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

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

Thursday 29 October 2015

Southern Hawker Dragonfly

I was sat in the Ron Barker hide at Martin Mere watching the thousands of Pink-footed Geese the other week, when I noticed quite a few dragonfly still about.  I'm not saying I was bored, but my attention was turned to watching these majestic dragonflies for several minutes.
These were the Southern Hawker variety. One of the more common species in this country and indeed across Europe.
I've never photographed one in flight, but this one stopped outside the hide long enough for me to get a focus on it and push the button.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Newchurch Common - Smew

I'd seen reports of a Smew in Cheshire for the last few days and wondered if I'd be able to get along and see it before it departed. An opportunity arose on Sunday to have a look for it, and the weather was good too. Cold and bright, plus the clocks had gone back an hour, which usually means less people up and about as early as me. I guess I'm a little anti-social in the morning, and I like to have the place to myself.
Anyway, Newchurch Common in Winsford was the destination and a rather large fishing lake. I found it okay, but finding the bird was a different matter. I went the wrong way round and had to double back, but this was not such a bad thing, as it meant I got to watch lots of Goldcrests, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Bullfinch, Buzzard and other more common birds.
Having doubled back I eventually got to a good viewing area for the Smew. Such a small duck, with its red head and small frame, it certainly stood out amongst the Tufted Ducks it was socialising with. Only my second seen in the wild and not in a collection. A very nice year tick indeed,

And just to add to the highlights of the day, a Ruddy Shelduck was also on the water in with the Canada Geese. A probable captive escapee, there has been one in this area of Cheshire for a while. Still, I wasn't expecting to see it, so it was a nice surprise.
Seen here very distant, but its orangey beige colour quite distinctive.

It got a little closer for a better picture.

Monday 19 October 2015

Tree Sparrow

You tend to hear Tree Sparrows before you see them. An incessant tuneless chirping that comes from within hedges, bushes and trees. I actually think they are a smashing little bird, and sadly one who's numbers are dwindling due to loss of habitat.
There were healthy enough numbers of them at Martin Mere the other week. They seem to do very well here, with lots of feed supplied and a wealth of places to forage and keep out of harms way.
Never easy to see more than a fleeting glimpse, but I was very patient once I'd heard the raucous noise coming from one particular tree. More than a dozen flew out and then back again, but only a couple popped their heads above the parapet.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Dunlin - West Kirby

On a low tide at West Kirby you can see lots of waders scuttling about the pools that have been left behind on the beach. Busily probing away with there long bills. A few weeks ago, there were mainly Redshanks and Turnstones, but in amongst them was just one solitary Dunlin. Keeping himself to himself, but with the 'safety in numbers' attitude of sticking with the other waders. Always nice to see them.

Monday 5 October 2015

Wheatear - Burton Marsh

One of the birds I look forward to seeing most, as a sign of Spring arriving, is the Wheatear. Such a great looking bird and one of my favourites.
Last weekend I came across one at Burton Marsh on the Wirral, but this bird will be on his way out of the country very soon, off to warmer climbs.

I had some nice warm sunshine to help light the little guy up.

Friday 2 October 2015

Furry Friends at Formby

A nature filled day last weekend included a visit to Formby on the Merseyside coast. Formby is famous for its colony of red squirrels, and it's an animal that I adore and have always wanted to get some pictures of. I've never managed it before, as they're not exactly co-operative, but I had a good couple of hours with them and some decent results at the end of it.
To start with I was more captivated with the Nuthatches and Woodpeckers that were numerous in the woods. During this time, the squirrels were playing around up in the canopy, chasing each other and eating. A couple then decided to come down and search for food on the ground. I seized my moment (which didn't last much longer than five minutes), but it was worth it.

The lovely sandy beach at Formby. If I'd taken my shorts I might have had a paddle in the sea.