Solstice Greetings

Solstice Greetings to you all! I would like to say that the picture below of the sunrise was taken this morning, but it wasn't, it was taken a couple of days after the Solstice last year. I would have liked to have been out to enjoy the sunrise this morning, but I didn't get home until the wee hours after watching a stunning performance by Yes in Liverpool. They were playing all of their 1972 classic album Close To The Edge, plus a selection of other great songs from their back catalogue. Awesome gig! 
 
Sunrise over the estuary
 
I mentioned in my previous post that most of my breeding bird survey is nearly completed now, with a survey tomorrow, Friday, early July, and then that's it. Just in time for autumn! I've said this before, but in the bird world autumn starts more or less on 1st July! 

Since my last post, I have completed a few breeding bird surveys, with one in the northeast near Middlesborough. Nothing spectacular during this survey, in fact no real highlights to mention here, but there was some great botanical diversity on this site, and a couple of orchid species were frequent across the area; Northern Marsh and Pyramidal, I think! Have a look at the pictures below, and if you think differently, please let me know. 
 
Northern Marsh Orchid
 
Pyramidal Orchid
 

 
The following day I was in Greater Manchester completing the second BBS at a site there. Again, nothing exciting but two Song Thrushes, four Chiffchaffs, four Blackcaps and a Goldcrest, all singing, are worth mentioning. 

I was closer to home on the banks of the Ribble six days ago at a site with a good area of Willow Scrub. Breeding birds were represented by seven Chiffchaffs, ten Whitethroats, three Blackcaps, a Sedge Warbler, nine Willow Warblers and three Song Thrushes, again all singing.

Brown Hares are fairly numerous at this site, and I had at least ten individuals. I photographed one confiding individual that you can see below. You can see how wet it is from feeding in wet vegetation. 
 
Brown Hare (above & below)
 

 

Three Buzzards were knocking about the site, and I had about fifteen Sand Martins that were flying back and forwards over the river, presumably from a colony to foraging areas, and back again. A Grey Wagtail, Jay, Little Egret and three Bullfinches, all made it in to my notebook.

I finished the week off by joining Alice at our friend's farm near Garstang to ring a brood of Swallows, and four healthy chicks with feathers 'FM', primary feathers a third to two thirds emerged from the sheath, were ringed. 

I'll let you know how the other surveys go this week.