25th May – Time for another Hobby?

A day out birding with my longtime pal, Simon ‘shaghorse’ Smethurst was on the cards for Wednesday. Simon and I have known each other for 40 years (I had a shock too when I did the math) and met on a local RSPB outing to Frodsham Marsh where, at 13 yrs old, we stumbled into a Pectoral Sandpiper that had turned up…my first rarity! Si and I have been on many a twitch and foreign trip in our time and is a sharp dude!

(Click images for larger views)

Shaghorse at work attempting to spy some good schtuff....not too easy to do at Leighton Moss..unless you like looking at a pool full of Black-headed Gulls!

Nothing major of interest was around, so we opted for a day out around Silverdale and Leighton Moss. A flock of Black-tailed Godwits was one of the few highlights, the least of which was a $15 tab for two bacon sandwiches and a pot ‘o tea for two! After staking out a Hobby report, I was happy, after a wait, to see the bird flying in to hawk insects over our heads. Unfortunately, the sky was leaden grey, so while we got some record photos they are mostly silhouetted. Great birds!

Hobby - ultra cool falcons! This bird spent ten minutes above our heads. Remarkably, a bird had turned up back in the US prior to me leaving for the UK - unfortunately a one day wonder in Massachusetts

The highlight of the day was not a bird, but an Orchid. A nearby limestone paved area, Gait Barrows Preserve was home to some transplanted Lady’s Slipper Orchid –  a very rare botanical beauty.

A mega - Lady's Slipper Orchid, Silverdale, Lancs

A really cool micro-habitat at Gait Barrows

One of the other highlights was bumping into Lancashire legend, Maurice Jones….who never seems to age and an ace, all ’round naturalist. Well-respected by his peers he has some impressive finds to his name, one of which was a stunning Ross’s Gull I saw on my last May trip a few years ago.



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