Leach's heaven

Having been chomping at the bit at the news of the birds on the coast during the very nasty weather on Wednesday, I guessed that Thursday might be the best day to get out and try for some images of Leach's Petrels. The weather was meant to be finer and the wind slightly less so I headed for New Brighton.

A drive through Liverpool to the Wallasey tunnel wasn't too busy but I should have set off earlier and may have connected with a Sabine's Gull. Though the tide was falling rapidly, I could see a Leach's straight away on the shoreline so I made my way down and spent a wonderful hour or two enjoying these enigmatic birds at close quarters.

The odd one pattered over the sand and fed in the surf - all giving great views. The only disappointment was the lack of much else though things started to pick up a little later with a Fulmar in the River, and adult and Juv Little Gull, several Common Terns, a few Arctics and one Sandwich Tern.

I decided to get something to eat whilst the tide was at its lowest, paying a visit to the local 'Greasy Spoon' which was quite adequate and then met up with Mike Watson and Ken Shaw. We headed for Meols where a Wryneck had been seen the previous day but all we saw were a couple of Wheatears and a Little Egret.

We drove round to Leasowe and settled down for a concerted effort to count the Leach's passing. There hadn't been many in the mouth of the Mersey and I suspected that we had been seeing the same ones over again there. Mike had had many more passing the front in the morning so a count was needed. An adult Mediterranean Gull greeted us at the car park.

We settled down as the tide rose and the wind picked up. In three hours we counted 341 flying west - some close in-shore, some mid distance and others much further out. A couple of Fulmars a few Guillemots, three juvenile Kittiwakes and a juvenile Gannet were the only other seabirds apart from a few gulls and terns.
Clearly a large movement of Leach's in the country and my biggest count ever, though I suspect not a wreck as such - the best one (if you can call it that) I remember was in the seventies when birds were flying up the roads in Ainsdale a good mile inland.

Now to find a Phalarope on Rishton Reservoir........ nope!

....but then there was one at Fairhaven - a Red-necked one at that when I was expecting a Grey Phal to be found somewhere. Very nice!


  1. you could always twitch the fairhaven bird ;)

  2. May just do that ...... but I was expecting a Grey


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