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, 22 April 2017

Common Sandpiper

I love the Common Sandpiper, and I was disappointed a couple of weeks ago when I went to one of their usual haunts in the Spring and left empty handed. No sign of any. To be fair, I think I was a little early in the year, but I like to seen them whenever I can so purposely went in hope more than expectation.
This lovely little bird was a really welcome surprise at Burton Mere on the Wirral. I was on the lookout for other things when I spotted it on the banks from one of the hides. It did it's usual thing of moving in the opposite direction, but it came back my about 30 minutes later. It was worth the wait.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Northern Wheatear

The long awaited return of our summer visitors has started, and I went out especially last weekend to look for some. I knew a few places to look, places that I've been to many times over many years. Thankfully my main target was there in it's usual habitat and looking rather splendid too.

The Wheatear is a favourite of mine and confirms that Spring migration is under way.
The weather was favourable and I soon picked out a pair flitting around the stone wall.
I was then treated to a lovely courtship display that I had not witnessed before. Welcome back!

The male.

His female mate.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Purple Sandpiper

A wader that I long to see each winter is the Purple Sandpiper. A small number over winter around our rocky coasts, and having missed them closer to home on the West coast, I managed to pick this one up on the East Anglian coast.
The rocks at Sheringham beach are an ideal spot, and I'd tried a few times on recent visits to pick one out. No luck. So I made a special effort to be at the beach for first light. This always helps as there is less disturbance from other people and the birds, fresh from roosting, like to look for food and so are quite active. I could see nothing at first apart from a 30 strong group of Turnstones. Always nice to see but not what I wanted on this occasion. Then as the light improved I managed to pick out a Purple Sandpiper washing itself.
I managed to track it as it moved about for the next half an hour or so.
Really pleased to have caught up with one.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Turnstones - Salthouse

A weekend at my parents new house in Norfolk a few weeks ago gave me the opportunity to visit the coast. The North Norfolk coast is home to many varieties of waders, and one of my favourites is the Turnstone. I know a few places where it is easy to get quite close to these inquisitive birds.
I find them quite comical and love watching them as they scuttle about on the rocks or shingle beach. I parked up on a road that leads directly to the beach, and it being early there was no one else around. I could see about a dozen birds on the stones quite a distance away, so I started to walk slowly towards them. It didn't take long before they were actually all walking towards me. So I took my opportunity and got down low and waited for them to come to me.
They gave me some good views and it seemed that they thought I might have some food for them. I didn't and so just enjoyed them searching amongst the stones for their own

Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Secretive Jay

I've always found the Jay a particularly difficult bird to photograph. Sometimes it's even quite difficult just to see. They seem to disappear in the warmer months and only show again in the autumn when there are acorns to be stored for the harsher winter months. Of course, they are always there but just a secretive and skittish bird. More often than not you'll see them heading in the opposite direction, high up, as they've spotted you first.
The other week at Pennington Flash, I was grateful that one bird (helped by the hide I was in) was able to be a little bolder and come out into the open. It even gave me a few precious seconds to get some shots. It was a little dark, so they are not the best, but are some of the better shots I have of the Jay.

Who goes there?

Sunday, 29 January 2017


It's always a pleasure to see a Bullfinch, and I'd not see one for quite a while. So I went to one of the places that you can almost guarantee to see them. I was not disappointed. Quite a few pairs were around. So I sat and enjoyed their company for quite some time and manged for pictures too.

Pretty good looking male.

And a good looking female too.

Monday, 23 January 2017

The Warming Winter Sunshine

Early morning and the late evening sun provides some wonderful light. Something a bit different to the norm. Add some water into the mix and you can get some very nice atmospheric results. An early start in North West Manchester provided a great opportunity for such light.
It was cold and calm, and there were plenty of birds. Most were very busy after their roost and quite a number came close enough for some good views.

A Coot making the most of the warming sunshine.

Female Mallard.


A Pochard also enjoying the sun, but sadly it was a bit too bright in this shot.

Friday, 13 January 2017


Cold and frosty winters morning. What bird epitomises our winter here in the UK more than any other? It's the Robin for me, and there have been plenty about. I have a window feeder on my lounge window and it has been the most frequent visitor, practically taking up residence in it.
There has been plenty of song too, with territory setting going on.

Making the most of some plentiful seed.

Looking nice and plump.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Winter Berries

I went in search of some reported Waxwings in Warrington the other day, but they didn't show up. There were plenty of berries on the trees for them, it was mighty cold and the light perfect. Typical that they didn't want to play.
A small consolation though, were the very good numbers of Fieldfares, Mistle Thrush and Redwings. Initially a bit wary, they soon settled down to give some really very good views.


A very photogenic Redwing. Shame it wasn't a Waxwing though.

Monday, 2 January 2017


Happy New Year to you all. I hope you all have a happy and healthy 2017.

It was a very cold -3 with frost and ice on the ground as I headed out this morning, determined to get my camera back in use and the promise of some good light.
I headed to Pennington Flash with the intention of giving my fledgling 2017 year list a really good boost. I wasn't disappointed, as I rarely am when I visit Manchester's premier birding site.
A few birds had been around for a few weeks that are not your usual every day birds, so I concentrated on finding these first. Close in from Horrock's hide I found my first target bird in the shape of a Scaup. Two in fact. Similar in looks to a Tufted Duck, but without the tuft on the head and different bill. There also a tell tale white band around that bill, that is much higher than on the Tufted Duck.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Winter Thrushes

I've had a couple of walks over this weekend. It was very cold on both days, but Saturday was grey, miserable and overcast. So no pictures on days like this. That said, I was mightily impressed by the numbers of winter thrushes that were on my patch in Woodford. It seemed as though every hedge, bush or tree had Fieldfares, Redwings or both in them.
So I returned today when the sun shone, and this time managed a few pictures. They were all so skittish though. Anything closer than 30 yards and they were off. So I turned to stealth mode. This meant I was stood close to, but not in, a hedge for quite some time, not moving. I was happy with the Fieldfare shots I got. Could have had a few less branches in front of it, but it's better than nothing.

Redwings were not so accommodating, and very flighty. This was taken at quite some distance.

Monday, 24 October 2016


As many of you will know, I could, and do spend hours watching wading birds. They're some of my favourite bird subjects. You know where they're going to be and there are no branches, twigs or grass in the way. That said,  you can't just walk up to them and ask if they would mind you taking a picture.
Patience is key, and not frightening the birds is of utmost importance. If you stay still and low and don't look intimidating, you will gain their trust and everyone is happy. The birds can go about their business and I can (hopefully) get some got shots as they do it.

One of the many Ringed Plovers along the Wirral coast.

A Turnstone doing what Turnstones do. Brilliantly camouflaged at the same time.