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

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

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Wood Warbler - Binn Green

I'd not seen a Wood Warbler for a few years, and so was really pleased to hear that one had been seen not far from me. I got up nice and early so as to beat the traffic and crowds, and was in place by 6am. I could hear it singing from the moment I stepped out of the car. It was hopping between branches and going up into the canopy, but all the while was really belting out it's lovely song. It was quite dark in the woodland, so I had to wait a little while for the sun to penetrate and give me some light. The longer I stayed the better the light got. Such great birds, that have travelled from Africa to spend it's summer with us here in the UK.

Wood Warbler











Thursday 16 May 2024

Garden Warbler

One bird that I seem to struggle with each year, is the Garden Warbler. and when I say struggle with, it's particularly the song. After so many months of not hearing one and having my ears fine tuned, this bird often sounds like a loud or excitable Blackcap. Add to that their secretive nature, and reluctance to sing nicely out in the open for all to see, it's been a bit of a bogey bird. Fortunately I now have a reliable spot for them just down the road, but it still takes my ears some getting used to distinguish between this and the Blackcap. 

Not a very exciting looking bird, with no obvious colouration or detail. It more than makes up for that with it's song. Nice to have them back for another year.








Friday 10 May 2024

Long-billed Dowitcher - Norfolk

There has been a Long-billed Dowitcher present around the North Norfolk coast most of the winter. During this time it had been in it's rather grey winter plumage, but over recent weeks it has moulted into it's much more colourful summer breeding plumage. It has been associating with the Black-tailed Godwits, but is much smaller than these and clearly likes the security they provide. From watching this bird it behaves similarly to a Snipe and resembles a large version of one. Great to see and have the privilege of viewing this at close quarters.

Long-billed Dowitcher




Seen here in flight with Black-tailed Godwits and  Avocets just a few weeks earlier. It is the smaller bird just off centre, still looking very grey.

And here on the centre left tucked in behind the Avocet.

Friday 26 April 2024

Summer Migrants

It's that time again! I popped to one of my favourite places last week on the hunt for some of our Summer migrants, and I was delighted to be able to catch up with a few of them. The numbers are still a bit thin on the ground, but I'm hoping that it is still early in the season and that more will follow. Pied Flycatchers were the first to be located in their usual spot, but only two males around at the moment and no sign of the females. 

One or two Redstarts were singing and then finally located feeding along a wall. A Tree Pipit was also singing and parachuting down to it's favoured tree, and it's song echoed across the valley. Willow Warblers were singing everywhere and were by far the most common migrant in song. Lovely to have them all back and hopefully I will be catching up with them many more times before they once again depart our shores.

Pied Flycatcher





Common Redstart

Willow Warbler

Tree Pipit

Wednesday 17 April 2024

Cattle Egret - Redemsere

A bird dropped in to Redesmere recently (two in fact) that does not usually. I have seen Great White Egret and Little Egrets here, but never the smaller cousin, the Cattle Egret. Last year there were a few hanging around locally with the cattle herd, and I managed to see them, but it was really unexpected to see this pair. Due to the very wet weather of late, most fields here are turning in to marshland and so providing different opportunities to passing birds. It's my only explanation as to why they turned up here. All the same, it was great to see them and even the sun shone so I could get some better shots.

Cattle Egret









Thursday 11 April 2024

Holkham

A cold Spring day along the Holkham fresh marsh, and there was plenty to be seen. Brent geese were in good numbers, and there were plenty of waterfowl. Ruff seemed to appear out of thin air, as every time I turned round there were more. Egyptian Geese were making one hell of a racket, and one pair seemed to be nest building high up in the pines. 

On the beach and shoreline, a handful of Sanderling were scuttling about whilst being ably supported in numbers by the loud calling Oystercatchers. Although the sun was out, like many walks at Holkham, it was very much on the cold side.

Brent Goose (dark-bellied)


Egyptian Goose, and a few Ruff.


The lovely Sanderling at the waters edge.



 A pair of Wigeon on the marsh.


Sunday 7 April 2024

Migration Time

A couple of weeks ago, I headed up into the hills and moors above Macclesfield, as I often do at this time of year, in search of some early migrant activity. As other birds seemed to be about a week ahead of schedule on previous years I took the gamble and went looking for Ring Ouzel. It was cold up there, and what seemed like a long wait and search of about 15 minutes paid dividends. A lovely male Ring Ouzel was feeding below on the rocky slopes. These birds are really special to watch and I'm so fortunate to be able to view them each year. Hopefully this one pairs up and manages to breed successfully.

Male Ring Ouzel


A supporting cast of Wheatears, and Meadow Pipits were nice to have as company and the Wheatear is such a handsome photogenic bird, as it hops along and poses nicely on mounds, rocks or fence posts. I counted at least 3, but it was hard to keep up as they were constantly moving around .
This amazing male was good enough to pose not too far away from me.

Wheatear






Wednesday 27 March 2024

Heathland

A nice warm Spring morning up on the heathlands of Norfolk meant that I was looking for a couple of hard to find birds for the UK. The Dartford Warbler and the Woodlark are both rare finds here, but they both love heath and with a lot of patience you can get lucky. Knowing when they are likely to be singing or looking to pair up is a good start, as they are easier to pick up by sound. I got lucky with both birds, and it seemed there were good numbers around too, with several pairs of each. 

These pictures were taken at some distance and are heavily cropped, so not the best, but these birds should be respected from a distance so as not to disturb them. They need all the help they can get if they are to breed successfully and increase the population.

Male Dartford Warbler



A pair of Woodlark in courtship display.


Out on the East Bank at Cley, there were many Reed Buntings feeding on the tops of the reeds. The light was just perfect.

Reed Buntings