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.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Fairhaven Lake

I decided it was time to pay Fairhaven Lake a visit another new spot for me, although I have heard about it after a Red Necked Grebe appeared there some years ago, this time it was of the Red Throated variety that was luring me in.

The weather forecast was for it to be overcast till 11 and then to brighten up in the end it rained till about 11 and then just stayed grey! So well done BBC on getting that totally wrong.
Any way after first turning up me and Gem were soon watching a small group of Knot feeding with the odd Redshank thrown in for good measure, having successfully bagged these it was off to find our main prey the Red Throated Diver, my one and only ever tick of this bird had so far been a rather distant bird at Kinmel Bay in North Wales so the chance to get up close and personnel was hard to resist.
I found the bird asleep at the end of the Lake near the Spitfire on a plinth which is quite a nice feature as monuments go.

As the bird seemed to be in no mood to wake up I decided to pop into the RSPB Ribble Discovery centre and see what was what, turned out they had a very tame Turnstone that was even known to pop into the shop looking for something to eat.

Heading back down to the far end for lunch the diver had actually woken up and had come quite close in shore allowing for a few shots.

A passing walker with the usual dogs spooked the bird and it headed back off to the far bank by the island so that was that.

As the weather never bucked up we had a coffee and ice cream and headed off home.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Doxey Marsh

Again we just fancied being lazy on Sunday so it was a case of a spot of house work, put up a new bird box Gem has decorated plus the usual odds and ends.
Then in the afternoon a stroll around Doxey Marsh, just the usual stuff at Creswell Flash, walking along to the new hide a Water Rail jumped up and then disappeared again, this seems to be my only views of this bird this year.
Walking along past the new hide we stopped by a bench and started to scan around for the Water Pipit, eventually I saw a Little Brown Job moving in and around the reeds but no sooner had I found it it flew off. It didn't give me longer enough to fully id the bird, so back to the hunt.
A few minutes latter I had re-found the bird and this time managed to successfully id the bird, so that was that ticked off for the year, far too distant for a shot but I still managed a decent view, it took Lesley a while longer to pick the bird up but at least she saw it.

Also managed to see 66749 (an ex Euro 66) head North light engine while watching the Pipit.

Wye Dale

Being the romantic sod that I am I took Lesley off for a nice lunch out on Saturday with it being Valentines Day.
We decided not to venture too far just across to Buxton for lunch then a walk along Wye Dale afterwards, there is quite a bit of building work going along the main track to the cottages with crash barriers and strengthening of the edge of the road being worked on.
But we still managed to find our target bird of a Dipper only a single bird but at least they are still there.
Then it was back home with a quick drive over Axe Edge to see what was around plenty of Red Grouse but that was about all.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Cheshire Bash

On Saturday (07 Feb) we did a bit of a bash around Wirral starting off at Hoylake not for birding but to see the drift wood pirate ship there next to the life boat station as I new Gem would love to have a play on the ship.

A really cool bit of kit to launch the life boat just like out of Thunderbirds. 

Pirate Ship at Hoylake

Gem sailing the Grace Darling
It was the on to the more serious matter of birding the first port of call being Wallasey for the Snow Bunting we really didn't need the bins to see or find these two birds which have taken up residence, Gem thought they were cute which they are.

Snow Bunting at New Brighton by the Wallasey Life Guard Station

I bumped into a fellow local Stokie birder which I had a feeling I would see someone I knew around on my travels today and was told the Laughing Gull was on the Marine Lake down at New Brighton off we headed. But as usual our luck was not in and the bird had done a bunk when we turned up and had headed off to feed out by the light house, I manged with a little help to see the bird at a distance but not a great view so it was off back to the car for lunch and hope the bird would come back to the pontoon. After lunch the bird had reappeared at the pontoon allowing for easy viewing of this rare but ugly Gull (well to me at least it looked like a over grown Black Headed Gull) you may have guested I don't really do Gulls.
Plenty of Purple Sandpiper were on show I do love these dumpy waders, also a single Sandling in with the Turnstone and Redshank.
Light House at New Brighton 

Laughing Gull at New Brighton

Purple Sandpiper New Brighton

It was then off to Burton Mere for the Long Eared Owl or at least that was the plan, looking at the book the Owl was still over by the Inner Marsh hide so after a warming coffee it was best foot forward. After slogging through the mud, I have got quite good at pushing a pushchair through mud, needs must though! we got a view of the owl. A much better view than we have had at Park Hall.

Long Eared Owl Burton Mere by the Inner Marsh hide

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Weekend Travels

Saturday was a snow day, or at least hunt the snow, it had basically gone from Silverdale but it was bound to be still around in the Peaks so we loaded up the sledge and warm clothes and headed out.
Sure enough we found the snow it was drifting across the A53 but a snow plough was doing its job around Flash, but trying to get over Axe Edge didn't happen we ended up joining a traffic jam going up the bank which was rather novel for that location. We were waiting it turned out for a tractor with a snow blower to clear a path so we decided to turn around and head back to Titesworth Reservoir instead rather than wait Gem was happy enough building snowmen and sledging around the visitor centre.

On Sunday we again braved the arctic winds but this time we went for a walk around Doxey Marsh, not alot on show with the icy wind but we did spot two Barnacle Geese in with some Canada Geese and a Female Stone Chat kept popping up we were quite lucky in seeing a Water Rail jump up out of the tall grass and disappear again.

Friday, 30 January 2015


Just received some information about the ringed Turnstone I saw last week at Rossall Point looks like he/she is a local to the area.
Below is the information I have received back from Seumus Eaves the North West Turnstone Project Coordinator.

Recapture History
  Ring                        Age/   Capture
  number           Type                            Date      Init         Details
  ST28469 - BR             N                      6             12/01/13           PJB       Fleetwood Marine Lake, Lancashire
                         O      6    Sighted (R)   18/01/13  IG    Fleetwood Marine Lake, Lancashire (6 days)
                         R      4    Recaptured   16/12/13  IG    Fleetwood Marine Lake, Lancashire (338 days)
                         O      4    Sighted (R)   16/01/14  IG    Fleetwood Marine Lake, Lancashire (1 yr 4days)
                         O      4    Sighted         06/12/14         Rossall Point, Lancashire (1 km, W, 1 yr 328days)
                         O      4    Sighted         24/01/15         Rossall Point, Lancashire (1 km, W, 2 yrs 12days)

N = new bird i.e. first ringed
O = field sighting
4 = hatched before current calendar year – exact year unknown (e.g. many adults in autumn)
6 = hatched before last calendar year – exact year unknown (e.g. many adults in Spring)

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Lancs Wandering

I have not this year really gone any where birding just staying very local which although nice and restful doesn't progress ones year or life list so this weekend I made the effort and headed off into uncharted territory or at least for me heading firstly for Pilling and then on to Rossal Point.

Finding the area around Pilling End was tricky but finding the rough area and then a collection of cars all bearing RSPB, WWT etc stickers I assumed I was in the right spot and pulled over and parked up.
Bumping into a couple of birders on asking if the Pomarine Skua had been spotted today I was given some rather negative news but seeing a group of other birders a head watching something I still plodded on and after asking again, I was given of the answer of its just there! And so it was and it's quite a beast of a bird with a real powerful looking bill I watched the bird for a while before the cold got the better of me and I retreated to the warmth of the car and on to the second location.

Getting to Rossall Point which was now bathed in full sun unlike the gloom of Pilling, although no warmer in the wind I was given the bad news that no one had seen any sign of the Shore Lark even after looking all through out the dunes, oh bugger!
But I was not to down hearten it had to be there somewhere and who knows maybe I would find it!
Walking along the beach I manged to pick up quite a few waders and a Pied Wagtail which I saw out of the corner of my eye did at one point get the heart beating that little quicker. A Turnstone I spotted had a couple of rings which I will have to report in. A couple of Eiders were pointed out just beyond the breakers.

After playing with Gem on the beach for a while we decided to head for the Tower for a look around and get out of the wind, just as we headed up the steps I noticed a group of birders all watching a patch of the golf course so it was a change of plan and off we shot, sure enough the Shore Lark had been found.

This allowed for a record shot to be grabbed not great as it meant looking straight into the sun but needs must.
Hunger then meant it was off to the car for lunch, just after finishing my luck was in and the Shore Lark moved to almost right in front of my car allowing for a much better set of shots to be bagged.

One life tick and plenty of year ticks, I was a happy chap driving home.