Friday, 29 December 2017

Scotland, May 26th - June 1st

e spent the last week of May on a family / wildlife / activity holiday in a quiet glen just south of Oban, Argyll.  We enjoyed some very good weather during the middle of the week with two cloud free days  but with some rain at the start and end of the week - well it is Scotland!  We did some cycling and walking on the cooler days, but the highlights were two warm and sunny days midweek, when we visited Glasdrum Wood by Loch Creran, and took a boat trip to the Treshnish Isles, Staffa and Iona.

The reason for the trip to Glasdrum Wood was to look for the chequered skipper butterfly.  Extinct in England since the mid 1970s, its range is now restricted to an area around Fort William in Scotland - although it is believed that there are probably several undiscovered colonies in the right habitat.

Chequered skipper, Glasdrum Wood, Loch Creran

Northern small pearl bordered fritillary, Glasdrum Wood, Loch Creran

Puffin, Lunga, Treshnish Isles

Puffin, Lunga, Treshnish Isles

Puffin, Lunga, Treshnish Isles

Puffin, Lunga, Treshnish Isles

Razorbill, Lunga, Treshnish Isles

Razorbill, Lunga, Treshnish Isles

Great black-backed gull, Lunga, Treshnish Isles

Shag, Lunga, Treshnish Isles

Shag, Lunga, Treshnish Isles

Shag, Lunga, Treshnish Isles

Fulmar, Lunga, Treshnish Isles

Corncrake, Iona

Corncrake, Iona

Friday, 15 September 2017

Dean Clough and Parsonage Reservoirs

Today saw the first real influx of Pink-footed Geese on the back of favourable northwesterly winds with several skeins reported from various areas of east Lancs. I was busy in the morning but had the afternoon free so decided on a walk round Dean Clough and a check of Parsonage to see if there were any migrants about, and hoping to catch some of the the pink-feet.

The only migrant activity of note was a steady flow of Swallows and House Martins, with at least 50 of each passing through in an hour or so and 3 hoo-weeting Willow Warblers.

A Green Woodpecker flew over and a presumbed second was yaffling below the dam. Alsp below the dam was the Stonechats - 2 adults, 2 juveniles, and along the north side of the main res another juvenile with a male by the upper res, making a total of six.

There were also three Grey Wagtails below the dam and I got a photo of one of the adults. At first I put this down as a female, but I later decided that I wasn't sure if it was a male or female, as it was now in its winter plumage when both sexes have white throats.  I checked the id guides later at home and despite the decent image below still wasn't 100%.
Grey Wagtail

I also got the following photos of the juvenile when it flew up the main res and landed on the upper res outflow.
Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail
I'd seen the Grey Wagtails in he vicinity of the main res outflow but wasn't sure if they had bred given the levels of disturbance from dog walkers so it was nice to see the juvenile.

There was a pair of Little Grebe on the upper res which have been there for a few weeks now along with the obligatory pair of coots and two Great Crested Grebe on the main res. There was also juvenile GC Grebe on upper Parsonage along with a pair of Tufted Duck.  Around 250 Lapwing were feeding on the north side of upper Parsonage but there were no other waders evident - not surprising given the high water levels.

A Brown Hawker was patrolling the south-west corner of upper Dean Clough and two Red Admirals headed south.

Green Woodpecker 2
Stonechat 6
Grey Wagtail 3
Willow Warbler 3
Goldcrest 1
Meadow Pipit
Reed Bunting
Little Grebe
Great Crested Grebe (2 DC, 1 juv UP)
Coot 2
Tufted Duck 2 (UP)
BH Gull
LBB Gull
Cormorant 1
Kestrel 1
Pied Wagtail
Carrion Crow

Friday, 6 January 2017

Jan 6 2017

I've pretty much abandoned this blog for no particular reason (procrastination) and it's been dormant for over three years.  I read through some of the older posts and now regret not keeping it up to date as there are some great memories and photos documented here, so I'm going to make an effort this year write up the blog more.

The year started cold and bright and a walk on Longridge Fell was pleasant but uneventful bird wise.  I'm always on the look out for Crossbill here but no luck today. The highlight was close  views of a buzzard.

On the 2nd a visit to Barrow gave the opportunity for some great photos of Waxwings of which there have been more than 100 here recently.  A wintering male Blackcap also put in a brief appearance.

Later in the afternoon I went down to Brockholes to see if the two Bitterns would be showing and they were, putting on a great display both flying in to the usual patch of reed bed below the Osprey platform. Despite the distance they were away and the reducing light levels I got some good photos including the flight shot below and some video of the two birds.

Also the Grey Wagtail that has been wintering close to the house was  joined by another on the 5th when both were on the driveway.  All in all a pretty good start to 2017.