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 29 February 2024

Smew - Lunt Meadows

I had a day off work towards the end of January to recharge the batteries and get outside in some bright dry weather. I always plan my trips, and I like to do a nice circular route. I headed to Lunt Meadows for the second time in a month, as I just really like the place and it's not too busy. 

The first bird of note, was a nice Marsh Harrier hunting over the reeds, my first of the year. It soon glided out of view and I continued my walk. I was drawn to a bright white bird on the water, and my binoculars confirmed my thoughts. A male Smew!!. I had a quick panic to set up the scope , but there it was. This was not what I expected to see, but what a real bonus of a bird. Only the second male I've seen, and this one just by pure luck and chance.

Male Smew

It later went missing, but flew straight over my head when the group of Teal it was with took flight from a Peregrine.

A bird that had been here for a while was a Richardson's Cackling Goose (origin unknown). A much smaller bird than the Canada Goose, you can see how much shorter the neck is on the front bird.

Thursday 22 February 2024

Waxwing Winter

Waxwings have been in good supply this winter, and either side of the new year. I was fortunate enough to see a small flock in November in Wiveton, Norfolk, but then caught up with a really substantial flock of 100+ birds in January in Derbyshire. These birds were feeding on the berries along the Monsal trail. They put on a great show for the many birders and locals that walked past. It's been probably 10 years since I last saw so many here in the UK, and this has truly been a Waxwing Winter. I hope it's not another 10 years until the next one.

Friday 9 February 2024

The Delights of the Derbyshire Dales

I spent a very cold frosty morning in Derbyshire, just a short drive from home, watching some really great birds. The forecast was for blue skies and sunshine, and for once it was correct. My first stop was up on the moors above Bakewell to see a Great Grey Shrike that had been wintering in the area. I got onto it without even getting out of the car, as it perched on a bush about 100 yards away. I was looking right into the sun, and it didn't move much, as I think it was just warming itself in the first sunlight of the day. I left it after about half an hour. A great start to the day.

Great Grey Shrike

I moved on to an area of woodland where I knew some Crossbills had been seen recently, and as luck would have it, there was a flock of about 10 right above my head in the trees where I parked my car. I've not been able to see these birds properly for a few years following a change to there habitat where I usually watch them, so it was great to catch up with them properly again.

 Female Crossbill

I moved onto the canal at Cromford, hoping for a possible Hawfinch, but had no joy. I was pleased though to be able to watch a pair of Dippers potentially nest-building under a bridge.


The Dippers were joined by a Grey Wagtail on a log.

Thursday 1 February 2024


A bird that I have only seen fleetingly a handful of times before, is the Twite. I never have much luck with these shy birds. I have gone looking for them on many occasions and usually come up blank. I know where they can be found, but I somehow dodge them, or they don't like me. While out in the Lancashire countryside, I dropped in to a regular area for them, and this time a flock of around 30 birds dropped in over my head to an area of shore that had been seeded by some kind birder. I couldn't believe my luck this time. I'd not even started to look for them and there they were in front of me.

A super little bird with their small yellow bills. Most had colour rings on their legs from the local ringing groups. This helps to identify their movements when seen again and reported. I aim to let the relevant people know so that they can log the birds sighting.