The Safari was coming to the end of a stint of gardening when we received a txt from Young Un JS saying that there were at least two Spotted Flycatchers at the Community Orchard on the North Blackpool Pond Trail so once a much needed cuppa had been drunk we set off down the road. We're glad we did it was beautiful out there this arvo. Warm and quite with plenty of insects about.
Song Thrushes were singing all over the place and we saw a brood of three well fledged youngsters, several Swallows a few House Martins (NBPT #60) and Swifts (NBPT #61) wheeled through the tree tops after the flying tiny hordes. At first we couldn't find any of the Spot Flys (NBPT #62) but eventually patience and perseverance won the day and we found one high in the canopy of a Sycamore tree. Is it just us or does there seem to be more Spot Flys than normal this year.
A Chiffchaff was seen with a beakful of insects for a hungry brood deep in the undergrowth. Robins, Dunnocks and a female Chaffinch were all out foraging too.
We saw our first Speckled Wood of the year but so had a Great Tit and now said butterfly is now being converted into avian biomass - should be cull of these damnable butterfly predators!!!
We just stood and watched and listened to the activity around us for what we thought was a few minutes but looking at the time was nearer three quarters of an hour - so easy to lose yourself in this wildlife m'larky.
Moving on the wildflower area we had a look for Bee Orchid rosettes, we found a few but most had been damaged probably by being trampled by dogs!
The undamaged ones we found are coming along nicely and could well be in flower, just, at their normal time of the end of the first week of spring.
Not much else in flower apart from Lesser Trefoil
and we did see our first opening buds of Red Clover.
The Cowslips are nearly finished and nearby there were a number of Black Slugs (Arion ater), this one was a bit shy and would put its tentacles out.
We like grasses with all their intricate forms and flowering times, a good show of Meadow Foxtail is coming to a end and the first purple plumes of the lovely Yorkshire Fog are opening, if only it was called Lancashire Mist ;-)
An extremely pleasant way to spend the last bit of a good afternoon.
Where to next? inspired by the clip on Springwatch about the orchard we've already got the mothy fired up...here's to some moffs in the morning...now that'd be a change!
In the meantime let us know if there are more than the usual numbers of Spot Flys in your outback.