18 Jul 2018

Arctic Tern ringing on the Skerries.

I was lucky enough to be able to go back to the Skerries recently to help ring Arctic Tern chicks with Steve & Rachel. Its a fantastic experience and northing quite matches the noise and smells of a busy tern colony - especially when they are as feisty as Arctic Terns. Hats are essential otherwise you'll end up wit ha head like a pin cushion from those needle sharp bills. Even better  - we took a high speed trip over in a rib this year rather than the usual supply boat. The sea was almost flat calm and it was quite disconcerting to see that it appeared to curve downwards towards the boat. An optical illusion obviously but weird to see.

We only ring 500 of the chicks as there is a limited window of opportunity to limit disturbance. After we'd ringed the requisite number of chicks we retreated to the Lighthouse where we filled time waiting for the rib to return by photographing the terns or reading leg flag. They really are photogenic little birds. I even managed a close up shot of a tern chick just emerging from its egg.

16 Jul 2018


The warm weather has certainly helped our local butterfly population. A couple of years ago I found my first Ringlets locally as part of the species continued expansion into Cheshire. See here.

This year there are more than ever and a walk along the cycle path adjacent to the railway line a few hundred metres from the house was rewarded with good numbers of Ringlets along with Comma, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Large White, Small White, Speckled Wood, Small Skipper, large Skipper and 2nd generation Holly Blues.

There are also more Grasshoppers than I can ever remember finding locally.

9 Jul 2018

Frog Orchids

After missing out on seeing these little beauties last year, as they'd already flowered by the time we got our act together, I was keen to see them this year as I'd never seen Frog Orchid before. Mark P arranged to meet me near work and we set off to explore a couple of sites. Firstly a well known site near Wrexham for Dune Helleborine. We found plenty of plants but they were not yet in flower so we quickly moved up into the hills to an old lead mining site where Frog Orchids are relatively easy to find............

Unfortunately the dry weather has had an impact on all wild flowers at the moment and although we did find three Frog Orchids they were past their best already. It took awhile to get your eye in to find these diminutive plants as they're only a few centimetres tall.

There were also Common Spotted And Fragrant Orchids on site but finding one in good condition was difficult - we think these are Heath Fragrants.

The site also had Quaking Grass which looks stunning when viewed close up and large areas of Wild Thyme. Last year we saw lots of Greyling and Dark Green Fritillaries but this year there were none but we did see plenty of Ringlets, Small Heath & Meadow Browns.

Returning home I took the opportunity to use the macro on the Figwort thats growing in our ditch.