Highlights: A spectacular array of Nearctic waders dominated the month with a brief Pectoral Sandpiper at Kents Bank (17th) followed by an adult American Golden Plover that frequented the Inner Solway between Bowness-on-Solway and Drumburgh (18th-26th), single Buff-breasted Sandpipers at Selker (19th) and Walney Island (19th-21st), a Long-billed Dowitcher at Drumburgh Marsh (27th) and then, amazingly, another adult American Golden Plover at Drumburgh (28th). From the east came a Yellow-browed Warbler at Westfield Point near Barrow-in-Furness (25th).
Furness: Rampside hosted 39 pale-bellied Brent Geese (21st) with 4330 Eider also counted in the vicinity while at least two adult Mediterranean Gulls remained between Rampside and Bardsea. An Osprey flew over Baycliff (2nd) and six Little Egrets frequented the Leven Estuary.
Inner Solway: The first southbound Pink-footed Geese were reported (8th) and, more unusually, three pale-bellied Brent Geese appeared off Drumburgh Marsh (28th). At least one Little Egret lingered. A Leach’s Petrel was seen off Port Carlisle (17th). Wader highlights included a Little Ringed Plover, a juvenile Little Stint, two Spotted Redshanks and a lateish Common Sandpiper (29th) at Port Carlisle, juvenile Curlew Sandpipers (max. six at Port Carlisle), Ruff (max. nine at Anthorn), Black-tailed Godwits (max. 20 at Port Carlisle) and small numbers of Greenshank. A second-winter Mediterranean Gull was seen at Bowness Railings (28th).
Kent Estuary: Seven Whooper Swans appeared (23rd-26th). At least 16 Little Egrets were present. Waders included Black-tailed Godwits (max. 54) and single Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint and Ruff.
Outer Solway: Seawatching produced three Leach’s Petrels (14th), an Arctic Skua and a Great Skua (29th) off Workington, an exceptional 30 Arctic Skuas lingering off St Bees Head (22nd) and three Arctic Skuas and a Black Guillemot off Nethertown (20th). At Workington, ‘Stumpy’, the regular one-legged adult Mediterranean Gull remained in residence with another two adults and a second-winter also seen there.
Walney Bird Observatory. Offshore highlights involved up to three Shags, two Goosanders (26th) and single Great Skua (1st), Pomarine Skua (10th & 12th), Leach’s Petrel (14th), Velvet Scoter (20th), Long-tailed Duck (26th) and Arctic Skua (10th & 27th). Also seen were good numbers of Common Scoters (max. 365 on 26th) and smaller numbers of Gannets (max. 66 on 26th), Manx Shearwaters (to 19th), Fulmars, Guillemots, Red-throated Divers (max. 12 on 20th), Sandwich Terns (max. 37 on 1st), Kittiwakes (max. 45 on 12th) and Razorbills (max. 134 on 28th). Little Egret numbers continued to build with at least 14 birds present by the month’s end. Single Marsh Harrier (23rd) and Osprey (11th) flew over and a Short-eared Owl hunted the island (23rd). A total of 3084 Pink-footed Geese and 11 Barnacle Geese flew through and an early Whooper Swan headed south (21st). The first 17 pale-bellied Brent Geese returned (14th) and numbers steadily increased to 40 by the end of the month, otherwise wildfowl numbers remained low although the first Pintail arrived (19th). Waders included up to 30 Greenshank, three Black-tailed Godwits and a solitary Ruff. Grounded passerines were at a premium for much of the month but included Willow Warbler (to 15th), Whinchat (to 22nd) and Whitethroat (to 23rd). A Hooded Crow took up residence (from 13th) and a Jay was logged. The skies were more productive towards the end of the month with a total of 56 Sand Martins and 53 House Martins amongst good numbers of Swallows (max. 1100 on 22nd) and Meadow Pipit passage was heavy on the few calm days (max. 5550 on 22nd). A Yellow Wagtail appeared (2nd) while 44 Grey Wagtails were amongst good numbers of Pied/White Wagtails (max. 65 on 9th). Two Crossbills (9th) were unusual.
Other sites: The first Pink-footed Geese (31 flying west on 5th), Barnacle Geese (50 west on 26th), Whooper Swans (two on 21st) and Brambling (four on 21st) of the autumn all appeared at Tindale Tarn. Eight Whooper Swans were also seen at Little Salkeld (26th), a female Scaup was at Hodbarrow, two drake Common Scoters visited Wet Sleddale Reservoir (7th) and the female Mandarin remained at Whinfell Tarn. Two Shags on the Esk Estuary near Ravenglass (19th) were unusual and were followed by two adult Yellow-legged Gulls (28th) while the Hooded Crow was seen again in nearby fields (28th) as were two Ruff. A juvenile Dotterel was seen on Little Man near Skddaw (29th) while a juvenile Gannet at Shap (21st) and a Sandwich Tern on Windermere (28th) were both unusual inland. Ospreys were seen at Wetheral and Longtown.