Friday, 27 November 2020
Friday, 20 November 2020
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.
Friday, 30 October 2020
Saturday, 24 October 2020
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.
Saturday, 17 October 2020
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
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
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.
Friday, 18 September 2020
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.
Friday, 11 September 2020
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.