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, 30 May 2015

Reed Warbler - Pennington Flash

Go anywhere near a reed bed right now and you're likely to hear the sound of a Reed Warbler. I found a few pairs on a recent visit to Pennington Flash where I was fortunate enough to get some really good views.
They were busy pairing up and chasing each other around, or off territory.
The song has a real range of short bursts. Up and down pitches. Quite often the bird can be hidden down in the reeds, especially if its windy, and that can make it very frustrating to see.

This bird took a moment out in the open.

The view from the back.

Close up

Thursday, 28 May 2015


The song I look forward to most in the Spring (after the first Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers) is that of the Cuckoo. I've heard many in recent years, but they have on the whole been very tricky to track down.
Last year I managed to locate one at Holme in Norfolk and this year I've seen several. In the New Forest there seemed to be a constant call of a Cuckoo wherever I was. It was great to step out of the hotel at first light and hear two or three different birds calling. Amazing

The bird pictured below was actually seen in Manchester. Next years aim will be to get some better shots. In the meantime, these will have to go as record shots and no more.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Puffin - Bempton Cliffs & Flamborough

I've been meaning to head over to Bempton Cliffs and Flamborough on the East Yorkshire coast for quite some time now. The promise of thousands of sea birds, and of course Puffins, was a big draw. So the chance finally presented itself and off we went for a weekend by the coast.
RSPB Bempton is famous for attracting upwards of 250,000 sea birds to its chalky white cliffs to nest and raise young. The site of so many Gannets was quite mesmerising, and the smell, well quite something else.
The Puffins were one of my main reasons for going. Having only seen them as little specks on the sea on Anglesey before, I really wanted close up views. I wasn't disappointed, with several very close on the cliffs and others flying overhead as we moved to sea level at Flamborough.
I'll be sharing other birds from the trip soon, but for now, here are some very cute looking Puffins.

Checking out a Kittiwake on its nest.

It wasn't easy to capture these guys in flight. So fast and almost directly above me.

Like a torpedo.

Oh good, you're awake now.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Singing in the Rain

A stroll in the Macclesfield countryside is always nice and there is usually lots to see. Even in the rain there is still a lot around. I feel very lucky to live so close to somewhere so naturally beautiful and almost untouched. Nature thrives and long may that continue.

These lambs made me laugh out loud when I saw them. Wasn't expecting to see them, but there they were, sat in the middle of the stinging nettles. Ouch!

Another unexpected surprise. A Little Ringed Plover on the road.

Rain or shine, there's work to be done.

Nice female Pied Flycatcher.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Wood Warbler

I spent a good while in the New Forest with my ears open for a Wood Warbler. None were forthcoming, although they had been around. Strangely when I got home it appeared there had been one almost on my doorstep and showing itself very well.
I'd only seen one previously that had stuck around for a couple of weeks in Bramhall a few years ago.
Brilliant little birds, with a great song that makes their bodies shudder. It's similar to the Willow Warbler but has bright yellow upper parts and lovely white under parts.
This one was still singing as the rain and then hail came down. It made it a lot easier for me to find him.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Pied Wagtail

The humble Pied Wagtail is always a busy little bird. It's one of those that you can usually hear calling in flight before you see it.
This particular bird was on the side of a reservoir and it seemed intent on seeing what I was up to. Rather than follow me though, it would fly ahead of me fifteen yards or so and wait for me to catch up. Or at least it seemed. I'm sure it had other things on its mind.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Firecrest - New Forest

I've just spent a fantastic weekend in the New Forest as part of a guided bird and wildlife weekend. I didn't think anything could compare bird wise to Norfolk, but I was so so wrong. This place just hits all the spots, and in spades.
I think a lot has to do with visiting the right places (as is always the case) and this is where I landed on my feet, with an expert guide in trees, birds, plants, insects and much much more. John's knowledge was at times breathtaking. It made finding things a lot easier and not just that, identifying them too.

One of my many lifers on this trip was the usually elusive Firecrest. A tiny bird similar to the Goldcrest, but in my opinion, much better. It was quite bizarre, by the end of the day I was a bit blasé about them. There were that many about. Oh look, there's another one.

Take a look at this little beauty.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Canada Goose

At this time of year the Canada Geese can get a little bit feisty. Recently I was hissed at and chased off a city centre car park by one particularly aggressive individual, and this after it had tried to remove the hubcaps from a car that got a little too close. I don't think I'd have felt so silly if it were a group of youths giving me grief, but I was told from a very young age that one of these 'could break your arm'. I wasn't going to hang around to disprove the theory (which I don't believe by the way Mum). I'm pretty sure, as I am each year, that this goose was just being protective of its partner or potential nest site. I have no problem with that.
With that all said, I thought I'd try and show the Canada Goose in a more positive light, with some pictures taken when they were more relaxed and peaceful.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


Lapwings have been pretty busy of late on my patch. Busy chasing off intruders of any sort. From the air, by other birds, and land, by farmers and tractors intent on paying them no attention at all as they turn over their fields and the Lapwings nests and eggs.
They make a lovely noise as they go about their business. To me, it sounds like someone tuning in an old manual radio (for those of you that can remember them). Pitches going up and down, and never quite landing a station.
Their colours are quite special too. A lovely iridescent green and a pretty stylish hair do too. I hope they manage to get their young off safe and sound again this year. Sadly, it's quite a challenge for them.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Great Spotted Woodpecker

I've seen a lot more activity from Woodpeckers recently. Sometimes quite difficult to see as they move around trees on the blind side. I found this female recently. She was busy pulling at the moss that was making the trunk of this tree look like it was covered in green carpet. At first I thought she was plucking off nesting material as she was really giving it a good tug. Having watched for a few minutes though, I think she was after food that was within the moss itself.
It seemed oblivious to my presence, as I hid behind my car. It allowed me to get quite close to a bird that it usually quite difficult to capture.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Red-throated Pipit

Word came through on Sunday, of a rather scarce bird for this country, and even more so for my county. A Red-throated Pipit was discovered up on the moors of Manchester and Derbyshire (in fact right on the border of the two).
Ludworth Moor is somewhere I had never been too, but I have read lots about it and it's birdlife, and it was a birding friend of mine that discovered this bird on one of his many forays to the moors. Fortune favours the brave, and my word, for all his hard work, this one was well deserved for him. Thankfully, in this day and age, the joys of social media mean that news of these rarities can be spread pretty rapidly. I waited a whole 24 hours before taking the plunge and heading up to see it.
I had no concerns as to whether I'd find it or not. There between 50 and 100 other birders forming a very well behaved line to point it out to me. A stunning little bird that was mixing it with the Meadow Pipits and generally putting on a good show for everyone. I'm unlikely to see another one in this country, so here is homage to the Red-throated Pipit.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Goyt Valley

With my parents staying with me for the Bank Holiday weekend, I was desperate to show them the wonderful setting of the Goyt Valley. It's the most productive time of year to visit in terms of different bird species. Yet we managed to visit on what was a particularly cold and grey day, and bird activity seemed to be at a minimum. Blast!
The highlight of the first half of the walk was bumping into a couple of birding friends. They confirmed too, that it was indeed, very quiet today.
A pair of Grey Herons, a pair of Nuthatch and some Willow Warblers was about it.
The walk back to the car proved a little more fruitful with a Tree Pipit, a pair of Pied Flycatchers and a Common Sandpiper. Three Lifers for my Mum in a matter of minutes. Red Grouse, Kestrel and a Curlew finished the morning off nicely, followed by some nice cake.
Not too bad in the end, but could have been so much better. 

A very good looking female Pied Flycatcher.

And her male partner.