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

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

Thursday 26 January 2023

The Wirral

A day trip to the Wirral is always a good day out and more often than not packed full of birds. The Dee Estuary is one of the most important sites in the UK for wetland and shorebirds. Large swathes of marsh and wetland attracts many different species and lots in good numbers. From Pink Footed Geese to raptors and waders. There's plenty to see, and even more so on a sunny day. I took a day off work last week to coincide with some good weather and I made the most of it, visiting many familiar spots along the Wirral coast.
One favourite to see in the winter time is the Hen Harrier. The viewpoint of the marsh gives many miles to see from left to right and out in front. There could be many birds out there undetected while you scan the whole length. So picking out this ring-tailed Hen Harrier was a real treat. It was quite distant but a real joy to watch through the scope. These are no more than record shots, but a nice reminder of the day.

Hen Harrier

Another bird that appears annually on this part of the coast is the Snow Bunting. This one has been plying its trade in the sand dunes. A great little bird to see.

Snow Bunting


Friday 20 January 2023

Snow Days

This week the clouds decided to drop snow rather than rain. The clouds are still here, but at least the snow gives back a little more light than the roads and pavement. It also meant that the birds were very active in my garden due to the cold weather. I had to top up the feeders as they were munching their way through loads. I decided to see if I could take some pictures of them from the lounge window. As I've not been out with the camera a lot recently due to the dull grey skies, it gave some light relief.

To top it off I had a Goldcrest that stayed around quite a while for me.

Female Blackbird does not look best pleased with the snow.

This Coal Tit looked blended in well.

Europe's smallest bird, the Goldcrest. So small and so fast. It never stays still.

Hard to beat a Robin in the snow.

Thursday 12 January 2023

Drake Smew at Lapwing Lane

At a site I visit frequently in Chelford, there is a female Smew that overwinters, and has done for the last few years now. Not a common bird here, so it's nice to be able to see it fairly regularly. I don't see it on every visit as it is quite a large body of water and there are many places it likes to visit where it can be hidden from view. Excitement grew just after the new year, when a male and another female both turned up. I have never seen the male in a wild setting, only at the Wildfowl and Wetland sites where they are captively bred. So to see a male just 20 minutes down the road was a big thing. 

It's such a smart looking bird and such a contrast to the female. The male is mostly white with a black mask around the eyes, while the female is pretty grey looking with a red head. I think it is my favourite duck, along with the Pintail, so to be able to see one was pretty exciting. Can you tell how excited I was?😄 The only downside was that the light was once again poor and grey, with the threat of rain, so I didn't manage anything other than record shots that are pretty grainy, but still a great record of my first male Smew all the same. Being able to watch through the scope was more than good enough for me.

Drake Smew

Drake and female together (in poor light)

The female a little more in the open

Final image of the male when it emerged from the undergrowth

Thursday 5 January 2023

Winter Thrushes

During the recent spell of wet weather, the fields local to me have become pretty waterlogged. Moorhens have started to venture off their ponds and are wandering around these fields in search of food, as are the Grey Herons. At the weekend it was the turn of our winter thrushes to have a look and see what the wet ground had to offer, There muse have been rich pickings because there were hundreds of Redwings and a very good number of Fieldfares too. Add to that our local and migrant Blackbirds and Song Thrushes, it was quite a sight.

Clearly they have now finished off the crop of berries that they had been feasting on in recent weeks, and been forced to the ground. There must have been something good there as they were there all day, bar the odd flushing from trespassing dog walkers.


More distant and nervous Fieldfares.