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

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

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Long Tailed Duck - Crosby Marine Lake

One of two lifers so far this year, was a Long Tailed Duck at Crosby Marine Lake in Liverpool. (The other was a Bittern the day before). Last Sunday my friend Phil and I made an early icy and foggy start, and headed over to Liverpool. The forecast was for good light and no rain, so to be driving through the fog was not what we expected. Our positivity was telling us that it will be clear by the coast. Well it did clear and the sun shone, but the bird wasn't playing ball and was staying well away from us on the other side of the lake. A couple of times it drifted closer, but not close enough. The sun then disappeared and we had a torrential downpour.
Now both wet and cold (rather than just cold) it drifted a little closer with the aid of some very vocal people in a canoe. Sadly this was as close as it got, and these shots really are no more than record shots. I hope to see another one with better light one day. A nice looking duck all the same.

Long Tailed Duck 

Here together with a Goldeneye.

Thursday 22 January 2015

Super Cold, Super Birds

A super cold morning last Saturday saw me out just after first light. At -4 degrees, it meant I was scraping the car of ice and eating into my valuable birding time. I'm one of those people that when I've decided to go somewhere, I need to go there and then. Any later and I start to get fidgety.
I made it to my patch and it was icy cold. My six layers plus hat snood and gloves were doing a great job of keeping me from being too cold though. The best thing about the cold weather is that it brings plenty of birds out into the open to feed.
One particular field was alive with Redwings, Fieldfares and Mistle Thrush. It was a great sight to watch as they busily hopped along looking for breakfast.
Now, I've tried to get a decent image of a Fieldfare for a while and I have hopelessly failed. If it wasn't for the pesky branches on the shots below I'd have been over the moon. I was in the right place with the sun in the right place too. The bird was there, but so were the branches.
The challenge goes on. Let's hope it stays cold for a few weeks yet.

Now this would have been perfect if the Fieldfare had sat out in the open. A nice Goldfinch all the same.

Monday 19 January 2015

Knot playing ball.

Usually when I come across Knot they are in large groups a long way off in the distance. It doesn't matter if they are actively feeding, roosting or being flushed in the air by a dog or raptor, they are always off in the distance. Some birds are difficult to approach and even more so when there is nothing to hide your form on a wide open beach. So I gave up trying to approach far off birds some time ago. It doesn't do the birds any good to be constantly shifted on when they could be resting or feeding.

When I arrived at Hoylake the tide had gone way out. I could see all sorts in the distance, but my luck was out and I saw what I could through the binoculars, made my notes and moved on. A few hundred yards past the Lifeboat house I could see a decent sized flock of waders really close to the sea wall. So I got out of the car to take a closer look. The flock were mainly Knot, so I was delighted I was able to get close whilst staying on the pavement and they were happy to carry on their business. Everyone was a winner.

Once again, the light was just perfect.

This shot is a bit blurry, but I've included it as the central bird had colour tagged legs. I have sent the details off to the relevant people and hopefully I will be able to come back with some more information on this particular bird. 

Friday 16 January 2015

Redshank - Hoylake

The beach at Hoylake always holds many birds. It's a joy to wander along and watch the flocks of Dunlin and Sanderling flash against the sky, but then see hundreds or thousands of gulls and Oystercatchers sat on the muddy looking flats after the tide has retreated. Redshanks are usually in good numbers too, and here is one particular individual that was enjoying the gorgeous winter sunshine whilst looking for its food.

The wind turbines and the rows of gulls and waders in the distance

Monday 12 January 2015

Turnstone and Oystercatchers

I went in search of Purple Sandpipers at New Brighton last week. I had no such luck though on this occasion, but I will return and I will find them.
The tide had gone out quite a distance by the time I arrived (which probably was the reason the Purple Sands weren't playing ball) but it left some rocks exposed along the beach and the Oystercatchers and Turnstones were having a wonderful time picking things over and generally rummaging around. Although it was windy the sun was out and it made for a very enjoyable day.

Do you have anything for me there please Mr Oystercatcher?

Friday 9 January 2015


I managed to get some decent views in good light of Redwing last weekend. There were dozens of them on the ground in one particular field. It seemed like the ground was alive with them. My previous sightings of them this winter had been long distance and in very bad light, so I was pleased to be able to enjoy them in all their colourful splendour.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Robins once again.

We had some lovely cold weather at the weekend. There was a hard frost but with that was a nice clear sunny day. The cold seemed to bring all the birds out too as they desperately searched for food. I'm seeing Robins everywhere at the moment and I just can't help point the camera at them. They make it so easy with their inquisitiveness. So apologies for once again showing these birds.

Friday 2 January 2015

Some Gull Diggery

I must start by saying that I find identifying gull species very difficult. So many plumages for the same bird that are so similar to completely different gull species.
I've spent a long time looking through many books and also online, and I think I've nailed this particular gull down to be a juvenile first winter Herring Gull. I am more than willing to be shot down though. I never feel confident with these birds, but I am growing to appreciate them a lot more and dare I say it, enjoy watching them. It's great to scan a large group and pick one out that's slightly different and then try to decide what the devil it is.
Anyway, this bird was seen at New Brighton on the Wirral a few months back. Please advise if you believe this to be something completely different. I can handle the truth.

Juvenile first winter Herring Gull