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, 27 November 2020

Kingfisher

I've been watching a Kingfisher recently, having discovered an area that one likes to frequent. It gives a bit of cover, so I am not too visible to the bird. It happily flies in to perch and then does a spot of fishing. Now obviously, with a bit of cover it was quite difficult to get clean shots without branches in the way, but that still beats watching it fly off to the other side of the universe before you've even caught sight of it.

This was my best effort on a very grey day. Can't wait to get back after lockdown in better light.

 These are what you usually get to see, if you're lucky. Very twiggy but such a lovely bird.


Friday, 20 November 2020

Home Birding - Lockdown 2

 When I was 'lockdown birding' in the Spring, I didn't expect I'd be doing the same thing in the Autumn, but here I am doing exactly that. I have enjoyed this week though with some different birds to watch from my lounge window. Goldcrests have made an appearance. Wrens have been squabbling and there have been plenty of Coal Tits on my window feeder. Yesterday I even had 3 male Blackcaps turn up. Much easier to see at this time of year than in the Spring, when they like to sing from within well leafed trees and hedges. These were feeding on the berries of the Dogwood.



Blackbird numbers have been swelled recently by an influx of the continental race from Europe. They look much darker than our own Blackbirds and have almost black bills. They have been feeding on the berries, but always harassed by the locals.
This female was hanging around with one of the continental males, so I assume it is also from across Europe somewhere.


Here you can see this male has a black bill and no yellow eye ring.


Taken on the same day, this is one of the local British Blackbirds with it's distinctive yellow bill and eye ring.




Friday, 30 October 2020

Goldeneye

I carried out my WeBS count recently at Redesmere lake and it was good to see the first returning pair of Goldeneye of the winter. It's nice to see the birds returning, especially as we have now lost all our summer migrants. The lakes will be filling up with larger numbers and varying species of geese. Hopefully I will get to see some of the rarer ones this year. 
In the meantime, I am happy enough watching the Goldeneye out in the deeper sections of the water.

Very good looking male.




Male and female here.

A male Tufted Duck here, not to be confused with the male Goldeneye.

And  a female Tufted Duck.

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Snipes Pool

Snipes Pool is more often than not 'quiet' whenever I stop to have a look at it when I am in Norfolk. Barring the usual Little Egrets, Mallard and Tufted Duck it has always seemed a little disappointing. This doesn't stop me looking every time, because you just never know.

A few weeks back I did my usual early morning pull in, in hope more than expectation. I was not disappointed on this occasion with a good few waders on it and some interesting birds in the trees around it.

A couple of Green Sandpipers were in amongst the cut reeds.


A nice juvenile Ruff

This Lesser Whitethroat was a nice surprise, just a shame it was so gloomy. Nice to watch through the binoculars at close quarters all the same.


A very obliging Water Rail stayed out in view for a few minutes, which is better than the few seconds you normally get, if you're lucky.




Three Common Sandpipers were also around.


Saturday, 17 October 2020

Hoopoe - Collingham

 A visit to Yorkshire where a very obliging Hoopoe had been for a good week was too good an opportunity to turn down. It had been frequenting a cricket pitch and was said to have been giving very good views. Sometimes when you hear the words 'showing well' it can still be at some considerable distance and require a scope for the best views. On this occasion, binoculars were not even required. The bird was coming to within four or five feet of the assembled birders, many lying on the ground to get even closer. It was fantastic to watch this bird dig in the ground and time after time bring up a grub or lavae of some sort. It would then bash it with it's bill before tossing it in the air like a pancake to catch and swallow whole. Just the most amazing bird and a lifer for me. I won't forget spending time with this beautiful bird.












Friday, 9 October 2020

Kestrel

 On one of my many Spring lockdown walks (when we could actually drive to somewhere for a walk) I found a pair of Kestrels. I stayed watching from my vantage point for a good 45 minutes, as they hunted the slopes neat Macclesfield Forest. The light was perfect and the sun was warm, so I just let them go about their business and every now and again, they'd venture close enough to let me take a few shots. Fascinating to watch them hover and keep that head dead still, constantly focusing on their prey.






Wednesday, 30 September 2020

A look back to when it was nice and quiet.

 As I've not been out for a couple of weeks with the camera, I thought I would take a look back at some pictures taken during lockdown. This was a time when I felt that nature tried to take back a hold on it's surrounding environment. This was a time when cars were very few and far between for a good two or three months. The sound of planes overhead stopped, but footfall on the pavements increased. Birdsong appeared louder and activity more pronounced. Or was this just the perception? Maybe they are always that loud, but it is drowned out by the modern world around us. Either way, it was a joy to walk through their habitat during my lockdown exercise walks. Blessed with some glorious weather too, it was nice to reconnect with nature and proof that whatever happens to the human world, nature can survive and thrive, probably better than it does now.

Chaffinch


Golden Plover


Jays became very easy to spot during April

One of our smaller birds, the Wren.

Friday, 18 September 2020

Astbury Mere - Shag

 I was already out with the camera at the weekend when I saw that a juvenile European Shag had shown up inland at a lake in Cheshire, only half an hour from me. So I made my way down to Astbury Mere in Congleton in the warm sunshine. After a wait of nearly an hour it revealed itself right beneath me. It must have been out of the water and drying it's wings out of sight beneath the grassy bank. It soon made it's way out into the open water to fish, and boy did it fish. It was constantly diving and eating. A great bird.



Here is the larger cousin, the Cormorant, that I had seen the previous day at Pennington Flash.


Friday, 11 September 2020

Happy Place

When you're feeling a bit down I've always found it a big help to go to a place where you feel happy. I'm lucky to have that place not too far away and it's somewhere I can escape the hustle and bustle of city life. I've been social distancing here for many years now. It's a real joy to go early, when you almost own the landscape and the nature within it. Peace and quiet and a sense that many have been here before me and not much has changed. The birds are still around and there was a nice surprise for me too in the form of a Whinchat. This bird must have been on his way to his winter home. It was great to watch it though as it foraged for food, but sad to think that our summer migrants will soon be gone for another year. 

Along the river there were a couple of Grey Wagtails looking very good once again after the busy breeding period.


A pair of Nuthatches were picking at the bark looking for food.


Here's the Whinchat that typically kept it's distance. Hope to see you again next year.