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

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

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Blacktoft Sands RSPB Reserve

There was a very good supporting cast at Blacktoft where I saw the White-tailed Lapwing. Numbers weren't great, but the variety was. There was plenty of wildfowl, with Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall and Mallard in attendance. Snipe were plentiful, and I do love watching them. Even if they are resting and doing very little I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time studying them and their striking plumage. A couple of Spotted Redshank were good to see. A Great White Egret put in an appearance and got itself added to my year list. Oh and almost forgot, a Bluethroat. A rarity here and yet another lifer for me. A great day all round.

Spotted Redshank

Common Snipe

Great White Egret

The Goldfinch were busy feeding while I was sat in one of the hides.

A very distant Bluethroat that was flitting around a long way away at the base of the reeds.

Saturday, 25 September 2021

White-tailed Lapwing - Blacktoft Sands

Reports came in towards the end of last week that a White-tailed Lapwing (Plover) was at RSPB Blacktoft Sands, off the Humber Estuary in Yorkshire. Now this is not a common bird at all here in the UK, with only 6 previous records. I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to head along the M62 to try and see it.

On arrival it hadn't yet been seen, but there were half a dozen hides to check, so it could still be around. Eventually it was spotted, but it was asleep behind a very overgrown island and could only be seen by a few to the far right of the hide. 4 hours later it took off and landed out of sight. This meant a quick march to the next hide to see if it was there. Thankfully there it was, wide awake and feeding. 

It was worth the wait for a very good looking bird and a life tick too.

The White-tailed Lapwing with is really nice long yellow legs.

Seen here on the left, with a Ruff on the right. Giving a good size comparion.

I saved my best for last.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021


Similar to the Whinchat, is the Stonechat. I see these regularly throughout the year, but sometimes I come across a very showy pair. This was the case at Holme-next-the-Sea on the North Norfolk coast.

I suspected this may have been a pair busy nesting, so I didn't hang around, but was able to get some quickfire pictures before leaving them to it.

Friday, 3 September 2021


I made many trips and travelled many miles in search of a Whinchat in the Spring of this year, and all to no avail. I didn't find any on passage or at a trusted site for breeding. I had all but given up seeing one this year. Until that is I saw reports of them on the move again, and they were starting to move down off the hills. I had somewhere that usually gets the odd Redstart and Stonechat passing through at this time of year, and so I thought I'd go and take a walk and see if there was any sign. I checked the usual fence lines and bushes, but no sign of any Whinchats. In fact there was very little of interest about. 
I hopped over a style and carried on my walk towards the River Dean. Plenty of Swallows were around and the juveniles were resting on the fence wires. I took a cursory look through the binoculars across a wheat field, when I caught sight of a bird zipping over the top. I got a good look at it, and long enough to rule out Reed Bunting and Meadow Pipit that can be in the area. I thought it might be a Stonechat, but then it popped up on top of the crop. This was a Whinchat!! I'd actually forgotten to look for one by this stage, so it was real delight to see one. Only issue was that I didn't had ;eft my camera in the car.
I walked all the way back to get it and returned. Thankfully, it was still there and I was able to get a few pictures. Another good year tick.

Friday, 20 August 2021

RSPB Bempton Cliffs

Last month I made a visit to Bempton cliffs with a couple of my birding friends. We were hoping to see the Black-browed Albatross that had been in the around for a couple of a few weeks. Unfortunately on the morning we went, it had decided to go AWOL, and wasn't seen at all that day. It has since returned, but is very hit and miss. I'm hoping to see it one day, but will leave it for a while just at the moment.

Meanwhile, there was plenty to see on the rocks and sea below. Gannets galore, plus the usual Guillemots, Razzorbills and Kittiwakes. It was a hot day, which was a bonus, as the near 3 hour journey would have been really miserable in the rain. Just a reminder that not every twitch is successful, but I guess that's part of the fun.

Not an Albatross, but part of the same family, a Fulmar in flight and good light.

Gannets were plentiful.

Ever wondered what a sleeping Guillemot looks like? 👇

Kittiwakes were noisy on the cliffs.

There were not too many Puffins left.


Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Elegant Tern, Cemlyn Bay

If I ever needed another excuse to visit Anglesey, what better excuse than to be able to tick a lifer in the form of an Elegant Tern. This bird was mingling within a Tern colony that included Sandwich, Common, Arctic and when I visited a pair of Roseate Terns. 

It's completely off track from where it should be, but it does appear that this particular bird is one that had been in France recently. This is only the second record for Wales, and it really stood out amongst the colony. It had it's own perch and always returned to it after a flight.

It kept me entertained that's for sure,

Friday, 16 July 2021

Grasshopper Warbler

I stopped recently at RSPB Geltsdale, which is in Cumbria, up near Carlisle. I have been a couple of times in the past and it is somewhere I like to stop off when in the area. It is a very nice peaceful place with rolling hills and meadows. Curlews, Willow Warblers and Sedge Warblers could all be heard as I got out of the car. Then there was the unmistakeable song of the Grasshopper Warbler. As it's name suggests, it mimics the sound of a grasshopper. It sounded close. Using the few trees nearby, I skirted round and found it on a fence post singing it's head off.  

My best ever views of this bird. Usually it is to be found (or heard) from within tall grass or bushes.

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Feeding Time

We've had some lovely weather recently. (I do appreciate that here in the North West of England that  only needs to constitute 'not raining') Thankfully for our feathered friends it has been quite warm and dry, meaning that there have been plenty of insects and caterpillars for the adults to take to their nests.

I spent a nice couple of hours in the hills after work and it was fascinating to watch the Grey Wagtails at work, catching all sorts of insects. This one has a beak crammed full of protein rich goodies.

One of the juvenile Grey Wagtails, waiting patiently for some snacks.

This male Common Redstart was very actively dropping down to pick up spiders and other insects.

The Spotted Flycatchers are masters at the art of catching small flying insects, but in between they will sit patiently, almost posing on a nice branch.