April 2011

Period: 
Friday, 1 April 2011 to Saturday, 30 April 2011

Highlights: A White Stork flew northwest over Thacka Beck, Penrith (9th) followed by another, or the same, circling over Loughrigg Fell (22nd). A Rough-legged Buzzard was seen at Geltsdale (15th), a Bee-eater was heard in flight at White Cross Bay, Windermere (21st) and the Great Grey Shrike remained at Dalton Crags near Burton-in-Kendal (to 9th).

Bassenthwaite Lake: Both adult Ospreys had returned (by 3rd) and, in contrary fashion, selected a new nest site. The first egg was laid (16th) and incubation proceeded smoothly. Another pair was also seen investigating last year’s nest.

Furness: A female Garganey at Sandscale Haws (23rd) was followed by a pair there (25th) and a late Brambling was near Urswick (30th).+

Hodbarrow: Pick of the wildfowl were two Gadwall while waders included a Greenshank and up to four Black-tailed Godwits. Sandwich Tern numbers increased (max.230) while Common Terns took up residence and a single Little Tern paid a fleeting visit.

Curlew Sandpiper, Bowness Railings, Darren Robson
Curlew Sandpiper, Bowness Railings, Darren Robson

Inner Solway: Whooper Swans declined noticeably but included 14 at Campfield Marsh while the adult Ross’s Goose continued to consort with large numbers of Barnacle Geese on Rockcliffe Marsh (to 16th) and three dark-bellied Brent Geese flew east at Bowness-on-Solway (17th). Waders included a Curlew Sandpiper at Bowness Railings (27th-30th), a Greenshank at Old Sandsfield (17th), a scattering of Ruff (four at Campfield/North Plain, two at Wedholme Flow. and two at Carr Beds), up to 26 Black-tailed Godwits at North Plain, the odd Green Sandpiper and increasing numbers of Whimbrel (max. 40 at Port Carlisle). With easterly winds and clear skies predominating, skuas were conspicuous by their absence though Bowness-on-Solway did produce Red-throated Divers (peaking at an exceptional 115 on 14th including a flock of 107), Gannets (max. 12), Kittiwakes (max. 145), small numbers of Arctic Terns and two Puffins (30th). Wheatear passage included 40 on Burgh Marsh (17th).

Wheatear, Burgh Marsh, Darren Robson
Wheatear, Burgh Marsh, Darren Robson
Ross's and Barnacle Geese, Rockcliffe Marsh, Darren Robson
Ross's and Barnacle Geese, Rockcliffe Marsh, Darren Robson

Kent Estuary: Just a single Little Egret was recorded. The pair of Garganey remained at Ulpha Meadows (to 16th) while other wildfowl included 19 Eiders at Kents Bank. A female Marsh Harrier was seen at Gilpin Bridge (20th) and an Osprey at Meathop (23rd) while waders included small numbers of Whimbrel and a few Common Sandpipers. A good passage of White Wagtails included 23 on Brogden and 15 on Arnside Marsh...

Yellow-legged Gull, Whitehaven, Craig Shaw
Yellow-legged Gull, Whitehaven, Craig Shaw

Outer Solway: An Osprey passed over Sellafield (14th). The adult Yellow-legged Gull reappeared at Whitehaven (3rd-17th) An Egyptian Goose (28th-30th) and a Green Sandpiper visited Soddy Gap where up to four Grasshopper Warblers reeled. A Hooded Crow was seen at St Bees Head along with a CarrionxHoodie hybrid.

Egyptian Goose, Soddy Gap, Craig Shaw
Egyptian Goose, Soddy Gap, Craig Shaw
Grasshopper Warbler, Soddy Gap, Craig Shaw
Grasshopper Warbler, Soddy Gap, Craig Shaw

Walney Bird Observatory: Offshore sightings were led by a Pomarine Skua (2nd), a total of 10 Little Gulls (2nd-13th), two Velvet Scoters (2nd), a drake Scaup (7th), four Arctic Skuas and up to five Shags. Good numbers of Sandwich Terns (max. 210 on 1st), Kittiwakes (max. 130 on 2nd), Common Scoters (max. 303 on 23rd) and Red-throated Divers (31 on 13th, 42 on 28th) were also seen along with smaller numbers of Manx Shearwaters (from 2nd), Arctic Terns (from 18th), Little Terns (from 28th), Fulmars, Gannets, Guillemots and Razorbills. A Yellow-legged Gull was logged (13th) and an Iceland Gull appeared (19th) while a Water Rail was in breeding habitat (10th-11th).

A few Pink-footed Geese continued to move through and eight Whooper Swans headed north (3rd). The last of the wintering Barnacle Geese finally departed (11th) and Brent Goose numbers steadily declined. Waders were led by two Avocets (19th), up to two Little Ringed Plovers (from 19th) and a summer plumaged Curlew Sandpiper (25th). The first Whimbrel appeared (16th) with Common Sandpiper (19th) while up to seven Black-tailed Godwits and two Greenshank lingered. The maritime shoreline produced 340 Sanderling (27th) and up to 12 Purple Sandpipers. A Common Buzzard flew over (10th), an Osprey headed north (27th) and the last Merlin departed (24th).

Passerines were typified by the early arrival of many species and included good numbers of Willow Warblers and Blackcaps. A Hooded Crow took up residence (from 3rd) and an above average passage of Tree Sparrows and Lesser Redpolls was noted while departing birds included Redwing (2nd) and Fieldfare (22nd)

Migrant arrivals: First dates reported at the time of writing consisted of Redstart, St Bees Head (3ed); Tree Pipit, Watchtree (7th); Cuckoo, Isel Bridge (8th); Common Sandpiper, Rockcliffe (8th); Yellow Wagtail, Longtown (8th); Pied Flycatcher, Skelwith Bridge (9th); Grasshopper Warbler, Kirksanton (10th); Sedge Warbler, Walney (14th); Garden Warbler, Miltonrigg Wood (17th); Wood Warbler, Miltonrigg Wood (17th); Whitethroat, Walney and Bowness-on-Solway (17th); Arctic Tern, Walney (18th); Whinchat, Walney (19th); Swift, Waterside and Kendal (20th); Lesser Whitethroat, Bowness-on-Solway (23rd); Common Tern, Hodbarrow (24th); Little Tern, Hodbarrow (24th); Reed Warbler, Siddick Pond (24th).

Other Sites: Northbound Whooper Swans included 24 at Elter Water while the Long-tailed Duck remained on Windermere (to 10th). Passage Ospreys were seen at Dalton Crags, Ambleside, Wetheral, Aglionby, Talkin Tarn and Fisher Tarn. Passage trips of Dotterel totalled 14 on three different felltops and a Ruff visited a flooded field at Eskmeals (24th). Two Little Gulls, an adult and a first-summer, were on the River Esk at Longtown. Waxwings were limited to six at Heversham and five in Kendal. Sizergh Castle continued to host Hawfinches (max. four) though a flock of 20 at Crosthwaite and a single at Dalton Crags were perhaps more noteworthy.