Sunday, 28 August 2011

Odds and Sods

The Ring-Necked Parakeets are still very much evident in the local area; with two birds present in Greenbank Park for much of yesterday in the canopy at the southern end of the lake, with another bird heard near to the cafe in Sefton Park also, still today I could hear them calling from the same area of Greenbank Park at 6:00pm; it is however much easier to hear them than to actually see them while the trees are in leaf.

Apart from Parakeets Nuthatches have been very vocal lately with four birds calling in Greenbank and Sefton Park yesterday. The best bird yesterday in Sefton Park was a 1st yr Med Gull near to the children's play area at 1:00pm, my first for the area for a couple of years. The pair of Mute Swans accompanied by their youngster are still moving between the main lake and the higher lake via the self constructed 'swan slide' - a bare slope of about 12 feet they slide down! the 2 adult Little Grebes are still around the island, yet still no sign of any youngsters. Other birds around the park included Grey Wagtail, House Martins, and Swift, imm Grey Heron, other highlights included a Migrant Hawker, Royal Ferns, Betony, Purple Loostrife, and a Red-Eared Terrapin.

In Greenbank Park over the last week Swifts have been gathering in the evening with up to 30 birds at times, its getting quite late in the year for these now and they will soon be off. Pipistelles have been around the northern end of the park at dusk too. The hybrid Goose from last winter has now returned and a female Peregrine over today too.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

the best of the rest

Elsewhere whilst on holiday on the Lleyn Peninsular I had a Purple Hairstreak and Southern Hawker (see photo of it eating a wasp) at PortMerion and a distant Osprey on the estuary here, and 2 Whooper Swans and 5 Little Egrets at the Glassyln Marshes near Porthmadog on the 10th whilst traveling home along the Conwy valley we had an Osprey over the river Conwy near Dolgarrog.

Closer to home Autumn seems to be coming in thick and fast with many of trees now turning; especialy the Limes and Poplars, and the Swifts steadily disappearing summer will soon be gone. Signs of Autumn where evident in Wavertree Mystery Park yesterday with the Long Tailed Tits now grouping up the flock contained a Lesser Whitethroat and Chiff Chaff. In Greenbank Park Nuthatch and Willow Warbler where both in song, along with Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Swallows, Grey Heron, female Tufted Duck, Farm Goose, Swift, and 2 Red Eared Terrapins.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Sea Legs

Shags, Llyn Peninsular
Whilst away on the Llyn Peninsular last week we ventured out on a wildlife cruise from Pwllheli Harbour, the trip was run by Shearwater Coastal Cruises (for details click or see the end of the post) and really is a must if you are spending time in the area. The cruises encounter regular Bottlenose Dolphins and on many occasions if they are not feeding they will join the boat and ride the waves on the bow, yet alas I was not in luck this time, but they do provide up to date photo diaries of all the dolphins they encounter on board..........bit of a kick in the face but never mind!

Grey Seal, Llyn Peninsular
imm Shags, Llyn Peninsular
Yet the trip still was successful with very close groups of Grey Seals, feeding Gannets and Sandwich Terns, Manx Shearwaters, and large numbers of Shags which included nursery groups of immature birds; I had never heard of this behaviour before but the adults and immatures seem to totally remove themselves from each other (check out the disgusted look on the faces of the left hand birds above!), Kittiwakes where still breeding on the cliffs, as where Cormorants, we where to late to catch up with other breeding sea birds such as the four breeding species of Auk as they will have left the cliffs around two weeks previously and headed out to sea. But if you did use this service in June and July you would undoubtedly be treated to close up views. 2 Chough, and a family group of hunting Peregrines over the sea cliffs rounded the day off nicely.

Juv Kittiwake, Llyn Peninsular
The trip is run by Shearwater Coastal Criuises, 01758612251 or 07815717241,

Monday, 15 August 2011

Lleyn Peninsular

We took a weeks family break at Hafan-Y-Mor on the southern Lleyn Peninsular last week and apart from it being a truly family orientated holiday (Horseriding, boating, Steam trains, archery............) I managed to find loads of goodies in the area, the benefit of getting up early!

At the holiday park where we were staying I happened to meet a couple of chaps undertaking some environmental consultancy work on site, monitoring the pipistrelle bat population, after giving them a helping hand one night trying to locate roosting locations, they showed me a Lesser Horseshoe Bat roost site, this is a first for me, and I managed to get brilliant views of them around the park and the boating lake; one particular night we saw two or three at really close range moving in and out of their roosting site and fluttering around us under the street lights, and a couple of times dropping to the ground to catch moths! Apart from the Lesser Horseshoes and the Common Pipistrelles, Noctules could be seen at dusk along the coast at the same site.

There was a steady stream of migrants moving through Hafan-Y-Mor during the week; Chiff Chaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Sedge warbler, Swift, nothing incredibly rare yet good to see. During the evening good numbers of Manx Shearwater (up to 200 one evening)could be seen gathering in the bay as well as regular Gannets, Shags, and up to 200 Sandwich Terns feeding young.

I managed to catch a glimpse of a couple of Adders over the week near the headland on the site, but being well into the afternoon they didn't hang around and disappeared into the Bracken covered slopes; judging by the amount of numbered roofing felt mats commonly used for surveying work in the area there must be a decent local population.

Also nearby I was lucky enough to find Otter Straints (nearest I got to the real thing on the trip). There is a good local population now but are still almost totally nocturnal, but as I was informed they do now venture out from nearby rivers to scavenge and hunt along this popular stretch of coastline under the cover of darkness.

In the cliffs above the beach on the site Sand Martins where still breeding, definitely a second brood maybe even a third, and Eels where feeding on bread in the boating lake........very strange indeed!

Lastly I found good numbers of Broad Leaved Helleborine in the woodland on the site, and one other Helleborine which I am struggling to ID, which was flowering with the Broad Leaves yet was very different ...... check out the photos below......any ideas? Something different or just a very strange Broad Leaved Helleborine?

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

White Letter Day

Before going on holiday we visited Gulliver's World (sucker for punishment I know), I was however very surprised to find at least three White-Letter Hairstreaks around the park, along with Holly Blues, Buzzards, Blackcaps, and Chiff-Chaffs. Although I have never heard of White-Letter Hairstreaks at this site (Ive never heard of anything here!) it is surrounded by good mature woodland with many Elm trees and looks like the ideal habitat.

During the same week I took Dylan to see a local fox den and it didn't let us down with a Vixen and three young on show.........great and a first for him.

Elsewhere I had three Purple Hairstreaks near to the cafe in Sefton Park, 3 Buzzards over Camp Hill, Woolton.

Hilbre Island

Grayling, Hilbre Island
Grey Seal, Hilbre Island
I have just returned from a weeks holiday on the Llyn Peninsular (more about that in later posts), the beautiful Llyn Peninsular really is a world away from the streets of south Liverpool at present (if you don't read or watch the news I'm not going to explain)! Before we left I visited Hilbre Island on Wednesday 27th, Hilbre is great for Terns at this time of year and I was not disappointed; with over 400 Sandwhich Terns amongst smaller numbers of Common and 2 Little Terns, these Terns in the process attracting a pale phase Arctic Skua. Migrants where trickling through with a juv Stonechat being the highlight, others included good numbers of Swallows, Willow Warbler, Mipits and Pied Wags. Waders included over 30 Turnstones and a Whimbrell. Other highlights included the rare Cotton Sea Lavender and plenty of Graylings on the West side of the island, with each fervently patrolling its own territory and chasing off rival males. The Grey Seals showed well as usual from the offs.

Cotton Sea Lavender, Hilbre Island