Let me know when that tide's coming in won't you

Let me know when that tide's coming in won't you

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Singing in the Rain

A stroll in the Macclesfield countryside is always nice and there is usually lots to see. Even in the rain there is still a lot around. I feel very lucky to live so close to somewhere so naturally beautiful and almost untouched. Nature thrives and long may that continue.

These lambs made me laugh out loud when I saw them. Wasn't expecting to see them, but there they were, sat in the middle of the stinging nettles. Ouch!

Another unexpected surprise. A Little Ringed Plover on the road.

Rain or shine, there's work to be done.

Nice female Pied Flycatcher.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Wood Warbler

I spent a good while in the New Forest with my ears open for a Wood Warbler. None were forthcoming, although they had been around. Strangely when I got home it appeared there had been one almost on my doorstep and showing itself very well.
I'd only seen one previously that had stuck around for a couple of weeks in Bramhall a few years ago.
Brilliant little birds, with a great song that makes their bodies shudder. It's similar to the Willow Warbler but has bright yellow upper parts and lovely white under parts.
This one was still singing as the rain and then hail came down. It made it a lot easier for me to find him.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Pied Wagtail

The humble Pied Wagtail is always a busy little bird. It's one of those that you can usually hear calling in flight before you see it.
This particular bird was on the side of a reservoir and it seemed intent on seeing what I was up to. Rather than follow me though, it would fly ahead of me fifteen yards or so and wait for me to catch up. Or at least it seemed. I'm sure it had other things on its mind.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Firecrest - New Forest

I've just spent a fantastic weekend in the New Forest as part of a guided bird and wildlife weekend. I didn't think anything could compare bird wise to Norfolk, but I was so so wrong. This place just hits all the spots, and in spades.
I think a lot has to do with visiting the right places (as is always the case) and this is where I landed on my feet, with an expert guide in trees, birds, plants, insects and much much more. John's knowledge was at times breathtaking. It made finding things a lot easier and not just that, identifying them too.

One of my many lifers on this trip was the usually elusive Firecrest. A tiny bird similar to the Goldcrest, but in my opinion, much better. It was quite bizarre, by the end of the day I was a bit blasé about them. There were that many about. Oh look, there's another one.

Take a look at this little beauty.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Canada Goose

At this time of year the Canada Geese can get a little bit feisty. Recently I was hissed at and chased off a city centre car park by one particularly aggressive individual, and this after it had tried to remove the hubcaps from a car that got a little too close. I don't think I'd have felt so silly if it were a group of youths giving me grief, but I was told from a very young age that one of these 'could break your arm'. I wasn't going to hang around to disprove the theory (which I don't believe by the way Mum). I'm pretty sure, as I am each year, that this goose was just being protective of its partner or potential nest site. I have no problem with that.
With that all said, I thought I'd try and show the Canada Goose in a more positive light, with some pictures taken when they were more relaxed and peaceful.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


Lapwings have been pretty busy of late on my patch. Busy chasing off intruders of any sort. From the air, by other birds, and land, by farmers and tractors intent on paying them no attention at all as they turn over their fields and the Lapwings nests and eggs.
They make a lovely noise as they go about their business. To me, it sounds like someone tuning in an old manual radio (for those of you that can remember them). Pitches going up and down, and never quite landing a station.
Their colours are quite special too. A lovely iridescent green and a pretty stylish hair do too. I hope they manage to get their young off safe and sound again this year. Sadly, it's quite a challenge for them.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Great Spotted Woodpecker

I've seen a lot more activity from Woodpeckers recently. Sometimes quite difficult to see as they move around trees on the blind side. I found this female recently. She was busy pulling at the moss that was making the trunk of this tree look like it was covered in green carpet. At first I thought she was plucking off nesting material as she was really giving it a good tug. Having watched for a few minutes though, I think she was after food that was within the moss itself.
It seemed oblivious to my presence, as I hid behind my car. It allowed me to get quite close to a bird that it usually quite difficult to capture.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Red-throated Pipit

Word came through on Sunday, of a rather scarce bird for this country, and even more so for my county. A Red-throated Pipit was discovered up on the moors of Manchester and Derbyshire (in fact right on the border of the two).
Ludworth Moor is somewhere I had never been too, but I have read lots about it and it's birdlife, and it was a birding friend of mine that discovered this bird on one of his many forays to the moors. Fortune favours the brave, and my word, for all his hard work, this one was well deserved for him. Thankfully, in this day and age, the joys of social media mean that news of these rarities can be spread pretty rapidly. I waited a whole 24 hours before taking the plunge and heading up to see it.
I had no concerns as to whether I'd find it or not. There between 50 and 100 other birders forming a very well behaved line to point it out to me. A stunning little bird that was mixing it with the Meadow Pipits and generally putting on a good show for everyone. I'm unlikely to see another one in this country, so here is homage to the Red-throated Pipit.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Goyt Valley

With my parents staying with me for the Bank Holiday weekend, I was desperate to show them the wonderful setting of the Goyt Valley. It's the most productive time of year to visit in terms of different bird species. Yet we managed to visit on what was a particularly cold and grey day, and bird activity seemed to be at a minimum. Blast!
The highlight of the first half of the walk was bumping into a couple of birding friends. They confirmed too, that it was indeed, very quiet today.
A pair of Grey Herons, a pair of Nuthatch and some Willow Warblers was about it.
The walk back to the car proved a little more fruitful with a Tree Pipit, a pair of Pied Flycatchers and a Common Sandpiper. Three Lifers for my Mum in a matter of minutes. Red Grouse, Kestrel and a Curlew finished the morning off nicely, followed by some nice cake.
Not too bad in the end, but could have been so much better. 

A very good looking female Pied Flycatcher.

And her male partner.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Macclesfield Migrants

A nice sunny morning in the wilds of Cheshire had me in search of any migrants I could find. The result was a couple of Redstarts and plenty of Willow Warblers. Otherwise, it was many of the usual birds, but a lot busier than normal. There are mates to be found, territories to be safeguarded and nests to be built.

Male Redstart surveying his patch.

A Blue Tit inspecting a prospective nest site.

Nuthatch enjoying the sunshine, upside down, because they can.


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Danebower Quarry

I went looking for the elusive Ring Ouzel recently. It was exactly that. Elusive. No sign whatsoever. Nothing flying over, on the rocky slopes or even down in the valley. My luck was out on this one.
There were a few other bits and pieces around though, so I made the most of the company that I had.
A few bubbling Red Grouse, some vocal and busy Meadow Pipits and also some very good looking Wheatear.

I stood motionless for some time as this Red Grouse approached me. It seemed blissfully unaware that I was there as it carried on feeding and walking straight towards me. This male was in great condition, with its bright red combs over the eye particularly prominent.


The Wheatear is one of my favourite summer visitors. I always look forward to them arriving. Once again this male was looking pretty dapper.