Woolston Eyes Monthly Sightings

2019-04-20

This morning I carried out a common bird and breeding wildfowl survey on the northern half of No.4 bed. There were good numbers of Gadwall on the Loop, together with 3 pairs of Lapwing. The following counts were mostly of singing males; 8 Willow Warblers, 21 Wren, 11 Robin, 4 Whitethroat, 13 Chiffchaff, 26 Blackcap, 3 Song Thrush, 6 Chaffinch, 2 Cetti’s Warblers, 6 Dunnock and 5 Reed Warblers. Later in the morning there were plenty of butterflies including 18 Orange Tips in an area not covered earlier in the week. This makes a reserve total of 119 for this species, a quite remarkable number!

Submitted by: Dave Hackett

 

2019-04-19

Late afternoon visit on hottest day of the year. Some good birding with a fine pair of Garganey in front of the Morgan hide where also two broods of Greylag Geese,3 and 9 young respectively.A careful count revealed 23 Black necked Grebes but on leaving the 3 birds that have frequented the front of a channel towards the north-east corner of the main pool suddenly appeared so it is highly probable that 26 were present overall.49 Gadwall were noted most paired as were the 22 Shoveler. Up to 15 Pochard wre present and 5 Shelduck.At the Rotary hide a female Mallard was with no less than 11 very small young,the first duck brood of the year. A single Mute Swan adult was present below the footbridge on to the bed only able to move in circles. It is likely to have fishing line around one of its legs and hopefully it can be rescued and examined. Lots of butterflies on the bed including Orange Tips and 2 Brimstones.

Submitted by: Brian Martin

 

David Bowman

2019-04-19

Photo of two male Gadwalls in a courtship chase, from No.3 bed.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

David Bowman

2019-04-19

Yesterday we were out early,completing a Breeding Bird Survey of No.2 bed. Results from the survey (which primarily counts males in song) included: 7 Greenfinches, 7 Song Thrushes, 17 Robins, 28 Wrens, 10 Great Tits, 3 Cetti’s Warblers, 5 Dunnocks, 2 Reed Buntings, 30 Blackcaps, 18 Chiffchaffs and 5 Willow Warblers. We’ll re-survey all four beds again in May and June, as some of the migratory warblers will move on and others will arrive. Analysis of the data, which we’ve been collecting for 30 years, enables us to monitor changes in our breeding population. Sightings from No.3 bed included a pair of Mediterranean Gulls and a passage of 60 Sand Martins and 6 Swallows.

Photo of a House Sparrow from No.3 bed

The link is to a brief video clip showing: displaying Shovelers, the male Lapwing on the Morgan Hide scrape preparing a nest for his third female, second calendar year and adult Common Gulls, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebes and some close-ups of a displaying pair of Mediterranean Gulls. https://youtu.be/zShb0LiZJpQ

Cheers David Bowman (with Dave Steel, David Spencer, Alan Warford and Les Jones)

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

Dave Hackett

2019-04-17

A glorious spring day with the temperature reaching 19 degrees by lunchtime and unbroken sunshine. Warblers are now arriving in good numbers with reserve counts of 49 Blackcap, 33 Chiffchaff, 14 Willow Warbler and the first Reed and Sedge Warblers and Whitethroats of the year. The undoubted highlight of the day had to be the unprecedented numbers of Orange Tip butterflies with about a hundred present across the reserve. This was an amazing total by far exceeding the previous record count of 39 in 2017. Other sightings of interest were 4 Brimstones, including a female found by Dave Riley on No.2 bed, 26 Speckled Wood, 28 Peacock and 22 Small Tortoiseshell. Singles of Small and Green-veined White added to the variety. Photo; Green-veined White

Submitted by: Dave Hackett

 

David Bowman

2019-04-17

A pleasant, sunny afternoon on No.3 bed produced some good birds today: singing Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler added to the numerous singing Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, backed by the constant cacophony of the Black-headed Gull colony. This latter is now holding at least 750 gulls and we’re hoping for a good breeding season after last year’s disaster. The Lapwing population is also looking good, with maybe a dozen sitting females across the Reserve. On the Morgan Hide scrape, the male now has three females, one incubating three eggs, one sitting tight, though we haven’t seen any eggs yet and another with which he was vigorously mating. Black-necked Grebes are also at their highest level for a few years, with at least 25 present. We’re also hopeful that some of the five Mediterranean Gulls, which kept coming and going all afternoon, will stay and breed, as they’ve threatened to do in most recent years. The first couple of Coot broods have already appeared and wildfowl numbers look good, too, with c.25 pairs of Gadwall, 12 of Teal, 10 of Shoveler, 6 of Pochard and 7 of Tufted Duck scattered around the bed. Meanwhile, the drake Garganey is still skulking in the reeds, over on the Loop of No.4 bed. Photo of a displaying Lapwing Cheers David Bowman

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

Andy Weir

2019-04-15

Black-necked Grebe (podiceps nigricollis)from The John Morgan Hide

Submitted by: Andy Weir

 

andy Weir

2019-04-15

Black-necked Grebe (podiceps nigricollis)from The John Morgan Hide

Submitted by: Andy Weir

 

David Bowman

2019-04-15

With a fresh south-south-easterly blowing it was always going to be a day for observing migration at Woolston Eyes. Daniel Owen had an excellent morning, finding a pair of Garganey on No.4 bed, a male Marsh Harrier passing over No.2 bed and four Mediterranean Gulls in No.3 bed. By the time I got there, at lunchtime, just a few Sand Martins were passing through, though eventually all four Mediterranean Gulls returned to the bed, including two which landed on the Morgan Hide scrape (one of which was ringed).

Photo of two Mediterranean Gulls from this afternoon.

Cheers David Bowman

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

2019-04-14

A total of 24 Black necked Grebes on No.3 bed and also a Marsh harrier caused much confusion among the wildfowl. Black necked count highest since 2014.

Submitted by: Brian Martin

 

David Bowman

2019-04-13

Photo of the male Peregrine from Thelwall Viaduct

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

David Bowman

2019-04-13

Photo of some of this morning’s Black-tailed Godwits.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

David Bowman

2019-04-13

With a calm, frosty dawn and the prospects of a cool, freshening east-south-easterly breeze developing, it always felt like a good morning to be out on the Reserve. Dave Steel and I started with a 6.30 am Breeding Bird Survey on No.1 bed, before later joining the others in the Morgan Hide to scan for migrants. No.1 bed, as ever, delivered some good breeding information, with three pairs of Little Ringed Plover, a pair of Lapwings, three singing Cetti’s Warblers, the resident Peregrines on the Viaduct showing every sign of breeding plus 9 Blackcaps, 8 Willow Warblers and 8 Chiffchaffs in song. After breakfast in the Morgan Hide on No.3 bed, it was all eyes peeled for migratory movement. Highlights included: 2 Whimbrel which flew through, 7 Black-tailed Godwits which dropped onto the scrape, plus a light movement of hirundines totalling 5 House Martins, 27 Swallows and 45 Sand Martins. A count of 21 Black-necked Grebes then rounded off a brilliant morning. Record shot of one of this morning’s Whimbrels Cheers David Bowman (with Dave Steel, Alan Warford, Sue Haddock, Les Jones and David Spencer)

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

Dave Hackett

2019-04-11

A lovely spring day although cold and frosty first thing! I heard my first singing Willow Warbler on No.1 bed and about ten Blackcaps were in song across the reserve. One of the Peregrines was on the viaduct. On No.3 bed David Bowman and I found 21 Black-necked Grebes and a pair of Coots with seven small young were the first of the year. Four Lapwing were on the scrape including one sitting on three eggs and a further four were on the Loop islands. A Cetti’s Warbler was singing on Butchersfield Tip and six Little Grebes were on the Loop of No.4 bed. After a cold start butterflies began to appear in good numbers from lunchtime onwards; notable were 27 orange Tips including three males trying to mate with a female(!), 20 Peacock, 13 Small Tortoiseshell, 19 Speckled Wood, 2 Comma, 3 Small White and the first two Green-veined Whites of the year. Photo; female Orange Tip on No.3 bed

Submitted by: Dave Hackett

 

David Bowman

2019-04-10

With the winds looking favourable for bringing migrants in, I dashed down to No.3 bed at mid-day today. For the first couple of hours in the Morgan Hide, things were fairly quiet, in terms of bird movement and I relaxed to enjoy watching and photographing the breeding behaviour of the local grebes, wildfowl and Black-headed Gulls. Then, after a couple of hours, there was a sudden flurry of activity. First, an Osprey passed over at great height, being chased westward by a Raven. Then a single Dunlin flew in, circled the bed, thought about landing on the scrape and then it too went westward. Then a handful of Swallows were followed by a flood of Sand Martins. with 220 counted through in an hour. Always brilliant to see migration in action. Cheers David Bowman

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

Keith Gallie

2019-04-10

A nice couple of hours on Number 3 Bed, the sun was out and the birds were singing, butterflies and nice flowers to see picture of Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)

Submitted by: Keith Gallie

 

Keith Gallie

2019-04-10

Cowslip (Primula veris)

Submitted by: Keith Gallie

 

Keith Gallie

2019-04-10

Snakeshead Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris)

Submitted by: Keith Gallie

 

2019-04-07

A quick couple of hours on No.3 bed at Woolston Eyes today, from 6.15 am and back home in time for breakfast! At first light, a Common Sandpiper was perched on one of the gull nesting rafts and some of the 17 Black-necked Grebes present were feeding and pairing in front of the Morgan Hide. On the scrape, the male Lapwing has one female on three eggs and was again trying to entice a second female to look at the couple of other nest scrapes he was busy making. The Black-headed Gull colony is currently holding in excess of 500 birds, though we expect this number to grow as the month progresses. The gulls were very active, with nest-building, courtship feeding and mating happening all around the bed. Gadwall, Shoveler, Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Pochard and Little Grebes are also pairing up and will soon be nesting. Finally, 20 Sand Martins moved through in an hour, not stopping to feed but heading determinedly north. The link is to a short video clip showing some of the morning’s activity. Cheers David Bowman https://youtu.be/l710NmV9eF4

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

2019-04-07

It was good to get back on No.3 bed yesterday, after a time away. After a 6.30 am start we spent most of the time scanning for migrants from the Morgan Hide, with a break for a co-ordinated count of Black-necked Grebes. Breeding activity was very evident. The male Lapwing on the scrape has one female on three eggs and another female he was busy mating with. The Black-headed Gulls at the colony swelled to 550 over the morning and pairing and mating activity was constant. Other sightings included: 17 Black-necked Grebes, 7 Bramblings, 2 Lesser Redpolls, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 8 Common Buzzards, 4 Sparrowhawks, 1 Raven, 1 Water Rail, 1 House Martin, 2 Swallows, 62 Sand Martins, 3 Cetti’s Warblers, 7 Chiffchaffs and three Blackcaps. Cheers David Bowman (with Dave Steel, Helen Wynn, Alan Warford, Kelly Ainsworth and Les Jones)

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

2019-04-05

After the cold wet weather of yesterday a better day but still cool and breezy.A good morning with a total of 17 Black necked Grebes on No.3 bed. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls on water by one of the rafts on east pool throughout the morning.Also,3 singing Willow Warblers on the bed. Large numbers of paired Gadwall notably inside the east bank and north east pool In all a minimum of 25 pairs found. Three singing Cetti’s Warblers. A Little Grebe with nest material on north east pool.Many Tufted Duck on both the bed-up to 60 and the Canal ca.50.A few hirundines,mainly Sand Martins but nothing like the numbers of earlier in the week.

Submitted by: Brian Martin

 

Dave Hackett

2019-04-03

A much colder day today and fairly quiet on the reserve with fewer birds in song than last week. A minimum of 13 Black-nseked Grebes (probably 15) were on No.3 bed together with the first House Martins of the year as far as I am aware. Wildfowl totals included 255 Tufted Duck, 19 Great-crested Grebe, 75 Gadwall and 52 Coot. A pair of Mute Swans is building a nest on one of the pontoons at Latchford Locks. Photo; Campion by the river

Submitted by: Dave Hackett