A couple of surprises at Eccleston Mere

I arrived at the mere just as Damian was leaving and didn't see half of the birds he did. I did manage a couple of surprises though........

A female banded demoiselle in the hedge on the western shore of the mere was a very unexpected sight, and was unsurprisingly a new species of damselfly for the mere (as far as I know). They have become established in St Helens in recent years, but are still almost wholly confined to the Sankey brook, and any record away from there is a good one. They usually prefer slow moving, well vegetated, clear rivers, but it's not unprecedented for them to me found around lakes, and there have been a small number of records from Bold Moss in recent years. I can't imagine them breeding at the mere, there's just not the habitat, the stream is too small, so these extralimital records are probably individuals dispersing and looking for new sites.

Female banded demoiselle.

On the water I was surprised to see a great crested grebe family with 5 chicks. I usually expect to see two or three. I don't think I've ever seen 5 before. There were at least 4 other chicks on the mere today, so if they can all fledge it looks like they will have had a good year this year.

Great crested grebe family.

Other birds at the mere today: Kingfisher, 2 mute swans with 6 cygnets, 100 coot, 12 tufted ducks.

I've put a piece about grasses at Eccleston Mere today on my blog.

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