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

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

Friday, 16 July 2021

Grasshopper Warbler

I stopped recently at RSPB Geltsdale, which is in Cumbria, up near Carlisle. I have been a couple of times in the past and it is somewhere I like to stop off when in the area. It is a very nice peaceful place with rolling hills and meadows. Curlews, Willow Warblers and Sedge Warblers could all be heard as I got out of the car. Then there was the unmistakeable song of the Grasshopper Warbler. As it's name suggests, it mimics the sound of a grasshopper. It sounded close. Using the few trees nearby, I skirted round and found it on a fence post singing it's head off.  

My best ever views of this bird. Usually it is to be found (or heard) from within tall grass or bushes.










Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Feeding Time

We've had some lovely weather recently. (I do appreciate that here in the North West of England that  only needs to constitute 'not raining') Thankfully for our feathered friends it has been quite warm and dry, meaning that there have been plenty of insects and caterpillars for the adults to take to their nests.

I spent a nice couple of hours in the hills after work and it was fascinating to watch the Grey Wagtails at work, catching all sorts of insects. This one has a beak crammed full of protein rich goodies.



One of the juvenile Grey Wagtails, waiting patiently for some snacks.

This male Common Redstart was very actively dropping down to pick up spiders and other insects.

The Spotted Flycatchers are masters at the art of catching small flying insects, but in between they will sit patiently, almost posing on a nice branch.






Friday, 18 June 2021

Dippers

It's that time of year when the young are being fed in the nest and those no longer in the nest are finding their way in the big wild world. Most stay close to their parents while looking for food, and even continue to be fed by them. A case in point is the Dipper.

I was fortunate enough to find an adult and two juveniles along the river nearby. I was actually looking and checking for Spotted Flycatchers in an area I know that they like. On this occasion they still had not arrived, but by standing still and just using my ears to hear the Flycatchers the Dippers flew up stream close to where I was. They obviously didn't notice me and started to look for food. I did my best to keep still, while at the same time shuffling into a position to see if I could take any shots.

I was absolutely delighted to watch the young being fed by the one very active adult bird. They gave me some great moments, very close and I was able to leave them as I found them without any disturbance. I could have stayed longer, but eventually they would have seen me and made off. So I left them to it.

Very well camouflaged juvenile on the the left, with adult busy looking for food.


The juveniles are blue grey colour, but very hard to spot in this plumage. And that's the point.

Feed me feed me









Still hungry!!








Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Swifts

Over the years I've spent countless minutes and hours trying to photograph Swifts and members of the Hirundine family in flight, to no avail. Trying to master their movements is difficult. Getting the camera to focus on a small dark moving object in a wide expanse of blue or pale grey is very tricky indeed. It hasn't stopped me trying though. 

I seem to be getting better results with this camera than my previous camera. As yet it hadn't been trialled properly on this small moving target, but the autofocus seems to lock on better and it stays with the subject. So I tried again a few weeks ago, when the Swifts had just arrived. They were quite low in the sky and so this made it a bit easier for me. Anyway, I think these are the best result I have had and so I thought I'd share with you. 

I should say that if you click on a picture it will enlarge it for you.

Common Swift





This is my favourite



Friday, 11 June 2021

Danes Moss, Gawsworth Cheshire

I recently visited one of the Cheshire Wildlife Trust sties that I had not previously been too. This is situated in the Gawsworth area of Macclesfield and is a lowland raised bog. I went hoping to find or hear a Cuckoo. I had no such luck on this morning, but I thoroughly enjoyed walking around the area and familiarising myself it. There was a really nice circular boardwalk route, which took you through woodland, and across the more marshy areas.

There was plenty of birdsong, with Whitethroats, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and the odd Reed Bunting battling it out. The site information board shows that it is very good habitat for dragonflies and butterflies. I hope to head back here soon to see what I can photograph when the birds go quiet, which won't be too long now. In the meantime, here are just a few of the birds that I did see.

Reed Bunting



The Treecreepers were very busy collecting insects for their young.


This Common Whitethroat had some nesting material in its beak.



Saturday, 5 June 2021

Cley Marshes - East Bank

A walk along the East Bank at Cley is always a must for me when I'm in Norfolk. With my parents living so close to it I will usually do it several times during a stay. There is always something decent to see and through the different seasons you get a really good variety. The wintering geese have left for the time being, barring the Greylags and a few Canadas and Egyptian, but the summer migrants have arrived.

I was lucky to watch a Hobby fly over as it was catching insects. The warblers are in too, in the form or Sedge and Reed. The sound coming out of the reed bed is something to behold as the competition for space and territory takes a grip. I picked up the ping of a group of Bearded Tits. I always hope to see some when I'm here, but that is never an easy feat. Being in the right place at the right time, or good fortune is usually involved. This time they were working their way through the reeds close to the edge. The odd one would break cover and dive over the top of the reeds. A very good addition to the year list.

With Curlews, Lapwings, Redshank, a lone Spoonbill, Skylarks and the overflying Terns at the beach end it really was a great couple of hours spent here. Come the autumn time the waders will be back and the wintering wildfowl on the pools, which will make for a very different walk but still with a good amount of variety. It's a great place to watch birds and time go by.

Hobby


Little Egret

Marsh Harrier


   The Sedge Warbler is a real favourite of mine. I love the distinctive eye-stripe and it's song.


    The Bearded Tit never make it easy to see them, but maybe that's why it's such a thrill when you do.