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, 10 November 2018

Autumn in the North West

A nice bright day on the north west coast always lends itself to a good opportunity to take the camera out. It was busy on the Wirral coast as the tide came in, with plenty of waders, gulls and seabirds. The weather had certainly turned more Autumn like and there was cold bite in the air. Here's what I saw.

A Curlew just above the sand at New Brighton

A lone Pink-footed Goose proving that Autumn had really arrived.


Good numbers of Shelduck were at Hoylake and Meols.

A Common Gull resting on the sand before high tide.

The very elusive Water Rail made an unexpected appearance. Never easy to sea these birds, as they usually stick to the reeds. This was a real bonus.


Saturday, 3 November 2018

Lapwing

Breeding season is over and the autumn influx of waders has brought many to inland sites. Most have passed though now to their warmer winter homes, but quite a few will stay and overwinter at many of our inland lakes. Lapwings have been gathering in good numbers, and being able to look at some at close quarters just reminded me how colourful and pretty these birds are.

Standing almost motionless on the shoreline of a lake. 



Saturday, 27 October 2018

Pennington Flash

A quick trip to Pennington Flash brought me nice and close to some of our regular birds. Often overlooked in the field when looking for something a little more exotic, or something new for the year list, these more common birds reminded me that they still hold a lot of natural beauty. You just have to give them the time to realise it.
The Blue Tit is possibly my favourite garden bird, and it is always good to see. More often than not it is a fleeting glimpse as it forages through bushes and trees or sits at a feeder. The beauty of having binoculars or a camera is that you get to see everything a lot closer up. Feather patterns, colours and detail are really highlighted. 

Blue Tit


Nuthatch doing what a Nuthatch does best.


Willow Tit do very well in this part of the North West.

Greenfinch

Out on the flash itself, among many waterfowl and waders was this pristine Grey Heron. In fact I counted seven on the spit from Horrocks hide. Once again, it was nice to be able to observe it for some time and appreciate it's majesty.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Little Egret

While there have been a few Great White Egrets around locally recently (that I have failed to see) you can pretty much guarantee seeing the smaller Little Egret on the coast and even some reservoirs and lakes. On the Wirral coast I came across quite a few. Some were quite obliging too and flew and landed close by, just as this particular individual.


A Black-headed Gull in the background for size comparison.



Saturday, 13 October 2018

Spoonbills - Burton Mere

I was sat in the hide at Inner Marsh Farm watching all sorts of waders in front of me, when I spotted two large white birds in flight in the distance. I put the binoculars up and quickly focused on a pair of Spoonbills. I put the word out in the hide and there were lots of happy people as the pair circled and eventually landed on the pool in front of us.
These birds for me are usually seen on the North Norfolk coast, but they are becoming more of an annual visitor to the Dee Estuary now. That said, this was a pure chance encounter. They didn't hang around long and were soon off. I enjoyed the short time that they were there. A real bonus.







A short 10 minute stay and they were off again.


Saturday, 6 October 2018

Sanderling - Hoylake

Waders are my thing. You know where they will be (most of the time). There are no twigs, branches, foliage or fences in the way (if you are on the beach). Plus if you wait patiently they will eventually head towards you. 
This is exactly what happened when I went looking for Sanderling at Hoylake on the Wirral. I realised that I had not ticked these off for my year list and they are one of my favourite waders. They are great fun to watch as they scurry around the shoreline that appears to be chasing them. Definitely not the biggest of birds, but a real joy to see at any time. In good sunlight, it's even better. 









Saturday, 29 September 2018

Guillemots on the Farnes

I don't get to see Guillemots very often. Mainly because I don't live near the coastal areas where they can be found. It usually requires a special trip out. As I knew that I'd be going to the Farne Islands I put off any earlier trips. 
They're a very smart looking sea bird and they are in very good numbers on the Farnes. They make quite a noise too. They have a lovely chocolate brown top half and white below. The occasional Bridled Guillemot can be found. These have a white eye ring and a white line extending behind the eye. They look like they are wearing spectacles.

Bridled Guillemot (right)







Saturday, 22 September 2018

Bring on the Winter Weather

A look back to some colder winter mornings, well more of a look forward to what is to come. Some of the better birding mornings are spent when there is a cold frost on the ground. The birds are forced out to feed and take more risks, which allows more opportunities to get shots of them. So as much as I am not looking forward to the cold wet windy weather, I am looking forward to some cold blue sky days, when I can sit in five layers of clothes in a hide and take myself away.

Blue Tit

Chaffinch

Willow Tit

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