The local Pied Flycatchers have done very well this year. In previous years I've struggled to find pairs, but I had no such issues this year. There were good numbers around the various sites and this bodes well for some good numbers fledging. It could have been the good warm dry weather that we had for around six weeks at just the right time in Spring. Fingers crossed that the first brood managed to get good amounts of food and left the nest healthy.
Let me know when that tide's coming in won't you
Monday 20 November 2023
A visit to my parents recently saw a good opportunity to sea watch and also sit in the hides at Cley. It was pretty blustery to say the least while we were there and it did push the sea birds closer to the shore. The hides in the good morning light gave the opportunity to watch and photograph some of the raptors that were causing havoc amongst the waders and waterfowl.
Tuesday 14 November 2023
I'd heard of a juvenile European Shag being present just 20 minutes down the road, and it was hard to resist the urge to go and have a look, especially as the rain had decided to stay away for a change. I've seen quite a few of these birds, but only once before at an inland location. This particular bird was at a water park and seemed to be enjoying watch the canoeists as the played some form of polo just feet away. At least it was kindly stood on a pontoon just feet from the path. This made for some good close shots. It was probably blown off course during one of the recent storms.
Tuesday 7 November 2023
I had seen a Manx Shearwater just once before, and it was a very distant scope view way off the coast at Spurn. I was fortunate to watch 3 separate birds fairly close in to the beach at Salthouse near Cley in Norfolk recently. A great sea bird and fun to watch as it skims the surface of the water.
Unusual light here, as it was not long after sunrise.
Tuesday 31 October 2023
Standing on the beach at Salthouse on a windy October day is great for viewing passing sea birds. There were lots of Gannets passing at some distance, but some of the younger birds were trying their luck much closer in. These birds are large, but the plumage is really interesting as a juvenile. They look so dark compared to the adults, and it will take a few years before their plumage turns to that of the white adult birds.
A juvenile Gannet putting on a nice show for me from the shingle beach.
Tuesday 24 October 2023
I'd not seen a Cattle Egret over the last two years, and they are always a bird that I have to make a special trip out to see. So when reports of one, and then two, turning up in a cattle field just 15 minutes down the road came through on the local Whatsapp group I had to make the after work dash.
Both were still in the field busy following the herd and picking off flies and insects as they moved. One appeared to have an injury, as it was hopping and flapping each time it moved. Hopefully it is ok and manages to heal itself. Great little birds to watch, and one that completed the set of Great White Egret, Little Egret and Cattle Egret for the year.
Thursday 19 October 2023
A couple of weeks ago I headed over to the Wirral coast to watch the waders moving during the high tide. I ended up at Hoylake where an hour before high tide the sea looked a good mile or more away. It moves quite quickly here and it was fun watching the birds shuffle closer together before taking flight to find a dry bit of sand. The usual suspects were in attendance, with Oystercatchers, Curlew, Dunlin, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover and Knot all mingling together. At one point a Peregrine flew through which caused pandemonium. It left empty handed though.
A couple of Bar-tailed Godwits were a welcome addition to the day list, and as I don't go to the coast as often as I should they're a bird that I don't get to see all that often. With them were hundreds of Knot. Again a bird I'd not seen for a year or two, mainly due to me not visiting the areas they like to hang out. All in all though it was a very good few hours and reminded me I need to do this more often.
Bar-tailed Godwir on the left with a supporting cast of Knot.
Sunday 1 October 2023
It had been a while since I'd got out for a meaningful birdwatch, but I went to one of my favourite local haunts last weekend and had a really good couple of hours. The sun was out and it was a nice mild day. I didn't find anything unusual but there were plenty of the usual woodland suspects on show.
A Kestrel was hovering over the lakeside vegetation for a good 10 minutes, and made a couple of unsuccessful swoops, but it allowed me to stand and admire the beauty of this majestic bird. Never underestimated by me, it's a really special bird.
Thursday 21 September 2023
The weather of late has been pretty poor to say the least. So much so, that I have been doing a lot of my birding recently from the lounge window. Not ideal, and it limits the number of species that I can see. That said, I'm quite lucky to a good variety of the Tit family visit the feeders and trees. Jays have passed through recently and a few Goldcrests.
I have a new feeder that I can highly recommend from Kingsyard. (Click on the Kingsyard link here on the right) Kingsyard
This particular feeder is constructed really well, and is very sturdy. It has two different sizes of mesh, which means you can put different size seeds or food in each half. It also has a tray along the bottom that holds all the food like a trough. The water shield on the top unscrews so that you can put your food in. Again, this is a very sturdy acrylic that will keep the food dry in the rain and hopefully it will act as a baffle for the resident squirrels. The birds seem to like it and I'm really pleased with it. It has made the rainy days a little less miserable when I look out to it.
The Coal Tits are really big fans. I've had 3 or 4 on here at a time.
Wednesday 9 August 2023
RSPB Bempton Cliffs has so many birds to offer, but being able to get up close and personal with these birds in their nesting habitat is one of the key attractions for me. With many ledges built out of the cliff you can see down on to the birds and get very close as they fly by at eye level.
These Guillemots were happy enough being closely packed in, but made a constant din of noise just to ward off their neighbours in case they got too close.
Below you can see a Bridled Guillemot with a white ring around its eye. It looks like it's wearing glasses.
Thursday 3 August 2023
Whilst I was looking for my Spotted Flycatchers, I was lucky to find quite a few Common Redstarts, and one particular male was very busy collecting food for it's young in the nest. It was a lovely warm morning and the sun was also just in the right place as he landed in front of me on a garden gate. What an absolutely stunning bird this is, and they are only 10 miles away from my doorstep.