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 31 July 2012


I came across a small family of Stonechat some weeks back while up at Danebower Quarry. Two adults and three juveniles on that occasion. Last week I made a return visit, where I quickly found both adults but only one juvenile. It could well be that the others were hiding in the bracken, just as the one I saw soon did. You can't mistake that "chat" call that they make. It's like a clicking noise and pretty loud for the size of the bird.
The male is a really handsome beast. It has a lovely black head and orange chest, while the female has a brown head and a tinge of orange on the chest. They posed really nicely for here and the light wasn't too bad either.

The female with a nice juicy caterpillar for the little one.

Sunday 29 July 2012

Sandbach Flashes

I followed up some news of a Wood Sandpiper and Garganey at Sandbach Flashes on Sunday morning. As I left Manchester it was raining. The further I headed into Cheshire the sunnier it became. Always a good thing.
On arrival I couldn't locate either targets, but was soon pointed in the right direction but some very helpful birders, who kindly came and found me to let me know.
The Wood Sandpiper shot is worse than a record shot, so apologies, but it's the first one I've seen so it deserves a place here.
The Garganey are slightly better but light and distance were both against me. I was surprised to see how small this dabbling duck is. Not much bigger than a Teal and much smaller than a Mallard, that can be seen in the pictures for comparison.

3 Garganey towards the back with a Mallard at the front.

 Wood Sandpiper. (Digiscoped)

Thursday 26 July 2012

A Cold Winters Day

Back in the winter I spent a day in the hide of Charlie Owen in Glazebury, Cheshire. As cold as it was that day, the light was spot on. The birds were obliging and plentiful. Most were common garden or farmland birds, but it was fantastic day. I'm happy to revisit it here.

Blue Tit



Great Tit


Monday 23 July 2012

A Little Owl and a lonely duckling

A superb sunny weekend saw me up and out early once again. I headed into the Cheshire countryside which for me is only a twenty minute drive. Miles of rolling hills, rivers and reservoirs and plenty of wildlife make it an enticing place, especially when there are so many varied habitats.
Before the sun had risen fully there was a mist rising from the reservoir, and then a lone duckling made it's way across the water. It's very unusual to see just one duckling on it's own, but there were no parents nearby and it will be a hard start for this little one.
The Common Sandpiper was still around. We'll be on first name terms soon.
Then, from the car I saw a Little Owl sat on a telephone line. I parked the car and managed to get a few shots.

 Macclesfield countryside though the early mist.

The lonely duckling

A tough time ahead for this one.

A superb Little Owl

Friday 20 July 2012

Something slightly different

Time for something a little different. A few weeks back between rain showers, there was some sunshine. In that small window I managed to find some Banded Demoiselles by the River Dean in Woodford. There must have been a good couple of dozen, probably more, but they kept me occupied for some time. They have amazing colours. Take a look at these.

This is the male 

Both male and female in the throws of passion.

A lone female in stunning sunlight.

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Redstart Fest 2012

With summer festivals being cancelled left, right and centre this summer, I am going to create my own. The Redstart Fest.
A really stunning bird that I've spoken about a few times in my blogs, and was one of my highlights of last year. It is certainly turning out that way again this year. I've been able to get some very good close up views of a fantastic pair just recently, who've been working their socks off to feed some young.
I could go on and on forever about these truly stunning birds, but I'm going to stop and hopefully let my pictures do the talking for me. I hope you'll agree, they really are a highlight of the British summer. Even if we don't get the sunshine, these little fellas have brightened up my evenings.

The fantastic male Redstart. What a beauty?

The female, a little weather beaten.

I am sure if you're a juvenile Redstart this looks very appetizing

Saturday 14 July 2012

Little Egret

A bird that was quite plentiful in Norfolk was the Little Egret, and it has been on the increase in the UK for a number of years now. Several hundred years ago it was believed to have been quite common here but either through climate change or hunting it became extinct. They are making a good come back at present, and hopefully we will see a lot more of them in our wetland areas in the coming years. Hopefully more of them will make their way a little further north to the Greater Manchester/Cheshire areas.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Common Sandpiper

Whilst making more visits to Cheshire just recently, I've seen a Common Sandpiper on a number of occasions. I can't guarantee it is the same one each time, but I've found it to be quite fascinating to watch. It walks along the reservoir shore line searching for food whilst bobbing it's tail as it goes. It has quite a shrill call, and a few times I've heard it before seeing it.
It allowed me to get quite close on a few occasions as I shuffled my way towards it, stealth like.

Another wading bird that has been on or around my patch in good numbers recently has been the Curlew. Seen here on a small chimney.

Saturday 7 July 2012


I have ventured out into Cheshire recently to some great places, where the rivers run wild and fresh and the birds are reliable and frequent. Just a small selection for you below.

Grey Wagtail

A very grainy shot of a Kingfisher, just for my brother who will now have to admit they do esixt.

 A long distance shot of a Ring Ouzel. A great bird to have in the area.

This Siskin refused to let me get a nice clean shot from the front, so the back will have to do.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Norfolk. Not quite abroad. (Part 2)

On the second day of our Norfolk trip the weather improved drastically. The wind was still on the brisk side, but the sun came out and made quite a difference to the pictures I got. You can't beat good light to improve any photo. The next thing you need though are the birds. Fortunately in Norfolk you are never far away from something worthwhile.


Sandwich Tern with a Sand eel. We wathced these birds diving into the sea to catch these at Cley. A great spectacle.

Ringed Plover showing how well camouflaged they are against the shingle beach.

Marsh Harrier on the prowl.

This Sacred Ibis turned up while we were at Cley.