11 Jul 2011

Loxia curvirostra.

A beautiful but breezy morning on Hilbre Saturday. Not many birds around but wader numbers are building up with 500 + Oystercatchers, plenty of Curlew and a smattering of Redshank feeding along the tide edge. Bird of the day was a Common Sandpiper seen on the Whaleback before the weather brought the crowds out from the shore. The sunshine meant there were plenty of butterflies on the wing in the sheltered paddocks away from the westerly force 3. Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Small White, Green-veined White and a single Greyling were all logged. A close examination of the ragwort revealed the first Cinnabar moth caterpillar amongst myriads of Soldier Beetles.

The islands resident birds were all seen including one of the recently ringed juvenile Blackbirds and of course, the ubiquitous Linnets.

Rock Sea Lavender is flowering all along the cliff tops.

Saturday evening JE met me at my house and we drove to Catterick army camp where we enjoyed the hospitality of Tony Crease at the fantastic ringing station they've built within the confines of their very own nature reserve. This must be the only reserve in the country where you have to  pass though an army checkpoint and drive through the barracks to get to it. See link below:

We were there to help with one of their constant effort ringing sessions as part of a long term study on population trends, survival rates and breeding success. After around 4 hours fitful sleep interrupted by the noise of military vehicle on manoeuvres on another part of the site we were up at 03.45 ready to start a full 10 hours ringing.

A highlight for me was ringing this juvenile Crossbill.

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