December 2014

Period: 
Monday, 1 December 2014 to Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Highlights: The Great Grey Shrike remained in residence at Dalton Crags (to 6th).

Esk/Irt/Mite complex: The Esk hosted two Little Egrets and a single Greenshank, while up to five Greenshank were on the Mite.

Great Northern Diver, Roa Island, Lou Cross
Great Northern Diver, Roa Island, Lou Cross
Water Pipit, Roa Island, Lou Cross
Water Pipit, Roa Island, Lou Cross

Furness: Two Pomarine Skuas flew north past Roa Island (10th). A Water Pipit continued to be seen intermittently at Roa Island with a Great Northern Diver (8th) and 146 pale-bellied Brent Geese also present. An adult Mediterranean Gull frequented Roosebeck outfall.

Hodbarrow: A Slavonian Grebe was in the channel by the lighthouse (4th). Wildfowl included five Shoveler and 20 Gadwall while pick of the waders were seven Black-tailed Godwits. Nearby, a Black-throated Diver was seen off Silecroft (4th) and four Little Egrets were on Green Road Marsh.

Inner Solway: Two juvenile Tundra Bean Geese were found near Abbeytown (31st) while two adult Eurasian White-fronted Geese were seen at Whitrigg (30th) and other wildfowl included 11000 Barnacle Geese on Burgh Marsh. At least 11 Little Egrets and two Hen Harriers roamed the area. Waders included a Little Stint at Port Carlisle (2nd), two Black-tailed Godwits at North Plain and five Jack Snipe near Rockcliffe. Two Snow Buntings were seen at Grune Point as was a Short-eared Owl.

Kent Estuary: A flock of 18 White-fronted Geese was reported flying up the estuary over Arnside viaduct (16th) and at least 25 Little Egrets were present. A Marsh Harrier lingered along with at least one ringtail Hen Harrier, several Peregrines and at least one Merlin. The Lyth Valley juvenile Glaucous Gull appeared at Sandside (31st). A wintering Chiffchaff was at Foulshaw Moss. Some 80 Twite frequented the saltmarsh around Grange-over-Sands.

Outer Solway: Whitehaven harbour hosted three Shags with one also seen at nearby Parton. At least one Bittern was at Siddick Pond while 35 Purple Sandpipers were at Workington and a Ruff was at Blencogo. Mediterranean Gulls consisted of at least two adults and a first-winter at Broughton Moor and an adult at Workington. A Black Redstart appeared at Whitehaven harbour (1st).

Whooper Swans, Walby, Roger Ridley
Whooper Swans, Walby, Roger Ridley

Walney Bird Observatory: Highlights over the sea involved a long-staying Great Northern Diver, Little Auk (6th), Pomarine Skua (6th), Slavonian Grebe (21st), a late Gannet (7th) and up to 30 Shags. Also seen were small numbers of Red-throated Divers (max. 15 on 6th), Kittiwakes (max. 86 on 6th) and Common Scoters (max. 45 on 28th). At least 51 Little Egrets and five Water Rails remained on the island and both Merlin and Peregrine were regularly recorded. Wildfowl included totals of 975 Pink-footed Geese and 14 Whooper Swans along with record numbers of Brent Geese (173 pale-bellied and 80 dark-bellied birds), a flock of 42 Barnacle Geese and two Long-tailed Ducks. The usual selection of waders included 5000 Knot, 260 Sanderling, 33 Purple Sandpipers, eight Greenshank, two Black-tailed Godwits and a Jack Snipe. A few Fieldfares and Redwings were moving through providing a hint of cold weather movement while wintering birds involved 200 Twite and single Chiffchaff, Hooded Crow and Jay.

Black Redstart, Carlisle Airport, Roger Ridley
Black Redstart, Carlisle Airport, Roger Ridley
Black Redstart, Carlisle Airport, Darren Robson
Black Redstart, Carlisle Airport, Darren Robson

Other sites: A Great Northern Diver appeared inland on Windermere (28th). Little Egrets included three in the Lyth Valley where a juvenile Glaucous Gull was attracted to a sheep carcass (17th-30th). Whooper Swans included 57 at Walby. A flock of 10 Waxwings was reported at Levens (30th), the male Black Redstart remained at Carlisle airport all month, a Chiffchaff was at Low Mills, Dalston and a Hooded Crow was near Burneside.

Glaucous Gull, Lyth Valley, Ronnie Irving
Glaucous Gull, Lyth Valley, Ronnie Irving