Great Northern Diver

23rd February 2020 – early rain clearing W4/5/6
Offshore
A check of the sea as the rain cleared (1030-1130) revealed 26 Red-throated Diver, 11 Common Scoter, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and a Kittiwake. However a single Great Northern Diver and Shag sought after more sheltered waters.
Wildfowl and Waders
The Brent Goose flock held a total of 254 pale-bellied birds, the 4 Barnacle Geese and 12 Scaup remain while 2 Goosander were logged. Waders included 5500 Knot and 2 Greenshank.
Miscellaneous
A Peregrine was the best of the rest.

Black Brant and Water Pipit

22nd February 2020 – sun and showers WSW6/7/8
Rarities
An adult Black Brant was amongst 133 pale-bellied and 80 dark-bellied Brent Geese at Scar End Point on the rising tide. A Water Pipit was again in the flooded horse paddocks at Biggar at high tide.
Offshore
The seas remained angry with the wind still gusting to gale force, however, clearer conditions (0815- 0915) produced just 28 Kittiwake, 18 Common Scoter, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and single Gannet, Red-throated Diver and Razorbill.
Wildfowl and Waders
The Brent Goose flock held a total of 368 pale-bellied and 80 dark-bellied birds and 4 Barnacle Geese were seen. Waders included 4000 Knot.
Miscellaneous
At least one Tree Sparrow continues to visit a feeding station on the island.

Even the seabirds have deserted

21st February 2020 – overcast/showers SSW6/7/8
Offshore
The seemingly incessant wind and rain continues to batter the island and to affect sightings with observations (0800-0900) producing just 3 Common Scoter.
Wildfowl and Waders
The 12 Scaup remain and the Brent Goose flock held 249 pale-bellied and 80 dark-bellied birds. Waders included 3000 Knot.

The end of birdlife as we know it!

20th February 2020 – early rain clearing to showers WNW6/7/8
Offshore
A check over the sea as the rain cleared (1015-1115) produced just 7 Common Scoter, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and a Razorbill.
Miscellaneous
A forest of signposts and kissing gates have recently appeared across the island proclaiming the opening of the Walney section of the England Coastal Way which along with the recent designation of the salt marshes along the eastern shore as open access land is likely to have a pronounced detrimental affect on the island’s breeding and roosting waders. Walney’s beaches have long been thought of as a stronghold for breeding species such as Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover; however this is no longer the case with 2019 survey work showing that large swathes of the coastline are now devoid of breeding birds with disturbance considered the main cause. The opening up of sections of the island which still held breeding birds and were, until now, less frequently disturbed has already seen an increase in footfall and will inevitably add to disturbance levels meaning that increased pressures are being placed on the island’s birds. In addition, the narrow and linear nature of the shoreline means that birds attempting to roost over the tide will also be regularly disturbed in areas which were until now a high tide refuge.

A few seabirds

19th February 2020 – overcast/rain soon WSW4
Offshore
A check over the sea (0800-0900) produced just 10 Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Common Scoter and a solitary Kittiwake.
Wildfowl and Waders
The 12 Scaup remain.

Another Little Gull

18th February 2020 – overcast/showers SW5/6/7
Offshore
A check over the sea (0730-0830) produced 14 Kittiwake, 7 Pintail, 4 Common Scoter and single Red-throated Diver, Fulmar and Little Gull.
Wildfowl and Waders
Two Shoveler were seen and waders included 410 Golden Plover and 60 Turnstone.

Little Gull and Yellow-legged Gull

17th February 2020 – hazy sun WSW5/6 gusting to 57mph
Offshore
A check over the sea (0800-0900) produced 23 Kittiwake, 4 Red-throated Diver, 3 Common Scoter and single Little Gull (adult), Razorbill and Shag.
Wildfowl and Waders
The 12 Scaup (3 males) remain and waders included 1000 Dunlin, 120 Sanderling and 11 Greenshank.
Miscellaneous
An adult Yellow-legged Gull (intriguingly with a metal ring on the right leg) was amongst 2500 Herring Gull and 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull feeding amongst the detritus washed up by storm Dennis.

Waxwing headlines

16th February 2020 – overcast/showers SW5/6
Rarities
A Waxwing appeared briefly in the Observatory garden.
Offshore
A check over the sea (0815-0915) as Storm Dennis raged and the wind gusted to 51 mph revealed 94 Kittiwake, 18 Common Scoter, 2 Fulmar, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and a Great Crested Grebe.
Wildfowl and Waders
The 12 Scaup (3 males) remain.
Miscellaneous
At least one Tree Sparrow continues to visit a feeding station on the island.

Marsh Harrier and Water Pipit

15th February 2020 – overcast/rain soon SE4 then S6/7/8
Rarities
A least one Water Pipit remained in the flooded horse paddocks between Biggar Bank and Biggar.
Offshore
A check over the sea (0800-0900) produced just 7 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Red-throated Diver and 3 Common Scoter.
Wildfowl and Waders
The 12 Scaup (3 males) remain and a female Goosander was logged. The Brent Goose flock held 316 pale-bellied birds.
Miscellaneous
A male Marsh Harrier hunting over the island was the best of the rest.