08.09.14. Birdlog & Nature Notes #44
We started the day taking a little time to watch the Tour of Britain Cycle Race zoom over Runcorn Bridge and past us in 7 seconds before disappearing off to Warrington. Then it was down to Frodsham Marsh for a tour of the gathered wader flocks on No.6 tank.
The incoming tide on the River Mersey wasn’t particularly high but still it reached high enough to bring in the shorebirds. Already present on our arrival was 550 Dunlin (including the buff coloured bird see image opposite) and 240 Ringed Plover. A careful scrutiny of the flocks resulted in seeing 8 juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, 4 juvenile Little Stint, a single Ruff, 1 Greenshank and 3 Black-tailed Godwit. The last thing these birds wanted was to be disturbed from their slumber/dinner by a marauding Peregrine out looking for hors d’oeuvre of petite peep, if there were any on the menu (which there wasn’t).
The Black-headed Gull midday roost of 230 birds included a few Common Gull within their midst. Common Teal continue to rise in numbers with 200 present. Both Shoveler and Common Shelduck filled the gaps
Other birds of note from the tank included 1 Yellow, 12 Pied and 3 White Wagtail with a light passage of Meadow Pipit. Hirundines amounted to 120 birds high above the tank and a Goldcrest calling from bushes close to the ramp area where there was a gathering of 10 Southern Hawker Dragonflies.
Sated by an injection of wader watching we continued our walk after transporting ourselves to Delamere Forest to follow the route around Blakemere. There were plenty of dragonflies out in force with Black and Ruddy Darters (see image: drag & fag) which were fairly common with a few Southern Hawkers also out and about.
The Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar is an odd-looking creature and aptly named from the elephant trunk like body (with added big bulging false eyes). When we found one crossing the track it gave us the opportunity to carefully examine and test a theory. The theory to be tested was, when handled the caterpillar will raised its head then began to twist and turn in an attempt to frighten us away (which it did but didn’t scare us).
A few photographs later and placed in a safe area we left it to continue to find a suitable food supply and then perhaps scare off the Gruffalo hunters.
A Fungi frolic in the woods (so to speak) resulted in finding a particularly smelly and rude looking Common Stinkhorn. Further fungi species included Common Earthball, Powdery Brittlegill, Larch and Pine Bolette, Saffron Milkcap and Fly Agaric to name just a few of the myriad of these lifeforms beginning to appear in the forest. We’ll look forward to more of the same in the coming months.
Observers: Sparky,WSM (and images)