Monday, 17 October 2016

In Memory : Jim Gordon's birding life

Jim Gordon  in 1984

In 2012 RSPB Liverpool celebrated it's 40th Anniversary, and over the years our membership has seen people come, go and return....  Recently we were reminded of our past when a new member Neil Gordon told us of his father's lifelong  interest in birds and his past connection to RSPB Liverpool. Sadly Neil's father died recently, but in his memory we asked  Neil to  put together a small  piece on his time with our group. 

Neil and his family have bequeathed  Jim's  funeral collection  to our group funds, for this we wish to offer  a huge thanks for this most thoughtful and  generous donation.  

Neil Writes -

Jim’s love of birds began at an early age. As a young boy he would wander the farmlands of Norris Green.  With no field guides or books at home, Jim was one of the generations of self taught birders’, his only source of information being a “borrowed” school book on common birds.

Family life took over for Jim and it wasn’t until his children grew that he began to fall in love with his childhood hobby again.  Living in Fazakerley he would spend hours watching Redpoll and Bullfinch in Fazakerley woods finding the occasional good bird like Long Eared Owls and would come home excitedly  telling all the family of his great finds. 
The big breaking point in his birding life came when he bought his first car, a VW Beetle and he was soon to be found at Seaforth, Lunt, Hale, Frodsham and Marshside.

Jim joined the local RSPB Liverpool group in the early eighties and spent many great days out with the group enjoying the meetings as he loved to learn and soon realised the other birders in the group were happy to pass on their knowledge.  Jim and his family spent many happy trips to the Solway with RSPB Liverpool led by Ted Richards and even ventured abroad for the first time to Majorca on a group holiday. His appetite for scarcer birds had now been lit by the group.

What followed for Jim were many happy late summer holidays to Norfolk, ticking off birds he had only dreamt of seeing whilst reading his bird books at night. The one major trip he always longed for was a two week birding holiday on the Scillys’, which he and his family enjoyed in ’84.
Jim loved to travel to see rare birds, from the Little Whimbrel in Norfolk to the White Billed Diver in Northern Scotland. If he could get there it was game on.

When Jim retired from bus driving after 30 years, it was back to local birding, with his favourite patch being Seaforth Docks.  As Jim’s health began to decline and he stopped driving, it was down to park and garden birding with the occasional twitch if he could get a lift off someone.  His love of birds, common or rare, never faded and is last day in the field was to see a male smew at Lunt this year. He came home that day tired and sore but with a broad grin on his face.

Birding full circle for my dad over the space of 70 plus years’ with lots of memories of good friends and great days out.

Jim Gordon
18/03/1936 – 12/09/2016

Thank you Neil

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Ringing the reedlings – another successful year for special birds at RSPB Leighton Moss

Autumn is certainly on its way and at RSPB Leighton Moss nature reserve in Silverdale, that means some of its most secretive residents – the bearded reedlings, are coming out of hiding, offering visitors a greater chance of spotting these elusive birds.

Leighton Moss is the largest reedbed in North West England, home to rare and special wildlife. Bearded reedlings, also known as bearded tits, are very uncommon and rely on this special environment to live in. They first began breeding at the reserve in 1973 and their numbers have been closely monitored by dedicated staff and volunteers ever since. 

Earlier this year, following stormy weather that flooded the reserve, it was feared the bearded reedling population may have declined. However, through ringing studies, where young birds have colour coded leg rings fitted, staff at the nature reserve have found that it has been another good year for these secretive birds.

Kevin Kelly, Visitor Operations Manager at RSPB Leighton Moss and Morecambe Bay nature reserve said:  “We have caught or seen nine adult males and ten adult females so far this summer, as well as fitted colour rings to 22 baby birds and nine other young bearded tits. This shows that there have  been plenty of successful breeding attempts despite the challenging weather conditions last winter.”
Kevin added: “Autumn is the best time of year to come and see these iconic reedbed residents, as they venture out onto special grit trays. We put the trays out for them to stock up on grit which helps them digest reed seeds – their main food source during the cold winter months.”
Visitors can look for bearded reedlings at Leighton Moss any day in October  but for the best chance to see these rare birds feeding on the grit trays, take a walk down the Causeway between 9.30 am-12 pm. 

Vis Mig at Hale 09/10/16

Sun's up. Runcorn/Widnes bridge in distance

Church lane watchers
It was a beautiful morning on Sunday at Hale for our visible migration field trip.
Highlight for me was the Merlin, tree sparrows, redwings and flappy fieldfare, looovve our scandinavian visitors. 

Sunday 9 October 2016

Counting period: 07:25 - 09:30
Count type: incomplete species list, not all species submitted
Weather: wind NE1, cloud-cover 3/8, visibility 25m, temperature 9 ℃, Sunny , cool NE wind F1,
 3/cloud slowly decreasing cloud cover through watch
Observers: Jeff Clarke, Chris Tynan plus RSPB group

Pink-footed Goose *
Coal Tit *
House Martin
Song Thrush
Mistle Thrush
Tree Sparrow
Grey Wagtail
alba wagtail sp.
Meadow Pipit
Hawfinch *
Lesser Redpoll
Reed Bunting

Totals: 6245 individuals, 26 species, 2:05 hours

Bold = Remarkable observation (scarce or rare species or large number)
* = Additional info (on mouseover species)

Comments: Probably significant undercount on passerines due to large group presence impeding call reception.
All migrants vectored south or south-east unless otherwise stated.

Count Website

Hale lighthouse