Many deep, deep furrows, many acres of soil; no Dotterels - such is the norm, but it was pleasantly quiet on the mosses today, with a minimum of farming going on, and hordes of Swifts hawking anywhere the insects could be snatched.
Still Wheatears about, but a fine youngish female Marsh Harrier was a welcome respite from hunting the "Scottish bird" (surely a misnomer - any Dotterel passing thro' in May has to be heading Scandinavia way?).
Couldn't resist attempting to digiscope the harrier, when I wasn't watching it sailing through the heat haze.
Whitethroats and Percy Sledges singing from flowering rapeseed oil, and a Song Thrush going full blast on the Haskayne Cutting.
Good numbers of largish young Lapwings on Plex now, but the poor adults were shrieking away every time a corvid, gull or Common Buzzard came past - which was often.
Seems such a stressful occupation being a Lapwing parent.
Only ray of hope on the Dotterel front was the arrival late afternoon of two summer plumage Golden Plovers on Plex - five'll get you 20 they're heading to the same tundra May Dotterels are, so there's still hope - if the Goldies can drop in, maybe the Dotterels will too.
Or maybe they won't.
Many thanks to Philip Collins for these two cracking shots of singing Whitethroat - squawking away all over the place now.
And John Clews sent me the following about the excellent Wall butterfly - if you see one, do the right thing...
I've just read the Butterfly and Moth Recording Report 2011 from Lancashire Butterfly Conservation. The news regarding the lovely Wall Brown isn't good, opening with the words "Be warned, this makes grim reading." In 2011 the number of recorded squares dropped from 48 to 22, a drop of over 50% in one year!!! As yet no one is able to explain what appears to be a nationwide demise.
Fortunately for us, the butterfly continues to hang on along the Sefton Coast. I managed to find it on both occasions that I looked for it last year, on the Birkdale dunes and at Natural England, Ainsdale. I took a walk around the Ainsdale reserve in yesterday afternoon's sunshine and was lucky enough to spot the Wall twice. In habit it's a little like the Peacock, in that it can often be found basking on sparse, sandy areas on sunny days (God help us!!).
It should be with us for a couple of weeks yet. Should you, or your readers encounter the insect over the next few weeks I wonder if I could prevail upon you to report the findings at the Lancashire branch of Butterfly Conservation. I've certainly been remiss in doing so to date, but given the decline of what is, perhaps, my favourite butterfly, my conscience has been pricked ( I didn't even know I had one!!) and I'll do my bit to assist in the future .
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...