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

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

Friday, 21 February 2020

Sheringham Beach - Purple Sandpiper & Caspian Gull

I spent a good long weekend down at my parents in Norfolk, and that always means plenty of opportunity to add some year ticks. A bird that is a regular during the winter months is the Purple Sandpiper that can be found on the large granite rocks on the Sheringham coast. There were a pair around, and I was able to see at least one on most days. One of my favourite wading birds, I look forward to seeing these well camouflaged creatures.

Typically in amongst the crashing waves at high tide.

A bird that has also been on the beach recently is this juvenile Caspian Gull. A 1st winter individual, this was only the second time that I've seen one, so it was good to be able to stand and study it for a while as it mingled with some juvenile Herring Gulls.

The Caspian Gull can be seen here in the centre, and is noticably lighter in colour to the Herring Gulls either side of it.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Snow Bunting

An early morning visit to Rhyl on the North Wales coast had me searching the beach for a pair of elusive Snow Buntings. They had been reported here for some time and often overwinter here. Finding them though was not easy. Watching the stones for anything that moved in the early morning gloom was difficult, and not helped by how well camouflaged they are amongst the pebbles.
After 20 minutes or so I caught sight of some movement, and there they were. They are really confiding birds and by perching myself on a rock, they carried on their business and came towards me. So many photographers don't use any field craft, but patience and good positioning means you never need to spook your birds and they in turn feel comfortable with you, which allows you to get your shots.

The male is darker, with the colouring almost black as opposed to the brown of the female.

Male on the left.


Thursday, 23 January 2020

Long-billed Dowitcher - Marshside

I picked up my third lifer of 2020 last weekend in the shape of a Long-billed Dowitcher. This wader is usually found in North America and should probably be in Central America at this time of year. However I was pleased that this bird had been spending the week on the North West coast at Marshside, just north of Southport.
I left home before sunrise to be in place when the sun came up. It was cold, but well worth the trip. This became bird number 90 for the year in my quest to see 200 different species in a year.

After a long wait, the sun finally made it over the buildings behind.

A good size comparison, with a Teal on the left.

Large flocks of Wigeon kept me entertained.

A group of Golden Plover

Saturday, 4 January 2020

The 2020 Year List begins.

Happy New Year to you all!! I hope 2020 is a good one.

I made the most of a day off and made a very good start to my 2020 year list. I set off before sunrise and headed towards the Lake District in order to tick off a lifer in the form of a Ring-necked Duck.
I knew it was on Pine Lakes, and on arrival my heart sank when I saw how vast the lake was. The sun was only just coming up and so it was not easy. It turned out that it was mixing with a group of Greater Scaup. A good start to the day.

The first sunrise of the decade.

The Ring-necked Duck second from left, smaller than the Scaup.

Ring-necked Duck left of the top three birds.

I moved on to an area called Eagland Hill, where a Purple Heron had been for a few weeks, and had frustrated me that I couldn't get along to see it. Thankfully, it put on a very good show and was easy to observe from the roadside. Two lifers in a day is always a good thing, but on the first day of the year was very exciting. I ended the day with 65 birds on the list.


Tuesday, 24 December 2019

White-fronted Goose

I'd just like to say a Merry Christmas to everyone that has visited my blog this year. I love reading your comments and I really enjoy being able to share what I see, however common the birds or animals are. I hope to post more regularly in 2020 as I try and count 200+ species within the year. I've never cracked it yet, but I've never found enough time. I plan to make more time. So stick with me, and hopefully it will be a successful birding year.

The main bird featured here today is likely to be my last tick of the year and it was a lifer too. Not far from my home is large body of water called Redesmere. I now volunteer for the BTO to count the wildfowl on here every month. I popped along to see what might be on the water. Among the 100+ Greylag Geese was one goose that had a very obvious white blaze on it's bill. I knew that this wasn't common amongst Greylags, but was on White-fronted Geese. The size difference was also quite noticeable, with it being 1/3 to 50% smaller than the Greylags.

I needed confirmation for this ID, as I had never seen one myself in the field before and so asked a good birding friend of mine, and it was quite quickly confirmed as a Eurasion White-fronted Goose.
I was delighted, and this was not what I expected to see on this visit, but I was so glad I popped over. Just shows you that anything can turn up anywhere. You just have to be there to see it.

You can see the smaller goose with it's white blaze in the centre of the pictures below.

This I believe is a juvenile White-fronted Goose that was also present on the same day.

Friday, 22 November 2019

East Bank - Cley

I've been away for quite a while, but now I hope that I can once again post on a regular basis. I couldn't think of a better way to come back with a bird as smart and difficult to see as our Bearded Tit. I got extremely lucky a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for a Long-tailed Duck along the East bank at Cley Marshes in Norfolk. Suddenly from the reeds to my left I heard the call of a group of Bearded Tits. So I stopped and waited, and thankfully they all came out to play. I've never been this lucky with these birds. It's usually a fleeting glimpse as they skim over a reed bed and disappear out of sight. Not on this occasion though.


And this is the Long-tailed Duck. Unfortunately it stayed distant and was diving continuously, so made it very difficult to get any decent shots. This will do as a record shot though.