Hale (Merseyside) 21.04.15

Bright and sunny – a very warm Spring morning

A good turnout of TT birdwatchers congregated by St Mary’s Church under a clear blue sky with the promise of a beautifully warm spring morning ahead. As we parked and debated what outerwear to take, we were greeted by the various songs and sightings of coal tits, chaffinches, house sparrows and a jay.

Setting off down Within Way towards the River Mersey, activity in the hedgerows and fields beyond increased with a proliferation of goldfinches, chaffinches, dunnocks, robins, and then we were all treated to clear sightings of whitethroats, a yellowhammer and a reed bunting, all brilliantly illuminated in the bright sunshine. Above us and the bright yellow fields of oil-seed rape to the left, flew early swallows and skylarks. Further along, distant views of Decoy Marsh and the River Mersey to the east revealed Canada geese, shelducks, lapwing and oystercatchers.

Reaching the River Mersey and walking along the bank towards Hale Head and Hale Lighthouse, the exposed mudflats revealed a variety of waders which generated a lot of debate due to the difficulties posed by their distance, plumage and silhouetting by the bright sun beyond – bar-tailed godwits, curlews, redshanks, oystercatchers and ringed plovers.

Scanning the Mudflats
Scanning the mudflats

Before reaching the lighthouse we were treated to the appearance of the Mersey bore, which rapidly covered the mudflats and disturbed small flocks of oystercatchers, which flew eastwards past us. Behind us, above the fields, skylarks continued to entertain with their distinctive song and pheasants called and appeared at the top of the slope. From the lighthouse, views to the west along the river bank towards Speke and the Airport revealed little apart from, surprisingly, a single Egyptian goose (an escapee?).

The return walk along Lighthouse Road was accompanied by more skylark song and a close view of one in the ploughed field to the west. There was some discussion about the possible appearance of two wheatear on a far edge of the field and about a flock of small unidentified birds which rose and wheeled over the far end.

Returning to the houses of Hale village along Church Road, our trip was nicely rounded off by the more familiar sights and sounds of house sparrows, collared doves and starlings, and for some, a chiffchaff.

Throughout the morning, we spotted numerous butterflies, including Small Blue, Small Tortoiseshell (feeding on the flowering rape), Peacock, Green-veined White and Small White. (SC)

Bird List (BP)

  1. Great Crested Grebe
  2. Cormorant
  3. Grey Heron
  4. Canada Goose
  5. Egyptian Goose
  6. Shelduck
  7. Gadwall
  8. Mallard
  9. Buzzard
  10. Pheasant
  11. Oystercatcher
  12. Lapwing
  13. Ringed Plover
  14. Bar-tailed Godwit
  15. Curlew
  16. Redshank
  17. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  18. Feral Pigeon
  19. Wood Pigeon
  20. Collared Dove
  21. Sky Lark
  22. Swallow
  23. Wren
  24. Dunnock
  25. Blackbird
  26. Chiffchaff
  27. Common Whitethroat
  28. Robin
  29. Coal Tit
  30. Blue Tit
  31. Jay
  32. Magpie
  33. Rook
  34. Carrion Crow
  35. Starling
  36. House Sparrow
  37. Chaffinch
  38. Greenfinch
  39. Goldfinch
  40. Yellowhammer
  41. Reed Bunting

Thanks to Heather for the photos.

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