Sunday, 22 August 2010

Moore Nature Reserve, Warrington - 22.8.10

After some searching around on the internet as to where to go to this weekend, we stumbled upon Moore Nature Reserve, south of Warrington.  It had some good write ups and, as it's not too far to go, we decided to give it a try.  It's a little tricky to find if you go via Warrington, but a lot easier if you go via the Runcorn Bridge.  The car park surface was a bit of a challenge, but if you don't mind getting a few stones in your tyres you'll be alright.  Word of warning though, we did see glass on the floor which looked like the remnants of a car window so don't leave your sat nav, blackberry and laptop on display!

We started off in the small meadow just in front of the car park and immediately had a good start: a male kestrel was hunting low then landing on a dead tree or pylon to observe his next target.  He was a little too small and our lens not powerful enough to get a decent shot though.  

We carried on round to Birchwood Pool and were greeted with a family of Tufted Duck chicks swimming behind their mother.  Also a couple of Little Grebes and a Heron, the latter stood on top of a rock, all the better to see his prey with!

This heron "helpfully" brought its own twig to hide behind:

Grey Heron
We then travelled through towards Middle Moss Wood where there was a rather nice Nuthatch, but the sun was too strong to get a decent shot again.  There were also three Buzzards to be seen throughout most of the day - always sticking together. 

 Here we observed a sexton beetle, Nicrophorus vespillaides,  note the mites on its back

Nicrophorus vespilloides

We made a circle round towards Lapwing Lake - another Little Grebe and Heron, also Gadwall and family of Mute Swans.

Other sightings of the day included those below:

Scorpion Fly
Soldier Beetle Rhagonycha fulva
Damselfly (possibly female Common Blue)

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Dee Estuary - Inner Marsh Farm RSPB - 15.8.10

Today we fancied a birding trip.  Having not visited Inner Marsh Farm before (quite an oversight as it's very nearby), we decided to go there to see what was around.

We arrived in one piece and after a slight detour having turned off at the wrong exit we found the reserve.  There was a guided walk there this morning so it was very busy.  We ambled in the direction of the hide but found more insect interest in the hedgerows than birds in the sky.

We saw a Red Admiral Butterfly, Peacocks, Gatekeepers, Comma, various Whites.  Also a dragonfly zooming around like a Spitfire!  Also lots of ladybirds and hoverlfies (very good year for ladybirds, I think). The hide was packed so we decided to come back after lunch.  On the way back there was talk of a Lesser Yellowlegs having been spotted.  I was shown it through someone else's scope, but because of the distance I had to take their word for it - it just looked like a Greenshank to me, but apparently that is what they look like, apart from having yellow legs!

We went back to the hide again after lunch and stayed for a little while, but apart from some Black Tailed Godwits and a Little Egret (which very considerately flew in and landed out of site!) there wasn't a great deal to be seen other than the usual Teal and Lapwings. A flock of Goldfinch was picking at the extensive thistle fields.

After wandering slowly back we stopped at the bench for a water break.  There were three grasshoppers performing Duelling Chirrups and then out popped a little Common Toad, and very quickly popped back into the undergrowth as I think even he found it a bit too hot today.  Still, I suppose it's August and we shouldn't complain, however, I'm one who's not keen on the heat and much prefer the autumn.  We travelled back along the M53 with lots of others who had probably all been for the day out in North Wales.

Definitely a place to visit again, if only for the numerous butterflies.

Red Admiral Butterfly
Peacock Butterfly
Common Field Grasshopper
Yellow flower with flies
Moth on thistle
Black and white Fly

Sunday, 8 August 2010

A Walk in Delamere Forest - 8.8.10

Today we went for a walk round Delamere Forest, starting at Gresty's Waste Car Park (a charmingly named location - must research why it is so named). The day promised dry but overcast weather and held true to it's promise. It was still very humid, however, but we managed to find a spot with a bit of a breeze for lunch.

Our walk took us through mainly forest to begin with where we were quick to sight a grey squirrel and a couple of GS Woodpeckers darting between the trees. We also heard (but never saw) a Nuthatch and another bird to be identified - small bird in very large collection of trees does not bode well if you don't recognise the song! I think we should have had Chris Packham with us on the walk to help us, however, I have a feeling he would have been distracted with the amount and variety of canine sightings to be had! There were a couple of very cute Yorkshire Terriers and when I suggested (jokingly) to John that we might get one, he said "No - you'd only train it to sit on your knee and bark at me!!") After a veritable gormet feast at lunchtime (M&S scotch eggs with cheese and tomato sandwiches with which no walk would be complete without) we continued past a field where lots of riders were exercising their ponies. Earlier in the day we had seen some Alpacas and a couple of donkeys in a field - the Alpacas were doing a good job of keeping the hedges well manicured - I wonder if they'd ever eat their way out of there!

We rounded off the day with a quick trip to Lady Hayes craft shop (a must on the way back from a Delamere walk).
Bumble Bee (White-tailed?)

Common Wasp
Hover-Fly (maybe Drone-Fly)
Hover-Fly (Volucella pellucens)
A small section of the path is closed due to subsidence.

A culinary delight

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Dunham Massey - 1.8.10

Sunday, slightly cloudy, we felt like a day out to see what photographs we could get. We had been to Dunham Massey before, but not seen the Fallow Deer that time. We decided to brave the crowds at the start of the school holiday and packed up our gear. Upon passing through the initial gateway we were in luck - all the stags were grouped together eating (I suppose that's what they do on stag parties though!)
Male Fallow Deer feeding
Fallow Deer
Fallow Deer
 Fallow Deer
Fallow Deer running
 We then continued on towards the obelisk where we saw quite a number of blue damselflies mating providing the perfect opportunity of catching them sitting still (which they are rather reluctant to do if you approach them with a big lens).
Common Blue Damselfly
Common Blue Damselflies mating
Burnt Polypore fungus
 Further round we saw some Gatekeeper butterflies gathered together enjoying a little sunshine which had come through.
Gatekeepers and Hover-Flies on Field Fleawort
We also saw a couple of bees (as shown), not quite sure what they were up to...
 Female and male Red Tailed Bumble Bees (mating?)