Sunday, 6 May 2012

Kite and Clarkes Gardens

I was amazed yesterday (Saturday 5th) as I was decorating the in-laws flat in Grassendale and looking out West towards the cricket club I saw a Red Kite flying low at treetop level not that much higher than the rooftops! The bird wasn't heading in a certain direction but rather, seemed to be rather laboured and not on a migratory path. Eventually it headed out of sight towards Aigburth/Sefton Park areas, still at a low height; keep your eyes peeled. Also flowering Three Cornered Leek on South Sudley Road.

Cowslip - Clarkes Gardens
On Wednesday evening I was in Clarkes Gardens, Springwood crem, and Eric Hardy Nature Reserve with the family;  a Common Buzzard was disturbed in the crematorium as it was apparently eating worms or other insects of some sort....a surprising yet common feature of this large raptor species. I was surprised to find an area of Bugle in the wilder margins of the crem (my first 'wild' Bugle in this area), loads of Rabbits in the crem; generally in South Liverpool Rabbits are mainly nocturnal and rarely seen. In clarkes Gardens and the adjacent Eric Hardy Nature Reserve 2 Bullfinches, 3 Chiff Chaffs, Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcaps, 5 Swallows, Nuthatch, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker could be found, plenty of Ramsons were in flower as were Cowslips; two iconic spring flowers.

In Greenbank Park the Swans are still sitting on eggs, on the precariously balanced nest! 2 Red Eared Terrapins, nesting Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Treecreeper. Willow Warblers are still regularly passing through and Swallows are now ever present, Ring Necked Parakeets have been around lately usually early morning.

Allium Ursinum (Ramsons) - Clarkes Gardens

Adjuga reptans (Bugle) - Springwood Crematorium
On Penny Lane on Tuesday a singing Willow Warbler and Holly Blue Butterfly's could be seen along the holly trees at Greenbank Road Junction, the gangs of photo happy tourists looked a bit bemused as I was trying to get photos of the butterfly's whilst ignoring the world famous road sign! Just a little way up Penny Lane I have found Solomons Seal growing from the Sandstone wall; a very unusual sight, elsewhere Solomons Seal can be found in the University grounds (just inside the fence line) opposite the cricket pitch on Greenbank Road.

In Sefton Park a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a pair of Nuthatches are nesting in the same tree in the dell, with another Nuthatch nesting near to the cafe. The Little Grebes are having a hard time of it with another failed attempt at breeding (eggs gone and nest half destroyed) maybe Terrapins or more likely territorial Coots. A Sparrowhawk was over the dell and is probably one of a local pair. In Greenbank Drive woods plenty of flowering Ramsons and flowering Primroses added a touch of Spring as did singing Chiff Chaffs, Blackcaps, and Willow Warblers.

In Wavertree Mystery on Friday I found my first Swift of the year, with a Chiff Chaff and flowering Primroses on the railway banks too. 

Ajuga reptans (Bugle) - Springwood Crematorium
Sorry about the lack of photos lately, but I have been getting driven crazy by the blog refusing to upload photos! I will try and add a few to previous posts.


colintheconroy said...

Wow, Red Kite in Grassendale - from your description it sounds as if I would have been able to see it from my family's old house on The Serpentine.Your in-laws' flat must be pretty near to there if the cricket club is due west from it.
Nice shots of Bugle.

Andy B said...

I went to Clarkes Gardens and Eric Hardy Nature Reserve a little earlier. I saw 3 male Blackcaps,4 Chiffchaffs,1 Treecreeper and two female Great Spotted Woodpecker.One was bringing food to a nest.I also saw a pair of Bullfinches.It was the first trime I've seen this lovely finch in many years.I must be going to the wrong places or I'm just being unlucky.Can anybody advise any other local locations were Bullfinches can be seen regularly?

Andy B said...

I went to Greenbank Park and Sefton Park this morning.On the way I saw a singing Blackcap in a tree close to the railway line on Penny Lane next to the sports field. In Greenbank Park a pair of Swallows were feeding low over the lake. A Grey Heron spent some time there. I saw number of Nutchatch and a pair of noisy Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Also saw a Parakeet calling from a tree.A Pied Flycatcher was catching insects at the edge of the lake. The Mute Swans were there but no sign of any young.

In Sefton Park it was pretty quiet on the lake. Plenty of Coot nesting or with young.The usual Mallards,Canada Geese,Moorhens and Black Headed Gulls. I did see Pied and a female Grey Wagtail feeding at the lakes edge and a Swift flying over the lake. Elsewhere in the park I saw one calling Chiffchaff.

Andy B said...

Sorry,as you can probably guess,in my last comment I meant Pied Wagtail in Greenbank Park! I don't want to get anyone unnecessarily excited!! Lol.

Neil M said...

Hi Andy, did you see any sign of the swans and their young on the lake? i was down there yesterday and there was no sign but i did see a dead canada goose on the island, feathers all over the place, looks like it was attacked by something most likely by a dog. saw the usual small species and also noticed around 150 to 200 small silver fish schooled up under a tree in quiet dell just near the little bridge behind the palm house. couldn't tell what they were, ranged from 1 to 3 inches in length perhaps small roach? unusual because i haven't seen any in the main lake since it was drained so these must be hanging on in the 'backwaters'. went out to the old speke airport site today, several larks out over the scrub and a hunting female kestrel. highlight of the day was definitely seeing my first ever weasel, right out in the open hunting amongst the drainage holes on the side of the road. seen plenty of stoats in the past but never a weasel so that was a real plus. fantastic little thing.

Neil M said...

just to follow up on that post, saw the swans and 3 cygnets this morning on the pond next to the main lake. obviously didn't look very hard yesterday....!

Andy B said...

Hi Neil. Yes I saw the Swans and their young in the same spot on Sunday. One thing I did notice both in Greenbank and Sefton Parks was the appalling amount of litter. Most of the litter in Greenbank was on the grass where people sunbathe but some had ended up in the lake too. Bloody awful! In Sefton Park every bin was full up so people had piled rubbish up around the base of the bins. Can't these bins be emptied more often? i did see other rubbish strewn in various areas of the park. By all means enjoy our parks but have some consideration for other people and our wildlife and take your crap with you!! Right,got that off my chest. Ha ha.

Danny Foy said...

Hi Andy
Clarkes gardens is the best site locally for Bullfinch, and the adjcent Allerton cem holds breeding pairs. Speke Hall is also good. But this is a very localised bird in our area

Neil M said...

Hi Andy and Danny, i know it's a little bit of a trek but i've seen plenty of bullfinches over in Caldy Nature Park from the hide there. in fact, it's a while since i've been, but i remember it being an excellent spot with all sorts of birds around.

Neil M said...

Just back from a couple of hours in sefton and greenbank, loads of birdlife around, a mix of some pretty tatty looking adults in moult and lots of fledglings of one sort or another. saw a couple of flocks of goldfinch including one feeding in the middle of the gaelic football pitch, 10+ mistle thrush (who don't seem to be experiencing the same decline as the song thrush) the usual tit and finch species. Lots of young robins around the place
and the feeders at the back of the palm house were very busy, including some magpies trying to cling on to them unsuccesfully. 3 young GS Woodpeckers, one on the feeders and a couple of jays in the dell but no parakeets though i did see them a few days back. highlight was a family of treecreepers no more than 10 feet away from me being still being fed by the adults.

Anonymous said...

Hi Andy

Clarkes garden is the best site in the local area, but the best spot in the north west is probably the Bunting hide at Pennington Flash. There can be up to 30 of these birds at the feeders viewable from the hide, and reed buntings and willow tits are seen on a daily basis amongst the commoner woodland species.