Friday, 31 July 2009
Thursday, 30 July 2009
The Bumble Bees were just becoming active and still drowsy. I thought I’d captured the middle-leg-waving ‘you’re pissing me off so I’ll sting you if you come any closer’ behaviour but I totally missed it even with the camera on continuous shooting mode.However, on downloading the photos I noticed the Louse on the Bee’s shoulder. Scaled up it would be the size of a Guinea Pig, or something, similar on a person – not the sort of parasite I’d fancy carrying around all day.
Where to next? National Marine Week draws ever closer.
In the meantime let us know what’s hanging off your nuts in your outback.
Monday, 27 July 2009
Good to see The stig is versatile, able to ride two wheels as well as four.
Back to the moths. A Canary Shouldered Thorn was trying to hide in at the bottom of the trap...not very effectively.Scalloped Oaks are always welcome but not particularly frequent.
The pale form of Common Rustic is far less numerous than the brown/brick coloured morphs.
A teneral Blue Tailed Damselfly was caught in the kitchen window in an attempt to escape the worst of the weather after thinking it was safe to emerge in yesterday's sunshine.
Where to next, when I've thawed out? National Marine Week starts at the weekend so lots of beachy things to report on I hope.
Saturday, 25 July 2009
The hills in the distance are the Lake District fells - so clear today you can almost see the sheep. Can't really believe it..a post with pics of rigs and boats not a wildlifey thing in sight. What will tomorrow bring...more good spotting conditions and something to spot would be nice.In the meantime let us know how little you're seeing in your outback.
PS - no rain forecast...hooray...so the moth trap might well be set up at long last.
Friday, 24 July 2009
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Forgot to mention the worst sighting yesterday was a yellow helium filled balloon floating out to sea on the wind – another Turtle killer will be drifting around in the currents by now.
Not only that, the Hedgehog we found when taking Frank for his final constitutional last night was found killed on the road this morning. That’s two in three days within 20m of each other. Both, I’m sure, could have been avoided as they were in an area of traffic calming speed humps and were naturally drivers need to go slow. I think we have a murderer in our midst. Evil sh*ts!!!
Where to next? Yet more NDWD tomorrow, only a four hour watch to endure, sorry - enjoy! You might even get a picture or two, there again if its rattling down with rain again you might not.
In the meantime let us know if there are any cetaceans are lurking in your outback.
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
A Grey Seal gave us the run(swim) around. It would pop up briefly then disappear for ages before reappearing miles away from its original location. We lost it for a good while, apparently it had come very close inshore because some anglers fishing a little way along the prom said they’d "almost been able to shake flippers with it!" There was a second one a long way to the south, about half way to Formby!
No sign of any Cetaceans or anything else for that matter, apart from three House Martins whizzing up and down along the face of the sea wall.
Sorry no pics again today – if you want to see excellent Cetacean shots check out Monika’s blog, not from the UK though, more’s the pity.
Where to next? More NDWD tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know what Cetaceans are lurking in your outback.
Monday, 20 July 2009
A big bonus was two Little Gulls winging their way south not too far behind the surf. Other stuff included on the horizon distant single Manx Shearwater and a couple of Gannets.
More news tomorrow. If the wind keeps up a Storm Petrel please.
PS. the Yanks sent up a space shuttle from Florida the other day so wet and windy weather is very likely next week too. Summer what summer?
In the meantime let us know what’s frightening off the wildlife in your outback.
Today the weather was a little more promising with a lighter wind and the sea much calmer although still a little too choppy to see any Porpoises well.
But we ended up staring fruitlessly at an empty sea in the pouring rain. Eventually the rain stopped and people started to wander about and ask the usual questions; "surely it’s too cold for Dolphins", or the other favourite, " isn’t the water too dirty?" Neither are true with Bottle-nosed Dolphins being found in the, much colder than here, Moray Firth in NE Scotland and our water is cleaner now than it has been for the best part of 150 years. The persistent over-fishing might be more likely the reason we don’t see so many but the position of Blackpool right at the innermost point of Liverpool Bay doesn’t help much either and our very shallow water will keep out most of the larger species which would be longer than the water is deep!
A small flock of Common Scoters bobbed about in the middle distance to break the monotony.
Later in the morning we were joined by the youngsters from a Wildlife Watch group from out of town and they were lucky enough to see a Grey Seal bottling just behind the surf only a few yards away from some boys playing in the waves. Maybe the water wasn’t as cold as it looked. A distant flock of Common Scoters flew south along the horizon as did a Gannet and that was about it in the four hour watch! Thrilling…not.
The group then went rock pooling on the beach. Great fun as pots were filled with Brown Shrimps and the tiniest juvenile Green Shore Crabs I’ve ever seen, the smallest no more than a millimetre across. A juvenile Blennie looked like a miniscule Flying Fish with its overly large pectoral fins sticking out sideways. Further out on the beach we found a few Compass Jellyfish with their lovely rich brown markings.
Back home it was time to venture out to pastures new and see if there were any Salmon leaping at the falls about an hour’s drive north. But when we got there the roar of water immediately told us that the river was far too high.
Right enough getting down to the riverside we saw the water was torrenting through the falls.The first bird we saw was a Dipper,
sorry about the pic quality it was pretty dark in the gorge, but this is my very first attempt at this species. Apart from a very brief Grey Wagtail, Dippers were the only birds we saw, four in total, probably a family. On the cantilevered walkway under the road bridge we came across a very interesting scat from a Mustelid, looked too much for a Stoat but no obvious fish scales so probably not Otter or American Mink, hmm Polecat? Pine Marten?? Whatever did it it had a few small stones in it – residue from the stomach contents of its prey? On the drive back down the motorway a dead animal on the hard shoulder looked very Polecatty unfortunately it is impossible to do a U-ey on the motorway to go back and check it out.
The wild flowers were nice with Hemp Agrimony just coming in to flower,
whose leaves smell like the pink Calamine Lotion when bruised.
This part of the rapids is known for its peculiar holes in the rock where hard pebbles have been washed around and around by the torrent wearing away the softer limestone.
Ever daring our Extreme Photographer is trying to get a shot looking UP through the hole!
The rock formations are impressive with spring water flowing from cracks all over the place.
A large old Oak tree can be seen growing precariously out of a crack in the strata. Worryingly this plastic bag was caught in the base of the tree by flood water. It is about 10 feet (3m) above the level of the river, that’s a lot of water!!!
Hardheads are common everywhere and a favourite of bees and butterflies, like Hogweed which is being visited by a Hoverfly for its nectar.
Nearby the roadside verges were full of wildflowers. Not sure what species this Allium is as it’s not something I’ve seen for a long time.
Never noticed those pink sticky up things on the flowers before, obviously wiping the face of nectaring insects with pollen – fascinating and another new thing learnt.
Where to next? More NDWD tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know what is in the pools in your outback.
Saturday, 18 July 2009
But only little tails.
AND at long last I got the picture I've been waiting for