Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A few More Grebe Shots

Here's a few more shots of the Great Crested Grebe at Sefton Park yesterday......just cant resist adding some more to the blog!

male Blackcaps singing in Greenbank Park and Penny Lane railway bridge this morning. 5 Swifts over Dovedale Road yesterday; they are really late this year.

Monday, 20 May 2013

An Old Favourite

I paid a visit to Ainsdale Local Nature Reserve yesterday evening with North Merseyside Amphibian and Reptile Group members Mike Brown and Dave Hardacre to hear the Natterjack Toads unique chorus that echoes around stretches of the Sefton coast during the right conditions every spring. This year’s breeding season has been very successful so far, as the water table is so high the dune slacks are completely full and are in no danger of drying out before the toadlets emerge….fingers crossed!

Natterjack Toad - Ainsdale LNR
As darkness fell large numbers of male Toads could be heard croaking away as they attempted to lure mates into the pools; what a fantastic sound, these little beauties have a knack of ‘throwing’ their voices as they can appear to be calling right under your feet until you realise they are about thirty feet away! The optimum period to view this local natural highlight is around the third week of April, yet they are still going strong and well worth a visit. We must have seen at least twenty animals but heard many more, as we left the reserve they could be heard from the car park! Also on the reserve we found both male and female Smooth Newt, a female Great Crested Newt, Common Toad, and a singing Grasshopper Warbler.
Natterjack Toad - Ainsdale LNR

Great Cresties at Sefton Park

Great Crested Grebe - Sefton Park
Fantastic views of the most recent addition to the avian list at Sefton Park today ……The Great Crested Grebe (thanks to the comment Neil), five in total including a very obliging adult female on the East shore of the lake. It is wonderful to see these birds back at the park as they departed when the lake was being dredged five years or so ago, and I wondered if they would ever recolonize the park, let’s hope they are here to stay. On the downside the Little Grebes nest and eggs have again been attacked and destroyed by territorial Coots; I think Great Crested Grebes may provide a more difficult adversary for them! The Mute Swan family has had great success with seven cygnets (at times hitching a ride on mums back) up on the first raised lake. A family of Canada Geese on the main lake was an unusual sight and another pair has young on the lake behind the cafĂ© as was the case last year. Other birds included two pairs of nesting Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Chiff Chaff, five Swifts, and at least five calling Redpoll calling from tree tops in between the fountain on the second lake and the palm house; this is an unusual sighting for this time of year, it is not too late for them to be potentially migrants or hopefully they may be here to breed.
juv Canada Geese - Sefton Park
juv Mute Swans - Sefton Park
A pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers are nesting in Greenbank Park, as are a pair of Treecreepers, Pied Wagtails, and two pairs of Nuthatch. The three Mute Swans still show no signs of breeding, and two Herons fish the park regularly as does the odd Cormorant during the early mornings. Willow Warblers and Chiff Chaff still sing from the wooded edges, up to 40 Swallows, small numbers of Swifts and House Martins can be seen higher in the sky, and and Red Eared Terrapins sun themselves on the rafts. For anyone interested in botany the Honey Garlic clump (a very rare and attractive plant) in the wooded section near Gorsebank Road has multiple flower heads and is about to flower any time soon.
Little Grebe - Sefton Park

Monday, 6 May 2013

May Day at the Hall

I visited Speke Hall today with the family today for the May Day festival (not the best day for birding on the site as it attracts thousands of visitors!), despite the numbers of people I managed to find a few interesting species. Best of all was a singing Lesser Whitethroat in the scrub area before the estate entrance, and a Garden Warbler in Stocktons Wood; other goodies included a pair of Buzzards over Stocktons Wood, Peregrine over the Hall, and a Little Egret on the shore.

  • Peregrine - 1 flew low East over the Hall
  • Common Buzzard - 2 over Stocktons Wood
  • Sparrowhawk - female over the Hall
  • Pheasant - 2 males on the Airfield
  • Shelduck - 30+ on the shore
  • Little Egret - 1 on the shore under the landing light jetty
  • Garden Warbler - 1 Stocktons Wood
  • Blackcap - 12+
  • Whitethroat - 5
  • Lesser Whitethroat - 1 near the estate gates
  • Willow warbler - 3
  • Chiff Chaff - 15
  • Sedge Warbler - moat
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker - 2
  • Nuthatch - 3
  • Treecreeper - 2
  • House Martin - 15+
  • Swallow - 35+
  • Orange Tip - 1
  • Small Tortershell - 5
  • Peacock - 7
  • Brimstone - 1
  • Speckled Wood - 20+

Odds and Sods

Burton Mere Wetlands  - 29th April

Little Egret - Burton Mere Wetlands
I spent a couple of hours during the afternoon at this fantastic RSPB reserve, it is amazing how this area has been developed; a truly outstanding wetland reserve for the future is in the making - well worth a visit. There was nothing incredibly rare but the reserve was full of summer migrants, many my first for the year.
  • Avocet - 30+ with at least seven pairs nesting
  • Spotted Redshank - 9
  • Common Buzzard - 2
  • Common Swift - 1
  • Water Rail - 1
  • Sedge Warbler - 12+
  • Reed Warbler - 1
  • Grasshopper Warbler - 1
  • Chiff Chaff - 7
  • Willow Warbler - 10+
  • Whitethroat - 1
  • House Martin - 2
  • Sand Martin - 20+
  • Little Egret 20+
  • Siskin -10+
  • Little Grebe - 2
Avocets - Burton Mere Wetlands
Pennington Flash - 2nd May
  • Arctic Tern - 4
  • Common Tern - 3
  • Great Crested Grebe - 8
  • Sedge Warbler - 1
  • Blackcap - 3
  • Willow Warbler - 7
  • Chiff Chaff - 5
  • Kestrel - 1
2 Bullfinches - Springwood Crematorium, 3rd May

Carr Mill Dam - 4th May
  • Great Crested Grebe - 4
  • Kingfisher -1
  • Common Tern - 1
  • Chiff Chaff - 3
  • Blackcap - 2
2 Whitethroats - Cressington Heath, 5th May

Greenbank Park - Over the last week a steady passage of Willow Warblers, Chiff Chaffs, and Blackcaps has been evident, Swallows have been building up with around 20 birds around the park. The 3 Mute Swans are still present as is a male Grey Heron, and two Red Eared Terrapins have been sunning themselves on the rafts. Two nesting pairs of Nuthatch and one each of Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker are present, and Pipistrelles are hunting the park at dusk.

Avocets - Burton Mere Wetlands