10/01/2017 Lightsaw Flash, Wiagn

Barn Owl: During a windy winter walk with Dawn down to Lightshaw Falsh, we were treated to some stunning views of Barn Owl.
I have seen Barn Owl several times in this area, often perched upon the posts near Warrington Road A573 near the Dover Lock pub at night, but always speeding past in my car, so never able to get a prolonged clear views.
One of the best sights that Britain has to offer, forget the Shard, the Forth Bridge or York Minster watching a hunting Bran Owl quarting over the British countryside is just brillinat!
The goahslty figures soon disapred out of view.

08/01/2017 St. Walburge's Church, Preston

Black Redstart: This female looking bird has been present on the church for a couple of days, although it didn't give me the best of views as it stayed right on top of the roof it was still showing well and sat up for prolonged periods.

The bird is best viewed from Pedder Street where the bird favours the far corner of the church.

Also nice to see the local Peregrine which can be viewed perched upon the church spires.

04/01/2017 Moore Nature Reserve

Bittern: I felt inspired after seeing Gill Ollier's fantastic images from his New Year's day outing to Moore, and thought I would try my luck to see the Bittern.

I remember when the Phoenix Hide was round and had a roof, before it got burned down, hence its name, the Phoenix Hide.
I've seen plenty of Bittern in my time but perhaps surprisingly never at Moore. I remember spending hours upon hours sitting in the old round hide overlooking the Eastern Reedbed waiting for a glimpse of the Bittern and never seeing it, well not until today!

The bird showed twice while I was there between 0900-1230, the fisrt time it flew from the middle of the Eastern Reedbed and flew in to a small cut out on the near bank. The second time I saw the bird it flew from this cut out and across to the other pool, before landing in the reeds.

02/01/2017 Venus Pools, Shropshire

Pine Bunting: Happy New Year to all my followers and to all the people who are kind enough to click on to my Blog and read through my birding adventures.

Looks like 2017 is getting off to a great start as I bag my first Pine Bunting. Apologies for inconsistent bad images as I had to use my Iphone through my scope, and at some distance.
Smashing little bird and a pretty hard bird to pick up with only a handful of records recorded for Britain. And I can see why, this is a really challenging bird to ID especially when it is in a huge mixed flock of Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer, like today.

Hats off to Simon Davies who found the bird and the old boy who pick it up today after a two hour search containing myself and about 80 other birders.

If you wish to see better images of Pine Bunting and read a little bit more about them, then I would highly recommend clicking on to the late, great Martin Garner's excellent blog post.


31/12/2016 Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire

Blue Rock Thrush: Here are the best of a bad bunch, after a three and a half hour wait in the dense fog and cold the bird finally put on a show and came out in the open, albeit hidden behind a bush.

This particular bird is dividing opinion regarding it's origin as to many people this may well be an escaped captive bird due to it's time of arrival, place of arrival and it's very odd behaviour.
For example this little chap seems more confiding than it's wild counterparts I have seen in Cyprus and Spain.

Other people think (and hope) it's a wild bird and can be tickable as it is an adult male and Blue Rock Thrush do migrate and it has been an exceptional Autumn for eastern vagrants.
If accepted by the powers that be it would make this bird the seventh sighting of the bird in the UK, after it was first spotted in 1985 and the most recent back in 2007.

There is an old twitching philosophie - 'if you see the bird then it's a legitimate wild bird, if you dip and don't see the bird then it must be an escapee'. Now I've seen it, I'm certainly hoping it gets accepted and would make a happy addition to my UK life list.

29/12/2016 Walton Hall Park, Liverpool

Red-crested Pochard: This was another post-winter bird survey trip as I wanted to make the most of the blue skies and nice weather and after seeing Damian Young's and Dave Craven's pictures from Wally Park recently I thought I would make the most of the day's limited light and head over there.
Almost straight away I picked out 'Pablo' Wally Parks long recorded RCP loafing about with the manky looking inbred mallard and geese.
By all accounts no one knows where Pablo has come from but it's not ringed. I've been informed it's been there for about 5 years.

Don't ask who came up with the birds nickname, but I'm sure it has something to do with the birds Spanish connections.

Despite it's original origins RCP are always a smart bird, especially the males.  
Mediterranean Gull: While I made my way back to the car I was keen to check out the large flocks of gulls foraging in the muddy playing fields surrounding the park.
I'm glad I did as I picked out this stonking adult winter med gull loafing around the more common Black-headed Gulls.
The bird was pretty flighty and was often disturbed by the words of dog walkers that were constantly crossing the field.
Not a bad end to the day after a very cold three hour vantage point survey and transect where I was frozen to the bone despite several layers and thermals!
Here is a nice comparison shot between the two species, on the right the med gull showing off its clean white wing tips and dark mask behind the eye. On the left the Black-headed Gull with it's black wing tips folded along it's tail and black spot behind the eye.

28/12/2016 Ormskirk

Waxwing: Today was my first day back at work since Christmas and as I was carrying out a winter bird survey near Maghull, I thought I would treat myself to a post-survey twitch and check out the Waxwing that have been hanging around Coronation Park for the last week or so.
As soon as I parked up I could see a small gaggle of birders looking up in to a Rowan tree, so I headed over where eight birds were happily feeding on the last of the berries.
I've seen tons of Waxwing but never a flock so confident, these birds were hanging in trees with dogs walking underneath, traffic passing by and even me pointing my lens at them.
These birds were remarkably placid and put on a great show in near perfect light.
For me it's not only their striking personalities and the fact that they tend to turn up on supermarket car parks and suburban gardens. This is because of the abundance of berry-bearing shrubs planted to decorate the open spaces. But also their stunning plumage of crimson red feathers on their wings which look like drops of sealing wax.
Waxwings turn up so frequently in supermarket car parks that they have become one of birdwatching's most talked about phenomenons and one I look forward to seeing annually.
Starling: It wasn't just the Waxwing enjoying the last of the Autumn bounty, there were plenty of Blackbirds, Starling and even Chaffinch tucking into the Rowan berries.
There weren't many berries left on the trees so if you particularly want to see this flock I would go soon before they move on to better feeding areas.