Sunday, 30 December 2007

The Biggest Twitch Ever

Thought we couldnt let this pass with out a comment. Alan Davies was the site manager for RSPB Conwy and Ruth Miller worked for RSPB as well. We at Liverpool wish them every success, although Ste Menzie did say that if we won the lottery we would have a go at their new record.
The Biggest Idea
To see more bird species in a calendar year than anyone has ever done before!
We, Alan Davies and Ruth Miller, are two British birders living in North Wales.
We have set ourselves the target of seeing over 3,662 different species of birds in twelve months, from 1st January to 31st December 2008.
We have given up our jobs and are dedicating a whole year to travelling around the world to set a new world record by seeing more birds in a single year than ever achieved before.
We will be visiting every type of habitat on earth: desert, rainforest, high altitude, open seas, and sweeping savannah.
And as we go, we'll experience all the weather conditions that nature can throw at us: intense heat, cold and wet, snow and ice, pre-dawn starts and night vigils.
The current world record for species recorded in a calendar year stands at 3,662.

You can follow Alan & Ruth's progress on their website


Sunday, 23 December 2007

'So who told you wearing these silly hats guarantees us a chunk of Christmas cake?'

Don't forget to give your birds their Christmas dinner, leftover roast spuds go down a treat!!


Saturday, 22 December 2007

Angels with Dirty Faces!!

A very early ringing session at Ravenmoels before work saw use catching a few goldfinch's and siskins. The birds are feeding on alders and you can see the residue that it leaves on the beaks of this goldfinchs and the siskins.


Monday, 17 December 2007

Time to look back on the year

As it must have been the coldest day today, It got me thinging about warmer weather and sunshine birds. Earlier this year I travelled around the West Indies and stopped in Antigua for a day. I walked through Antigua's town centre looking for birds in peoples gardens, bit like looking on peoples bird table and found these wonderful bananaquit's feeding on sugar. It was quickly followed by the dark bird in picture 2. A lesser antillean bullfinch. Not bad!

OOh for the warm weather of West Indies.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Birthday Treat part1

Well the mighty Liverpool won 4-0! Awesome.

But what about the black redstart would it still be in Ainsdale. I had charged up my batteries and the camera was out.

Yes it was still there so please enjoy it.


Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Birthday Treats

Today is my birthday and as I was in work all day the only thing to look forward to was the match later,.......Cmon you REDMEN!!
But at around 9.30 this morning all this changed when a bird looking like a small wheatear was in front of the depot that I work out. I jumped out of my land rover and walked towards the bird, when I got to 25feet away the bird flew along the path, showing off its tail. The red in its tail and the grey body, a juv or female black redstart. Excellent! Get your bins, no get your camera. The birds in the centre, the lights great, time to press the button....OH no my batteries are dead and ive got no spares.
Well I hope its there tomorrow just to get a picture and show you all.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

From David Holland:

Last week (27.11.07) I encountered a huge pied wagtail roost in town. Coming to the end of a shopping foray I was walking up Parker Street from Church Street towards Clayton Square at about 5.30 and became aware of bird noises aloft. Looking up into the tops of the three trees in the centre of Parker Street I saw a vast number of pied wagtails swirling around. They were impossible to count but I arrived at a minimum count of 200+. Two days later I was back in town again (glutton for punishment!) and going up Parker Street, but just 15 - 30 minutes later. By that time they had all settled down to roost for the night and were somewhat easier to count. I was confident in reaching 300+. Several communications later with the guys who know about these things I learned from Steve White that this is a regular occurrence, although the location seems to move around a bit. A count of 267 was recorded in 2006 in Church Street by Paul Slater. A more precise count would be interesting this year.
Other stories:- Calderstones Park on Wednesday 28.11.07 produced two grey herons on the big island and . . . a cormorant fishing at less than 20 m from me. Has anyone ever seen a cormorant here before?

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Next Indoor Meeting

Monday 3rd December

Monday night is RSPB night at Mossley Hill Parish Church. For our Christmas meet we have invited Sheffield bird photographer Paul Hobson, who will help us discover the beauty of the Peak District's birds and wildlife. Doors open at 19.00, Talk start's 19.30.
There is a small admission charge and tea and coffee is free, oh and as a special treat mince pies & chocs...well it is Christmas. Laura will be there with our bird seed your birds to survive this winter....why not buy some sunflower hearts, suet cakes, table/feeder mix and of course live & dried mealworm. Don't forget to buy a raffle ticket...who know's what delights Howard has kept back for Chrimbo!! And don't forget to sign up to the 85 club with Laura while your there.

See you all there.

Mad dogs and Englishmen

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, but the lunatic birdwatchers of Liverpool RSPB go out in the eye of the storm, or so it seemed as the icy sea spray lashed us as we battled on Ainsdale beach; But then once our target was sighted we were glad we'd made the effort, for there where the beautful Snow Buntings searching the strandline alongside several Turnstones, a parcel (where do they get these collective names from) of Linnets and a party of 4 Skylarks ....this was to be the highlight of our visit to Marshside, (that and the little gull flying off the beach..well as best as he could in the gale!). Earlier.....

Bracing, Dreich, Gloomy, Blustery, Wet...just a few weathery adjectives to give you the idea.

A trek round the sandplant and a scan out to sea showed up lots of gulls, Black tailed Godwits, Cormorant, Reed Buntings, Robin, Starlings, Magpie, Wood pigeon and a solitary little Egret. The disused sandplant grounds are crying out to be put to good can just picture a nice cosy Reserve visitor centre with shop and cafe nestled in it's sandy arms........

Still Sandgrounders hide was dry and the volunteers had made a sterling effort with free mince pies for their visitors, well it is Christmas after all.

Pies ate, we all (there were 6 hardy adventurers out today) settled down to peruse the marsh...Pintail ....everywhere..lots and lots of the handsome ducks seemed happy enough to sit out the inclement weather. Other duck family members were present, striking Widgeon, Pochard, Mallard, Teal and Shoveller as where the perpetual Coot and Moorhen. Of the Goose family (those that has not been tempted by Martin Mere's meals on wheels):Greylag, Pink foots and Canadian's . What else was there: A Heron being mobbed by crows, Curlew meticulously probing the mud, lots of wheeling Lapwings, a couple of snipe over head, a Blackbird munching on berries close to the hide, more Godwits, a Kestrel hovering over the road, brooding greater Black backs with their cousins lesser Black back, Herring and Black headed Gulls. Did I mention little Grebe, oh! and a mammal, our loping Mad March Brown Hare.

So all in all not a bad little trip despite being soaked to the skin. Hope you enjoyed your day out Carol. Thanks to Chris for trooping us round.....he got his reward.. Liverpool won 4-0 today.


Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Save the Whales

O.k this is not about birds but probably a cause close to many of your hearts. The Whales revenge website aims to collect One Million signatures to take to the International Whaling Commission. If you feel frustrated about the ongoing slaughter of whales, add you name and be heard.



Tuesday, 27 November 2007

December outdoor field trip

The next group field trip is to RSPB Marshside. Sunday 2nd December: Meet at 10.30am at the Sand Plant car park. I, Chris will be the leader of the walk. Some birds we might see are teal, shoveler, pintail, pochard, goldeneye, water rail, black tailed godwits, curlew, redshank, lapwing, birds of prey such as merlin, peregrine. Small birds will also be looked for like, skylark, meadow pipit, stonechats, snow buntings. I look forward to seeing you on the walk.

What a long claw you have!!

While out today with John G, we managed to catch a??? I have included the picture of its claw so comments please.


Sunday, 18 November 2007

Indoor Meeting

Monady night will see the group meeting at Mossley Hill Parish Church. The speaker will be John Power telling us about 'How Birds Draw Me' The doors open at 19.00, John will start his talk at 19.30. There is a small admission charge and tea and coffee is free. Laura will be there will her birds seed sales such as sunflower, nijer seed, table mix and of course live mealworm. You can also sign up to the 85 club when your there.
Hope to see you there.

Group Field trip to Marbury Country Park

I have to say that I have seen some good birds at Marbury but not always Green Woodpecker. So today was going to change wasnt it!! The weather forcast said rain, rain, and heavy rain over the north west of the UK. Well us the merry band of 8 set off in search of what ever we could find before the rain. Treecreeper in the car park was a good start, followed by loads and loads of Redwings, a couple of Blackbirds and the usual Tit flock. The call of a Nuthatch soon had that added to our list. The Holly and the Yew berries were being devoured by huge flocks of Redwings. A Mistle Thrush alarm calling gave away the presence of a Sparrowhawk, Crows, Jackdaws, Jay, Magpie, Woodpigeon and Great Spotted Woodpecker.
The lakeside feeding hide was just a hive of activity but mostly Great, Blue and the odd Coal Tit, Robin, Dunnock, and Chaffinch. Looking at the lake added Mallard, Tufted Duck, Great Crested and Little Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Wigeon, Canada Goose, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Starling, Black headed, Common and Lesser Black Backed Gull were noted. No sign of the Kingfisher or Bittern. We walked to the next feeding hide close to the old ice house, at this time we added Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Long Tailed Tit. Some of the birds showed off their rings but the ringers had not got them all!! We walked into the woods and off the track and quick checked through a flock of Long Tails to see if anything was moving through with them and low and behold a female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was enjoyed by all of us for a good 10mins. It was time for lunch, yeppie I heard some of the group say. We soon added Buzzard as we walked down to the Witton Lime beds and Song Thrush. At the beds it was very quiet just Teal and Lapwings. We headed for Neumanns Flash and soon saw a huge flock of Shoveler, Gadwall, Mute Swan, Black Swan (not really a tick!) Goldeneye. We walked back through Diary House Meadow and soon got our first Pied Wagtail, then Stock Dove. The Redwing numbers for the whole site must have been over 1000 but just as you got fed up at looking at another I managed to find a Fieldfare with them. Reed Bunting was next to be seen, then Grey Wagtail. The final bird of the day was a Greenfinch. Not bad we broke over 50 for a wet day in November. Thanks to all that attended I know they enjoyed it.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

For all you gardeners out there

Suttons Seeds have linked up with the RSPB with their RSPB Wildlife Attracting Seeds range: Specially chosen to attract birds and other wildlife to your garden, to help you develop a wildlife haven .
Gardeners have the option, on the purchase of any of the Suttons Wildlife range, to send for a free booklet on how to encourage birds into their gardens. For every pack sold, Suttons are donating 5p to the RSPB.

The RSPB’s Homes for Wildlife is inspiring people to make a real difference for the wildlife that shares the open space closest to them - their garden. It aims to help a range of wildlife, including familiar birds that have seriously declined.
By taking part in Homes for Wildlife, you can make a real difference to their fortunes and help to reverse the declines. We hope that thousands of you across the UK will be able to make your homes and gardens richer in wildlife by following the simple wildlife gardening advice that we provide.

Happy Pottering

Friday, 9 November 2007


A reminder about tomorrows field trip along the Mockbeggar trail on the north Wirral coast:
A local walk covering the Dee and Mersey Estuaries. Meet 10.45am at Moreton Station (10.10 or 10.25 train from central station). An easy walk through the dunes and along the promenade. Waders and dune species. 9.1m high tide at 11.00am. Depending on the weather, the walk will either end at Meols or Hoylake stations. Facilities at Central Station, BUT not guaranteed on walk.

LEADER: Howard Mills (Tel: 0151 226 3285 or Mobile 07710-217663)

With the recent strong winds, who knows what else might be seen! Leach's Petrel, Little Auk, Eider and skuas are all a possibility.

Snow Buntings

As the weather has turned a little colder its time to watch the strandline on the coast. That could be Crosby, the Alt or even better Formby to Southport. It's time for Snow Buntings and 2 were at Ainsdale today at 15.45. If you park in the car park and walk south they were close to the second metal barrier. You never have a camera with you when you need it!! Good luck finding them.

The Ringing Sunday Fogfest.

Sunday saw me inching towards Birkdale on the A565. Driving in Fog is bad enough during daylight but this was an early start - 6.15am. Fog light on and eyes on stalks, there were points in the journey when I thought I may have been better off pulling up into lay-by than carry on, I persevered and arrived late. The rest of our intrepid band was already on site, Chris and Richard the Ringers in training, John the expert. I was the bag lady.
I was duly collected from the car park and taken to our Cosy nook in the shrubbery. Almost immediately I was handed an bow saw and put into hard labour, you try a spot of bramble hacking. Yes, surprisingly Ringing pitches don’t come ready prepared, someone has to hewn through undergrowth, cutting alleyways through trees, shrubs, brambles, nettles and worse for approx 25ft, this gives us the space to hang the mist nests.
Hard labour over, saw us sitting in the nook drinking tea from our flasks whilst listing to the rave music hanging on the air from Pontin’s, (until the police arrived then it went strangely quiet) and watching the sun pierce through the lifting fog. But what about the birds I hear you say, well the birds were plentiful and varied, 57 were recovered from nets, 12 had rings already - retraps, 45 new. Starting with a female blackbird, a flurry of Wrens (7) or should that be a chime or herd and several Robins (5). Subsequent trips to the nets gave us Goldcrest (4), Blue Tit (7),Great Tit (3),Chaffinch (4), Dunnock (2), a Goldfinch, Blackcap (3), a beautiful Song Thrush, a couple of handsome Bullfinches (2), a stunning Brambling(very pleased with that one) and a whole flock of 15 lollipops - long tailed tits. See video of release from the bag at:
Bird ringing is a great way of getting up close to birds, too appreciate their plumage and marvel at how light and tiny Wrens and Goldcrests are :- 5-7 grammes in the Goldcrest’s case equivalent to 2 pennies! The ringing process is deliberately very quick to reduce any stress – if we have several birds waiting to be ringed they are kept in cloth bags which help relax the waiting bird – now you know why I was the bag lady!! Bird ringing is essential if we are to learn about how long they live and when and where they move, questions that are vital for bird conservation. Liverpool RSPB members interested in joining us on a trip should contact Group Leader Chris Tynan. For more information on Birding see our web page and links:


Friday, 2 November 2007

Late Osprey

We were travelling to Lymm for Lunch (At the Barn Owl noless) on Wednesday. Just after turning off the M6 towards Rixton moss we saw a large grey and white bird sitting in a field and a cry of Buzzrd was heard from the back seat. When I looked I realized it was an osprey so, much to the consternation of the driver behind, did a rapid change of direction and turned into the entrance to the Biffa waste offices. Went back and double checked and yes it was a very late osprey obviously heading south to the Gambia. It flew off to a nearby tree where it sat showing off it's profile and head crest.

Phil Antrobus

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Have you cleaned out your nestbox?

Once a year you should always empty your nestboxs. The main problems people seem to have is the issue of what you will find in them or are you just too lazy to do this, or does the wife ask you why are you taking the hoover outside? Sometimes the old nests have little visitors, such as, spiders, insects, bugs, ticks, lice, should i go on, are you feeling itchy yet?
Well the first photo shows what happens after the blue tits have moved out with their fledglings. A wasp moved in and started turning it in to a home fit for a wasp.
The best way to empty any nestbox is to place your hand in and grabbing the nest and throwing it away. Then flush with hot water, if you have a lot of boxs use some flasks.
There is always a down side to emptying boxs and that is when you open a nest and see that a near fledged bird just didnt make it, oh well that nature!! Other wise we would be knee deep in blue tits! (Had to keep that bit clean)

Sunday, 28 October 2007

And now for something completely different.

No I didn’t meet old hook nose on the way to Aldi. Just thought you might like to see who I met at Chester Zoo today. Love them or hate them the Zoo is currently the nearest I’m going to get to a Condor or Vulture for now. I’m sure these chaps would rather be soaring over the mountains & plains, but without breeding programmes how many species would now be extinct. The Andean Condor is the largest flying bird in the world, not the prettiest, but certainly impressive. Something you certainly got a perspective of when you saw them flying in their large enclosures.
To finish on a topical note ‘Halloween’, if you do fancy a trip to the Zoo and you’re not 'chicken' don’t miss out on the Twilight Zone; Batwings fluttering against your hair and fingers being nibbled in the dark, need I say more.............! Laura

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Feed The Birds Day - Saturday 27th October 2007

This weekend is the RSPB's Feed The Birds Day.

Make sure you're stocked up on seed to help our feathered friends through the cold winter months! For advice on feeding garden birds, speak to Laura at the indoor meetings and have a browse through the group's selection of seed on sale, or click >HERE<

Monday, 22 October 2007

Sociable Lapwing finds some friends

Hopes are rising for one of the world's rarest birds after the discovery of the largest flock seen for more than 100 years.
More than 3,000 critically endangered sociable lapwings have been found in the Ceylanpinar district of south-eastern Turkey after a satellite tag was fitted to one of the birds migrating from breeding grounds in Kazakhstan.

Read the full story on the RSPB's website by clicking >HERE<

^ Sociable Lapwing - Maxim Koshkin (ACBK)

Sunday, 21 October 2007

A funny thing happened to me on the way to Aldi

Had to have a second take - did my eyes deceive me or was that a Woodcock on the grassy roundabout at Knotty Ash, another circle of said roundabout confirmed it! Mmmh, according to the good book - this is mainly a nocturnal bird, spends most of the day in dense cover, and you would be very lucky to see one. This bird was obviously an attention seeker. Strutting about in the open, probing the muddy grass, oblivious to the Sunday cruisers passing by.. certainly seemed happy with the menu on offer.
I did eventually get to Aldi, I wonder what the passing drivers thought of the mad woman with the camera. ..on second thoughts don’t answer that!!! Laura

Friday, 19 October 2007

A change in the air

A red letter day for me, as tis my first blog - so here goes.
I may not be a twitcher, or one mortified because they dipped that little brown warbler. But I do like to observe the visitors to my very local patch, namely my garden, and yesterday and today brought me proof that winter is on the way. For those of you that have visited our website you will know I have nestbox camera’s installed; The last 2 days have noted a sudden drop in overnight temperatures and sure enough one of our little blue friends checked into the Bimson hotel to roost, after all why shiver on a branch when you can snooze in your own pad. The second signal for a change in season was this morning, with the arrival of our first male Blackcap. Over the last couple of years I have noted, along with Long tailed Tits and Goldcrest, Blackcaps have visited the garden from autumn through to spring, they particularly like homemade suet cake so I better start cooking. I’ve already had a flock of 20 Lollipops last week, still waiting for the first Goldcrest and wouldn’t it be nice to get some winter thrush visitors - didn’t plant out all those shrubs- Pyracantha, Cotoneaster & Berberis just for their colour! - Laura

Tuesday, 16 October 2007


...To the Liverpool RSPB Local Group's Blog! Here, you can find information about the Liverpool RSPB Local Group: Its up-and-coming events; highlights from meetings & field trips; news, views and anything else we think you may find interesting.
The blog is intended as a supplement to our already well established website.
If you have any suggestions for the blog, or about the group as a whole, or have any news you would like to share with us, please don't hesitate to contact us! We hope you enjoy the blog and find it helpful.