The Hoylake “Bird Observatory” Bird Report for 2000-1

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Systematic list -              
Red-throated Diver to Gannet.
Cormorant to Brent Goose.
Shelduck to Long-tailed Duck.
Common Scoter to Merlin (below).
Barbary Falcon to Knot.
Sanderling to Black-tailed Godwit.
Bar-tailed Godwit to Grey Phalarope.
Pomarine Skua to Corn Bunting will be published in the April 2002 Newsletter.

The status line included for each species is adapted from the Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological Society's bird report.

Common Scoter                            Melanitta nigra

Uncommon coastal winter visitor
Recorded in every month and on most days when we looked at the sea for long enough!

Monthly maxima 2000:

Jan  Feb  Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
- - - - 9 121 1 1 15 98 20 12

Monthly maxima 2001:

Jan Feb  Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
- 3 35 45 15 1 - 3 15 436 7 12

121 on June 27th 2000, 436 on Oct 28th 2001 and 125 on Oct 30th were exceptional counts.


Velvet Scoter                                 Melanitta fusca

Rare coastal passage migrant and winter visitor


An adult male surprised us by flying east very close in before splashing down near the site of Hoylake baths on Oct 27th, close enough to see the bill colour and eye patch. It was also present on Oct 30th and Nov 1st. 

A female type flew west with Scoter on Oct 28th 2001


Goldeneye                                   Bucephula clangula

Uncommon winter visitor
Recorded on just seven dates between Oct 27th and Apr 7th 2001. Nine on the latter date was the only count above two. This species seems to be declining locally, presumably due the increased human usage of the Marine Lake in West Kirby over the last ten or so years.


Red-breasted Merganser                        Mergus serrator

Scarce coastal visitor
First recorded as late as Oct 2nd 2000 but then regular offshore in small numbers until May 11th 2001 then again from Sept 15th 2001. Six on Oct 12th 2000 and again Apr 20th 2001, eight the following day and ten on Oct 29th were the largest counts.


Goosander                                            Mergus merganser

Scarce winter inland visitor, rare on coast.
12 flew W then up the River Dee on Sept 10th 2001. This mirrors three similar records from Red Rocks in the 80s and early 90s.


Ruddy Duck                                       Oxyura jamaicensis

Uncommon resident
A female and eclipse drake flew west at sea on Nov 15th 2000 causing some initial identification problems!

Sparrowhawk                               Accipiter nisus

Fairly common resident
Surprisingly scarce migrant. First recorded on Aug 30th when three movedsouth west. Singles were recorded on a further 12 widely separated dates in all seasons.


Osprey                                       Pandion haliaetus

Rare migrant

One came in off the coast at 10:30 on Sept 28th causing pandemonium amongst the roosting gulls. We had spent the previous week staring at the skies hoping to pick up one of the many Honey Buzzards, which were passing through Seaforth, which is visible from the bedroom window! It appears that this Osprey was more willing to cross water! A second bird spent a few minutes fishing unsuccessfully in the outgoing tide edge before wheeling off eastwards at 14:10 on Apr 21st 2001. It drifted over the Mersey mouth and Seaforth about 20 minutes later! Remarkably another flew over the house and headed out towards Formby on April 30th 2001.


Kestrel                                            Falco tinnunculus

Uncommon resident and migrant
Only six records so far, singles on Jun 6th 2000, Sept 15th 2000, Mar 25th 2001, Jul 1st 2001, Sept 1st 2001 and Nov 13th 2001. The last record here was of an adult male hunting in the front garden. This species is declining locally.

Merlin                                    Falco columbarius

Very scarce winter visitor
The first record of this species came in the form of an immature male, which spent a few minutes sat on the front garden wall on Sept 27th2000. Perhaps the same male took a small calidrid on Oct 10th 2000 in a spectacular chase, while a female flew east low over the sea on Nov 11th2000. In 2001 recorded on Mar 25th 2001, the early date of Aug 7th when a female went west and Oct 28th when another flew low through the front garden.

Barbary Falcon to Knot.