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

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

Tuesday 29 May 2012

North Wales

At the weekend I went on a guided birding day in North Wales with Alan & Ruth from The Biggest Twitch. http://www.thebiggesttwitch.com I fully recommend a day or three with these guys. Great company, and I guarantee you won't miss a bird that may be nearby. We started off at Conwy RSPB reserve and made our way west right out to Anglesey and South Stack RSPB reserve.
Highlights of the day for me were some of the sea birds. Puffins, Razorbills, Kittiwakes and Gannets. Plus we had Ring Ouzel, Crossbill and some great raptors. Over 80 species in the day and 6 lifetime firsts for me.

This Sparrowhawk greeted us as we met in the car park. What a start to the day.

As it flew driectly overhead we could see it was carrying some prey in it's tallons.

A male Ring Ouzel. Best views I've had of one.

Black Guillemot on the sea at Holyhead. You can just see it's ridiculous red feet.

Doing a bit of cleaning.

A Herring Gull looking for some lunch. (Our lunch)

Waders coming in. A mix of Dunlin and Ringed Plover.

Dunlin and Ringed Plover on the beach.

The cliffs at South Stack. Loaded with Guillemots in this shot.

Friday 25 May 2012


Glorious weather at last. After so many grey or damp days, the sun and warmth have arrived. I've been on the local patch recently. There's not really been anything spectacular to report but it's just been nice to see birds moving around in good light. There have also been some Brown Hares around. It's usually just rabbits, so it's always good to see something different.




Wren in full song

Curlew on the golf course

Now, this little fellow thought I wouldn't see him if he lay as flat as possible in an open field just 10 metres away from me. Well I've got news for you Mr Brown Hare. I saw you, and saw you run away when you thought I wasn't looking. Busted!

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Goyt Valley

I have made a few visits to the Goyt Valley in the Peak District just recently. There are some really stunning birds there at this time of year. I managed to locate a pair of Common Redstart quite a few Spotted Flycatchers, Pied Flycatchers, Dippers and Grey Wagtails along the river and Curlews calling in the distance and Short Eared Owls. I've also heard Cuckoos, but am yet to see one.
Pied Flycatcher (male)

Common Redstart

Willow Warbler

And finally,  I couldn't resist. The Short Eared Owl

Saturday 19 May 2012

Short Eared Owl

I made a rare late excursion last week, out into Derbyshire. My aim wasn't Short Eared Owl but it's what I ended up focusing on, as after a hail storm the clouds cleared for  bright evening sunshine and it seemed to bring the owls out to hunt. I was treated to some fantastic views.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Etherow Park

I took advantage of the good weather again this morning by making a trip to Etherow Park. There's always lots to see and a good range of birds. I particularly like watching the Dippers skimming up and down stream, and today one individual posed nicely for a few minutes for me.
The hide also allows good opportunities for birds at close quarters. While I was there this morning a Coal Tit came and sat on the window ledge no more that a foot away, while I froze and stared straight back at it, it must have wondered what I was up to.
Mandarin ducks seem to be everywhere you look at Etherow these days. On the lake, on the canal, in the woods on the grass. They're not a favourite by any stretch of the imagination but they are particularly colourful. I just hope they don't become like Himalayan balsam and take over our parks and waterways.

Nuthatch at the hide


Grey Heron

Mandarin (one of many)

Saturday 12 May 2012


My apologies for these three very poor shots, but they have to be shared due to the nature of the bird.
Having told my wife I will just be popping to Woodford for a few minutes, just so I could convince myself that there was nothing of any note around, I stopped the car and saw a large wader on the opposite side of the pool. My initial thought was, that's a very big Common Sandpiper. But I knew it wasn't a Sandpiper, it was Redshank size. I'd left my scope at home, but I really needed it to be sure it was a Greenshank. I made a call to someone I knew would know, and just from a brief description over the phone John was onto it straight away. Ten minutes or so later, he confirmed instantly after stepping out of his car. A Greenshank in Stockport!!! Fortunately quite a few people were able to get along to see it, and with better views than these shots. What a corker?

Monday 7 May 2012

Pied Flycatcher

After several attempts in Macclesfield Forest, I finally located  Pied Flycatchers this weekend. They seem a few weeks late, much like a lot of our summer migrants, but with the weather as it has been in recent weeks this may not be a bad thing for the first brood. Only time will tell if fortunes are the same for those that manage two broods.
A nice cold but bright morning with my Mum and daughter in toe, saw snowflakes fluttering as we arrived early (are we really in May). I soon picked up the song of the Pied Flycatcher and then spotted him fluttering around the canopy of a tree.
Here are some shots of it.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Grey Heron

I am fortunate to live near a couple of Heronries, and at this time of year the Herons are very active feeding their young. Not every ones favourite (especially those with fish in their ponds) but a bird that seems to have a majesty about it. Then it lets out a quite horrid squawk and any gracefulness it may have had goes right out of the window. Here are a few shots I have taken recently

Coming in to land

Putting in the hours in the rain.


And off again