19 May 2014

Balmy weather

Its been a good couple of weeks weather wise and the local bird population are making the most of it. One of the occupied Blue Tit nests in the garden has 10 youngsters in it and two more have birds on eggs or about to hatch. I'm doing some breedign bird survey work for the Cheshire Wildlife Trust on one of their tenant farms along the banks of the Gowy. Although not an exciting array of habitats - its mainly improved pasture with the Gowy running along the bottom alongside the tip and a couple of feeder streams - the views are glorious - as long as you're not facing the tip!

There isn't a huge array of breeding birds on site but pairs of Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings are always nice to see as were the two Water Voles along one of the feeder streams.

Sunday saw Steve, Scott & me making an early morning trip to Hilbre - even earlier if Steve hadn't slept through his alarm! We arrived around 05.30 just in time to view the sunrise over Hoylake from the Obs balcony.

As the sun rose and the temperature soared the island was revealed in all its glory with drifts of pink thrift and yellow birds-foot trefoil covering the cliff tops. In the old gardens evidence of previous habitation in the form of red hot pokers and wallflowers were in full bloom.

Loads of insects were flying including the day flying Cinnibar moth, Green-veined and Small White's and at least 2 Wall Browns. A resting Brimstone Moth was found  on bracken in the SK.

There weren't many birds around but we did catch a Blackbird, Sedge Warbler, a new Linnet and a Willow Warbler. A Spotted Flycatcher was seen briefly in the Old Obs garden but then seemingly disappeared. A search from the shore along the east side cliffs failed to find it but just as we were preparing to leave ahead of the incoming tide it reappeared in the SK heligoland.

This resulted in a much later than planned departure and a rush to get off the island before getting completely cut off by the tide.

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