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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Cabin fever... road runners

I have not been out and about for sometime, suffering cabin fever I called in at Newton Marsh but it was very quiet, not unexpected. It was early evening so I decided to run on down to Fairhaven Dunes, just as well I didn't think about it... so many kids and dog walkers. Two male Linnet and four overhead. I've seen a Whitethroat down there regularly in the last few years and I nearly stood on one! Anyway it flew up into a hawthorn bush and posed for me while I rattled off some photos... complete with food for the young. I didn't hang about too long.

Incredibly I didn't know where the north car park is at St Annes by the lifeguard station even though I must have driven past a thousand times, so I thought I'd recce the location for future reference. Now I don't know about you but looking straight out to sea, I would expect to see Ireland, if I could see that far... I mean it is called the Irish Sea, not the Welsh Sea, so what Anglesey is doing in view, I have no idea. Weird!

I called in at Clifton Marsh on the way home. Not much happening, except 14 runners on the road. As I sat and watched they came towards me and I managed a couple of photos, before they heard the shutter sound on the camera and turned tail and ran off in the opposite direction. 12 young Grey Partridge with 2 adults. Again, I've been 'following' Grey Partridge down there for the last thre years or so, clearly 12 young has been a good year, I hope they all make it.

An unexpected surprise was a Corn Bunting that showed up looking a little bedraggled and the worse for wear and sang a song before flying on. About two weeks ago, I caught one nearby washing in a puddle while a mate watched on. I haven't posted that photo yet, wasn't that great!

I was surprised to see two Common Terns, obviously from Preston Docks, 'fishing' over the marsh. It was getting late but grabbed a quick snap as one of them hovered looking for fish.

Whitethroat with spider

Looking out over the IRISH Sea.... Wales, or Anglesey to be more precise... from St Annes!
You can just see the Menai Striaght on the left.. que pasa?

Road Runners

9 juvenile Grey Partridge from 12 plus two adults

Singing Corn Bunting looking  a bit the worse for wear

Corn Bunting

Common Tern 'fishing'

Monday, 25 July 2011

Blackcap conundrum – your thoughts?

Once upon a time many moons ago, a small sapling was growing in the gravel in the drive at the front of the house. I recognised it as a prunus and decided I'd do my bit for the environment and grow a tree – it is now in my back garden and as high as the house. It never occurred to me that I might get fruit, I thought you needed certain species, male and female and all, I just thought 'grow a tree' (I do have others). This year it had a terrific crop of cherries, the best year by far; I had a few off the lower branches and wondered if I should collect the rest. The forecast for the weekend in question was good and I thought another two days on the tree in the sun would just 'finish them off nicely', so I decided to leave them a bit longer. On the Sunday I popped out and harruummmpphh, they had all but disappeared! Not a happy chappie. In two days the birds had cleared me out! I couldn't believe it  there were so many of them and now all gone. I'll know next year... if I get any cherries then.

A day or so later I had a glimpse of a 'grey' bird in the foliage of said cherry tree. I couldn't quite make it out and didn't see it again. Too grey for a juvenile starling, not big enough for a blackbird (a grey blackbird???). The visiting house sparrows are grey underneath, but I didn't think it a sparrow either.

Two days later, I saw another glimpse, grabbed the camera and raced upstairs, carefully opening a bedroom window I managed to capture one of the culprits... a blackcap. At first I thought it was a juvenile, then decided it was a female – now I can't make up my mind. The legs look a little pale and there is some feather growth going on at the forehead. Juvenile female? Female in moult? I am just pleased it visited the garden. Those that have visited the blog over time will know I had a male blackcap in the garden through the winter so it is pleasing they are still local... apart from my lost cehrries.  Any thought as to gender or age? (date 7 July 2011).

Friday, 22 July 2011

A 'flying black thing' and friends

A chum had told me he had seen 'a yellow bird' nesting on some canal lock gates not too far away, so when opportunity presented itself I thought it worth checking out. I guessed the yellow bird would be a Grey Wagtail and I have seen single birds myself, on and off, around lock gates for about three years now (including on the frozen canal in winter!). I looked everywhere but could see no sign of a nest or bird. Fleetwood Mac!! ....

'Oh well'...


However as I returned to the car I thought my time was up, flying horizontally and straight at my nose in direct flight was this black thing – I was waiting for it to go straight up my nose and drlll it's way into my brain – 'Alien sixteen' or whatever number they are up to. Needless to say it didn't but shot past. Strewth! Talk about Close Encounters!

As I was by a meadow and after the rain the sun was coming out... the results follow. Now while 5 Spot Burnets may be considered  'common' and I recall seeing the odd one, I have never seen so many in one place in such a short period. I was in the right place as they were emerging everywhere... well not everywhere like a plague of locusts,  just lots of 'em. So here are a few photos of the spotted black things and their friends in the same field... I think they are 5 Spot Burnets, please correct me if I'm wrong as I know nowt.


Drying and flexing the wings

Feeding, or about to...

'probiscus' if that's the right word

with hoverfly

five feeding on vetch, note wing damage

anyone know what the beetle is?

with Meadow Brown

... and a female large skipper

and another skipper cos I like the photo – from a different location

Thursday, 21 July 2011

More of the same... but

Sorry, repeat subject matter. Self-indulgence, I wanted to upload these so I might find them again in the future... they were taken 2 and 3 July! I'm running a bit behind... I don't think I need to say too much else

the 'but' in the title and this image to warn you... a change is coming! Honest.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Who ya gonna call?

Ghostbusters? It wont be long before these birds have disappeared so making the most of it... again photos from about one week ago.

Thursday, 7 July 2011