After what seemed like an eternity trapped inside studying for Easter Mocks, I finally made time to escape the confined space get back out in the field. cracking the flags morning was spent with Luke this for an investigation into some of the more restricted grounds surrounding Bidston Moss in order to discover more species, in particular insects for our joint Pan-List if the site. The sites Main Lake was host to 6 Barnacle Geese (flew over heading east, most likely part of the feral flock from Caldy), with 2 Great crested Grebe, 2 Mute Swan (on nest with no sign of eggs), 3 Moorhen, 8 Coot, 4 Mallard with highlight being 2 calling LITTLE GREBE heard coming from the reeds close to that of the swan nest. Little Grebe along with several other species documented this spring at the moss by myself & Luke are something we’ll be keeping a close eye on for breeding and if your visiting then please inform of your sightings.
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) 0 By far the most numerous species of Warbler for the Moss
Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) – After the discovery of the first Willow Warbler for the site on the 19 of March, just 2 were heard singing today
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) – Walking to the moss from base just 2 miles away, large numbers of these guys were heard passing over with at least 30 noted heading east over the Moss
Luke guided me carefully guided us round to the wasteland and reed bed (the largest yet most under watched area of the site!) were the hunt began with Yellow-meadow (22), Myrmica sp (1) & Black Garden (5) nests, interesting to see that there was a lot of interaction between the Black Garden & Yellow-meadow. In terms of butterflies Comma (1), Peacock (4), Small Tortoiseshell (3) & Orange-Tip (2) were also being counted along with 3 species of Millipede, 5 Woodlouse, 2 Earthworm with a Caddisfly larvae sp & Ruby-tailed Wasp being the highlights. This is only a small percentage of the biodiversity we’ve documented since the beginning of the year (bird records extend to that since the site was first created), with more exact accounts recorded on mine and Luke’s joint excel spread sheet.
Yellow-Meadow Ant (Lasius flavus) – The most numerous species of ant of the moss
Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) – Our first butterfly of the visit
Comma (Polygonia c-album) – Out amongest the nettles with several ST on the lakes N bank
As you can see it wasn’t a harm free visit to patch. Luke & I had a little play with some reeds and well the reeds won
After having spent 2 hours exploring the Main Lakes surrounding were we chanced upon Bidston’s first “grounded” RING OUZEL (flushed and not relocated), a male REED BUNTING and the sites first SAND MARTIN’S of the year as we observed 3 birds hawking over the lake. Relocating ourselves to the Back Pools via the Woodland with 26 Common Chiffchaff & 2 Willow Warblers singing we soon came to the pools were we rounded off our trip to keep watch over the pair of Shoveler that have over wintered and paired up. Breeding Shovelers would certainly be a surprised and first documented record for the site and with the birds remaining for so long and showing interest in the west pool the breeding does appear to be a likely scenario. Besides the Shovelers that were present and keeping distance in the safety of the reeds, 2 Tufted Ducks were also present with the drake showing some signs of hybridisation (indicating migrant birds) with Luke picking up on the sites first Swallow of the season.
Common Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) – Image by Luke Anderson
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) – Image by Luke Anderson
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) – My patch 1st of the year
With a few hours of day light left we decided to ditch our earlier plan to head to RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands and instead headed over to Leasowe Lighthouse on the hunt for Northern Wheatears as despite seeing Twite, Great White Egret, Cattle Egret, Cetti’s Warbler, Great Northern Diver, Hen Harrier & PINE BUNTING….Mr Anderson has not yet seen a didy Northern Wheatear. On arrival we had the fortune of not coming across a single Northern Wheatear, however we bumped into Allan Conlin, had a brief encounter with White Wagtail, 4 Barn Swallow passed over Kerr’s Field and after staking out in the Horse Paddock’s we were rewarded with remarkable views of a female European Stonechat of the “British” race hibernica.
“British” Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola hibernans) – A lovely female bird we observed coming to and from her selected nest site with nest material
Thanks for reading,