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 25 April 2020

Dartford Warbler

This bird I've only seen a handful of times and getting good views is never guaranteed. There are only ways to improve your chances of getting a good view. One of these is visiting at the right time of year and when they are most active. Early Spring is a good time to try and see one of these very secretive Dartford Warblers. This is when they are looking for mates, singing a little more and just a little more showy.
On the whole these diminutive little warblers like to work their way through the gorse and occasionally sit atop.
I was having a very lucky year before the lockdown, but that coincided with me making more effort and trips out to see things so that I could get a list of 200 birds seen in the year. That may not now be possible, but at least I can look back to some very good looking birds already seen and ticked this year.

This female came to see who was walking past.

The male soon showed itself, but only fleetingly. It stayed low on the bush.

Friday 17 April 2020


Back in March I made a visit to my parents on the North Norfolk coast. At this time of year (and many others if I'm honest) I like to go in search of the Woodlark that I know are often here, but I have yet to successfully find one. Many fruitless trips to their favoured area has always left me disappointed, but I am not one to give up easily.
On this particular occasion I got lucky on two days, with not one but three birds, and at one point all in the air singing. This really was a case of being as cautious as possible. I didn't want to disturb these birds that were obviously setting up territory and pairing up. So I stood very close to a bush and just waited for them to come to me as I melted into the background.
I was rewarded with some very close views, and the real bonus for the first time this year was some very good sunlight.

It was worth the long wait to get some good pictures of these lovely birds.

You can see how I've probably overlooked these birds on many occasions. Once again, nature providing such amazing camouflage. It is there, I promise.

Thursday 9 April 2020

Summer Visitors during Lockdown

As my camera is currently not aloud out due to the lockdown, I've had to go back to some pictures that I took at a similar time last year. These are of two birds that will almost inevitably serve as a reminder of this terrible COVID-19 lockdown in years to come.

In a year when I was striving so hard to tick off 200 birds, I'd made a fantastic start. Now I'm left wondering if I'll be lucky enough to see our Summer migrants. I understand the importance of the lockdown and I am observing it, it just affects people in different ways.

Anyway, I do enjoy my time outside when I go out and I'm always listening and watching. The sound of the Chiffchaff is a great start to Spring, and I'm hearing more and more of them on my walks.  A great little bird, very similar to the Willow Warbler, which I am hoping that I'll be able to hear or see very soon.

The Chiffchaff

Now, these were a really nice surprise to find last Sunday. Sand Martins!!! I've been waiting for them to arrive, along with the Swallows, and I found 8 of them flying over my local river Bollin where they nest in the river banks. Maybe all is not lost after all. This took my year list to 142.😃

Sunday 5 April 2020

Black Redstart - Little Orme

One of my intended stop offs on my North Wales trip at the beginning of March was the Little Orme in Llandudno. Black Redstarts are a good possibility here in the winter months in the quarries.

A steep climb had me wishing I had a few less layers on, but that didn't last too long on this cold day.
The tough part of the visit was just about to start though. Spotting a small grey bird amid multi faceted grey rock is not all that easy. The bird does have a nice orange tail, but in shadow it was not that easy to pick up.

Anyway, I did eventually manage to pick up on it's movement and I enjoyed watching it for a good 20 minutes or so, before leaving it to it's own devices, which mainly consisted of flycatching and insect picking.

The view from the top of the Little Orme.

Here is the little bird. So well camouflaged at a distance.

Can you see it? Just slightly left of centre. This was my problem. Without binoculars, I'd say pretty impossible to spot. Perfect habitat.