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Completely Baskervilles.

Posted by on January 20, 2011 7:39 PM | 


It was absolutely "the beast Mr 'Olmes, 'orrible it was Mr 'Olmes, it scarpered off into the rhododendrons, so it did sir", today, thick freezing fog that made checking the coast pretty pointless so I pushed inland on the off-chance conditions were better at Mere Sands Wood,
They weren't.


At least there were plenty of birds around the feeders and in the woodland, with Brambling, Bullfinch, Nuthatch, parties of Siskin, titmice and a large group of Redwing near the car park.
The water was almost entirely frozen.
Can't remember seeing quite so many Robins here before - up to five at a time on the tables, with a minimum of fighting, and at least 18 around the centre alone.
Nuthatch were calling too - I like Nuthatch and still find them a bit of a novelty in our area. Cool wee birds.
Shame it was so misty I couldn't get a good pic of any of 'em...


Left Mere Sands mid-afternoon and it looked like the mist was going to lift momentarily on the marsh, so I pulled over and checked the Sandgrounders Hide. Within minutes the fog had descended again, shrouding Teal, Pinkies etc in the gloom.
"Quick, back to Baker St, Watson!"



Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...


Hesketh Park, John: Nuthatch central. And the crematorium woods. I expect them in the garden within 3-5 years.

Regarding Short-eared Owls at Rimrose Valley. I don't get to Rimrose much these days but in the 90's I lived in Seaforth next to Rimrose and would often see 1 or 2 most winters flying over the fields between Gorsey lane and the foot bridge over canal into Litherland.
If I hadn't seen any on Sefton meadows I would walk home and see at least 1 at Rimrose.I used to wonder if these where the some of the same birds from Sefton meadows,as more often than not if there where none on the meadows there would be some at Rimrose and vice versa.
I remember one harsh ,frozen winter in the early 90's watching 2 kestrels chase a shortie off the meadows mobbing it towards Netherton.The Kestrels returned but the owl kept flying in the direction of Rimrose.
That winter there had been up to 9 shorties on Sef Meads squabbling amongst themselves and the local kestrels.They usually tolerate the Kestrels and each other but due to the lack of food (the voles happily hiding under frozen snow!)they were being quite aggressive.Until the snow came it must have been a good vole year for that amount of owls to be present.

I was at Mere Sands recently and I, too noticed the numerous "well-behaved" robins. No squabbling amongst themselves at all, and they got on well with chaffinches and reed buntings as well!

thanks Dave for the info on the Shorties i'll be goin there tomorrow. On wednesday i was there and saw a male bullfinch and a female merlin.

Adult Mediterranean Gull (sporting rings on both legs) with other gulls at the site of the old IoM ferry waiting rooms on Princes Parade (a/noon of Fri 21 Jan).
Also the two Peregrines are still around the Cathedral tower.

I popped down to Weld Road/Taggs for the high tide today, lots of waders trying to roost. Around 5000 Oystercatchers just managing on the egde of the tide with the smaller waders flying around in clouds, plenty of Knot, Bar Tails, Dunlin and Grey Plover and smaller nos of Turnstone and Redshank. On the negative side some ignorant bloke walked out on the marsh only a few yards from the water's edge from Weld Road south for a good six hundred yards. In doing so he steadily flushed the whole sprawling Oystercatcher roost. He was oblivious to the disturbance he was causing. I actually shouted 'Oi arsehole' at one stage but he didn't hear me and I decided I'd be causing a disturbance myself if I shouted persistently! Also a single diver sp, presumably Rd Throat flew north in the mist.
At Marshside this afternoon a ringtail Hen Harrier was hunting the saltmarsh not far north of the peninsular dunes before disappearing into the murk and we also got Little Owl on Churchtown Moss.

Hi John,
Just a note to compliment Chris F.'s observations.
I was on Ainsdale beach over the high tide. At least 10K Knot plus Oyks, Barwits. Grey Plover, over 200 Sanderling etc. Unlike Chris's 'intruder' it was ignorant (i.e. uneducated and unaware) dog walkers that were disturbing the roosts although a Peregrine (I think we can 'excuse' that critter) sent the main Knot flock up into the stratosphere! Made it easier to estimate numbers though.
Later at Weld Road (luckily, little disturbance from the locals) there were c60 Twite right by the 'entrance' with one ringed bird - left leg: green above white. A Heysham bird perhaps?

Hello Derek
A few 'ifs' here, I'm afraid. If this was a split two-colour single ring and if there were definitely no other rings on the leg, this will be from Machrihanish Bird Observatory on the Mull of Kintyre. They ringed 800ish last late summer/early autumn and in fact perhaps surprisingly few of these have filtered through to Heysham/Askam and other sites where Twite are regularly scrutinised/ringed (e.g. just four out of (at least) 150 'new' birds at Heysham), This bird should have a metal ring overlain by another split green/white on the other leg. Please try and read as many as you can at Weld Road - even 'negative' data would be useful e.g. "at least 40/60 unringed"
A fairly recent recovery extended the mainland travelling distance of Heysham birds to Clachtoll, just north of Lochinver

Hi Pete,

There are two Twite with White/Green Left leg.



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