Thursday, 11 July 2013


The Safari was out with Frank early this morning watching four Swifts carving the azure blue sky apart with their sicklewings and screaming like the very devil himself, not sure if it might be mum dad and the kids from the nearby house - anyone know if they'll have fledged yet...We just have to get a recording to play near our box to attract them for next year, roll on pay-day we have Ebay shopping to do!!!
Patch 2 only gave us a single Grey Seal in the mammals department but seven Sandwich Terns and a Common Tern roosting on the stanchions at the end of the outfall pipe were good to see and would make a great photo opportunity for our display for a cautiously approaching photographer. A couple of the Sandwich Terns were fishing successfully in the pools either side of the pipe, something we've never seen before but too far away to be able to ID the fish being caught - Smelt?
Then this morning we loaded the Land Rover with our display stuff and headed for the North Blackpool Pond Trail Celebrations - can't believe the project is nearing its end after three whole English years and what a great three years of community involvement they have been, well worth the years of preparatory evening meetings and revisions to the grant application forms.
The NBPT logo - designed by a local student - is of a Frog standing proud, just like this little fella on a Lily leaf.
 A nature trail was set up for the visitors and we had a look at the nearest bit to our display area and found these cracking little flies we get at Base Camp, Poecilobothrus nobilitatus
By lying on the bankside and risking sliding headlong into the muddy margin of the lake we managed a little bit of video

Just before lunchtime we got a txt from the Young Uns who were round the far side of the lake saying they'd found a pair of Mandarin Ducks! They came back for us and a few eager 'twitchers' set off back from whence they came. Sure enough there asleep on the far edge of the reeds was a pair of Mandarin Ducks (172, NBPT #63)
Not the world's best pic
The presence of a skulking Heron was given away by its reflection.
The day moved on and the speeches were  made (not by us) and then it was time for the awards ceremony. we have to say we were honoured to receive a certificate for the volunteer 'hours' we'd put in we really didn't think we'd done that many! But PT, the Project Officer, jots them all down on a spreadsheet and so it must be true - we had put in that much time! The certificate was great and we were well chuffed but when we heard our name called again this time for an award we were truly gobsmacked! Certainly wasn't expecting that - many many thanks, will have to shove some Labrador ornaments out of the way to make way for it on the mantlepiece!
With all the excitement drawing to finale mid-afternoon something special had been arranged.
What on earth can two blokes carrying a heavy table covered in multi-coloured ball for miles with an excited teenager looking on possibly be up to?
Seed bombing! Wildflowers of course!
And then all that was required to be done to wrap up the day's proceedings was to cut the rather impressive cake.
Well done to all the organisers for a superb day...and the sun shone down on the righteous! A shame the neither of the two local schools could spare a class for an hour, both were invited and have done lots of work on the Pond Trail, but you can't have everything...well perhaps you can because we heard the good news that some funding has been found to continue the project past its three year deadline; news which raised the biggest cheer of the afternoon!
A big hearty well done to all who have been involved in this superb project since its inception nearly 10 years ago - yes that's how long it can take to get this sort of thing going - to the cutting of the cake today...and of course all the tomorrows the project is going to have too. Thank you!
Other top news from today is that the local SeaWatch Foundation rep and the Liverpool Bay Marine Life Trust did a boat survey today and ended up with a shed load of mammals off the Lancashire/Merseyside/Wirral coast, 'only' 13 Grey Seals, 14 Harbour Porpoises and a staggering 24 Bottle-nosed Dolphins!!! If you're along the coast make sure you've got your binocs with you and are looking out to sea!

Where to next? More Patch 2 staring and with a half day and breaking news of White Letter Hairstreaks on the wing the afternoon is being reserved for a visit to Patch 1.
In the meantime let us know what's providing all the mega-excitement in your outback.

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