May 2014

Period: 
Thursday, 1 May 2014 to Saturday, 31 May 2014

Highlights: A White-winged Black Tern that flew east past Walney Island (25th) was the first in the county since 2001. A Great White Egret was found on the Duddon Estuary at Askam-on-Furness (28th).

Bassenthwaite Lake: The Ospreys’ incubation of their three eggs continued smoothly with the first egg hatching (30th).

Esk/Irt/Mite complex: The Irt hosted a Hooded Crow and 31 Whimbrel.

Furness: A few Little Egrets lingered on the Leven Estuary throughout the month and a Little Ringed Plover appeared (27th). Water Rail remained in residence at Mere Tarn all month where a Garganey dropped in (7th).

Hodbarrow: Wildfowl included a drake Garganey (15th). A first-summer Little Gull appeared (12th). Good numbers of Sandwich, Common and Little Terns frequented the reserve at times, though, with the possible exception of the Common Terns, breeding prospects did not look good. Nearby Silecroft produced a Great Northern Diver (7th).

Pomarine Skuas, Bowness-on-Solway, Darren Robson
Pomarine Skuas, Bowness-on-Solway, Darren Robson

Inner Solway: Up to five Little Egrets still roamed the area. Pick of the wildfowl were the three Garganey, two drakes and a duck, that remained at North Plain (to 9th) and a Velvet Scoter off Bowness-on-Solway (4th). Single Marsh Harriers at Campfield (2nd & 16th) were followed by a Hobby there (19th). Skua passage continued to be disappointing and, by the end of the month, totals of just 37 Pomarine, 18 Arctic, 26 Great and nine Long-tailed had been logged. Also seen off Bowness-on-Solway were Common Scoters (max. 135), an Osprey (18th), Red-throated Divers (max. 30), Gannets (max. 30), a total of three Little Gulls and Kittiwakes (max. 120) along with small numbers of Fulmars, Common and Arctic Terns. Wader highlights included two Wood Sandpipers at North Plain (4th), a Curlew Sandpiper (16th) and a Little Stint (26th) at Bowness Railings, Whimbrel (max. 22 at Southerfield) and small numbers of Black-tailed Godwits.

Kent Estuary: News was released that a pair of Ospreys were nesting at Foulshaw Moss and incubation was well progressed by the month end. There were several sightings of wandering Marsh Harriers. At least 11 Little Egrets were present. Waders included an impressive 154 Black-tailed Godwits near Arnside and a Ruff on Heversham Moss.

Outer Solway: A pair of Garganey frequented a small pond near Nethertown. Nethertown itself produced two Great Northern Divers (10th), a Shag (7th), a Pomarine Skua (7th), a Great Skua (10th) and up to 18 Whimbrel. Workington hosted a Black Guillemot (17th) and a Hooded Crow was at St Bees Head (21st).

Walney Bird Observatory. Highlights over the sea were led by a total of four Pomarine Skuas (three on 6th), single Puffins (11th & 25th) and up to two Shags. Common Scoters headed north in large numbers (max. 1215 on 19th), associated with this movement were two Velvet Scoters (7th) while good numbers of Gannets (max. 128 on 7th), Sandwich Terns (max. 155 on 1st), Guillemots (max. 64 on 21st), Arctic Terns (max. 52 on 19th), Red-throated Divers (max. 26 on 7th), Little Terns (max. nine on 2nd) and a total of 14 Arctic Skuas were also logged along with small numbers of Fulmars, Manx Shearwaters and Kittiwakes. The last Merlin departed (3rd) and a Little Egret lingered (12th). Wildfowl included six Goosanders (4th), a pair of Gadwall (8th-12th) and three pale-bellied and two dark-bellied Brent Geese lingered for much of the month. Passage waders were generally below par with Whimbrel (max. 81 on 2nd), Black-tailed Godwits (max. nine on 4th) and single Greenshank (5th) and Ruff (18th) the highlights. Migration was generally poor with Yellow Wagtail (2nd & 4th), Redstart (13th) and Whinchat (three on 16th) the best amongst a trickle of Wheatears (max. 26 on 2nd), Swallows and House Martins. A pair of Coal Tits were found to be breeding, just the fourth island record.

Black Tern, Longtown, Darren Robson
Black Tern, Longtown, Darren Robson
Little Gull and Black Terns, Longtown, Nick Franklin
Little Gull and Black Terns, Longtown, Nick Franklin

Other sites: Little Egrets included two in the Lyth Valley. The River Esk at Longtown produced two Black Terns (18th) and up to five first-summer Little Gulls along with a late Whooper Swan (25th) and occasional sightings of an Osprey. A total of 12 Dotterel were observed at three or four felltop sites.