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

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

Monday 29 April 2019

The Goyt Valley in Spring

I grabbed just over an hour today in the Goyt Valley. I've said it many times, but this is my favourite place to go birding near to me. I could waste so much time here just wandering around, listening and observing.
I had a few target birds for my year list today, and I got them all not long after leaving the car. Knowing where to look is a great help, and I've looked for these birds for many years now. They rarely let me down. A real bonus though was a fly over Osprey! I really was not expecting to see one, but what a thrill it was! Followed closely by a calling Cuckoo.

First up was a Common Redstart. I could hear one singing within a few minutes and tracked it down quickly. Sat upon a dead branch in full view.

While I was looking around I could see some small birds up in the canopy and a familiar call. A pair of Siskins. I was pleased about this as they had avoided my year list in 2018, and so far this. So it was good to get them on the 2019 list.

The Tree Pipits are great to watch and listen to. They parachute down and let everyone know they are around. Thankfully that makes it easy to spot them and then photograph.

I spent some time watching them feeding on the ground, and this one even burst into a bit of song for me.

Friday 26 April 2019


Chiffchaffs have been in abundance of late. One of the first birds I notice on their return journey here for the summer. It's a welcome sound on a warm spring day. The first one always make me smile with joy and signals to me that the long dark nights of winter are behind us and that the summer is coming. Better than that, all the other migrants are on their way too.

Friday 19 April 2019

Norfolk at Easter

I've just spent a week at my parents in Norfolk, which to most birders in the UK is birding Mecca. I saw lots of birds, added lots of year ticks, and yet I feel there was much more that I could have seen. Right time and right place was what it was all about. I missed out on a number of birds by minutes, and others by not quite being in the right place. That's birding, and tomorrow is another day. Just need to keep getting out there and see what turns up.
I can't complain really, I had some great early mornings and the weather was good too, despite a rather cold easterly wind. One bird that I really wasn't expecting to see was a Greenshank at Morston. It's a bird I usually have to make a concerted effort to see each year, so this was a real bonus.

Greenshank workings it's way through the muddy estuary.

Here with a Curlew. A good size comparison.

Never easy to locate, but this Grey Partridge popped up nicely on my walk.

A really good looking male Northern Wheatear. One of the highlights. They popped up everywhere.

Friday 12 April 2019

Brambling - Elton Reservoir

Sunshine, and lots of it, has been the theme over the last week. Very few clouds and add to that a bit of warmth and this makes me a very happy boy. It meant I could get out at the weekend with the certainty that the light would be good for some better pictures.
I ventured to Elton Reservoir once again and got lucky with a few Brambling still around the feeders. Not the easiest of subjects, but as the light was good I have forgiven the unsightly branches and the feeder that one was sat on.

This very nice male perched nicely in the sunlight.

Friday 5 April 2019

Patch Birding

Saturday started off misty and gloomy, but I still went out armed with the camera. This sort of weather is never conducive to nice pictures.
In the gloom, I picked out a pair of Mandarin ducks on my local flooded field. Initially I thought it may have been a Garganey, with the white over the eye, but as it swam out of the mist it was clear it was a male Mandarin. Never mind, a year tick all the same.

Female (left) and male Mandarin

There was a very vocal group of 75+ Fieldfares. I was surprised that they were still around, but pleased to see them once again before they head off to their breeding grounds in the north.

One of the most vocal birds of the morning was the Wren. They're very active at the moment and they make it easy to see them at this time of year.