Monday, 31 December 2012

Review of 2012 - June to August

With exams throughout June birding took a back seat and as such only 3 entries were made in my logbook! My local patch compromises mainly the same area as the North Blackpool Pond Trail and on the 3rd they were conducting a Bioblitz, the aim of which was to record as many species as possible in 24 hours. The weather was the most part terrible, the rain only started to ease around 5pm! I met with up Ash, Dave and a few others at 4am to check the moth trap, where despite the deluge 9 species were found including new for me Treble Lines. The day progressed with various surveys including bird, insect, plant and even worm, and by the end we had recorded 51 bird species, a great total for my patch including 2 patch first, a Barn Owl and a pair of flyover Curlew. The overall total for the day was around 325 species, not quite reaching our target of 500 but given the conditions we were thrilled with that. My next outing wasn't until the 23rd when a seawatch from North Pier produced my first Fulmar of the year heading south, although the rest of the watch was pretty dead. By this point I was already getting twitchy as a Little Swift has been discovered around New Brighton on the Wirral the previous afternoon, however my parents were busy and refused to take me and Ash despite several attempts to persuade them. However with the bird still present on the 24th my dad finally gave in and after a tense hours drive we got our first views of this beautiful swift as it arced overhead. It never came too low so only a few record shots could be taken but it was still a great bird to watch and at around the 26th British record, the rarest species I have seen in the country.

In a similar vein to June, July was also rather slow for birding although it was punctuated with a few surprising birds from the house. On the afternoon of the 5th I headed down to Warton Bank to try and see a Spoonbill that has been seen earlier in the day, a would be Fylde tick for me. Unfortunately it hadn't been seen a couple of hours by the time I arrived so I wasn't too hopeful of spotting it. Another birder who was present headed off to try from a different vantage point a mile down the road and I soon received a call informing me that he had found it. A quick dash back to the car and drive down to Lytham followed where the bird showed intermittently but fairly close in the various creeks on the marsh. A surprise house tick came on the morning of the 15th, when as it was getting light I was awoken by a familiar call which I told myself must have been in my dream, but no I looked out my window and there it was, a Common Tern flying north over the fields behind my house! This along with Woodcock are my only 2 additions to the house list this year, which now stands at 87 species. This was followed by a first sight record for the house, a Tawny Owl that flew over around midnight whilst me and Ash were doing a moth night on the 20th, following 2 heard only records from previous years. The final days of the month were spent in Sussex for a holiday centred around going to the Olympic Games, bird life was few and far between with the only sightings of note being 47 Red Kites on the journey down, a Great Skua at Dungeness and a Hobby at Lakenheath. However the none birding highlights more than made up for this, 29 new species of moth (including Jersey Tiger in the Olympic Park), 2 new butterflies (Marbled White and Brown Argus), a new dragonfly (Ruddy Darter) and watching 3 Harbour Porpoises close in off Dungeness, as well as the amazing athletics!

By August migration is beginning to kick in and as such more interesting birds begin to appear. The 14th started off with a juvenile Black Tern at Marton Mere before down the road 3 Garganey were picked out amongst a few Teal at Mythop flood. Yet this paled into insignificance compared to what laid in store in the afternoon, for whilst doing a seawatch off Rossall school a the back of a mammal broke the surface. Before I had even had time to register what it could be another of the group fully breached out the water, a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins! These are rather scarce off Lancashire although this pod had been seen a few times over the previous weeks, so I was delighted to watch the 7 of them as they moved south. The final action of the month concerned a twitch with Ash and Ian up to St Marys Island in Northumberland to try and see a Greenish Warbler. To cut a long story short after about 2 hours of searching an area of hedge no longer than 40 metres long, the other 2 briefly saw the bird however I failed to as I was stood a few metres away. Typically it didn't show again and they got much merriment in taking the piss most of the way home as a result!

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