Eccleston Mere

The male goldeneye was back again this morning. No sign of the wigeon or teal but I didn't walk the whole way around so they could have been behind the island...

Goldeneye 1m
Bullfinch pair
Pochard 1m, 1f
Willow Tit 1
Treecreeper 1
Goldcrest 1 in SW corner
Reed bunting 1f


 
Damian P

My Garden, Eccleston

I managed to get a few photos of the female blackcap when it was visiting my garden yesterday. It flew onto my trellis and was after the few remaining berries on the honeysuckle. Blackcaps are fascinating birds, they only started to over-winter in the uk in the past 50 years or so and switch their diets from insects in the summer to fruits and berries in the winter.


 
Damian P

Eccleston Mere

Myself and Paul spent a few hours around the mere this morning, it was cold but lovely and bright. The highlights were the widgeon and teal which were on the water but easily spooked by the dog walkers.

Mute Swan 1
Wigeon 6
Teal 9 on the Mere + 4 in the woods
Common gull 6
Little grebe 2
Willow tit 2
Bullfinch heard
Kingfisher 1
Great spotted woodpecker 1
Redwing 1 heard
Fieldfare 1 heard
Grey Wagtail 1
Pochard 3 m 1 f
Gadwall pair
Treecreeper heard

Damian P

Forgot to mention the fox which was pouncing for something in the fields...


Widgeon

My garden, Eccleston

My garden has been visited by a male and female blackcap over the past few days. They tend to come every winter at about this time. I'll try and get some photos while I'm off work but the apples I put out in the tree yesterday were pinched by the squirrels!

Also yesterday was the daily visiting coal tit and a sparrowhawk which flashed through.

Damian P

Eccleston Mere

I had a quick look around late afternoon...

Pochard 5 (3m, 2f)
Gadwall 3 (2m,1f)
Mute Swan 2
Little Grebe 1

No sign of the Goldeneye from Sunday.

Damian P

Grey Seal, Newton-le-Willows

Surely this is one of the most amazing wildlife sightings ever in St Helens! An Atlantic grey seal in a field alongside Newton Brook. This incredible photo was taken by Colin Lane.

If it was you who found it, send us a write up of the circumstances so that we can post it here.


Eccleston Mere

The first time I've been around for a while since getting my new permit...

Goldeneye 1 male (thanks to Bill for pointing it out to me! )
Pochard 6-9
Mute swan 2 (1m,1f)
Lots of tufted duck (about 40), coot (about 80), and black headed gulls (about 80) and a few herring, lesser-black backed, and 1 common gull.

Also, a male great spotted woodpecker was on my garden feeders today - the first one for years.

Damian P

Colliers Moss & Developments

I had an interesting walk around Colliers Moss (http://www.discoverthemerseyforest.co.uk/Country-Parks.aspx?region=2&RefNum=CPK033)  today as part of a "reccie" with new owners Mersey Forest http://www.merseyforest.org.uk/

The idea was to get a feel for the place from numerous points of view because the place has changed dramatically to the last time it was officially surveyed.  See http://www.birdwatchinginsthelens.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/bold-moss.htm for an explanation of how it was regarded as one of the regions best wildlife sites, especially for odonata (dragon and damselflies).  

However, over the past decade or so woodland has begun to encroach the open heath areas thus reducing the opportunities for birds such as meadow pipits, skylark, linnet and (dare I say) cuckoo.  There is however a note of caution not to remove to much of the young birch/alder as the potential presence of birds such as willow tit and spotted flycatcher may be affected.

Elsewhere reeds and typher have begun to encroach seriously on the mosses thus intervention is needed to protect and restore these rare habitats.  One of these mosses is the only place in merseyside for cross-leaved heath (http://www.plantlife.org.uk/wild_plants/plant_species/cross-leaved_heath)

In other areas the reed has colonised the once open pools which has provided ideal habitat for reed warbler, reed bunting and water rail, only a little opening up of pools should be needed.  Oh and maybe a few features put in to make spotting wildlife a little easier :)

Each of these relatively small pieces of work should enhance the site for the return of the wide variety of odonata that the site was put on the map for over a decade ago.  And as you know where there are dragonfly .... there are hobby!

In order to carry out these much needed works the Mersey Forest people will be looking to a funding source and may need a crack team of volunteers to help them, I'm happy to throw my name in the hat  ...... As for now its a case of watch this space 

Whilst out and about the undoubted trip for me were the woodcock.  We had 5 fly out of an area toward Burtonwood Moss and 2 fly out of an area near to Sutton Moss.

Other birds of note:
Reed Bunting x3
Redwing
Fieldfare
Sing Thrush
Siskin (heard)
Goldcrests (heard)
Buzzard x2
Sparrowhawk

Cheers
Paul B

A little twist on Birding in Billinge

Had a lovely day out and about in Billinge with a new acquaintance included getting up close and personal with a few of my feathered friends ....


As you can see from the twitter account the photos are causing quite a stir!

If yo look closely at the photos you'll see me too!

Paul B