25th June 2011 is Bioblitz where a site is covered as much as possible to try to obtain as many species of organisms as possible. For Brockholes NR LWT, this started on the evening of the 24th at 22.30pm where Kane and I joined Bill Aspin, David and Jim Beattie to set up 3 moth traps. After the setting of the traps, Bill, Kane and I walked around the site with Bill's flash light trying to see any nocturnal species. It wasn't long before we got our first reflecting eyes in the form of a Tawny Owl which was sat on a post to the south of Boilton Marsh. This is the first visual site record for me. In addition to this, we saw a 'nocturnal' Little Ringed Plover as well as a Roe Deer and a Hedgehog (my first for the year!) We left the site at 00.30 after a decent catch up.
I arrived back on site this morning at 05.25 in drizzle trying to count roosting wildfowl on the islands, and hopefully check any of the Coot for rings! Complete species count as follows:
9 Mute Swan, 6 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Little Grebe, 138 Canada Goose, 1 Barnacle Goose, 127 Coot, 12 Moorhen, 37 Mallard, 4 Gadwall (2 juv), 3 Tufted Duck, 1 fem Goosander, 4 Cormorant, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 11 adult LRP, 3 Ringed Plover, 7 Oystercatcher (2 juv), 19 Lapwing, 3 Common Redshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 18 Black-headed Gull (1 juv), 1 Common Tern (on Ribble nr Redscar 08.50), 2 Collared Dove, 8 Woodpigeon, 2 Stock Dove, 14 Feral Pigeon, 1 Barn Owl, Cuckoo, 1 Kingfisher, 150+ Sand Martin, 5 House Martin, 10+ Swallow, 3 male Skylark, 4 Pied Wagtail, 30+ Swift, 2 Dunnock, 3 Whitethroat, 1 juv Garden Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 6 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 14 Blue Tit, 8 Great Tit, 2 Coal Tit, 1 Wren, 3 House Sparrow (across river), 8 Tree Sparrow (over), 8 Magpie, 1 Jackdaw, 10 Carrion Crow, 4 Linnet, 2 Goldfinch, 11 Reed Bunting.
The Cuckoo is a first for the site personally and with less than 10 records since 10th August 1998, this is a very difficult species to connect with. With confirmed decreases in the British population, I was starting to think I have missed my opportunity to see this species. This is the third sighting this year with one seen on the 23rd in the same place, so presumably the same bird. In addition James Walsh saw a bird on the 31st May, which presumably is a different bird?
When Bill, Jim and David arrived, we started examining the moth traps. It took us all a while to pick up 2 stunning Eyed Hawkmoth that were resting outside of the main trap which was a first for me and the first to be caught on site. Other species caught overnight included Dark Arches, Light Arches, Cinnabar, Buff Ermine, Snout among several other species that have already eluded my memory...you need a good memory when it comes to mothing!
Before I left the site at 09.35, I helped to check the small mammal traps with the Lancs Mammal Group where we caught a Wood Mouse, Bank Vole and a feisty Common Shrew which were all rather delightful to see up close. As a left, the local botany 'expert' was starting his survey so hopefully Brockholes will come out as being one of the most diverse sites in Lancashire.
It already has my vote as being one of the best sites in Lancs....