Right, so I know it's not a funky monkey pigeon like the one driving residents mad in a certain Oxfordshire village this last month or so, but the arrival of a pair of Stock Dove at Dempsey Towers this week was a cause for major celebration - a garden tick!!!!
Ain't had one of them for a year or two, so Stock Dove was a cool, if unexpected addition.
FIrst picked a singleton up in the fading light of a calm evening a few days ago, and was pleased to be able to digiscope this notoriously flighty critter at relatively close quarters, but it joined another bird and to a Serge Gainsbourg/Jane Birkin soundtrack began snogging before indulging in x-rated suburban rumpy-pumpy...
Although you can barely see it in my poor shots, the metallic green on their necks was really obvious - hopefully they'll give up the fields of the mosses and stay put in the middle of Ainsdale - time will tell.
"Our" Bramblings are resolutely refusing to clear out as the days get warmer as well - up to 15 of 'em are chasing every other finch off the feeders to scoff sunflower seeds.
At least six of the flock are males, with some starting to head towards spiffing summer plumage, hopefully they'll stick around long enough for a good "Quinky Inky male" shot.
If only they didn't make such a godawful noise at first light - it's enough to put a chap off his Java.
No warblers at Dempsey Towers yet, which is odd, although Goldcrests are singing away.
Meanwhile, Ralph Jones sent me these great shots from a trip to Moore near Warrington on Sunday.
Over to Ralph:
Great Costa Rican trip reports - enjoyed them very much.
Had a lovely Sunday morning visit to Cheshire.
An early start at Marbury Country Park looking for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker produced around 500 Sand Martins over Budworth Mere plus a House Martin and Kingfisher but no Lesser.
Moved on to Moore Nature Reserve and spent some time admiring a dozing Tawny Owl. Eventually saw a male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Showed very well until a Great Spotted chased it away.
Best regards Ralph"
Ralph tells me that this male is the only Lesser Pecker at Moore at present - and his reference to the Greater Pecker's behaviour is a good clue as to why, and also one of the reasons why the species in general is doing so badly in the UK - great shots though Ralph, thanks very much.
Meanwhile Phil Smith updated me on the latest Natterjack Survey training session in the dunes, also on Sunday - and kindly e-mailed these cracking shots of a female Natterjack (superb camouflage baby).
Phil explains: "We had a very successful training session for the new Natterjack monitoring volunteers on Sunday, finding about 30 freshly-laid spawn strings and three adults which, unusually, were all females.
"One posed for photos (under license of course!). A male Smooth Newt and several Common Toads also obliged.
"About 30 White Wagtails, a Wheatear and 100+ Meadow Pipits added to the interest."
I look forward to listening to those "Birkdale Nightingales" again soon, ta Phil.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...