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.

Hanley Forrest Park

Lesley still needed the Juv male Smew which I had manged to pick up on the 3rd Jan at Westport Lake so it was off to Hanley Forrest Park to hopefully see this great little duck.

Sure enough it was there, it seemed to be eating bait thrown by the fisher men called Boilies I have been informed.

It's not daft this duck it knows how to get a quick and easy meal for its self.

Jan First

The first of Jan for me is always more of a leisurely start than it is for some birders, I just tend to do a spot of garden watching followed by maybe a quick walk somewhere.
This year was no exception, so over the morning I manged to get a nice garden list together, although this year unlike the last 3 winters we have not got any Brambling so they are absent from my list to date.  But the garden favorites of Bullfinch and Willow Tit have been bagged alongside Green Finch and other common garden birds.

The afternoon was spent doing lazy birding from the car with a quick drive to Hanchurch for the feeding area by the rock which added Great Spotted Woodpecker and Jay to my list followed by a drive alongside the railway line at Mill Meece which added Red Wing and Field Fare.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Hanley Forrest Park

Well having a free day to my self with the Lesley and Gem going away to visit her parents I could choose how I spent the day, no real great plans of bombing off to some far flung corner of the country just a lazy stroll being on the cards.

With the Red Head Smew now being located at Hanley Forrest Park I thought I would go there I hadn't been there since I was a lad, looks like the park has been done up, but I didn't go far I just to stuck to the lake and watching this very showy Smew which put on a nice show, it even caught a fish while I was there. Although the poor thing did rather get mobbed by the Black Headed Gulls if they thought it had caught anything.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Something Smew

Although I had not heard any news about the Female Smew that had been spotted at Westport Lake on Wednesday as we fancied a afternoon stroll it seemed the perfect place with the outside bonus that it was still there.

When we got there a group of birders called us over (pays to where a scope on your back) and we were soon pointed in the direction of where the Smew was problem was it was the far corner from where we were. Gemma must have remembered seeing one before as she preferred to feed bread to the local ducks and coots instead.

On getting to the spot where it was last spotted it had done a bunk and it took a while to be re-found right where we had been standing which was now again the far end of the lake, this duck was keeping us fit!

But we tracked it down again only to loose it, Lesley decided to take Gem over to the park while I soldiered on in the hope of getting a shot or two, but my luck was suddenly in a it appeared in front of me by the visitor centre.

Now I just need a male to turn up some where!

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