Billinge Hill Bits

Didnt even make it all the way up the hill on Saturday evening because I got a little distracted by the ever gorgeous kestrel around the horse paddocks ..... understandably my pictures dont do it full justice

 
 

 
 

Then the ever entertaining pied wagtails caught my eye as one caught a large moth(?) and dismembered it in front of my eyes

 
 

Answers on a post card please!

Then a few crows caught my attention, firstly because there aren't normally that many crows up here but because they were a bit shabby and had large amounts of white on them, presumably a pigment malfunction?
 
 


Anyhow the light soon faded and I returned to my armchair!

Paul B

Carr Mill Dam & Surrounding Area

Saturday 18th July turned into a nice sunny day, so I decided to have a walk around Carr Mill Dam to see if any of the reported Common Terns were still present, and to see what other wildlife I could see. There where at least 5 terns still present, also a single Kingfisher, 3 Grey Wagtails (2ads 1juv) a Buzzard and good numbers of Great Crested Grebe, several of which had young, amongst other species that were seen. A variety of other species of several families were seen around the Dam, a selection of which are listed below.
8 species of butterfly were noted including:
White-letter Hairstreak (1 nectaring on bramble at N/West corner of Dam near 19 Arches) the first I've seen in St Helens since 1997
Red Admiral 1
Gatekeeper, several 
Small Skipper 4+
Comma 3
6 species of dragonfly including:
Emperor Dragonfly, male, first I've seen at this location
Brown Hawker 2
Emerald Damselfly 1, again first I've seen at this location
Plus lots of Common, Azure and Blue-tailed Damselflies.
Also seen was several species of bees including Red-tailed, Common Carder and Buff-tailed, also a Water Ladybird and several Harlequin Ladybirds, plus a Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle and 2 Ruby-tailed Wasps (first I've ever seen), also 5 Terrapins were basking in the sun on a fallen tree branch in the water north of the 19 arches (possibly Red-eared?)
 
Ray Banks    

My porch!

My wife just found a 'dragonfly' in our porch - turned out to be this Blue-tailed Damselfly...







 Damian P

Eccleston Mere

I had a look around the mere yesterday afternoon hoping to see some terns, there were none there unfortunately but the female mandarin came right up to me hoping to be fed. I felt guilty and walked back to the car to get some food for it! There was also a family of coot with 8 chicks that only looked a day or two old.

Mandarin 1f
Mute swan 4 adults
Kingfisher 1
Blackcap 1f
Chiffchaff 2
Nuthatch 1 in the dead wood
Treecreeper 1
GS woodpecker 2
Whitethroat 1 heard
Lots of swift and housemartin

Damian P





Hedhehog!

I was just trying (unsuccessfully) to take photos of the lightning from my back garden when a hedgehog ran from between my house and the house next door, and down the length of my garden! It's the first live one I've seen for about five years! I've suspected that we've had then in the garden as some of my strawberries were getting chomped by something, and I've seen their telltale tar-like poo once or twice.

I'll start leaving food out for them and try and get a photo although I think I'd be very lucky.

Damian P