Saturday, 9 April 2011

Raptor watchpoint

The Safari was out on the southern section of the North Blackpool Pond Trail just after 06.00 this morning. A lovely time to be out. As soon as we opened the car door a Willow Warbler was heard singing the 'song of summer'. A few more yards gave us the first of four Song Thrushes followed by the drumming of a Great Spotted Woodpecker. At the half way point a pair of Kestrels flew circles around the big pylon, the male landing near the top, while beneath them a Blackcap sang. The second half was fairly uneventful but with plenty of common stuff to keep the survey sheet busy. Almost back to the halfway point on the return leg a bouncy little thing was picked up at above pylon height - a Wheatear, don't think we've ever seen one with vertigo before! This bird and a couple of Meadow Pipits were the only migramts moving overhead, everything must have been strictly coastal as SE had a sackful - literally - of Redpolls and other stuff at his 'obs' which is almost on the beach.

A Mistle Thrush in the horse field was good to add to the day's list.

Back at Base Camp we did a few jobs in the garden whilst keeping an ear open for the gulls in case they found us something decent, the heat was hot by mid-morning it was already touching 20C.

After a false alarm when they verbally and physically harassed a Heron stood on a neighbour's roof they chased a Buzzard (27) low over the fences, so low we could see the yellow of its cere and iris, all happened too fast for us to get to the camera. We found our own Peregrine (28) circling north about half an hour later, not a peep out of the gulls - useless that's what they are call themselves look-outs!!! They did alert us to a tiny male Sparrowhawk which stooped over the roof of Base Camp, we saw it or another a bit later on and a female an hour or more after that.

The heat brought out a few butterflies, only Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks but welcome visitors to the garden along with a good number of Red Tailed Bumble Bees. A text from the rangers early on told us of a unique butterfly record - one of the top local naturalists had seen a Brimstone - good for Blackpool - but this one was laying its eggs on the Alder Buckthorn bushes we planted at the nature reserve about 15 years ago -well worth the wait, lets hope they stick and we get another species of butterfly colonising town. Bizarrely we were talking about them yesterday with one of the main volunteers who helped with the planting we've not seen for a few months - - - spooky or what!!!

A quick dash round Patch 1 in the heat of the day with Frank gave us the longed for Chiffchaff (46) and a Blackcap too, both in the Butterfly Zone. A wander round the field was called for as it has a good open view of the sky in all directions but no raptors were seen. We did see a pair of bees mating in mid-air. Hang on a mo Geronimo all the bees were fertilised last season, ther are no males at this time of year - these must have been bee mimicing hoverflies.

Back at base Camp again and a large bird was spotted making its way north - a Cormorant (29).

In the absence of any more birds we watched a slug mucking about on the floor by our feet.

Not the choisest of pics but they don't often feature on blogs.

Where to next? The Safari will be at the launch of the North Blackpool Pond Trail, the mayor is cutting the ribbon at 1.00pm. Lots of stuff for all the family - see you there...

In the meantime let us know what's sliming around in your outback.

Late edit: - Willow Warbler (P1=47) and Blackcap in the Golden Triangle

1 comment:

Monika said...

The heat you're describing sounds nice - we're still seemingly stuck in winter over here. All the flowers and butterflies are late, and it seems that some of our migrants are too. Either that or they're just too difficult to detect among all the wind and rain!