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

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

Friday 29 May 2020

This is why I love Birdwatching.

I had a superb few hours out last weekend. Up with the Larks, as the saying goes, and out to my favourite Spring/Summer location in the fine Cheshire countryside, which covered ancient woodlands, rivers, reservoirs, moorland and quarries. 
I'd found a pair of Pied Flycatchers a few weeks ago. On my return visit I located them again. This time they were busy taking food to a nest site. I suspected they were close to a nest site so was pleased to see that they were successfully feeding young.
Not far away was a male Redstart, singing as they do right at the top of a nearby tree. They never make it easy to see them.

A very good looking male Pied Flycatcher with a small caterpillar for his young ones.

Male Common Redstart.

I'm very lucky to be able to see Ring Ouzels each year. These upland birds like rocky slopes for their nesting habitat and arrive in April time. Once again there is at least one pair that are feeding young, and the male put on a nice show in between his food collections. The sun was shining and he looked in very good shape.

I look forward to days like these all year. April and May are my favourite birding months. When the countryside is alive with our migrant birds and the sun is shining and I just happen to be in my favourite peaceful place. It's what I long for, and when I get days like this I just feel so content.

The Spotted Flycatchers were also still around, and I hope to catch up with their young in future weeks.

Friday 22 May 2020

A Bumper Day

I went a little further afield last weekend, as we are now allowed to do. The weather was set to be sunny pretty much from the off, so I headed to my favourite of places close to Macclesfield Forest. I was there nice and early, so as to beat any walkers or cyclists. I stopped off at a few points on the way, where I knew I wouldn't even need to leave the car to see things.
One of these places had me watching a pair of Crossbills drinking from a puddle at the side of the road. A great start!

I moved on and parked at an area I have been to often. The area has Dipper and Grey Wagtail on the river nearby most of the year. You can add another half a dozen species or more at this time of year though. With Swallows, House Martins, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Chiffchaff to name a few. I was lucky enough to hear and see a Common Redstart just behind me, and on a short walk I picked out a lovely male Pied Flycatcher. A Cuckoo was calling not far away, but it never revealed itself, much to my annoyance. It sounded so close too.

Male Redstart making sure he's heard high up.

Male Pied Flycatcher, again high up and too far away.

I did find, (and I really wasn't expecting to) a pair of Spotted Flycatchers. They were likely to be new in to the area, and they were busy doing what Flycatchers do, but also perching nicely now and again. I kept my eye on them and I think they were checking possible residences, which would be great news. They made my early morning get more than worhtwhile.

The pair together.

Friday 15 May 2020

The Camera is out

I ventured out with my camera on Wednesday evening. It was about seven o'clock and very quiet everywhere in terms of people, so I thought it safe and okay to take my second walk of the day. It felt exciting again to be able to look through the viewfinder of the camera after such a long time. To see the bird come into focus and press the shutter button. So strange for something quite meaningless, but something that gives me great joy. I don't plan on taking the camera on all my walks, as it means stopping and that is not always ideal in these times. So early mornings and evenings for me, when it is at its quietest.

Anyhow, I managed to see quite a few birds, including some lovely House Martins, Swallows and Great Crested Grebes over and on the water. I also got to see quite a number of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs. Hard to tell apart in looks, but always helps when they sing for you.

A Willow Warbler

 And the very similar Chiffchaff

Great Crested Grebe

Friday 8 May 2020

Lockdown Birding

I've managed to connect with a few summer migrants recently when on my daily bike ride. Only having binoculars on my back (in a rucksack) means I've not taken any pictures, so these are from last year and a similar time.

I was delighted to find some Wheatears on my local patch. I really thought that I might miss seeing these birds this year. Over the course of a week, there were up to 3 birds present. I think some may have moved on quite quickly, to be replaced by others, but it was great to be able to stop and watch them hopping around. Some of the females looked to be of Greenland race. Quite a bit stockier and darker in colour. Great looking birds and one I always look forward to welcoming back from migration.

Male Wheatear

A bit further down the road, and I could hear a Common Whitethroat singing. It took me a while to locate, but I knew it was there. It did eventually show itself at the top of a tree, where I like to see them. Great to have them back in the country. Hopefully I'll get to see them lots more on my rides and walks.

Sunday 3 May 2020

Spring Movement

Pre-Lockdown and a look back at my last visit to the North Norfolk coast. I guess it was early Spring, but things were starting to move about and birds were starting to pair up. There was more birdsong to be heard and some birds that had not been around these parts were seen again.
I saw a lot more deer on this visit, than during the warmer summer months.I even caught out a family of Roe Deer, as they quietly ate their breakfast. Showing that it does pay to get out early and also to be quiet. You'll never know what you won't have seen had you just been a little more cautious.

This looks like one of the young. 

These Oystercatchers were enjoying the rich pickings left by the retreating sea. This one with a small crab.

Ringed Plover were busy scuttling along the sand.

This Skylark was singing from the ground. More usually seen singing on the wing.