Friday, 17 May 2013

Eccleston Mere

Peregrine 1 over
Common Tern 2
Swift 80
Pink-footed Goose 1
Nuthatch 1
Tufted Duck 5
Lesser Redpoll 2
Goldfinch 10

One of the terns (the male?) caught a small fish and offered it to the other (the female?) which was sitting on a bouy. The offer was rejected and the female flew off to another bouy, followed by the male. This went on for about 5 minutes before finally the male gave up and ate the fish! Later, I was watching one of the terns on a bouy, and saw it look nervously skywards. I followed its gaze up and saw that there was a Peregrine overhead!

I don't know if this Pink-foot started out as a wild bird, but it's now quite tame in the company of the Canada Geese, and it doesn't look injured and feeds quite happily.

No, this is not an exotic flycatcher in the tropics, it's a juvenile Long-tailed Tit at Eccleston Mere.

I found this Wych Elm Ulmus glabra growing in the woods adjacent to the car park. This species is the food plant of the butterfly White-letter Hairstreak, which was recorded breeding on one tree in the Sankey Valley a few year back, until the tree was chopped down. This tree at Eccleston Mere looks quite young, so it's probably a longshot to hope that the butterfly will occur here, but it will be worth a look during the flight season, assuming that the sun comes out this year of course. As you can see in the photo, the tree is covered in seeds, which are prominent in bright green bunches before the leaves appear. The butterfly larvae initially feed on the flower buds of the tree so in that respect at least the tree would appear to be old enough and suitable.

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