Sunday, 16 November 2014

Barrow Hill

Today was all about cops (that's ticks not the police) with Barrow Hill playing Host to my Dad's last 37 (37800) and a couple of 01's I still needed to bag in the form of 01515 and 01520.

On getting there using info provided via the End of the Line forum 37800 was soon bagged with it still occupying the area around the platforms alongside 20001 aka 8001.

20001 aka 8001 in BR Green at Barrow Hill

37800 part of the Euro Phoenix fleet awaiting a return to traffic 

Dad enjoying getting his hands on his last 37
Inside the depot a 37 was in full under coat and does not look too far from completion 03066 made for an interesting shot having its engine open for all to see.

Out in the yard another set of 37's were on show in a variety of liveries from DRS, faded EWS and a plain DRS Blue but with new style DRS branding.

From the bank a class 24 and 33 were on show, have to say I would have preferred if 33035 had retained Network South East tooth paste colours buts that's just me. Here I also managed to see 01520 stabled up towards the HNRC depot area.

By the HNRC depot itself 37884 in full Euro Phoenix colours and my other target 015515 were stabled up.

37884 in Euro Phoenix colours at Barrow Hill

05515 in military purple colours complete with cat badge at Barrow Hill 

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


Although it was half term week decided to braved a visit to Formby, as this is where Gem had wanted to go aka Squirrel Beach to her.
But we all love this place so we didn't object and we had a pleasant time building sand castles and collecting shells on the beach.
There were the odd Sandling on the beach, not a huge number, but with quite a few dog walkers around I couldn't blame the wildlife giving the place a miss, but I still managed to grab a few shots.

Gem didn't fancy popping down to see these little waders so I just left her to play with Mum.

Then it was time to do the good old Squirrel walk, and we were quite lucky at seeing a fair few Squirrels around, although we did make sure we headed the opposite way to a gang of noisy kids.

We headed home via Martin Mere allowing Gem to burn off more energy and for us to just chill and enjoy a nice coffee and a few birds.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Morfa Madryn

Today was a venture out to a new location to allow Lesley to pick up a life tick and me a nice year tick in the shape of a Grey Phalarope that had taken up residence at Morfa Madryn which is near to Llanfairfechan a beach I have spent many a happy time at as a kid but I have never visited the wild life reserve although I have heard plenty of good things about the reserve.

Picking up a directions off the North Wales Bird forum we were off and found the spot quite easily and were in luck as there was one single parking space when we turned up.

The bird had just left the area where it feeds in when we had arrived but was visible on a bank next to a ringed Little Egret although of the rings all I could make out was N and W so nothing to report about that Egret.

The Phalarope though soon returned to area in which it feeds by the stream up flow and gave cracking views and allowed me to try out my new Tammy 150-600 lens.

Gem was happy collecting the shells that littered the floor we even took a few home so she could take them into nursery during her so and tell which was coming up.

Grey Phalarope at Morfa Madryn 

Also seen while we were there were Red Shank, Curlew, Oystercatcher, King Fisher a Grey Plover had been spotted but we didn't see it.

We did try for the RSPB Conwy Reserve but it had just started to rain and looked rather grey so we called it a day and headed for home.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Derby 175

Today was Derby Etches Park depot open day as part of the Derby 175 celebrations, so off we set to enjoy looking at trains well two of us Lesley came along for the ride and a promise to do something better in the afternoon.

The weather Gods were smiling on us today and apart from the fact I headed for the wrong depot entrance meaning a long trek to the other end things were going fine, didn't even have to cue to get in and had a nice line of choppers to look at as we went in.

 It was a bit like 20's through the ages with the liveries on show just really needed BR Green and BRT to round off the display.

Although not really my thing seeing the two original Peaks on show was a nice touch.

 Gem loved having a sit in the bubble car Iris and it took some persuading to get her out of the unit, she thought the sprung seats were great for bouncing on.

It was then a case of looking into the depot and seeing the Meridians with one being jacked up, Gem thought that was quite fantastic seeing a whole train lifted into the air like that.

The star of the show was next in line for of viewing pleasure 08899 in Midland Purple.

08899 on display after being named at Derby open day.

 Just around the corner were a few items on display from Network rail with one of their DVT's and 97's on display.

31106 was hidden within the wheel lathe shop but made for an interesting shot

By the fuel point were a couple of grids, it was a pity these could have been displayed better.

Around the back you could just about look on to the RVEL work shops with a distant 57602 on show and some closer 37's

It was then off to a near by park I had been recommended which was great for Gem having a boating lake, play area, paddling pool, bouncy castles and Donkey rides which she loved.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Amazing Burton Mere

The mission today with Lesley being at work was a quick smash and grab of birds at Burton Mere. The idea being to quickly see the Red Necked Phalarope and Cattle Egret plus anything else on show (which turned out to be quite alot).

Getting there the car park was rather full, I had never seen the place so busy even when the Glossy Ibis had been there!

The Cattle Egret was hiding in with the cows in the long grass, so the plan was to head for the Inner Marsh hide, so it was a case of best foot forward. Everyone I met gave me positive news but looked at Gem's push chair and seemed to question my sanity as the hide had meant to be 3 deep but I still plodded on.

The hide though wasn't that busy seemed that everyone had got there fill and were now off to see the Cattle Egret or other things, we even managed to grab a seat in the hide (the push chair stayed at the bottom of the stairs).
I soon found the Red Necked Phalarope much too far for a shot but I got great scope views of the bird spinning around.
The supporting cast was quite something though Pectoral Sandpiper, Snipe, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Black Tailed Godwit  and Green Sandpiper not a bad haul.
The hide once again started to fill up so it was time to do the decent thing and give up our seats after all we had seen everything on show.

Walking back along the path we spotted quite a large Garden spider plus two Lizards which were a nice bonus.

We got back to the reception hide just in time to see the Cattle Egret take flight and allow a brief view before dropping down in with the cows again.

RSPB Conwy

On the 24 Aug with the weather looking promising we headed along the North Wales coast to sunny Conwy.

After quite a few showers on route we did wonder what we were letting our selves in for but all was fine by the time we got there.

From the new screen we picked up Ringed Plover and Pied Wagtail plus Little Egret and the odd Black Tailed Godwit and Dunlin plus plenty of Lapwing, we had manged by luck than planning have turned up during high tide so everything had been pushed on to the reserve.
In the reeds as we made our way to the next hides we got the odd view of Reed Warbler and Willow Warbler and Chiff Chaff all feeding up on insects in the reeds.

From the hides we had a ring side seat of a fishing Little Egret and on the far side a King Fisher was sitting in the reeds.

Moving around towards the river from the screens that look back on to the reserve we found a mass of Curlew and Redshank resting up in with the Redshank we managed to spot around 6 Greenshank as well.