On a quiet day at Elton reservoir where there didn't seem to be an awful lot happening on the bird front, I took to playing a game. Match the gull to the number painted on the buoy. There are lots of these markers on the reservoir. I think they are for the sailing club to use, but not 100% sure about that. Anyway, Elton is a very good place for gulls, and I thought I'd see what we had out there, on what was a grey day.
In at number 9 is a nice looking Common Gull.
At 8 we have a Lesser black-backed Gull and juvenile.
At 6, a sleepy Black-headed Gull.
And finally at 3, another Black-headed Gull. It gave me something to do on my way round the reservoir. I'm sure there will be a rarity along very soon.
The Wirral provides a fantastic habitat for wading birds. On the rocks of West Kirby, along with the Turnstones were good numbers of Redshank. As is often the case here, they were busy shielding their eyes from the strong breeze blowing in off the sea. Others were even busier on the beach. Running around and looking for a nice meal.
My trip to the Wirral included a stop off at West Kirby marine lake. I pulled up at the usual spot and parked. Just a short walk from the pavement are some rocks where waders like to congregate. There were plenty of Turnstone at one end and Common Redshank at the other. A little peep over the wall and I was able to get very close to these super little birds. I don't know why, but I have a particular soft spot for Turnstones. I spent a lot of time watching their behaviour in Norfolk, and I've got to say they fascinate me.
They don't scare easily, and if you keep quite still, they will come very close to you. I've even had them walking around my feet before. Lovely, busy little birds, and as the name suggests, they do flip and turn over the stones in search of food.
This chap was having an afternoon nap.
There was quite a variety of plumage's among the birds. Some still had a lot of their summer breeding plumage.
I took a trip out to the Wirral at the weekend. The morning weather was not nice but my weather app was telling me I would get a window of a couple of hours when it wouldn't be raining and a possibility of sunshine too. It was all I needed to get in the car and head west.
I could see the clouds breaking but it took a while for the light to really improve. By the time I got to Leasowe, and its very iconic lighthouse, the sun was peeping out and everything looked a lot better.
Unfortunately there wasn't too much action on the bird front and the tide was well out. Still, I had a nice little walk and its always nice to be at the coast and smelling that fresh air.
Unfortunately, it's that time of year again. Our summer migrants are starting to gather up their things and head back home. As sad a time as it is, to think that we won't see some of these birds for another six months or so, it actually becomes a very good time of year to see some in good numbers.
I took a leisurely Sunday walk around Elton reservoir last Sunday hoping for some stop off waders. No such luck, in fact it was very quiet indeed. Almost 3/4 of the way round and the best bird so far was a Little Grebe. A nice bird to see, but not really what I was hoping for. Then from the canal path, I scanned down towards some trees and a fence line where I could see some activity. Pale, white-ish front and doing that characteristic hopping and leaping into the air to catch, well, flies. I needed closer inspection, but this did have all the characteristics of a Spotted Flycatcher.
I checked my map, and there was a public footpath and a style to cross to get me closer, but the field held some rather long horned cattle. I braved it, but have never come so close (intentionally) to something that looked so dangerous. I moved briskly, and there it was, in all its glory. Maybe the last one I see until May next year. A stunning Spotted Flycatcher. Destination: Africa.