Highlights: A drake Green-winged Teal was found on flooded fields near Lindal-in-Furness (1st). The adult Black Brant continued to associate with dark-bellied Brent Geese at Roa Island and nearby Walney while the Todd’s Canada Goose was relocated with the Barnacle Geese on the Inner Solway at Cardurnock (5th). A Great White Egret made a brief appearance at Whitrigg (15th) and an unseasonable juvenile Sabine’s Gull appeared off Nethertown (11th).
Esk/Irt/Mite complex: Up to four Greenshank frequented the Mite Estuary while the Esk hosted two Little Egrets, a wintering Common Sandpiper and a Green Sandpiper.
Furness: The Foulney/Rampside Brent Goose flock numbered at least 147 pale-bellied and 57 dark-bellied birds, with up to two Great Northern Divers, three Whooper Swans and two Little Egrets also seen. A Long-tailed Duck turned up on the canal at Ulverston (2nd-10th) with presumably the same individual seen on the Leven Estuary at Old Park (20th). Meanwhile a Great Northern Diver frequented the docks at Barrow-in-Furness (2nd-15th) where 16 Twite were also present. A Water Pipit continued to be seen occasionally at Rampside, along with at least 21 Rock Pipits.
Hodbarrow: A Great Northern Diver (18th-21st) and a Slavonian Grebe (19th-25th) graced the lagoon. Wildfowl included four Scaup while a Black-tailed Godwit was the pick of the waders. Nearby Borwick Rails hosted a Spotted Redshank.
Inner Solway: Gales early in the month produced a very unseasonable Manx Shearwater, along with five Little Gulls and 60 Kittiwakes (3rd). At least seven Little Egrets roamed the area. Whooper Swan numbers remained rather low, though a total of 267 was counted in several flocks. Waders included a Ruff at Bowness-on-Solway (18th) and a Jack Snipe at Cliburn Moss. A flock of 100 Twite frequented Newton Marsh, with 80 birds seen at Wedholme Flow while seven Crossbills were seen at Cliburn Moss.
Kent Estuary: At least 16 Little Egrets were present. A female Marsh Harrier hunted Ulpha Meadows (16th).
Outer Solway: A second-winter Glaucous Gull made a brief appearance at Workington (6th) followed by an equally brief juvenile while 30 Red-throated Divers and up to 55 Purple Sandpipers were also present. A Red-necked Grebe (14th & 30th) and a first-winter Little Gull were seen off Nethertown (3rd) and a Black-throated Diver appeared off Parton (29th). At least five Mediterranean Gulls were in the area including ‘Stumpy’ the regular adult at Workington. Up to four Bitterns were reported occasionally at Siddick Pond.
Walney Bird Observatory. A generally quiet start to the year, offshore highlights were led by Great Northern Diver (two on 18th, one on 23rd), an out of season Great Skua (27th) and 11 Shags amongst good numbers of Red-throated Divers (max. 24 on 9th, 19 on 28th) and Common Scoters (max. 350 on 19th). An adult Mediterranean Gull was seen (7th-8th) and a first-winter Little Gull lingered (8th-12th). At least 27 Little Egrets continue to stalk the eastern shore and wildfowl included 172 pale-bellied Brent Geese (16th), 84 Barnacle Geese (18th), three Scaup and single Long-tailed Duck and Goosander. Waders included 11 Greenshank (5th), five Jack Snipe (19th) and two Black-tailed Godwits. As is usual, passerines were in short supply; a Fieldfare (5th) was amongst a small influx of Song Thrushes and a flock of 35 Twite were present while a wintering Grey Wagtail was unusual.
Other sites: Two Great Northern Divers graced Coniston Water (19th) while the Shag remained on Talkin Tarn all month. Whooper Swans included at Longtown while up to 130 Barnacle Geese remained in the Flookburgh area. Two Smew, a male and a female, on Derwent Water (from 20th) were the first of the winter in the county. Little Egrets included 13 in the Lyth Valley. A first-winter Little Gull appeared inland on Windermere (14th-17th). The first Waxwings of the winter appeared in Carlisle (22nd-25th) with up to 11 birds present. A presumed Siberian Chiffchaff lingered around the water treatment works at Dalston (1st-17th). The Whitbarrow area hosted impressive numbers of Hawfinches with up to 30 birds seen while at least one continued to frequent the Sizergh Castle car park. A flock of 21 Snow Buntings frequented Sandscale Haws (9th).