After a bit of a break it was back on Newchurch Common today in weak sunshine, nippy at first but just starting to get warmer! Warmer weather means insects too, a real passion of mine, so I’m looking forward to the warmer weather for a bit more insect recording and of course iPhone piccies!
The two pools at Newchurch are now very quiet, not many Tufted Ducks, a pair of Mute Swans nesting, lots of Coot nests, a few Great Crested Grebe nests, Canada Geese and a few Black-headed Gulls. My most unusual 'water' birds for today were a flyover pair of Greylag Geese, seen near the Whitegate Way and a Grey Heron at Gull Pool. Little Grebes were in breeding habitat at Gull Pool as usual after the Winter period when they are on Sandiway Big Pool in reasonable numbers.
The highlight bird-wise, however, was a fabulous male Cuckoo, calling on Abbots Moss, great to have my first one back, fingers crossed for more, as him being the only one means he isn't vocalising much at the moment. Over the years I have seen Cuckoos decline here, as they are doing nationally, and only had one back last year, so I’m hoping for better in 2019. Another noteworthy event was the first patch Garden Warblers for me this year, with easily in excess of 6 singing birds. Lots of Blackcaps were also singing too, for good comparison on these similar-ish songs. A Green Woodpecker was on the mosslands as well as two Linnets and a Skylark. Lapwing numbers seem down with only two seen.
The insect highlight was my first Green Hairstreaks of this year, with approx. 8 individuals seen on the mosslands as usual. Also a first for the year were Green Tiger Beetles, with at least 5 seen. I love these speedy, voracious predators, they are the miniature velociraptors of my patch!! Other butterflies on the wing included lots of Orange-tips,always a delight to see, a couple of Peacocks and a Green-veined White. My first Common Heath moths were also seen, again predictably over the mosslands. White-tailed Bumblebees were again foraging but sluggishly as it isn't really very warm yet.
Pictured are Orange-tip and Green Tiger Beetle: