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Saturday, 16 June 2012

Storyville – West Africa to Preston Dock! Part 2

Hi... I did say sometime ago that I 'wanted to tell you a storwie', and there was a part 2; my apologies it has taken me some time to get around to it – I wish I could say because of the birding, but afraid not. Anyhoo, here we go, part 2 – the images are taken over several days in May (sometimes when the sun was out!)

The Common Terns disappear off fishing, returning with their catch for their mate (or youngsters depending); which can result in aerial antics not only from other Common Terns but other gulls as well and sometimes more than one pursuer. I've included images that demonstrate, this can happen at some distance and some height, indeed the Common Terns climb until out of sight (or my poor eyesight)... but eventually they return.

Occasionally something upsets the terns, in this instance a barge too close to the roosting site, whereupon they ALL take off and the air is full of raucous screaming terns, generally going ballistic.... before returning to base. More noise, posturing, greetings and disputes.

The male seems to do most of the fishing, understandably (although aren't women supposed to be better at catching fish than men?) and as they leave they appear to wash-off the lipstick; leaving someone on their lonesome.

Throughout, different pairs are at different stages, I guess it makes sense for the colony as a whole, some may fail but by spreading the development over a period of weeks, someone will succeed. The male shown mounting the female sat there for about five minutes, perfectly balanced on her back before copulation.

Nests appear at different times, Fylde Bird Club have assisted and encouraged the colony with the painted tyres and supply of pebbles (I think we need a few more but understand the access problems). The birds will leave their nests to greet and grab any incoming fish before returning to brood the eggs or swap, the male does do his turn at brooding sometimes. Some of the nests are in the tyres, others among the pebbles and the odd one on virtually nothing. This year a couple of nests are at the end of the pontoons, quite close to the edge and in a decent wind I have seen the waves lap this far up, so it will be interesting to see if they succeed.

I haven't been out for a while but I know the first few eggs have hatched and a number of young are in the colony. Another update to follow I guess.

For all those who know, and those that don't, these images are taken from a distance on the public promenade with no disturbance to the birds and as you know, double-clicking an image enlarges a slideshow.

retuning from fishing trip


in pursuit

time to return

we are not amused

time to return, but still making a point


is never straight forward

local dispute

tyres seem to be the safest place

'lipstick'... yuk!

"are you lonesome tonight, do you miss me tonight, are you sorry we drifted apart?"

ya got ya fish!

five minute balancing act, central axis of gravity?

a personal moment
eggs in pebbles on the right

greeting, same nest, eggs in pebbles on left

returning to brood

the male was rearranging pebbles with his bill

a single egg

too close to the edge?
"Does your memory stray to a brighter summer day".....

 "shall I come back again..."

Friday, 8 June 2012

aye, there be damsels and there be dragons...

Around this time of the year on my local patch I tend to come across damselflies of one description or another, but apart form the odd large red damselfly, males, I have seen very few. I think it is the cold and wet spell we had in April and May and June... mind you, I don't think the dredging helps.

So I had a mooch about 'off site' and came across a couple of locations where I saw one or two blue damselflies, then I saw three or four, five and six... hundreds of the things! 

In actual fact I had first come across two four spotted chasers 'in passing' which led me to a number of return trips and so then the damselflies.

Again, I'm trying this year to get some 'different images' than those I already hold in the locker, and 'flying' damselflies and dragonflies are on the wish list, as you will see from the images, until the sun comes out again I don't think I have much chance and even less chance then – they move so fast.

While I was perched a red soldier beetle passed from a stem to a leaf, so it seemed a shame not to capture the moment – and I have not seen a great deal of the local Kingfishers this year but in early May managed a quick 'snap'. Sadly, I doubt the local Kingfishers survived the cold winter, I know a lot of my garden plants didn't!

note: you may have trouble seing some of the subject matter as they are pretty small in life, double-clicking produces enlargements as a slideshow.

Monday, 4 June 2012

More Common Terns

No point writing too much... these were taken back on May 12th! Only surprise was to see this small flock of Oystercatchers trying to join in – clearly attracted to the colony of Terns and their shinnanigans, one or two did eventually land, but a few days later and I don't think they were allowed to settle – Preston Docks will become a real bird safety haven at this rate. The pictures hopefully speak for themselves (some could do with 'tweaking but I can't be bothered!) and when I have a moment I'll be returning with the rest of the story... one day, don't hold your breath!

I'll be back...

A mixed lot

I may be gone for sometime soon... toys and pram with service provider, in the meantime;

For once I'm glad it's raining, on several counts really, water is so precious and we take it for granted but the fish will be glad of it, as will anything that grows and I can start catching up on all the jobs I have neglected, including posts on this blog. As a regular visitor, you will know sometimes the posts are for my benefit and to some extent I suppose this is, nothing earth-moving I am afraid but a place to post some images and keep a record of things, gives me some clue as I can't remember what I had for breakfast.

The local damselflies have been late this year, perhaps that cold wet spell we had in April, go out at the right time and I can count 18 blackbirds or more, all worming. Blackcaps have been singing but seeing them has proved very tricky but I managed a male out in the open. A Green Veined White and one that isn't! 

There are a large number of breeding Wrens hereabouts and again I caught this one singing out in the open for a split second. The male blackcap and wren were in the same location and while waiting for them this Scorpion fly landed in front of me and it seemed daft not to take a photo (at least I think it's a Scorpion Fly).

Again I am blessed with a number of Song Thrush hereabouts and they did used to nest in next doors garden, but no longer. I was concerned they had been 'disturbed' but in the last few weeks I have come across as many as four at any one time, like the blackbirds, out 'worming'.

There have been the odd sighting of the bullfinch and nothing more than that and an illustration of how difficult they are to see, let alone capture (and so you know I'm not making it up). The Mute Swan simply because I was shocked when processing to see how 'black' the surroundings were and had it not been the vegetation top left it is almost 'artificial'.

A picture of a Chiffchaff which has been singing for a month or more and driving me nuts, you can never see it and similarly a Willow Warbler for comparison, although the scale is not the same, but you can se the longer primary projection on the Willow Warbler.

And a quick snap of a female blackcap as I didn't want to disturb it as I moved on.

Red damselfly, late this year
Blackbird worming
A Green Veined White
and one that isn't
one of the many trogyldytes trogyldytes
(I just love the name)
Male blackcap in the open
Scorpion fly
Song Thrush out worming
Male and Female Bullfinch
a disappearing male bullfinch... one day!
left, Chiffchaff, right Willow Warbler
(note longer primary projection on WW)
not to same scale/proportions, WW is bigger
female blackcap with food
The more observant of you might have notived I began this blog stating it was raining, well it isn't now... how long it has taken me to get this post up here!