Eccleston Mere

Ring Ouzel, ad male showing well in scrubby field opposite the Sailing Club timekeeper hut on west side of Mere late afternoon. Still present at 5.30 when I left.

RayB

A few photos of the Ring Ouzel below. Still showing in exactly the same spot behind the hut at 7:30pm. Also this evening, 3 Gadwall (2mm, 1f) and 1 Kingfisher - Colin D.





 

Moth trapping at home

Double-striped Pug 3
Early Thorn 2
Small Quaker 2
Common Quaker 17
Clouded Drab 3
Hebrew Character 3
Early Grey 2
Oak Nycteoline 2 (only the 2nd and 3rd I've caught)
 
RayB

Moss Lane area

There were birds everywhere along Moss Lane this morning and the song and calls of either skylark, corn bunting, lapwing, reed bunting, and yellowhammer could be heard almost all the time.

The wheatear where in the ploughed field near the pylons, and the redwing were in the tall hedge next to the sheep paddock.

Wheatear 2m
Redwing 4
Grey Partridge 1
Oystercatcher 4 (2 in the ploughed field opposite the rugby club and two near Sadler's Lane)
Meadow Pipit 8+
Linnet 6
Reed Bunting 3+
Stock Dove 1
Sparrowhawk 1
Tree Sparrow 10+ at Sadler's Lane
Skylark, lapwing, yellowhammer everywhere

Corn Bunting

Wheatear (I hope that's the right type of barbed wire in the background!)

video
Corn Bunting Video
 





Damian P

Eccleston Mere

Lesser Redpoll 15
Sand Martin 4
Water Rail 1 still in western ditch and showing well
Bullfinch 4
Oystercatcher 2
Gadwall 2 (m&f)
Buzzard 1
Kingfisher 1

Sankey Valley

Orange Underwing 5 Goyt area, in flight
Great Crested Grebe 20+ Carr Mill Dam
 
RayB

Eccleston Mere

Sand Martin 20
Gadwall 3 (2 males, 1 female)
Kingfisher 1
 
CD & RayB
 
 

Eccleston Mere

Sandmartin 5
Water rail 1
Kingfisher 1 fishing on the stream
Mute swan 2 adults
Gadwall 1m
Chiffchaff 2 singing
Grey Wagtail 1
Lapwing 2 over
Lots of reed bunting

A fox was seen briefly in the fields again.

Damian P

Eccleston Mere

Gadwall 4 (3mm, 1f)
Mute Swan 2 adults
Tufted Duck 18 (10mm, 8ff)
Nuthatch 1
Treecreeper 1
Grey Wagtail 2

Eccleston Mere

Sand Martin 6
Kingfisher 1
Gadwall m&f
Tufted Duck 17
Great Crested Grebe 6+
Sparrowhawk 1
Reed Bunting 1
 
RayB

A quick half an hour at Sankey Canal

1 Kingfisher
1 C Chiffchaff
3 Buzzards
2 Blue Tits taking nesting material into one of the footbridge lights.
They were gaining entry in a tiny gap between the steel tubing and the light casing. Fascinating.
Cheers
Howard A




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Moth trapping at home

March Moth 1
Small Quaker 1
Common Quaker 5
Hebrew Character 1
Early Grey 2
 
RayB

Eccleston Mere

Chiffchaff 3 singing
Gadwall 3 (2mm, 1f)
Kingfisher 1

But otherwise very quiet.

Eccleston Mere

There were very few birds at the Mere this afternoon probably because of the high winds...

Gadwall 4 (3m, 1f)
Lesser Redpoll 4 in the hedge between the first two fields near the boat hut
Reed bunting 2
Pied Wagtail 9 feeding on the grass near the entrance
Kestrel 1

I think that was it!

Damian

Billinge Hill

A singing chiffchaff provided the entertainment on a drizzly morning. My first one up here this year a sign that spring is coming - promise!

14 redwing didn't look too happy with the weather as they headed north determined not to be grounded by the weather they stayed low slowly moving north from tree to tree.

There was also a small passage of meadow pipits.

Paul B

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Moth trapping at home

Just four species overnight but it will get better as the year goes on. If anyone wants to know what these moths look like, go to ukmoths.org.uk where there are lots of photos of most species.
 
Common Plume Moth 5
March Moth 1
Common Quaker 4
Early Grey 4
 
RayB 

Eccleston Mere

Swallow 2 flew over late afternoon
Water Rail 1 in ditch
Grey Wagtail 3
Pied Wagtail 5
Grey Heron 4
Cormorant 2
Tufted Duck 11 (7mm 4ff)
Sparrowhawk 1
Reed Bunting
Also Red-legged Partridge 2 on Catchdale Moss Lane
 
RayB

Binoculars

Can anyone recommend a good pair of binoculars to take out whilst using my camera and long lens? Would be ideal if i could fit them in a pocket!Cheers!

Great Spotted Cuckoo, Pembrokeshire

Ray and I headed down to Pembrokeshire for the day today, in search of a Great Spotted Cuckoo which has been present for a few days. What a bird! It eventually showed really well on the golf course at Penally near Tenby. We also had good views of Chough on the headland. More on my blog.



Eccleston Mere

Water Rail 1 in usual spot in western ditch
Gadwall 3 (2mm, 1f)
Kingfisher 1
Chiffchaff 1

Sandy Lane Bold Heath

Stopped off on my way home from work to check the fields and farm buildings.
1 Grey Partridge
2 meadow Pipits
2 Lapwing
A small flock of Fieldfare.. Unable to count as the grass was to long.
Flock of Goldfinch
1 skylark
Yellow hammers heard.
Thanks
Howard

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Sankey Canal

Half an hour on my lunch,quite good today.
7 Redwing feeding on grass with some pigeons at rear of canal.
2 Buzzards
2 Reed bunting
2 Bullfinch m&f
1 Song-thrush
Plenty of Great Blue & Long-tailed Tits about.
Chiffchaff singing
Wrens heard also.
Nice place to eat your butties:-)
Howard
:-)



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Eccleston Mere

Oystercatcher 2 flew over
Gadwall 3 (2mm, 1f)
Pochard 2mm
Kingfisher 1
Tufted Duck 10

Eccleston Mere

Water Rail 1 in ditch under western hedge
Gadwall 4 (3mm, 1f)
Pochard 2 mm
Mute Swan 2 ads
Kingfisher 2
Great Crested Grebe 15
Pied Wagtail 10
Tufted Duck 11

Bold Moss

I decided to go to Bold Moss this afternoon to look for the daytime flying moth Orange Underwing and any other bits of wildlife there might be. In my passed experience with this moth, I've found that it's best to look for it around 1pm onwards on sunny, calm afternoons, from March to April, were with patience you can see them flitting around the tops of Birch trees. They are around the size of a Gatekeeper butterfly and with luck you can get them sat on the branches of the birches. If you have a pair of binoculars you can get good views of them on the trees, and occasionally on the ground. All round it was a good afternoon.
 
Little Grebe 2
Great Crested Grebe 2
Buzzard
Reed Bunting 1
Orange Underwing 15
Brimstone Butterfly 1
Peacock 3
Small Tortoiseshell 1
7 Spot Ladybird 43
Common Frog 50+
Primrose lots
 
RayB

Sankey Canal (Hospital Bewsey Lane section)

Had a quick half an hour on my lunch. Unfortunately no kingfisher.
Chiffchaff (heard)
Blue, Great & Long Tailed Tits.
Mallard M&F
Coots,loads
Buzzard (over)
Black headed Gulls.. Everywhere.
Cheers
Howard
Ps
It's my first post, hope it's ok?

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Old Coach Road

A leisurely stroll along  the Coach Road this morning produced a few bits and pieces, including several Lapwings displaying, which is always nice to see. I also had a Stoat trotting along the road, totally oblivious of me until it got around 20 feet away, at which point it saw me a dashed off into the roadside vegetation.
 
Grey Partridge 4
Oystercatcher 2
Peregrine 1
Buzzard 4
Kestrel 1
Song Thrush 2
Mistle Thrush 4
Skylark 10+
Meadow Pipit 10+
Lapwing 30+ (some displaying)
Stoat 1
 
RayB

One swallow ...

... does not make a summer but it sure is a true sign that spring is on the way!

Up around Billinge hill this morning in the search for the first few long distance migrants was not going too well until a familiar streamlined dark shape flitted into view over a stagnant pool of water near the pine copse.

Alas that was the only migrant I found but it is my earliest swallow in St Helens beating my previous earliest by 12 days.

Maybe tommorow the wheatears will turn up ....

Other sightings:
2 redpoll (passing over)
6 siskin (passing over)
1 Raven
2 grey partridge
1 great spotted woodpecker
1 sparrowhawk
Plenty of tree sparrow, yellowhammer, skylark on territory too

Paul B

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Eccleston Mere

I called in at Eccleston Mere on my way home from work this evening. There was a Chiffchaff singing in the hedge and a second non-singing bird in the SW corner. Apart from that it was just the usuals, Kingfisher, two Gadwall, Grey Wagtail and best of all today the Great Crested Grebes were displaying.


Moth trapping at home

I put my moth trap out last night for the first time this year, and was pleasantly surprised at what I caught for the time of year. I had 18 moths of 11 species, which considering the weather we have had recently isn't a bad total. I have been trapping at home since 1996 and the Oak Beauty was only the 3rd record I have had at home. Below is a list of what was recorded. As the year progresses I will just give the highlights of what I record.
 
Agonopterix heracliana 1
Light Brown Apple Moth 1
Common Plume Moth 2
March Moth 1 (male)
Double-striped Pug 1
Oak Beauty 1 (male)
Dotted Border 1
Common Quaker 4
Clouded Drab 1
Hebrew Character 1
Early Grey 4 
 
RayB

Billinge Hill

No sign of the stonechats today or for the last few days since Damian and Paul saw them on Tuesday. Maybe they couldn't handle the publicity? In their place were three yellowhammers which , on first sighting, I thought were yellow wagtails. I cant believe yellowhammers are on the red list because even on days when I spot nothing around Billinge lump i'll always see several yellowhammers. My only other sighting this morning was a small flock of about a dozen Fieldfares which flew over and headed in the direction of Fir tree farm.

Eccleston Mere

The oystercatcher was the first bird I saw as I walked through the gates of the Mere this morning, feeding on the grass where the little ringed plover was in the summer. All the lesser redpoll I've seen recently at the Mere have been in the hedge separating the first two fields on the west side. There were four together and then I saw seven birds fly away, probably all lesser redpoll. A chiffchaff was singing away somewhere in the southwest corner , and I later saw a chiffchaff in the dead wood - my first (non-Siberian!) chiffchaff of the year.

Chiffchaff 1+ singing
Oysercatcher 1
Lesser redpoll 4-7
Teal 2
Goldcrest 3+ singing along the hedge and on the fallen tree along the stream
GS woodpecker 2 (m+f)
Treecreeper 1 calling
Coal tit 2
Gadwall 1m
Kingfisher 1
Bullfinch (heard only)
Lots of reed bunting

Build up of gulls

Around 100 Common Gulls in Queen's Park off Boundary Road this morning. Also lots of Black-headed Gulls and a few each of Herring Gull and Lesser Black-back. Worth scanning any of these flocks you come across, March is a good month for Mediterranean Gull passage and there's also been one or two Ring-billed Gulls in the North-West this winter.


Ecleston Mere

Water Rail 1 showing well again in the ditch on the western side of the mere.
Gadwall 2 (m&f)
Kingfisher 1
Little Grebe 1 ad
Teal 2+ in wet woods
Goldcrest 1

Stonechat pair .... ?

There was a third .... similar to the female above but with more white in the wing.

Paul B

Just like buses (again)

Following on from Andrew and Damian I snuck out just after 5pm to hopefully glimpse the stonechat which would be a St Helens tick for me.

A quick yomp toward the midden pile and I soon got onto the stunning male flitting about and away as a dog walker approached.

It didn't take long before the female followed in close proximity as is habit for stonechats but imagine my surprise when another chat flicked into view!

So I'd gone from not seeing a single stonechat in St Helens to seeing 3 in one go!

I think I have some nice photos too hopefully ill get chance to post later.

Tick!

Paul B

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Billinge Hill and surrounding area

I went for a look for the stonechat that Andrew found this morning. I got there for about 10.30am and had a really good look around the summit. After about an hour and a half searching I finally gave up and headed across to Promised Land Farm. When I got back to the car I was gutted after having blanked again - I'm still gutted about missing the kittiwake recently!

The sun was coming out so I thought I'd have 'one last look' for the stonechat. Eventually I saw a distant bird perched up on a bit of scrub that looked a likely candidate. As I got closer it was joined by another bird and I could see that they were both stonechat. I didn't have much time left at this point so had a quick go at getting photos - I'll put them up later but they're not very good. I feel slightly better about the kittiwake now!...

Stonechat 2 (1m,1f)
Grey Partridge 2
Bullfinch 1m
Goldcrest 1
Tree Sparrow 20+
Also skylark, yellowhammer and linnet in small numbers.

 





If anyone is going to have a look for the stonechat, they were exactly where Andrew said, between the summit and the midden pile. They're to the left of the path that runs NNW in the middle of this map between the fields...

http://binged.it/1fEJqK7

Damian P

Billinge Hill Midden pile

Hi, ive not posted for ages and have left a message with Colin on occasionally birding! I.m 99% poss=itive ive just seen a male stonechat at the midden pile between the hill and Houghwood just off the muddy path. It allowe me to get quite close, 15-20 yards and kept hiding behing little grassy tussocks. Eventually it flew towards the hill. Ive never seen one before but recognised it straight away. Only other alternative is Whinchat but I read theyre summer visitors?

Red Barn Lane, Billinge

A quick walk produced a lovely surprise as 200+ fieldfare feeding in between Red Barn Lane and the road leading to Crank.

Other sightings inc tree sparrow, yellow hammer, buzzard, kestrel and sparrowhawk.

Not long before there'll be wheatears down here!

Paul B

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Eccleston Mere

It was very quiet around the Mere this morning. At least I didn't get wee'd on, which is always a bonus...

Buzzard 2
Kestrel 1
Gadwall 2 (1m,1f)
Treecreeper 2
Tufted duck 10+
Lots of reed bunting

One of the many singing wrens about


Damian P