April 2013

Period: 
Monday, 1 April 2013 to Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Highlights: A singing male Serin, Cumbria’s fifth, was a brief visitor to the observatory garden at South Walney (19th) and a Hoopoe was photographed in a garden at Penton (22nd). The Todd’s Canada Goose was seen again among the Barnacle Geese at Whitrigg (10th).

Osprey, Bassenthwaite, Craig Shaw
Osprey, Bassenthwaite, Craig Shaw

Bassenthwaite Lake: A new pair of Ospreys, a Scottish-ringed female and an unringed male, took up residence though eggs had not been laid by the month end. Several additional birds were also seen and other sightings included a Little Gull and 11 Arctic Terns (20th).

Furness: A Water Pipit was found at Cavendish Dock (10th). Rampside continued to host 51 dark-bellied Brent Geese along with the juvenile Black Brant/hybrid while a Short-eared Owl hunted nearby Foulney Island. Three Arctic Terns visited Ormsgill Reservoir (18th).

Hodbarrow: The Slavonian Grebe remained in residence (to 15th); Wildfowl included seven Whooper Swans (6th), four Scaup and Gadwall while pick of the waders were three Black-tailed Godwits, a Spotted Redshank (20th) and a Jack Snipe. Four Little Gulls, two adults and two first-summers, appeared (18th). A Black Redstart was found at nearby Kirksanton (12th).

Wood Sandpiper, North Plain, Darren Robson
Wood Sandpiper, North Plain, Darren Robson
Whimbrel, Inner Solway, Darren Robson
Whimbrel, Inner Solway, Darren Robson

Inner Solway: Numbers of Whooper Swans and Pink-footed Geese declined as the month progressed while other wildfowl included a dark-bellied Brent Goose at both Whitrigg and Bowness-on-Solway, a pair of Garganey at North Plain (25th-30th) and a Long-tailed Duck (15th), a female Velvet Scoter (17th), up to 70 Common Scoters and 26 Scaup all at Bowness-on-Solway. An Osprey flew over Rockcliffe (7th) and a Marsh Harrier appeared at North Plain (29th). Two Little Egrets lingered. Waders included a Wood Sandpiper at North Plain (28th), a Ruff at Anthorn, Black-tailed Godwits (max. 120 at Campfield Marsh) and Whimbrel (max. 50). With a change in wind direction, skua passage finally got underway (15th) and by the month end totals had reached 63 Pomarine, 16 Arctic and an exceptional 57 Great. The supporting cast included Red-throated Divers (max. 30), a few Manx Shearwaters, Fulmars and Gannets, a Shag (16th), a total of 25 Little Gulls (max. six on 15th & 18th), Kittiwakes (max. 840), Arctic Terns (max. 80) and a Little Tern (16th) all past Bowness-on-Solway. White Wagtail passage brought a maximum 23 to Campfield Marsh.

Pomarine Skua, Bowness-on-Solway, Darren Robson
Pomarine Skua, Bowness-on-Solway, Darren Robson
Great Skua,  Bowness-on-Solway, Darren Robson
Great Skua, Bowness-on-Solway, Darren Robson

Kent Estuary: At least 10 Little Egrets were present and up to 18 Whooper Swans were seen. Waders included six Whimbrel and an impressive 120 Black-tailed Godwits while up to 23 Arctic Terns were also noted. A few passage White Wagtails (max. nine) and Wheatears were noted and a flock of 11 Crossbills visited Foulshaw Moss.

Outer Solway: Seawatching produced three Arctic Skuas (max. two on 15th) and up to 28 Red-throated Divers past Braystones and a Great Skua (23rd), up to 120 Manx Shearwaters and 46 Arctic Terns past Workington. The adult Yellow-legged Gull was seen intermittently at Whitehaven (to 24th) as were two Black Guillemots. Workington continued to host 14 Purple Sandpipers though much more unusual was the female Black Redstart found there (21st). A Hooded Crow was at Nethertown and a singing Wood Warbler at Lilyhall Industrial Estate (29th) was unusual.

Walney Bird Observatory. Observations over the sea were led by a total of 24 Little Gulls (14th-26th), a single Red-necked Grebe (5th-6th) and blue morph Fulmar (18th) and up to seven Shags. Also seen were good numbers of Sandwich Terns (max. 350 on 26th), Kittiwakes (max. 160 on 18th), Razorbills (max. 100 on 27th) and Common Scoters (max. 295 on 15th) and five Great Skuas and three Arctic Skuas along with small numbers of Red-throated Divers (max. 14 on 19th), Fulmars (max. 10 on 18th), Manx Shearwaters (from 16th), Gannets (max. 50 on 18th), Arctic Terns (from 15th, max. 50 on 29th), Little Terns (two on 13th, three on 26th) and Guillemots. At least three Little Egrets remained (to 24th) and perhaps four different Water Rails were logged. A total of 61 Whooper Swans and 172 Pink-footed Geese headed north while the wintering flocks of Brent Geese held up to 55 dark-bellied and 67 pale-bellied birds (to 14th) and 25 Barnacle Geese were still present (13th). Additional wildfowl included a drake Goosander (22nd), four Scaup (all month) and six Shoveler. Waders highlights involved a Little Ringed Plover (15th), 61 Whimbrel (28th), 13 Black-tailed Godwits (27th), 25 Purple Sandpipers (14th), up to four Greenshank and two Common Sandpipers (25th). A Common Buzzard (10th & 12th) was the pick of the raptors. Passerines included a stunning male Black Redstart (20th) and perhaps five different Ring Ouzels (10th-13th). However, notwithstanding 2120 Meadow Pipits (7th) and 65 Wheatears (12th) passage was slow to get going until late in the month when day totals included: 56 White Wagtails (23rd), 60 Wheatears (25th), 90 Blackcaps (25th), 100 Willow Warblers (25th), 75 Wheatears (27th) and 110 Willow Warblers (27th). The Hooded Crow remained in residence (to 19th) and several Jays were unusual (one on 20th, two on 27th).

Migrant arrivals: First dates reported at the time of writing were Willow Warbler, Dalston (4th); Tree Pipit, Kendal (10th); Common Sandpiper, Workington (11th); Blackcap, Walney (12th); Redstart, Walney (12th); House Martin, Kent Estuary (13th); Little Tern, Walney (13th); Arctic Tern, Bowness-on-Solway (14th); Swift, Appleby (14th); Yellow Wagtail, Walney (15th); Common Tern, Bowness-on-Solway (16th); Lesser Whitethroat, Bowness-on-Solway (16th); Pied Flycatcher, Kendal (16th); Grasshopper Warbler, Walney (19th); Whitethroat, Church Moss (19th); Whinchat, Heversham Moss (20th); Wood Warbler, Bassenthwaite (21st); Cuckoo, Tindale Tarn and Walney (25th); Sedge Warbler, Walney (25th);

Waxwings continued to be seen to mid-month with peaks of 35 in Levens, 25 in Kendal, 10 in Stainton near Penrith, seven in Arnside, six in Penrith, two in Carlisle and a single at Halfpenny.

Other sites: Northbound Ospreys were noted at Bootle and Ghyll Head near Windermere. Little Egrets included four in the Lyth Valley. Three Arctic Terns turned up over the River Kent in Kendal (18th) with the same number at Windermere (23rd) while a Black-tailed Godwit visited Thacka Beck N.R. Penrith (18th).The Eskmeals Hooded Crow remained in residence while the Sizergh Castle Hawfinches peaked at just five, with eight also visiting a Grange-over-Sands garden. A flock of five Snow Buntings were on the summit of Cross Fell.