Monday, 30 September 2013

Harriers and Hogs

Hedgehog, Cottam, 28/9/13
Great Crested Newt, Cottam, 28/9/13
I have been really busy of late as I have been carrying out ecological survey work day and night! Over the last couple of weeks this has led me throughout the North-West, Midlands, and North-Wales. I have spent a great deal of time at a Great-Crested Newt site at Over-Peover near Knutsford, apart from the Great-Crested Newts we have found Common Buzzard, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, a regular pair of Raven, 5 Nuthatch, and singing Chiff Chaffs. A Bat survey in Telford resulted in Common Pipistrelles, and Brown Long Eared and being startled by a Badger as it made its way across a field of corn at night, and a Great Crested Newt survey near Preston on Saturday came up trumps with a Hedgehog rescued from a Newt pitfall trap! Also on this site I found two female Great Crested Newts, 47 Smooth Newt, and a Brown Hawker Dragonfly.

juvenile Little Grebe, Sefton Park, 27/9/13
More locally Little Grebes are showing well on Sefton Park Lake, with one adult bird feeding a striped plumaged juvenile; this must prove that they have raised two broods in the park this year, with two ages of juvenile on show on the lake, other birds included 4 Grey Wagtails, Chiff Chaff, 15+ Swallows, and family of Nuthatches near to the café, the family of Mute Swans with four surviving young, and a female Tufted Duck. Nearby I had 4 Common Buzzards over Camp Hill on Saturday, continuing their colonisation of the suburbs, and 2 Ring Necked Parakeets, and 4 Mute Swans at Greenbank Park.

Little Grebes, Sefton Park, 27/9/13
I have been involved in a Pink Footed Goose survey on the mosslands over the last week, which has turned up some fantastic birds, from my situated vantage point to the East of Haskayne I have seen a pair of Marsh Harriers on each visit since last Monday looking towards Downholland Moss, female Merlin, female Peregrine, 2 Little Owls, and a juvenile female Sparrowhawk pursued and killed a Red Legged Partridge last Friday and continued to pluck the bird in full view for over an hour, other birds have included 3 different Kestrels, another Sparrowhawk, plenty of Common Buzzards, Wheatear, my first Redwing of the Autumn, 90+ Goldfinch, 45+ Linnet, 250+ Red Legged Partridge (with one covey this morning holding over 60 birds) and best of all an Osprey this morning which left its overnight roost in trees towards Plex Moss shortly after first light. Apart from these great sightings the Pink Footed Geese put on a great show as they left their roosts, with the majority of birds feeding just outside our survey area on Plex Moss which held 5000 birds this morning and smaller numbers of 650 near to my vantage point at Haskayne.

Little Grebe, Sefton Park, 27/9/13
Things are really starting to heat up in the North-West now with a Blyths Reed Warbler, Common Rosefinch, loads of Yellow Browed Warblers, Lesser Scaup, and Glossy Ibises seemingly everywhere and this is only today! A little road trip may be required.

Hedgehog, Cottam, 28/9/13

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