Hardly mothtastic at Base Camp but…

The Safari has been enviously reading about triple figure overnight moth catches of dozens of species all over social media these last few weeks but unfortunately our own moth trap has produced meagre returns both in terms of nightly numbers and of species involved. That's not to say that we haven't had some fun and are always eager to peer in to the trap each morning just in case there's something different in there - - preferably not wasps!Here's a trundle through some of the moths we've caught - mostly those that have stayed still long enough for us to get a pic of as it's normally already very warm by the time we're able to get to open the trap and there's always a few escapees, probably the most exciting and/or most colourful ones ie Brimstone moth - they just won't keep still!Brimstone from a couple of years backThe following are all ...

A morning’s rampage through the Rock Gardens

The Safari apologises for being 'off-air' for so long. We have been out n about on safari but have had serious family stuff to deal with culminating in the not-unexpected funeral earlier this week.With a bit more time on our hands we were able to join CR at the local park mid-week for a butterfly hunt and arriving there we found former colleague WM already searching for the White Letter Hairstreaks.By eck it was hot and humid down in the 'Butterfly Zone', the rough un-managed bit of the park. Unfortunately with the recent hot spell all but a tiny few of the Bramble flowers have been pollinated already and are turning in to tasty Blackberries. This along with the total lack of Thistles this season meant there was no nectar to tempt the Hairstreaks down from their favourite tree top so we have no pics of them for you, They did emerge very ear...

Struggling

The Safari is struggling to put finger to keyboard at the moment. It's not that we've had nowt to tell you about as we've been doing loads but we've also had serious family issues taking up a lot of our time.For a quick catch-up we've moved our birds year list up to 166, the last one added being some Bearded Tits at Leighton Moss last weekend on a visit with our Southside mates.Our Photo Year List Challenge has come on a bit as well, as would be expected in May with many new migrants fresh in from their winter sojourn. Moving our tally up to 144Tree PipitSiskin The two above were found on an early morning visit to Beacon Fell near PrestonA better Siskin taken at a private nature reserve in the southern part of the Lake DistrictRook taken at the well worth a visit Kelpies at Falkirk in central Scotland A visit to the tern colony at...
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Plagued by good weather?

The Safari has had little time for keeping you all up to date with our goings-on of late, what with good weather meaning we've been out n about a lot and some serious family stuff to contend with there's not been much time for putting finger to keyboard.So here's a very swift catch up of what's been aboutSwift (155, PYLC #124) - rubbishy pic taken at Lunt Meadows which we hope to improve on but they do seem to be horrendously scarce round these parts this year.Sedge Warbler (PYLC #125) Lunt Meadows againGrey Partridge (156) a pair seen as we drove out of Lunt Meadows and unable to get a pic, the Little Owls in the nearby barn weren't one show - AGAIN!!!A stunning full sum plum Black Necked Grebe 157, PYLC #126) rocked up on a local park lake and was thoroughly enjoyed by hordes of birders showing down to point black range while the resident...

Bird bingo

The Safari joined PT to lead the North Blackpool Pond Trail's Bird Bingo family event last Saturday morning. The birds were on fine form, showing well, it's just a shame the families didn't make such a good showing too. Maybe people are doing other stuff on Saturday mornings and Sunday might be a better day for more people to be able to come along.The birding is quite easy at Kincraig Lake as the birds are more than willing to come close and grab a beakful of whatever is on offer so you can get some nice portrait shots of old favourites like this male Mute Swan.The sun shone bringing out the finery of the drake Mallards.Also present was a very tame Heron which has become accustomed to eating bread - Can't be good for it!Note its iris, it seems to be deformed and not circular like its other one, an old injury perhaps or was it born like that...
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Hope that wasn’t summer

The Safari had a couple of early morning wanders around Marton Mere last weekend, arriving at just before 07.00 hours. It was lively both mornings but better on Saturday. Grasshopper Warblers (147) reeled, Cetti's Warblers exploded, Blackcaps warbled, Lesser Whitethroats rattled and fresh in that day Whitethroats (148) scratched. The place was alive with bird song in the almost warm sunshine.Willow Warbler (PYLC #117)We took the outside path and sauntered slowly down to The Nook returning via Mere View where we found three Tree Sparrows (PYLC #121) mostly secreted in the dense Blackthorn thicket. We didn't get a pic but went back the following morning to get this one.It was a bit harrowing (pun intended!) to see the farmer rolling the pasture, OK they'll say they have to do it to get better grass growth but if there were any Lapwing nests o...

Spring springs on at last

The Safari had a day out in north Lancashire with CR last week. We started out at Sizergh Castle where we (as is becoming the norm) dipped the Hawfinches. It didn't help that the place was busy and a couple of gimmers parked next to where C'd dropped the seed bait and faffed around getting their kit out of the back of the car for at least 20 minutes. Very dull cloudy conditions leading to rain didn't help the photography either. A Nuthatch flew in grabbed a sunny seed and bombed straight back in to cover.But a Chaffinch hung around not flitting far when the faffers were moving around. Look at its legs and feet, the poor little b*gger has Papilloma virus. The rain sent us to Leighton Moss where there is shelter from the rain. However the rain had eased a bit and that gave us the opportunity to have a look at the Black Headed Wagtail (144, PY...

Scales and fluffy stuff

The Safari took advantage of some early morning sun in the weather forecast and planned a trip down the coast to the local lizard hotspot. CR drove the few miles south and pulled up in what he thought was a rather unusual spot, it was the right place and it is possible with a bit of luck to spot our quarry from the driving seat of your motor.It wasn't to be today as we had to walk up and down the bank a few times, taking care not to let our shadows fall on the vegetation. It took a while but eventually persistence paid off. Hiding under an extensive amount of overhanging Marram Grass was the first Common Lizard of the morning. Cautiously we approached as close as we dared to get a good luck at the little beauty.They like bare patches of sand that are lightly covered by vegetation. For some reason they don't seem to like to bask out in the o...

Spring is hardly springing along

The Safari had a very pleasant surprise on Sunday. After a wet and miserable Saturday when we planned to go to have a look at a new car but decided not too because of the weather we had a browse on-line and found a similar one much closer to Base Camp, the original one wasn't viewable on Sunday so we nipped out for a look at the nearer one in dry bight warm and sunny conditions - a proper spring day. Long gone are our days of the fuel thirsty but fun and capable Land Rovers now we're looking at hybrid hatchbacks, they're not the same but needs must!!!Anyway the salesman was showing us what was on offer on his forecourt when we heard a commotion of gulls above our heads - we had to ask him to hold his patter for a few minutes while we picked out a passing Osprey (138) the gulls had alerted us too. It was low overhead as it circled slowly nor...

The simplest things give the most pleasure

The Safari was walking Monty along the top of Chat Alley the other morning expecting to see a  Wheatear or Meadow Pipit or two and secretly hoping for something a little more exotic like a Stonechat or a, heaven forbid, Black Redstart or even a grounded Ring Ouzel. No such luck with the exotica but we did hear a couple of Meadow Pipits overhead. It was a no bins no camera dog walk and as can only happen when you're optic-less up pops a stonking male Wheatear on to the fence only a few yards in front of us...absolutely awesome; it stayed put giving ever closer views as we carefully inched forward towards it. The sort of sighting permanent memories are made of, but sadly not digital images - if we'd have had the big lens we'd have had to wind the zoom right in and still step back a few yards to get it all in the frame we were that close!...