Willy ( see photo) and his fellow vigilante Jack have been attracting the attention of local and national media this week. They have been recruited as part of a strategy to protect the eggs and chicks of ground nesting birds such as Lapwing and Avocets from predators such as foxes. Llamas are highly territorial and are fond of spitting, kicking and neck wrestling all accompanied by a pretty revolting soundtrack which will hopefully discourage the foxes. My little terrier is very uneasy near them and she's quite blind and deaf in her old age!
Nesting Lapwings have been closely monitored in recent seasons by a group of students from the nearby Edge Hill University and as this continues, hopefully, the success of this experiment should be apparent before long.
The thinking is that a bruised Llama is preferable to a shot fox.
This afternoon the Long-billed Dowitcher back in front of Nel's hide on Rimmer's Marsh.
A records count of Avocets at Marshside today - a remarkable 94! Hirundines are are busy migrating - 21 Swallows, 12 Sand Martins and one House Martin were counted this morning. Also around the reserve are hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits, with smaller numbers of Golden Plovers and up to 30 Ruff. A Greenshank was seen from Nel's hide yesterday. Several Chiffchaffs are in the local area, five were singing on Hesketh Golf Course (next to the reserve) on Sunday.
A pair of Mediterranean Gulls have been seen regularyl amongst the many Black-headed Gulls using the reserve.
A female Montagu's Harrier was seen by a reiable observer flying through the reserve yesterday, a Marsh Harrier and a Spotted Redshank were also recorded
A good start to the day. At 8a.m. along the perimeter of the sandworks I recorded 27 Linnets, 2 Grey Partridges, 10 Wheatears (4m, 6f), a female Whinchat, a female Merlin and a singing Willow Warbler. Over Crossens outer marsh; a female Marsh Harrier and Raven. Lots of Whitethroats, Sedge and Reed warblers on territory at Marshside now - easy to see and hear. Four Carrion Crows foraging on the ground on Sutton's marsh.
At 'working' lunch produced a breeding plumage Long-billed Dowitcher Also there; Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Little Ringed Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, 85 Ringed Plover, 190 Dunlin. 90 Black-tailed Godwits and 8 Ruff. c.200 Swift 'moved through' and a Peregrine and a Merlin were on the saltmarsh again. Oh - and several Lapwings incubating on Rimmer's marsh!
A Long-billed Dowitcher (a rare American wading bird) was flushed from Sutton's marsh by the warden erecting electric fencing to protect wader nests at Marshside this morning. It flew off in the direction of Rimmer's marsh with a group of Black-tailed Godwits. Merlin and Sparrowhawk have been een today and migrrant s include Wheatears, Swallows and Sand martins.
Two male and a female Garganey were seen on Rimmer's marsh, from the Junction viewing screen, yesterday afternoon.
Today, 96 Avocets have been counted and migrants seen include six Wheatears, three Chiffchaffs, five Sand Martins, two Swallows, two White Wagtails and 12 Ruff.