14/04/2017 Houghton Green Pool

Yellow Wagtail: There has been some new arrivals at the pool, including this gorgeous Yellow Wag a dozen or so Sand Martians and a few Swallow.

I was hoping to record the first Yellow Wag of the year however that accolade goes to Martyn Jones who picked it up on the 9th, with some cracking images to boot!

09/04/2017 Marshide RSPB, Southport

Meadow Pipit: Another nice day out with some stunning blue skies and warm weather - I could get use to this!

I was hoping to see Shropshire's Night Heron and spend the day at Venus Pools, however it seemed like the bird did a bunk and disappeared in the night.
Wheatear: So hoping to see my first Wheatear of the years and wasn't disappointed as I counted four individuals foraging around the sand works area. This seemed a popular spot, as there were birders all over the place.
The sand works area is directly Sandgrounders Hide on the opposite side of the road, this is a nice area for mipits, Skylark, Linnet and the odd Ringed Plover.
Avocet: After wandering around the sand works area I ventured over to Sandgrounders Hide where I was confronted by a frenzy of Black-headed gulls with hundreds of them squawking away.
Mediterranean Gull: But take your time and look through the mass of black heads and you will see med gulls. I counted four two very distant and two petty close in that were displaying to each other.
Overall It was a nice day out and I was very pleased that I left the house early as the traffic through Ormskirk towards Southport in the afternoon was horrendous, I was glad I was travelling in the opposite direction.

08/04/2017 Wiagn Flashes

Reed Warbler: I rarely  come to Wigan Flashes, I'm not sure why as on a day like to day the place is buzzing wit wildlife. Brimstone Butterflies, Redpoll, Sand Martins, Cetti's, Blackcaps, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, the place was full of things to see!
I came to see the 1st Winter LTD that was found this morning by Ken Dunning, but got distracted on the way by my first Reed Warbler of the year who was singing away in the reed bed next to Pearson's Flash.
Willow Warbler: Then by a Willow Warbler who put a supurb show singing and flycatching. 
Long-tailed Duck: Eventually I made it to the LDT who sat far out on Pearson's Flash and was busily bathing and splashing around. 

I watched it for about an hour, hoping it might come closer before finally giving up and to enjoy the sunny walk back to the car. 

07/04/2017 Houghton Green Pool

Little Ringed Plover: From Pennington Flash I decided to check Houghton Green Pool out, hoping the first Yellow Wagtail or LRP.
I struck lucky with the LRP as there were two individuls forrgaing around the edge of the pool one of which came right up to me before flying off to the other end.
My luck didn’t hold however as I was unable to locate any yellow ways, and I got some funny looks from a pair of dog walkers who were pointing at me as I lay down on the muddy banks of the pool, taking pictures of the plover.

07/04/2017 Pennington Flash

Lapwing: A pleasant day spent birding locally starting off with the morning at penny, were I was hoping to see the Drake Garganey that has been on site for a couple of days.

But alas It had I missed it by an hour or so as the bird out of sight from the spit near Horrocks Hide.
Little Ringed Plover: Still there was plenty to see, including two Common Sandpiper, three Little Ringed Plover, two Shelduck and I also had my first Swallow of the year.

Horrocks was typically busy with birders all gabbing away so much so that I was actually surprised that a LRP came all the way down from the top end of the spit right under the hide despite the decibel levels.

Redshank: Struggling to out do the guys in the hide a Cetti's Warbler was singing from the right hand side of Horrocks.
These two were getting rather frsicky!

05/04/2017 Donnington Wood, Telford, Shropshire

Iberian Chiffchaff: Not 'just a chiffy with a wacky song' this was my first Iberian Chiffy and although there seems to be a notable influx of Iberian Chiffy's in the UK at the moment you don't get too many knocking about.
I have been informed that this individual is the first ever instance of a reappearing bird in UK as last year there was also an Iberian Chiffy in the same location.

The bird was singing alomst constantly, mostly it was singing it's diagnostic sub-song but on several occassions it did burst out it's full Iberian song.

Lovely sounds and songs and a very lovely little brown job!

26/03/2017 Carr Lane Pools, Cheshire

Garganey: Firstly let me point out the poor quality of these images, most have been taken through my old spotting scope with my Iphone, held by hand.

Secondly I would like to express my disappointment as when I arrived at Carr Lane this morning hoping for seconds on yesterday's Lapland Bunting there were folk walking along the hedge and in the field, hoping to flush the bird.

Unsurprisingly the Lapbunt has been much more illusive today unlike yesterday when it spent most of the day in the same area and showed quite well.

That aside after three recent attempts at seeing the drake Garganey, which has been on both Carr Lane Pools, and the newly named Ibis Pool, I was pleased to finally pick it up.
Water Pipit: I was told the Garganey was flushed from the Ibis Pool by a birder who was walking along the bank, near the bridge. I guess he did me a favour as the bird came on to Carr Lane Pools and was visible from Town Lane. However the bird was very settled and slept for most of the hour that I watched it.

Merlin: Two Water Pipits were also present, as well as this Merlin who was perched on the telegraph pole off Carr Lane.

A nice day out overall, with stunning blue skies, decent birds and friendly faces to say hi to.

22/03/2017 Pennington Flash

Little Gull: Sitting in front of the Mac and doing paperwork, email and a little business promotion on a dank, drizzly day sucks, big time!

So when news came through that there were four adult Little Gull at Penny I was quick to log out, sign off and grab my waterproofs.
Upon arriving at a packed Horrocks Hide the four birds were way out in the bay opposite the sailing club, but in no time they came a bit closer.

When they did come closer I left the hide to gain a better vantage point for taking pictures. All four birds were following each other across the flash and were actively foraging with their distinctive hawking behaviour.
Unfortunately the weather got worse and I was soon drenched from head to toe. Nevertheless I was really pleased to be out and pleased to catch up with the quartet.
All birds being adults had their distinctive dark, blackish undrwings, white upperwings and white tails, however they the didn't have their black hoods just yet.

There has been a really nice selection of gulls at the flash this winter and it was nice to end it with a new Pennington Flash species.
I could have watched them all day, however my paperwork wasn't going to do itself so after about an hour I headed home to dry off and continue working.

21/03/2017 Stanley Park, Blackpool

Chough: Well it's not everyday you see a Chough in Lancashire, this individual is the 2nd Fylde record and the 9th record for Lancashire.
It has been in the Blackpool area for a couple of weeks and has finally settled down at Stanley Park.
The origins of the bird are unclear, there are populations in Anglesey and on the Isle of Man, both of which aren't to far as the Chough fly's.

It took me about half an hour to pin the bird down as I was unfamiliar with the access on to the golf course so played it safe and stayed to the boundary edges.
At first the bird was pretty distant, but with a little patience it came a lot closer and began foraging in a sand bunker.

A must see for any Lancs Listers!

20/03/2017 Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB

Little Gull: Often when I blog about BMW I tend to say how great the place is and how it is one of my favourite places, well today's no exception.
Like that of the 'Cheers' theme-tune BMW is one of the few places I can go where everyone knows my name. It is full of familiar and friendly people who stop and chat, which for me is the beauty of BMW.
Over the last few days a 1st winter Little Gull has been reported from Marsh Covert hides bridge screen and has been showing well.

I don't often see many Little Gull's and it is a real treat when I do. I think they are pretty cool dainty birds and nice gulls to connect with.
Like the reports were suggesting the bird didn't disappoint and was showing well, giving the small group of spectators a chance to see it's 'W' pattern across it's wings, black tail band and it's faint dark secondary barring.

The bird even took a break from time to time and sat on the water in between tern like foraging and chasing Black-headed gulls.

This image shows the birds under wings quite nicely, as adults and juveniles are very distinctive and quite different. Juveniles have white under wings while the adults have black under wings and lose their back barring across their backs and wings and turn white.

I was told that the bird has been seen on and off for a few weeks around BMW and Burton Point before settling on March Covert pool. If you haven't seen one in a while I would highly recommend a trip down to BMW before it disappears.

15/03/2017 Eccleston Mere, St Helens

Scaup: Thanks to Damion Young for the heads-up and gen on this bird.

Eccleston Mere isn't a regular spot of mine, I think the last time I was here I was watching a Black Tern.
Damion told me the bird was favouring the part of the mere closet to the boats, however when I arrived it was way out in the middle of the mere.

The bird eventually came close after a power boat came speeding around the mere flushing all the birds which took shelter at the far end of the mere.

Wednesday was a beautiful hot sunny day, particularly in the mid-morning when the Chiffchaffs were singing and the Great-crested Grebes were chasing each other.

Unfortunately I had a bird survey to carry out that afternoon so I couldn't spend long at Eccleston.

I came back on the next day (Thursday) hoping the bird would be a little closer and I could get some nicer images, but the bird had moved on and is no longer there. However it was good to get my first two Sand Martins of the year.