27/10/2013 Gronant

Grey Phalarope:  This was my second visit here in two days as yesterday Dawn and I took a trip to see this little cracker, but we were on a tight schedule and we only had an hour or so.
Within that hour the bird didn't really move from the farthest end of the pool. Needless to say I was gutted as we had to go and I knew if I put some proper 'birding' time in the phal might of come closer.
But today I had time to wait and the wait paid off!

The phal came incredibly close, constantly swirling and feeding.
Before the bird came close another birder spotted a Lapland Bunting in the sand dunes, but after a quick look we only had a fleeting glimpse and a short call.
What a bird!
Well worth muddy knees and elbows and the embarrassment of showing my bum crack to the world, while laying on the ground, camera poised!
It was also nice to bump in to all the old BMW regulars and catch up with Paul Brewster, Rhys Richards and Bob, hopefully these autumn storms will blow something special here and we will all be out doing a local twitch next weekend.
Ring Tail Hen Harrier: Always nice to see where ever you are!

27/10/2013 The River Clwyd

Hoopoe: First stop the Clwyd where Mr Alex Jones found one of these great little birds on his local patch and as soon as I arrived and shook his hand I was greeted by my first UK Hoopoe.

The bird showed well, if a little distant for my lens before flying off for half an hour or so.

During this time I got talking to some of the old Burton Mere regulars who had just come back from Gronant where they said the Grey Phalarope was showing down to a few feet.

I decided to take a look for myself.

05/10/2013 Leighton Moss

Bearded Tit: Over the last few days the Bearded Tits at Leighton have been showing incredibly well and in some superb numbers with 15 individuals showing on the grit trays.
After arriving at 7am on a very cold Autumn morning and standing in one place for a few chilly hours I was thrilled when the birds turned up. One female came early on in the morning but only stayed briefly before melting in to the reeds.
I had to wait two hours before I saw another but just like bus's when one turns up nine do!
Mr John Wilson was in the reedbed behind us with his mist nets up and recordings to lure the birds over.

John was kind enough to emerge out of the reeds to show me a male and female Bearded Tit in the hand this was totally awesome.

It was great to see the detail you can often miss, like the birds black  under-tail coverts.

Another thing I enjoyed making a note of was the bird's coloured rings, for example the bird in John's hand is purple over white which I saw again on the grit trays when it was released.

I spotted four males in all and five females all of whom could be tracked and traced by monitoring their rings.

John told me that he had caught two young birds a few days earlier of which he had put new rings on showing that they had once again successfully bred at Leighton Moss, cracking stuff!

04/10/2013 Audenshaw Reservoir

Great Skua: I was told today that we make our own luck when it comes to birding, well I tend to agree and that's why I took a quick detour to Asda on the way and picked up a pack of fresh fish!

This was to lure the Skua closer to my camera lens as well as helping the bird out as I'm sure a bit of free fish would be greatly received - as you can see!

It was good to bump in to Jaz a local birder from the Manchester area who got some suburb shots and had the same idea as me and came prepared with some sprats.

The bird was very confiding and came right up to me before flying off to the middle of the pool to digest its free meal.

It was such a shame about the lighting though as if we had blue skies and sunshine these pics would be a lot better - not bad I guess considering the light.

Other birds of note included a single female Wheatear and half a dozen Goosander.

01/10/2013 Leasowe Lighthouse

Yellow-browed Warbler:  I placed my bets today on seeing a YBW on the Wirral over the Red Necked Grebe at Marton Mere.

I struck luck as one turned up at Leasowe, where I also bumped in to Scott, Liam and Allan to name a few.

In my opinion this is one of the most stunning LBJ's I have come across. But what a total bugger to pin down. This individual was almost totally silent and extremely elusive and when it does make an appearance everyone sees the bird but me!

I was gutted - better directions needed, but after another long wait the bird came back and gave me some stunning views and after not seeing it the first time I decided to put the camera down and enjoy the bird.

The bird showed for several minutes before becoming invisible again as it skulked behind the bush. After another short appearance when the bird came back this time foraging on the ground I decided its time to take a few pics, these are the best I could do! Gives me something to improve on for my next YBW.