was really looking for wheatears but didn't see any.

Skylark 40+
Meadow pipit 10+
Linnet 2
Buzzard 4
Oystercatcher 4
Fieldfare 50+
Redwing 5+

Brown Hare 2

The redwing and fieldfare were in a field alongside the public footpath SW of Moss Nook Farm.

Damian P

8 Chiffchaff between the end of Dairy Farm Road and onto the Coach Road toward the Railway bridge.  But also had a very brief sight of a male Hen Harrier over my head and into the sun on the Coach Road.  Heard it call before I saw it.

Havannah flash/Newton lake

Havannah flash/

Cormorant 2  over
Canada goose 3
Grey heron 4 over
Lapwing 2
Nuthatch 2
Redlegged partridge 2 along farmers fields

Newton lake

Mute swan 4 juvenile
Teal 20
Canada goose 14

Havannah flash

Short walk around the flash this morning,
Cormorant 1
Teal 2
Mallard 6
Moorhen 4
Grey wagtail 1

Billinge Hill Sightings

In all the scoter excitement I realised that I missed one or two key sightings off the list from last week!

5 fieldfare over
1 snipe over
2 lesser redpoll feeding and calling loudly in pines with a couple of goldfinch

All these were around the locked gates at the top of Beacon Rd

Paul B

Saturday 21st March

A Chiffchaff was singing by Holy Trinity Church, Downall Green nr Garswood (still there Sunday 22nd)

At Lyme and Woods Pit Country Park a male Yellowhammer was feeding on the Vista Road car park. By the landfill were a fourth-winter Great Black-Backed Gull and 60+ Carrion Crow

Havannah flash

Once again it was very quiet around the flash and surrounding area,below is a short list of my sighting.
Mute swan 2
Nuthatch 2
G/S/woodpecker 1
Teal 15 on Brook
Grey heron 1
Coot 4
Moorhen 4

Lyme and Wood Pits Country Park

This morning birds included 7 Pied Wagtail and 6 Linnet feeding at the Vista Road car park, 5 Yellowhammer including a singing bird and a singing Reed Bunting. 4 Goosander flew SE

D Broome

Common Scoter, Carr Mill Dam

I was alerted this morning at around 10:15am by Dave Owen of the presence of a drake common scoter on Black Brook which he had subsequently lost sight of.  I was on the far side Billinge Hill in the search of migrants (see whether I was successful below) so it took me a while to get back to the house, eat something and jump into the car.

Some time in the early afternoon I got further new that the bird had been refound in the pool below the overflow of Carr Mill Dam.  After a quick chat with Denis Egling at the Waterside car park I arrived on site and quickly found the bird.


I would never have imagined seeing a scoter in a small overflow pool leading to a stream that runs under a railway line and major road!  But unlikely as it seems the little things do add up ... ... ...

These birds migrate at night and in spring migrate over land.  Last spring several small flocks were found on Eccleston Mere (by Colin Davies) and on Pennington Flash.  Carr Mill Dam is the largets body of water in Merseyside and thus you would assume that occasionally it too would hold scoter in the spring.  The other things to consider would be the misty weather leading to some confusion and the possibility of getting "lost".  And the final piece of the jig-saw would be the fact that these birds actually breed near rivers/lakes in the birch/willow forests of northern Europe and that little part of the brook is arguably similar!

And bizarrely it wasnt the only odd duck of the day, after a couple of fly-by sightings I pinned down th elocation of a drake Mandarin(!?!) on the far side of Billinge Hill but then one could argue that this too was in ideal breeding habitat ie an upland pool surrounded by plenty of vegetation and established trees ....


The large flock of redwing were still present but difficult to photograph ...


And still there were no signs of wheatear, chiffchaff or white wagtails ....

Paul B

Havannah flash

Spent a few hours around the flash and the surrounding area this morning,below is a list of what I saw

Jay 1
Coot 4
Moorhen 2
Kingfisher 1
Teal 12
Goldcrest 1
Long tailed tit 10
G/s/woodpecker 1
Nuthatch 1
Mallard 6

Spring has sprung on Billinge Hill

Right from the off there were more signs of spring on Billinge Hill today as the song of skylark filled the air around the paddocks.

Near to the landfill several pairs of long-tailed tits were present around the gorse bushes and one pair was observed collecting moss for an out of site nest in the centre of a large gorse bush.

Also over the tip several meadow pipits were singing whilst they dropped from lofty hovers.

A few pairs of yellowhammers were scattered throughout but the later breeding linnets were notable in their absence.

The tree sparrows around Beacon farm were as obvious as ever and one individual was doing a fair impression of a Spanish sparrow with a black-looking chest and belly, an odd-looking individual indeed.

On the other side of Crank Road near the pine copse a lonely raven came kronking into view perched a while a then headed further north.  Here also a few goldcrests were calling but a pleasant sound from beyond the trees was drowning them out ...... the combined chattering/sub-song of equal portions of 200+ starling and redwing as they nervously fed in the sheep fields.

Heading toward promised land farm there were 20 pied wagtails feeding alongside a few meadow pipits but alas no "white" wagtails.  

Another field held 14 lapwing lighting up the morning with their pee-wit, pee-wit, pee-woooo display.  One pair even seemed to be engaged in some nest-scraping ... hope they are successful, the demise of these green plovers in a modern tragedy.  Its no coincidence that this stubble field was fully occupied whilst the neighboring deserts of green were devoid of almost any life.

I was distracted from these thoughts by a distinctive chattering call which took a while to nail down and then after a minute I located a single fieldfare a top a lofty perch, solemnly calling for its kin.  It was out of luck though and it headed north to find another perch.

A check of a few other fields and patches of scrub didn't however produce any wheatear nor chiffchaff but it wont be long now.  The call of a sparrowhawk around Houghwood almost got me thinking about  a green woodpecker as the habitat looks right.

I finished up checking out the mini-wildfowl collection at Brownlow Farm, those white mandarin are very striking and if those ruddy shelduck were just a few hunded metres further afield they would be the hot topic amongst the local birdwatching community!

Happy Birding
Paul B

Moss Lane

I had a quick look down Moss Lane yesterday...

Grey Partridge 2
Skylark singing
Lapwing displaying
Reed bunting 1
Buzzard 1
Pied Wagtail 5

Damian P

Havannah flash

The Flash seems to be very quiet at the moment,this may be due to the work being carried out in the area.
Below is a short list of birds seen over the past few days.

Tufts duck

Carr Mill Dam

32 Great Crested Grebe and 10 Cormorant this morning

Dave Broome

My garden, Eccleston

A male blackcap was briefly on my bird table a minute ago, the first I've seen for a month or so.

Damian P

Eccleston Mere

I've not been out much at all recently with one thing or another. I'd forgotten how much I love this time of year, new birds arriving all the time, everything starting to call, and not many leaves on the trees.

There's a new gate and fence up along the stream just after where the wood finishes. It's been vandalised already though so people could get through it. I'll upload photos later.

Chiffchaff 3 (1 calling) Chiffchaff song
Siskin 2 heard
Goldcrest 4+ in the southwest corner
GS woodpecker 1
Coal tit 1
Reed bunting 6+
Pochard 8 (5m, 3f)
Gadwall 5 (3m, 2f)
Little Grebe 1 heard whinnying
Mute swan 1


New Gate

Damian P

Newton Lake

This morning birds included 48 Teal, 1 Shelduck, 1 Goosander, 10 Gadwall, also singing Mistle Thrush and Goldcrest by the lake

Dave Broome

Black Redstart

The Black Redstart was on the chimneys of 2-6 Brookfield Street, Earlestown between 08:10-08:15 this morning, dropping in to the rear yards
Regards, Dave Broome