October 2013

Period: 
Tuesday, 1 October 2013 to Thursday, 31 October 2013
Yellow-browed Warbler, Cockermouth, Steve Dutton
Yellow-browed Warbler, Cockermouth, Steve Dutton

Highlights: An exceptional influx of Yellow-browed Warblers produced one in Vickerstown Park on Walney Island (from 1st) where it was joined by a second individual (4th-6th) one of which lingered (to 13th) followed by another that was photographed in a Cockermouth garden (4th), a heard-only bird at Humphrey Head (6th) and then a further flurry with singles at Lowca near Whitehaven (19th), St Bees Head (20th-23rd) and Rickerby Park in Carlisle (21st). Meanwhile, at least seven Glossy Ibises continued to linger around the Kent Estuary (to 5th) with up to four remaining (to 17th) and a Great White Egret appeared on Rockcliffe Marsh (2nd-30th) with presumably the same bird relocating temporarily to Campfield Marsh (17th). A juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper was found at Ulpha Meadows (1st) and a Great Grey Shrike hunted around the eagle viewpoint in Riggindale, Haweswater (15th).

Esk/Mite/Irt complex: The Esk produced an adult Yellow-legged Gull (2nd), three Curlew Sandpipers, a Shag and two Little Egrets while nearby fields hosted a Hooded Crow, a first-winter Mediterranean Gull and up to five Whooper Swans.

Furness: A late Common Tern (24th) and 136 pale-bellied Brent Geese were seen at Foulney Island.

Hodbarrow: A Slavonian Grebe on the lagoon (from 12th) was presumably last winter’s bird returning and was joined by a second individual (from 18th) with, more unusually a Red-necked Grebe also present (19th). Wildfowl included Whooper Swans (max. 25), eight Gadwall and a female Scaup. Nearby Silecroft produced up to 200 Common Scoters, a Scaup and 200 Razorbills while two Little Egrets frequented Millom Marsh.

Inner Solway: At least five Little Egrets were seen. The first rather belated Barnacle Geese (4th) and Whooper Swans (12th) arrived, with numbers of both then increasing to include 10000 Barnacle Geese on Rockcliffe Marsh and 125 Whooper Swans at Wedholme Flow. Other wildfowl included two dark-bellied Brent Geese at Grune (8th) and 1750 Teal at Wedhilme Flow. A female Marsh Harrier continued to put in regular appearances (to 8th). Waders included a Jack Snipe and 55 Common Snipe at Fingland Rigg Wood, small numbers of Black-tailed Godwits, Ruff and Greenshank plus the odd Green Sandpiper. An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Anthorn.

Kent Estuary: At least 29 Little Egrets were present. Wildfowl included Whooper Swans (max. nine), 77 Barnacle Geese (13th-15th), a Common Scoter (18th) and 808 Pintail. Adult Mediterranean Gulls were at Arnside Marsh and Heversham Moss while waders included three Curlew Sandpipers and a Little Stint at Mid Foulshaw (5th), two Ruff, four Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper. The only notable passerine was a late Wheatear at Halforth (26th).

Hooded Crow, Whitehaven, Steve Dutton
Hooded Crow, Whitehaven, Steve Dutton
Bittern, Siddick Pond, Steve Dutton
Bittern, Siddick Pond, Steve Dutton

Outer Solway: A Bittern was seen occasionally at Siddick Pond, a Great Northern Diver (29th) and three Arctic Skuas were off Nethertown (two on 13th, one on 22nd) and Mediterranean Gulls consisted of four, three adults (including the returning ‘Stumpy’) and a second-winter, at Workington. A Hooded Crow was at Whitehaven.

Brambling, High Stand, Darren Robson
Brambling, High Stand, Darren Robson

Walney Bird Observatory. Highlights over the sea were few with four Shags (all month), a Puffin (23rd), a Mediterranean Gull (3rd) and single Scaup (10th & 22nd) the best that could be mustered amongst good numbers of Common Scoters (max. 425 on 4th) and Razorbills (max. 435 on 5th). Also seen were smaller numbers of Red-throated Divers, Gannets, Guillemots and Kittiwakes throughout the month along with Common Tern (to 3rd), Sandwich Tern (to 6th) and Arctic Tern (to 14th). Little Egrets continued to increase throughout the month with a record 52 birds logged while at least three Water Rails were in residence. A ringtail Hen Harrier was seen (10th) and at least two Merlins hunted the island as did both Short-eared Owl and Peregrine. A total of 2470 Pink-footed Geese, 84 Barnacle Geese and 83 Whooper Swans flew through while the flock of pale-bellied Brent Geese steadily increased to 86 (22nd) and 1400 Wigeon were present (20th). Waders included 22 Greenshank (18th) and single Black-tailed Godwit (3rd), Ruff (13th & 18th), Whimbrel (18th) and Purple Sandpiper (20th). A Turtle Dove (4th), Ring Ouzel (13th & 25th), Firecrest (15th) and Mealy Redpoll (24th) were all noteworthy. The first Redwing and Fieldfare appeared (10th) with Brambling (13th) while late departing summer migrants involved Spotted Flycatcher (4th), Chiffchaff (15th), Swallow (17th), Wheatear (18th), Swift (22nd), and Blackcap (30th). Two Jays (15th) were unusual while diurnal finch passage was generally subdued apart from 30 Tree Sparrows (13th) and 31 Siskins (4th).

Other sites: Whooper Swans included 41 at Longtown while 200 Barnacle Geese were on Sand Gate Marsh near Flookburgh (12th). Two drake Scaup, an Arctic Tern (10th) and a Red Kite (15th) were all at Tindale Tarn. The Long-tailed Duck remained on the River Eden near Linstock (to 3rd). A first-winter Mediterranean Gull was seen in Kendal. A Black Redstart was on the disused airfield at Hallburn near Longtown (14th), a scattering of Bramblings included 40 at High Stand Plantation near Armathwaite and single Snow Bunting were on Binsey (29th) and Crag Fell near Keswick (31st).