Monday, 25 April 2011

Danger From Below

Red Eared Terapin, Greenbank ParkA visit to Greenbank Park late afternoon yesterday produced the 2 Red Eared Terrapins I found at the park last week; although I am laid back to a certain degree about introductions, this particular introduction to the park can only cause havoc with the breeding wildfowl. In a better habitat this species can co-exist pretty well with our native wildlife, as on the continent with the similar European Pond Turtle, but in this park, with its obvious lack of cover, young wildfowl stand no chance against these preditors. But alas they are here and I guess here to stay. Did I mention that there favourite sunning spot is the raft which also hosts the Mute Swans nest...........young Swans, now that would make a tasty treat for a Terrapin or two! Other birds in the park included a Swift heading east, Blackcap, Chiff Chaff, Grey Wagtail, and 3 Buzzards circling

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Purple Haze

Speke Hall
Linnet, Speke/Garston Coastal ReserveI took a wander down to the Speke/Garson coastal reserve yesterday late morning with the family. I have said it before but I will say it again; this really is a great site and well worth a visit. There was a good number of passerines on the reserve including 2 reeling Grasshopper Warblers, 7 Sedge Warblers, Blackcap, 2 Chiff Chaffs, 22+ Whitethroats, Swallow, complete with loads of singing Linnets, Skylarks, and Reed Buntings. Other highlights included a Buzzard, 3 Grey Partridges, 3 Pheasants, and a Raven which flew in from across the river and was mobbed by another local Raven. The shore was pretty quiet due to an incredibly low tide, yet small flock of Dunlins, Ringed Plovers, Curlews, and Sheldrakes aggressively pursuing the females with impressive aerial maneuvering! Holly Blue, Small Tortershells, and Peacocks also on the reserve. The best sighting was of a Little Ringed Plover that flew in low over the reserve from the shore, gained height and flew north over the city.

Whitethroat, Speke Hall
Cowslip, Speke HallIn Speke Hall the main attraction was the superb display of Bluebells in the woodlands behind the moat, it really is amazing to see something as spectacular as this in an urban area..........a real purple haze. 2 Buzzards, Raven, Garden Warbler, Chiff Chaffs, Blackcaps, Whitethroats, Treecreper, Goldrcrests, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, House Martin, Swallows, Holly Blue, Brimstone, and Cowslips all put in a display around the hall, gardens or moat areas. But the best of all was a calling Green Woodpecker briefly heard from the gardens coming from the vicinity of the moat area woodland. See recent posts as this bird or another was recently sighted on the coastal reserve

British Bluebells, Speke Hall

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Ring Necked Parakeet

Last week Mike Brown informed me that he had been lucky enough to find a Ring Necked Parakeet at the Old English Garden, Caldestones Park; if this wasn't enough he told me that John Warren a local parks gardener and birder had seen a pair in Greenbank park/Sefton Park throughout the winter. If it wasn't for the report coming from John I would never have believed it as Greenbank Park is literally 100 yards from home and as my posts show I am forever in there with the boy! You can usually hear these critters screeching from half a mile away! But sure enough as I was riding through on Friday I stopped to listen to an unusual call (like a toy trumpet!), not at all like the loud calls Ive heard from this species in the past.........see January posts, the bird was in the trees above the west side of the lake and was soon disturbed and flew towards Greenbank Lane. I wonder if there are still 2 around, and weather they are a breeding pair? I will keep my ears and eyes peeled.

2 Redpolls flew NW over my house and a male Orange Tip through my back yard was a nice surprise. Mute Swans are still sitting tight on eggs at Greenbank Park and the male Grey Heron has returned after only 8 weeks away (that must have been its breeding season!).

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

National Wildflower Centre

Snakes-Head Fritilary, National Wildflower CentreWe took Dylan to the National Wildflower Centre, Bowring Park, Roby, on Friday. What a place this is and a real hidden gem. If you are looking to brush up on your wildflower ID or just looking for an easy way to photograph British species; a number of visits during the year will undoubtedly be rewarding, and if you have a young one in tow like myself it is also a great place for them to learn and play. Although the site cannot boast a huge bird list, it can boast a great wealth of invertebrates including breeding Hummingbird Hawk Moths.

Cowslip, National Wildflower Centre During our visit we found massive numbers of the nationally declined Cowslips, Primroses, Snakes-Head Fritilaries, Water Avens, Marsh Marigolds, and my first ever Oxslip; with just one clump of this rarity at the site I was lucky to find it, yet unlucky as it had already finished for next year maybe.

Singing Blackcaps, Chiff Chaff, Treecreeper in the park too, with a Grey Heron over Heathfield Road Allerton.

Water Avens, National Wildflower Centre
On Saturday I found Ramsons Wild Garlic, Primrose, and Chiff Chaff on Ullet Road. Brimstone, Green Veined White, Small White, Comma, Small Tortershell, Willow Warbler, and 2 Blackcap in Sefton Park.

A Common Sandpiper flew over the house in the afternoon and headed in the direction of Greenbank Park lake, along with a Grey Wagtail also.

On Sunday I had my first Holly Blue of the year on Trinity Road, Bootle, singing Blackcap and Great Spotted Woodpecker too.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Morning in Greenbank

Primrose, Sefton Park Cricket Club Woodland I had a good old mooch around the local area on Thursday (accompanied by Dylan), with lovely weather and plenty of migrants moving through it proved to be a decent morning. We started by watching the displaying pair of Sparrowhawks over Greenbank Drive, as they prepare to nest in the area again. We moved on to the woodland sandwiched between the two allotments; this held at least 15 Chiff Chaffs, 6 Blackcaps, Willow Warbler, Treecreeper, Nuthathatch, Green Veined Whites, Tonnes of Ramsons Wild Garlic and flowering Bluebells, and a Fox den (which delighted Dylan).

Ramsons Wild Garlic, Greenbank Drive Woodland In the woodland adjacent to Sefton Park Cricket Club we found Primrose, 2 Blackcaps, Chiff Chaff, Marsh Marrigold, and the loud din of a flock of Lesser Black Backs mobbing a large raptor over the wood sent the pulse racing.......however I only managed a brief glimpse through the trees (and I mean brief) as it dissapeared behind the Cricket Club, cant win them all! Greenbank Park also held Chiff Chaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Nuthatch, Swallow over, the nesting pair of Mute Swans, and 2 Red Eared Terrapins (one large and one small); I have no idea where these have came from as they where not here last summer! I fear for the newly hatched Coot Chicks.

Later in the day we had Buzzard, Brimstone, 4 Chiff Chaffs, 4 Blackcaps, Willow Warbler, Primrose, Snowflake, and Ramsons in Croxteth Country Park (with a friend of mine who works at the site recently seeing a Roe Deer in the park).

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Great Day

The day started well yesterday with an Osprey circling high over Greenbank Park at 9:40am before drifting East, I wonder if it was thinking of having a fish in the lake.....that would have been something! Nuthatch, Willow Warbler, Chiff Chaff, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, nesting Mute Swans, 2 Grey Wagtails, Small Tortershell, male and female Sparrowhawks in the park also.

Later on at around 2:00pm a Wood Warbler was singing in woodland area between the two allotments on Greenbank Drive, with Willow Warbler, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, and Chiff Chaff there too. This is the first Wood Warbler I have had in the area so it was a great find for me. Later on I had both Peregrine and Sparrowhawk over Sefton Park lake, Cormorant, 2 Little Grebes, Swallow, nesting Mute Swans, 67 Lesser Black Backed Gulls around the lake too.

Elsewhere in the park I found a Orange Tip Butterfly, 2 Willow Warblers, Chiff Chaff, 3 Nuthatches, Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Ramsoms Wild Garlic, Colts Foot, Grey Wagtail, and five pairs of nesting Coots.

On Monday I had great views of a male Fox in Wavertree Mystery (as always I had no camera on me..........I must purchase an emergency pocket camera!). They have a number of dens in the relative safety of the railway embankment in the park. regular Chiff Chaffs, Blackcaps, and Willow Warblers have been moving through this site over the last week coupled with a constant passage of Mipits.

Willow Warblers and Chiff Chaffs have also been regular at Greenbank Park and still very small numbers of Redwings have been seen there.