Friday, 26 June 2015

Sweet little mystery!

Sweet little mystery

On  Tuesday I came across this lovely little finch tucking into some sunflower hearts in my garden,.It was a bit unsual but  best guess was a young greenfinch. He/she was sporting some fine colourful leg rings - red and pink rings right leg , single yellow left. Mmh i'll check this out me thinks!...


I don't think this is a wild bird. It looks like an aviculturist's canary-greenfinch cross, or something like it, and must have escaped from an aviary. Sorry I can't help more.

Best wishes,
David Norman
Chairman, Merseyside Ringing Group

This might be a bird ringed by a member of public, copying existing colour ringing schemes. The lack of a metal ring indicates that it was not a wild ringed bird, though.

There is no central register for ringed captive bred birds. However, I do believe that most of bird breeders also use a (sometimes coloured) metal ring with individual code on it and possibly another colour ring. 3 colour rings would be quite unusual.

Sorry, but this one probably will remain a mystery.

With best wishes,

Sabine colour ringin @bto

A mystery indeed, I haven't  noticed it around with the other finches over the last couple of days, (it favoured the seed feeder the wild greenfinches use) Assuming it is an ex-aviary bird it's odds on survival may not be good; not having had the benefit of wild parents teaching it alarms and what to look out for!

I wish it luck  

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Mossley Hill Church's 140th Anniversary - Flower Festival

The Hilltop chuch

To celebrate Mossley hill Church’s 140th anniversary they held a Flower festival. 
They invited all the community groups linked to the church to  create a  flower  display influenced by their groups aims and activities.

Liverpool RSPB  is closely linked to this church, as this is where we have held our indoor meetings for many years and many of the congregation are our members.

Sandra and Rosemary from our group did us proud, by far the largest display complete with bird table, birds and gardening troughs.

RSPB Liverpool display

Another RSPB member Janet  did the All hallows church display 
All hallows display

There were 32 exhibitors in the church ie. Babies & bumps, Jam Sunday school, Pastoral care, Yoga grp, Womens fellowship, Choir and organ, Otters group, Halcyon syncopaters, Mossley hill residents group did an arrangement, which were  then placed around the church .

Network 55+ display
Music Group
Brownies and Guides

Church view

Mossley hill is known as the Hilltop church, is of gothic style and can be seen from miles around, such as from the beacon at Billinge Hill. From the top of the church tower you can see North Wales, the Pennines and the sweep of the Mersey estuary. It is part of he Mossley hill team ministry which includes St Barnabas and All Hallow's churches.

The Church of St Matthew and Saint James, known as Mossley Hill Church, was consecrated on 23 June 1875. The Church named after its founder Matthew James Glenton.Situated in the centre of the Mossley hill conservation area, it's a magnificient church that survived the blitz. Being one of the first churches in England to be bombed during the Second World War in the air raids on Liverpool on 28th and 29th of August 1940.


Photographs of the aftermath, remnants of stained glass - all of which was destroyed in the bombing sadly, including work by William Morris. A common prayer book with shrapnel lodged in it are on display in the prayer room.

Eagle Lectern
The lectern is a magnifient golden eagle, the vicar tells me they have not established where this came from and its significance, but certainly St John is repreesnted by an eagle and there was some suggestion that our Liverpool  Liver bird was actually  an eagle in the distant past?    

I spent a couple of  hours at the church and would like to thank Hazel and Lynne from St Barnabas for their time and company.
The volunteers put on refreshments and the home baked cake and scones  were lovely!  

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Anglesey again, Penmon and Puffins

Bobbing along - Puffins from Puffin island

Another sunny day saw Bill and I back on Anglesey. This time we decided to do a stretch of the coastal path from Beaumaris to Penmon point and back, a walk of nine miles. A walk with a twist, we decided to include a boat trip from Beaumaris pier to Puffin Island.
Beaumaris is a pleasant seaside town with its own medieval castle. Popular with day-trippers and today was no exception. On a clear sunny day the view along the menai straight is fabulous, a panoramic views over the waters to the Snowdonia Mountain Range, Abergwyngregn and Llanfairfechan.
View from Beaumaris

We climbed aboard our boat- the island princess (Boat trips £9.00) the 11.30am boat was full including 5 well behaved dogs on board! The trip takes 75 mins and fortunately for all onboard the weather was great, sunny, light winds and not too much of a swell on the sea.
Puffin Island (Ynys Seiriol in Welsh) is uninhabited and is designated a Special Protection Area on account of its large cormorant population over 750 pairs, making it one of the largest colonies in the British Isles. A fabulous, beautiful sanctuary, free from humans disturbance, and land predators such as fox, stoat or rats. The rats were eradicated in 1998 - 2000 using tonnes of warfarin, brought to the island by boat and with the assistance of RAF Valley helicopter Squadron. The rats used to feast on eggs and chicks during the short breeding season, decimating the puffin, today the Scan team report 30 breeding pairs being a high estimate.
Puffin Island is the ninth largest island off the coast of Wales. It is carboniferous limestone, and has steep cliffs on all sides. Its highest point is 190ft above sea level and it covers an area of 69 acres. 

Puffin Island
As we approached the island, the usual cacophonies of a seabird colony met you ears, but fortunately unlike Bempton and Farne not close enough to be nasally assaulted by guano and regurgitated fish paste.
Puffin Island is home to breeding populations of at least 12 species of seabird in their natural habitat – guillemot and black guillemot, cormorants, kittiwakes, fulmar, razorbill, shag, cormorant,  and of course the puffin. Herring, lesser black backed and gtr black backed gulls. If you’re fortunate you may also get to see gannets, chough, raven, peregrine falcons and storm petrels.
Nesting colony



The east end of the island is home to a colony of grey seals which can be seen swimming in the sea or basking on the beach, as you can see rather chilled out.
Lifes' a beach- Grey Seals on Puffin island shore

Returning to Beaumaris the attentive skipper pointed out puffins bobbing about on the sea and a harbour porpoise off the bow of the boat. Note: those wanting a longer stay can join the Extended Wildlife & Sightseeing Cruise or 2hr photographers cruise.

Razorbill & Guillemot

Back on terra firma we set out on our walk following the coastal path, we have maps but, the way is marled by blue discs and generally well marked.
A lot of the walk to Penmon point is done over the beach or should I say pebbles/shingle, so a warning is required as this can be hard going and will extend your walking time; make sure you have the right footwear. 
Ringed plover pair
On the plus side, shingle can lead to some welcome bird sightings, all along the way
we observed piping oystercatchers, bathing gulls and a couple of scurrying ringed plover.  At sea along the shore a red breasted merganser and 3 eider ducks.

Whoooo... Eider ducks

Some of the cliffs along the way are striking with caves, and interesting strata and most importantly a home for sand martins.
Sand martin nesting bank


Approaching Penmon priory
Before reaching Penmon point and it's lighthouse you reach Penmon Priory, thought founded by St Seiriol’s in the sixth century.  A peaceful place surrounded by woodland with its own Holy Well, the spring emerges from a cliff behind the church.  It has a dovecot built to house domestic pigeons for their eggs and meat.  Inside were 1000 nesting boxes to accommodate the birds.

There had been reports the week before that someone had heard a corncrake in the priory grounds, no such luck! But lots of more common birds were heard and seen linnets, chiffchaff, willow warbler, blackbird, goldcrest, song thrush, goldfinch, great ,blue and long tailed tit, wren etc

Penmonpoint and a local artist Antony Garratt
Penmon Point 

At the end of the road is Penmon point. A picturesque area with lots of rock pools to explore. A fast flowing current flows through the sound that separates Puffin Island from the point (Trwyn Du). In 1837 a lighthouse was built to warn ships of the treacherous waters, in 1832 a lifeboat station was established and served the area between 1832- 1915, saving 116 lives.

Reverse the map and back for tea. So there you go a wee blog on somewhere very nice to go for the day.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Stoately Stupendous!


A week off, and I can’t tell you how good it was to be off from work, and what a good choice. The weather was glorious.

Needless to say that meant we had no reason to stay indoors and do tedious household chores. It was boots, cap and sun cream on, and ‘where are we going next?!

Up the M62, 20 minutes later and we’re at Clock face Country Park. Opened in the late 1990s, this was formerly a colliery site and is linked to ‘The dream’ statue at Sutton Manor. Fifty seven acres of meadows, woodlands, wetland, intersected by footpaths and a popular fishing pond. 
Last time we'd visited it was winter, some snow still on the ground.
Fishing pond
Adjacent is Maypole Wood, in 2003 the Forestry Commission planted thousands of trees to form the young woodland, a new section of the expanding Mersey Forest.

The park gives extensive views from its highest point and has a toposcope to guide your eye (probably best viewed from in winter, when the woodland foliage doesn’t obscure some of the vista).

Fiddlers Ferry power station

It was a windy day and I must admit birds were mainly heard rather than seen, the usual summer migrants were prevalent, Chiff chaff, willow warbler, black cap, and whitethroat accompanied by familiar home birds, finches, tits, robins, jays and thrushes.

The meadows were now in bloom, patches of wildflowers flourished such as orchid, birdsfoot trefoil, buttercup  and ragged robin
Ragged robin

However the highlight of out trip was about to occur, a most unexpected encounter with a rather attractive stoat and an unfortunate bunny.
As I said a windy day  and at first I thought the form flying across the path was a piece of cardboard, however the sudden dash back across the path of a red and white furry thing with a black tail tip, led me to inspect the said  ‘cardboard’, only to find a dead although still warm Rabbit! This was exciting just like Springwatch on the telly. We backed off a way and watched, sure enough the stoat returned to retrieve her (Admittedly I can’t say I know whether it was a she or a he) dinner.  How vigorous these little mammals must be, carrying home a quarry at least twice it’s size.

Stoat in meadow
Through the buttercup meadow she bounced, occasionally stopping for a rest? Or more likely a watchful lookout for any bigger predators about intent on stealing her dinner; certainly we had seen buzzard and kestrel hunting overhead. Finally she reached the edge of the woodland and disappeared into the tree line, back to the den and maybe her kits?
What a treat, to observe this formidable little predator. It's beauty, amazing strength and perseverance. Yes sad for the bunny but this is the natural world all in order, in blood and claw.



Hay Bridge – The Return

After our previous visit in 2013, when the weather was very wet, we were hoping for better conditions for our return to this beautiful reserve in the Rusland Valley in the Lake District.  We were not disappointed and had a fine day, if a little breezy at times.  Our visit was a joint trip with Southport Local Group and fourteen members turned up for the trip.

Foulshaw Moss boardwalk
A few of us had a quick stop on the way up at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve which is owned by Cumbria Wildlife Trust and home to a family of Ospreys recently featured on BBC’s Northwest Tonight.  The viewing point is some way off the nest and a telescope is necessary to get a decent view. 
Osprey tree
We managed to see one of the adults on the nest during our short visit together with a supporting cast of Tree Pipits, Redpolls, Reed Buntings, Stonechats and Swifts.  The site is well worth exploring and only a stone’s throw from the busy A590.

Moving on to our meeting point at Newby Bridge we picked up the rest of the group and began our convoy to Hay Bridge, a few miles further on.  Just before we reached the village of Bouth we came across a group of birdwatchers at the roadside with their scopes trained on the opposite hillside.  This turned out to be a well known spot for Honey Buzzards. 
 We spent some time here looking at distant birds of prey, in the hope of seeing one of these scarce migrants.  Although lots of birds of prey were seen from this spot, mostly Common Buzzards, we couldn’t find a bird displaying the features you would use to identify this species at a distance, i.e. small head, noticeably longer tail and not hanging in the air.  After spending a little time here, during which we noted a Grasshopper Warbler reeling in the field behind us and a Common Whitethroat singing it’s heart out and House Martins a plenty, we moved on to Hay Bridge.
House martins- S chambers

At the visitor centre we were soon looking at a stunning male Common Redstart
in a nearby tree, redpolls on the feeder in front of the reserve and an Osprey flying down the valley, followed very shortly by another one carrying a fish in its talons.

This beautiful reserve is made up of mixed habitats and we set off for a pre-lunch walk mostly along the boardwalk over the raised peat bog.  We were soon hearing the distinctive songs of Pied Flycatchers, although we didn’t catch sight of one in the dense canopies of the Alders.  
Spotted flycathcer- s chambers

Pied flycatcher - s chambers
Walking on we heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker chipping away and soon spotted it flying away across the moss.  Further along we became aware of a herd of Red Deer which we were able to glimpse through the trees. 
Deer at haybridge
Also noted were Ravens and a single Lapwing.  We carried on a little further to a view over the valley and the edge of the Grizedale Forest.  We retraced our steps from here as the path had become too sodden and muddy to carry on and anyway lunch was beckoning. 

On our way back we spotted a family of newly fledged wrens and a tree pipit displaying over the bog.  Some of us were also lucky enough to have a fleeting view of a male Pied Flycatcher flying through the Alders.

Tree pipit - s chambers
Back to the veranda outside the visitor centre to eat our lunch, we enjoyed even more birds of prey including Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Common and Honey Buzzard! Swallows swooped across our feet and the garden and fields beyond and a very showy Tree Pipit sat on top of a telegraph pole and entertained us. 

Distant honey buzzard
Dragging ourselves away after lunch we explored the mainly deciduous woodland, with the possibility of Garden and Wood Warblers, and soon came across a Goldcrest and a Treecreeper.  We didn’t hear any Wood Warblers but did hear a Garden Warbler and got onto it fairly quickly.

Garden warbler- s chambers

Coming out onto the reserve road eventually, we noted Little Grebes, Tufted Duck and Moorhen on White Moss Tarn.  A few of us stopped off briefly to view the ‘Tissie Fooks’ (founder of the reserve) memorial stone which depicted and named the hills on the horizon.

Returning to the visitor centre we enjoyed a welcome cup of tea before returning home.
Ann (Tomo)

Wednesday, 10 June 2015


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