Posts Tagged ‘Little Gull’

As I watched the rain splashing against the windows at home last Sunday morning, I casually looked at the BBC Weather news. It was sunny in the Southport area, so, I decided to have a look at the 6 Cattle Egrets that have been in the Birkdale area for some time. As there were no takers to accompany me I got my birding gear into the car and off I went. Within 10 miles of leaving home the rain stopped and it was really quite nice. As I reached the bird’s usual feeding area, the sun was shining, now to find the 6 Cattle Egrets. A couple of Little Egrets fooled me at first, but as I searched around an area of allotments 10 egrets could be seen quite a distance away. As I scoped the birds the 6 Cattle Egrets were picked out along with 4 Little Egrets. They were happily feeding and some of them seemed to be in some form of breeding plumage. Such a large concentration of this species I have never seen before in Great Britain. I watched the birds for about half an hour and set of back for home and as I got to 10 miles from home it began raining again.
Myself and Bob K decided to try to see the Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers in Moore N.R. near Warrington on Wednesday. The rain was still falling at a great pace as I picked Bob up around 9-30am. We reached Moore and began to explore the wooded area, plenty of Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Green Woodpecker but no “drumming” was heard and perhaps the rain was drowning it out? As we headed back to the car to dry out a bit, the rain finally stopped, so we went back to the area we had been searching before, still no joy, but the first Chiff- Chaff of the year was heard and along with a nest building pair of Lesser Redpoll it made it all worthwhile.
One of my many favourite nature reserves was next at RSPB Burton Marsh, the normal friendly staff told us were all the birds we wanted to see were located. Avocets, Ruffs, Spotted Redshanks and then to listen/see the Cettis Warbler what a place. A Little Gull had arrived last Saturday and was still on the mere and gave good views in amongst the small Black Headed Gull colony, who seemed to like chasing their smaller cousin away. At this stage I made a little boo-boo (not my normal type) but the heads of a couple of gulls were visible and I casually said, “Are those Kittiwakes over there?” A local sage replied with a comment of, “If a single Kittiwake was on here this hide would be full, those are Common Gulls”. Whoops by me, the birds were now seen in all their glory and the sage was quite correct! We had a look up at the “Hill Fort” area that looks out over Burton Point and most of the Dee Estuary with a Great White Egret the only highlight. As we walked back to the car it began to rain again, so we headed for home. This was a bit of a nightmare with 10 miles taking one hour on the M56, but it was rush hour!
Dave O.


Myself, Chris B, Bob K met at my home for our annual trip to Bolton Abbey Woods, Bob was at the helm. Leaving at 6am and reaching the woods by 7am on a beautiful, sunny morning. The birds all appeared to be singing, but our ears (mainly Chris ) soon located the Redstarts and we saw them fairly well, truly, colourful gems of the woods are Redstarts. A distant Cuckoo was also heard.We descended to river level and the smell of the various plants that grow down there was truly powerful, mainly Ransoms and Bluebells. Chris showed us a number of unusual plants also, Honeydew, Lords & Ladies. Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiff-chaff were all singing at once then, the bird we have not heard here for a few year`s, Wood Warbler. Great to hear it singing, but locating it was a different matter. The amount of Pied Flycatchers in the area, seems to have increased, I wonder if the custodians of this area have used the “Cork in nestbox” idea to stop Blue Tits using the boxes and waiting till the Pied Flycatchers return before “uncorking” ? A walk up to the shelter revealed Mandarin, Marsh Tit and a further Wood Warbler. Chris found a Woodcock really close to the path and Bob found a pair of Spotted Flycatchers in a similar area, nice to see. The area was begining to get busy with runners, noisy cyclers, walkers and the usual yapping dogs, time to leave!

The long drive over to Foulshaw Moss from the Skipton area was helped by the sightings of a few Swifts chasing each other around in the little village areas. It was warm as we arrived at Foulshaw, Bob & Chris saw an Adder and we all enjoyed Green Hairstreak and Four Spotted Chaser Dragonflies. A distant female Osprey, Tree Pipits, Buzzards all added up to a really nice hour at this new(ish) reserve.

We called into Leighton Moss to see if we could find Reed Warbler, no problem as we walked along the causeway. Up to three Marsh Harrier were also observed. We called in at the Morecambe & Allen hides and were shocked to see the area completely flooded. The Black headed Gulls at the Allen hide were all flying about with no sign of any of their nests remaining also no Avocets present, a problem with a breached culvert?

News of a Little Gull being present at Stocks Reservoir had us heading in that direction over some lovely countryside. We reached Stocks and a kind lady helped us with our parking arrangements, cant say anymore! At the first hide a search for the Little Gull was stopped in its tracks as a Black Tern was found (by us?) We watched it twisting & turning as it caught its prey items, one of the birds that people have difficulty getting me away from. The local birders arrived and so did the Little Gull spending most of its time with the Black Tern chasing insects, never seen that before.Think thats why we enjoy birding as much as we do because you never know what will happen next. We had all had a truly good days birding and arrived home by 5-15pm.

P.S. We had originally decided to go for an Alpine Accenor at Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire, but as it was not seen, I think we all made a good call!!

Dave O.



Four intrepid souls risked another 24 hour birding trip,well it was only 23 hours really! An 11pm start after a gripping European Cup Final with Bob K at the helm. We had a little rain through Lincs and as we arrived at Dersingham Bog a little “sea fret” was in the air. Down into the bog we descended using two torches for company, ta Bob K, where a Grasshopper Warbler was “reeling” away, then a Nightjar was heard and as we got nearer to the sea a few mammals eyes were caught in our torches,quite an eerie feeling that was. A good number of Woodcock were around and a few more Nightjars & Grasshopper Warblers heard made up a good hours dark birding. Our next call was at Weeting Heath were the Stone Curlew were expected, but, only Rabbits & a Barn Owl were seen! At another spot a Stone Curlew was seen,but it took a bit of effort to find one. A dashing by Hobby was then seen as it chased its breakfast without much joy. Next stop our favourite reserve RSPB Lakenheath. Since the area was taken over by the RSPB the Golden Oriole population has fallen every year, probably too much disturbance by visitors. Having said that the reserve has come on greatly with Bittern,Crane,Hobby & Marsh Harriers enjoying a breeding boom! To see 2 Bitterns flying for a good 10 minutes then another flew past us and one carried on “booming” was a spectacle to behold, no Cranes or Orioles were seen though. Lots of warblers were singing in the reedbeds as we made our way back to the car and some refreshment, it was still only 9-30am! Back to the coastal area now and a new area to visit on Kelling Heath. We met a gentleman birdwatcher, who very kindly gave us a grand tour of his “patch” and what a thrill it was for us all, with Dartford Warbler, Turtle Dove & Woodlark all successfully located. His knowledge extended to the insects & plants of the area and the general history of the site, a real chance meeting for us all. A walk along the East Bank at Cley and seeing the damage caused to the area was very sad to see, only Little Tern was seen and an almost complete lack of any waders due to the high water levels. A tour of the North Norfolk “Hills” only revealed highish numbers of Marsh Harriers, they are doing well now that they have adapted to living amongst crop areas.A call at Choseley drying barns and then down to RSPB Titchwell were a Red Crested Pochard and 2 Little Gulls were seen, lots of birds and people were present (the day after a Slender Billed Gull would drop in) We had a needed cup of tea, then headed of to Whisby near Lincoln. We reached Whisby and it took us a while to locate a singing Nightingale but when we did it was a really good rendition from the bird! No sign of the Med Gulls at the site though, it was time to head for home as we were all becoming tired. About a 100 species were seen with us all getting between 12 – 20 year ticks. Its a hard trip but always very rewarding!

Dave O.

The weeks events went like this,  excellent strong winds from the east, 3 Pallas’s Grasshopper Warblers on the east coast on the same day (none were twitchable for us and none stayed the day after), lots of eastern specialities dotted around the same coast, so, with this in mind, a trip out east was arranged for Sunday. As usual, the weather was mild and the wind blew from the south west, just the kind of wind direction that you dont want for an east coast trip! You never know what might turn up at Spurn in various weather conditions though ! The 4 of us left Milnrow at 6am and after various diversions on the excuse for a motorway / permanent roadworks, the M62, we arrived at Spurn by 8-15am. First call was to see a Greenish Warbler behind the Riverside Hotel, but, it was that windy that you couldn’t see any movement in the low bushes. Lots of Redshank were flying around though. A call at the Crown & Anchor car park revealed none of yesterday’s rarities, except a very showy Lesser Whitethroat that almost turned into “bird of the day”. A seawatch followed with a single Sooty Shearwater, lots of Red Throated Divers, Little Gulls, Gannets but not much else. I then took the team to visit the Beacon Lane/ Easington Lagoon area using a much easier path (the team might not agree with this) for me this was the highlight of the day as we saw, Short Eared Owl, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Brent Geese, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Whinchat, Reed Bunting. Ste K was watching some gulls flying over the long ponds. He then announced that at least one of them was a Med. Gull. A quick check confirmed this true.  Back to the car, and we drive close bye where the gulls had settled. A scan of the gulls, and we clearly see two Med. Gull. Continuing our drive, to visit Canal Scrape with Mute Swan and 3 Greylag Geese that flew in, not much else though. We checked the mist nets at the observatory and lots of Redpoll had been caught by using a tape lure, but again, not much else. Another call at the Crown & Anchor car park and someone had seen a “Barred Warbler type” bird or was it the Lesser Whitethroat again? As we exhausted most of the parts of Spurn to visit, a check of the phone revealed a Yellow Browed Warbler at the west end of Easington village, off we went to try to see it. Again, with no shelter, the bird just could not be found. At this point we realised that heading for home was our best option. We called in at a flooded Fairbairn Ings reserve and only saw an underwater scene with lots of wildfowl. We reached home and all got “browny points” for being early,we also got at least 2 year ticks each, so, not a bad days birding, we also had a completely dry day until we got to the Wakefield area when the heavens opened!!

Dave Ousey.

Our “annual” trip to the east coast is usually onshore high wind, rain and cold. Quite a nice change to sit on the cliffs at Flamboro` in shorts and getting a suntan! We reached the almost empty carpark at 8-30am, and after 2 an half hours sea doggin’  we saw a good list of species to add to our year lists including:- 4 Sooty Shearwaters, Balearic Shearwater, 10 Arctic Skua`s, 3 Great Skua`s, Little Gull and lots of Kittiwake`s. Large amounts of Gannets, Terns and Auks also present. One numb rear-end later, and a trip to Filey Dams LN Reserve was made. Apart from high water levels it still held 3 Ruff, Greenshank and a moulting Shelduck plus all the usual regulars, including a Sparrowhawk and a Grey Heron that “spooked” the birds, enabling us to see all the birds in flight! Where to go next? after consulting a map we realised that the raptor viewpoint at Wykeham was not that far away,we decided on there. Only Chris had been thier before and upon arrival 3 lads from Burnley told us that they had seen an Osprey and a distant Honey Buzzard, This place is really good for watching passing or local raptors as you can see many a mile. After a 10 minute wait 2 Goshawks flew above our heads and the lads said that there was a family party in the area, these birds kept flying around and gave great views. Also seen:- 2 Buzzard, Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine (it flushed the Goshawks out as it flew past) A party of 5 Crossbills and some Siskins also settled in the pine trees. What a place, we will be calling back at Wykeham. News of some waders at Lin Dyke hide, Fairburn Ings near Castleford had us getting a little nearer home. The sun was still beating down as we reached the hide enabling us to see all the relevant features on:- 3 Curlew Sandpipers, Little Stint, 3 Ringed Plover. Then from nowhere the local Peregrine flushed the waders away and as we left the hide a small party of Swift passed through the reserve. Time for home now, cracking day out!