Near/north-east of Carr Mill Dam

Saturday 28th May: 1 Oystercatcher near Hollin Hey; 4 Tree Sparrow along Arch Lane; Redpoll in song flight near Charity Farm along Arch Lane.
Monday 30th May: 12 Greylag Goose in flight over fields east of Carr Mill Dam; confirmed breeding of Lapwing with 3 chicks in fields east of Chadwick Green; confirmed breeding of Grey Wagtail at Deer House Farm along Garswood Old Road with adult male carrying food; 2 Tree Sparrow along Arch Lane.
A Fox caught, killed and carried away a Hare at 0645 near Carter's Fold Farm along Garswood Old Road.
Derek Evans

Banded demoiselle

Several Banded demoiselle seen on Havannah flash this morning,the first ones for me this year.

Birds present.
Cormorant 1.
Buzzard 1.
Kestrel 1.
Reed warbler several.
Mute swans 2 over Tesco early morning.


Wednesday 25th May 1 Tawny Owl mobbed by Blackbird at 0640 along Garswood Old Road near Carr Mill Dam.
Derek Evans

Havannah flash

Mink spotted crossing the path into reed beds on Havannah flash 11 30am.
Buzzard was also seen being mobbed by three crows.

Arches Pool/Dig Pit at Carr Mill Dam

Tuesday 24th May No sign of Night Heron 0600-0900. Confirmed breeding of Grey Wagtail (3 juveniles) and of Goldcrest (adult feeding 2 young). Also 1 Willow Tit present.
Derek Evans


Spotted around 11.30 a.m. Sunday 22nd May at The Arches, Carr Mill Dam, St.Helens. Pretty sure its a Night Heron.



Monday 16th May
1 Hobby flew east over Merton Bank Open Space, Sankey Valley at 0630.
Derek Evans

My Elephant Hawk Moth has hatched.....sort of

I found this Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar in the summer whilst strimming my mother in law's garden. I decided to keep it as we'd destroyed it's habitat and to hopefully show the kids a beautiful moth.

I found some info on a few blogs and kept it in some dried willow-herb until it pupated a few days later.

I've been keeping it in my garage in a biscuit tin, and transferred the chrysalis to a butterfly house a few weeks ago, and have been checking it every day since.

This evening, I've just been in to check and found this....

Amblyjoppa Proteus

Not quite what I was hoping for but pretty interesting all the same. It's huge - 23mm not including the antennae.

It's obviously a parasitic wasp of some type, I'm assuming the caterpillar must have already been infected when I found it. The closest ID I've found so far is amblyjoppa proteus as this seems to be the only Ichneumoninae wasp that parsitises elephant hawk moth. I'll try and find an appropriate forum to post photos on to find out what it is for sure. I'm still trying to decide what or if to tell the kids!

Damian P


Friday 13th May
At Merton Bank Open Space, Sankey Valley: 1 Sedge Warbler and 3 Reed Warbler.
At Double Locks, Ravenhead Greenway: another pair of Grey Wagtail.
Derek Evans

Havannah flash

Sightings from around Havannah flash this morning.
Common tern 2.
Kingfisher 1.
Buzzard 6 in total.
Reed warbler 3.

Orange tip.
Speckled wood
Small tortoiseshell

Bluetit hatching

I've found the moment a chick hatches.  Watch the egg on the left just before the 2nd adult comes in...

Bluetit camera

The bluetit chicks are doing well, both adults are feeding them regularly. There were 9 eggs, and we've seen up to 8 chicks at any one time although they're very hard to count, may well be 9. I'll be leaving the camera on as much as possible until they fledge.

Damian P


Monday 9th May
6 goslings with adult pair of Canada Geese at St Helens Canal near Technical College towards town centre.
1 Common Tern over Burgy Banks South.
Confirmed breeding of Grey Wagtail - pair of which female collected food for young at St Helens Canal near Chamber of Commerce towards town centre.
Derek Evans

*Whinchat* Dairy Farm Road - Old Coach Road Lap

I did a lap of the Rainford Mosslands this afternoon hoping to see the recent whimbrel. There was a bird in the last sheep field on the right but I'm not sure if it's a whimbrel or a curlew. The bill shape looks good for whimbrel on some photos but I'd expect the medial crown stripe to be visible on some of them and it isn't...

Bill shape looks ok to me for whimbrel on some of the photos...

But - no medial crown stripe...

And on this one, the bill looks distinctly curlewy..

I'm thinking this is a curlew but would be delighted if anyone says differently! Maybe it was too distant to see the crown stripe clearly?

Also today was this whinchat which was on the ploughed field on the left of the public footpath which runs from Inglenook Farm to Dairy Farm Road. It had me really confused because it was behaving a bit like a wheatear at first and was also quite distant and into the light. It was only when I got home that I worked out (via stonechat!) what it was...

Whinchat 1
Curlew? 1
Shelduck 2
Oysercatcher 3
Wheatear 2 (1m,1f)
Stock Dove 3
Whitethroat 5+ heard along the way
Blackcap 1 heard
Willow Warbler 2 heard
Chiffchaff 1 heard
Skylark 15+
Lapwing 25+

Damian P

My garden, Eccleston

Male siskin again on the sunflower heart feeder today - I thought they'd all gone by now.

Goldcrest heard singing this morning too.

Damian P

Sankey valley

Birds present this afternoon.
Buzzard 3. Near common road, Newton le willows.
Sparrowhawk 1 Havannah flash.
Common tern 3.Havannah flash.
House martin.
Orange tip.


Friday 6th May
1 Peregrine atop brick chimney in St Helens Town Centre.
2 Reed Warber and 1 Sedge Warbler at Merton Bank Open Space, Sankey Valley.

Bluetit nest - Birdcam

We have 3 chicks which hatched early this morning! Click on the tab in the top right to have a look. I'll try and leave the stream running as much as possible now that they have hatched.

Damian P

Eccleston Mere

I had another quick look after work, it was a gorgeous evening, I wish I'd have had more time to look around. I've only ever heard grasshopper warbler once before in exactly the same area about two or three years ago. My hearing is crap but even I could clearly hear this one.

Grasshopper Warbler 1 heard reeling near SW corner
Sedge Warbler 1 singing away near to the water outlet on the west side
Whitethroat 3+
Blackcap 2
Chiffchaff and Willow warbler 2-3 of each
Reed Bunting 4

Also, out of interest myself and Paul saw a Canada Goose on Monday at the Mere which had been ringed. I submitted the details and got this reply today...

Ringing Scheme: London Ring Number: 5272867 Species of bird: Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
This bird was ringed by RSPCA as age at least 1 year, sex male on 28-Jun-2014 15:45:00 at Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, UK
OS Map reference SD4097 accuracy 0, co-ordinates 54deg 22min N 2deg 55min W accuracy 0.
Colour Marks left below knee RW(BASC)

It was found on 02-May-2016 time unknown at Eccleston Mere, St Helens, Merseyside, UK
OS Map reference SJ4894 accuracy 0, co-ordinates 53deg 26min N 2deg 47min W accuracy 0.
Finding condition: Sight record by non-ringer
Finding circumstances: Field Record
Extra Information: -
It was found 674 days after it was ringed, 105 km from the ringing site, direction S.

I noticed this evening that another one has a ring on, but it was with young so I didn't like to get too close to get the numbers.

Damian P


Six Swifts spotted flying over my garden this afternoon, the first of the year for me.

Havannah flash

7am.birds present.
Blackcap 3.
Cormorant 2.
Reed bunting 1.
Buzzard 1.
Sedge warbler 1.
Swallow 1.
Grey heron 1.
Tufted duck 2.

Eccleston Mere

A fairly brief walk this evening with Paul B...

Sedge warbler 1
Redpoll 1
Whitethroat 1
Willow warbler 2
Blackcap 5
Chiffchaff 2
Treecreeper 1
Mandarin Duck 1
Swift 4
Lots of swallows, house martin,  and sand martin around

Damian P

Carr Mill Dam

Monday 2nd May: 10 Common Tern, 1 Common Sandpiper, 100 Sand Martin. Derek Evans