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

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

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Bempton Cliffs. (Again)

I couldn't resist posting some more of my pictures from Bempton Cliffs. The sound and smells on the East coast were quite breathtaking and at times eye watering. As I've mentioned before, it was the Gannet that I really came to see, and there were plenty around both in the air and on the rocks.

Plenty here sat on nests. Its a shame to see so much rubbish on the rock. Discarded fishing nets and ropes seem to be the most popular nesting material.

Kittiwake in a bit of a foul mood.

And looking a little more content.

Meadow Pipit on a lookout post.

Tree Sparrow near the visitor centre.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Pennignton Flash - The Usual Fair

Another good mix of birds from Pennington Flash. Nothing unusual this time, just a good variety.
Great Crested Grebes have been quite numerous on the main Flash. With some fast developing juveniles around too, it seems to have been a good year for them, or maybe its just an average year and I have noticed too much before. Either way they are always nice to watch.

Greenfinch have been in good numbers too, and this is something I've noticed in other parts of Manchester and Cheshire too. This is good, as some years back they were quite hard to come by.

A Jay came down to greet me as I parked the car. They'll be getting busy soon to stash food for the winter.

A Lapwing in front of Horrocks Hide.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Willow Tit

While I wait around for the Bullfinches to show at Pennington, there are lots of other birds to keep me occupied. Never a dull moment here, with plenty of wildlife to keep me entertained.
I could sit in the hide for hours watching birds flit in and out and numerous squirrels scampering around.
One particular bird that you don't see very much at all, or for very long, is the Willow Tit. They don't hang around. Usually, if you're quick enough, you can spot them on the fringes. Then they'll dart to a table, take a seed, and then just as quickly dart back into the cover of the undergrowth. All done in a matter of seconds.
Trying to get anything on camera is a real challenge, but who doesn't like a challenge?

This little guy showed me all its best sides before flitting off in the blink if an eye.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Back in the Spring

An evening on the moors around Derbyshire is always nice. Red Grouse bubble away and frequently show themselves. Raptors will often put in an appearance as they quarter for prey.
These pictures were taken one late evening in Spring. The sun had almost set and so there was not a great deal of light.
I could hear the grouse bubbling away, but it took me a while to locate one. I was sat in my car so as not to disturb them. Then one popped it's head up and gave itself away.

You can see the long grass was in need of some rain and warmth.

I got all of a fluster when I could see a large winged bird heading towards me and the car. It was a Short Eared Owl!! I've see these many times before, but there is something a little magical about seeing an owl. These birds are fantastic, and just awesome to watch as they float across the moors.
Almost dark by this point, hence the grainy shots, and it was almost past me before I could blink.

An early returning Willow Warbler, with the trees still in bud.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Sabine's Gull - Pennington Flash

A Sabine's Gull has been present at Pennington Flash for a few days. This, I believe, is only the third such bird for Manchester, so it is by no means a common bird. In fact, it's not a bird that usually finds its way inland. It should be up in the high Arctic or way out at sea. So the chances of me stumbling across one again so close to home are practically zero.

I was hoping it would stay around for me to see at the weekend, but I got a bit nervous that it would take flight before then, so I went straight from work on Friday night just in case. It was there, and in diminishing light I enjoyed watching it patrol the shore line of the flash.
I went back on Saturday morning with the promise of better light, and my pictures were much better.
It was very close in to the shore line once again, and was favouring an area of water with a radius of just a few meters. It was feeding actively, but every now and again took flight for a few minutes before landing back in its favourite spot, right in front of the gathered crowd.

I think this is my favourite gull. Truly stunning.


It spent most of it's time picking insects off the surface, but occasionally dunked right under.


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

I was contacted a little while ago by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. They asked if they could use one of my pictures of a Willow Tit for a blog that they were writing for their website. Of course, I was delighted to be asked and had no hesitation for a fantastic organisation that does lots of very good work all over the country.
The Trust aims to help nature recover from the decline of past decades, and I have been l lucky enough to see their work at close hand whilst on my many jaunts around the UK. They do a superb job in making nature and wildlife appear fun and accessible to all.

A quote from their website: "We want to inspire people about the natural world so that they value it, understand their relationship with it and take action to protect and restore it."

The article in question can be found here: http://www.gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk/blog/community/2015/07/03/top-10-tips-wildlife-photography

You will see my picture down the page. It made me feel very proud. And here is the Willow Tit.

Friday, 31 July 2015


My recent walk in the Cheshire countryside led me to some of my favourite spots. Clough Brook runs along beneath Macclesfield Forest and is a very good spot for Dippers and Grey Wagtails. I only managed to see one Dipper, but there were plenty of Grey Wags, with busy parents feeding their young.

This juvenile Grey Wagtail was sitting patiently while Mum and Dad were off looking for food nearby.

Grey Heron in the gloom.
A Robin looking a little dishevelled. It's probably had a busy time raising a family.

Monday, 27 July 2015

RSPB - Blacktoft Sands

Plans had been made for a full days birding outing. We went a little further afield than normal, but with full justification. Blacktoft Sands RSPB reserve sits on the banks of the river Ouse at the start of the Humber estuary. It has been widely reported that there have been a pair of Montagu's Harriers on site for a while. Britain's rarest breeding bird of prey, and a real stunner at that. We were fortunate to see both the male and female in flight for some time. It wasn't close up and I didn't attempt any photography. It was just a joy to be able to watch it through the binoculars. Another lifer for me.

There were plenty of other birds on show too, with Spotted Redshanks, Ruff, Avocets and lots more. A great reserve that I can highly recommend and one that I'll be returning too.

This is not my image, but was taken by birder Dave Adamson. This is the male.

Little Egrets were in good numbers across all of the pools.

The Marsh Harriers were really active. I had the pleasure of watching several food passes between the males and females.

There were good numbers of Ruff in varying plumages. Here is one with a white head, and an Avocet and Teal for company.

Spotted Redshank. 

An Avocet coming in to land, with some of the many Spotted Redshank, Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwing behind.

Avocets in flight.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Grey Heron

I came across a few Grey Herons recently at Pennington Flash. I think most were juveniles, as they were a darker grey then the adult birds and lacked the striking markings usually found on the head. The joy of watching from a hide or behind a screen is that the birds tend to stay put and are not frightened off by the sight of me strolling up. This of course gives ample opportunity to study them a bit more and hopefully get some good shots of them too.

This chap was determined to stand on this post no matter how small it was.

You can see how dark the plumage is on this particular bird.

Having a bit of a scratch while not falling off his post. Impressive!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Red-footed Falcon

A Red-footed Falcon had been just a stones throw (25 miles) away from me for the last week. I was desperate to see it but had to bide my time until a window became available. The first opportunity I had was after work on Friday. I checked that it was still around and off I set off towards Congleton.
I found the site no problem at all and before I'd even closed the car door I could see the Falcon flying around its preferred horse paddock.
Unfortunately it then went and sat in a tree as the wind got up, the cloud came over and the temperature dropped. An hour later it came out to play again. I was about to go home when I had the most fantastic fifteen minutes with this bird.
The sun was going down, but this gave me some amazing light and some decent shots.

 Hovering Kestrel like.

Coming in to land on a telegraph wire.

Showing those lovely red feet.

On the ground where it spent a lot of time catching food.