Crikey, it's been a month since I last posted here. What a slacker.
I do have a half-decent excuse, as I've been in Canada since May 20th guiding a group of Brit birders in BC. We had a great trip and saw almost 200 species of bird in two weeks, plus all manner of mammals including orca, grey whale and black bear. I was there with North West-based company Ribble Bird Tours and our itinerary included a range of habitats in the Lower Mainland, Okanagan Valley and Vancouver Island. An account of the trip will be posted here soon, so if you're keen to find out more about birding in Western Canada please check back shortly.
So, I had a quick scout around the Aldcliffe patch in the flaming June sunshine today to see what was occurring. There were plenty of birds in song including summer visitors such as blackcap, chiffchaff, sedge warbler and whitethroat.
Down at Freeman's Pools it was good to see that the local mute swan pair had hatched 7 cygnets. A lone near-fledged oystercatcher chick was feeding on the muddy edges of the upper pools while a well-grown brood of 4 mallard were also present.
As I walked along Dawson's Bank I spotted a common tern fishing by the Lune and over the saltmarsh pools (my first on the patch this year).
Another local 'year-tick' came in the form of a couple of reed warblers, both of which were singing from the small reed-fringed Bank Pool. One of these fine birds showed well as he belted out his fabulous song from high up in the waterside vegetation.
Potential good news from the maize fields; at least 6 sitting lapwing and an oystercatcher bodes well following the earlier nest trashing...
Thanks to the balmy temperatures there were plenty of butterflies around including speckled wood, small tortoiseshell and my first painted lady of the season.
At Darter Pool I added another year-first in the form of a dazzling emperor dragonfly while the poolside was positively alive with hundreds of blue-tailed damselflies.