Friday, 8 May 2015


Popped along to Hanchurch for a quick morning walk, basically so we could get out of the house and get some fresh air, but also Lesley has not seen Tree Pipit yet and with the conditions being favorable off we set.

The clear fell area just behind the woodman's cottage did not hold much apart from the odd Wren.

Taking the track through the young trees coming up there were plenty of Warblers sing although most could not be seen. Although a Willow Warbler was calling from beside the track.

The clear fell area at the bottom of the track held though our target bird sing from a dead tree in the middle of the area. Also noted was a Tiger Beetle which was dashing around on the path, Gem was quite impressed and insisted that it should run across her hand.

Tree Pipit at Hanchurch

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Black and White

Well it was our annual trip out to Lake Vyrnwy it is one of my favorite spots in Wales not just for birding but also the scenery that you see around the lake and up on the moors. Plus I proposed to Lesley there it really is a special spot to us.

Starting off as we always do below the dam as we got out of the car we could hear Redstart calling along with Pied Flycatcher. A pair of Redstarts were spotted eventually across the river so our days list was off and running. Plenty of Siskin were flying around over head along with Goldcrest feeding in the trees, soon though we were watching a pair of Pied Catchers, although only the female allowed me to grab a few shots, posing with a spot of nesting material, we didn't notice that she was ringed until we looked at the photos from the day.

Female Pied Flycatcher

We then headed around the lake and up on to the moors, we didn't take the Bala road this time trying as per last year the first narrow road up wards.
As we drove along a Willow Warbler was hunting around the clear fell area with plenty of Robins trying to make us believe they were something more interesting.
The moors themselves were rather cool and wind swept but we did spot a very smart male Whinchat.

Dropping back down to the lake and heading for the Centenary Hide again we could hear Pied Flycatchers and Goldcrest calling although no Dipper could be seen along the river.
From the hide we saw Grey Wagtail, Marsh Tit and Pied Flycatcher with the female gathering the nesting material while the male just sung his heart out.

Male Pied Flycatcher

Marsh Tit

Wren collecting moss

Heading back to the dam we were still missing Wood Warbler although we did hear one around our first port of call from the dam we could see House Martin collecting mud off the dam wall and the sound of Wood Warbler along the Bird House trail, which after a quick wander along we spotted one up in the pines, too high for a shot but a tick none the less.

We then headed for a coffee and a lazy spot of birding in the main hide, seeing Marsh Tit, Siskin and Pied Flycatcher again.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Warbler Fest

Well its been up and down this weekend in terms of birding double dipping the Black Redstart at Silverdale on Saturday just because it was rather cool and Gem wanted to be else where we never really went looking and Sunday I went the wrong place (my plonker award I believe is in the post).

But today we made up for the lows with a trip to Attenborough in Notts one of our favorite birding spots combining decent birds with a decent cafe, although today we took a picnic. As per any sunny day there is was rather busy but we blagged a decent space when someone left.

Straight away the sound of birds singing hit us with White Throat, Sedge Warbler and Blackcap all trying to out do each other combined with Common Terns over head calling.

As we headed for the Tower hide not too many Warblers popped their heads out preferring to stay hide from view but once on the path heading for the Tower hide the birds were soon putting on a show.

Also seen walking along the track to the hide were Linnet, Little Ringed Plover, Grey Heron, Black Headed Gull, Reed Bunting, Tree Sparrow and a Blue Tit collecting nesting material.

The Tower hide allowed me another go at photographing a Sedge Warbler that was displaying just below the hide. Plus the explosive call of the Cetti's Warbler was heard and then gave a very brief but all too familiar view of it dashing between bushes.

As we ate our lunch just a bit further along the track the booming of a Bittern could be heard along again with Cetti's Warbler and added to this was now also Reed Warbler with one individual popping out to say hello. A Bee Fly also put on a show for us, Gem thought it looked strange.

Making our way back a fired off a few shots of a posing Chaffinch and Linnet along with another Sedge Warbler.

But the best was yet to come, I have always wanted to try and grab a half decent shot of the Cetti's Warbler but the views I usually get are so brief I barely get the time to raise my camera, but today my luck was in, I saw one starting to creep through the reeds and then start to show itself.

Eventually though the bird really came out into the open and I finally had my shot, a great way to end the day.

Sunday, 26 April 2015


Had a quick morning walk with Gem this morning around Hanchurch Woods around the area near the Wood-mans cottage.
Plenty of Willow Warbler were around as we walked along the paths.

As we made our way back to the car park I noted a Tree Pipit always a nice bird to bump into in fine voice and even allowed me to grab a few shots.

Tree Pipit Hanchurch Woods

Around the car park were several Black Cap, Nuthatch and Chaffinch and again Willow Warbler.

Not bad for an hours walk.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Claymills Pumping Station

I often go Claymills just outside Burton its a nice and friendly and well run heritage centre and if you are into your industrial heritage I can't recommended it more, Gemma loves doing the Rat hunt (looking for cuddly Rats hidden around the site).

Today they were holding a 1st World War event as one of the workers had sadly lost their life at Gallipoli and this was their tribute to them.

There was a group of reenactment group their along with a fly pass of the Red Baron himself.

After this we headed down to Branston home of the pickle and also LH Barton for a spot of shunter bashing.

Moorland Birding

Started off the day at Coombes Valley RSPB reserve just outside Leek although a little early we still thought it worth a bash and see what Summer migrants had arrived.

As we walked into the valley plenty of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were seen plus a single Black Cap thrown in for good measure.

Along the meadow we had a all too brief view of a Common Redstart a wonderful male as well which was a nice tick for the year, around the pond although we gave it a while the male Pied Flycatcher was no where to be seen, although having already seen the one opposite the Dickturpin pub in the Westlands I wasn't too bothered.

We then headed for the moors properly it was rather windy on top around the Roaches with nothing really on show apart from plenty of Meadow Pipit and the odd Red Grouse, everything else had more sense and was staying out of the wind.

Crossing Axe Edge again more Grouse were seen and the weather was clearing, by the time we reached Dane Bower it was sunny although still cool, with plenty of Wheater on show.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Derbyshire Outing

We popped across the boarder today into deepest darkest Deryshire, the first port of call being Bakewell for the Framers Market which is one of the best in our humble opinion.

We spent the morning buying a few bits and bobs, the Goat Sausages and Mutton Sausages are fantastic and so is the Winkle Brewery beer so after stocking up on the essentials in life and having lunch we headed off.

I always like seeing Shrike although we never have any luck I have wondered around the Chase and other spots looking for these birds but generally failing to see anything. But with Beeley Moor being so close and reports in general being positive how easy the bird is to spot we made our way to the Beeley Triangle.
Looks a decent spot for birding and soon as we arrived we saw the bird and managed to watch it from the car which saved Lesley or Gem getting wet I did venture out to grab the necessary record shot.

The Shrike put on a nice little show of hunting around the little patch of moorland and even showed off its ability to hover.

Also noted was a rather battered looking Pheasant, Red Grouse and Meadow Pipit, not bad for 30 minutes in damp windy conditions.