Wednesday, 21 December 2011
The playing field had 4 Pied Wagtails among the Black-headed Gulls and Canada Geese and 2 Jays were calling from the small wood at the back of the boating lake, 3 male Goosanders were on here before locating over to the main lake later, on the main lake 48 Tufted Duck, 2 male and a female Goldeneye, 4 Mute Swans and 17 Pochard.
Everywhere else was very quiet with the only other birds of note being 10+ Redwings flying over the old sewage works and a couple of Mistle Thrushes by the top entrance.
Don't forget to check @westportlake1 for all Nicks daily sightings.
Monday, 12 December 2011
From Westport we went onto Belvide to see the Tundra Bean Goose, also here were a couple of Pintail and a couple of Dunlin.
Next stop was Gailey Res to see the Black Redstart, although we had to wait for it to show and then only briefly it was worth the wait, thanks to Steve Seal for the photo below.
Late news for Saturday at Westport was 2 Egyptian Geese seen by the warden.
Thursday, 24 November 2011
As Nick put it on Twitter zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Monday, 21 November 2011
52 Tufted Duck were on the main lake with 3 Pochard, also present the resident family of 4 Mute Swans and 3 Great Crested Grebes, a single Pied Wagtail was along the waters edge, in the nature reserve 8 Siskins flew over and in the Tit flock, 1 Treecreeper, 2 Willow Tit a couple of Bullfinches and a Coal Tit, the only other birds of note were 3 Mistle Thrushes and 4 Chaffinch by the visitor centre.
Sunday, 20 November 2011
Nick as usual made the afternoon visits all of which can be found on Twitter @WestportLake1.
I met up with Nick and George for a look around on Friday but it was all quiet, around 7 Collared Doves were roosting near the visitor centre, on the main lake 3 Great Crested Grebes, 58 Tufted Duck, 4 Mute Swans and a single Pochard, a Sparrowhawk flew through and a Mistle Thrush was near the visitor centre.
Yesterday we had already made plans for a day out, all week the Greater Yellowlegs had remained in Northumberland and had been our main priority however a Veery turned up in Scotland to make us think twice but we settled for the Yellowlegs, and so at 03.30 Nick and George picked me up and we headed off for Northumberland.
First stop was Durridge Country Park were the Yellowlegs had last been seen, we were one of the first on site arriving at 07.30, the main lake held a few Scaup and Red-breasted Mergansers but no sign of the Yellowlegs, after around 10mins someone shouted over that it was at Hauxley and we rushed off a bit further up the coast, we had been told it was showing well at Eric's hide and on arriving here found just one person present, he quickly informed us the Yellowlegs and everyone else had left to the hide we'd just past and so it was a quick walk down to the previous hide, everyone was in the bottom corner of the hide but the Greater Yellowlegs was tucked away and out of sight, slowly it made it's way along the edge and eventually right along the front edge of the hide providing us all with excellent views of this superb bird and a new tick for all 3 of us.
Just as we got back to the car Nick received a call from Jeff Jones to say that 2 Little Egrets were flying around the main lake at Westport, these are the first to be seen at Westport this year and still remains a Westport tick for myself.
Next stop was Holy Island and we made our way along the coast passing several castles along the way including Warkworth Castle below, this area of the country really is stunning in parts and well worth a visit.
As we arrived at holy Island the tide was nearly out and we only had to wait a few minutes before it was safe to cross, along the edge there were good numbers of Brent Geese and we saw both Pale-bellied and Dark-bellied during our visit here. as we crossed the causeway we picked up a Merlin carrying food which it dropped and within seconds it was picked up by a male Peregrine.
Arriving at the car park near the village we made our way past the school for our next target bird, the Eastern Black Redstart, only the second British record following on from the one in Kent this last week. We hadn't been here long when I picked it up along the edge of the black seaweed, and what a stunning bird it was, my photo below is rather distant and doesn't do it justice but who'll find some much better ones on Nick's blog.
Leaving Holy Island we'd decided to head for the Lesser Scaup near Newcastle upon Tyne but along the way news of the Ross's Geese came through at Dunston Hill and so we decided to head for here instead, eventually we found a few birders at the end of a farm track but views were rather obscured as the Geese were feeding on a back field so we drove along the road to obtain better views, there were good numbers of Geese in the field and flying over and as well as the very noticeable Ross's Geese we also saw Pink-footed Geese, Barnacle Geese, Tundra Bean Geese and White-fronted Geese, a farmer put the Geese up and they flew low over us before heading back to the field.
And finally to today at Westport, as usual after a full day out I didn't make it down so as usual it was left to Nick, unfortunately it was rather foggy, not good esp on duck count day but he did manage 3 Pochard, 51 Tufted Duck and a Little Grebe.
Lunt rung him with a unusual sighting on the top pool, with his description of a pigeon size bird but blue with a red bill and big feet the imagination was running wild, but on arriving it turned out to be a rather unusual turquoise pigeon, I'm not sure if someone had dyed it or what but it's rather strange either way!
Sunday, 13 November 2011
Saturday and I left Westport to Nick and co, having had a few late shifts at work I deserved a lie in, they had a pretty good morning with the Red-breasted Merganser still present. thanks to Phil Jones and Steve Seal for the photo's below.
Also present at Westport, and all new in was 3 Wigeon, a female Goldeneye and a female Pheasant on the old sewage works.
Eventually Nick & George picked me up and we made our way down to South Staffs to see what we could find on the gravel pits, along the way news came in of a Greater Yellowlegs at Northumberland and left us wondering if we should be heading off up north or stick and await news, in the end sighting were few and far between of the Yellowlegs and we'd made the right decision to stick local.
First stop was Branston Gravel Pits, we flushed 7 Red-legged Partridge as we made our way along the path and as usual Pheasants were everywhere, a couple of Tree Sparrows along the hedge was a nice record for here, on the scrape a single Green Sandpiper was in it's usual place (I don't think it's moved for a few months now), as we made our way through 'Dead Man's' Wood there were good numbers of Finches and Tit's which included at least 2 Goldcrests and a Marsh Tit which was a re tick for me in Staffs not being sure were I'd seen my last ones over 15 years previously!
The sky was full of Golden Plovers flying over, there were well over 500 including a good number on the sandy pit but with workers still on site and a couple of lads driving around with guns we were unable to do a proper count, also present on the sandy pit, 3 Ruff, 2 Dunlin, 8 Curlew and a Redshank, finally were made our way to the south pit were another 10 Curlew were present and 4 Little Egrets.
After lunch we headed off the our undisclosed site, bird of the day here was a nice adult winter Little Gull with a small flock of Black-headed Gulls, we counted the wildfowl which were in good numbers and also had another Little Egret and 2 Redshank, a nice day out and we didn't get wet!
Sunday at Westport and Nick had the Red-breasted Merganser still, there was no sign of the female Shoveler or Goldeneye but 5 Pochard were new in.
A new service for Westport is a Twitter service from Nick, just go to Twitter and search WestportLake1, here you can follow Westport news and have news sent direct to your mobile.
Thursday, 10 November 2011
Wednesday, 9 November 2011
I received a text from Nick at 09.30 informing me that Jeff Jones had just found a Red-breasted Merganser on the main lake, within a minute the coat was on bins grabbed and the dog pulled along on the lead as i rushed down to Westport, I found Jeff by the boating ramp area and he soon pointed me in the right direction, the bird was close to the edge but up in the top right corner of the lake so we made our way around for a closer look, we soon picked it up and at times it showed down to 10ft!
We were soon joined by Steve Seal and who rattled off a few shots and Alan and Colin, the Merganser showed exceptionally well and is a immature male as you will see from the photo's kindly supplied by Steve (on the above slideshow as I can't get them to work on here), although there have been flyovers at Wstport this is the first on the lake since 2002 when Bill Low had 2 immature birds fly in from the south and stay for 15 mins.
A Westport tick for me taking me onto 102 for the year and Westport onto 118 for the year, both figures well down on last years totals.
Thursday, 8 September 2011
Started off at Westport as usual, a Jay was calling from the wood by the bottom entrance, on the main lake 600+ Black-headed Gulls came in for a brief wash and feed from there overnight roost before carrying on there journey, also on the lake 53 Tufted Ducks, 4 Mute Swans plus another 2 on the boating lake, 5 Great Crested Grebes which included the chick, and the single Pochard, 6 Chiffchaff were around the park, overhead 4 Swift were present with over 100+ House Martins, 30+ Swallows and 6 Sand Martins, a Grey Wagtail was along the old beach area and another over the sewage works, a Grey Heron flew over the main lake and probably the same bird was later seen over the sewage works, on the gas works the Mistle Thrushes have reduced further to just 12, a Pied Wagtail flew over and the first Meadow Pipit of the autumn with another over the visitor centre, 3 Bullfinches were by the boardwalk bridge and a juvenile Bullfinch by the top pool, a Willow Tit was also around here and a female Great Spotted Woodpecker.
I hadn't been home long when Steve Seal rang asking if I'd like to go down to Belvide to see the Sabine's Gull, I didn't need asking again, and an hour later we were at Belvide, we didn't have to wait too long when the Sabine's Gull appeared along the Dam Wall, it was just 20ft away at times and totally oblivious to the small crowd looking down on it. Below is a record shot i took with my mobile phone against my bins.
Later in the morning at Westport Pete Lunt had, Swift, 3 Sand Martins, a pair of Blackcaps, Willow Warbler, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Buzzard. Right off too work!!
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
On the main lake, 4 Mute Swans, 63 Tufted Duck, the single female Pochard, 6 Great Crested Grebe plus the young chick which is going to find it hard to survive with the weather conditions which are due to carry on for the next few days, there were 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls among the 200+ Black-headed Gulls, there were huge numbers of Swallows and House Martins going through this morning, at anyone time there were 300+ over the main lake which seemed to come down for a feed before spiralling up in large flocks coming back down and then heading off south, while on the sewage works and gas works I could see groups of 50+ coming over towards the main lake, I wouldn't be surprised if well over a 1,000+ went through this morning, also among the flock 10+ Sand Martins which included a very light one that almost looked like it had white wings and 3 Swifts.
Along the reserve side of the main lake a single Coal Tit, 6 Chiffchaffs were around the park, a single Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackcap and a Grey Wagtail along the waters edge, a Sparrowhawk went across the sewage works, on the gas works a count of 25 Mistle Thrushes was nowhere near as good as the count of 41 Nick had on here on Sunday, on the top pool a single Teal and Kingfisher were present.
Monday, 5 September 2011
Large count of 200+ Black-headed Gulls on the playing field this morning, on the boating lake a Grey Heron was making its way around the waters edge, 4 Teal were on here as well, on the main lake, 76 Tufted Duck, 6 Great Crested Grebe with a Chick on the back of one which appeared a few days ago, if successful it will be the first success this year after a very poor year for the Grebes, 4 Mute Swans still present and the female Pochard, 5 Swifts were overhead among a flock of well over 100+ House Martins and a decent number of Swallows, also a couple of Sand Martins were among them, a single Pied Wagtail was on the grass bank, 6 Chiffchaffs around the park and a single Blackcap was singing along the reserve side of the main lake, a Bullfinch flew over with another 2 near the top pool, 2 Collared Doves were on the sewage works as was a single Kestrel and Willow Tit.
Monday, 29 August 2011
Sunday, 28 August 2011
2 Shoveler on boating lake, on main, 70 Tufted Duck, 2 Gadwall, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Mute Swans, Pochard, over lake, 100+ House Martin, 4 Swift, around rest of park, 15 Starling, 6 Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler, Mistle Thrush, Stock Dove, Grey Wagtail, Jay, Bullfinch and Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Saturday, 27 August 2011
A Grey Heron flew off the boating lake, the first I've seen at Westport for a while, a Great Spotted Woodpecker could be heard calling nearby, on the main lake, 68 Tufted Duck was a slight drop in numbers, 1 Pochard, 3 Great Crested Grebes, Mute Swans are back to 4 and 2 Shoveler flew in later, a mix of 100+ House Martins and Swallows were over the lake with a single Swift, 7 Chiffchaffs were around the park also 3 Blackcaps, on the sewage works 2 Collared Doves, a single Jay and Buzzard, 3 Cormorants flew over the gas works which also had a single Stock Dove and Pied Wagtail, a Coal Tit was among the Tit flock in the nature reserve and along the canal side of the main lake, a Willow Tit and Willow Warbler.
Later in the morning Jeff Jones had a Shelduck on the main lake.
Friday, 26 August 2011
Also present, 43 Black-headed Gulls on the playing field, 7 Swifts overhead with over 35+ Swallows over the main lake, on the main lake 4 Teal were new in, 77 Tufted Duck, 2 Great Crested Grebe, a single Pochard and the 4 Mute Swans were joined by another adult which flew into the boating lake, a couple of Blackcaps were around the park, just 4 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Tits and 2 Bullfinches, a single Stock Dove on the gas works, 3 Whitethroats were on the sewage works, a Grey Wagtail flew over the top of the main lake, 3 Pied Wagtails on the playing field, 3 Mistle Thrushes by the visitor centre, as I was leaving a Common Sandpiper flew around the main lake and a Willow Warbler was singing from the canal side.
Thursday, 25 August 2011
Photo's below from Westports regular photographer Pete Lunt which clinched the ID are below, note the blue band on the second photo.
Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Anyway back to Sunday's birds, from Nick, 31 Swifts was a good show of migration, 94 Tufted Duck on the main lake, Pete had, 24 Swifts, Swallows, House Martins, 3 Willow Warblers, 2 Whitethroats, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 77 Tufted Duck, Bullfinch, a good count of 5 Buzzards & 3 Blackcaps, on the Butterfly front he saw, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood and one I haven't seen at Westport this year in a Small Copper.
Below are a few photo's from Pete Lunt.
Saturday, 20 August 2011
At least 18 Swifts were flying around this morning with small numbers of Swallows and House Martins going through, probably around 30+ of each, also 2 Sand Martins went through with them, small numbers are now resting on the telephone wires on the sewage works and you can expect these to build up over the coming weeks.
Birdforum recently mentioned a large increase in the numbers of Mistle Thrushes around Staffs, just 5 seen around Westport this morning with 2 near the visitor centre and 3 on the gas works, however although not Westport I did have 13 at the side of my house yesterday which is very close too Westport and a noticeable increase from the 4 that have been resident here for a while, Lesser Black-backed Gulls continue to drop in numbers with just 3 seen this morning, 6 Chiffchaffs were heard/seen around the park, 2 Stock Doves were on the gas works, around the top pool, 2 Bullfinches plus another on the sewage works and 2 Reed Warblers, on the sewage works, a Coal Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Willow Tit and a family of 4 Whitethroats, lastly a Collared Dove flew over the boating lake as I was leaving.
Finally I took a photo of a flower at Westport the other day that I hadn't seen before, thanks to the help of Tim on Birdforum, it was identified as a plant called Mullein which apparently is common on open ground especially close the railway lines were it's spread from the moving trains, as it happens these photo's are taken about 50 yards form the main line, it's also known for a Moth called the Mullein Moth although you only normally see it's Caterpillars, I checked this morning and although the leaves are being eaten by something there was no sign of any Caterpillars. Thanks to Tim and Nick Pom for your help and info.
Thursday, 18 August 2011
On the main lake 80 Tufted Duck, the family of 4 Mute Swans, new in were 6 Teal which left northbound after about an hour, 4 Great Crested Grebes, the Shoveler is still present from yesterday and the 'semi' resident Pochard was sat with the Mallards on the lake edge until the dog flushed it!
Over the main lake 12 Swifts were present with around 30+ Swallows over the lake but no House Martins today, 2 Willow Warblers were part singing today on either side of the lake, 9 Chiffchaffs were calling with a couple also part singing, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were around the park, , 3 Willow Tits and a single Blackcap, by the top pool, a single Coal Tit and 2 Bullfinches, on the gas works the Stock Doves have increased to 2, a single Jay and 2 Collared Doves were on the sewage works, along the canal side of the main lake 4 Pied Wagtails and lastly 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls arrived on the main lake as I was leaving.
Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
55 Black-headed Gulls were on the playing field, the usual 4 Mistle Thrushes around the visitor centre, on the main lake, the family of 4 Mute Swans, 66 Tufted Duck and 3 Great Crested Grebes, a couple of Pied Wagtails were on the grass bank, over the trees at the top of the main lake 10 Swifts with around 50+ House Martins as the morning progressed these increased to over a 100+ with a few Swallows among them, a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over the boating lake, 5 Chiffchaffs were heard around the park with just 1 Willow Warbler, a couple of Willow Tits were along the reserve side of the main lake, on the top pool a single Reed Warbler could be heard, the gas works had a single Buzzard and a single Stock Dove, a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull flew over the sewage works with a further 2 on the main lake later, a Kestrel flew across the sewage works which also had 2 Bullfinch and 2 Collared Dove, lastly back on the main lake while looking through the House Martins I picked up 2 Yellow Wagtails flying around the main lake.
Monday, 15 August 2011
Today Nick had 15 Swifts this morning, but Pete Lunt had a massive count of 70+ later in the day showing good numbers moving south at the moment, he also saw Bullfinch, 2 Willow Warblers, 2 Willow Tits, 72 Tufted Duck and Song Thrush.
Finally a big Get Well Soon to George Smith (Nick's Pop's) who took a bit of a tumble while rocking away to the Bloodstock festival at the same time as birding at one of our regular Saturday 'local' Staffs sites. How this guy gets about like he does at 77 is beyond me and he puts most of us too shame, get well soon George.
Saturday, 13 August 2011
The weather was pleasantly warm with a temp of 22c, very sunny with plenty of cloud coverage around but never came around the park, wind was a steady NW, visit from 17.35 til 18.45.
I really didn't see very much at all showing how the mornings really are the best time too visit, the exception to this can be winter and when it rains, anyway, a good count of 77 Tufted Duck on the main lake along with 3 Great Crested Grebe, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 3 of which were juveniles and the usual 4 Mute Swans, 2 Pied Wagtails were on the grass bank, only 3 Chiffchaffs were heard/seen, 2 by the top pool and 1 on the gas works, a single Swift was over the gas works and another 3 over the main lake, also on the gas works a couple of Peacock Butterflies, a Buzzard could be heard calling high up but I couldn't locate it, also on the sewage works what I presume was a Brown Hawker Dragonfly but I don't know very much about Dragonflies and the likes, lastly 4 Mistle Thrushes were again by the visitor centre.
Thursday, 11 August 2011
7 Pied Wagtails were on the playing field with a single on the gas works, on the main lake 3 juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 2 adults, 11 Swifts were over the main lake with a handful of Swallows but no House or Sand Martins, a single female Pochard was with 68 Tufted Duck, also the 4 Mute Swans and 2 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Mistle Thrushes were around the visitor centre and a Sparrowhawk flew over the boating lake, 9 Chiffchaffs were around the park today which has remained pretty much the same all week, a Peacock Butterfly was in the nature reserve which is the first I've seen at Westport this year, that said we don't see many butterflies at 6am!
There were good numbers of juvenile Black-headed Gulls on the lake today with around 15 present, one of which was looking rather poorly along the reserve side of the main lake.
2 Bullfinches were near the top pool and the young Moorhen chick was on the pool along with another on Jeff's Pool which is on the gas works, also on the gas works a Stock Dove again, on the sewage works a Coal Tit was in a small Tit flock, plus along the path several Gatekeeper & Speckled Wood Butterflies, these are hard to get a picture of when you have a dog around your feet wondering what your doing!
Wednesday, 10 August 2011
Another slight drop in Canada Geese numbers with all but one of the 174 on the playing field, on the main lake, 4 Mute Swans, 63 Tufted Duck, 2 Great Crested Grebes, a nice surprise was another 4 Gadwall this time including a male, Nick had also had a Little Grebe earlier on, over the lake, 5 Swift plus 1 over the gas works, 5 Sand Martins and 50+ House Martins, 3 Pied Wagtails were on the grass bank, 3 Mistle Thrushes still by the visitor centre, a single Bullfinch was by the boardwalk bridge, near the top pool, 1 Blackcap plus 1 Coal Tit, 1 of 3 Willow Tits seen around the park, the first of 7 Chiffchaffs, and the first of 3 Willow Warblers, the Moorhen chick is still on the top pool, lastly on the gas works a single Stock Dove which is the first one I've seen on there since all the Birch trees were cut down.
Monday, 8 August 2011
Nearly all the Canada Geese were on the playing field making it easy to count them, total was 189 which is well down on last month, 4 Pied Wagtails were along the front edge of the main lake, on the main lake, 2 young Little Grebe were new in, also present the usual family of 4 Mute Swans, 68 Tufted Duck, 4 Great Crested Grebe & 4 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls, along the edge of the boating lake the first of 5 Blackcaps, a Bullfinch was along the sidings, along the edge of the reserve side of the main lake 2 Treecreepers and the first of 7 Chiffchaffs, 40+ House Martins were over the main lake with 4 Swifts, on the top pool the single Moorhen chick is still present plus Reed Warbler with a poss family party calling in the reeds, on the sewage works a single Collared Dove, Willow Tit, 2 Garden Warblers a Willow Warbler plus another along the canal side of the main lake, the gas works held a Buzzard which was constantly calling and lastly 3 Mistle Thrushes are still present by the visitor centre.
Sunday, 7 August 2011
A good count of 8 Pied Wagtails were on the playing field, on the main lake the family of 4 Mute Swans, 63 Tufted Duck and 4 Great Crested Grebes a single Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over, 3 Mistle Thrushes were by the visitor centre and a single on the gas works, a Willow Warbler was singing by the boating lake with another on the sewage works, also around the boating lake the first of 5 Blackcaps and a single Treecreeper was calling, a Willow Tit was along the sidings with another by the top entrance to the lake, at least 9 Chiffchaffs were heard calling around the Lake with the majority being on the sewage works as usual, Bullfinches were in good numbers this morning with 5 seen, a single Whitethroat was on the sewage works and 15 Swifts were flying high over here.
This morning I was beaten down to the lake by Nick due to oversleeping, in my rush I forgot my notebook (yes some of us still us them) so I might miss or forget a few things esp numbers, Nick had already picked up 5 Gadwall on the main lake which turned out to be the highlight of the visit, with heavy cloud and light drizzle I'd hoped we might have a wader or two, besides the Gadwall, 68 Tufted Ducks, 4 Mute Swans and 4 Great Crested Grebes on the main lake, a single Willow Warbler was singing near the top entrance, also a Willow Tit nearby, Chiffchaff numbers remain steady, 1 Whitethroat on the sewage works, just 3 Swifts around today but around 70+ House Martins over the main lake with a Sand Martin.
Friday, 5 August 2011
Managed a count of 236 Canada Geese helped by the fact that most were on the playing field, the 'Canlag' is still present along with 3 Greylag Geese which were joined by another 2 that flew in from the North over the gas works and were later on the main lake, 60 Tufted Duck were present on the main lake with 4 Great Crested Grebes, the family of 4 Mute Swans, 2 Dunlin flew through heading North at 06.40, if my memory serves me correct these are the 3rd records of the year for this species, a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull flew through as did a single Sand Martin, around 70+ House Martins were flying around with 7 Swifts still present, by the boating lake a Willow Warbler was singing along with another along the reserve side of the main lake, at least 9 Chiffchaffs were present most being on the sewage works which also had 4 Blackcaps one of which had a bald head!, 2 Whitethroats a single Garden Warbler plus a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over as did 2 Mistle Thrushes, a further 3 Mistle Thrushes were by the visitor centre later on, by the top pool 2 Treecreepers and singles of Reed Warbler and Bullfinch, lastly a single Collared Dove was by the gas works.
31st July, Nick Smith had 2 Egyptian Geese briefly before they flew off at 06.20, this is only the 3rd ever record for Westport and the second one this year following on from the single we had briefly in April, also the 1st juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull of the year, 69 Tufted Duck were present which is a record count for July.
4th August, Jeff Jones and Pete Lunt had 6 Common Terns fly through at 10.00.
Thursday, 28 July 2011
This morning both Nick and myself were down nice and early, both for different reasons, I had finished work at midnight and hadn't been able to sleep and Nick had to be in work early, it was already bright and sunny but with a mist covering half of the main lake, wind was light and SSW, temp 14c, visit from 05.45 til 08.20.
As I entered via the bottom gate I counted 168 Canada Geese on the playing field along with the 3 remaining Greylag Geese but there was no sign of the recent 'Canlag', on the main lake 59 Tufted Duck, 4 Great Crested Grebe and the resident family of 4 Mute Swans, as Nick joined me a Cormorant flew over heading south, a small number of Black-headed Gulls were flying around with a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, along the reserve side of the main lake a Willow Warbler was part singing as it pasted through, a single Bullfinch was on the top pool with another on the sewage works, the single Reed Warbler continued to sing from the reedbed with a possible number of young Reed Warblers calling from the other end of the reeds, 3 probable Chaffinches flew a couple of which were youngsters, around 20+ Swifts had gathered over the main lake as the weather warmed up, a Treecreeper was heard calling near the top gate to the reserve, just by the entrance to the sewage works the first of around 6 Chiffchaffs were calling, a Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard calling with a probable different bird heard down near the bottom of the main lake later, as the weather warmed up the sewage works came to life a bit with Warblers, 6 Whitethroats, 5 Blackcaps, 1 Garden Warbler plus 3 Willow Tits were all seen together with around 20 Swallows gathering on the wires above, on the gas works a couple of Collared Doves flew over, at the top end there was a gathering of 16 Magpies and at the bottom end a Buzzard sat on a old lamp post.
Monday, 25 July 2011
So all that said there has been the odd decent moment during the last month or so, mostly seen by Nick as he's been the only regular during these lean summer day's, however I did manage a Westport record on the 27th June and probably birds of the year so far along with Nick's Black-necked Grebes a few months previously, it was a sunny morning and as usual been very quiet, I was just heading home as I walked along the canal side of the main lake when I heard Terns calling, I looked across the lake but couldn't see anything, the call was puzzling me as it wasn't the usual Common Tern call you would expect to hear, I couldn't see them anywhere and was about to give up when they called again, looking up high I could see 4 Terns circling the main lake and coming down rapidly, they came low enough to realise these were Sandwich Terns, and not only that but 4 of them, the only previous records have been individual ones and I think these 4 equalled the total number ever recorded at Westport.
All other highlights for the last month or so come mainly from Nick and are as follows, Canada Geese numbers peaked at 365 which includes 49 Goslings during the moulting season with a CanadaxGreylag Goose (Canlag) within the flock, also 14 Greylag Geese were present, on the 20th a Kingfisher was present on the main lake, these have been thin on the ground so far this year, 5 Common Terns went through on the 23rd June, the resident male Mute Swan has kept his family well protected this year with any other Mute Swans coming in being quickly dispatched, 4 new birds came in on the 27th June but were soon removed by the male, Jeff Jones had a Common Tern go through on the 29th June, into July now and on the 2nd another Kingfisher, 2 Common Sandpipers and another bird that has been thin on the ground this year in a Grey Wagtail not much else happened at Westport til the 15th when a Hobby went through, the 3rd one this year and I still need it for the year at Westport.
On the 16th we decided to have a day trip out we headed to Westport nice and early at 05.30, it was even more quiet than usual and we quickly headed for our first target bird of the day a Western Bonelli's Warbler at Arnfield Res in Derbys, we had no joy after a few hours in the rain so headed to Blacktoft Sands in Yorks for the 2nd target bird, a Marsh Sandpiper, after a short wait in the hide out of the constant rain we managed to connect with this great looking bird, only my 2nd ever record in the UK, the first was at Cley on a family holiday in the early 80's, after a look around the reserve we headed back to Derby's for the Warbler, again it rained heavy but it eventually stopped and after a short wait we heard the Warbler singing from a lone bush and located it in the middle of the bush, this was a first for me and my first lifer this year since the Lesser White-fronted Goose back on the 2nd of January! See here for the full story of our day.
Ok back to Westport and on the 19th a Redshank was on the model boating lake, this is the 4th record this year with the last one also being found on here, lastly 3 Teal were in the middle of the main lake on the 23rd.
A few other things have been happening at Westport recently, firstly on the old gas works all the maturing birch trees have been cut down, we couldn't work out why this had been done wondering if they were possibly going to redevelop the area and we would lose this area from our Westport coverage area, this happened early June and nothing more has happened we now think it's possible that a company was brought in to remove the tree's and then sell on the bark mulch they had created, it will be interesting to see if we get anything different on here over the migration period, also on the boating lake the Council? have screened off an area and planted some reeds and other plants, I wonder if it will be as successful as they wild flowers areas they planted in the spring, which to date has been a disaster.
So lastly I have a few photo's which were sent in from Westport's regular photographer Pete Lunt.
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Canada Geese have increased to around 310 as they all come into moult, this count includes 39 young and the hybrid CanadaxGreylag, among the largest flock were 2 Greylag Geese with the other 7 on the main lake, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also on the main lake, a single Little Ringed Plover was feeding along the shoreline area as were 2 Pied Wagtails, on the main lake Great Crested Grebes numbered 10, 3 male Tufted Ducks and the family of 4 Mute Swans, around 70+ Swifts were over the top of the main lake and a Grey Heron flew over as did a single Collared Dove, 5 Blackcaps were seen including a male feeding young, in the nature reserve 3 Coot chicks were newly hatched, just 4 Chiffchaffs seen today, 2 Bullfinches on the top pool as was a Reed Warbler, on the sewage works, 1 Willow Warbler, 3 Whitethroat and a Garden Warbler, back at the top of the main lake and the male Reed Bunting was seen feeding a single youngster and by Ted Heath Rocks a adult Grey Wagtail was feeding 2 young.
Monday, 13 June 2011
On to today, it was a very cloudy morning with a bit of rain in the air, although it did brighten up during the visit, wind was quite strong and from the SW, temp 16c, visit from 05.55 til 08.00.
A single Mistle Thrush was on the playing field with a Pied Wagtail, a single young Pied Wagtail was also along the front of the main lake, around 6 Chiffchaffs were seen/heard around the park this morning, a Grey Heron was along the front edge of the main lake, 9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the main lake also held a Herring Gull, 3 Tufted Ducks were present with 2 on the main lake and 1 on the top pool, 6 Great Crested Grebes were on the main lake and also 9 Greylag Geese, the CanadaxGreylag Goose remains with the Canada Goose flock, a couple of young Swallows on the fencing around the new reeds (old beach area) are probably from the old canal buildings, at the top of the main lake the Mute Swan family remain 2 cygnet strong and around 60+ Swifts were flying around the top of the main lake, a single Collared Dove was seen twice flying across the main lake, just a couple of Blackcaps were heard today, at least 2 Reed Warblers were on the top pool, a Sparrowhawk flew over the gas and sewage works, also on the sewage works just 1 Whitethroat was heard and the Willow Warbler.
Thursday, 9 June 2011
Firstly back to May briefly, a total of 73 species were recorded around Westport for the month which is 5 up on last year, highlights included bird of the year so far two summer plumaged Black-necked Grebes found by Nick on his usual early morning rounds, 3 Pink-footed Geese stayed for a day, the 1st of 2 Hobbys were seen this month, a Snipe flew over the main lake briefly which was a first for the year as was 4 Whimbrel which flew over one morning, a Black Tern landed briefly on the main lake during a downpour and 4 Arctic Terns were seen briefy over the main lake by Jeff Jones and Alan Hancock, one possibly two Grasshopper Warbler's were a welcome find after a absence of a few years, up to at least 2/3 Spotted Flycatcher's went through in a single day, and finally 3 individual Yellow Wagtails were seen making May a pretty good month at Westport.
Ok now to up date visits over the last week.
6 Blackcaps seen including young again, 5 Greylag Geese, 6 Mute Swans including 2 cygnets at last hatched during the week, 2 new Mute Swans on the boating lake included a darvic ring CAN7, unfortunatly it had fishing line in it's mouth.
The photo below of the Mute Swan cygnets is from Pete Lunt.
7 Chiffchaffs were around the park, 7 Willow Tits which included at least two broods of young, just a single Reed Warbler on the top pool, 2 Stock Doves on the gas works, 3 Whitethroats on the sewage works and a single Willow Warbler.
6 Blackcaps around again including young, around 40 Swifts over the main lake, just 3 Tufted Ducks present and 5 Great Crested Grebes, the pair of Mute Swans with 2 Cygnets, Greylag Geese have increased to 6, 5 Willow Tits seen, 2 Stock Doves on the gas works, 2 Willow Warblers on the sewage works, just a single Chiffchaff singing, a Grey Heron flew over, 3 Whitethroats and 3 Bullfinches.
And finally today 09/06/2011
Just 3 Blackcaps singing today although a few more were calling, a single Pied Wagtail on the playing field and another 2 on the gas works, a single Mistle Thrush was also on the playing field, the Canada Geese Goslings are all together now with the final 7 joining the creche making 39 young in total and there are now 9 Greylag Geese amongst the Canada Geese flock, also among the Canada Geese is a CanadaxGreylag which was found a few days earlier by Nick.
Small number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls went through, 5 Tufted Ducks on the main lake with 7 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Grey Herons flew over south with another following shortly after, 3 Bullfinches flew across the boating lake and another 2 were on the sewage works, around 50+ Swifts were over the main lake, the usual Mute Swan family was along the edge of the main lake, a single Little Ringed Plover flew from the boating lake and a bit further along a Grey Wagtail, Chiffchaff seem to be getting there singing voices back with 6 singing, 3 Stock Doves were on the gas works, on the sewage works a single Willow Warbler, 4 Whitethroat including one carrying food, a single Garden Warbler, 4 Rook flew over which included 2 young and 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers.
Marsh Orchids are now in full bloom.
Monday, 30 May 2011
Sunday, 29 May 2011
This morning was a rather dull almost dark start to the morning with heavy cloud, a strong SW breeze was blowing and despite all the cloud only a slight shower went through late on in the visit, temp was 14c, visit from 05.50 til 08.40.
Again 5 Greylag Geese were among the Canada Geese on the playing field, just 5 Tufted Ducks seen today with 2 on the boating lake and 3 on the main lake, a single Little Ringed Plover was along the old beach area, small groups of Lesser Black-backed Gulls were going through, mainly in groups of 6, 5 and 7's, along the front of the main lake 4 Pied Wagtails of which 3 were youngsters, just 4 Great Crested Grebes were on the main lake, Swifts built up slowly during the visit with around 50+ present as I left, the same numbers applied to House Martins with which 2 Sand Martins were present, a single Black-headed Gull flew over, 6 Chiffchaffs were around the park today and 5 Blackcaps, 2 parties of young Willow Tits were seen with groups of 3 and 4, the resident pair of Mute Swans were in the nature reserve, at least 2 Reed Warblers were heard on the top pool and a single Bullfinch was here, on the sewage works, 1 Willow Warbler, 3 Whitethroats and 1 Garden Warbler, back by the visitor centre, a Kestrel was seen over the top of the main lake, 2 Collared Doves flew across and a Sparrowhawk was over the centre.
Thats about it for me for the next four days as I'm back at work on early's from tomorrow!
All of a sudden this afternoon my mobile goes nuts with calls and text messages of a Lesser Yellowlegs at Uttoxeter Quarry, found by patch worker Andy Barker, Phil was the first call I received and within 10 mins we were on our way, although distant good views were obtained of a Staffs first for me and I think the 3rd ever Staffs record, also present a Sanderling, plus Ringed Plovers, Little Ringed Plovers, Common Sandpiper, Dunlin, Goosander and Yellow Wagtail. Below is the best I could manage but at least it's a record shot.
Saturday, 28 May 2011
The first of only 2 Blackcaps was singing as I entered the park, on the playing field 5 Greylag Geese were later joined by another, a single Pied Wagtail was probably part of the family of 4 on the front of the main lake, a single Mistle Thrush was also on the playing field with another along the grass bank, a few small parties of Lesser Black-backed Gulls were going through with the largest a group of 9, 6 Tufted Duck were on the main lake with another couple on the boating lake, just 4 Great Crested Grebes were seen today, 4 Chiffchaffs were heard around the park and at least 7 Willow Tits made up of mainly young birds, around 30+ Swifts increased to around 50+ later but there were very few House Martins compared to the last few days, the resident Mute Swans were in the back and a couple of Bullfinches were around the top pool, a single Whitethroat was singing on the sewage works as was a Willow Warbler and Garden Warbler.
Friday, 27 May 2011
I'd just been back in the house about 5 minutes when I received a text from nick saying 4 Arctic Terns on the main lake seen by Jeff Jones and Alan Hancock, so I rushed straight back sadly not in enough time as they had already left, as I stood on the back a Oystercatcher flew in, it flew around the 2 lakes for a few minutes before heading off south.
A couple of Mute Swans came into the boating lake, one I managed to read the ring of which was on a blue ring number 7FBB, those that come down to Westport on a regular basis will know that there has been a unusual Coot around for a few months, it basically looks like a Coot that has been bleached, however if you look closely at it's head this is a normal black colour, see the picture below.
Thursday, 26 May 2011
Back to Westport and the highlights on the 24th were at least 4 Garden Warblers around the park, 5 Greylag Geese were on the main lake as were 9 Great Crested Grebe, a Common Sandpiper was working it's way around the edge of the lake, 3 Sparrowhawks flew over which was rather unusual, the female Pheasant returned to it's usual place on the sewage works for the first time in a month or more, on the 25th, 3 Greylag Geese were on the playing field with the Canada Geese, as well as 10 Tufted Ducks on the main lake a pair were on the top pool and a Little Ringed Plover was briefly on the old beach area, Canada Geese Goslings have gone up slightly to 39, at least 2 parties of young Blackcaps were on the sewage works.
Back to today, a couple of Garden Warblers were heard around the park, 6 Chiffchaffs, the 3 Greylag Geese remain on the playing field with the Canada Geese which also held a single Mistle Thrush, just 3 Blackcaps seen/heard today, the young Moorhens around the boating lake are down to 3, 2 Pied Wagtails were around the edge of the main lake one of which was a youngster, 2 Sand Martins went through heading south which is the first ones for a while, 2 Little Ringed Plovers were on the edge of the main lake, 8 Tufted Ducks on the main lake with 5 Great Crested Grebes, over 100+ Swifts were over the top of the main lake, we had a bit of a scare when I noticed one had a white rump, closer inspection showed it was just a partial white rump on one side and seemed to be a few feathers sticking up, also 3 Jackdaws flew over, by the top pool 10 Willow Tits went through made up of mainly youngsters, 60+ House Martins were over the main lake, 3 Reed Warblers were on the top pool, a couple of Whitethroats on the sewage works with a single Willow Warbler and Reed Bunting.