Friday, 22 July 2011

Martin Mere Dash

ad and juv Avocet, Martin Mere
I took a visit to Martin Mere with the family yesterday on a 'family day out'; mainly for Dylan to go on the new Canoe Safari (surprisingly enjoyable, seriously try it out!), and to see the Otter feeding time, and the play area..........need I go on. Yet I did manage to sneak off for a quick hour to the 'real' Martin Mere. There was quite a good deal of decent things knocking about including 14 Avocets and 5 chicks, Ringed Plover with 4 chicks, Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper, 30 Black-Tailed Godwits, 2 Dunlin, female Marsh Harrier, Tree Sparrows, Corn Bunting, Willow Warbler and Chiff Chaff, Pink-Footed Geese, and 2 Whooper Swans. Not bad for an hours birding, but the surprise of the day and award for the strangest nest location goes to this Moorhen nesting in the middle of one of the pond dipping troughs! Other highlights included a Fox disturbed near the tower hide, where Wild Liquorice was in flower, also Greater Knapweed, Wild Marjoram, Devils-Bit Scabious, Greater Celandine. Southern Hawker and Peacock too.

Moorhen, Martin Mere

Moorhen, Martin Mere

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Moochings in Malham

I visited the Malham area on Tuesday; and despite dire wheather reports we only had one short spell of rain. We took the route from Malham up through Goredale Scar (climbing up through the waterfall as we went), on to Malham Tarn (brilliant site and well worth another visit) and then over the tops on to Malham Cove, not a massive walk but a very varied one with plenty of highlights.

A male Hen Harrier was a real surprise between Gordale Scar and Malham Tarn, also Peregrine, over 80 Wheatear, Wood Warbler, 15 Redstart, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtails, Great Crested Grebes with young, Oystercatchers, Lapwings, and Curlews.

Plant species included Birds-Eye Primrose, Bog Asphodel, Round Leaved Sundew, Northern Marsh Orchid, Common Spotted Orchid, Giant Bellflower, Lady's Bedstraw, Marsh Cinquefoil, Common Valerian, Devils Bit Scabious, and a number of rather odd looking Orchids at Malham Tarn that seemed to show charachteristics of the rare Pugsley's Marsh Orchid (see photo below).

Also 2 Common Lizzards on the boardwalks at Malham Tarn, Dark Green Fritilary, Small Heaths; but alas no sign of the areas holy grail...............Northern Brown Argus.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Parakeets in the Papers!

Below is an article from Liverpool Daily Post from Friday (also in the Echo); now they're gettin' famous!

Exotic ring-necked parakeets spotted in gardens in South Liverpoolby John Sutton, Liverpool Daily Post
Jul 15 2011

FAMILIES in south Liverpool have been welcoming some exotic ring-necked parakeets to their gardens.
Numerous ring-necked Parakeets have been spotted perched in gardens near to Calderstones Park and Sefton Park and appear to have made the city their new home.
The bright green birds, which originate from India and are the UK’s only naturalised parrot, have colonised areas of London but have not been known to live in Liverpool.

Keen twitcher Ged Clarke and daughter Rachel, 13, spotted the bright birds in their garden on St Anne’s Grove, Aigburth.
Mr Clarke said: “The first time I saw them I couldn’t believe my eyes. We saw three in our garden – all enjoying themselves at our birdfeeders.
Rachel added: “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked out and saw the parakeets in my garden. I’m used to seeing some more unusual birds like woodpeckers and nuthatches, but nothing like this.
“They were eating a lot of the nuts from the birdfeeder, and weren’t a bit scared when a gang of magpies came and tried to frighten them away.”

Avian enthusiast Danny Foy, a student at University of Liverpool shared his knowledge about the brightly coloured birds.
He said:“The parakeets have been seen since the mid-winter period in a number of localities including Calderstones Park, Greenbank/Mossley Hill, Sefton Park, and Aigburth.
“They have been quick to establish with at least one family party being seen in the Greenbank area, and the Aigburth sighting of three individuals may well represent a second breeding pair.
“These birds are a really exciting addition to the local avifauna with their bright green plumage, bright greeny-yellow long tails, bright red bills, and loud powerful shrieks they really do stand out as something different to the untrained eye.”
There is a famous well established population in south-east England, mainly in London which consists of thousands of birds, but in the North West only a small population can be found near Blackpool.

Mr Foy added: “It is almost certain that our birds do not originate from the London population but have escaped from local captive collections.
“My personal explanation is that with the heavy snowfall during the winter some outdoor aviaries have collapsed and allowed a number of birds to escape and establish themselves.”

HAVE you seen a Parakeet or any other exotic birds in your garden? Call the Daily Post on 0151 472 2491.

Moel Siabod

I had a brilliant walk last Wednesday up Moel Siabod from Pont Cyfyng near Capel Curig, I haven't done this route for about fifteen years so it was a delight to get out onto this mountain again. I forgot how much fun it was, with loads of low grade scrambling I took my time and enjoyed myself. A relatively short walk, but with loads of hands on rock and stunning views it was well worth it. I wont leave it so long next time.

On the route I managed to see many Ravens including a family party on the summit which undoubtedly appreciated my chocolate swiss roll, with some birds sporting rings (check out the photo). A family of Ring Ouzels could be heard and occasionally glimpsed on the Heather and Rowan clad slopes high above the old slate quarry. 3 Redstarts, Grey Wagtails, 5 Buzzards, Kestrel, and a singing Yellowhammer where other bird highlights. Broad Bodied Chaser, 2 Large Heath, and a brief Fritillary which I think was Small Pearl Bordered.

Swallow, Moel Siabod
juv Raven, Moel Siabod
Stonecrop, Moel Siabod

Up towards the summit on an inaccessible ledge I found a couple of odd yellow flowered plants reminiscent of Ragwort but obviously shorter and with very different narrow straight leaves.........any ideas..........see the photo below (sorry about the quality but it was rather windy!). Other plants included Heath Spotted Orchids, and the mountain was full of flowering Heather,English Stonecrop, Navelwort, Tormentill, and Thyme; all together making for a magnificent sight.

Hope you enjoy some of the shots.

Heath Spotted Orchid, Moel Siabod

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

I was delighted to find a Hummingbird Hawkmoth hovering around the front gardens in my road today, it has been a few years since I have seen one in the UK, a little overdue if you ask me; as everyone under the sun seems to be spotting these little critters in their gardens this summer. After I had ran into the house and returned with the camera, the little git had of course departed, oh well maybe next time. At 7.30pm today on Greenbank Drive I again heard a Ring-Necked Parakeet calling, coming from the vicinity of the Allotments/Greenbank Lane area. I have again heard a Little Owl calling during the night from my home, but no sign during the day, Pipistrelles have been up and down my road lately; coming from the wooded northern end of Greenbank Park. A Redshank flew over my mums house in Wavertree calling during the early hours of Sunday morning as well as distant calling Bullfinches which seemed to be coming from the vicinity of the railway sidings off Mill Lane (a great local breeding season record). Also a Redpoll over my home today heading South and a calling Nuthatch in Greenbank Park.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Foxing Around

An evening stroll yesterday produced three separate Foxes in the local area, with one in Greenbank Park being very approachable indeed, it is great seeing a decent local population in the area; but I always worry when they are so obvious that they will attract the scalies and their dogs!
I have just walked down Greenbank Lane outside of Greenbank College when a massive din in the canopy alerted me to a family of Ring-Necked Parakeets, they where there for at least five minutes and seemed to consist of two or three juveniles hounding a parent for food, surprisingly hard to locate in the canopy their calls certainly caught my attention. So they are breeding locally! My guess is in the University of Liverpool Rathbone Estate or the adjacent Commonwealth Cricket Ground area, to which they then flew towards. I hope these birds do well; they have only been in the area since the winter and already have bred.......not a bad start.
In Sefton Park yesterday the family of Mute Swans was now down to only two adults and one juvenile, not sure what has happened but its never usually natural causes...............yobs, dogs, anglers..........need I go on! Elsewhere in the park the two adult Little Grebes where around but no sign of any young, Goldcrests, Blackcaps, and Treecreepers in song, Painted Lady, Red Admirals, Green Veined Whites, Small and Large Whites in the park too.
A Buzzard moved low East over Penny Lane accompanied by mobbing Crows yesterday afternoon.
Pipistrelles over my home lately too.