Let me know when that tide's coming in won't you

Let me know when that tide's coming in won't you

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Danebower Quarry

I went looking for the elusive Ring Ouzel recently. It was exactly that. Elusive. No sign whatsoever. Nothing flying over, on the rocky slopes or even down in the valley. My luck was out on this one.
There were a few other bits and pieces around though, so I made the most of the company that I had.
A few bubbling Red Grouse, some vocal and busy Meadow Pipits and also some very good looking Wheatear.

I stood motionless for some time as this Red Grouse approached me. It seemed blissfully unaware that I was there as it carried on feeding and walking straight towards me. This male was in great condition, with its bright red combs over the eye particularly prominent.


The Wheatear is one of my favourite summer visitors. I always look forward to them arriving. Once again this male was looking pretty dapper.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Mandarin Duck

The area between Cheadle Hulme and Bramhall is a great little habitat, and at this time of year there is usually quite a lot to see. There were plenty of Chiffchaffs calling, my first Blackcap of the year, Grey Wagtail on the river and Herons on their nests. Then I spotted a duck on the river that I was hoping I would see, having not seen one for a while. The really colourful Mandarin Duck. It's not a native species and was introduced in the 20th century here, although the feral population seems to have established itself quite well. Not everyone's cup of tea, but I think its quite a nice duck to look at. A break from the norm.

A good looking male.

The less colourful female.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Grey Heron

The Heronries in my area are in full swing. There are young in the nests. What a racket these birds and their babies make. It's almost like a squeal of someone in severe pain. Until I lay my eyes on the birds I'm always a little disturbed, and even then I think is there really any need for such a noise.
That said, I could stand and watch a Heron for hours. I just love watching them stalk their prey in the water. Sometimes standing there motionless, waiting for the moment to strike.
Even in flight they have a sort of majesty about them. Long lolloping wing beats, neck tucked in.
They don't always look that graceful though. When they try to land near their nests, there is usually quite a lot of flapping, with branches swaying. It does make me laugh.
A pleasure to see at any time though.

Not where I'd typically see a Grey Heron standing.

Coming in to land in a tree.


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Little Grebe - Burton Mere

A visit to RSPB Burton Mere reserve is always enjoyable. There is usually some uncertainty as to what you might see. Quite often there are some very good rarities and always a good selection of waders. One bird you can pretty much guarantee though is a Little Grebe.  Not always easy to see or get good views of, due to its small size, it is quite reliable at Burton to get close to the reception hide.
This is where it appeared recently and I was able to enjoy some time just watching it dabble around the reeds.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Whinchat - Leasowe

Migration is in full swing and the birds are getting better, and still coming. An early morning start on the Wirral turned up a few surprises with a Sedge Warbler calling. A Willow Warbler was the first of the year, as were half a dozen Swallows.
Pick of the bunch though was a stunning male Whinchat. Around the perimeter of a horse paddock, doing what they do best, waiting on fence posts before dropping down for some food and back again.
Only the second time I've seen one. I'm hoping I can see a few more this year. For now though, I'm happy with this one.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Pied Flycatcher

I think I've mentioned on a few occasions my excitement of Spring and its arrival. The birds that arrive at this time of year are the main reason for my excitement. Last week offered up some goodies in the form of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, but the real gems for me are only just getting here now. The Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts, Ring Ouzels, Cuckoos and others. When I see any of these I feel so privileged to be in the same location as them.
Last night I managed to see my first Pied Flycatcher and Redstart of the year. It was getting dark, but I managed a few shots. I hope to see some more in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015


The joys of Spring are back. Going for a walk and hearing the sound of migrant birds that weren't there just a few days ago. Knowing how far they've travelled just to be in that spot where you are right now is always a little hard to take in. But the songs are wonderful. Enough to put a smile on my face as I hear my first Willow Warbler or Chiffchaff. Then I have to try and see it. Thankfully the trees are not in full leaf, but they do make it difficult for your to see them as they flit, almost constantly, around the branches.
In a few weeks time it will be very difficult to spot them, so I made the most of the light yesterday and found myself a Chiffchaff. It's a bit of a waiting game and a fingers crossed job, hoping one will forget you're there and become inquisitive. I was very fortunate indeed to get this little guy come so close. What a lovely bird and one that may have flown all the way from North Africa.

Lovely clean new leaves ready to flourish.

Monday, 13 April 2015

A Mixed Bag

A disappointing day that was spoilt by rain left me with only a few images. Nothing more frustrating, when you've been looking forward to getting out with the camera and then it rains. Still, there were a couple of dry spells. Just not as many as the rain filled ones.

First up, a Grey Wagtail that was very busy indeed along Clough Brook. This is a female and no doubt there will be a male about too, as they'll be ready to nest very soon.

Grey Wagtail

Herring Gull

Lesser black-backed Gull

On the beach at Pensarn, while waiting for a very elusive Iceland Gull, we were treated to a few glimpses of Meadow Pipit. We heard many others, but this one dropped down in front of me.

Meadow Pipit

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Purple Sandpiper - New Brighton

This bird is one of my favourite waders. I've only ever seen it twice, and on this occasion there were eleven of them. In February of last year I saw my first one on the rocks at Colwyn Bay. The plumage on these birds is just wonderful. Purplish on top and mainly white underneath. They just look very neat and compact.
This particular group were huddled on a pontoon at New Brighton, on the Wirral. The tide was in and the beach covered. It was time for a little R&R.

They do have two legs. They were all just choosing to use one.

In the background here with a Laughing Gull, (Front) and Turnstones (many).

Turnstones, to the right, are slightly bigger.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Rook - Woodford

A bit of a Rookery has been developing recently on my patch, with several nests.
I've never really thought of this particular crow as very good looking. That bill with it's bare skin around the base. It makes me think of vultures and so, to me, makes them appear a little sinister and awaiting trouble.
Having said all that, I can appreciate them as actually a very smart looking bird these days. The shine on those feathers is quite immaculate.

The bill reminds me of a Brazil nut.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Redshank - West Kirby

A day on the Wirral started with so much anticipation but ended up being a bit of a damp squib. I had high hopes of seeing lots of different things, but the weather put paid to that as the rain and wind came in. I only managed a few shots with the camera as it was too gloomy and wet.
These Redshank were sheltering on the rocks at West Kirby. They were getting battered all over the place by the wind coming in off the sea.

This guy didn't see the wave coming.

Whoops! There it is.

When do you think this winds going to stop then?

Huddled and hunched together into the wind.