Funny how the feeling changes over the years....when I was a kid, spring HAD to begin when the first lonely Swallows scudded north low over Cabin Hill in a blustery March dawn, or a Wheatear bounced about the Sandplant compound at Marshside.
Now the thing that really presses my buttons is when Willow Warblers start sounding off around the Sands Lake at Ainsdale on a hot April morning.
At least five males blasting away this morning there, with three Chiffchaffs and two Blackcaps, slipping through the branches around the boardwalk.
One day something mega is gonna be here.
Speckled Wood around the boardwalk, and a Percy Sledge singing somewhere off in the slacks.
Tufties etc on the lake today too, but I expect you all got plenty of migrants yourselves....I believe Marshside was "Wheateartastic" to quote my increasingly wobbly source from the Legless Arms, but hey, why not break the habit of a lifetime and tell me what you're seeing using the comments dufus at the end of the entry?
It's always nice to know someone is showing an interest.
In the vein of open communication, thanks to Phil Smith for sending me these superb shots of Emperor Moth from Formby.
"Who needs a trip to the tropics when these are on our doorstep?", says Phil.
" Male Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia) bred in Formby from eggs laid last year".
Emperor Moth is undeniably a stonker Phil, up there with the best of the UK's moths, but as to "why visit the tropics?", I can think of at least 400 reasons, all with feathers, that made my recent Costa Rica sojourn so necessary, and that's before I start thinking about the butterflies, moths, beetles, mammals, plants, dragonfles etc...
Still in the insect vein, Mike Bird sent me this shot of a Harlequin Ladybird of startling proportions found by Southport's Muni Golf Course...you can compare it to our native 10 spot which is just visible on the left of the pictures.
"Found many Harlequin Ladybirds during 2010 but never one as big as this" Mike explains. "At least half an inch across. Notice how it dwarfs one of our native 10 spotted".
Came across a Harlequin in the garden at Dempsey Towers in Ainsdale this afternoon too - so feisty you'd need a baseball bat to calm it down.
I let the brute live and continued with a spot of "liquid gardening", as Willow Warbler and Blackcap sang around me.
In the unseasonal heat a Holly Blue crawled past my feet as I was finishing up - freshly emerged with its wings still wet....I don't get a chance to see 'em this close normally.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...