Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Liverpool RSPB's BIG New year birdwatch

After getting up nice and early with a scrapping of ice from the windscreen, it was up to the Speke/Garston LNR for Liverpool RSPB's BIG New Year Birdwatch and the start of many peoples New Year birdlists. Sunday compared to the previous days total washout, dawned cold, dry, sunny, with a slight breeze with little wind chill. 35 intrepid birders joined the throng eager to start the walk, ears pricked binos at the ready.

A great start even before the last boot was laced and the car park left we had seen Blackbird, Woodpigeon, L.B.B.Gull, Goldfinch, Flocks of Starling, a Grey Heron in flight and hunting Kestrel. Walking the path toward Garston shore we spotted Redwing perched in the trees, soon joined by 2 more of the Turdus species Mistle thrush and singing Song thrush. The Kestrel we had seen hunting earlier came to perch in the trees close to the path giving us great views of her sunlit plumage, she didn't seem to be bothered by the gawping humans 20 0dd feet away! Shortly after it was joined by the tercel, male and female together.

A Greenfinch was the last to be ticked off before we moved onto the river birds. Along the shoreline probing the mud ( MERSEY MUD MATTERS -website article) we found Redshank, Cormorant, Herring gull, Black Headed Gull, Curlew, Teal, Mallard, Lapwing, and a magnificent yet menacing Gt.Black Backed Gull. Overhead being mobbed by crows an unconcerned Buzzard scanned the reserve blow. In the breeze swept reeds between the mudbanks and the path Reed Buntings flitted between the stalks, a Wren called out and was duly ticked. Back on the river we had 3 Shelduck bobbed along, quickly out done by a flock of Dunlin, twisting and turning in flight along the shore looking for the best bit of mud to alight on. A Turnstone was observed, doing what it does best, turning stones, piping Oystercatcher completed the picture.

Turning away from the shore scanning the fields around the warehouses, we ticked off Magpie, Collared Dove, and Carrion Crow. And a then at mega for the day the strange distant bird acting like a kestrel turned out to be a Peregrine perched onto the corner of the B&M building, then swooping through the buildings and onto Speke Hall Woods. Spreading out for walk through the marshy grassy area, our stealthy band of 'beaters'! Flushed out a marvellous Brown Hare, a covey of 5 Grey Partridge, a Skylark, a Snipe and a Meadow Pipit.

Moving on to our second stop of the day we re -grouped by Sefton Park Lake (Along with a large proportion of Sunday strolling Liverpudlian families enjoying the sunny weather- the swans, geese and ducks were all well fed that day) The tick list grew, as we added feral Pigeon, Mute swan, Common gull, Coot, Canada goose, Moorhen, 4 gorgeous Little Grebes, and a sprightly lakeside Grey Wagtail. Leaving the lake and into the trees we espied, along with the resident Grey Squirrels and Rats, Blue tit, a good view of a Ring neck parakeet (a first for many of our group), Long tailed tits, Great tits, hunting Sparrowhawk, Robin, Chaffinch, and a posing Jay perched on a branch probably keenly watching where the resident Grey’s were burying their monkey nuts. A Pied Wagtail and 4 Mistle thrush's were on the playing fields avoiding the footballers.

A short walk over to nearby Greenbank Park gave us a Tufted duck, a Jackdaw, another sighting of the Ring necked Parakeet and a handsome male Goldeneye on the lake.

Back to our cars for a quick drive to the Black Woods in Childwall gave us Nuthatch, Coal tit, female Great spotted Woodpecker and male Great spotted woodpecker as "Ged" our Woodpecker expert pointed out at the last indoor meeting 'Red on the crown'! Stock dove and to finish off as the sun was going down we got lovely Brambling.

60 birds in total, not bad for a day in local parks.


And a little bit from me!