Sunday, 30 January 2011

30 January 2011

A much better day on the temp front with 3c first thing, again with the lack of wind it made it feel quite pleasant, it remained dry throughout with light cloud coverage, visit from 07.35 - 09.30.

Again the pair of Shoveler were on the boating lake along with a single Great Crested Grebe and Tufted Duck, another 63 Tufted Duck were on the main lake with a good count of 44 Pochard and another Great Crested Grebe, a group of 19 Jackdaws flew over the main lake followed by a single bird and then another group of 7, but more about that latter, just a single Pied Wagtail was along the grass verge, back too the main lake 2 Mute Swans, 2 Goldeneye, 5 Goosander and a single Teal were present, with another Teal also in the nature reserve, a couple of Siskins had turned into around 30+ by the end of the visit, the Green Woodpecker was again calling from near Price's field area, just a single Bullfinch was near the top pool with another 2 flying over the old gas works, also by the top pool singles of Willow Tit, Coal Tit and Chaffinch, another 3 Rook flew over here to go with the 4 from yesterday and a Grey Heron flew from the reed bed, on the old gas works just 2 Stock Doves and a large flock of corvids turned out to be a record count of 97 Jackdaws which probably included the Jackdaws we had seen earlier in the morning, not much on the old sewage works except for a couple of Mistle Thrushes flying over, back on the main lake and in the Black-headed Gull flock were 4 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 3 Common Gulls.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

29 January 2011

A very cold, dry morning with a ground frost, temp was -1c, about 85% of the boating lake was frozen and 70% of the main lake, good amount of sunshine and very little wind, visit from 07.30 - 09.45.

On the boating lake the pair of Shoveler were sticking to the open water near the island, a single adult Mute Swan with another pair on the main lake and a single Great Crested Grebe, after the cold recent mornings there was no sign of the nest the Grebe's had been building a couple of mornings ago, there was also another 2 Great Crested Grebes on the main lake, a single Pied Wagtail flew over the grass bank and 29 Jackdaws flew over the nature reserve heading north (another Westport year tick out the way for me) latter we had another 2 on the old gas works, on the main lake at least 2 Goldeneye, in total 7 Goosander were seen although only a couple were left as we departed Westport, Pochard remain steady at 22 but Tufted Duck have jumped up to 62, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were present, a single Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over as we entered the nature reserve, by the 1st gate a pair of Teal were flushed off the stream but all in all the nature reserve was very quiet, on the old gas works a single Stock Dove on the usual railway gantry and a couple of Mistle Thrushes flew over, highlight came here as well with 4 Rook, another Westport year tick and not a bird seen in great numbers here over the year, a couple of Siskin were flying around calling and landed in the trees near Browns , on the old sewage works a Buzzard was sat in the trees, probably the same one that has been around for most of the month, lastly back on the main lake 3 Common Gulls were among the Black-headed Gulls.

Friday, 28 January 2011

28 January 2011

Only news from Westport today comes from Nick Smith with a superb count of 11 Goosanders (2 males, 1 immature and the rest females), also at Westport a Goldcrest on the old sewage works and 33 Jackdaws flying over, the latter two I still need for my Westport list grrrr.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

27 January 2011

Received a text first thing letting me know that Pete Lunt had seen 7 Goosander on the main lake first thing this morning, I had decided to have a late start as it was my first day off of a 4 day break.

When down too Westport at 12.50, it was a rather chilly 4c with a few very light snow flurries, wind was light and from the north east, it remained dry for the visit with light cloud coverage, visit was for 1hr 45mins.

On the way in too the bottom entrance of Westport a pair of Mute Swans were heading along the canal towards Etruria, I couldn't get there ring numbers as they were facing the wrong way, on the playing field 2 Mistle Thrushes and 2 Redwing, on the boating lake the pair of Great Crested Grebes that were displaying on the main lake last week were nest building in the same place as last year, they tried for 3 broods last year, maybe starting this early they want to try and beat that, also on the boating lake a pair of Shoveler and a Lesser Black-backed Gull, on the main lake the 7 Goosander were still present (2 male and 5 female), another 4 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Common Gulls, 1 Herring Gull, 3 Goldeneye, 40 Tufted Duck and 22 Pochard.

By the 1st gate to the nature reserve a single Bullfinch and Chaffinch with several Greenfinches, by the top pool again singles each of Chaffinch and Bullfinch plus a single Willow Tit, while here I hear an unusual call overhead, at first I couldn't see anything, then 2 Ravens came over play fighting and calling as they flew over quite low and headed off towards Bradwell Wood, another Westport 1st for me, and one I was gutted at missing a few times last year. The old gas works and sewage works were both very quiet except for a couple of Siskins flying over the old sewage works, back at the main lake and the Goosander numbers had increased to 8 with an extra female coming in, lastly a Pied Wagtail flew over the visitor centre.

Also received an e-mail from our resident Coot ringer Kane Brides, he informed us that another on of our Coots has departed Westport for new climes, this time up north too sunny Blackpool!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

23 January 2011

Although the temp was a cool 4c it didn't actually feel that bad, there was no breeze which probably helped as well as being dry, there was a little bit of frost left from the freezing fog the previous day and well over 60% of the boating lake was frozen along with the small pools, the main lake was ice free, visit from 08.00 - 09.40.

Met up with Nick first thing and between us stuffed the Coots on the boating lake with plenty of bread, managing to check a few rings along the way, also on here a female Goosander, which also came to bread!, we are back up to 2 pairs of Shoveler and a couple of Tufted Duck on here. The regular pair of Mute Swans also came across from the main lake for a feed, on the main lake another female Goosander was near the boating ramp, a Goldeneye and 3 Great Crested Grebes, the nature reserve was rather quiet although a pair of Teal on the far side of the brook where new Westport year ticks for me, a single Siskin flew over not far from the boardwalk bridge and up by the top pool a couple of Willow Tits and Bullfinches were present, on the old gas works 3 Stock Doves by the railway line were the only birds of note, as we went across to the old sewage works 3 adult Herring Gulls flew over north with a Lesser Black-backed Gull going the opposite way, near the top entrance to the lake a Great Spotted Woodpecker was calling from the tall trees, back on the main lake 21 Pochard and 53 Tufted Ducks along with a single Common Gull and finally as I left by the playing fields a couple of Pied Wagtails.

On the 19th Pete Lunt and myself had a male Wigeon which I'd stated on the blog was a first for the year at Westport but I've since been told by Nick Smith that a female was present on the 1st of the month as well.

Also I've received an e-mail from Phil Locker who had 4 Wigeon on the main lake on the 2nd January along with a Great black-backed Gull.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

20 January 2011

Just a quick visit to Westport, mainly around the boating lake and along the grass verge of the main lake, unable too see very far due to heavy fog, could just about see half of the main lake.

On the boating lake the 3 Shovelers continue to spend most of there time around the model boat ramp, as I said I could only see half of the main lake, 3 Great Crest Grebes, Tufted Duck and a few Pochard were all I could see, I bumped into Pete Lunt who hadn't seen much either but he had been up the top and counted 22 Pochard, near the visitor centre a single Common Gull was among the Black-headed Gulls and on the playing field 2 Mistle Thrushes.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

19 January 2011

Weather seemed identical to yesterday, even the temp was the same at 6c, visit slightly later from 10.00 til 11.40.

3 Shovelers on the boating lake today, 2 females and 'Sammy', on the main lake, 5 Great Crested Grebes, a female Goosander, 2 Goldeneye, 61 Tufted Duck, 18 Pochard and another year tick for Westport in a male Wigeon. In the nature reserve, 12 Siskin near the boardwalk bridge, 3 Bullfinches at the top pool with a single Coal Tit and 3 Willow Tits. Back by the main lake a single Common Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Pied Wagtails near the car park and 2 Mistle Thrushes on the playing field, as I walked back along the canal 2 Mute Swans were heading along towards Westport both had darvic rings on but I couldn't read the numbers.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

18 Janaury 2011

Very dull and cloudy with a bit of mist in areas, remained dry and felt quite cold with a slight northwest breeze, temp 6c, visit 08.10 - 10.25.

A pair of Shoveler were on the boating lake with a couple of Mute Swans, another single Mute Swan also flew in onto the main lake, got a few Coot rings while plying them with bread, yellow rings 1st, orange/red, red/white and pink/red , white rings just one, red/purple, on the main lake 4 Great Crested Grebes were 1st for the year at Westport for me, 1 female Goosander, 1 female Goldeneye, 48 Tufted Duck and 19 Pochard.

A adult Lesser Black-backed Gull flew over and was later on the posts by the boating ramp, a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen, 1 near the 1st gate to the nature reserve and another at the top of the old gas works, a Grey Heron was on the bottom pool and later on Jeff's pool, by the top pool 2 Siskins, 4 Bullfinches a Coal Tit and 2 Willow Tits, another 2 Willow Tits were near the 2nd gate, a Common Gull came onto the main lake, on the old gas works 2 Stock Doves and on the old sewage works a single Mistle Thrush and at last I caught up with the female Pheasant by the feeding station near the canal overflow.

Met up with Jeff Jones here who had also seen a Buzzard on the gas works and a Kestrel, also he had 4 Jackdaws flying over.

Monday, 17 January 2011

17 January 2011

First news from Westport comes from Pete Lunt with, 2 Brambling by the 1st gate to the nature reserve (fingers crossed I will at last catch up with these birds tomorrow), Greenfinch 14?, 2 Goosanders, 2 Goldeneye, 3 Shoveler, 14 Pochard and 55 Tufted Duck.

Nick Smith had a amazing count of nearly 60 Jackdaws (58 on the Westport year list) over this afternoon.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

16 January 2011

All news from Westport came from Nick today, 4 Goosander, a single Great Crested Grebe (at last, this is the 1st of the year), and 4 Lapwings over, it was duck count this weekend, only 'Sammy' is left out of the Shovelers, 6 Mute Swans now on and just over 50 Tufted Ducks and 32 Pochards.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

15 January 2011

Very little news from Westport today, while I was stuck at work most of the regular Westport crew were 'dipping' in London, anyway Adam from Birdforum managed to get down an had the following.

Of note, Pochard and Tufted Duck in good number (didn't bother with a count of either), 3 Shoveler, 2 female Goosander, 1 female Goldeneye and one Common Gull. Other common things on show included a singing Song Thrush and 2 Mistle Thrushes, a few Goldfinch flocks knocking about and plenty of Bullfinches.

Also going back too the Mute Swan from the other day, Nick has now confirmed that it is a different bird from last autumn, the ring number is slightly different by the last letter to be exact, making this recent one a new Mute Swan for Westport.

Friday, 14 January 2011

14 January 2011

Just some news from yesterday, Nick Smith had 2 Goosanders fly in as dusk approached, also other news from Nick comes re the returning Mute Swan yesterday, it's yellow ringed number B7SP, it was ringed at Belvide on the 1st June last year, a 5 year old female, and as I said yesterday was last seen at Westport in Sept 10.

Also news regarding the Little Owl yesterday, it's probably the 2nd or 3rd record for Westport, Bill Low had one on the 15th February 84, not far away from Jeff's record yesterday.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

13 January 2011

A very mild 15c today with a light northwesterly breeze, a very light shower early on, but ground was very wet from overnight rain, the main lake was completely ice free for the 1st time since the end of November, the boating lake was about 60% ice free and the middle pool in the nature reserve was ice free but the other two still heavily covered, visit was just over 2 hrs.

First birds of note might seem a bit unusual to most people as 10+ House Sparrows by the bottom entrance doesn't sound very exciting, however House Sparrows at Westport are very few and far between with normally just single figures seen around the Ted Heath Rocks area, on the playing fields the first of 5 Pied Wagtails, most of which were around the grass verge area and 2 Collared Doves flew over the field, also 2 Mistle Thrushes on here, the first of 4 Bullfinches in the trees at the side of the boating lake the rest were by the first gate and top pool, on the boating lake as usual the 2 pair of Shoveler and 2 Mute Swans with another 2 Swans on the main lake, I saw a couple of colour ringed Coots today (red/orange, red/white & pink/blue), on the main lake 44 Tufted Duck, 1 female Goosander, 24 Pochard and 2 Goldeneye.

By the 1st gate to the nature reserve a single Chaffinch with another 2 by the top pool, 3 single Willow Tits were seen, by the first gate, top pool and middle pool area, a single Jay was by the top pool with a Great Spotted Woodpecker and Coal Tit, bird or birds of the day came as I was leaving the nature reserve by the 2nd gate when 100 Pink-footed Geese flew over quite low in a perfect 'v' shape they were calling as they flew over the main lake and straight down the canal south, another Westport tick out the way that I should of had a long time ago! On the old gas works a small flock of 9 Siskin flew over, 2 Stock Doves were by the old buildings and a Skylark flew over calling by Jeffs pool, back on the main lake and 2 Common Gulls were with the Black-headed Gulls.

I also meet up with Colin who had just seen the female Pheasant on the old sewage works, near the canal overflow, I'd just come off here and was gutted I'd missed it but at least it's still around as it was last seen on the 1st January.

I haven't run for a bird since my Scilly days in the 80's but I got close too it this afternoon when a text message from Nick came through telling me of a Little Owl at Westport found by Jeff Jones, this we think is a first for Westport, I was at Westport fairly quickly and met up with the finder Jeff (congratulations), sadly he hadn't seen it for about 20mins, George and then Nick arrived and we search the area to no avail, additional birds seen to this morning included a Sparrowhawk over the gas works and a Lesser Black-backed Gull on the boating lake, we managed to see the ring on one of the Mute Swans that arrived overnight and it was a previous Westport visitor although he hadn't been seen since around September time.

Oops I used the wrong Shoveler photo yesterday from Steve Seal, should of been this one below, sorry Steve.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

12 January 2011

More news on our ringed Coots with one ringed on 28/11/10 making its way to Bottom Flash, Winsford, Cheshire 36 days later and a distance of 25km. Not quite as far as another one of Kane Brides Coots which he ringed at Southport Marine Lake on 2nd Dec 2010 and then 26 days later it was 390km away in Cornwall !! (thanks to Kane for the above info).

Managed too get down to Westport this afternoon for just over an hour, rained the whole visit although it was a rather mild 12c, still a very small amount of ice on the main lake with about 50-50 on the boating lake.

On the playing field 127 Canada Geese, on the boating lake 1 first year Mute Swan with 2 adults on the main lake, the 2 pair of Shoveler are still on the boating lake, a couple of Pied Wagtails were on the grass verge, on the main lake 37 Tufted Ducks, 19 Pochard and singles of Common Gull and the female Goosander, by the 1st gate to the nature reserve the Green Woodpecker and a Willow Tit, back on the main lake and 2 female Goldeneye and lastly by the visitor centre a singing Mistle Thrush.

A couple of photo's by Steve Seal taken at the weekend of the female Pochard and one of the female Shovelers on the boating lake.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

11 January 2011

Just some late news from Nick Smith of 2 Bramblings by the 1st gate too the nature reserve at 15.30 yesterday.

Monday, 10 January 2011

10 January 2011

A much warmer day today with the temperature reading 8c, the wind was light and from the south/southwest, it rained for over half the visit from light to heavy showers, complete cloud coverage, on the ice front over 50% of the main lake is now water with about 30% of water on the boating lake all the small pools are still frozen, visit was just short of 2hrs.

On the playing field was 4 Fieldfares, 2 Mistle Thrushes and singles of Redwing and Pied Wagtail, on the boating lake the female Goosander is still present with the 4 Shovelers, a couple of flocks of Siskins were flying around with at least 40+ present although Pete Lunt had 80 around the 1st gate, on the main lake 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 1 adult Great Black-backed Gull, 23 Pochard, 28 Tufted Ducks and 2 Goldeneyes, the 1st gate area of the nature reserve had a lot of birds feeding on the seeds and nuts left around the gate among the many Tits etc, 3 Coal Tits, 4 Chaffinch, 1 Willow Tit, 3 Bullfinch and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, its was a similar story by the top pool feeding area with 6 Greenfinches also present here, by the Turtle bridge a Buzzard was flushed and flew down towards the top pool being mobbed by Carrion Crows and Magpies, lastly back on the main lake and 5 Common Gulls were sat on the ice with the Black-headed Gulls.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

09 January 2011

A nice dry crisp morning, about 50% ice coverage on the main lake and 75% coverage of ice on the boating lake, nice a sunny with very little wind of note, 3c, visit from 08.00 - 09.30.

A couple of Tufted Ducks were on the boating lake this morning with the female Goosander and 2 pair of Shovelers, another 36 Tufted Ducks were on the main lake, a single Meadow Pipit flew low over the car park calling as it headed south, back on the main lake 21 Pochard and 2 Goldeneye were the only other ducks of note, in the nature reserve a flock of 20 Siskins were flying up and down feeding on the tops of Silver Birch and Alders, on the old gas works 2 Stock Doves were on the railway gantries, on the old sewage works a single Jay, back to the main lake a single Great Spotted Woodpecker flew along the canal side trees and 3 Common Gulls were sat on the ice with the Black-headed Gulls.

Lastly just before I got down Nick had a Green Woodpecker near were I'd had it calling the previous day near the sidings area.

Looking back at 2010 a total of 127 species were seen at Westport over the year, I managed to see 109 of them and feel I could of added at least 4 more to my list, top lister for the year was Nick Smith with 112 followed by my 109 (as far as we know!), the best month came in April with 78 species seen that month and June was the quietest month with 66. We believe that around 30 species bred in or around Westport.

Kane Brides who rings the Coots at Westport recently contacted us too let us know that a couple of the Coots recently ringed at Westport have been found at Watermead Country Park in Leics (85km) and at Winterley, Sandbach (38km), I for one never realised that Coots travelled so far!

Also a Black-headed Gull that was seen by Dave Kelsall with a ring back in July has come back as ringed 41 days previously at Cleveland Farm in Wiltshire.

After Man Utd had ripped Liverpool off in the FA Cup with a dubious penalty I decided too drown my sorrows with another walk around Westport, not a lot extra of note, the Goosander had moved across to the main lake which also had a couple of adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls with Common Gulls and the usual Black-headed Gulls, in the nature reserve at least 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were around the bottom pool with a couple of them drumming, the only other birds of note were 4 Bullfinches at the top pool.

I also received these pictures from Steve Seal of the Goosander on the model boating lake, he took over 700 pictures to eventually get these great pictures.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

08 January 2011

A nice 2 hour visit too Westport this morning and my first full visit of the year, weather was quite pleasant although with a cold northerly wind, dry but very damp underfoot from heavy overnight rain.

As I entered by the bottom entrance 56 Black-headed Gulls were on the playing field, on the mainly frozen boating lake 2 pair of Shoveler and a female Goosander among the Coots and Black-headed Gulls, there was also a female Goosander on the main lake which was approx 60% covered with ice, also on the main lake a single Great Black-backed Gull, Grey Heron, 3 Goldeneye, 28 Pochard, 27 Tufted Duck and 2 Mute Swans. A couple of Pied Wagtails were on the grass verge.

In the nature reserve by the 1st gate a couple of Siskin flew over and a Green Woodpecker was heard calling from near Prices Field, as I walked across the bridge near the Turtle log a Water Rail flew down towards the 1st gate, this is a first at Westport for me and one I've been trying too catch up on all last year, back by the main lake a Grey Heron was feeding along the edge, I joined up with Nick and George to try and re find the Water Rail but to no avail, at least 3 Bullfinches were in the trees by the 1st gate, we went up onto the gas works and the sewage works but nothing much of note except a Buzzard being mobbed by a couple of Carrion Crows, back on the main lake and the only other addition was a Common Gull among the Black-headed Gulls.

Off now too my home county of Lancashire for Red-breasted Goose, will also put a overview of Westport 2010 on here soon.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

04 January 2011

Well it's been a while partly down to illness just before Christmas then back to work and then over to my parents for 4 days of Christmas celebrations before coming back to Stoke to go straight back to work, I did manage the weekend off but joined the Clayhead crew for a trip too Norfolk for a couple of ticks.

Highlights at Westport over the last week have included a female Pheasant and a adult Yellow-legged Gull sat on the ice on the main lake over the last two days. Other gulls on the main lake include 2 Great Black-backed Gulls with another 3 flying over with 30+ Herring Gulls, 2 Cormorants flew over north yesterday and a Stock Dove was on the gas works, ducks present included a female Goosander, 4 Shoveler and 5 Teal.