Saturday, May 30, 2009

hounds tongue

painted lady

nettle tap

wall brown

yellow tail larva

A painted lady invasion,

We drove across plex moss towards Ainsdale and the painted ladies were everywhere. Many basking on the track and fluttering up as we progressed across the moss. At sands lake and the dunes nearby it was the same with a constant stream of these long distant migrants. Amazing that these butterflies have come from north Africa, across the med and western europe.
Ainsdale dunes:

5 wall brown
200 painted lady at least
30 small heath
1 small copper
3 large white
1 latticed heath
8 silver Y
1 nettle tap
1 drinker larva
2 yellow tail larva

4 emperor teneral
1 broad bodied chaser
1 4 spot chaser
2 common blue damsel
1 azure damsel
A lizard was seen very briefly so not sure which species.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Seaforth NR,

The pallid swift showed well over the freshwater pool with about 200+ common swift over crosby marina. 4 artic terns were amongst the 700 common terns. A 2nd summer yellow legged gull and an adult kittiwake today and 2 reed warblers still in the reed bed.

Monday, May 25, 2009


An early morning visit to Swillington ings and a brit tick in the form of a collared pratincole and also whiskered tern were seen by 6.20 am . The pratincole was only seen distantly in flight and on the ground but the tern showed well . Onto Hatfield moor but no sign of yesterdays buff breasted sand but a woodlark gave stonking views.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Frodsham Marsh and Delamere

Very quiet at Frodsham with the yellow wags and reed warblers the star turns, with lots of whitethroat and a couple of buzzards also. The spindle bushes have swarms of spindle ermine larvae munching away on them. Some bushes looking like Christmas trees draped in silk decorations!!

At delamere my first cuckoo of the year and an albino black headed gull was in the breeding colony. Only large red damselfly on the ordonata front. A 'cream wave' and 20 'drinker' larvae were of interest on the lepidoptera front.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pallid swift
Pallid swift

Pallid swift

Common swift for comparison

Seaforth nr,
The pallid swift was showing really well around hide 'A' mid afternoon . Feeding over the mounds and wizzing past just a few feet above my head with about 20 common swift and a few house martins. Amazingly its been around for 3 weeks now. A couple of artic terns still and reed warbler singing in the reedbed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A watercolour of some black necked grebes seen recently

Prescot res,
A female whinchat and a grasshopper warbler were welcome birds after a very quiet period. Lots of swifts, martins and swallows and a couple of little ringed plovers also. A report of a red footed falcon in St Helens today had everyone wondering who had seen it and when and where exacty and male or female???
Edit: Seen by Dave Owen over the town Hall area but only very distant and mainly going on jizz and ruling out other species. Only a possible but at least birders are aware and can keep eyes to the skies.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Here's six of the cygnets

Seaforth nr,
The swans have hatched 7 cygnets and all are doing well ! A peregrine over and a couple of little owls this morning. A reed warbler was chattering away in the reedbed with a pair of reed buntings for company. 2 little gulls still and 5 wheatears hopping about the mounds. Shortly after I left the pallid swift made another come back over the long bank.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A watercolour of a lesser spotted woodpecker seen earlier this year at Moore nr.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Frodsham marsh and elsewhere in Cheshire,

A visit to hale marsh first only produced a couple of redshank and the singing reed warblers in the ditch. Onto Frodsham and a nice male ruff in breeding plumage on no6 with a couple of lrp. Whilst watching a couple of yellow wags a female marsh harrier drifted over the fields from the power station and then disappeared over no6 tank. Reed, sedge and whitethroat everywhere also.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Seaforth nr
An afternoon visit had an expected black tern on the causeway. It was commuting between Crosby marina and seaforth. An artic tern was also there with a couple of little gulls. An adult and 1st summer kittiwake also . A 'tundra' ringed plover and an 'artica' dunlin were amongst the waders present.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This moorhen was at Carr lane pond in Prescot. It had 3 chicks but was just taking a break from its parental responsibilities under some overhanging trees on the edge of the pond.

This tiny green orb spider was in the garden today. It has some sort of parasite attached to its abdomen.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Seaforth nr and Plex moss,

Called in early at seaforth and the Pallid swift was still present. Its tenth day now. A couple of 1st summer little gulls ,an artic tern and a few sandwich terns were with the common tern on the causeway . A good flock of 209 dunlin were on the saltwater pool. Still lots of whitewags and wheatears about.
Late afternoon and a trip of 13 dotterel were reported on Plex moss but by the time I arrived only one was present on Station road. Very soon after I arrived a kestrel came low over the field and flushed the dotterel and after a couple of circuits it flew off north east. A little frustrating it going so soon but still the brief views of this delightful wader were a pleasure. Seeing this bird fly confirmed the 15 waders I seen flying off at 9.15am on Wednesday were definitely dotterel. I had never seen dotterel in flight before and the pale underwing and longish pointed wings were distinctive. It was nice to hear it call as it flew off.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Formby point,
A strong south westerly produced 5 manxies ,1 common scoter and 8 gannets before we gave up. Sand swirling everywhere and a scope that would not keep still made things difficult. I suppose we were a little optimistic to maybe see a pom. A couple of hours over on plex moss afterwards in search of dotterel proved fruitless.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Hope Carr and Pennington flash,

I tried for the reported wood warbler at pennington flash first but no sign of it since the morning. Its ages since I've seen one. Common tern, common sand and lrp from horrocks hide. On to Hope Carr and the pec sand was showing very well although viewing into the sun this afternoon.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Plex Moss,Marshside and Seaforth
We came onto the moss from Station road and as I was scaning a ploughed field for last evenings dotterel a barn owl floated across, low over the field. The owl probably needing to hunt so late (9.ooam) due to last nights bad weather and maybe having younsters to feed. As we made our way further onto the moss checking every ploughed field I pick up a flock of waders flying away from us. I counted 15 medium sized pale waders against the dark rain clouds ( golden plover sized) heading north maybe half a mile ahead of us. They had to be last nights dotterel moving on. Some of the dotterel had been seen early morning close to Getterns farm by Mark G. Still about 20 whimbrel about. Had a pair of grey partridge and singing corn bunting also.

Off to Marshside and 2 drake garganey were very smart birds from the Hesketh Road platform. The rain had set in now, so an hour in nels hide gave us shelter and plenty of birds to look at but no sign of any curlew sandpiper or little stint. Called in to check sands lake and a nice male orange tip butterfly posed on a cuckoo flower.

The Pallid swift was still present at Seaforth and it raced around in the strong westerlies with 20 common swift. This pallid swift now here for its seveneth day. From the hide a couple of artic terns were with the common terns and sandwich terns. A common sandpiper also today.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Seaforth NR,
Another look at the pallid swift over at the marina first. It was flying quite low today in the light rain but was a little more difficult to pick out in the overcast conditions. More common swift today with about 50 for company.
A couple of whimbrel on the causeway with 25 sandwich terns, 5 1st summer little gulls, a couple of little ringed plover and still plenty of wheatears and white wags about. News of a black redstart around the radar tower but by the time we got there it had moved on.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Crosby Marina,
I just had to take another look at the pallid swift. Lots of birdwatchers twitching it today.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Prescot reservoirs,
Just 3 wheatears , 50 redpoll, 10 great crested grebe and lots of whitethroat around in the scrub.
Coach road,
A walk along the coach rd in search of cuckoo or yellow wag produced niether but 8 wheatears in a ploughed field. So quiet infact I started photographing insects.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Pallid swift returns,

Its not very often a pallid swift returns to the same site or remains more than a few hours but luckily one did today . It was refound by Mark G early evening and after another dash to Seaforth and I connected with this lifer for me. My first views were only distant over the marina but eventually it gave superb views flying only a few metres above our heads around hide C . The sun was shining and all the subtle differences that separate it from common swift were seen. It looked pale brown in the sun with a large pale chin patch and dark surround to the eye. The dark outer primaries contrasting with the paler inner and secondries. You could even see the pale tips of the breast and belly feathers giving it a scaly effect. It also looked a little stouter than the couple of common swifts nearby.

As I left home I phoned Chris D who had been at seaforth all day and was just about to get on a train at Waterloo heading home and Colin D who was fortunately nearby on the dock road on his way to see Bob Dylan at the Echo arena. Both managing to connect with the swift.

Lots of relieved and happy faces on those that dipped the previous day including myself.