Monday, 23 July 2012

Queens Park

Raven 1 flew over

Rainford Mosslands

Corn Bunting 1 singing Inglenook Farm, 1 singing Catchdale Moss, 1 singing Reed's Moss, 1 singing Dairy Farm Road
Yellowhammer 1 singing Dairy Farm Road, 3 singing Old Coach Road
Lapwing 100 Dairy Farm Road

Yellow Loosestrife Lysimachia vulgaris, a scarce plant of the mosslands.

I know of only one site on the mosslands for the orchid Marsh Helleborine Epipactis palustris, but as you can see, it grows in profusion at the site. The butterfly is a Gatekeeper, best seperated from Meadow Brown by the two white spots in the larger dark spot on the upper wing. It's also generally smaller and brighter.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Rainford Mosslands

Cuckoo 1 juv. on same wire as last night! At the Coach Road end of Dairy Farm Road.
Curlew 5 Old Coach Road
Tree Sparrow 3 Old Coach Road

Friday, 20 July 2012

Rainford Mosslands

Cuckoo 1 juv. Dairy Farm Road
Lapwing 50 Dairy Farm Road
Oystercatcher 5 Dairy Farm Road,  2 Catchdale Moss Green Lane
Curlew 8 Old Coach Road
Greylag 52 Old Coach Road
Tree Sparrow 2 Old Coach Road

Juvenile Cuckoo. Not great photos, but you can clearly see the white spots on the tail and the white spot on the nape. This is the first Cuckoo I have seen in St Helens this year.

Sunday, 15 July 2012


After a brief look at the Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall, we headed up onto the Berwyn ridge, first of all tackling Moel Sych, and then Cadair Berwyn, both at just over 2,700ft (820+m). It's a little bit quiet at this time of year, but we still managed to see plenty of Stonechats, Ravens, Buzzard and a family party of Whinchats.

Pistyll Rhaeadr, the highest waterfall in Wales, and Cadair Berwyn (2723ft).

Llyn Lluncaws and the Berwyn moorland. The Berwyns are the dramatic end of a large area of high moorland.

Cloudberry Rubus chamaemorus and English Stonecrop Sedum anglicum. Cloudberry is a very rare plant in Wales, only found in the Berwyns.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

North Yorkshire Dales

Ingleborough and the Ribbleshead Viaduct. It was great light for photography today.

Hairy Stonecrop Sedum villosum on Dodd Fell, Wensleydale. This is a scarce plant of uplands, largely confined to the North Pennines and Scotland. Odd to see a stonecrop growing in such a wet location, but that is exactly the habitat which this species prefers.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Eccleston Mere

Common Tern 2
Kingfisher 1
Tufted Duck 2 m&f
Black-headed Gull 6 inc. juvs

A fairly typical sleepy July day at the mere.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Anglesey camping and cycling

It may have seemed a little crazy to be going camping at the weekend given the recent appaling weather, but actually it turned out well, and we got in plenty of cycling and walking. On Saturday we cycled around Penmon Point and Fedw Fawr, on Sunday we cycled along the North Wales coastal route and on Monday we went to South Stack. Birds included Black Guillemots at Penmon Point, and Puffins, Choughs and the usual sea birds at South Stack.

Following the deluge on Friday, when a months rain fell in 24 hours in many parts of the country, including North Wales, where sections of the A55 coast road were under water, it was hard to believe that this was the weather on Anglesey on Saturday! Glorious, sunny, warm and calm! Which was a good job, because we were camping for two nights. Not only that, we had taken the bikes and on Sunday caught the train from Bangor to Abergele and then biked it back, a full 35 miles if you include the detour to Llandudno.

We camped near Beaumauris.

Fragrant Orchid at Fedw Fawr and a few seaside plants from South Stack (Sheepsbit Scabious Jasione montana and Thrift Armeria maritima).

Sunday, 1 July 2012


We took the Miners track up Snowdon from Pen-y-Pass, and then followed the Llanberis route back to the town and the car. It was my first walk to the summit, and at times it was an odd experience, almost a procession up the mountain with queues in some places, and other places where you certainly wouldn't want to stumble for fear of being trampled to death.

There were moments when I wasn't really convinced that all of the fundraisers, coach loads of students, dog walkers (and dogs!) and people who had accepted bizzare "challenges" really wanted to be there. Then just when you thought that you had seen everything, as we reached the summit a train pulled into the station and we were joined by passengers dressed in all kinds of inappropriate gear for foggy and windy conditions on the summit of the highest mountain in the UK outside Scotland.

Still, I'm told that I'm just a grumpy old man, and joking aside, it was actually a really good and enjoyable day. The low cloud spoilt the view on the summit, but it was fine below 3000ft, and the views magnificent, especially from the Llanberis route I thought. I'm convinced that I heard a Chough just above the halfway station, but I couldn't get onto it and so I guess will never know for sure, unless anybody reading this has any information about the species on the mountain.

Update: following information received, it appears that there are Choughs on Snowdon and they are especially in the area in which I heard them, so great news!

Llyn Llydaw from the Miners track and Mossy Saxifrage near the summit. We also saw plenty of Starry Saxifrage.

The Snowdon train.

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