Friday, 30 November 2012

The return of Speckles

Mistle Thrush  at the Nook 06/10/10

I always know when Winter has arrived when the Local Mistles call in for cake. Yesterday  saw the grass white with frost and the pond had a thin layer of ice. Time to put out extra grub. 
Waiting for the rest of the the thrush family now. 
More Bramblings have been visiting members gardens, Anne who lives by Sefton Park has had  2 in her garden this week, lucky girl .....send them to meeeeee !

Tit bits:
One of our earliest breeders (eggs are often laid in February),the Mistle Thrush, probably gets its name from a penchant for mistletoe, though it will noisily defend any fruiting bush it happens to find against all comers... as the Waxwings know!  
Colloquial name of “Stormcock” known for its habit of singing in tree tops during howling winds and inclement weather


An Apple a day helps the Waxwing to stay!

Waxwing - Tim Melling

Waxing lyrical in Merseyside

Over the past month, nature lovers across the UK have reported  sightings of an exotic-looking bird called a waxwing. 
These striking birds arrive from Scandinavia every few winters when a lack of food forces them to fly south. The last major influx of waxwings in the UK was in 2010.

Their colours mean they wouldn't look out of place in a tropical rainforest, with a prominent reddish-brown crest, yellow and white in the wings and a yellow-tipped tail.

In Merseyside, waxwings have been spotted in Liverpool, Birkenhead, and Bootle .

Chris Collett from the RSPB in Northern England said:  Waxwings often travel in flocks and move around together, taking advantage of a good food source and then moving on. They are not fussy about where they eat and it s quite common to see them in town centres or supermarket car parks, or pretty much anywhere that there are suitable berries like rowan, hawthorn and cotoneaster.

This year has been a mixed one for natural food sources with some varieties of fruits having a particularly poor season.   Sloes, apples, pears and the berries of rowan and hawthorn have been reported to be
less abundant than usual in parts of the country.  That means less food for wildlife including migrant birds like waxwings.

Putting fruit in the garden could be a help to waxwings if natural sources do run out.  Try spiking a pear on a stick or threading fruit slices on a string and dangling from tree branches.

Fatballs and good quality bird food in the garden can be a big help to other birds too at this time of year.  Find out how to do more at and register now to take part in the RSPB s Big
Garden Birdwatch 2013 at

Chris Collett, RSPB Regional Communications Manager

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A choice for Sunday, 2nd December ?

Join the Local group field trip to MARSHSIDE

A return visit to a popular venue. Meet 10.30 am at the Sand Washing Plant car park, opposite the RSPB Marshside reserve entrance, 1 mile north of Southport on the Coast Rd. Wader flocks, Geese, Swans and Raptors should be seen. REMEMBER to bring along your national RSPB Membership card, and wrap up site on the coast.
Leader: Chris Tynan (Tel:0151  480 7938 or Mobile 07831-352870) 


Tree-mendous fun at Burton Mere Wetlands

RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands, on the Dee Estuary, is inviting people to help celebrate National Tree Week by offering the chance to plant their very own tree on Sunday 2 December.

The nature reserve has a good amount of mixed woodlands to explore and several new tree and hedge planting sessions have already taken place.

Paul Brady, RSPB Visitor Development Officer, said: “National Tree Week is a fantastic event and we are pleased to be taking part.  This is a great chance to do something positive for the environment.  Not everybody has a garden big enough to plant a tree so why not come and plant one at your local RSPB reserve.”

During the event there will be a number of free family activities, including bark rubbing, a tricky tree quiz trail and a tree identification walk.  A local nursery will be supplying native trees and hedges for sale over the weekend.

RSPB staff and volunteers will also be on hand to provide advice on the many different kinds of wildlife, with a free guided walk taking place at 2pm on the day. There will be plenty of free wildlife-friendly gardening advice available.

Please phone 0151 353 8478 for times, details and a full programme of activities. Alternatively email or visit


Sunday, 25 November 2012

What's Santa bringing you for Christmas?

Greetings Liverpool RSPB

Here's a timely  reminder that  we can fund raise via recycling mobile phones, ink cartridges, digital cameras, sat navs, game consoles(Nintendo DS/SonyPSP) and iPods.

(Please ensure all SIM cards an customer date are removed from handsets before returning them to Recycling appeal)

So if your getting a spanking new tech toy to play with, why not recycle your old for good.

We have raised over £350,000 since 2005 through recycling your used mobile phones and printer cartridges whilst diverting thousands of tonnes of waste from landfill.

See the list of items/info on the link below.

We could do a collection at the indoor meetings and send them on? or if you can’t make the meetings request your freepost envelope from the link. 

Liverpool RSPB  Stepping up for nature


Christmas Appeal

When Christmas cards arrive don't just bin your stamps. 

Help Save The Albatross with the RSPB. 

In 2011 your stamps helped us raise £15,000!

Bring your stamps to the indoor meetings in 

December  January.

(Just tear off the corner with the stamp, ideally 

 with no more than a quarter of an inch border).


Send loose stamps to: RSPB Stamps, PO Box 6198, Leighton Buzzard, 
 Bedfordshire LU7 9XT


Saturday, 24 November 2012

Blackie returns to the Nook

Male Blackcap chomping on fatcake!

Another winter returner to the garden this week was a male Blackcap. 
Now I'm waiting for the winter thrushes and anything else that wants to drop in!


Woodland birds are pouring into gardens amidst reports of patchy seed and nut availability in the countryside. Eye-catching Siskin, Brambling, Nuthatch, Jay and Great Spotted Woodpecker are leading the way, new results from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) reveal.

Most striking has been the increase of birds that we normally associate with woodland. Siskin and Brambling, both colourful and sociable members of the finch family, have been four times more numerous in gardens this autumn compared with recent years. Patchy seed availability in the countryside appears to be forcing these birds out of woodland, while bird foods such as sunflower hearts and nyjer seed are drawing them into gardens.
This winter is shaping up to be one of the most exciting ever for garden bird enthusiasts. Latest findings from BTO Garden BirdWatch, a year-round survey of garden wildlife, show that over 80% of our frequently spotted garden bird species have been more abundant over recent weeks compared with 2009–2011.
Autumn 2012: garden bird winners
  SpeciesIncrease this autumn %Main autumn foods
 2Brambling295Seeds & nuts
 3Nuthatch90Seeds & nuts
 4Jay85Seeds & nuts
 5Great Spotted Woodpecker66Seeds & nuts
 6Coal Tit62Seeds & invertebrates
 9Redwing51Berries & invertebrates
 12Fieldfare38Berries & invertebrates
 13Sparrowhawk34Other birds
 14Black-headed Gull34Omnivorous
 15Woodpigeon29Seeds & berries
 16Feral Pigeon28Seeds & scraps
 17Chaffinch27Seeds & nuts
 18Blackbird26Berries & invertebrates
 19Mistle Thrush23Berries & invertebrates
 20Great Tit22Seeds, nuts & invertebrates

Friday, 23 November 2012

Close encounter

I visited Fountains Road today too, enticed by the report of 300+ Waxwings from David earlier in the week. But what I actually saw was rather different- 1 solitary Waxwing! I'm not complaining though as I spent a very enjoyable few minutes watching it. It wasn't bothered by me at all and I was able to walk right up to the tree it was in. It even flew down to briefly drink from a puddle in the road which was quite exciting and something I hadn't seen before. I've noticed on two occasions now that when you have a flock of Waxwings they tend to be quite skittish and won't stay still for long, but if you find one on its own it tends to be much more 'calm' and you can watch it at your leisure!

The view as I approached.

Standing underneath the tree.

And as a bonus, as I started to walk back towards Stanley Road, a large flock of perhaps 100 or more Waxwings flew overhead. It was a breathtaking sight with the sun on them, hearing them calling as they went.


Mixed Fortunes

I was very hopeful for Friday as it dawned dry and bright, and I was determined to put a rubbish week in work behind me.
I took myself off to Mab Lane in search of Store’s Kingfisher. Wrens, Blackbirds, Mallards, Goldfinches and various Tits were evident around the stream;  which appeared  very fetching as the frost evaporated from the grass and a mist hung over the water. After an hour I gave up and decided to have another crack at the Fountains Rd Waxies.  I made my way out to the road and decided to have a quick look through the bridge railings on the other side; here the Alt meanders it way towards Maghull. Would you believe it, a flash of turquoise signalled the Kingfisher taking flight downstream, alas there is no access to this part of the stream, unless I break into someone’s garden. Better luck next time. But there you go Stores, I never doubted you, but now its presence is definitely confirmed  J
Morning mist. River Alt, Mab lane,.Liverpool

Arriving at Fountains Rd, the weather looked on the change; the Waxwings were flitting about skittishly. I jumped out and took up point by the red post box, a large flock arrived, must have been over 100 thrushes (did you know the collective noun for Waxwings is an ear-full or museum!!)  Camera at the ready, disaster…white van parks up underneath the trees.
A lady gets out –awestruck, Waxies gone. I slink round the corner and wait, lady retreats to the van. Waxies eventually prrrrp back, I slink back to the post box, Waxies manoeuvring in on the few remaining golden berries.  Thud, that was the van door slamming shut.  Awestruck lady trotting over to me, ‘What are they?’  My reply ‘what the hell are you doing slamming the door!’ Waxies winging their way over St Athanius Church into deepest Walton.  Needless to say I told her what they were and where they came from. And no I didn’t invite her to join Liverpool RSPB because it was all I could do not to throttle her.
I was not to see the Waxies again as a venomous dark cloud positioned itself over Fountains Red and let loose it deluge. (Thanks Diane Oxberry- dry and bright?).  I sat in the car and waited; waited a little more then gave up.  Back home twenty minutes later I found solace in a large slice of carrot cake and a cup of Yorkshire.
You win some, you loose some, tomorrow's another day.

Consolation prize, caught up with the Waxies at Milner St later on. Only 5 Waxwings, but not as skittish and seemed to be keeping the 2 twitchers with their very large lens happy.

Waxwing, Milner Street, Warrington

Very few berries left on those trees on Fountains Rd and on Milner Street. New venues needed, eyes and ears peeled folks.


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Still just keep missing those Waxwings

Will try again today !!

Mike C

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Butterfly conservation need your help

Big Butterfly counters, you already know how important it is that we protect our beautiful butterflies and moths. The results of the count show that species are in decline but we can make a difference with your help, and now have the opportunity to make your donation worth ten times more!

Painted Lady

In 1996 a tax on landfill waste was introduced to encourage recycling and waste reduction. The unique part about this green tax is that funds raised are made available for environmental projects.

We can apply to this fund providing we can secure a matching 10% from other sources and
this is where you can help.

By supporting Match Pot, every 10p you donate will allow us to spend £1 on vital conservation work to protect butterflies. If you are able to apply Gift Aid to your donation we can also include this extra element. This means a donation of £8 to Match Pot with Gift Aid is actually worth £100 to Butterfly Conservation. That is a fantastic return in these difficult financial times. Many Butterfly Conservation projects have already benefited from the initiative. But there is still more work to be done.
We hope you can support our Match Pot 3 appeal and make your gift worth 10 times more and help save your precious wildlife


BTO Garden Birdwatch- A rare visitor for David

When one watches a certain bird place frequently, like your own garden, you get to be familiar with all the regular species that visit.  So when something different flies in, you spot it immediately.  For me the excitement came last week, when I saw a chaffinch that looked different.

The gizz said –“not chaffinch”.  First sight was part hidden in the branches and then it disappeared.  This gave me opportunity to dive for my bird book so I could confirm that it was indeed – a Brambling.  A few moments later, it returned allowing me to be secure in my identification and record it in Garden Birdwatch (GBW). This is only the second recording for my garden in 17 years; the first was November 2010, so I am well pleased.

Can I endorse Laura’s encouragement for you to join GBW?  The best bit is that the birds in your garden can join those in the 6,500 other gardens spread across Britain and you don’t need to be an expert.  You record what you can identify each week and you build up your expertise as you go along.
Data can be entered on paper or online.  This is a continuous data base, unlike the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, which is once a year.
Costs £17 per year and well worth it for the quarterly magazine, the BirdTable. Full of facts and figures, bird profiles, Q’s and As, letters etc.  Have a look at the web site.

David  Holland 

Look out, the Vikings have arrived!

Today (21/11/1201 at 1400hr) went to Fountains Road Kirkdale at Stanley road end to see waxwings, hoping to see the reported 100 or so.  Did I see waxwings?  You bet I did.  300 + ! The problem with counting them was they never stayed still long enough for me to work my way through the flock.
Start counting and 50 or so would detach themselves, so start again.  Then
100 plus fly in to spoil the next count.  By counting groups I did get a comfortable number of 300 plus for one brief moment.  Later I achieved a confident count of 200 at a moment when I could see they were not at the maximum number I had already seen in the tree.
My highlight of the year.
David Holland

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

more waxwings

Tues  8.45am

57 waxwings at junction of Booker Ave and Mather Ave this morning.


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Waxwing Sightings

Friday 16th November

22 Waxwings Barnham drive.  As this report went out late I looked for them on Saturday morning but no sign except for mistle thrushs protecting their berries!!

Sunday 18th November

25 Waxwings back on Barnham drive but better still I managed to see which trees they are roostng in.  They like the large Popular trees by the railway bridge on Childwall Valley rd.

100+ waxwings seen on Fountains rd off Stanley rd or Westminister rd.


Mab Lane woodland

Thought I'd try the blog site out with sighting's from Mablane community woodland this morning.
7.30am:- long tailed tit x8,  grey wagtail, kingfisher, water rail, robin, jackdaw(loads), blackbird, mallard, teal, redwing x8, pheasant, collared dove, cormorant(flying over), carrion crow, woodpigeon, wren, great tit, blue tit, jay x3, goldfinch, song thrush and sparrowhawk. Field mouse and 2 rabbits all before 8.10 am and before going to my mam's for breakfast.
Kingfisher was the 1st bird to see, disturbing it and flying off along the river. Next after a short walk was the water rail, just feeding amongst some reeds giving great veiws and not the first time I have seen it in this area, also in the same area was the grey wagtail.  Walking the river I again disturbed the kingfisher, this time I seen it land in a tree over the river were I was able to watch for a while before a group of teal took flight and disturbed it. Again following the river I came across the kingfisher and again it took flight and flew down the river, watching land on a overhanging branch in typical kingfisher style.  It was in the distance but you could see it clearly through your bins were it stayed for as long as I was there I left it still there perched on the branch. Also flushed a snipe but didn't give any call or zigzag flight but short flight and back down again but didn't see were?

Friday, 16 November 2012


Thought you might be interested in recent highlights from Hale Head in the last week.
1 Great White Egret south 9th Nov.
1 Hawfinch south, 1 Mealy Redpoll south, a total of 4 Waxwing through all on the same day 15th Nov. Also same day record November migration site counts for Redwing 2312, Brambling 88 and Blackbird 18 actively migrating.

Also currently 66 Waxwing at Milner Street in Warrington, still lots of berries left.

Milner Street 2010

Thanks to Jeff Clark 

BTO Garden Birdwatch update

The year-round BTO Garden BirdWatch reports busy times in gardens this autumn. The 40 or so most frequently-spotted garden birds, have been 15% higher this October compared with the previous three. Woodland birds have particularly caught the eye. 
With seed and nut crops in the countryside appearing to be patchy, many woodland species have turned to bird feeders (as have Grey Squirrels) Many householders over recent weeks who have been enjoying watching Coal Tits busily caching food for the winter. This diminutive bird was up 62% in gardens this October compared with the three-year average. 

Winter visitors to our shores, Bramblings, have also been delighting householders. Numbers of this attractive finch in gardens vary annually depending on levels of immigration and food availability in the UK countryside. Normally Bramblings move more into gardens from mid to late-winter, but this year has seen an unexpected early peak. Is this the start of bigger things to come over the next few weeks, we wonder? Also sweeping onto feeders in larger numbers than normal have been Siskins – their numbers four times higher this October compared with the recent average for this month.

Other seed and nut specialists have been taking advantage of offerings provided by householders. These include Nuthatch (up 90% this October), Jay (up 85%) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (up 66%).
 BTO research shows these and several other species are known to make greater use of gardens when natural food in the countryside is scarce. The influx of birds into gardens hints once again at the vital role that gardens play in the wider foraging environment of many birds.
In parts of the countryside, berries also appear to be thin on the ground this autumn. In gardens, however, birds are able to exploit different fruits and berries owing to the presence of many native and non-native trees and shrubs. These are currently attracting several members of the thrush family – most notably Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Redwing and Fieldfare – in unusually high numbers. Providing some fruit, such as apples or pears, will help cater for these thrushes, and will also help to sustain visitors such as Blackcap.

Get involved, record your garden visitors:


Return of the Wagger

Glad  to report my winter visitor has finally dropped into Bimson's nook.
This Grey Wagtail has been visiting my garden pond area for the last few yrs, knows I can't resist buying in live mealworms to put out!!
Happy day.

(Are you listening Cherry?)


Thursday, 15 November 2012


If you haven't checked it out have a look at.........Birding Frontiers..........great web site , loads of interesting stuff.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Where have all the Starlings gone?

Keith's been making friends..

You don`t see many Starlings these days according to the RSPB, well I've seen many of them recently at the Coast Guard Station at Crosby.They will land on your hand if you tempt them enough,quite a buzz.

I still get some in the garden, not the bigger flocks of old though. I  try and make sure they get a share of the live mealworms during breeding season to help them along. I’m a Starling fan, love their inquisitive spottiness.  Had a couple of leucistic babies in 2007 
I’ve met some  of the Starlings at the coastguard station last year when I was getting signatures for the ‘save our coast guard petition'.  They know where the handouts are.