Saturday, 30 January 2016

Wirral Jaunt

Today was a toss up between North Wales and the Wirral, with the Wirral winning.

First port of call was Burton Mere we didn't go beyond the Reception hide and we only intended on a flying visit on the off chance of seeing the Water Rail which had been seen on occasion from the Reception hide, but no joy on that front.
We did get to see a Peregrine having a go at a Buzzard though plus the usual suspect the high light being 3 Spotted Redshank.

Next place on the to do list was Hoylake for the Great Northern Diver, we had never seen the lake so choppy but we still found the Diver with easy as it so close into the side unlike the Red Throated Diver we saw late last year.  We watched the Diver for a while before retreating to the warth of the car and moving on to New Brighton.

The target at New Brighton was Purple Sandpiper I love seeing Waders and Purple Sandpiper are one of my favorites alongside Sandling.
On first arriving the pontoons just held Redshank taking shelter from the wind,  but as the tide came in so did the birds in the end around 8 Purple Sandpiper were on so along with Turnstone and a single Dunlin.

Here are a few shots of the Mersey being whipped up by the wind.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

New Toys

During my lunch break I managed to escape the lab and headed off to the nearby railway line to see the new toys Network Rail are currently doing shake down testing on their re-engined class 73's 951 and 952 which were doing a number of runs between Derby and Crewe via Stoke.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Trentham Lakes and Hinksford

Today was my first true day out birding up to now this year with the weather and other commitments birding has focused on a brief drive to Tittesworth and garden birding although I did pick up a Kingfisher on New Years day while out helping my Dad get a few train numbers at Toton.

Heading off to Trentham Lakes we at first thought our luck was truly in and we wouldn't have to do that much walking as when we reach the cafe by the Monkey Forrest a chap was photographing a Grebe right in front of the cafe by the weir into the Trent, this though on lifting our bins turned out to be a Great Crested Grebe, nice bird but not what we were looking for.

Walking along the Lake side towards the gardens we saw Gadwall, Black Headed Gull, Coot and in the trees plenty of Tits and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

We eventually found the Red Necked Grebe half way up the lake by the miniature railway station. The bird didn't seem to mind the fact three rowing boats were ploughing up and down the lake and for me it was great at they forced the Grebe into the shore.

Heading back to the cafe we decided to grab a coffee to warm ourselves up and to watch the feeders for a while just Nuthatch, Tits and Chaffinch being noted, but we did see a Kingfisher flash past as we left the cafe by the weir.

In the afternoon I took a gamble and headed down the M6 to Hinksford down towards the West Mids to try and finally see the long staying Hoopoe which till now I hadn't had the chance to see. As we headed South the weather took a turn for the worse getting darker and eventually started to rain. I started to get that sinking feeling that the bird just wouldn't show.
On getting there and trekking through the mud to an extent I was right as a kind chap pointed out the Hoopoe which sensibly had tucked it self up in a Hawthorn bush and and hadn't moved the the last 30 minutes and with light fading I couldn't see it coming out.
A path around the back of the houses allowed me to sneak up behind the bird and although it new I was there as I had taken my time and crept up on it was quite happy for me to be within a 3 meters or so.

2015 Review

Ok no huge record was set in most birding circles but I was well chuffed reaching my target of at least 150 birds, in total 152 were achieved not bad going with a 4 year in tow, and with one or two lifers thrown in my total life list slowly increases, so roll on 2016!

Monday, 21 December 2015

West Kirby

On the 6th Dec we headed off to West Kirby to see the Red Throated Diver that had been present for a few days within the marine lake there.
The weather was rubbish when we arrived mid morning a dull grey day with rather heavy drizzle which was turning into rain the longer we stayed.
The Diver was soon located roughly half way along the lake Lesley decided just to view the bird from the comfort and dry interior of the car, me being a daft bugger got out and tried to grab a few shots and got a soaking for my effort.

The Diver never really came close into the shore preferring the middle of the lake unlike the Fair Haven bird which came nice a close to the shore line.

A couple of Red Breasted Mergansers were also noted in the lake keeping the diver company, but we gave up on our birding adventures for the day with the weather getting no better and decided to brave the shops and do a spot of Xmas shopping at Cheshire Oaks on the way back home.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Crag Martin

Back on the 14th Nov with the weather forecast not being as bad is it was going to be I grabbed Gem and took a punt at seeing the long staying Crag Martin at Chesterfield which was hanging around St Mary's Church, a place I have driven past on many an occasion on my trips to Barrow Hill but some where I have not actually ever visited.

The trip was nice and easy and the rain was still holding off as we arrived but there was no sign of the bird, and Gem was keen to see the inside of the church so off we headed to have a wander around inside this church. It was quite pleasant inside and we were shown around by a very kind lady.

Not long after we came out the bird appeared now it was time to see how good my photography skills are the answer not that great below are some of my dodgy shots.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Fairhaven Lake

As the forecast was due to be fine toady I fancied a day at the coast and after looking at was around I decided a trip up the M6 was the best option to Fairhaven Lake for the Juvenile Black Necked Grebe.

It didn't take to long to find the bird and Gemma and me both enjoyed fairly close views of the bird,
a Kingfisher darted past and a Grey Wagtail on the nearby island.

 After wards we walked along the sea wall spotting Knot, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Grey Heron and Little Egret.

One interesting observation was a group of Crows feeding on Sea Buckthorn.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Blithfield Visit

Paid a rather flying visit to Blithfield this morning after dropping Gem off at her first day at school, we then head along the A50 to hopefully see the Crane to add to Lesley's year list.
Our luck was in and the bird was found at the far end as usual.
Also noted were Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and quite a large group of Meadow Pipit along with a reasonable sized flock of Linnet.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Berryhill Blues

After finding out that a Wryneck had been found up at Berryhill on Bank Holiday Monday I had high hopes that it would be still around the following day due to the awful weather on the Monday.

News wasn't good as soon as we reached Berryhill we bumped into a chap that told us he had been looking for 2 hours and seen no sign of the bird but we still plodded on hoping we might have better luck.
Plenty of Goldfinch around almost every bush and stand of Thistle contained them we also saw singles of Reed and Sedge Warbler along with a single male Blackcap and the odd Wheatear in the Horse paddocks on our way to the top of the hill. Poor Gem was though getting a little tired 4 year old legs can only walk so far.

In a Paddock by the viewing area at the top of the hill we saw 4 Redstart plus more Wheatear and had been told by another birder of a Whincat but  I didn't fancy walking all the way down but a little stroll down the bank only revealed a Kestrel.

I did walk around the edge of the paddocks and came to the likely area only knowing it was near the Lapland Bunting paddock means nought to me so I was flying blind a bit.

A pleasant walk although finding out in the evening it was there does leave a slight bitter taste, but that's birding and means I will have to try again another time to see one of these fellows.

Saturday, 22 August 2015


Popped along for a quick visit to Blithfield I hadn't visited here for some years now but as a Crane had taken up semi permanent residence there it would be rude not to pop along and see it plus what ever else was around.

Near the causeway amongst the sheep were a number of Yellow Wagtails with the odd Pied thrown in for good measure I tried to teach Gem how to sneak up on them but as she is both 3 and wearing a bright red t-shirt my hopes were not high, but we still got pretty close.

Further along were a group of mixed waders a single Little Ringed Plover then a handful of Dunlin and Ringed Plover.

The Common Crane could be seen in the distant at the far end of the bay but with the heat and distance it would have been too far for Gem's little legs so it was back to the car and an ice cream.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Pennington Flash

I don't usually go after Gulls as they are not my thing and trying to age and the art of telling juveniles apart is a complete mystery to me.

But the Sabine's Gull is A) One I missed out on a few years back as the spot was not child's buggy friendly and B) For a Gull its quite good looking.

So off me and Gemma headed, the drive up was a doddle for once the M6 was not to bad, and my sat nav took me straight to the place (well close enough).
On getting there Steve Seal and another birder told me the bird was showing very nicely so off we plodded. Boy it was showing well just a few meters off shore taking insects from the surface.

I did mange a few bonus shots while we were there,

Then it was off to Markeaton Park in Derby for Gemma, I know it's not close but three year old girls don't have a very good geographical knowledge.