Thanks as always to Phil Smith for sending me these lovely shots of Graylings in the dunes at Ainsdale - been a great year for the critters, with plenty all over the frontals, although catching these cryptically patterned butterflies with their wings open is another matter altogether.
Phil explains:"Recent visitors to the Sefton dunes will have noticed the remarkable abundance of Graylings this summer. I estimate there are about twice as many as last year. One of our most important butterflies, this rapidly flying, wary insect can be quite approachable when nectaring on Sea Holly in sheltered dune hollows.
"As it is nationally declining, the Grayling benefits from a Species Action Plan in the North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan and, since 2007, has been a priority species in the UK BAP. However, it is doing well on the Sefton Coast, a SITA-funded volunteer survey organised by Merseyside BioBank in 2010 mapping 720 individuals from Birkdale to Blundellsands.
"A detailed report on this study is available on the BioBank website".
Good day to look for 'em today in the sunshine, as the garden at Dempsey Towers is already busy with Peacocks and Large Whites. Hummingbird Hawkmoth zooming around the abelia yesterday evening.
The tern roost on Ainsdale beach held a puzzler of a Common Tern yesterday, which Graham Clarkson found and drew my attention too - very dark, heavy bill, with a yellow tip and red/orange base, and crisp, shaggy black cap, sharply defined around a clean white forehead.
Looked a bit like a cross between a Sarnie and a Common, but it's an adult Common Tern in early moult....found a few pix of similar birds on the web, like this one from the Cambridgeshire Bird Club's website, taken by Stuart Elsom.
The bird on Ainsdale beach has a much cleaner, sharper head pattern.
An interesting critter if you bump into it.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...