Friday, 25 September 2009

Local birding: Great White Egret, Brockholes Wetland LWT, Lancs - 25th Sept 2009.

With the exception of actually finding the bird, there isn't much more of an ornithological buzz than connecting with a local patch MEGA, and this was certainly the case today as all hell broke loose mid-afternoon when Brockholes regular Carl Partington contacted me with news to say he was watching a GREAT WHITE EGRET on the adj River Ribble below Redscar Weir!!!!

The GWE initially shared this area with a Little Egret, which slipped away unnoticed as all attention was firmly on the magnificent GWE.

The Great White Egret would feed for c20 mins then take flight of its own accord to another area, and was seen on the reserve proper as it landed on the wet meadow scrape, Sludge tanks and No2 and No3 Pits briefly before returning to the Ribble NE of the site around Redscar/Tunbrook Woods, eventually returning to the favoured area of river, the gravel beds downstream of the weir at the NE end of the reserve where it remained giving great scope views until 16:55 when it took flight and flew strongly and distantly SW downstream.

This awesome bird was the total package in that it was also colour ringed. Details have been sent off and the history of the bird will hopefully be posted in due course.

Amazingly, the finder of the Brockholes GWE, Carl Partington, was watching this same colour ringed individual at Banks Marsh on the Ribble Estuary y/day afternoon (24th), and it is NOT the same bird as that seen on the Ribble Marshes and roosting at Naze Pool, Freckleton, c1 week ago from what I can see from photos on Colin Bushell's blog showing an unringed bird. I assume this unringed bird is indeed the same individual which relocated to Leighton Moss RSPB, Lancs/Humphrey Head, Cumbria.

Many thanks to Carl for the initial text which enabled c20 birders to connect with this awesome beast of an Egret at Brockholes, the first site record for the reserve! - What a spectacular bird, thank goodness I was local today!!

With Avocet, Red-necked Grebe, Fulmar, Red Backed Shrike and now Great White Egret added to the site list so far in 2009 (and i've managed to see them all!!), what new addition will be next I wonder? Well, as always the site is screaming out for the first Spotted Crake.... my tip every autumn!

Other notable birds onsite today included the delightful juv Black-necked Grebe still present and a Green Sandpiper.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Great White Egret, Humphrey Head, Cumbria & Brockholes Wetland LWT, Lancs - 24th Sept 2009.

Above & below: Great White Egret, Humphrey Head, Cumbria, 24th Sept 2009. Always an impressive sight, the Egret showed well, though fairly distantly, on the saltmarsh on+off before flying north at 15:40, though perhaps not far.

Above: Whinchat, Humphrey Head, Cumbria. Also seen were 2 Peregrine, a skein of 48 Pink-footed Geese flew south, 3 Raven and 2 Wheatear.

A visit to the local patch, Brockholes Wetland LWT, Lancs, early evening:

Above: The juv Black-necked Grebe still present.

Above & below: 2 Water Rail (top: juv/1stw, bottom: adult), Brockholes wetland LWT, Lancs, 24th sept 2009. Absolute record shots, these two birds have been present in the reedbed at the eastern end of the Main Pool, out from the third passing place, for at least a week now. Evenings appear to be best.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Local birding: Brockholes Wetland LWT, Lancs - 22nd Sept 2009.

Above: Juv Black-necked Grebe
Below: Peregrine
The highlights from 5hrs onsite today.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Local birding: Black-necked Grebe, Brockholes Wetland LWT, Lancs - 22nd Sept 2009.

The juvenile Black-necked Grebe remains on the Main Pool for the seventh day. This is the 5th site record since the first in 2001, totalling six individuals. Of these, 1 record (a pair) has been in spring, and four records (3juv, 1 ad) in autumn.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

In your dreams Cllr John F. Wright, in your dreams!!

Lancs: Nightjar & Long-billed Dowitcher - 19th sept 2009.

Above & below: Nightjar, Leighton Moss RSPB, Lancs - 19th Sept 2009. A very, very long time coming, the first fully available Nightjar for the 1980's generation of Lancashire birders was found roosting on one of the closest Bearded Tit grit trays out from the causeway. Amazingly, it is the the second Nightjar to be found in the Leighton Moss area in the past ten days following a bird picked up injured (broken wing) at nearby Silverdale Golf Club. It is also the third Nightjar to be found in Lancs in the past ten days!!

Above & below: Juvenile Long-billed Dowitcher, Fleetwood Nature Reserve, Lancs - 19th Sept 2009. A great find by an old birding friend and 'old-school' local patcher Ian Gardner.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Brockholes Wetland LWT, Lancs & New Brighton, Wirral - 4th Sept 2009.

Above & below: Common Terns, Brockholes Wetland LWT, 4th Sept 2009. Three birds through this morning, plus an Arctic Tern briefly. A Water Rail was the only other bird of note and once again the site had no wader interest whatsoever!

The Terns kept me at Brockholes much longer than I intended, in the hope more would pass through, but after 3.5 hrs I had had enough of staring across at the expanses of Crassula, formerly wader mud, and headed for the Mersey to salvage what I could from what would be left of the tide.

Between 12:30-14:30 from New Brighton, c4 Leaches Petrel, 1 Manxie, 2 Kittiwake and num Common Tern came out of the Mersey, but pride of place went to this moulting adult Sabine's Gull which spent an hour lingering offshore around Fort Perch Rock, 13:10-14:08.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Colour-ringed Kittiwake, Irish Sea, Cumbria - 25th Aug 2009.

Black-legged Kittiwake, Irish Sea, Cumbria, 25th Aug 2009 - Photo: Paul Derbyshire

Whilst on a boat 6 miles off Walney Island, a colour ringed adult Kittiwake landed briefly. The reply received from the ringer, Jean-Yves Monnat, is very interesting and informative:

“That bird, a male, is one of "mine", indeed. It bred in 2009 at Pointe du Raz colony (Plogoff, Finistère, France, 48°02N 04°43W) on the same nest where it was first caught as a breeding adult in 1999. It bred, or tried do do so, every year on the same place since, and raised 13 chicks to independence from 1999 to 2009, which is quite a good performance.

Nevertheless, he had obviously some individual problems by the end of the season. Although we check every nest daily at fledging time, we failed to see it on it's nest from 24/07/2009 onwards, a very unusual situation, as it's chick first fledged on 03/08/2009 and left the nest (and the area) for good on 13/08/2009.

We saw it once however, but in an apparently poor condition on 11/08/2009, alone on a club: dirty (oil ?), wings hanging down, sleepy for a good while... So, I'm happy to know that he survived yet for a fortnight at least and was strong enough to travel from Brittany to Cumbria.”

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Brockholes Wetland LWT and Marshside, Lancs - 2nd Sept 2009.

3.5hrs on the local patch, Brockholes, produced an adult Water Rail on the Main Pool, an increase in Teal to 45, 1 Green Sandpiper and 11 Buzzard in the air at the same time.

In the aftenoon I visited Marshside. An enjoyable few hours with 2 Merlin, 1+ juv Marsh Harrier, 30 Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwits, 100 Redshank, 20 Ruff (6 juv), 2 Ringed Plover, 3 Little Egret and 200+ Teal noted.

Above: Merlin

Above: Ruff. Below: Black-tailed Godwit

Above & below: Golden Plover, Lapwing, Ruff and Starling.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Farmoor Res, Oxon: Marsh Tern Fest - 30th Aug 2009.

The following distant camcorder videograbs do no justice whatsoever to the scope views of this magnificent trio of Marsh Terns: Juv Black Tern, Juv White-winged Black Tern and Juv American Black Tern, watched over a wonderful and very educational three hour period at Farmoor Res.

Above: Juv American Black Tern.
Below: Juv White-winged Black Tern