October 2014

Wednesday, 1 October 2014 to Friday, 31 October 2014

Highlights: The county’s third Cetti’s Warbler lingered at South Walney (7th-24th) while an exceptional influx of Yellow-browed Warblers (14th) produced no less than five on Walney Island, three at Haverigg and one at Kirksanton Haws; these were followed by two more on Walney Island (16th). A colour-ringed male Bearded Tit on Walnei Island (14th-24th) was the first in the county since 1999. An adult female Rough-legged Buzzard was reported flying southeast over Selside (22nd). A Pectoral Sandpiper (24th-26th) and a first-winter Grey Phalarope (24th) both appeared on Walney Island. A Great White Egret visited Hodbarrow (6th).

Esk/Irt/Mite complex: The Esk hosted four Little Egrets and a Greenshank with seven Whooper Swans in nearby fields, while up to 15 Greenshank were on the Mite.

Furness: A Water Pipit was found at Roa Island (25th) and at least six Little Egrets frequented the Upper Leven Estuary.

Hodbarrow: Wildfowl included six Gadwall while pick of the waders was a single Black-tailed Godwit. Nearby Haverigg hosted a Ring Ouzel, a lateish Swallow and a Chiffchaff (14th) with at least three Little Egrets on Green Road Marsh.

Linnet, Port Carlisle, Roger Ridley
Linnet, Port Carlisle, Roger Ridley

Inner Solway: Whooper Swan numbers built steadily (max. 181 near Calvo) while other wildfowl included a drake Velvet Scoter at Bowness-on-Solway (21st), 8500 Barnacle Geese on Rockcliffe Marsh and 2000 Teal on Wedholme Flow. A record 13 Little Egrets roamed the area. An Arctic Skua was seen at Bowness-on-Solway (19th). Waders included a juvenile Little Stint at Bowness Railings (7th), two Curlew Sandpipers at Port Carlisle and a few Ruff, Black-tailed Godwits and Greenshank. Adult Mediterranean Gulls were at Kirkbride and Silloth while a flock of 100 Twite frequented the Port Carlisle area. A rather late Wheatear was at Grune Point (29th).

Kent Estuary: Up to 26 Whooper Swans were seen and 39 Barnacle Geese – Solway overshoots – lingered (1st-8th) along with 920 feral Greylags and a dubious white Snow Goose while other wildfowl included a female Scaup at Sandside (19th). At least 18 Little Egrets were present and a juvenile Marsh Harrier appeared intermittently (to 25th) along with a ringtail Hen Harrier and several Peregrines. Waders included up to four Ruff, 16 Black-tailed Godwits and two Green Sandpipers. Adult Mediterranean Gulls were at Sandside (3rd & 19th).

Outer Solway: A Bittern appeared at the traditionally favoured Siddick Pond (14th). A truly remarkable 744 Red-throated Divers were counted off Maryport (14th) while a Black-necked (28th) and up to two Slavonian Grebes (from 9th), initially still in summer plumage, were off Nethertown and a juvenile Shag was at Workington (22nd). A late juvenile Marsh Harrier visited Soddy Gap (31st). No less than 26 Mediterranean Gulls, including six first-winters, frequented the Workington/Siddick area.

Walney Bird Observatory: Offshore highlights were provided by two Leach’s Petrels (23rd), a Great Northern Diver (3rd), single Pomarine Skuas (19th & 25th), a total of three Arctic Skuas, a Great Skua (1st), Black Guillemot (3rd & 20th), up to 12 Shags and a Velvet Scoter (1st) amongst good numbers of Common Scoters (max. 335), Gannets (max. 131), Kittiwakes (max. 117), Razorbills (max. 300) and modest numbers of Red-throated Divers and Guillemots. Southbound Pink-footed Geese and Whooper Sans peaked at 1180 and 60 respectively and a female Long-tailed Duck took up residence (from 22nd) while other wildfowl included 69 pale-bellied and 47 dark-bellied Brent Geese and 28 Barnacle Geese. A record 88 Little Egrets frequented the island. Waders included 21 Greenshank and single Ruff, Spotted Redshank and Woodcock while a first-winter Mediterranean Gull was noted (3rd),. Four Water Rails were in residence, an Osprey headed south (16th) and a late Marsh Harrier hunted the island (15th-16th) while Merlin and Peregrine were recorded regularly along with a Short-eared Owl and Barn Owl. Passerines included up to two Black Redstarts (from 28th), two Ring Ouzels and a Treecreeper while passage Stonechats reached a daily maximum of 12. Diurnal migration was marked by peaks of 5400 Meadow Pipits, 1265 Skylarks, 225 Swallows, 495 Pied Wagtails, 680 Fieldfares, 2085 Linnets, 230 Tree Sparrows and 50 Reed Buntings. The long-staying Hooded Crow put in occasional appearances.

Other sites: Six Little Egrets frequented the Upper Leven Estuary. A female Red-crested Pochard was on Whinfell Tarn. Up to six Ring Ouzels were at Geltsdale and a Snow Bunting was on Skiddaw (31st).