29/08/2014 Pennington Flash

Garganey:  Finally connected with the female Garganey that has been frequenting Ramsdale scrape.
Green Sandpiper: I stayed and watched the Garganey feeding for about half an hour before clambering on one of the islands to have a sleep.
From there I moved on to Teal Hide and was treated to not only some excellent views of two green sands but there was a pair of Kingfisher who were very active and very showy.
Kingfisher: The pair were happily perching on the posts around teal bay.

This week as been awesome for Kingfisher at Penny one of the few birds that capture non-birders excitement and a bird I always like to see.

They are just beauties.

27/08/2014 Hoylake

Little Stint: There was a huge flock of large gulls which I spent some time scanning through but was unable to pick out anything interesting. However I spent most of my time scanning over flocks of Dunlin looking for yesterday's Curlew Sandpiper, not this time but I picked up a Little Stint scurrying between the Dunlin.

Now I know dog walkers on this part of the Wirral can be troublesome, but this guy took the biscuit, as I was standing my distance from the Stint snapping away he let all four of his loud barking dogs loose which ran straight towards me!

One dog in particular took a fancy to me and started jumping all over me, all over my new coat and all over my camera. Not only was I now covered in mud and sand but the Stint took off and was long gone.

25/08/2014 Pennington Flash

Kingfisher: A lovely bank holiday Monday morning spent at penny, despite the weather it was full of activity.

With some great views of Common Tern from Horrocks and at least 6 Willow Warbler and a family of Backcap from Ramsdales.

Although I was unable to connect with the Garganey I was treated to some brilliant views of the local Kingfishers.

There were three zooming around Ramsdales, if it was a bright clear morning these would have been my best Kingfisher images, but alas I had to make do with the wet, gray, dull conditions.

24/08/2014 Bridgemere Garden Center, Cheshire

Red Legged Partridge: During my time training a new CWT recruiter over the bank holiday weekend I stumbled across this family of partridge.
I counted five young scurrying across the yard with only one adult.

22/08/2014 Horwich Moors

Spotted Flycatcher: My second trip up to Horwich and I finally found where all the birds are hiding up there.

I parked at Wilderswood car park where I came upon 4 spot fly when I decided to walk up to the mast.
Wheatear: A short but knackering walk up the hill towards the mast really paid off, not only did I spot three Wheatear on the way up I also bumped into Andy Makin and Dan Brown, the men of the hill!
Andy and Dan were ace, kind enough to share all the prime sites and where to see some cracking birds before giving me a lift down the hill.

Thanks again guys, really valuable information I might see you up there come vis mig!

21/08/2014 Houghton Green Pool

Ruff: I was hoping for a few common sands however the only wader around the edges was this single Ruff.

Being my first Ruff at Houghton pool I was happy to take that trade and spend an hour snapping the bird.
The most notable thing was the shear amount of hirundines flying over the pool. Tons of Swallow and House Martin with a smaller number of Sand Martin among them.
Sand Martin:  I set myself the challenge of capturing an image of one of the hirundines swooping over the pool, so I sat on the edge of the bank facing in to the wind and snapped away.
Pied Wagtail: While sitting there getting frustrated with my inability of freezing an in-focus image of a Swallow, a huge flock of Linnet started feeding in the grass on the far bank and a family of pied wags came rather close.

17/08/2014 North Wirral Coast

Dunlin: With the weather report saying that the North West will be receiving some strong winds I decided to record the match and spend this bright day outdoors.
Ringed Plover: I went straight to New Brighton and pitched up beside the lifeboat station and spent a couple of hours sea watching.

The highlights were a couple of distant Gannet, no Manxies unfortunately.

From there I drove around to Leasowe and did a couple of circuits around the horse paddocks. Here there was a large flock of Linnet and a few pied wags, but no migrants.
Oystercatcher: I did however get some nice views of some common waders as they hunkered down waiting for tide to retreat.

16/08/2014 Pennington Flash

Roe Deer: Another trip around penny with John where we started at Ramsdale Hide in search of the Garganey which we dipped.

Green Sandpiper: Moving on to Teal Hide we spotted the same number of green sands as the other day, three still feeding around the edges.
And the buck Roe was still lurking around giving everyone in the hide a smile as it popped its head around the corner of a nearby bush.

John and I then moved on up to Horwich Moor hoping to see the fall of Spotted Flycatcher's and Redstart.

12/08/2014 Pennington Flash

Green Sandpiper: A nice day off and a nice trip around penny through up some surprises.

Nice to see three green sands bobbing around the edges of teal scrape.
Two of these guys kept their distance roosting on the far bank while one of them came pretty close before getting spooked by a gang of Mallard which were busily flapping.

Roe Deer:  The biggest surprise was watching a pair of Roe that appeared out of nowhere and started running around the edges of teal scrape.

Dawn and I enjoyed watching them jumping through the water and in between the reeds, well worth the trip.

09/08/2014 Seeswood Pool, Warwickshire

Night Heron: Feeling disappointed after dipping the BW Prat Garry and I were keen to pick up the Night Heron as we were practically passing the bird on the way back up the M6.
 However finding the site was a real mission, massive thanks to Elise (Garry's better half) who saved the day and directed us when we got lost.
When we arrived the light had almost gone although we didn't have to wait too long before the bird made an appearance. There was a guy there who had been waiting four hours before we arrived and that was the first time he had seen it in all that time.

So I guess our luck kind of changed.

The bird was mooching about on the far side of the lake between the bank and a jetty before a dog walker came ambling past and spooked the bird.

It took off and circled the lake a couple of times before resting on the nearside in a tree on the edge of the lake. Thanks again to Elise who would make a very good sat nav if she ever wanted a career change.

09/08/2014 Ouse Washes RSPB, Cambridgeshire

Common Crane: Sometimes it all goes wrong!
After a three and a half hour drive, one MacDonald's breakfast and a hell of a long walk from the car park to the site, Garry and I arrived 15 minutes after the BW Part got spooked by a Marsh Harrier and flew off not to be seen again!

We waited a few hours got some nice views of Kingfsher and a pair of Crane but no prat.

03/08/2014 Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB

Spotted Crake: OK you might have to take my word for this one, its not the best picture, it just might probably be the worst picture I have taken.
However that brown spotty blob in the middle of the image is a Spotted Crake.

I arrived early at BMW and got lucky straight away as the bird was standing out in the open preening itself only for a brief moment before skulking back in to the reeds.

A special thanks to Alex who originally found said bird, and who I bumped in to at Carr Lane pools this evening looking for the Pec Sand which after a frustrating search among a Dozen Dunlin I relocated.

02/08/2014 Middleton Lakes RSPB, Warks

Pacific Golden Plover: My first new tick in a long while and not because my list is huge and I am struggling for new birds, far from it.

Too much work and not enough time!

Dawn and I left early to get ahead of any traffic which paid off looking at the queues on the way back. We arrived around 9am and headed straight over to the viewing platforms where the bird was last sighted

We didn't have to wait long until I caught my first glimpse of the bird in flight before landing on the far bank, it showed really well allowing me to reel off a few digiscoped images on Dawns phone before trying with my camera.

The reserve was ace, massive and full of birds!

01/08/2014 Liverpool Bay

Gannet: As a Liverpool native, who has lived away from the city since my childhood years, it seemed like a long time since I last set sail on the Mersey.

Common Tern: This time it was under the guidance of Liverpool Bay Marine Trust - a great local charity working across the Mersey, Wirral, Dee and across to Morecambe and are dedicated to the study of its biodiversity and educating the public.

Our route took us up the Mersey and out of the estuary towards the nearby wind farm and down to Hilbre and back.

The first interesting birds we came across were tons of Common Tern fishing in the Mersey.

Gannet: As we approached the wind turbines we spotted several adult Gannet loafing around on the water. Probably too full of fish to soar off in to the distance. We also saw plenty of Common and Sandwich Tern around this area.

Grey Seal: The signature mammal of the Dee and Hilbre; the Grey Seal, bobbing up and down around the boat while we stopped for a breather off Hilbre.
Here we spotted this female Common Scoter and a male on the other side, both really close to the island. We also got super views of Ringed Plover and Dunlin flocking past the boat.

Sandwich Tern: After a quick cup of tea and some awesome views of the seals the we took the boat all the way around Hilbre where we saw hundreds of Turnstone, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Knot roosting on the red cliffs and ledges of Hilbre.

Dunlin: Unfortunately we didn't see any cetaceans and at times it was wet, very wet! But that didn't dampen the spirits of the boat's enthusiastic passengers.  
Overall the trip was a fantastic reminder of what a wonderful part of the world I live in and how proud we should be of it. I would recommend anyone to check out the fantastic work of Liverpool Bay Marine Trust.

They are involved in some really exciting projects from shark tagging and cetacean monitoring, so get in touch and get involved people!!