I think the Pintail is my favourite duck. I always look forward to their numbers swelling in the Autumn, with more birds coming to our waters. At Martin Mere last weekend there were plenty about and some of them look pretty spectacular. These pictures are all of the male, and a fine one at that.
Look out for them because they are around and they'll put a smile on your face.
He was a little tired after a hard day bobbing on the water.
A little bird that I used to see quite often on my patch in Woodford was the Reed Bunting. Often seen flitting up above the maize and hanging on for grim life as the wind blew its perch. I've not seen so many this year. Again, it could be that I've not been in the right places or maybe there is an underlying problem with their habitat. Either way, I'm going to make sure I keep a more vigilant eye open for them in the coming months. They are a great little bird. Here's one having a good old feed on some seeds.
I've been waiting for a weekend with half decent weather to get along to Martin Mere in Lancashire. At this time of year the influx of geese and swans from other parts of the world has to be seen to be believed. Thousands of Pink-footed Geese make the trip here from colder climbs. Hundreds of Whooper Swans also arrive here, and these were what I specifically wanted to see.
I got lucky, as it was raining on my arrival, but not long after pitching up in the hide, the sun came out. It allowed me to get some decent shots of this really elegant looking bird. I may post some more pictures in the coming weeks, so apologies for that, but I love them.
One of those little brown jobs seen regularly on my walks is the Dunnock. It's actually a bird that I like a lot. I came to appreciate it a lot more a few years back, when I had one visit my garden regularly. I say one, it could quite easily have been two, three or four different birds. Anyway, up until that point I'd not really paid too much attention to the Dunnock, but this one intrigued me. Usually found flitting and skulking in the undergrowth, it had made it's presence known to me. To start with I noticed the song. It was different to most. Not like the Wren or the Robin, but given in short bursts. It came with such regularity that it put a smile on my face just to hear it through the kitchen window.
So although it's not a very colourful bird it's one I have a soft spot for.
You'll have to excuse the annoying stick in the way.
There has been a noticeable increase in the amount of Robins recently. Lots are in song now setting up there territories. The other day as I went for a walk it seemed as though there was one singing every 30 yards or so. I'm not complaining. It's a lovely song to hear.
My visit to the Wirral was very nice and there are always good birds around, but I never neglect the more common species on show that can often get overlooked. These were seen in a mixture of places such as marsh and coast. Here are just a few of them.
I spent a couple of glorious hours on Sunday afternoon in Tattton Park, Cheshire. It's only a few miles from my home but is somewhere that gets visited infrequently. I should really make more use of it. However, this year I have made it my aim to photograph the deer during the rut.
Right now the male stags are strutting around trying to look mean. The herd that I focused on had one particular beast that clearly fancies his chances this year of being top dog. He was bellowing and chasing other males off while schmoozing up to the females. I didn't manage to see any antler locking or fighting but maybe I'll be lucky enough in the coming weeks. Here are some pictures to whet the appetite.
More of a playful slap down here.
A healthy looking stag, but he was not looking to take charge.
This is your man. He was up for a fight with any other male and very loud.
Not sure if everyone heard me, so I'll bellow again.
Bad hair day.
A very good looking stag. Could be a contender this year.
Curlew Sandpipers seemed to be at most sites I visited when in Norfolk a month or so ago. In small groups of threes, fours or fives, they busied about there business probing the beds for food. Similar to the Dunlin, they can cause confusion, especially for me. What does help is when you get both together. Fortunately at Titchwell I did get both together and was able to sort out which was which quicker than normal. The Curlew Sand has a slightly more down-curved bill and a little less dumpy looking. These guys were stopping off on migration, as they don't stay here year round. Off to Africa for the winter. Now that sounds like a great idea.
Dunlin on the left and Curlew Sandpiper on the right.
Thankfully, this weekend turned out to be dry and sunny, so my fears of dark wet days can wait a while. I made my way to the Wirral to avoid rain that looked like it would get to most other places.
One of the areas I visited was New Brighton. I'd not been here before, so didn't really know what to expect. What I did get was a nice sandy beach with the tide just on its way out.
It wasn't long before I spotted some Redshank on the shore line. One of them seemed to be holding its left leg as if injured. Hopefully it will be ok. It wasn't affecting it too badly.
Redshank with a Common Gull.
A razor clam shell can be seen here in the foreground. There were lots about.
Well the weather has really turned in the last couple of weeks and Autumn is well and truly with us. The sun has been replaced by wind and rain. The evenings are drawing in and this makes me sad. It means I can't get out after work with the camera, and so it's a long wait for the weekend and then praying that it is dry and sunny.
A few weeks back; when we were still enjoying good sunshine, I visited Pennington Flash and Elton Reservoir. Plenty of birds were around and lots of them seemed to perform nicely for me. Hurry up the Spring please!
Lapwing enjoying the warm sun.
A Grey Wagtail having a little skip and a jump.
Kingfisher also soaking up the sun.
A Nuthatch having a feed.
A Sedge Warbler do its best to give me a rubbish short by hiding behind the twigs.