Saturday, 16 April 2016

Hanchurch Woods

Over the last few weekends we have not really been able to get out that much having other more pressing jobs around the house to do, boring but necessary.
Gem and me did manage a brief visit to the Void (Silverdale Country Park) for a quick walk plenty of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were around plus a few Swallows and loads of Toads spawning in the main lake which we caught with Gem's rock pooling net so she could have a closer look.
Another quick trip out this time to Dane Bower in the hope of a few Wheatear produced two birds quick a few Meadow Pipit and Red Grouse and a single Raven but only two Wheatear but it was bitter up there.

Today again started with a lap of the Void no Toads what so ever today just the odd dead individual a couple of Hose Martin and Swallows over head and the odd Sky Lark but less Willow Warbler or Chiffchaff today.

In the afternoon I took Gem to Hanchurch to see the Brambling I had been hopeful that the odd one might appear in our garden as previous years but no such luck this Winter, but I shouldn't complain I still have the odd Siskin and Redpoll visiting the feeders.
At first just the odd female Brambling appeared alongside the Chaffinch but no males or the 12 - 15 birds reported. A couple of Jays visited the feeding area and a single Great Spotted Woodpecker was spotted by Gem. Eventually the birds did arrive in numbers but with passing do walkers and cars they were quite flighty but I did manage to grab a few shots.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Formby Sandling

I finally got around to enter the details of my Sandling sightings today and got back the following information.
It was first ringed back on the 17 May 2010 in the North Atlantic? I am assuming by that the precise spot is not known rather than actually some where in the middle of the ocean.
It's a female bird and has the catchy name of G4WYWY ring number ISR 897008.

Here is hoping she has a great 2016, and best of luck to her.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Formby and Martin Mere

Today was more of a family day but the locations picked by my daughter Gem still allowed for a spot of birding on the side.

The day began at Formby aka Squirrel Beach to Gem, a few Red Squirrel were on show as we drove down to the beach.
As should be expected for this time of year it was rather bracing but wrapped up we were fine, a few Sandling were feeding in the surf (including a single colour ringed bird) and the odd Oystercatcher flew past, the local Crows had the odd go at the poor Sandling if they thought they had found something worth nicking.

After lucn we headed for Martin Mere mainly to paint a toy duck and play in the park but we did visit the new hide to see what we could spy, a quick scan around produced Black Tailed Godwit, Ruff, Avocet, Lapwing, and the usual wild fowl.

On a garden note we are now getting more Redpoll then we have had all winter in total 4 birds now visit along with the usual finch.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

North Wales

Today with a fine forecast we decided to head for North Wales I do love Snow Bunting I think they are really charming little birds and as Kinmel Bay held a few is was only natural to call in.

Gem and me eventually found them after walking along the prom a bit from the car park near ASDA enjoying great views of two Snow Bunting looking for food just meters some times less in front of us.
Well Gem was more interested in playing in the sand but she is only 4!

Also on show around the bay was a single Common Gull and numerous Ringed Plover and a scattering of Sky Lark.

Trying for the Black Redstart at Rhos just resulted in me getting cold, although we enjoyed watching the waders and Gem thought the park was alright.

Finally we called in at RSPB Conwy and our luck was in as we located the Firecrest in with a flock of Long Tailed Tits feeding alongside the railway line.
High Lights on the estuary was a lone Knot in with the Redshank.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Wirral Jaunt

Today was a toss up between North Wales and the Wirral, with the Wirral coming out on top.

First port of call was Burton Mere we didn't go beyond the Reception hide and only intended on a flying visit on the off chance of seeing a 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 suspects 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 warmth of the car and moving on to New Brighton.

The target species at New Brighton was Purple Sandpiper I always love seeing Waders and Purple Sandpiper are one of my favourites 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 show 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.