April 2015

Period: 
Wednesday, 1 April 2015 to Thursday, 30 April 2015
Hoopoe near Dent, Tom Askew
Hoopoe near Dent, Tom Askew

Highlights: A male Bluethroat was photographed near Rogersceuch Farm, Campfield Marsh (8th) and a Hoopoe graced garden in Dent (13th-14th). Two Common Cranes spent an evening in the Lyth Valley (18th) and were then seen circling over Foulshaw Moss next day. Of more doubtful origin, a White Stork flew over Sizergh (13th). The two Great Grey Shrikes lingered at Dalton Crags early in the month.

Bassenthwaite: The Ospreys returned on cue and eggs were duly laid well before the month end.

Hodbarrow: The two Slavonian Grebes lingered on the lagoon (to 19th). Wildfowl included three Gadwall and a Scaup while pick of the waders were eight Black-tailed Godwits and a Greenshank. Sandwich Terns (max. 250), Common Terns (from 21st) and Little Terns (from 23rd) all arrived on cue but showed no signs of settling to breed by the month end. Nearby, a juvenile Iceland Gull was found at Silecroft.

Esk/Irt/Mite complex: The Esk hosted a Little Egret, a Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper with a Hooded Crow and a Short-eared Owl nearby.

Inner Solway: Some 80 Whooper Swans remained in the Kirkbride area early in the month and 25000 Barnacle Geese lingered. At least seven Little Egrets roamed the area and a Marsh Harrier visited North Plain. Skua passage got underway but, by the month end, just meagre totals of two Pomarine, five Arctic and eight Great had been reached. Bowness-on-Solway also produced a Great Northern Diver (15th), Red-throated Divers (max. 30), Kittiwakes (max. 121) and a few Fulmars and Gannets.

Kent Estuary: Northbound Whooper Swans included 14 at Halforth. At least 19 Little Egrets were present. The pair of Ospreys returned to Foulshaw Moss and two Marsh Harriers continued to be seen. Waders included 150 Black-tailed Godwits near Arnside.

Outer Solway: A Black-throated Diver appeared off Nethertown along with a Shag and a Fulmar. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was seen at Whitehaven Marina (13th). Waders included 11 Whimbrel at Mawbray.

Ring Ouzel, Nick Franklin
Ring Ouzel, Nick Franklin

Walney Bird Observatory: Highlights over the sea were limited to 10 Shag and single Arctic Skuas (11th & 25th) amongst good numbers of Sandwich Terns (600-26th), Gannets (212-11th) and Common Scoters (max. 231 on 11th) and smaller numbers of Manx Shearwaters (from 11th), Arctic Terns (from 25th), Little Terns (from 25th), Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Razorbills and Guillemots. Several Little Egrets remained all month and a Merlin was regularly recorded (to 27th). A total of 54 Whooper Swans and 150 Pink-footed Geese headed north while other wildfowl departures included pale-bellied Brent Goose (77 on 6th), dark-bellied Brent Goose (40 on 19th) and the first-winter drake Long-tailed Duck (18th). The first Whimbrel appeared (18th) and numbers steadily increased until 81 were present (30th). Additional waders included 340 Turnstone (18th), 34 Purple Sandpipers (5th), nine Black-tailed Godwits, up to four Ruff (14th-21st), two Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper (13th). The last of the overwintering Twite and Tree Sparrows departed (10th & 16th respectively). Passerine activity however remained subdued for much of the month with only Wheatear and Blackcap approaching reasonable numbers although two Ring Ouzels (10th), six Grasshopper Warblers (26th) and 14 White Wagtails (16th) were recorded. The long-staying Hooded Crow was briefly joined by two additional birds (26th). A few Fieldfares departed (6th) and spring arrival dates included: Blackcap (2nd), Sand Martin (3rd), Swallow (6th), Willow Warbler (9th), House Martin (16th), Redstart (17th), Sedge Warbler (18th), Whitethroat (18th), Whinchat (23rd) and Lesser Whitethroat (23rd).

Red Kite, Frank Burns
Red Kite, Frank Burns

Other sites: Inland Scaup comprised singles near Linstock and at Wet Sleddale. Little Egrets included 12 in the Lyth Valley. A Marsh Harrier passed through Thack Beck N.R. Penrith followed by a Red Kite of which there was a good scattering around the county. Several Ospreys moved through Geltsdale with others noted at Carlisle airport, Caldbeck and Lambrigg. A Hooded Crow was seen at Sand Gate near Flookburgh. A Black Redstart visited a garden at Holme. Up to seven Hawfinches were seen at Witherslack with up to five at Sizergh Castle.

Migrant arrivals:; Swallow, Kendal (2nd); House Martin, Ulverston (7th); Willow Warbler, Finglandrigg (7th); Redstart, Penrith (10th); Tree Pipit, Penrith (10th); Common Sandpiper, Walney (13th); Cuckoo, Melkinthorpe (16th); Sedge Warbler, Walnet (16th); Swift, Kendal and Anthorn (17th); Grasshopper Warbler, Brigsteer Wetland (17th); Whitethroat, Church Moss (17th); Yellow Wagtail, Longtown (21st); Common Tern, Hodbarrow (21st); Whinchat, Kirksanton (21st); Lesser Whitethroat, Hodbarrow (21st); Pied Flycatcher, Milton Rigg (21st); Wood Warbler, Selside (22nd); Little Tern Hodbarrow (23rd); Arctic Tern, Walney (25th).