Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Nice end to the day

Avocet, Marshside I finished off the day with a trip to Marshside just in time for the hide to be locked up! Still the viewing slots are just as good in good wheather. I was treated to great views of the breeding pair of Avocets and their chick; which was actively feeding away without help from the parent birds. Who would have thought it a few years back! Apart from the Avocets a pair of eclipse Garganey appeared on the pool, but where very jittery and soon flew off towards the estuary, quite a nice suprise. Over a hundred Black Tailed Godwits, Teal with 2 young, and a Whitethroat singing away behind the hide also.
JUV Avocet, Marshside
Redshank, Marshside
2 Garganey, Marshside

Birkdale Slog

Marsh Helleborine Epipactis Palustris Var. Ochroleuca, Birkdale
Bee Orchid, Birkdale
Common Toad, Birkdale Green Beach
Yellow Birds Nest, Ainsdale
Sand Lizzard, Birkdale
Small Tortershell, Birkdale
I had a good old search around the Birkdale area yesterday, from Birkdale Village, the Green Beach, Birkdale Dunes, and through to Ainsdale Sands Lake area.......... and I have got the sunburn to prove it! What a brilliant area this is; I don't get out enough around this area anymore. I used to be out here fairly regular when I was more involved in the Sand Lizard monitoring on the coast. For a all round naturalist this coast has everything..... rare Reptiles, Amphibians, Invertebrates, Mammals, Plants, and of course birds.

Early Marsh Orchid, Birkdale
Pyramidal Orchid, Birkdale
Plenty of highlights which include the pale form of Marsh Helleborine Epipactis Palustris Var. Ochroleuca in a slack near to the outflow pipes at the northern end to the reserve (a first for me), Plenty of 'normal' Marsh Helloborines in flower everywhere (spot the difference below), there where smaller numbers of Dune Helloborine throughout the reserve but the majority had been nibbled or shriveled due to the dry spring; the best place I find for these is the Pine woods in the Ainsdale NNR best looked for during mid July. Other Orchids included plenty of Pyramidal, Bee, Northern Marsh, Southern Marsh, Early Marsh (of both forms), and an array of hybrids. Other plants included a Broomrape Species (any ideas?) and Yellow Birds Nest near to Sands Lake.

Marsh Helloborine, Birkdale
Marsh Helleborine Epipactis Palustris Var. Ochroleuca, Birkdale
2 female Sand Lizards in the Dunes along with plenty of Small Heaths, Meadow Browns, Small Skippers, Small Tortershells, and plenty of Common Toads and Frogs on the Green Beach. Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Grasshopper Warbler, Willow Warblers, Stonechat, and a family of Mute Swans on Sands Lake along with Common and Blue-Tailed Damselflies. No Dragonflies oddly enough though.

Broomrape SP., Birkdale
Dune Helleborine, Birkdale
Bee Orchid, Birkdale

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Childwall Woods and Fields

Southern MarshXCommon Spotted Orchid, Childwall Woods and Fields Sothern MarshXCommon Spotted Orchid, Childwall Woods and Fields I visited Childwall Woods and Fields yesterday, during June the meadows behind the woods are teeming with Orchids; consisting of Southern Marsh and Common Spotted, but a wide variety of hybrids betwen the two species dominate; leading to an impresive show of colour. Well worth a visit for a bit of local botany! Other than the Orchids Ragged Robin, Meadowsweet, Meadow Cranesbill, Enchanters Nightshade could all be found.
In the meadows a male Lesser Whitethroat was in song, and a Whinchat (both realy good local birds) along with Kestrel, Whitethroats, Grey Partridge, and Large Skippers.
In the woods Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chiff Chaffs, Blackcaps, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Goldcrest and Song Thrush where all in song.

I later had a check in Black Woods and again found Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker.
A great little area and well worth another visit.

Southern MarshXCommon Spotted Orchid, Childwall Woods and Fields
Common Spotted Orchid, Childwall Woods and Fields

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Lets Catch Up

Grey Squirell, Calderstones ParkSorry for the lack of posts recently as I have had real problems with the blog, hopefully everything is sorted now so off we go again!
A couple of weeks ago I visited Caldestones Park with the boy, no sign of the Ivy Broomrape this year (see last years posts) due to overly excessive gardening! The usual suspects in the park including Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Grey Squirrels, Buzzard, and nesting Stock Doves. Down on the lake 2 pairs of Canada Geese have bred (quite unusual in this area), 3 Tufted Ducks, Grey Heron, Cormorant, and 5 Red-Eared Terrapins. In the bog garden at least 1 Great Crested Newt could be seen coming up for air, as well as many Smooth Newts, its good to see the 'cresty' as I haven't been out with the torch for a couple of years checking for them.
Juv Canada Geese, Calderstones ParkLast week in Sefton Park I found 2 Black-Tailed Skimmers, one as last year on the main lake and one in the newly created wetland stretch leading up to Greenbank Lane. This is the second year running I have had this species in the park. This species has been rapidly moving north and can now frequently be found on the Sefton Coast at sites such as Sands Lake, so could it now be breeding in Sefton Park? The breeding Little Grebes are still in residence and the Mute Swans now have young in tow. Jackdaws breeding near to the Cafe, Grey Wagtails again breeding in the dell, and a Buzzard over.
In Greenbank Park as Tony's comment highlighted, the Mute Swans have failed to raise young with 5 eggs failing; probably as Tony points out due to a lack of vegetation for the swans to build the nest with resulting in the eggs becoming chilled, last years nest was actually created by the council gardeners, notably John Warren and placed on the southern raft! I was rather surprised that the Swans took to it to be honest! BTCV have now created fenced off areas and planted reeds, a good start but more is needed! Other birds in Greenbank Park have included 2 male Tufted Ducks, regular Grey Heron, 5 Red-Eared Terrapins, Grey Wagtails, Chiff Chaff, Blackcap, again another (or the same) Ring-Necked Parakeet briefly around a week ago, the regular Farm Goose, 3 pairs of Coot have bred, a Nuthatch family have been feeding around the park lately with a second group along Greenbank Lane.

Mute Swan, Greenbank Park On a number of occasions I have heard a Little Owl from home calling from the direction of Greenbank Lane allotments, I have heard this now for three consecutive Springs; but have yet to track one down in the flesh! The Sparrowhawks are again breeding on private land in the Greenbank area, but as usual are very secretive during this time of year. During warm evenings (just before dusk) large numbers of Swifts have been gathering over Greenbank Park; with at least 200 birds at some times, along with local Swallows and House Martins.
2 pairs of Blackcap, 1 pair of Chiff Chaff, Nuthach, Song Thrush, and Treecreeper all on territory in Greenbank Drive woods.
I have noticed many Foxes around recently with Toxteth Cemetery being a good site for them. A walk around my local area early morning last week produced 3 separate Foxes and 5 active dens! Along with an active den in Wavertree Mystery Park and 3 pairs of Blackcap, 1 pair of Chiff Chaff, a family of Pied Wagtails, and one pair of Stock Dove in the park too.
Perregrine over Sefton Park on Saturday.
Thanks to Colin Conroy for submitting my Honey Garlic record for Greenbank Park, according to David Earl it is the only record for South Lancs and it is still in flower if anyone wants to see it.

Red-Eared Terrapin, Calderstones Park
3 Red-Eared Terrapins, Calderstones Park