22/02/2014 Hope Carr Nature Reserve

House Sparrow: My first visit to this little Nature Reserve in Leigh, my first thoughts were not that great, the place was full of rubbish and a interpenetration board was laying on the ground!

Tree  Sparrow: However the circular walk was pleasant and I spotted a female Sparrowhawk and Goosander, I spotted a Kingfisher on the canal and could hear Water Rail squealing in the reeds.

It was also nice to stumble upon a half a dozen Tree Sparrow chirping away, my final thoughts for Hope Carr... there is plenty of hope! Its a nice little reserve and one I will be visit again.

16/02/2014 Pennington Flash

Reed Bunting: Sunny Sunday and I found myself once again down the road at penny.

Sundays are probably not the best day to go on,  especially sunny ones as it brings out the whole of Grater Manchester and their dogs!
After a quick and unsuccessful scan over the ever increasing gull flocks, in search of any white wingers or the Kittiwake which was spotted yesterday, I evaded the crowds and hunkered down at the feeding station.

Long Tail Tit: No sign of the Brambling or Willow Tit but the feeding station is always a good place to spend half an hour or so.

13/02/2014 Pennington Flash

Brambling:  This morning was glorious, blue skies and no wind, a stark contrast to yesterdays strong winds, so before I started work I took a quick trip down to penny.
I headed down to the feeding station hoping to see their resident Brambling, and there it was, within minutes the bird emerged from the bushes and headed straight to the back feeding table.
Greenfinch: The feeding station was noticeably busy, full of finches and tits happily making the most of the calm after the storm to feed up.
Greater Spotted Woodpecker: By no means rare, but always nice to see in close quarters, this male GS Woodie came down to the feeding station with its eyes fixed on the cage of peanuts.
Other highlights included a stunning male Goldeneye close in by the car park, displaying to a nearby female.

I missed the Water Rail which came in to the feeding station, but its nice to know its there and is showing well. And on the way home I almost hit a male Sparrowhawk as it shot right passed my windscreen and down between some houses, pretty cool.

It wasn't only my shed which was claimed by last nights storm as it lost its roof and completely collapsed in on itself.

Here at penny there was a few branches laying around but most notably this large tree had come down covering the path towards Horrocks Hide.

09/02/2014 High Shincliffe, Durham

Yellow-rumped Warbler: What a cracking end to a brilliant week, finished off nicely with my first yank warbler.

Nice to catch up with Ashley Baines and a few other familiar faces amid the 150 strong crowd.

I think we got lucky in the end as just when we arrived the crowds swiftly moved away from peering over a garden fence as the bird moved in to a line of bushes along the roadside, giving us some excellent views - much better than peering over someone fence!
The Myrtle was enjoying a lovely pair of coconuts and greedily chasing away all the local Robins.

A superb little cracker!

06/02/2014 Hams Wall, Warwickshire

Hume's Leaf Warbler: (promise) After Scott and I bagged the Bluetail we headed back up for the Hume's and got lucky as within just a few minutes of arriving the bird showed incredibly well and calling!

Another top bird and I didn't have to go to Kent!

Not just another barred Phylloscopus, a very memorable trip.

06/02/2014 Marshfield, Gloucestershire

Red-flanked Bluetail: My first big twitch of 2014 and what a bird to start with, who would have thought it would have been a February Bluetail.
This little beauty was happily fluttering between the Hawthorns along a very muddy path (thank God for wellies) and occasionally dipping down on to the deck, then back up again.
After observing this bird and how much like a Robin it looked and behaved, I will now be checking every Robin I come across when out birding. I guess I have been lazy and just overlooked Robins, especially in Winter.
One guy came prepared with a tub of meal-worms that he scattered on the ground and angled a broken branch to provide the perfect  perch.

A good idea - I wasn't too sure, as the bird flew off in the opposite direction.

02/02/2014 Parkgate

Kestrel: These hungry eyes were like hundreds of others fixed on the flooding marsh of Parkgate hoping to see something good!

Short Eared Owl: After a very successful FREE guided walk ran by Cheshire Wildlife Trust, the regions largest local conservation charity it was great to get some closer views of SE Owls.
However, lady luck was not on my side as the bird just kept itself faced in to the wind which was blowing straight in my face.

Other highlights included a female Merlin, Ring Tail Hen Harrier, 3 Short Eared Owl, Fox and a very greedy Grey Heron stuffing its face with a Water Rail.