Archive for the ‘Lancashire’ Category

One of my favourite parts of the country.

Crosbyman66

28 Formby Point

It was a beautiful sunny morning so I decided to do a short walk. Having checked the tide timetable I set out for Formby Point, just a few miles along the coast.

I parked at the National Trust beach car park and set out along the Squirrel Trail. The pine woods are home to one of the remaining colonies of the native red squirrel. I was hoping to see some and maybe get some photos.

27 Formby Pinewoods

I thought it would be quiet but I had forgotten it was the school holidays and there were lots of families and children enjoying the fresh air. I did see several squirrels but each time one was spotted a chorus of voices rang out. “ Look Mummy, there’s a squirrel. Of course the poor animal quickly disappeared.

I left the woods and entered an open area. Signposts indicated I was on a stretch of the…

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Loco Yard

From the 5th to the 8th September, I visited Blackpool for the world famous tramway and illuminations, which can be seen in the video above. Below is Balloon 711, which has been fitted with central platform doors, to work on the upgraded tramway, which now operates modern trams. Having a ride in a retrofitted balloon tram was quite an experience, and seemed to be quite popular with the general public.dsc01790I took a tour of the illuminations onboard Western Train 733 + 734, which has been a firm favourite of the public, and seems to be the tram I always board when I visit Blackpool. It is still quite a sight to see an illuminated tram trundling down the promenade, next to modern German built trams, but that is what makes Blackpool a unique tramway, having both old and new trams operating side by side. The heritage tours operate every…

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About a mile from the RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss is the RSPB reserve at Morecombe Bay. This is a series of pools and mudflats and is at its best when the wading birds are driven off the mudflats in the bay and the estuary of the river Kent by the rising tide and need somewhere to roost and feed above the tide line.

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Redshank

Redshank

Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher

In addition birds such as Avocet and Black-headed Gull breed around the pools.

Avocet on nest

Avocet on nest

Avocet

Avocet

Black-headed Gull

Black-headed Gull

The RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss near Carnforth in Lancashire consists of a number of Reed-beds and lakes. It is famous as the breeding site for Bitterns and Marsh Harriers.

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We came across this pheasant dozing by the path side and it refused to move even when we walked past it

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We also saw red deer but regrettably not close enough to photograph them and so this is the only one which would pose for us.

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We had a pair of pheasants come to the feeder station in the back garden of our cottage most days. At first they just hoovered up the seeds on the ground but then we noticed the male had found a new way to create a supply of ‘spilt’ seed

As I said in my previous post we had a lovely cottage in Lancashire overlooking Gait Barrows NNR. Apart from the scenery, another lovely thing was the variety of birds we had coming to the feeder station in the garden.

Greater Spotted Woodpecker

Greater Spotted Woodpecker

Nuthtach

Nuthtach

Greater Spotted Woodpecker

Greater Spotted Woodpecker

Coal Tit

Coal Tit

Young Blue Tit

Young Blue Tit

Bullfinch

Bullfinch

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Gait Barrows National Nature Reserve is situated in Northern Lancashire and has been designated for its wide variety of limestone based habitats. We were fortunate to have this as our ‘back garden’ for our first week of our trip to Lancashire and Cumbria this year.

View over Haweswater. Our cottage was in the building on the hill

View over Haweswater. Our cottage was in the building on the hill

It was fantastic to sit out on the patio and look out over Haweswater, which dominates the western end of the reserve.

Ringlet

Ringlet

Common BLue Damselfly

Common BLue Damselfly

Meadow Brown

Meadow Brown

Its specialties are its plant and invertibrate life, and it is home to two rare butterflies, the Duke of Burgundy Fratillary and the High Brown Fratillary. Unfortunately we were too late for the flight season of the former and too early for that of the later

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First stop on our two week trip to Lancashire and Cumbria was the Wetlands Trust reserve at Martin Mere near Preston.

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Although a reserve best known for its wintering wildfowl, Martin Mere is a great place to explore at any time of the year. Although there was no unusual birds present the day we visited, there were still a good selection of resident breeding birds and Summer migrants.

House Martin nests

House Martin nests

Shelduck

Shelduck

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

Wren

Wren

Moorhen with young

Moorhen with young

I think the highlight for me was the Tree sparrows on the the feeder station, as this is becoming a rare species in the UK and it was great to catch up with a small party and be able to photograph them (albeit on a protected feeder)

Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Bar-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa lapponica)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Cuckoo [sp] (Cuculus canorus)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow [sp] (Passer montanus)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Returning to London today but before I catch an afternoon train an opportunity to go to one of my favourite spots on the Sefton coast at Formby.

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The reserve here comprises 3 zones Sand-dunes backed by deciduous woodland which gives way to a coniferous woodland. This latter area is very good. Excellent views of Coal Tit and Nuthatch.

Coal Tit
Coal Tit
photo by Sergey Yeliseev (http://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

The other great thing about Formby is that it is the only place on mainland England where you can see Red Squirrel. I was fortunate to see 3 of these lovely creatures although all managed to keep well hidden enough to prevent any photos.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

photos by Robert Engberg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/rengber/)

Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

A few days in Liverpool gave me the opportunity to do some birdwatching in one of my favourite areas of England. Today saw me heading towards Southport. The first stop was Marine lake, a boating park in the summer but now quiet.

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Interested to see 3 Little Egrets roosting on the islands – these are now widespread in England where once they were a rarity.
The whole coast north of Southport is wide mudflats and coastal marsh. My next stop is at RSPB Marshside, which consists of a stretch of coastal marsh.

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The first pink-footed geese of the winter had already arrived, just a small party of 8. The NW of England, together with Norfolk, are the two best areas to see these winter visitors.
Pink-footed Goose stretching
photo by Steve Garvie (http://www.flickr.com/photos/rainbirder/)

The waders present included a small party of Golden Plover, together with around 40 black-tailed Godwit and a dozen curlew. A Water Rail close to the hide was a nice sighting. The was also a noticeable movement of Swallows and House Martins on migration.

Leaving the reserve I walked back into Southport whilst looking for roosting waders on the mudflats. There were good numbers of Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, Knot and Black-tailed Godwit.

Black-Tailed Godwits

Black-Tailed Godwits

There was also a single Ringed Plover.

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Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Water Rail [sp] (Rallus aquaticus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Red Knot [sp] (Calidris canutus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)