Wednesday, 31 March 2010

March Overview

March is, as always, the start of an exciting few months, the first migrants of the summer are arriving whilst the winter visitors start to leave, the weather as usual can be and was very mixed, the first few weeks were relatively dry and although cool it was certainly a lot warmer than the previous month, however as the first migrants started to arrive the weather seemed to change for the worse, it got wetter and colder and as the month came to a close it was almost back to winter with sleet, hailstone and a cold wind with heavy rain.

Great Crested Grebe started to display with at least 2/3 breeding pairs building nests with the model boating pair sitting for the last week or so, maximum count came on 14th and 29th with 10 seen, a single Little Grebe was seen on 19th, 22nd and 29th whether it was the same bird or different I’m not sure. The solitary Grey Heron was seen on most days especially in the morning moving around the main lake and the model boating lake, I also saw it in the pools area on one occasion. One pair of Gadwall where seen on the 14th and a male Shoveler was present for the whole month, it was joined by two other males on the 1st and another male on the 14th. On the 11th, Nick Smith had a female Mandarin at the top corner of the main lake. Teal numbers where up to 4 on the 15th and 2 male and 1 female on the 29th, the rest of the month consisted of a pair mainly seen on the pools area. A pair of Wigeon where on the main lake on the 14th, Tufted Duck numbers fluctuated between a minimum of 14 on the 28th to a maximum of 33 on the 21st and 22nd, Pochard reached a maximum of 17 on the 11th with the last one seen on the 27th and no records after this for the month. Goldeneye remained steady with a pair seen on and off for most of the month, a female Goosander made it’s home on the model boating lake for the month being joined by another on the 14th and on the 22nd another 9 where on the main lake all females.
Mute Swan numbers peaked at 12 on the 21st, one pair are nesting on the top pool.
A Buzzard was a fly over on the 10th and 28th, and a single Sparrowhawk flew through on the 22nd.
A male Pheasant was by the first gate on the 11th one of only a handful of records for Westport. On the 15th and 18th Water Rail was seen by the first gate by Nick Smith, still a bird I need for my Westport list. On the wader front and I suppose you could say the first migrants of the year were two Little Ringed Plover which where on the grass verge of the main lake on the 22nd, these where followed by another two on the 28th and one on the 29th, also on the 28th two Oystercatcher spent the morning flying around the lake landing at various places until flushed by the many walkers, Oystercatcher is another Westport tick for me.
On the Gull front Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull and Common Gull where all regular visitors during the month with a lone adult Kittiwake staying for the morning of the 13th.
Four Stock Dove were recorded on the 28th and a single on the 31st all where on the old gas works site at the back of the lake.
Up to two Kingfisher where seen on the 14th and 15th flying around the edge of the main lake, and one was in the pools area on the 18th.
Green Woodpecker was recorded on the 21st, and two Great Spotted Woodpeckers on the 12th and 26th with singles seen or heard drumming and calling on most other days of the month.
Whenever I see my first Swallow I always feel like summer is here (despite the snow at the end of the month), the first record was of one Swallow flying through on the 25th, but it was the 27th before I had two flying through at midday, followed by 4 flying through on the 31st, the first Sand Martin was recorded on the 20th, followed by ten on the 25th (with the Swallow of the same date), and two flying through on the 28th, only one House Martin has been recorded so far, this past through on the 25th, the same day as the previous ten Sand Martins with the single Swallow.
Most of the following records come from the wood/pools area starting with Jay with singles seen on most dates from the 22nd onwards and two seen on the 26th and 28th.
As well as the usual Tits (Blue, Great, Long-tailed) also recorded was a single Coal Tit seen at least once every week of the month and Willow Tit seen regularly during the month with a max count of three on the 31st.
One Treecreeper was seen on the 13th, 18th and 26th.
Maximum count of Redwings was twenty plus on the 12th, and with one flying over on the 31st maybe we will be seeing some more as we go into April.
The first Warblers of Spring where of course Chiffchaffs (possibly an over wintering bird) with a single bird singing on the 18th, the highest count came on the 31st with seven present, the first Willow Warbler arrived on the 24th with two present followed by several over the following days again the max count came on the 31st with three singing, Goldcrest where seen on just a few days with just one present on each occasion dates involved are the 11th and 15th.
Single Meadow Pipits flew over on the 24th and 27th.
A White Wagtail was reported with Pied Wagtails on the 27th and a lone Grey Wagtail was singing away on the canal from the second half of the month onwards.
Three Siskin where by the top pool on the 24th feeding on the Alders and another three flew over the main lake on the 28th, a single Redpoll sp was seen on the 26th, Bullfinches where seen most days with a max count of five on the 18th and finally a single male Reed Bunting was seen on the 20th, 21st and 22nd although it was heard singing by the top pool on several other dates.

Total number of species seen for the month was 70.

Thanks to Nick Smith, Phil Jones, Richard and Paul (May Bank) for there help and records.

31 March 2010

A horrid morning weather wise, from leaving the house at 07.15 to getting back at 09.15 it rained non stop with a dose of sleet combined with a strong north/north westerly breeze it was rather cold.
As I made my way along the canal one of the first birds I saw was a Jay, I made my way along to the model boating lake which had the usual 2x Great Crested Grebes and 5 Mute Swans, on to the main lake and a count of the ducks saw 28x Tufted Duck, 1x male Shoveler and the pair of Goldeneye, there was also another 2x Mute Swans and 4x Great Crested Grebes. As usual the Grey Heron was doing its tour of the lake. As I walked along the lake 1 Swallow flew through followed by another 3 a few minutes later.
I made my way into the wood/pools area, on reaching the first gate a pair of Teal flew from the brook. in total I counted 7 Chiffchaff singing and 3 Willow Warbler, I also had 3x Willow Tit and a pair of Bullfinch, on the old gas works a single Stock Dove was on the pylons. Last bird of the day was a single Redwing flying over as I reached the visitors centre, could poss be the last of winter, as I haven't seen a Redwing for over a week.
Total number of species seen 38.

Monday, 29 March 2010

29 March 2010

A very wet morning down at Westport this morning, arrived at 06.10 til 08.30, species numbers were down to just 33 species seen, prob because of the constant rain, it was also rather cool with a slight breeze. Highlights of the morning where Great Crested Grebe numbers were upto 12, the highest count of the month, at the bottom of the main lake a single Little Grebe was hiding under the boards, the male Shoveler continues its presence as well as the pair of Goldeneye, Teal are upto 3 (2 male & 1 female) and Tufted Ducks 22, again on the grass edge of the main lake a Little Ringed Plover.
In the wood/pools area highlights inc Jay x1, between 3/4 Chiffchaffs & the usual Tit flocks.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

28 March 2010

With the change in the clocks I was down at Westport for 06.30 this morning, the weather was rather cool with a slight breeze the sun did manage to break through the cloud and towards the end of my visit a light shower went through. As I made my way across the car park to do the duck count on the main lake, I noticed the Grey Heron on the model boating lake again as I lifted my bins too have a look the first thing I noticed was 2 Oystercatchers stood on the path, a Westport tick for me, I continued down to the main lake to count the ducks etc, Great Crested Grebes - 7, Shoveler still 1 male, Teal still 1 pair, Tufted Ducks 24, no sign of any Pochard but the pair of Goldeneye are back, Mute Swans - 10. As I walked along the bank with Nick Smith 2 Little Ringed Plovers flew in and landed on the grass in front of the main lake followed by 2 Sand Martins flying through.
The wood/pools area remains quiet but 2/3 Willow Warblers were singing as well as the usual 4/5 Chiffchaffs.
At the top end of the main lake 3 Siskins flew over towards the top pool area.

Total species seen 41.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

27 March 2010

This morning the weather was very cloudy with showers and a light breeze, good numbers of gulls where passing through most heading south, most were Lesser Black-backs, but their was also good numbers of Herring and Common Gulls.
On the lake Great Crested Grebes were back up to 9, the Grey Heron was on the model boating lake this morning with the female Goosander, still present the long staying male Shoveler and a pair of Teal in the pools area, Tufted Ducks numbered 25 and Pochard still 2 males, no sign of the pair of Goldeneyes this morning. Mute Swans counted 11.
Not much in the pool/wood area today but 1 Willow Warbler and 2 Chiffchaffs plus 1 female Bullfinch were the best on offer, a lone Meadow Pipit flew over, and 1 Grey Wagtail was on the canal.
In total 39 species were recorded.

Just walking past Westport at 13.25 when 2 Swallows flew through, my first of the year.

Reported from Westport Lake this evening a White Wagtail with the Pied Wagtails, the 2 Swallows were still in the area as well.

Friday, 26 March 2010

26 March 2010

Quite cold this morning with a strong south/south west wind, but at least the sun was shining after a night of heavy rain.
A very noticeable drop in duck numbers was evident, Great Crested Grebes counted just 4, the Grey Heron continues its morning stroll around the main lake before getting flushed by the early morning joggers. The male Shoveler is still present also still present the pair of Teal and Goldeneye, the former spends most of their time in the pools area. Tufted Duck numbers are well down with just 21 seen and Pochard consisted of a solitary male. The female Goosander continues to frequent the model boating lake. Mute Swan numbers are down to 9.
In the wood/pools area the highlights were Great Spotted Woodpecker x2, Jay x1 poss 2, Treecreeper x1, Chiffchaff x3/4 and a single Redpoll, on the canal a Grey Wagtail was singing.
A total of 38 species were seen.

Also reported yesterday afternoon by Paul from May Bank - Sand Martin x10 and a single Swallow, also Nick Smith had a report of a House Martin and 2 Sand Martins at 10.40.

So far the month stands at 67 species recorded.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Catch up Part 2

Also recorded on the 21 March by Nick Smith, 1 male Reed Bunting and a Green Woodpecker.

22 March 2010, Great Crested Grebe numbers remain at 8, a Little Grebe was at the top left corner of the main lake, the long staying male Shoveler and Goldeneye remain plus a pair of Teal on the bottom pool, 9 female Goosander where on the main lake and 1 on the model boating lake, the 9 flew north at about 06.30, at the same time 2 Little Ringed Plovers were on the grass in front of the main lake the 1st of the spring, unfortunately they were disturbed by a dog walker and not relocated.
In the wood/pools area a Sparrowhawk flew through, a single Jay by the top pool, Coal Tit, 5+ Redwing a Chiffchaff and Reed Bunting singing, 1 Grey Wagtail and a Meadow Pipit flew over.
Total species seen 43.

24 March 2010, Great Crested Grebe count was 7, the usual Grey Heron was around the main lake, still present the long staying Shoveler, Goldeneye and Teal. Tufted Ducks numbered 32 and Pochard just 2 males.
In the wood/pools areas, the usual Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay still present, Coal Tit, Willow Tit, at least 2 Willow Warblers are present (1st of spring) plus 3/4 Chiffchaffs. 3 Siskin by the top pool and a pair of Bullfinch.
Total species seen was 42.

25/03/2010, 2 Sand Martins and a House Martin reported on the main lake at 10.40.

Catch up

Massive catch up needed here after being without my computer for a week, so here goes, starting on 15 March when Nick Smith had 2 Kingfishers on the main lake, a Water Rail by the 1st gate, Goldcrest in the wood and 4 Teal on the top pool, the female Goosander continued its stay on the model boating lake.

18 March 2010, 6 Great Crested Grebes at least 2/3 nesting, the long staying male Shoveler continues to move between the 2 main lakes, 27 Tufted Duck but only 1 male Pochard, a pair of Goldeneye where back on the main lake after disappearing for a few days, in the wood/pools area the highlights were a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Willow Tit, Treecreeper, 5+ Redwing and the 1st Chiffchaff of spring, also 5 Bullfinches where by the top pool.
In the morning Nick Smith had a Water Rail and 2 Teal.
In total 38 species were recorded.

19 March 2010, the only highlight was a Little Grebe seen by Nick Smith on the top pool.

20 March 2010, Still 6 Great Crested Grebes between the 2 main lakes, 1 Grey Heron on the main lake, still the male Shoveler, 31 Tufted Ducks, 2 male Pochard and a pair of Goldeneye still on the main lake. Highlights in the wood/pools areas was 10+ Redwing a pair of Bullfinch and a male Reed Bunting.
A total of 36 species were recorded.

A single Sand Martin was also reported flying through at approx 09.40.

21 March 2010, Great Crested Grebe numbers have increased to 8, and the Grey Heron was again around the main lake, the male Shoveler continues its long stay between the 2 main lakes and a male Teal was on the bottom pool, Tufted Duck numbers remain steady at 33 and just 1 male Pochard was recorded, the pair of Goldeneye continue there stay on the main lake. Mute Swan numbers remain steady at 12. there was good numbers of Gulls through today with 50+ Lesser Black-backs, 15+ Herring and 5+ Commons.
In the wood/pools area Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming, Willow Tit, 3+ Redwing, Chiffchaff singing, 1 Goldcrest and a male Bullfinch.

Total number of species seen 42.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

14 March 2010

Another windy cool day, and major changes on the duck front, Great Crested Grebes are upto 10, new in a pair of Gadwell, now 2 male Shoveler but they seem to be keeping apart from each other, a pair of Wigeon which is a new tick for the year at Westport for me, Tufted Ducks are down to 15 male & female and Pochard are down to 8 male & female, no sign of the pair of Goldeneye that were on yesterday, a female Goosander was on the small lake.
Lesser Black-backed Gull and Common Gull numbers are up on the last few days.
In the wood/pools area again things were a bit quiet due to the wind, in the tit flock Coal Tit and Willow Tit where among the usual Long-tailed Tits.
Total species seen today 33.
In the morning watch Nick Smith had a pair of Kingfishers, 2 Teal and 2 female Goosanders as well as the pair of Gadwall and new male Shoveler.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

13 March 2010

Windy and cool which kept the numbers down esp in the wooded area, Great Crested Grebes were 8, Tufted Duck 16, which is a drop from last week and Pochard remained steady at 10, the male Shoveler is still present and a pair of Goldeneye are new in, the last being recorded on 27 February.
In the wood/pools area it was a bit quiet with the wind, but a sole Redwing was noted, there were 20+ passing through yesterday, also of note in the usual tit flock a single Coal Tit, and in the trees by the canal a Treecreeper was seen, a first for the year at Westport.
In the morning one of the regular watchers, Nick Smith, had a adult Kittiwake on the main lake.
Total species count for the day was 33 species.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

11 March 2010

Lovely sunny early spring day with very little wind, and this showed with 34 species recorded today, the higest count of March.
Highlights were the usual displaying Great Crested Grebes, Tufted Duck numbers were down to 20 and Pochard were 17.
Most of the birds where seen in the wood/pools area, a first for me at Westport was a male Pheasant, also saw a female Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Willow Tit, the usual parties of Lon-tailed Tits, 3 Redwing and 1 Goldcrest.
In the morning one of the regular watchers Nick Smith had a female Mandarin with the Tufted Ducks on the main lake.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

10 March 2010

Still waiting for the 1st spring migrants but hopefully we will have a Sand Martin or Warbler by the end of the week.
Not much change on the main lake with the usual Great Crested Grebes, 1 male Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Pochard numbers with no change, a Buzzard was circling overhead, although there are plenty of Buzzards locally this is the first time i've actually seen one over Westport.
The Gull roost has really dropped off, only a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the Black-headed Gull flock.
In the wood/pools area 2 Willow Tits where in with the Long-tailed Tit flock, also 2 Redwings at the top end and 2 male and 1 female Bullfinch.
In total 32 species were recorded my highest count of the month so far.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

07 March 2010

Still plenty of Great Crested Grebe's displaying on both main lakes, the lone male Shoveler is slowly turning from eclipse to a nice male, Pochard and Tufted duck numbers remain stable and there was a lone female Goosander on the small lake. The gull roost contained 100's of Black-headed Gulls, 12+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a hand full of Common Gulls.
In the wooded area the highlights were a male Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail (1st i've seen this year) a male Bullfinch and the usual large flock of Long-tailed Tits.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

26/02/10 Several pairs of Great Crested Grebes are starting to display, Tufted Duck and Pochard numbers remain stable and 2 female Goosanders are on the small lake, in the wood there was a large party of Long-tailed Tits and a lone Redwing.