August 2011

Period: 
Monday, 1 August 2011 to Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Highlights: A Spotted Crake, the first in the county since 2002, briefly emerged from cover in the central marsh at South Walney (1st).

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

Bassenthwaite Lake: The Ospreys and their two young continued to thrive though, as expected, the adult female departed (23rd). A juvenile Marsh Harrier was also seen (15th).

Furness: An adult Mediterranean Gull took up residence at Rampside where four Yellow Wagtails were seen (29th). Bardsea hosted a Water Rail (13th) along with three Little Egrets and two Black-tailed Godwits (28th).

Hodbarrow: The Mute Swan flock numbered 79 while other wildfowl included an early Goldeneye (7th) and 114 Tufted Ducks. Waders included a juvenile Spotted Redshank (21st), two Black-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel while an adult Mediterranean Gull and an adult Little Gull were both on Haverigg beach (7th). Sightings at nearby locations included a Black Guillemot at Selker (21st) and an adult Mediterranean Gull at Borwick Rails (21st).

Curlew Sandpiper, Port Carlisle, Darren Robson
Curlew Sandpiper, Port Carlisle, Darren Robson

Inner Solway: At least two Little Egrets roamed the area. A juvenile Marsh Harrier lingered around Campfield (18th-24th) followed by a male Hen Harrier (31st) while two Merlins hunted at Anthorn (29th). The first juvenile Curlew Sandpiper appeared at Port Carlisle (22nd) and numbers quickly increased (max. 23 on 29th) while other waders included a Wood Sandpiper at North Plain (16th), single Little Stints at Port Carlisle (9th) and Bowness Railings (27th), juvenile Spotted Redshanks at Campfield Marsh and Port Carlisle, Ruff (max. five at North Plain), Greenshank (max. nine at Anthorn), Black-tailed Godwits (max. 19 at Campfield), and a handful of Whimbrel, and Green Sandpipers. An adult Mediterranean Gull was again at Campfield Marsh and two birds, an adult and a second-winter, were at Anthorn (26th).

2nd-winter Mediterranean Gull, Anthorn, Craig Shaw
2nd-winter Mediterranean Gull, Anthorn, Craig Shaw
Adult Mediterranean Gull, Anthorn, Craig Shaw
Adult Mediterranean Gull, Anthorn, Craig Shaw

Kent Estuary: Little Egrets increased (max. 21). At least three Ospreys lingered and a Marsh Harrier hunted the saltmarsh at Kents Bank (12th). Waders included five Black-tailed Godwits and 133 Bar-tailed Godwits at Meathop.

Little Ringed Plover, Soddy Gap, Craig Shaw
Little Ringed Plover, Soddy Gap, Craig Shaw
Purple Sandpiper, Workington, Craig Shaw
Purple Sandpiper, Workington, Craig Shaw

Outer Solway: Up to four Pomarine Skuas lingered off St Bees Head (7th-14th), while two Pomarine and an Arctic Skua were seen off Workington (13th), with a Shag also present. The regular one-legged Mediterranean Gull remained at Workington along with at least three more adults and three juveniles while another adult was at Maryport. The first Purple Sandpiper returned to Workington (29th) and a juvenile Little Ringed Plover visited Soddy Gap (6th).

Walney Bird Observatory: With the exception of three Pomarine Skuas that flew out of Morecambe Bay (11th) and a Black Guillemot (11th), seawatching highlights were few with 12 Little Terns (16th), four Arctic Skuas, two Great Skuas and a Shag along with good numbers of Sandwich Terns (max. 315 on 30th) the best of the rest. The first Merlin (11th) and Short-eared Owl (29th) reappeared and up to eight Little Egrets were seen along the eastern shore. Teal numbers built steadily and the first Wigeon returned (31st) while waders were prominent throughout. Highlights involved an adult Little Stint (1st-4th) which was followed by a juvenile (31st), a lingering juvenile Little Ringed Plover (6th-19th), Wood Sandpiper (6th), Green Sandpiper (6th, 22nd and 27th-30th), up to three juvenile Curlew Sandpipers (27th-30th), Ruff (7th-21st) and a Spotted Redshank (17th) along with up to 35 Greenshank, 15 Black-tailed Godwits and seven Common Sandpipers. Diurnal migration finally took hold towards the end of the month with 1400 Swallows, 80 Sand Martins, 28 Tree Sparrows and 12 House Martins (26th) while monthly totals included 26 Grey Wagtails, 25 Yellow Wagtails and 12 Tree Pipits. Sedge Warbler (max. 12 on 6th) and Whitethroat (max. 26 on 18th) passage was above average while Willow Warblers (max. 32 on 6th) and Wheatears (max. 10 on 18th) were present in normal numbers. Highlights were Reed Warbler (20th and 27th), Cuckoo (1st and 4th), Redstart (16th) and monthly totals of nine Whinchats, seven Blackcaps, four Spotted Flycatchers and four Garden Warblers while the first Goldcrest appeared (27th).

Other sites: A radio-tagged Osprey spent much of the month in the Dalston area though wandering as far as Coniston Water and others, or the same, were seen at Tindale Tarn (9th) and near Armathwaite (25th). A flooded field near Crosby-on-Eden hosted up to 14 Ruff, six Black-tailed Godwits and three Greenshank while up to seven Ruff frequented the Lyth Valley and a Black-tailed Godwit visited Thacka, Penrith. A female-type Black Redstart was seen briefly at Burneside (15th) while Crossbills included seven over Whitbarrow.