X marks the spot

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Another 4 hour stint from dawn at Hesketh Golf Course this morning. Again, really enjoyable despite not really seeing much quality. Highlight was easily a party of 4 Crossbill that flew over reasonably low giving their distinctive call. They were heading east and came through at about 11.15am and provided a welcome reward for the effort. Other scarcer birds for the site included Blackcap, 6 Siskin, 8 Goldcrest, 4 Chiffchaff, 4 Coal Tit including 1 doing a very good Yellow-browed call impression, 2 Swallow, Redwing and 8 Cattle Egret on Rimmers. I drove past the queue for the Bearded Tits and had a look over Crossens Outer. The 2 Barnacles were still feeding at the back of the short stuff – Barnacles seem to like that area as I’ve seen them there previously. Also plenty of Lapwing, Ruff, Golden Plover and a few GBB Gulls slowly d...
Continue Reading » X marks the spot...

Beardie birdies

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Despite the forecast torrential rain, I headed out at dawn and spent about 3 hours on a deserted Hesketh Golf Course looking for migrants. The only other person I saw was the Greenkeeper and he was wisely in a golf buggy. Still the bushes had plenty of birds in them with some nice tit flocks to go through. Highlight was a latish Spotted Flycatcher and I manged a poor record shot of it as it loop the looped in search of flies. Other birds included a pair of Coal Tit (patch year tick), 20+ Goldcrest, 30+ Long-tailed Tit, a late Swallow through, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Chiffchaff and plenty of Great and Blue Tits. No hoped for Yellow-browed, but felt like there should be one. After 3 trips round the course, I gave up and headed to the Sandplant where a Bearded Tit had been seen yesterday morning. As I pulled on my sodden waterproofs and ...
Continue Reading » Beardie birdies...

Double helpings

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
A double dose of Hesketh today broken up by an overly optimistic Scoter search. Started at dawn and the drake American Wigeon was showing well on shelter pool with about 400 Eurasian birds. Shame it was so murky as I probably could have got some decent shots. Nice to watch it without a force 10 blowing to be honest. A Wheatear was probing around for food and 2 GWE were feeding on the pools with multiple Heron and Little Egret – must be plenty of fish in there as their success rate was pretty high. Marsh Harrier was my only raptor, but if I’m honest I spent much of my time head down scanning the waders and wildfowl. The interesting female Wigeon was still on site. I’ve sent images and video to Sebastian Reeber and he’s promised to have a look at them for me, so it will be interesting to get his though...
Continue Reading » Double helpings...

Baldpate

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
A quick visit first thing to Hesketh turned out to be a good decision. I’d wanted to see if the wader flock from yesterday had any new additions and there was one more Little Stint so 3 birds in total. The juv Curlew Sand was also still with c50 Dunlin. On the way back to the car with the light getting gradually worse, I started to scan the Wigeon on Shelter Pool and noticed 2 sawbills. They turned out to be Red-breasted Merganser, brilliant – a full patch tick! As I photo’d them, I noticed an odd Wigeon through the camera. I got the scope on it, and it looked good for a drake American. Flanks were spot on and the head tones and pattern looked good – the light was so poor now though that I couldn’t fully rule out a decent looking hybrid. I could see it was heading towards one of the gutters with the flock...
Continue Reading » Baldpate...

Sunny delight

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
A dawn start at Hesketh and the clear skies plus the surprisingly chilly southerly made it a raw one. As the sun rose though, the light was perfect. Waders were the star of the show, and there was plenty of species. Highlights were 2 Little Stint and a Curlew Sand feeding in with around 40 Dunlin. Gems in the morning glow, it was great to watch their various feeding actions – the Stints are brilliant. I watched them feeding for about 2 hours and also added 2 Spotted Red, 7 Greenshank, a mini influx of 12 Avocet, 3 Ruff, a couple of Snipe and the usual common species. Also on site were a single Whooper, GWE, Merlin and 4 Pintail. Finally a quick look at the Marine Lake for gulls – not much of interest, but this juv/1st winter GBB was a beast! ...
Continue Reading » Sunny delight...

Barnacle Bill

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
A family day out today in Southport, but on the way home I noticed a few thousand Pinks on Suttons at Marshside.¬†John Dempsey¬†had also given me a heads up he’d had one of the AGP’s on Crossens Inner so I had a quick turn around at home and went out for a couple of hours. The geese were brilliant – maybe 5,000 grazing on the grass with birds arriving all the time on the fresh northerly and I enjoyed going through them. Only a Barnacle to show for the effort, but it was close in and they are a stunning goose. I always presume these birds that arrive with big Pinks movements are wild. Look at the feathering on its back – superb. A quick trip to the marine lake and the only gull of note was a colour ringed Black-head which looks like its been rung by Kane Brides. Another message that the AGP was still on Crossens O...
Continue Reading » Barnacle Bill...

Midget gem

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Early start at Hesketh hoping that some mud was showing again after a week without any tidal top ups, but its still too high for small waders. The visit started well(ish) with a pair of Egyptian Geese flew over the car as I arrived in the car park. A full patch tick even though they probably squeak if you squeeze them. A relatively quick visit, but still 2 adult Spotted Red on Shelter Pool and another one further up the reserve, Greenshank, 2 GWE, Avocet (doesn’t look well), 2 Peregrine (ad, juv), 3 Ruff (2ad, juv), 8 Dunlin, 3 Golden Plover, 8 Black-tailed Godwit and 5 Jackdaw through. There was a lot of geese over and I half expected my first Whoopers, but they didn’t materialise. A quick call in at Marshside, and the 4 Cattle Egret were on Fairclough’s – part of the southern influx from last month moving north I ...
Continue Reading » Midget gem...

Petrel heads

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
An early morning jaunt to Ainsdale today as the weather looked favourable for a few Leach’s. The wind had too much South in it, but a decent amount of West when I first got there and I was rewarded after about half an hour with a cracking juv Sab’s gull fairly close in to shore fighting its way south towards Formby and the Wirral (a juv was also picked out at New Brighton about an hour later, again close in, so maybe the same bird). I was joined by John Dempsey and he picked out a distant Leach’s quite far down the beach towards Southport and we watched it briefly before it disappeared in the surf. Also single Manx, 2 Kittiwake, 10+ Guillemot, another 30 or so Auk sp., a few Gannets, 6 Pintail, 7 Golden Plover + the usual waders, terns and gulls. 2 interesting LWHG’s – first one clearly a hybrid LBB/Herring, bu...
Continue Reading » Petrel heads...

The Redeemer

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
After the disappointment of last weeks Semi-P debacle, messing up a probable 3rd for Lancs on patch, it was nice to somewhat redeem myself by finding a cracking moulting adult American Golden Plover at Marshside today. Initially very distant, its very white super, slim build and constant movement made it stand out at the back of the marsh. On its own at first, I struggled to get some sort of image. The first ones are particularly grainy, but the light was perhaps better at this point. It was flushed about 4 times in the first half an hour so had to keep refinding it to get some better images – it gradually landed nearer, but was never really in decent image range. A cracking bird through the scope though. The strong sunlight didn’t help either. A couple of shaky videos too – the fresh westerly may be helping w...
Continue Reading » The Redeemer...