March 2011

Period: 
Tuesday, 1 March 2011 to Thursday, 31 March 2011

Highlights: A Great White Egret was reported flying southwest over the A590 near Ayside (7th) and a White Stork, believed to be of captive origin, flew over Tebay Services on the M6 (27th). Meanwhile the drake Green-winged Teal continued to be seen intermittently at Campfield Marsh (to 13th) and the Great Grey Shrike reappeared at Dalton Crags near Burton-in-Kendal (7th-31st).

Hodbarrow: A Little Egret was seen. Pick of the wildfowl were four Gadwall and a Shoveler while waders included seven Black-tailed Godwits. Two Mediterranean Gulls, an adult and a second-summer, were seen.

Pink-footed Geese, Inner Solway, Darren Robson
Pink-footed Geese, Inner Solway, Darren Robson

Inner Solway: A Little Egret was at Campfield Marsh. Whooper Swans included 136 at Whitrigglees while Pink-footed Goose flocks included 5200 near Whitrigg and the adult Ross’s Goose continued to consort with large numbers of Barnacle Geese, being seen intermittently on Rockcliffe Marsh (to 27th). Waders included a Ruff (23rd) and four Black-tailed Godwits at Campfield. A first-winter Iceland Gull put in a brief appearance at Campfield (20th) while Kittiwakes were observed heading east at Bowness-on-Solway (max. 100) along with Fulmars (max. 10) and Gannets (max. 21). At least one Hen Harrier hunted the area along with Merlin and Peregrine.

Kent Estuary: Little Egret numbers remained low (max. three). A flock of 16 Whooper Swans flew north (23rd), a dark-bellied Brent Goose accompanied 328 Greylags at Kents Bank (21st) and an early pair of Garganey appeared at Ulpha Meadows (27th).

Purple Sandpiper, Workington, Tristan Reid
Purple Sandpiper, Workington, Tristan Reid
Yellow-legged Gull, Whitehaven, Darren Robson
Yellow-legged Gull, Whitehaven, Darren Robson

Outer Solway: A flock of 14 Whooper Swans rested on Mawbray beach. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was found at Whitehaven (19th-21st) while Mediterranean Gulls consisted of an adult and the long-staying one-legged third-winter at Workington where 30 Purple Sandpipers remained. Hooded Crows were seen near St Bees (7th) and at Workington (20th).

Firecrest, Walney, walneybo.blogspot.com
Firecrest, Walney, walneybo.blogspot.com

Walney Bird Observatory: Offshore highlights were led by eight Little Gulls (22nd) and a Great Skua (31st) amongst good numbers of Kittiwakes (max. 605 on 10th). The first Sandwich Tern appeared (27th) and up to four Shags, 16 Red-throated Divers (13th) and 45 Gannets (31st) were seen, along with small numbers of Fulmars, Common Scoters, Razorbills and Guillemots. Just six Little Egrets remained and a total of 163 Whooper Swans flew north along with 50 Pink-footed Geese. A small flock of Pink-footed Geese lingered (from 24th), up to 25 Barnacle Geese remained throughout and Brent Geese included 121 pale and three dark-bellied birds. Waders included up to six Greenshank and 46 Purple Sandpipers. At least two Buzzards were logged, a Short-eared Owl appeared (19th) and Merlin, Peregrine, Barn Owl and Little Owl were all regularly recorded. Passerines began to move through with a Black Redstart (17th-19th), Water Pipit (19th & 22nd) and Firecrest (30th) the pick of the sightings. A stronger than expected Goldcrest passage was evident (from 17th) and visible migration included a Tree Sparrow, three Lesser Redpolls and 19 Siskin amongst a steady passage of Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails involving 546 and 73 birds respectively.

Waxwing, Kendal, Ian Kinley
Waxwing, Kendal, Ian Kinley

Waxwings continued to be seen, with site maxima consisting of 39 in Carlisle, 18 in Grange-over-Sands, 13 in Kendal, six in Penrith, five at Bowness Common and three at Heversham.

Migrant arrivals: First dates reported at the time of writing consisted of Sand Martin, Longtown (14th), Wheatear, Walney (14th); Chiffchaff, Watchtree (14th); Swallow, Walney (22nd), Sandwich Tern, Silecroft, Hodbarrow and Walney (27th); Willow Warbler, Hodbarrow (27th); Ring Ouzel, Geltsdale (28th); House Martin, Ormsgill Reservoir (29th); Blackcap, Walney (31st).

Other Sites: Little Egrets included two in the Lyth Valley while Whooper Swans included 95 at Longtown plus northbound flocks of 36 at Derwent Water, 48 and 22 at Killington Reservoir, 25 on the Duddon Estuary, and 22 over Shap. The Long-tailed Duck remained on Windermere (to 20th) while three Smew, two drake and a redhead, lingered at Tindale Tarn (to 14th). A Red Kite flew over Crofton near Wigton (28th). An adult male Black Redstart was found at Dalton Crags (25th). Sizergh Castle continued to host Hawfinches (max. 16) though one at Dalton Crags was less expected. A Snow Bunting was seen on Helvellyn (24th).