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

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

Saturday 29 April 2017

Marsh Harrier

I spent some time at RSPB Titchwell a few weeks back. There was plenty of activity, as birds were busy pairing up and nest building. Others were patrolling territories and some were just looking for breakfast. On my walk along the meadow trail I was looking for a singing Cetti's Warbler when I could see the unmistakable shape of a Marh Harrier heading towards me across the reed bed. Then another went past carrying a rather large twig. I was lucky to get into a decent spot on the boardwalk to watch the pair patrolling the skies for a good ten minutes.
I've watched these birds before many times, but they would never come close enough for any decent shots. Thankfully the light was good and they wanted to play ball this day. What a bird?

A great looking male.

As I was watching the Marsh Harriers a small bird of prey put in a fly by appearance. Too small to be a Peregrine, Kestrel was my next thought, but colours weren't quite right. I ruled out Sparrowhawk. What I had in fact seen was a Merlin. The UK's smallest bird of prey and a real bonus for me on a great morning.


Saturday 22 April 2017

Common Sandpiper

I love the Common Sandpiper, and I was disappointed a couple of weeks ago when I went to one of their usual haunts in the Spring and left empty handed. No sign of any. To be fair, I think I was a little early in the year, but I like to seen them whenever I can so purposely went in hope more than expectation.
This lovely little bird was a really welcome surprise at Burton Mere on the Wirral. I was on the lookout for other things when I spotted it on the banks from one of the hides. It did it's usual thing of moving in the opposite direction, but it came back my about 30 minutes later. It was worth the wait.

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Northern Wheatear

The long awaited return of our summer visitors has started, and I went out especially last weekend to look for some. I knew a few places to look, places that I've been to many times over many years. Thankfully my main target was there in it's usual habitat and looking rather splendid too.

The Wheatear is a favourite of mine and confirms that Spring migration is under way.
The weather was favourable and I soon picked out a pair flitting around the stone wall.
I was then treated to a lovely courtship display that I had not witnessed before. Welcome back!

The male.

His female mate.

Saturday 15 April 2017

Purple Sandpiper

A wader that I long to see each winter is the Purple Sandpiper. A small number over winter around our rocky coasts, and having missed them closer to home on the West coast, I managed to pick this one up on the East Anglian coast.
The rocks at Sheringham beach are an ideal spot, and I'd tried a few times on recent visits to pick one out. No luck. So I made a special effort to be at the beach for first light. This always helps as there is less disturbance from other people and the birds, fresh from roosting, like to look for food and so are quite active. I could see nothing at first apart from a 30 strong group of Turnstones. Always nice to see but not what I wanted on this occasion. Then as the light improved I managed to pick out a Purple Sandpiper washing itself.
I managed to track it as it moved about for the next half an hour or so.
Really pleased to have caught up with one.