21/09/2014 Spurn, North Yorkshire

Masked Shrike: My first day back from sunny Spain where I was treated to stunning views of Booted and Short Toed Eagle. Bee Eaters and Purple Swamp Hen but the best day of my annual leave was at a very busy and very dull grey day at Spurn!

Alan and I arrived around 11ish after fighting our way through the M60 and its awful ongoing speed restrictions. When we finally got there and found a parking space we made our way straight to the Shrike.
To begin with the bird was pretty distant, occasionally flying down to the ground after bugs and back up in to the hedgerow. The bird however was working a circuit up and down and soon came pretty close giving us and the hordes of twitches some cracking views!  
Barred Warbler: For a long time I have been after a barred, this along with a long list of other tarts ticks.
We waited in a site where a barred had been recently seen and bumped in to Steve Burke and Rob and the Doc Brewster.

Again we didn't have to wait long before the bird came out and showed itself.
So far I was on for a great two tick day, and thought we could try for the Olive-backed Pipit that has been knocking around which would make this an excellent three tick day.
Wheatear: This however was always going to be a stretch too far, after missing it around lunch time when Alan and I were occupied stuffing our faces and warming up in the nearby pub.

We did however pick up a stunning Wheatear on the rocks.
Red-breasted Flycatcher: I then bumped in to Jonnie Fisk while looking in another hedge for a RBF.
Spain was good, but adding two ticks to my list was better, especially the 3rd Masked Shrike!

09/09/2014 Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire

Harbor Porpoise: What a day!

Tanmay, Gary and I booked ourselves on to the Stena Line trip from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire hoping for some good sea watching.
Gannet: Previous trips the week before had thrown up Sooty and Balearic Shearwater and although I didn't hold much hope we searched and scanned every pair and every raft of manxies.

Stena Line have been offering this non landing return trip from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire and back for a while now for £5 and you can't argue with that!

So despite the lack of sooty and Balearic it was still a very good trip.
Manx Shearwater: The ferry offers two viewing platforms at the rear of the craft, one smoking and the other non-smoking. This area is caged off which slightly restricts viewing but you can still pick out the birds as the craft runs very smoothly.
Almost as soon as the ferry set off we had bagged a tonne of manxies and gullies. A bit further out to sea we picked up Fulmar, Gannet and the odd juvenile Kittiwake.

The shear numbers of birds were awesome.
Guillemot: Our return trip was a little quieter however Garry spotted a Common Dolphin and Tanmay and I picked up a few Harbor Porpoise.

All in all a very good, cheap and different day out.

07/09/2014 Hoylake

Greenshank: From BMW Gary and I set off up to the North Wirral Coast, starting with Hoylake, however our timing was a bit off and we couldn't pick out many waders on the shore.

We did have some nice wader action from the walk towards Leasowe picking up good numbers of Reshank, Turnstone and Dunlin.

On our way back we encountered this little gem, a Greenshank that was frantically feeding in a shallow pool.

Dunlin: The Greenshank behaviour was awesome to witness, as it chased fish with it's head dipped under the water.

07/09/2014 Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB

Pectoral Sandpiper: What a superb day on a superb RSPB nature reserve. OK I will always have a soft spot for BMW but after a day like today you can't but revel in how good it can be.   

After saying hello to some very friendly and familiar faces Gary and I took the trek to Inner Marsh Farm Hide. The hide, like the car park, was chocca but we manged to get a seat and quickly picked out the pec among several Ruff.

Hobby: Out of nowhere came a swooping Hobby that dashed through the startled wader flock.

The Hobby gave everyone in the hide some stunning views as it did a U-turn and tried again.
Eventually the wader flock came back and touched down in their usual places, the pec went back on to its mud bank and the Lapwings to roost on the main island.
After the pack of waders had a good shuffle we then spotted 3 Curlew Sandpiper and 2 Little Stint.
Red-necked Phalarope: The phal was still showing well, this time a bit closer while it was spinning in the water foraging for food.

Hobby, Pec sand, Cattle Egret, red neck phal, 2 Little Stint and 3 curlew sands can't be bad!

06/09/2014 Great Orme

Wheatear: There are days as a birder I loath, those grey windy days when you see nothing, but there are days when the sun is shining and you find yourself on a stunning part of Wales and despite not seeing your target bird it still turns out to be a great day.

I headed up the very Great Orme hoping to bag another Dotterel but ended up dipping it due to some dog walker spooking the bird before my arrival.


However as I searched for the Dotterel I spotted plenty of Wheatear zigzagging across the heather and perching on the limestone outcrops.

But alas there was no sign of the Dotterel.

Meadow Pipit: It was relatively quiet up there, I searched the grave yard, looked over the Gauze bushes and picked up very little. No migrants no flycatchers or redstarts.
Chough: I did however encounter a pair of Chough honking away as they flew over head.

Nice to bump in to Karen and Dave too.

04/09/2014 Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB

Red-necked Phalarope:  One of the things I don't like about living in Wigan is that I cant make it across to BMW as often as I would like.

So when I do its always great, especially when you trow in a brand new tick!
One of the guys in the hide said he first saw a picture of a red-necked phal in a book when he was 12 and it has only taken him 50 years to actually see one, then Mark Payne pipped up and said its only taken Austin 30 years!!

 Well cheers dude, but its now firmly on my list.

03/09/2014 Marbury Country Park

Black Tern: An after work trip to Marbury, It was one of those days when a decent bird turns up, the weather is nice and I'm stuck in the office! 

Needless to say I was keen to wrap thing up and catch the birds that were picked up mid morning on Budworth Mere before they disappeared.
Once I arrived the two birds were miles away, as I watched for about half an hour they didn't come any closer.
I then decided to drive round to the boating place on the opposite side of the mere. This turned out to be a wise decision as after a short wait both birds came much closer to my lens.