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.
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)
- Great Crested Grebe
- Grey Heron
- Canada Goose
- Egyptian Goose
- Ringed Plover
- Bar-tailed Godwit
- Lesser Black-backed Gull
- Feral Pigeon
- Wood Pigeon
- Collared Dove
- Sky Lark
- Common Whitethroat
- Coal Tit
- Blue Tit
- Carrion Crow
- House Sparrow
- Reed Bunting
Thanks to Heather for the photos.