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 29 March 2015

Great Grey Shrike - Beeley Moor

I've been chasing this species all over the UK in the past couple of years. For one reason or another, somehow, I've missed it on each occasion. I did hear it's call one once in Norfolk, but that's not good enough to say you've seen it. So, I've been close a couple of times and I have to say I wasn't particularly confident about seeing this particular bird this morning. It has been widely reported in the Beeley Moor area in Derbyshire for some months, and there has been at least one bird here for a few years over winter.
The forecast was not good and the clocks went forward too, so an hour less sleep, but I was so fed up with yesterdays disappointing birding day, I thought sod it I'm going. It was still dark and there was only me on the road for a lot of the way.
7.30am and I was in position. Then the rain came. More than an hour later there it was, sat right next to my car. So up came the camera, and here's what I got. I want to improve on these images at some point. Some sunshine would be a good starter, but these will do as record shots of my first ever Great Grey Shrike.

Grainy image, but really shows of that killer bill.

You can see the rain slanting in from left to right here, but composition is a little better.

Thursday 26 March 2015

Lesser Redpoll

I've missed several opportunities this year to see Lesser Redpolls. These images were taken at Watergrove Reservoir in Rochdale. I was on the hunt for a Marsh Tit at the time, but was more than happy to see one of these pitch up at the feeders. It is a very small finch (as you can see below alongside the Goldfinch). A lot easier to see in the winter when the leaves are off the trees, or of course when one lands on a feeder in front of you.

Redpoll here on the right, with a Goldfinch.



Monday 23 March 2015


Lapwings have returned to my patch at long last. There were a good 30+ birds displaying over the fields where they usually nest. They make quite a racket, but for me its a great sound. I've spent many hours watching them perform and subsequently nest and bring up their young in these fields. I'm hoping that this year is no different to those gone before. I'd like to get some more pictures like these.

Friday 20 March 2015

Long tailed ball of fulff.

I can usually hear the call before I see these little birds, and when I do see them, there are usually at least half a dozen of them. It's safety in numbers for these little guys. The Long-tailed Tit. A very cute looking fluff ball with a tail longer than its body.
This particular bird was one of a group at Pennington Flash a few weeks ago. What a beauty it is too.

Monday 16 March 2015

Holme-next-the-Sea beach

I love an early start to my bird watching day, so when the opportunity arises I like to grab it. In Norfolk (back in February) I got myself up and out to Holme beach for sunrise. It was cold, but the sun always makes things better when it comes out.
I had no idea what I was hoping to see, so anything was a bonus and there were a few too.
The tide was well out and it took me a good five minutes to get near the shore line. Redshanks were dabbling around the pools left by the outgoing tide and a few Sanderling and Dunlin were scurrying about as if it was last orders at the bar. Some Godwits turned out to be of the Bar-tailed variety.
There was a constant stream of Cormorants going across the sea and then a few flocks of Brent Geese came from the Snettisham direction.
A stunning morning which was just me and the birds.

A Redshank looking none to impressed.


Bar-tailed Godwit

Brent Geese

 Some that I found later in the fields feeding.

Thursday 12 March 2015

Reed Bunting - Pennington Flash

When my Mum and Dad came up to see me a few weeks ago, I was determined to take them to Pennington Flash, probably the prime bird site in Manchester. It's also one of my favourite spots. You get such variety every time with such varied habitats. It rarely lets you down, even on a so called quiet day.
It was a cold wet morning (sounds familiar for this part of the world), but we were lucky, in that the rain moved away quickly and left us with bright sunshine. So with my daughter Eleanor in toe we headed for the hides. There was so much activity in all the trees and hedges. I couldn't have planned it better. My Mum picked out a stunning male Bullfinch, and I guess we could have gone home then as this is the jewel in the crown for her. I was so pleased she spotted it herself.
A few Redwings, Nuthatches, Song Thrush and Long Tailed Tits later we were sat in the hide watching an amazing show, as dozens of birds were feeding in front of us. Lots of different species but lots of Reed Buntings. I'd not seen that many recently, but there seemed to be a real abundance on this day. So while all eyes were on the Bullfinches and Willow Tits I looked after the Reed Buntings. A handsome little fellow.

The female.

The male.

Monday 9 March 2015


I love to watch raptors overhead. More of often than not its a Buzzard that makes itself obvious to me with its large wingspan, but in recent weeks I've come across plenty of Kestrels hovering at the roadside and in fields.
Not always easy to get a picture of, as they are more often than not on the move. These pictures are a little grainy, but the best I've managed so far. Maybe that will be a project for this year. Get better Kestrel pictures.

Thursday 5 March 2015


Shovelers were in good numbers at RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk. My parents and I arrived late afternoonish and the sun was already getting quite low in the sky. Not good when you're looking straight into it, but when it's behind you it allows you to get some really nice and different pictures.
The Shovelers were close to one of the hides and they looked totally oblivious to us and me with my camera. I do like their unusually big shovel like bill. It makes them stand out amongst the crowd.

The female here.

The rather dapper looking male in the nice sunlight.

A female Teal joining the late afternoon party.

Monday 2 March 2015

Song Thrush

Spring is on the way, or so everyone is telling me. It doesn't feel like it is with the current temperatures, the hail, sleet and snow showers that we are having at the moment. There are signs though, that to me are the real signs of Spring. The birds are singing again, and if you're up early enough, the mornings are getting pretty noisy once more.
Along with the Robins and Blackbirds, one of my favourite birds to hear is the Song Thrush. Usually found atop a tall tree to get maximum effect, it runs through its repertoire of song, which can sound like car alarms, mobile phones or just pure mimicry of other birds songs. When it's all put together though, it's quite magical to listen too.
Spring is on the way. I know it is. The birds told me.