Sunday, 24 June 2012

WeBS Counts and a Liver Bird

Just when you think nothing much is going to happen, it's been quite a busy weekend.  Thanks to a combination of being the Theo Walcott of WeBS counts (super-sub!) for a few different sites, and a Little Swift.

Tad Bay in Blithfield was to be counted on the Saturday morning anyway.  This produced 17 Common Terns and a drake Shoveler.  It was also pleasing to see a few young Coots and Great Crested Grebes, but not so good to see the water levels so high.  It's going to take a good dry spell for some shoreline to appear.

Meanwhile, the pager reports had the Little Swift at New Brighton coming and going all the time, it came across as if it wouldn't be easy, and quite off-putting.  So the Uttoxeter Quarry WeBS count was done.  This revealed 9 Common Terns, a Ringed Plover, 10 Oystercatcher, 2 Shelduck and a Kingfisher amongst it's highlights. 

During this time Little Swift news had gone very quiet.  So some lunch, filled the car up with petrol and went home not having a clue what to do.  But after a short time the thought was "I can either stay at home all day, or I can go and if it's a dip, so be it".

There was a hugh sigh of relief when the pager mentioned the bird still being present while driving up the M6 through Cheshire.  It's a 90-minute drive to New Brighton, right at the top-end of the Wirral.  Finding a group of birders with absolutely nobody looking, oh no what have I done. 

But after about 20 minutes, thankfully the Little Swift was seen again flying over the mouth of the Mersey, hurrah!  By the way, when I say the mouth of the Mersey, I do mean the river and not Jimmy Tarbuck or Stan Boardman.  A few times the bird flew right over everyone's heads, double hurrah!

During my time at New Brighton, in addition to the Little Swift, other birds seen included Common Swifts and House Martins, a Peregrine, 2 Shelduck, a Dunlin and your usual Herring and Black-headed Gulls.  Also from here, an excellent photo opportunity of the city of Liverpool from across the Mersey:

With one of the Liver birds in the distance,on the Liver building of course.  Also in dock at the time was the Arcadia cruise liner.

With the Little Swift in the back of the net it was back to WeBSing this morning, like a duck counting machine!  This time it was Dimmingsdale (not a lot), Brookleys Lake (a bit more, a female Mandarin and a pair of Mute Swans with eight cygnets) and the JCB lakes in Rocester (even more, apart from the untickable stuff, a flock of 131 Greylags).

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