Let me know when that tide's coming in won't you

Let me know when that tide's coming in won't you

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Burton Mere

A nice Spring time visit to Burton Mere is always a good trip out. The sun was shining and the birds were nice and active on the reserve just by the Dee Estuary. There wasn't anything out of the ordinary this day, but it was nice to be out with no rain, snow or wind and good light.
I managed to add a few year ticks too, in the shape of Curlew, Pintail, Marsh Harrier and Oystercatcher. The elusive Cetti's Warbler was once again added to my 'Heard Only' list for the year.

This Dunnock was in fine voice in the warm sunshine.

A Little Egret on a fly past.

A Little Grebe with a fish almost as big as itself.

Some soon to be departed Pink-footed Geese flying over the marsh.

A very good looking Shelduck.

A Teal in the fantastic light.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Scaup and Goosander - Elton Reservoir

A couple of weeks ago, I popped along to Elton reservoir in Bury. It was a lovely warm day, which made a change from the previous cold and damp weeks. I was even able to leave the jacket in the car and just walk around with my t-shirt.
There had been 7 Scaup on the reservoir for some weeks, and this is usually around the time of year that I manage to tick them off. So they were one of my target birds. It's not a small area of water but I had an idea as to where they would be. Right at the opposite end to where I was!
I took my time and made sure I had a good look at what else was on the reservoir. This proved to be the wrong tactic. I had picked them up in the binoculars. They were quite distant at first, but looked settled. Shortly afterwards, a group of Tufted ducks took flight and headed off the reservoir. These were followed by some Gadwall and Canada Geese, and before I had even got close to them the seven Scaup took flight too. Noooooo!!
I had to get the camera up quick in case this was the only opportunity I'd get to see them today. It was exactly that :(

They were swiftly followed by some Goosander. 4 Females here.

Two males at the back here.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Coal Tit - Pennington Flash

The Coal Tit is a bird I've rarely been able to photograph. I see them often, but they are so quick and flitty. Even when I've set up at feeding stations, they are the quickest birds around. They are constantly on the move. They head get to the feeder, grab some food and then head off quickly to the safety of the undergrowth, never allowing a clear shot.
At Pennington Flash a few weeks ago I got lucky and managed just a few shots of this nippy little fellow. The sun was a little too bright, but I was pleased to get something more than a blur, and these are the best I've ever managed of this species.

Saturday, 2 March 2019


Fieldfares had been pretty elusive for me in the last few months, until a few weeks ago when I went for a local walk at Woodford. I came across around 40 birds in a snow covered field. The berries on the trees had long been eaten and so the search for food was on the ground.
They are pretty flighty birds and are spooked easily. So this was a game of patience.
I had to wait and let them come to me. They duly obliged.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Long-Tailed Tit

I've seen so many Long-tailed Tits recently. I usually hear their incessant calling first. I then have to struggle to spot them as they move about the trees. When you see one, you know that there are at least half a dozen others with it. They're always busying themselves and generally making it difficult to photograph them. I did get some decent shots of them though.

I'm really happy with these first two. Feeding in one claw and hanging on with the other.

Never seen them feed like this before.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Red Grouse - Peak District

We've had a cold spell recently, and last week brought us our first snow of the winter here in the North West. Always a pain in the neck when travelling to and from work, it also gives an opportunity to see more wildlife. Due to the cold weather the birds are a lot more active as they desperately search for food.
I was hoping that the nice white blanket might also make it easier to spot some birds. I headed up into the Peak District to see what I could find. Red Grouse are a favourite up here and I was hoping that I'd find some posing nicely against the snow. No such luck. In fact, I found it harder to find them than in the summer.
Their calls gave them away and I managed a few distant shots before the cold drove me back to my car.

Nicely camouflaged against the heather.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Curlew Sandpiper - Burton Mere

A look back to the Summer months, when I took a trip to the Wirral and Burton Mere wetlands. A couple of year ticks were added, in the shape of this Curlew Sandpiper with its superbly curved bill, and a Green Sandpiper.

Both birds stayed fairly distant, but thankfully the light was quite decent. Here is the Curlew Sandpiper. 

Showing typical stance.

Green Sandpiper in the background and Curlew Sandpiper in front.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Dipper - Greater Manchester

I've enjoyed watching a pair of Dippers recently on the River Roch in Heywood. They have been in the area for some time, but I've noticed them more regularly in recent months. I'm pretty sure that they bred last year, but didn't spend enough time watching them to confirm.
A week ago I heard one of them in song as it sat atop a large stone in the river. They have a very melodic song but it is quite tricky to hear over the sound of rushing water. Fingers crossed they are gearing up for some breeding, and if they do, I hope to be on hand with the camera.

Most likely to be looking a Cadisfly larvae.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

It's not all doom and gloom.

A walk around a local lake recently showed signs of an impending Spring. The Coots were very feisty and chasing rivals away and even sometimes off the lake. The Grey Herons were setting up nest sites and some actually on the nests. Great Crested Grebes were seen to do their courtship displays. All very exciting for me, as it reminds me that these short dark days won't be forever and that Spring will come again and so will the sunshine.


Great Crested Grebe

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Shorelark - Holkham

The beach at Holkham on the north Norfolk coast holds very good numbers of Shorelark (also known as the Horned Lark) at this time of year. I made a special visit to see some, some weeks back and was very pleased with what I found. This was the first time I've seen these birds, and as with every hunt for a life tick, it was a bit stressful and tense trying to find them in a vast area.
They didn't help me by being in amongst some vegetation and generally staying out of sight, but then I clocked them and all was well again.
I spent a good 30 minutes just watching them from a safe distance and taking pictures as and when they popped their heads up. They didn't do anything fancy, like give me a nice flight shot or even emerge from the vegetation, but I still enjoyed them all the same. A great little bird and one I hope to catch up with again soon, now that I know where to find them.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Turnstone - Sheringham

The promenade in Sheringham is a great place to get up close to Turnstones. While I was looking forlornly for a King Eider Duck a few weeks back, I turned my attention to this much easier target. You don't even have to be looking for them and they will wander towards you, all very brave and brash. It doesn't bother me in the slightest and took my mind off the fact I was failing in my initial efforts.

Yes, sometimes getting too close for the lens attached.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Smew - Castleshaw Rervoir

The Smew is not a very common bird in the North West. Only turning up in the winter months and never in great numbers or great regularity. That being said, I saw that one was up in the Oldham hills on Castleshaw Reservoir and it was too good an opportunity to miss.
It had been a few years since I saw my last, in Cheshire.
The bird was quite a distance out, but at it's closest when I arrived. I was able to pop my head and camera over the wall of the upper reservoir and take a few pictures.

The water was choppy on a very windy day, and like all Smews, this one was very wary.