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 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 their 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 the case of best foot forward everyone I met gave me positive news but looked at Gem's push chair and seem to question my sanity as the hide meant to be 3 deep but I still plodded on.

The hide wasn't that busy seems that everyone had got there fill and were now off to see the Cattle Egret or other things as 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 spider plus two Lizards which were nice bonuses.

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.


On the 20 Aug we went along to Formby the weather was not being the kindest we the odd shower but we still saw plenty of Red Squirrels around

Not much was happening on the beach a few flocks of waders drifted by but nothing actually on the beach itself with all of the dog walkers that kept everything well away.

A rather large rain cloud was headed our way so we went back off to the car and home via Martin Mere more just to have a decent coffee and allow Gem to play in the park than anything.

Burton Mere

On the 03 Aug we decided on a day out to Burton Mere it has to be one of our favorite RSPB reserves with a good mix of birds on display and is nice and family friendly which is great for us with a 2 year old in tow.

There wasn't a huge amount of birds on show but we did manage to see some good ones all the same, from the reception hide we managed to spot a Marsh Harrier drifting along, while the pools held Black Tailed Godwit, Ruff and Dunlin.  Although we didn't get to see the Spotted Crake although this would have a been a lifer to us the day wasn't a total loss and we were just enjoying being out and about.

Moving down the reserve to the screen we managed to pick up eclipse plumage Garganey which was a nice bonus tick for the year.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Middleton Towers

After finding out about the Pacific Plover that had appeared at Middleton Towers last weekend I had to wait the whole week in the hope that it would stick around, with positive news on the Friday directions were obtained and off I went with Gem.
The journey down was fine although the post code I had took me to Kingsbury Oil terminal so after a spot of map reading the old fashioned way I was on my way again and was soon there.
Most of the paths turned out to be buggy friendly it was just the final slog up to the screen which was rather muddy to say the least and the buggy got caked in mud which made for though going.
But at least I got to see the bird which I have heard may now have done a bunk, managed to get some very dodgy digi scope shots but rain on the eye piece and lens doesn't make for great photos.

Also noted in the rain were Little Egret, Ringed Plover, Reed Warbler, Common Tern, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Pied Wagtail, Reed Bunting plus the usual ducks and coots.

Pacific Plover at Middleton Towers

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Week Away

During the first week of July it was the annual family holiday, this year with headed off to Somerset just on the outskirts of Minehead staying at a farm cottage that seemed to quite a bit of wildlife within the cottage let alone outside!
One nice thing was just how peaceful the place was and the fact we had a Chiffchaff visit the hedgerow by the dinning area window quite frequently, although never when my camera was handy.
We didn't do that much wildlife watching while we down in the south west although on a trek up to Hurlstone Point we did have great views of Harbour Porpoises just below the point.
We all had quite a few fly Gannets which added to the spectacle a auk of some sort flew by but I was preoccupied with watch the Porpoise to pay it too much attention. 
Hurlstone Point

Harbour Porpoise at Hurlstone Point

Gannet at Hurlstone Point

On our final day we visited the WWT new reserve at Steart Marshes this unlike their other centers is a pure nature reserve unfortunately the site is not fully opened when called in the first two hides we still a couple of weeks off from opening even.
But it was a nice spot and there were plenty of Dragonflies around.