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

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

Sunday 26 February 2012

Roding Valley Meadows

A weekend at my parents in Essex always gives me the opportunity to visit one of my favourite places and somewhere that I spent a lot of time when growing up. Roding Valley Meadows in Loughton is a 160 acre nature reserve that follows the river Roding for a mile and a half from Debden to Buckhurst Hill. There's always lots to see. This weekend I managed a Little Egret, Ring-necked Parakeets, Green Woodpeckers, Common Gulls, Fieldfares, Redwings and lots of the usual stuff. Kingfishers are pretty regular along with Herons and plenty of raptors. Always a joy to have a wander round.

Little Egret on the river Roding

Common Gulls

Common Gull in flight

Ring-necked Parakeet, that seem to be spreading. You usually hear them before you see them.

Now, I am no fan of squirrels, but this one looked quite cute with the sun on it's back. 

Sunday 19 February 2012

Etherow Park

A nice couple of hours spent at Etherow Park in Stockport this morning. Cold, crisp and sunny. Perfect conditions. A great site, if a little too busy later in the day, hence me getting there at first light. I managed to see a few Dippers on the river Goyt and a good twenty plus Mandarin ducks. I made my way to the hide and was soon joined by a very friendly Robin that was intent on joining me in the hide. So I took advantage and took some really nice shots. A Kingfisher went past me on four occasions, but never stopped close enough for a good shot. Lots of Nuthatch around and a flock of Siskins. Teal, Tufted Ducks, Cormorants and even more Mandarins. Lots of drumming from the Woodpeckers and then one put in an appearance next to the hide. A good mornings birding.

Blue Tit


Mandarin Duck

This cheeky little Robin came and joined me in the hide with a look that said, "What are you doing here?"

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Tatton Mere

I'd heard of several Redhead Smew in the vacinity last weekend, and then I heard that one had found it's way to Tatton Mere in the grounds of Tatton Park. I made my way over in the afternoon and with the help of two birders located it at the morth end of the mere. It was very flighty but kept drifting back to the same area so it was just a case of waiting. I did wait and wait, but it was just getting darker and it just would not come near enough. A dog jumped in and made it fly a long way from me and I called it a day. Here is my best shot, followed by one taken of a captive Smew at Martin Mere last year.

Smew in flight (after harassment from a dog)


 Very dodgy light, too far away and too shaky, but there it is.

Smew (captive) taken at Martin Mere

Pochard at Tatton Mere

Sunday 12 February 2012

Grey Plover

A trip to Elton Reservoir on Saturday for a Grey Plover proved very successful. Not a common species in the North West it is usually confined to the coast whilst wintering in this country. I found the bird working it's way along the shoreline looking for food. It would also regularly make it's way onto the grassy verges in it's search. Accompanying the Grey Plover were two Dunlin, which in comparison are a very small wader and also usually found on the coast. A good mornings birding for two lovely birds.

Grey Plover in winter plumage

Snow still on the ground. Roll on Spring.

The Dunlin. 

This shot shows the difference in size between the two. Dunlin being quite a lot smaller.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

The Robin

As winter seems to have well and truly arrived now, I thought I would take the opportunity to showcase the Robin.
Quite often seen as the classic Christmas card bird, but seen in most gardens all year round. There is something very appealing about seeing a Robin on a cold sunny day, or even better, in the snow. I took these shots on a very sunny, cold and frosty morning, which seemed to enhance the orange breast feathers. They are quite territorial and seem to spend a lot time and energy seeing off other birds from their patch, but probably most people’s favourite (or at least most recognisable) garden bird.

Sunday 5 February 2012

Sandbach Flashes

I took another trip to Sandbach yesterday, hoping for better light to picture the Glossy Ibis. I failed on both counts. No sunlight and no Ibis. Still, the temperature was well below zero and birds around the feeding station and adjoining fields were plentiful. Lots of Redwings, Tree Sparrows, and the usaual farmland birds. Also lots of Wigeon, Shellduck, Gulls, Lapwings and Canada Geese. Just a few for you below.


Great Tit, looking rather pleased with his nut.


Wednesday 1 February 2012

Sandbach Flashes

I spent a couple of hours yesterday at Sandbach Flashes in Cheshire to see the Glossy Ibis that has been present for  a couple of weeks. At first there was no sign but then it flew up from the rivers edge and across into view. Unfortunately, it was a little out of range for my lens, plus it was very overcast. So what I got were some very poor record shots. I also got to see my first Iceland Gull, along with Black-tailed Godwits, Tree Sparrow, Wigeon, Cormorants, Sparrowhawk and many more. Hopefully I will get back at a later date, with better light for a better shot.

Glossy Ibis (not so glossy in this light)


Black-tailed Godwits