Sunday, 28 June 2009

Leighton Moss

Greenshank 3 (Year 201)
Spotted Redshank 2 (adult summer plumage)
Little Egret 4
Little Gull 4 (1st summers)

North West England

A few butterfly photos from a day spent in North West England. Some of these species (especially the fritillaries) cannot be identified from just the upperwing .You need to see the underwing pattern, which unfortunately is not always easy to get photos of. You'll just have to take my word that we did see the underwing on each of the individuals below, and they were all positively identified.

High Brown Fitillary (20+)

High Brown Fitillary (20+)

Northern Brown Argus (40)

Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary (2)

Grayling (2)
Also seen today: Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Dark Green Fritillary (50), Small Heath, Large Skipper, Speckled Wood, Dingy Skipper, Large White.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

North Wales

A few photos from our day out to North Wales. Numbers in brackets are the approximate number of each species seen.

Cistus Forester (60)

Cistus Forester (60)

Silver-studded Blue (20)

Large Skipper (5)

Red Admiral (50)

Greyling (15)

Small Heath (20)

Rock Rose - the food plant of Cistus Forester and Silver-studded Blue.

Also seen today, Dark Green Fritillary (2), Meadow Brown (1), Painted Lady (20), Small Tortoishell (2), July Belle (1)

Saturday, 20 June 2009

A Royal day in Llandudno

I was at Burscough with Ray looking for slow worms when at about 3pm news broke that the Royal Tern which had been at Porthmadog last Monday was back, and this time was much closer, seen from the promenade at Llandudno. We had all of our birding gear in the car, but the tern had been very much hit and miss up to that point and we didn't really expect it to stay at Llandudno for very long. Still it was only a 90 minute drive so we decided to give it a go.

We set off without a lot of hope, and 10 minutes into the journey, we received the negative news we had expected: the tern had last been seen flying high and heading south west. Undeterred but a little depressed, we pressed on, and as we approached Colwyn Bay the news we had been praying for came through. The bird had been relocated at Llandudno, this time on the west shore. However, 10 minutes later we heard that it had disappeared again, so we decided to head for the north shore and the promenade.

We screeched to a halt and legged it out of the car towards two birders who were pointing out to sea - and there it was, a very pale looking tern, with dark shafts on its primaries, and a stonking great orange bill with a yellowish tip. The relief was incredible. This was the first Royal Tern in the UK for 10 years, only the fifth ever and most of the rest have been single observer or one day jobs.

It was now about 5:30pm, and we watched the bird at quite close range for about 30 minutes as it patrolled up and down the promenade, before finally flying away and disappearing around the Great Orme. It was never seen again. What a day, what an experience!

Unfortunately I'm not keeping a year list, but if I was I'd now be on 199 for 2009.

Edit: still not keeping a year list, but just found one I'd missed off so that makes the Royal Tern number 200!

North West England

Hooded Crow 1

Reptiles: Slow Worm 7

Wot, no Hilbre?

Well, I was up at 5am and on the road for 5:30, fully intending to visit the island today and stay on over the tide, but it was getting less and less appealing as I drove towards Liverpool, until in the end the rain was torrential and there was no sign of a break, and the walk seemed a long way, and 5 hours on the island seemed a bit daft. So I turned around and went back to bed. Now the weather looks a bit clearer and I'm sorry I didn't carry on and I'm expecting breaking news at any minute..... oh well,, at least it will give my ankle the rest my podiatrist keeps insisting that I take.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Martin Mere

Red-necked Phalarope 1 m

Late news of a Red-necked Phalarope at Martin Mere had us scrambling for the scopes and jumping in the car at 4:20pm. The bird was on the mere, and showed quite well, though it was disappointingly against the light most of the time. It was difficult to sex it due to the bright sunlight which was right in our eyes, but it looked fairly dull red, and so seemed most likely to be a summer plumage male.

Year 197

Hilbre Island

Not much happening today on the island, though a flock of 1500 Knot was spectacular and an exceptional count for June. Certainly no sign of the Paddyfield Warbler, despite one brave sole sitting it out for two and a half hours on top of the old air raid shelter.

Still, it was a gloriously sunny day, with hardly a breath of wind. Out of the West Hoyle Bank there were about 300 Grey Seals hauled out, and there were at least three Little Egrets feeding in the channels, whilst out at sea there was a female Eider. A few Painted Ladies were seen, as well as a Silver Y, Brimstone and Cinnabar Moths.

Very much a day for relaxing, soaking up the sun and recalling past experiences.



Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Seaforth Nature Reserve

Roseate Tern 1 ad sum
Common Tern 100

My good run continues, with an absolutely stunning Roseate Tern sat on a post less than 15 metres from me.

Year 195

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Hilbre Island - Paddyfield Warbler

Paddyfield Warbler 1
Little Egret 4

I got to the island at 7pm and was amazed to find no other birders present for a bird which is a 1st for Cheshire and a stonking bird anywhere on this side of the country. I set myself up on top of the old air raid shelter and waited. Very little of anything was moving, except the odd Linnet a few Meadow Pipits and singing Wren. On the beach in the background, 4 Little Egrets fished the channel.

Then suddenly, just as I was starting to feel chilly, a small warbler flew and landed on top of a Blackthorn bush - Paddyfield Warbler! For a few seconds it was in full view and I could clearly see the dark lores, pale supercilium and it almost seemed to have a dark cap as well. Then it was gone, lost in the bracken and Blackthorn. Well worth the effort! My first ever Paddyfield Warbler, and my 100th species on Hilbre!

If anybody goes to see this bird, by far the best viewing position is from the top of the old air raid shelter. Apart from the fact that the fenced off trapping area (where the bird is) is private, you have virtually no chance of seeing the bird if you enter this area, because the undergrowth is so dense.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Rainford Mosslands

Hobby 2
Buzzard 2

I'd like to say that this is my photo, but it isn't. See the full collection of these impressive photos from Finland, by clicking here.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Dairy Farm Road

Quail 1 calling at 5:30pm (not seen)

My 242nd species for Merseyside, and my 191st species for St Helens.

Leighton Moss

Pectoral Sandpiper 1
Bittern 1
Garden Warbler 1 singing m
Lesser Whitethroat 1 singing m
Marsh Tit 2
Avocet 10

Flowers: Fly Orchid 2

Fly Orchid

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Rainford Mosslands

Yellow Wagtail 3 (2 Inglenook Farm, 1 Dairy Farm Road)
Oystercatcher 10 (inc. pair with 3 chicks Old Coach Road)
Corn Bunting 1 singing male (Inglenook Farm)
Yellowhammer 5 singing males
Buzzard 3

Butterflies: 30+ Painted Ladies

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