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 25 December 2018

Turnstone - Sheringham

The promenade in Sheringham is a great place to get up close to Turnstones. While I was looking forlornly for a King Eider Duck a few weeks back, I turned my attention to this much easier target. You don't even have to be looking for them and they will wander towards you, all very brave and brash. It doesn't bother me in the slightest and took my mind off the fact I was failing in my initial efforts.

Yes, sometimes getting too close for the lens attached.

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Smew - Castleshaw Rervoir

The Smew is not a very common bird in the North West. Only turning up in the winter months and never in great numbers or great regularity. That being said, I saw that one was up in the Oldham hills on Castleshaw Reservoir and it was too good an opportunity to miss.
It had been a few years since I saw my last, in Cheshire.
The bird was quite a distance out, but at it's closest when I arrived. I was able to pop my head and camera over the wall of the upper reservoir and take a few pictures.

The water was choppy on a very windy day, and like all Smews, this one was very wary.

Monday 10 December 2018

Cattle Egret

A few weeks back I posted some pictures of a Cattle Egret that were a bit distant and not great. I'm able to post some better ones now, after a chance encounter while sat in hide. This one flew in and took up residence on an island. Typically it's on the wrong side, so you can't see it's legs and feet, but it posed nicely and stayed a long time. I'm much happier with these pictures.

Sunday 2 December 2018

Velvet Scoter - Bolton

A Velvet Scoter had been reported on High Rid reservoir in Bolton over a week ago. I was in Norfolk at the time, more than 200 miles away. I wondered if it would hang around for me to catch up with. My first opportunity was on Saturday afternoon, and it was still there.
The weather was really poor and the light even worse, but this visit wasn't really about the quality of pictures. It was a lifetime tick for me, having never seen one before.
On arrival it was on the far side of the reservoir. Typical! I trudged round in the drizzle, and it kindly played ball. It stayed close to the bank and dived for a minute or so at a time. A bird that should really be out at sea, it was nice to be able to see one just a short drive from home.

Could really have done with better light on a very dark day.

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Purple Sandpipers - Sheringham

It's that time once again, when the Purple Sandpipers have returned to their wintering grounds in Norfolk. I look forward to putting my head over the wall at Sheringham early in the morning and looking down onto the rocks to find these lovely little birds. I was lucky enough to do this at the weekend whilst visiting my parents.
The sun had barely come up, and the light was poor, but there were 3 of the little beauties all snuggled up on the rocks.

I wandered off to look at some Turnstones and when I came back they were on the move. 

Tuesday 20 November 2018


There were quite a few other ducks, geese and gulls at Redesmere last week. Here are just a few of them. Hopefully there may be a few rarer birds as we go into the winter months. It would be even better if there is sunshine like this all the time. Light makes photography so much easier. All that's needed then are the birds.

Great Crested Grebe about to take off

A nice male Tufted Duck

And the female.

Saturday 17 November 2018

Great Egret - Redesmere

Luck was on my side last weekend. I'd seen that a Great Egret had been reported just a few miles down the road at Redesmere. I actually forgot about it on Saturday, until it was dark. So I made a concerted effort to get along there on Sunday morning. I wasn't disappointed. As I parked the car it flew right in front of me and landed just metres away on the edge of the mere.
I got the camera out of the boot and was able to get to a decent position to watch and photograph.
I spotted a second further away, and it wasn't long before this too flew towards me and gave good views as it flew almost overhead.

With a Black-headed Gull in the foreground for size comparison.

This was the second bird that kindly gave a nice fly pass.

The first bird gave good prolonged views while preening.

I was delighted to get my first decent shots of this rare visitor to my part of the world.

Saturday 10 November 2018

Autumn in the North West

A nice bright day on the north west coast always lends itself to a good opportunity to take the camera out. It was busy on the Wirral coast as the tide came in, with plenty of waders, gulls and seabirds. The weather had certainly turned more Autumn like and there was cold bite in the air. Here's what I saw.

A Curlew just above the sand at New Brighton

A lone Pink-footed Goose proving that Autumn had really arrived.

Good numbers of Shelduck were at Hoylake and Meols.

A Common Gull resting on the sand before high tide.

The very elusive Water Rail made an unexpected appearance. Never easy to sea these birds, as they usually stick to the reeds. This was a real bonus.

Saturday 3 November 2018


Breeding season is over and the autumn influx of waders has brought many to inland sites. Most have passed though now to their warmer winter homes, but quite a few will stay and overwinter at many of our inland lakes. Lapwings have been gathering in good numbers, and being able to look at some at close quarters just reminded me how colourful and pretty these birds are.

Standing almost motionless on the shoreline of a lake. 

Saturday 27 October 2018

Pennington Flash

A quick trip to Pennington Flash brought me nice and close to some of our regular birds. Often overlooked in the field when looking for something a little more exotic, or something new for the year list, these more common birds reminded me that they still hold a lot of natural beauty. You just have to give them the time to realise it.
The Blue Tit is possibly my favourite garden bird, and it is always good to see. More often than not it is a fleeting glimpse as it forages through bushes and trees or sits at a feeder. The beauty of having binoculars or a camera is that you get to see everything a lot closer up. Feather patterns, colours and detail are really highlighted. 

Blue Tit

Nuthatch doing what a Nuthatch does best.

Willow Tit do very well in this part of the North West.


Out on the flash itself, among many waterfowl and waders was this pristine Grey Heron. In fact I counted seven on the spit from Horrocks hide. Once again, it was nice to be able to observe it for some time and appreciate it's majesty.