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 30 March 2023

Fortune Favours the Brave

I had a few days holiday to take, so timed it to coincide with the start of migration season. I ventured up into the moorlands, and one of my favourite places. What I hadn't banked on, was that it would be shrouded in cloud on this particular morning. Not ideal, when what I was looking for was likely to be on the other side of the valley. My plan was to pitch up, watch and listen and then seek out with my binoculars. There was no chance that that was going to happen as I couldn't even see the other side of the valley. There were a few clearings every now and again as the strong wind whipped the cloud past my face, but nothing that cleared to sunshine. 

I'd been there about half an hour and heard the song or call of a Ring Ouzel (my main target bird). It was on the far side of course, but I tracked it down with the binoculars through the fog to a rocky perch. Then I saw another. Only thing for it, was to be brave and head down the valley, cross the river via the unstable stepping stones and up the other side and see if I could locate them. I positioned myself in a dilapidated quarry building and waited. Twenty minutes or so later, Two popped up 100 yards in front of me, followed by two more. The best thing was that hiding as I was and the fog, they had no idea I was there, and so proceeded to come towards me and give me my own private show. I was privileged to watch and photograph these special birds for almost half an hour, and down to about 20 feet. Absolutely magical, and so pleased that they are back for another year.

As seen in the fog from my hideout, before they ventured closer.

Monday 27 March 2023

Things are Warming Up

Some local birding recently has shown that things are really hotting up with nesting activity and courtship. Birds are starting to move back from their wintering grounds and heading to their inland breeding sites, or at least, they are taking a break on the way for a rest. A great time to get out and observe what's about and going on.

A Moorhen with nesting material.

A Nuthatch, with what looks like a peanut.

The first Oystercatcher of the year. They'll be off to find suitable nesting areas soon.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker that has been drumming on this dead branch.

Saturday 25 March 2023

Some Waders

Waders are my favourite genre of bird. You know where to find them, they are nearly always there, and they give you time to sit and watch them. A good hide where you can sit, have your lunch and just wait to see what drops in are my favourite places to be. There's always something to see and you can go away with a very different list to those an hour before you or after you. Spring and Autumn are the best times, but you can find me looking at waders any time of the year.

Here are just a couple of species, the Avocet and the Whimbrel. The lovely contrasting black and white of the Avocet in the sunlight, and the Whimbrel a little on the dull side in comparison. A great bird to see though, and one that makes my heart race a little more than the Avocet these days. It's always a bonus when your second look confirms it's not a Curlew.


Whimbrel, with its eye stripe and slightly shorter bill (compared to a Curlew)

Friday 17 March 2023

Signs of Spring

There's lots of activity at the moment as things slowly drift towards warmer times. When we the sun has come out it has brought the birds to life and they're pairing up and territory setting. I've had some local Bullfinch brightening up my lunchtime walks and there always seems to be Goldcrest and Treecreeper singing. Neither of these are that easy to spot and require some patience, but I have that in abundance when it comes to birds, and sadly not much else.

We're now midway through March and I'm seeing reports of returning summer migrants already, so hopefully soon I'll have some pictures of these to bring you. It will certainly encourage me to get out and look more, if I actually needed any more encouragement. I'm always looking and listening. Even better is that the sun is rising much earlier and I can get out before most people have even put their kettle on or thought of leaving the house. I love this time of year, when I can reclaim nature for myself on a cold bright morning. 

Female Bullfinch eating her breakfast.

Treecreeper doing some creeping.

Thursday 2 March 2023

A little bit of sunshine.

A trip to Redesmere last week turned up some very good numbers of water birds. For once the sun broke through the clouds and made viewing much easier than on a dull day. I counted 19 Goosander, of which a good number were males. The green heads of the males looked stunning through the binoculars.

Alongside the Goosander were a few Goldeneye. Numbers have started to dwindle in recent weeks, and I suspect very soon I will turn up and they will all have left until next Autumn, so I am making the most of them while they're here.

Female Goosander coming in for a landing.

A few of the males, looking splendid.

Distant shot of (left to right) Grey Heron, Goosander and a Goldeneye.

I moved down the road to Lapwing Lane to see what was around, and the female Smew was still showing, and very well this time. With it being a little closer and some better light I was able to get something a bit better than my previous grainy efforts. This too, will soon be departing for the winter.