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, 15 September 2018

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egrets have become a regular summer visitor to the Wirral in the last two or three years, and last year they were confirmed as breeding at an RSPB reserve there. I have made several visits to see them, as they are not at all common and I always assume it may be my last chance to see them.
They are a smaller than the more common Little Egret, and do spend a lot of their time around livestock and cattle.
These pictures were taken last year, and although not great, are a good record of it in it's nesting environment. (Taken at some distance so as not to disturb the birds.)



Saturday, 8 September 2018

Kittiwake - Farne Islands

Along with the Common Gull, the Kittiwake is my favourite gull. There's something quite alluring about it. It might be the black eyes or the black legs or the sharp yellow bill, I'm not sure. Put them all together though and you have a pretty good looking gull. It probably helps that I don't get to see them every day too. There were plenty on the Farnes and it was great to watch them for some time




Saturday, 1 September 2018

Goyt Valley

This is a look back to the Spring when there was a lot of activity in the Goyt Valley. One of my favourite places to visit at this time. So much going on and so much to see. It is quite the opposite in the autumn and winter when it can be very bleak and devoid of anything. It's still a lovely place to walk though.
This particular evening there were a few bits and bobs around. The usual Canada Geese were calling from the bank side of Errwood Reservoir and the odd Red Grouse could be heard every so often.

Song Thrush on the dry stone wall.


A Tree Pipit in its usual lofty position.

A Willow Warbler in amongst the fresh new leaves


Saturday, 18 August 2018

Bearded Tit

I was watching a Sedge Warbler recently along the boardwalk at Cley, when I heard the unmistakable call of a Bearded Tit. It didn't take long for me to locate it and I quickly got my camera onto it. It's never easy to focus on a small camouflaged bird in the reeds, but this is what I managed. I was just glad to see it really. More often than not I will only hear them in the reeds, so to see a nice male like this was a real bonus.



Pesky reeds! 

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Farne Island Puffins

A long overdue post from me on my Farne Island trip. I was holding back some Puffin shots until I'd looked at them all, but I still haven't found the time, so I could wait no more. Here are just a few from my visit back in June.

Such a charismatic bird, full of charm and wonder. I could watch them all day, and I did pretty much.
I won't say too much more, but let the pictures do the talking for me. (Definitely more pictures in the near future of these wonderful birds)







Saturday, 4 August 2018

Cuckoo

I was sitting in a hide at Druridge Pools in Northumberland scanning forlornly for a Glossy Ibis when out of the blue, flying low from left to right of the hide went a Cuckoo. The shock of it made me say the name out loud whilst pointing towards it. It landed on a fence post just yards from the hide. I managed one decent shot of it, but I was more than happy with the result. A bird that I heat most years but don't always get to see. This was by far my closest and best view of it. 
They are already back across the Sahara dessert for their summer holidays. Hopefully I will get to see one again next Spring. 


The Glossy Ibis had relocated and not yet been found. I hung around in the hide for a bit just seeing what I could see, when I spotted a Snipe well hunkered down. So tricky to spot from a distance, near on impossible without binoculars.


Saturday, 28 July 2018

RSPB Geltsdale

RSPB Geltsdale near Carlisle held such a variety of wildlife that I am already looking forward to a visit again next year.
On leaving the car I could see Hares running in the fields. As they had not seen me, I took some time just to observe from a distance.


Enjoying the early morning sunshine.

Meadow Pipits were plentiful and they were constantly hopping onto the dry stone walls. It felt like they were keeping me company as I went on my walk.


 From the viewing screen there was a lot of activity, with birds constantly flitting around the trees and shrubs. It was difficult to pin them down sometimes as to what they were.

 This Reed Bunting showed itself briefly through the branches.


This Sedge Warbler was busy feeding young and can be seen here with some grubs in it's bill.

The more distant and more common view of the Sedge Warbler.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Whinchat - RSPB Geltsdale

I stopped at RSPB Geltsdale on my way to the Farnes. It's somewhere I had been to before and I enjoyed my early morning walk here once again. A bird on my list to see this weekend was the Whinchat. They breed here, and in good numbers but I missed them last time, so I was determined have a proper look round this time.
I was enjoying myself so much, with lots going on that I'd forgotten about looking for these. So I was quite surprised when one popped up in front of me. The distinctive supercilium over the eye gave away Whinchat to me.
I think I spent a goof half an hour watching a pair here. They were busy collecting insects for some young not too far away. A great start to the day.

Female Whinchat

The male



These were both ringed. I contacted RSPB Geltsdale and they confirmed that they have an active ringing program on site. Hopefully they will be able to give me a little more information on these birds soon.


Saturday, 14 July 2018

Stonechat

A few weeks ago I took a long weekend break to the Farne Islands (more about what I saw there in future posts). I planned my route up so that I could make several stops along the way to see various birds and to break the journey up. So rather than following the quickest route I took the scenic route. This involved driving up through the Lake District to Carlisle, and then East through Northumberland, almost following Hadrian's Wall.
One area that I stopped at looked very good for Stonechat, and I was quickly rewarded with a family of them.

The male keeping a close eye on me.

One of the juveniles, looking very healthy.


I do like these birds a lot. Really enjoy watching them.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Common Sand and Willow Warbler

Hunting for summer migrants was tiring work, and although I was looking for something a bit more exciting, I was still pleased to see my first Common Sandpiper of the year and a whole host of Willow Warblers. The walks are never quiet at this time of year, and Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs can usually be picked out of the chorus.
The light was not great as the sun set behind the Peaks, but this was my only decent shot as a Common Sandpiper flew across Errwood reservoir.


A poorly lit Willow Warbler


Saturday, 16 June 2018

Tawny Owl

I took a lovely midweek evening stroll in the Goyt Valley, Derbyshire and was really on the lookout for Spotted Flycatchers and other breeding activity of our Summer migrants. I didn't see any Spotted Flycatchers, but did see a pair or Redstart and other Warblers and Tree Pipits. All seemed to be pretty busy and bird song was at minimum. Calling Cuckoos in the near distance was a real bonus, as was this Tawny Owl that I took by surprise.

When I'm out on my birding walks I don't walk particularly fast or make a lot of noise, as I like to use all my senses to notice things. Eyes can pick up any slight movement in the trees or distance and my ears are quite good at picking out the quietest of rustles. If I move too quickly I can can miss something of interest. So I take my time and enjoy the nature that surrounds me. It wasn't intentional, but by doing what I do I got a fantastic view of a Tawny Owl. It wasn't for long, but long enough for me to spot it 30 yards away and to set the camera up.

It didn't see or hear me coming and was quite happy watching the forest before it turned it's head. I managed a couple of pictures before it did.


It heard the camera click and turned to look at me. At first it wasn't sure where the noise had come from, so I managed a few more shots.

It headed off to the safety of the forest not long after. If I had raced through and been a bit louder with my shuffling feet I may have alerted it to my presence before I even got a chance to see it. So high five to me and my stealthy approach to birding. On this occasion it paid off.


Saturday, 9 June 2018

Sedge Warbler

It's a fabulous time of year for watching birds. Everything is a bit later this year, but finally things are getting into full swing, as is the weather.
I took a trip to RSPB Burton Mere for a fix of warblers and waders. I wasn't disappointed as the reed beds and scrapes were alive with activity. One warbler that I do really enjoy seeing, and hearing, is the Sedge Warbler. Their song is so varied and vivid it brings any reed bed to life. I found a few last week, and they were all busy on territory. This meant that they would sit up nice and proud to project their songs. It helped with the pictures I got too.




What a fantastic bird. 

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Dartford Warbler

I made an early morning visit to Kelling Heath at the weekend. I was hoping for Cuckoo and possibly a chance to get some better shots of the Yellowhammer that are in abundance. I did much much better than that with a fly pass by a Turtle Dove and a very lucky chance meeting with a pair of Dartford Warbler that were actively gathering food for their young.

I've seen the Dartford Warbler on just a few occasions and never with a camera to hand, so when this pair popped up out of the gorse not 20 feet in front of me I swore very quietly in shock. I stood still and just let them carry on doing what they were doing. I didn't want to frighten them off, I wanted to observe them. Patience and stealth is crucial at moments like this. One false move and your moment will be gone.


They didn't even seem to notice me, as they were busy looking for grubs and insects. Time to prime the camera and see what I could get. .

They stayed around for some time, ignoring me. I just wish the light was a bit better, but I can't really complain with what I got. Absolutely delighted!!