April 2012

Period: 
Sunday, 1 April 2012 to Monday, 30 April 2012

Highlights: Three Glossy Ibises briefly visited Campfield Marsh (28th) while the Leighton Moss bird made occasional forays into the county, appearing near Arnside (18th & 25th-26th). The Great White Egret remained at Campfield Marsh (to 11th). A Hoopoe was reportedly photographed near Stainton (15th).

Bassenthwaite Lake: The Osprey pair included a new male reared at the site in 2007 and three eggs were laid during the month. At least three additional birds were also seen.

Inner Solway: The Ross’s Goose continued to associate with the Barnacle Geese (to 9th) while the latter included 10000 on Rockcliffe Marsh. Other wildfowl included a drake Garganey at North Plain (to 9th) and 39 Common Scoter off Bowness-on-Solway. At least one Little Egret remained in the area. An Osprey was seen near Glasson (28th). Pick of the waders were two Avocets at Rockcliffe (13th), up to three Ruff and a Spotted Redshank at North Plain, two Greenshank at Carr Beds and one at Old Sandsfield (22nd) and Black-tailed Godwits (max. 38 at North Plain). In predominantly east or northeast winds, skua passage proved abysmal with several sightings of what may have been the same Great Skua (from 8th) followed by meagre totals of just one Pomarine, four Arctic and one Great by the month end. Other seawatching highlights at this site included Red-throated Divers (max. 33), two adult Little Gulls (17th), Kittiwakes (max. 170). The long-staying juvenile Glaucous Gull was seen again at Carr Beds (5th).

Kent Estuary: Wildfowl included 17 Whooper Swans. At least nine Little Egrets remained. There were regular sightings of an Osprey (from 14th) and both male and female Marsh Harriers were seen occasionally. Waders included an exceptional 1100 Black-tailed Godwits at Arnside.

Long-tailed Duck, Soddy Gap, Craig Shaw
Long-tailed Duck, Soddy Gap, Craig Shaw
Mediterranean Gull, Soddy Gap, Craig Shaw
Mediterranean Gull, Soddy Gap, Craig Shaw

Outer Solway: The female Long-tailed Duck remained in residence at Soddy Gap (to 12th) along with a first-summer Mediterranean Gull, two Black-tailed Godwits and 12 Whimbrel. Two Little Ringed Plovers were seen at one site. Seawatching at Workington produced an Arctic Skua, two Great Skuas, two Little Gulls and a first-summer Mediterranean Gull while a male Black Redstart (7th) and 11 Purple Sandpipers were also seen there. Broughton Dump continued to host at least four Short-eared Owls.

Short-eared Owl, Broughton Dump, Craig Shaw
Short-eared Owl, Broughton Dump, Craig Shaw

Walney Bird Observatory: Highlights of a steady if unspectacular passage over the sea involved two Little Gulls (17th), a Puffin (17th), three Arctic Skuas (17th), single Great Skuas (17th & 19th) and two Shags. Also seen were 226 Common Scoters and 235 Sandwich Terns (6th), 115 Gannets and 22 Red-throated Divers (10th), 23 Fulmars, 18 Manx Shearwaters, 230 Kittiwakes, 100 Guillemots, 150 Razorbills and 12 Arctic Terns (all 17th) and a Common Tern (26th). At least three Little Egrets continued to roam the island and a Hen Harrier was seen along with four Short-eared Owls (13th) while the last Merlin departed (12th). A total of 340 Pink-footed Geese flew through and the Brent Goose flock steadily dwindled from 104 pale-bellied and six dark-bellied birds. The long-staying female Scaup and Long-tailed Duck both remained (to 12th) and waders included nine Whimbrel (from 19th), six Black-tailed Godwits and four Greenshank while the first Common Sandpiper appeared (12th) and a Green Sandpiper was logged (24th). A Hooded Crow (17th-19th) was the pick of the passerines while a slow passage provided 45 Willow Warblers (20th), four Redstarts (from 20th), four White Wagtails (27th) and totals of 22 Blackcaps, nine Lesser Redpolls and four Siskins before 300 Swallows, 160 Wheatears, 22 House Martins and two Whinchats all appeared (30th). The last Redwing and Brambling departed (20th).

Grasshopper Warbler, Campfield, Darren Robson
Grasshopper Warbler, Campfield, Darren Robson

Migrant arrivals: First dates reported at the time of writing consisted of Common Sandpiper, Dalston (6th); Tree Pipit, Tindale Tarn (12th); Pied Flycatcher, Jockey Shield (13th); Redstart, Geltsdale (13th); Yellow Wagtail, Longtown (16th); Arctic Tern, Walney (17th); Grasshopper Warbler, Campfield Marsh (18th); Cuckoo, Arnside (19th); Swift, Kendal (20th); Sedge Warbler, Walney (19th), Whitethroat, Walney (20th); Reed Warbler, Walney (20th). Lesser Whitethroat, Bowness-on-Solway (22nd); .Little Tern, Hodbarrow, (25th); Garden Warbler, Waterside (26th); Wood Warbler, Gelt Woods (26th); Common Tern, Walney (26th); Whinchat, Walney (30th).

Other sites: A female Ruddy Duck was at Watchtree N.R. Ospreys were seen at Great Corby, the Irthing Valley, Wethereal, Fisher Tarn and Killington Reservoir. Kirksanton hosted 28 Whimbrel. A Black Tern and four Arctic Terns dropped in to Killington Reservoir (26th). Hawfinches included 17 at Grange-over-Sands.