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, 25 July 2020

Peak District Moors

Up on the moors you can still hear the evocative call of the Curlew at the moment. It can sound a bit haunting at times, but it's a great bird to hear. Sadly it is in decline, as it's habitat is eroded by concrete jungles and changes in agriculture. Thankfully there are still quite a few in  an area close to me. A couple of weeks ago I was greeted by a pair that flew towards and over me as I got out of my car. I posed no threat, but they weren't to know that. I carried on my walk along the road only for them to come round again for a second pass. I got the camera up this time, and the light was perfect.

Yes, that is what you think it is just below the bird.




A Reed Bunting was not what I expected to see up on the moors.

Juvenile Wheatear were good to see, with a few around, and still being tended to by the parent.


Saturday, 18 July 2020

Whinchat

I don't see many of these birds, and probably only one or two annually. So I was pleased to hear that there were a pair fairly local to me. This particular bird was busying itself among the heather and bracken, but like the similar Stonechat, it does like to perch at the top of a bush to have a good nosey around. It also helps me to pick it out and focus on it.
Lovely little birds and always a pleasure to see.




Not to be confused with the Whinchat is the Stonechat. A Male here.





Friday, 10 July 2020

Barn Owl

The joy of going out early at this time of year is that you may just get lucky and see a Barn Owl. I'd normally be happy to see one from the car in the distance or maybe along the verge, but when in Norfolk I got more than I bargained for a couple of times. I was minding my own business on my walk, when I turned the corner to seen an owl quartering a field . I watched it for a short while before it started coming towards me. I managed to get some shots of it before it moved out of view. Some of my best views.







As normality resumed and my heart rate returned to a more acceptable level I paid more attention to the other birds around me, like this lovely Sedge Warbler.





Friday, 3 July 2020

Lockdown easing.

Thanks to a change in government guidelines, I was able to travel to my parents last week and stay overnight. It was so good to see them again after 3 long months.
I did my birding nice and early in the morning so as to avoid others, and headed to places I knew would be very quiet at 5am in the morning (yes, most places are, but I wasn't taking any risks).
I headed to Salthouse, a beach I know that is very quiet, unless you are a bird. I enjoyed watching the Sandwich Terns tracking the shoreline up and down while squawking as they did. 
The weather was good, with warm sunshine from very early. Always a help when stood still for some time and the light helps the pictures.

One of the many Sandwich Terns seen over the week.



With a what looks like a sand eel.

There were only a few Common Tern around.

There were very good numbers of Mediterranean Gulls along the coast. 

Similar in size to a Black-headed Gull, but with a distinctive black hood and orangey bill and legs.



Friday, 12 June 2020

Padley Gorge Wood Warbler

I visited an brilliant place in the Peak District recently, called Padley Gorge. I parked at the bottom and made way up the gorge. A brilliant woodland and fast running water through it's rocky centre. 
Birds were singing everywhere. There were a pair of Dippers to start me off, and I lost count of how many Pied Flycatchers I saw and heard. It was one of the best places I had visited for these. Common Redstarts were competing with them, plus the numerous Wrens, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. At the top, I found a couple of pairs of Spotted Flycatchers zipping around the tree canopy.
What I had really come for was the Wood Warbler. A bird I have only seen a few times, its one I'd not seen for a good number of years now. It was worth the 5am start and I even found two singing males. 

A cracking male Wood Warbler






Male Pied Flycatcher. They were so busy collecting food for their young, they would drop down in front of you like a Robin and then fly back to their branch,



The female Pied Flycathcer

One of the many Common Redstarts



Saturday, 6 June 2020

Lunt Meadows Nature Reserve

A super early alarm set for last weekend, had me out in the car by 5am. In these times of social distancing it makes good sense to beat the dog walkers, joggers, and generally others. Not that this has ever been a problem for me in the past, as I always like to go out early when the Spring and Summer is here. I've been social distancing for many years now😄
It's a great reserve with a good mix of wetland habitat, reedbeds, scrapes and grassland. Next to the reserve there is a lot of farmland, so it attracts many different species. Plenty of waders in the form of Black-tailed Godwit, Little Ringed Plover and Ringed Plover.

There was a Corn Bunting singing from the power lines as I got out of the car. Not a bird I see very often, so this was a good start.

Corn Bunting


There were a few pairs of Avocet on the scrapes, with a couple of freshly hatched chicks being closely monitored.

Avocet

Probably one of the most numerous birds around the reserve was the Sedge Warbler. I had not seen one so far this year, so it was good to get it ticked and great to hear them singing again. Things I usually take for granted as the summer roles on, it was nice to just stand and watch these birds going for it full throttle.

Sedge Warbler





Lapwing

Little Egret

Shelduck

Shoveler


Friday, 29 May 2020

This is why I love Birdwatching.

I had a superb few hours out last weekend. Up with the Larks, as the saying goes, and out to my favourite Spring/Summer location in the fine Cheshire countryside, which covered ancient woodlands, rivers, reservoirs, moorland and quarries. 
I'd found a pair of Pied Flycatchers a few weeks ago. On my return visit I located them again. This time they were busy taking food to a nest site. I suspected they were close to a nest site so was pleased to see that they were successfully feeding young.
Not far away was a male Redstart, singing as they do right at the top of a nearby tree. They never make it easy to see them.

A very good looking male Pied Flycatcher with a small caterpillar for his young ones.


Male Common Redstart.

I'm very lucky to be able to see Ring Ouzels each year. These upland birds like rocky slopes for their nesting habitat and arrive in April time. Once again there is at least one pair that are feeding young, and the male put on a nice show in between his food collections. The sun was shining and he looked in very good shape.






I look forward to days like these all year. April and May are my favourite birding months. When the countryside is alive with our migrant birds and the sun is shining and I just happen to be in my favourite peaceful place. It's what I long for, and when I get days like this I just feel so content.

The Spotted Flycatchers were also still around, and I hope to catch up with their young in future weeks.