May 2011

Period: 
Sunday, 1 May 2011 to Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Broad-billed Sandpiper, Bowness, Railings, Darren Robson
Broad-billed Sandpiper, Bowness, Railings, Darren Robson
Great White Egret, Hodbarrow, Ian Kinley
Great White Egret, Hodbarrow, Ian Kinley
Kentish Plover, Bowness Railings, Nick Franklin
Kentish Plover, Bowness Railings, Nick Franklin

Highlights: A Kentish Plover, a colour-ringed male, just the fourth ever in the county and the first since 1994, was an all-too-brief visitor to Bowness-on-Solway (9th) but was soon followed by a rather more obliging Broad-billed Sandpiper, the third county record, at the same location (12th-13th). Hodbarrow hosted a Great White Egret and a Temminck’s Stint (21st), both breeding plumaged adults while a first-summer male Golden Oriole lingered, albeit elusively, at South Walney (8th-18th).

Bassenthwaite Lake: The Ospreys had hatched at least one young by the end of the month.

Hodbarrow: No terns were breeding (by 21st) though Common Terns were present in decent numbers but numbers of Sandwich Terns were disappointingly low.

Little Gull, Port Carlisle, Darren Robson
Little Gull, Port Carlisle, Darren Robson
Little Stint, Bowness Railings, Darren Robson
Little Stint, Bowness Railings, Darren Robson
Long-tailed Skuas, Bowness-on-Solway, Darren Robson
Long-tailed Skuas, Bowness-on-Solway, Darren Robson

Inner Solway: Some 13000 Barnacle Geese remained on Rockcliffe Marsh early in the month while other wildfowl included a late dark-bellied Brent Goose at Bowness-on-Solway (30th), a drake Garganey at Old Sandsfield (11th) and three Gadwall at Campfield Marsh. Waders included a Little Stint (5th) and three Greenshank at Bowness Railings along with reasonable numbers of Sanderling plus Whimbrel (max. 30 at Port Carlisle). With a change in wind direction and cloudier skies, skua passage finally got underway with relatively modest totals of 154 Pomarine, 64 Arctic and 33 Great that were totally eclipsed by a record-breaking 197 Long-tailed that included peaks of 63 on 23rd and an astonishing 115 on 29th which largely comprised a single flock of at least 100 birds. Bowness-on-Solway also produced Red-throated Divers (max.20), a Great Northern Diver (21st) followed by three more (30th), Manx Shearwaters (max. 50), Fulmars (max. 15), Gannets (max. 30), Little Gulls (max. five), Kittiwakes (max. 600), Arctic Terns {max. 135), Razorbills (max.20) plus a Black Tern (9th), an Osprey (8th), a Marsh Harrier (28th), up to nine Eiders, six Common Scoters and small numbers of Common Terns and Guillemots. Nearby up to 12 first-summer Little Gulls lingered at Port Carlisle (24th-26th). A Quail was heard calling at Finglandrigg (31st) while four Crossbills at Port Carlisle (26th) were unusual.

Kent Estuary: Three Little Egrets appeared. Waders included a Wood Sandpiper (5th), a Green Sandpiper, three Greenshank and a Black-tailed Godwit.

Outer Solway: Two Storm Petrels appeared off Workington (29th).

Walney Bird Observatory: Seawatching highlights were led by single Long-tailed Skuas (11th & 22nd), Pomarine Skua (29th), Puffin (11th & 26th), Storm Petrel (24th), Black Guillemot (13th) and Shag (13th). Also seen were 18 Arctic Skuas (max. six on 22nd), two Great Skuas, 135 Arctic Terns (3rd), 750 Manx Shearwaters, 745 Gannets, 250 Kittiwakes and 235 Guillemots (all 22nd), 50 Little Terns (30th) and lesser numbers of Red-throated Divers, Fulmars, Common Scoters, Sandwich Terns, Common Terns and Razorbills. The first Eider ducklings emerged (30th) and single drake Garganey and Gadwall arrived (11th). Wader sightings included Greenshank (1st), Wood Sandpiper (4th-6th), 41 Whimbrel (5th), three Black-tailed Godwits (31st), 1000 Sanderling (4th) and 2000 Dunlin and 300 Ringed Plovers (24th). Large numbers of Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers were on territory and the last few Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers moved through along with nine Whinchats, four Cuckoos, three Spotted Flycatchers, two Garden Warblers and a Yellow Wagtail. Perhaps three different Hooded Crows were seen.

Other Sites: A Whooper Swan lingered on the Irt Estuary (5th-20th), the same site also hosting Ospreys (4th & 19th) and a Hooded Crow (2nd). Up to five Little Gulls and a Black Tern were on the River Esk at Longtown. A drake Garganey visited Watchtree (15th) while Thacka Beck N.R. hosted a Wood Sandpiper (15th-16th).