A series of gales in the first half of the month reduced opportunities for getting out and about but pushed large numbers of gulls inshore to roost between Ainsdale and Birkdale. On 13th, while studying a flock on Ainsdale beach from the car, I found several of the Scandinavian sub-
Although it was a relatively damp month, a visit to Cabin Hill National Nature Reserve hoping to find wintering Snipe was disappointing. I counted only seven in the big slack which was almost entirely dry, the water-
Cattle are also being used for conservation grazing on Ainsdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve. I went to see how the 15-
Calmer weather towards the month’s end saw me at Marshside, trying unsuccessfully to spot two Marsh Harriers reported on the saltmarsh. A Great White Egret was showing far out on the marsh, while a Sparrowhawk dashed past me. In front of the main hide, the long-
Back home, I was much entertained during the month by a flock of up to 15 cheerful House Sparrows coming to food just outside my lounge window. Once abundant, this charming bird declined by about 70% between 1977 and 2008, though populations seem to have levelled off since 2009. The reasons for their decline are complex but seem to include loss of nest sites and a shortage of insects to feed the young.
Purchasers of the otherwise excellent “fully revised and updated” edition of the Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Great Britain & Ireland by Brooks and Cham will find some dramatic changes in distribution since the book first appeared 17 years ago. Many of these are well established, with new arrivals in the country and other species spreading north, probably as a result of climate change. However, readers may be surprised to see that, according to the maps, Beautiful Demoiselle and Hairy Hawker are now found across a broad swathe of central Lancashire. Of course, this is complete nonsense! As confirmed by the regional recorder, Steve White, there have only been two acceptable records of Beautiful Demoiselle in Lancashire, both extra-