May 2012 Sightings

Period: 
Tuesday, 1 May 2012 to Thursday, 31 May 2012
Long-billed Dowitcher, Hodbarrow, Ian Kinley
Long-billed Dowitcher, Hodbarrow, Ian Kinley

Highlights: Hodbarrow hosted Cumbria’s first Black-winged Stilt (28th) and sixth Long-billed Dowitcher (9th-12th). Elsewhere, a Black Kite flew west over Gilpin Bridge near Levens (26th), a Bee Eater was found near Branthwaite (29th) and a Common Crane flew down the Gelt Valley (25th).

Bassenthwaite Lake: The Osprey pair hatched one chick (25th). At least three additional birds were also seen.

Whimbrel, Bowness-on-Solway, Darren Robson
Whimbrel, Bowness-on-Solway, Darren Robson

Inner Solway: Barnacle Goose numbers declined as the month progressed. A Spoonbill lingered at Campfield Marsh (2nd-5th). An Osprey was seen on several occasions near Bowness-on-Solway and a female Marsh Harrier visited Campfield Marsh (8th). Wader highlights were limited to small numbers of Black-tailed Godwits and Whimbrel. A brief spell of westerly winds gave a boost to the skua passage though totals remained modest with 123 Pomarine, 35 Arctic, 13 Great and four Long-tailed logged during the month. Other seawatching highlights at Bowness-on-Solway included Red-throated Divers (max. 45), two Long-tailed Ducks (7th), a first-summer Mediterranean Gull (14th), Little Gulls (max. four), Kittiwakes (max. 500), a strong passage of Arctic Terns (max. 630), Gannets (max. 37), a few Fulmars, four Puffins (13th) and an unexpected Short-eared Owl (14th & 20th). An unseasonable juvenile Iceland Gull also appeared at Bowness-on-Solway (17th).

Avocets, Walney, walneybo.blogspot.com
Avocets, Walney, walneybo.blogspot.com

Kent Estuary: Wildfowl included two unseasonable Whooper Swans (19th) and eight late Pink-footed Geese (11th). At least nine Little Egrets remained. There were regular sightings of both male and female Marsh Harrier. Waders included up to two Avocets (4th-28th), 48 Black-tailed Godwits and small numbers of Whimbrel. A Wood Warbler at Arnside (11th) was notable while a flock of 18 Crossbills were near Foulshaw and at least five Hawfnches continued to visit a garden in Grange-over-Sands.

Outer Solway: A drake Garganey appeared at Braystones (20th) and a Marsh Harrier flew north over Maryport (21st).

Walney Bird Observatory Highlights over the sea involved a Mediterranean Gull (4th), two Puffins and a Black Guillemot (7th) and two Little Gulls (26th). Also seen were two Great Skuas and 10 Arctic Skuas along with 90 Common Scoters (7th), 175 Gannets and 48 Arctic Terns (14th), 27 Little Terns (17th) and 117 Manx Shearwaters (29th). A total of 550 late Pink-footed Geese flew through (to 6th), a dark-bellied Brent Goose was logged (13th) and the long-staying Long-tailed Duck lingered (to 27th). Waders included two Purple Sandpipers (5th), a Little Ringed Plover (6th), a Curlew Sandpiper (15th), two Avocets (27th) and good numbers of Whimbrel (max. 135 on 5th). The last of the wintering Little Egrets departed (2nd) and a Water Rail was in potential breeding habitat (2nd-3rd). A Short-eared Owl hunted the island all month and Marsh Harrier (16th) and Osprey (19th) flew through. A large fall of spring migrants on the island (2nd) included 310 Willow Warblers, 255 Wheatears, 46 Blackcaps, 12 Whinchats, 12 Chiffchaffs, eight Redstarts, seven Grasshopper Warblers and three Tree Pipits. A late Fieldfare was seen (5th) along with monthly totals of 17 Lesser Redpolls and five Yellow Wagtails though a Hooded Crow (3rd-18th) was the pick of the passerines.

Black Tern, Longtown, Nick Franklin
Black Tern, Longtown, Nick Franklin
Little Gull, Longtown, Tristan reid
Little Gull, Longtown, Tristan reid

Other sites: Two Dotterel were seen on an eastern fell (16th) while Whimbrel included 40 at Watchtree N.R. A Black Tern on the River Esk at Longtown (8th) was followed by up to four first-summer Little Gulls (from 9th) and an Osprey (29th) while three Ospreys were seen flying together over Derwent Water (22nd). A first-summer Little Gull was at Hodbarrow (12th) while a Sandwich Tern appeared inland at Windermere (16th). A Nightjar over a Kendal garden (25th) was a bizarre sighting.