Friday, 19 August 2022

GWE encore, plus belated record breaking moth

A fresh west wind overcast but plenty of sunny spells

Wheatear 1 female on Near Naze yesterday - ref Howard 

South shore - today
I was busy today and thought this morning's visit towards low water would be my only opportunity (MD)
Rock Pipit 1 on Red Nab
Peregrine Falcon 2. One, presumably a juvenile was practicing its stoops on the gulls
Peregrine practicing its stoop

Mediterranean gulls 8 adult plus 1 x 1st calendar year on the beach next to the wooden jetty, most on the waterline, later 1 x 1cy on No.2 outflow
Little Egret 5 - the current plumage and bill colour of the visiting Great White Egret is very similar to the Little Egrets, but the most telling factor other than size is the Little Egret's yellow feet (apologies to experienced birders).

But care is required, sometimes when wading through mud, their feet can appear dark. These three Little Egrets seemed to be catching lots of shrimps in the almost empty channel below the sea wall at No.2 outflow. Their feet alternating between looking yellow and looking dark.

Fortunately, my business in the afternoon finished much earlier than I had expected, so with a quick dash I managed to get back to the sea wall for 14:45. 
There was no algae on the mud near the channel today, don't know why, it was sunnier today than yesterday. The mullet seemed to know why and didn't turn up either, but there were Egret feeding on the shrimps and Common Gobies two Little Egret plus
Great White Egret 1
Great White Egret with a small shrimp 
And showing a well washed dark foot

The size difference was not so obvious this afternoon as the Little Egret was closer 
But this shot does show the different profile and thicker neck of the Great White

In this clip the Great White Egret chases off a Little Egret

I watched it feed for about 5 minutes, it was certainly catching plenty, but only small stuff.

It became either fully fed, or just fully fed up of the small prey, as it flew to Red Nab to roost. I don't know if it will be tempted to return tomorrow, possibly unlikely as the tide is quite a bit lower. If it does come back it will be about 15:30 - 16-30, certainly worth a look.

This Migrant Hawker was below the small anemometer 
Mature male Migrant Hawker

Finally this report from Kevin of his excellent sighting along the sea wall last month. This is a brilliant spot, I can barely see the moth in Kevin's picture, let alone spot it on the wall. You will probably have to open Kevin's picture to be able to see it. 
Marbled Green moth  

A belated record from July 26th. Belated because I was waiting for verification as it's only the third record for Lancashire, and the only one North of the Ribble.

It was resting on the South harbour arm and I only spotted it because I was scanning along the wall at a low angle in order to see any insects standing out above the surface. Even knowing exactly where it was it took a while to locate because of the excellent camouflage. The caterpillars feed on lichen and the adults rest on lichen covered walls, rendering them virtually invisible to the prying eyes of hungry birds.

Marbled Green moth

Thursday, 18 August 2022

GWE comes mullet fishing

Generally a south fresh wind, a bit of SSE in the morning then SW after lunch. Overcast all day and it always looked like it was going to pour down, but we got away with light showers.

Heysham skear - low water 11:00 (MD)
It didn't feel promising and didn't surprise!
Great Crested Grebe 3
Apart from the grebes the only other diving bird on the sea were the Cormorants, but there were more than normal, at least 25.
Little Egret 5
Waders: Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone plus one each
Ringed Plover
Knot  - no sign of any summer plumage 

South shore rising tide early afternoon (MD)
I just exercised my daughter's dog along the sea wall (the last time I took him out I spotted the Purple Hairstreak on Middleton, perhaps I should take him out more often!)
Mediterranean gulls - at least 6 adult with the gull roost on Red Nab, almost certainly more
Rock Pipit 1 on Red Nab
The tide was starting to fill the channel along No.2 outflow. Three Cormorants were fishing in the shallow margins of the channel. They were after the small Grey Mullet that come in early to feed on the algae that forms on the mud on warm days. There were lots of Mullet, but didn't see the cormorants catch any, they are probably too nimble in such shallow water.

This is what the Mullet are after, even on a relatively cool and sunless day, there was a substantial coating of algae along the channel edge below the sea wall.
Algae along the channel edge below the sea wall
I decided to time the rest of my walk so that the Mullet would be arriving here on my return. I was planning to take a clip of them feeding. When I got back (2.5 hours before high water) the channels were just filling and the Mullet had started feeding here. The cormorants had gone, probably gave up, but two Egrets were feeding. One Little Egret plus
Great White Egret 1 - it's a while since we highlighted GWE red, but this is the first record of one actually feeding in the recording area. Although, by the time I got there it had stopped feeding and soon headed off low to the east.

There is often a Grey Heron feeding here too, shame it wasn't today, it would be good to see all three together. This is a nice size comparison shot between the Great and Little Egret.
Great White and Little Egrets

Great White Egret

I don't know if the GWE was drawn by the other feeding birds, or if it has visited at this time before, either way, there is a chance of a repeat performance tomorrow. Some time about 14:30 to 15:00, possibly earlier, as I'm sure it could have caught the fish the cormorants couldn't. Unfortunately, I can't make it tomorrow. If anyone does check tomorrow, please let either Pete or myself know, if it was there or not.
The Mullet were difficult to see, as the incoming water was clouded and the surface rippled by the wind. This is the same area as the photograph above, you will have to take my word that they are Grey Mullet, but there is no doubt the shallow channel is full of them.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Looks like the Black Darter didn't fly away

A fresh NE breeze till evening, then shifted to NW. Cloudy with sunny spells 

South shore (MD)
A check in the morning at low water
Wheatear 3 (1 + 2 along foreshore)
Male Wheatear, still looking striking 
Linnet 3 following the 2 Wheatear along foreshore and kidding themselves that they were "seeing them off".
Rock Pipit 2 (a brief evening check found 7 squabbling along Red Nab)
Mediterranean gulls 13 resting on the waterline on beach next to wooden jetty. All adult or 3rd calendar year 

The only insect I saw come in off the sea was a Small Tortoiseshell 

Nature Park 
Not so many large butterflies on the Buddleia but still a reasonable variety around
Meadow Brown 
Red Admiral 
Common Blue
Small White 
Speckled Wood
Small Tortoiseshell 

Migrant Hawker 5 all flying around below the small anemometer 
(An evening check found none)

Middleton Nature Reserve (MD)
I just paid a short visit mainly to check for the Purple Hairstreak (no sign) and to complete a thorough check of the area where the Black Darter was yesterday. And I found at least one today.
This is the area where the Black Darter(s) were seen yesterday and today
To the left of the trees on the left is the low meadow and to the right of the picture 
is the Tim Butler pond

A female Black Darter was located on two occasions in this area, both times I managed not to disturb it, but they were probably the same insect and likely the same as yesterday as all were of a similar aged colouration. I have not pre sized these shots so you'll need to open them to see the detail clearly.
First sighting 
Second sighting 
She wasn't flying away here, she just had a flutter around and landed
back in the same spot. Fortunately I had already set the focus.

Incidentally, there were a couple of areas of flattened grass in the same area, where Roe Deer have spent the night. One particularly large one was below the largest tree on the left, in the picture above.
Area below the largest tree, flattened by resting Roe Deer (plural)

Other Dragonflies, just Emperor and Common Darter
Butterflies as the Nature Park but also, Brimstone 1, Large White 1, Painted Lady 1.
Wildfowl as yesterday plus 1 Coot

Goldfinch 57 adult and juveniles, flew from this tree, in the old horse paddock. They didn't seem to be feeding, just preening. Not a great clip (need more practice with my new camera!), and I've had to mute it as a jack hammer was in the background.

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Another Clouded Yellow

WNW light wind, overcast in the morning, but plenty of sunshine by the afternoon.

Heysham Nature Reserve 
Clouded Yellow 1 male around the office area before moving towards the None operational land - ref Pete.

South shore
Mediterranean gull 18 - 17 on Red Nab (ref Pete) plus one on beach near wooden jetty.
Adult Mediterranean gull on shore next to wooden jetty

Wheatear 1 on foreshore 
Linnet 9 
Rock Pipits 2

Nature Park butterflies (quite good considering it was still overcast)
Gate Keeper
Meadow Brown
Speckled Wood
Common Blue
Red Admiral 3
Painted Lady 2
Peacock 1
Large White 1
Small White 2

Middleton Nature Reserve (MD)
Mute Swan pair + 7 cygnets 
Moorhen 3
Mallard 2 female, 1 with 2 large young, 6 male in eclipse 
Gadwall 1 female (on Tim Butler - possibly more, as many areas of this pond are out of sight)
Heron 1
Water Rail 1 squealing
Little grebe 1 summer plumage bird on Tim Butler (Mallard in background)

Swallow just one having a quick drink from main pond

Butterflies nothing that wasn't seen earlier in the Nature Park

Emperor 5 (2 female)
Black-Tailed Skimmer 1 male, and 1 old female
Very mature female Black-Tailed Skimmer

Common Darter - common 
Black Darter 1 aged female. Despite the well established colony not far away at Heysham Moss Nature Reserve, they are barely annual at Middleton. It appeared to be in passage, as when it took off from here it lifted vertically till out of sight.
Mature female Black Darter

Monday, 15 August 2022

First Grey Wagtails of the autumn join the colour ringing scheme

Heavy overnight rain, but only the occasional light shower during the day. Variable light wind, mainly from west, overcast, but still very warm.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Report from Alan:

I thought I could be dodging showers this morning but none arrived apart from a few spots that hardly amounted to rain. The Grey Wagtail autumn season has started with the first two caught and colour ringed on the earliest date so far. I was alerted to set for the species by Jean's report of two passing over yesterday morning.

There were a few passage warblers around too but not in great numbers - no Tree Pipits in the very overcast conditions and no Hirundines whatsoever. A Sparrowhawk was patrolling around the mist net area which prompted a rather early end to the session as most of the birds had sensibly melted away.

Grey Wagtail 2 (see Grey Wagtail ringing scheme details on sidebar)

Cetti's Warbler 1 retrap

Sedge Warbler 1

Lesser Whitethroat 2

Common Whitethroat 4

Blackcap 1

Chiffchaff 3

Willow Warbler 2 + 1 retrap

Great Tit 1

Bullfinch 1 + 1 retrap

Heysham skear - low water (MD)

Eider 14
Great Crested Grebe 9
Shag 1 (presumably the regular 2nd calendar year) feeding near green marker post
Sandwich Tern 2 together in through the low water channel
Little Egret 14
Heron 2 - this one has a small flatfish 
Grey Heron with a small flatfish

It didn't last long

Waders: Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Ringed Plover 12, Dunlin 2

The tide was out quite a distance and the reef which formed over winter was largely exposed. Any submerged feature like this will always attract feeding creatures - great and small.
The long thin finger mid picture is the reef which formed last winter

South shore early evening dropping tide (MD)
Swallow 5 together came in over Red Nab
Rock Pipits 7 - the swarms of Kelp flies were not present today, but clearly there were still lots on the sloping wall, both the Pied Wagtails and the Pipits were helping themselves. This is one of the Pipits with a missing foot and currently moulting, even so it seemed to be easily finding plenty to eat, but it backed away as another group of 3 Pipits past by. It was clearly more wary of them than it was of me (which pleases me greatly!)

Common Sandpiper 3 - there was one on Red Nab and two together came from the north side and rested on No.1 outflow - just a couple of half hearted bobs today.

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Good ringing with some interesting movement

East to NE light wind, but again occasionally swirling around to NNW towards the harbour entrance. Hot sunshine.

First, Pete Crooks has received the history for one of the colour ringed Oystercatcher he read on Thursday:
A prompt reply from the Devon & Cornwall Wader Ringing Group about one of the c-r Oystercatchers

Ringed at Dawlish Warren, Exe Exstuary, Devon on 4/2/18 and also seen there on 18/2/18 and 3/12/20, but not seen again until Thursday.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Report from Jean and Pete:

A busy ringing morning with 35 birds of 14 species caught and only one retrap:

Whitethroat 10

Willow Warbler 7

Chiffchaff 5

Reed Warbler 2

Blackcap 1

Garden Warbler 1

Lesser Whitethroat 1

Grasshopper Warbler 1 (retrap)

Tree Pipit 2

Treecreeper 1 dispersing juvenile 

Robin 1

Goldfinch 2

Wren 2

GreatTit 1

Vis: Tree Pipit 7, Yellow Wagtail 1, Grey Wagtail 2, Great Spotted Woodpecker 2

No hirundines at all!

Pheasant with chicks, a marauding Sparrowhawk made off with one of the chicks.

Roe Deer 3 together

South shore (MD)
A morning walk along the sea wall to see if any ringed Mediterranean gulls were feeding on the beach next to the wooden jetty. Three adults were resting there but quickly moved on as the tide started rising. None were ringed.

There were hoards of small black flies all along the sea wall and definitely coming in from the wall. Then the penny dropped! They are Kelp Flies, they have benefited from the same circumstances that allowed the Rat-tailed maggots to develop. Warm weather and low spring tides last cycle allowing them to complete their life cycle, probably twice. They lay their eggs in the wrack on the high water line along the sea wall and the maggots feed on the decaying weed. Whatever instinct drives them, they got the timing right. The spring tides have peaked and any eggs laid along the upper weed line will be safe for at least 2 weeks, barring storms.
An afternoon check found no Kelp flies, so this morning's swarms must have been their breeding flight.
The only other insects moving were a few Small Tortoiseshell coming in off the sea

Rock Pipits 2 on Red Nab

Other than that it was just a case of enjoying watching the hundreds of Curlew and thousands of Oystercatcher flying past.

Oystercatcher, one leucistic bird with a white head
I seem to recall this, or a similar bird, being around a couple of years ago

In the afternoon there was a Common Sandpiper on Red Nab
Common Sandpiper behind a Black-headed gull
It was particularly difficult to spot as it wasn't bobbing - probably too hot!

Common Sandpiper

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Foiled again!

The forecast was for east light winds all day, and indeed for much of the region that was the case, but by afternoon along the south shore it was NNW! The hot constant sunshine continues.

Report from Pete:

Drake common scoter 1

2cy Shag 1

Eider 61 in three lots

off north side heysham head just as tide turned this am.

11 low tide Mediterranean gull on Red nab appeared to include a black darvic ringed adult

South shore - (MD)
In the morning the ESE wind was fine for insect migration, and the tide was largely out. But at 10:00 it was a bit early in the day for much to reach here. There were however black flies everywhere, particularly near the roundhead. 
Pied Wagtails seldom get a mention, and they should, it's just that they are omnipresent and, like the Oystercatcher, overlooked. There were at least 15 today, mainly youngsters, and they were taking advantage of the small fly abundance.
Juvenile Pied Wagtail surrounded by small black flies

Rock Pipit 1 on Foreshore 
Wheatear 1 on saltmarsh - it quickly caught a large beetle then moved off south.
Willow Warbler 1 near the waterfall 
Every year we seem to get one gull, that isn't keen to be on the water.
Juvenile Herring Gull keeping its feet dry

By this time it was 10:30 and the first butterflies were starting to come in off the sea. 
Small White 2
Small Tortoiseshell 2 
Came in off at the roundhead. 
But by now the tide was against the wall for much of its length and there was a steady trickle coming in off along the wall as I walked back. Unfortunately, when the tide is in the influx is spread all along the wall and shore, rather than being focused at the roundhead when the tide is out, so I would have missed lots more.
Gatekeeper 4
Small Tortoiseshell 3
Red Admiral 1
Still it looked promising for early evening when the tide was again out. But it wasn't to be, the wind was North to NNW when I checked again 16:00, I just saw a lingering Small White and a Small Tortoiseshell. 
But there were no black flies either, they must have moved inland. I don't know if they originally came in off the sea, or just off the, guano laden, wooden jetty.

Nature Park 
A good variety, but not high numbers of insects
Emperor 1
Migrant Hawker 1
Migrant Hawker 
Butterflies in order of abundance 
Meadow Brown 
Speckled Wood 3
Small White 3
Peacock 3
Small Tortoiseshell 2
Common Blue 2
Brimstone 1 female
Painted Lady 1

Friday, 12 August 2022

A rat tail's tale

The forecast was for some east winds today, but if there was any it was from west by mid morning and NW by mid afternoon. Very hot in the constant sun again.

South shore (MD)
A check along the wall mid morning, just in time for the wind to shift to west at 10:30. There were plenty of butterflies around the foreshore and Red Nab, but the only sign of any movement at the roundhead was a single Large White.
That said, this Grasshopper was half way along the sea wall. It may have just hopped out of the Power Station grounds though.
Common Field Grasshopper 
It was a lazy sort of day, summed up by this Grey Seal

There was a notable influx of large gulls, they were in rafts on the sea, plenty on and around the wooden jetty and lots in the harbour.
Large gulls on and around wooden jetty 

Large gulls in harbour 
There were only two on the platforms, but one was ringed, unfortunately it sat down before I could read it.
2nd calendar year Herring Gull
It knew I was watching it, but it steadfastly refused to care. The trick is to make them wary enough to stand up, but not enough to spook them into flight. After moving around a little and several coughs to no effect, I broke a mussel shell underfoot. Jackpot!
One of North West Gull Project's birds - see side bar for link to the scheme
Ringed in Bowland 08/07/21 seen previously in the harbour 31/01/22

Lots of insects in the Nature Park
Emperor 1
Migrant Hawker 1
Common Darter 3

Painted Lady 2
Peacock 3
Brimstone 1 male
Large White 1
Small Tortoiseshell 2
Meadow Brown several
Common Blue 3
Painted Lady and Common Blue
Photographs of Brimstone rarely look as splendid as they do in nature, mainly as they always settle with their wings closed and only the inner wings are bright yellow. So I tried to get an in flight shot. This is my best effort, still nowhere near as splendid as it actually was!
Male Brimstone 

This is interesting (I find anything that makes you think interesting MD)
This is the pool just below the the sea wall at the very start of the wall at Red Nab. The tide only fills this pool when it is over  9.5m high water (less height required when windy as the waves lap over). The last set of spring tides didn't get over 9m, so there will have been no sea water in this pool since it was filled on 17th July (24 days). After it is filled the sea water slowly seeps away and is diluted with rain water and, unlike much of England, we have had plenty of rain since then. So the pool will have only been slightly brackish.
Last night's tide at 9.52m in calm conditions will have only partly filled it with sea water again. This Rock Pipit was taking advantage - I like the way it peeps in pleasure/triumph before it captures its meal.

It's caught a Rat-Tailed Maggot, these are the larvae of some Hoverfly species.
Rock Pipit with Rat-Tailed Maggot
Rat-Tailed Maggots live underwater and use their long siphon to breathe from a safe depth. They are noted for tolerating poor quality water, presumably including slightly brackish, but it obviously couldn't tolerate the input of seawater last night and crawled out to "safety". This won't happen every tide cycle. This instance is the result of a low spring tide last cycle, allowing enough time for the maggots to grow, and a high tide last night just high enough, in the calm conditions, to only partly fill the pool. Bad news for the Rat-Tailed Maggots, but the Rock Pipit was clearly delighted!

Just out of the recording area - Heysham Moss Nature Reserve 
Just a couple of extra shots from Janet's visit yesterday 
Three pairs of Common Darters ovipositoring 


Thursday, 11 August 2022

Four colour ringed Oystercatcher

Very hot again with light variable breeze and wall to wall sunshine.

South shore
Report from Red Nab by Pete Crooks:
A check through the gulls and waders on this morning’s incoming tide:
28 Mediterranean Gull – 15 adults, 1 2nd summer, 2 1st summer, 10 juveniles – all gradually departed SE between 9.15 and 9.50 am.
Oystercatcher – happy to remain on the diminishing areas of sandstone at Red Nab much longer than the gulls. A careful check through the large flock (2000+ ? but not counted) revealed at least 4 colour-ringed birds, including one probably from Devon/Cornwall (details awaited), one of as yet uncertain origin and two with faded colour-rings or unreadable codes; plus at least 7 metal-ringed birds.
Also: 1 Wigeon and 1 Whimbrel

I checked foreshore and saltmarsh (MD)
Rock Pipit 2 on foreshore 
Wheatear 1 on saltmarsh 

Grey Plover 10 - they were on the tideline out from the foreshore, but we are back to spring tides now and it was coming in quickly. They got fed up of constantly moving with the tide and quickly flew off.

Heysham skear - just a quick evening check found nothing different to yesterday except that the scoter was not present.

Just out of Recording area - Heysham Moss Nature Reserve 
Janet checked it out today and took these excellent shots:

Common Darters ovipositoring 
This shots shows the dark peat bog water

Black Darters "in cop"
Great shot this, I didn't see any females earlier in the week (MD)

Common Green Grasshoppers everywhere!

Roebuck, looking tired now as we approach the end of mating season

Sulby Tate Kennels Middleton (also Janet)

this morning a line about 30+ Swallows sat along a wire, they have been nesting in their stables 

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Scoter and Eider creche back on skear

Light variable breeze eventually settled WNW. Hot sunshine all day

Heysham Nature Reserve 
Report from Jean
Ringing this morning - only caught 1 Blackcap, 1 Robin, 2 Blackbirds and a Greenfinch (all juvs except for one female Blackbird). 

Vis: one Swift. 

On reserve ad and juv Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk and a Jay.

Heysham skear - low water 17:30 (MD)

I didn't have much time today, this was my only outing. One reason for lack of time was a trip to Kendal to purchase a new (improved) camera. So I was pleased to locate a decent target to practice on.

Common Scoter 1 male, feeding in the same location on the south side of the skear as 29th July, out from the green marker post. This is the location of the reef that formed over winter, and I did predict that it should attract diving birds, we just want something more interesting now. 

My new camera has twice the magnification as my old one, unfortunately today's tide wasn't out as far as last time, so the Scoter was twice as far out!

In this clip, it is preening with a couple of Great Crested Grebe providing a good size comparison.

This picture is a still from the clip below it. The fish behind the scoter is a Garfish, a strange looking creature with a body like an eel and a face like a Crane - it's worth a google. The splash to the left of the Garfish is its prey escaping.

Male Common Scoter with a leaping Garfish behind

This still is taken from just before the end of this clip, but it happens quickly, Garfish are extremely fast!

It's no coincidence that the Garfish, Scoter and Grebes are feeding in the same area. The reef will attract shrimps and other crustacea plus small fish, which in turn attract larger fish and other predators.

Great Crested Grebe 5
Eider 42 mainly youngsters - this clip shows some of them catching small crabs

Little Egret 5
Waders: Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone and 5 Ringed Plover

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

First returning Grey Plover

 Almost breathless early on, later developing into a light west breeze. Sunshine all day.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Report from Alan:

Ringing this morning resulted in a reasonable catch, with only two nets set. There were goods numbers of Swallows on passage pausing to feed over the reserve together with a smaller number of Swifts.

There must have been a mass hatching of flying ants as a gathering of a few hundred assorted gulls circled noisily over the north half of the reserve in feeding mode for half an hour or so in the mid morning.

Grasshopper Warbler  1 + 1 retrap

Common Whitethroat 3

Sedge Warbler  2

Willow Warbler  5

Reed Warbler  1

Lesser Whitethroat  2

Blackcap  1

Cetti's Warbler  1

Swallow  2

Red Nab to saltmarsh - just before high water 09:30 (MD)
Mediterranean gull 3 adult on Red Nab
Wigeon 1 on Red Nab, possibly yesterday's new arrival.
Wigeon behind a Mediterranean gull

Rock Pipits 4 - 1 on Red Nab, 2 on foreshore and 1 on the rocky outcrop on the SE of the saltmarsh. A bird held territory here all last winter, but I couldn't find any evidence of breeding here, despite it seeming an ideal location.

I went down to see what was roosting on the shore out from the saltmarsh, but it was such a lovely morning, I was far from alone on the beach as holiday makers were making the most of their holiday. And who could blame them.
The net result was that the gulls were well scattered, I couldn't see any more Mediterranean gulls.
Grey Plover 4 - still largely in summer plumage.

Grey Plover

Sandwich Tern 1 adult with a juvenile 

Juvenile and adult Sandwich Tern

This clip is just to show the location out from the saltmarsh looking back at the foreshore and Red Nab

There was a bounty of large butterflies on the Buddleia in the Nature Park
Red Admiral 2
Painted Lady 1
Peacock 5
Two Red Admiral, a Peacock and a Painted Lady
Unfortunately the Painted Lady has its wings closed. It is just below the Peacock.

This clip shows the Painted Lady better.

This clip is poor quality, but of interest, nevertheless. It is a Robin eating blackberries, can't say I've ever seen them feed on berries before (MD).

Finally, I could have shot this clip in my back garden. It is the age old "game" of cat and mouse between a Grey Squirrel and Magpies. The squirrel won't burry anything if it knows it's being watched. The Magpies often pretend not to be watching and the squirrel often pretends to burry something when it hasn't! Looks like they've got fed up of subtleties this time.

Just out of the recording area - Heysham Moss Nature Reserve (MD)
I just paid a short visit in the afternoon to see how the Black Darters were doing I only checked the main peat bogs 
Surprisingly few birds
Sparrowhawk 1
Long-Tailed Tits a mobile group
Wood Pigeon several 
Common Snipe 1

Or butterflies 
Speckled Wood several
Small Copper 1
Brimstone 1 male
Small White 1
Common Blue 1

But plenty of dragonflies both around the pools and amongst the scrub
Emperor 1
Four-Spotted Chaser 1 - this species was the most abundant around the pools at my last visit, but the only one I saw today was a barely recognisable worn specimen.
Worn Four-Spotted Chaser
Common Darter - these were the most abundant species today, I didn't count them but at least twice as many as the Black Darters
Black Darter 14 only males seen, unlike the reasonably high proportion of females on my last visit 12/07/22. 
Some were the classic black and gold colouring of a mature male.

Others were almost completely black, the difference between being mature and being old. Mmm, wonder what that feels like!
Black Darter