16/12/2015 My Garden, Abram, Wigan

White Wagtail: The last few months have been great for my garden list with two new ticks, a white Wag and Blackcap, my first ever Grey Squirrel and good numbers of Goldfinches and Starling.

There often hear and see always Grey Wagtails around the neighbourhood but never in my garden, until this bird came to feed on some spilt fat from under the fat ball feeder.

Not remind me that the grass needs cutting! Its like a jungle out there and all this mild weather isn't helping the issue.

Blackcap: The start of the show however has to be this male wintering Blackcap that has been regularly visiting my garden feeders for a number of weeks. Favouring the lowest positioned fat ball feeder, he likes to hop about the veg plot before making his move.

(image taken through double glazed windows)

Greater Spotted Woodpecker: This was only my second record of a GSW in the garden and I was thrilled to get an image, even if it was through the double glazed windows.
The bird stuck around a lot longer then the last one as it fed on the fat balls before flying on to the fence for a short preen and then off in to a nearby tree.

(image taken through double glazed windows)

15/12/1025 Haslam Park

Goosander: It was a toss up between Salford's GND or a chance to get a decent photo of Preston's Ring-billed Gull now it's moving between the docks and Haslam Park.
No sign of the RBG this afternoon on or around the park's pond but I was treated to some cracking views of two redhead Goosander on the pond.
One individual kept coming close and feeding on small fish and as I lay on the wet muddy floor I did get some odd looks from the locals walking their dogs.

12/12/2015 West Kirby Marina Lake

Great Northern Diver: Wet, soaked, drenched doesn't come close to how waterlogged I was after spending the afternoon bagging the GND at WKML.

The bird showed well unlike the RTD which spent all of it's time in the middle of the lake.
The rain didn't stop all day preventing me from getting a sharp image as the rain not only waterlogged me but my gear, still great bird to catch up with.

04/12/2015 Lunt Meadows

Short-eared Owl: This was my first trip to Lunt and it most certainly won't be my last!

From woodland to meadows, wetland to farmland this little reserve comprises of some great habitats and great wildlife.

Lunt Meadows is fast becoming famous for it's owls and currently boasts up to 4 SEO and a couple of Barn Owl.
Although I didn't see any Barn Owl I had a cracking afternoon watching 3 SEO with one individual quartering close in the field behind the main screen.

Encouraged, I moved on and explored the rest of the reserve including a small coppice of woods, then returned to the area where I had previously seen the SEO hunting. The sun was a bit more prevalent and the wind a bit more fierce at this point and after another intensive search I couldn't find any more SEO.
But the local Kestrel put on a good show hovering in near perfect light and I also got distracted by a Peregrine as it disturbed the gaggles of geese and folks of Lapwing.

Overall I thought this was a fantastic small nature reserve, however I have to say that Lunt Meadows is busy with plenty of dog walkers, birders and in almost every bush and along the field margins you will find a long lens poking through.

Still, I would highly recommend a visit to see the owls and take a very pleasant walk and if like me you need to find the directions or want to know a little bit more about this fantastic site then please check out the links below.


01/12/2015 West Kirby Marina Lake

Great Crested Grebe: After yesterdays dreadful weather I was keen to get out of the house and do a spot of birding.
So after a quick ramble around my local patch, Kingsdown Flash and with not much showing I decided to pay the toll and go across to the Wirral.
Red Breasted Merganser: Once I arrived I immediately spotted the mergs, one stunning male and 4 windswept females.

They came relatively close but it was the GCG that stole the show. 

As I wandered across to the far side of the lake one GCG came right up to me and started fishing, it eventually caught one and chugged it down.

Brilliant behaviour to watch.

Red-throated Diver: The RTD on the other hand kept its distant and floated about pretty much in the middle of the lake.

Even when the wind surfers came out it still stayed out of reach.
Cormorant: The lake must be rich in food stuffs as this guy was also catching and eating fish and before I left I saw the mergs catching some kind shrimp.

29/11/2015 Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay, Conwy

Scaup: I braved the weather and the roads and took a trip to North Wales. I had a few errands to run down that way and I ended up at Eirias Park hoping for a few shots of the female Scaup.

And I wasn't disappointed.

Although I have seen plenty of female scaup on sea watches this was my first up close and personal views of a female Scaup.

I haven't really noticed how distinct they are, with their mainly brown plumage, palest and grayest on flanks and back with a white belly is seen only in flight and their striking white patch at base of bill.

The Yankee Duck has been at the park for a couple of weeks now and looks fairly settled buddying up with the local Mallards.

The bird spent plenty of time diving, presumably foraging for food.

Morocco January 2014

Common Bulbul: My long overdue Marrakech trip report is now on the blog!

Please check it out.
Moussier's Redstart: This was a brilliant trip, Marrakech is full of warm friendly people, great sights and even better birds.
My favourite being Morocco's Moussier's with this dazzling bright red brest.
White Stork: Featuring - Moussier's Redstart, White Stork, House Bunting, Alpine Chough and Common Bulbul.

Just click this link below to view.


20/11/2015 Pennington Flash

Shag: Yesterday I got lucky and arrived in time to see the Dearest Wheatear before it disappeared, today I arrived at Pengies Hide I had just literally missed crippling views of the Shag, gutted.

When I arrived the bird was foraging in and around the Dog Wood before going out of sight behind the nearby reeds.

Little Grebe: However while the Shag was doing it own disappearing act this local Little Grebe put on a good show right in front of the hide.

Although I just missed out on crippling views of the Shag, It was still a lovely morning. Sheltering from the rain with Water Rail squealing in the nearby reeds and Kingfisher dashing about the pond.

Before I left the Shag did reappear but only to go back over to the Dog Wood, this time even more distant.

19/11/2015 Eskmeals Nature Reserve, Cumbria

Desert Wheatear: Another tart's tick in the bag!

Yeah thats right, this was one of many birds still on my tarts list alongside Crested Tit, Ptarmigan and Cit Wag I'll stop there before I embarrass myself even more.

When I arrived I could defiantly tell Winter is here, it was blowing a gale across the beach and the clouds were gathering, but the bird was still able to find something to eat as when I arrived it was actively foraging along the fence.

The bird regularly stopped foraging, if only for a few moments and happily posed for me.

I knew that Desert Wheatear are know to be confiding, but when a dog walker came past doing their normal thing of being oblivious and letting their dog run across the site that we are looking at and pointing cameras towards the bird still stuck around as if the dog didn't really bother it.

The dog walker and his dog bothered me though!

16/10/2015 Church of St Mary and All Saints, Chesterfield

Crag Martin: This was my 2nd UK Crag Martin, after the Flamborough bird in 2014.

However this time the bird gave us better views and the weather was a lot better too, which is strange to say considering how bad the weather has been recently, but today it was glorious if a little chilly.
Damion and I set off from Wigan around 9am and had to wait a couple of hours before the bird decided to show itself.

The church is a pretty awesome building with it's striking spire with many controversial theories to why it is crooked. One of which brings the virtue of the local ladies in to question, as it says that whilst resting on the spire the Devil twisted round in surprise because the bride was a virgin.

The reality to why the spire is crooked is not as cool, it is believed that the twisting of the spire was caused by the lead that covers the spire. The lead causes this twisting phenomenon, because when the sun shines during the day the south side of the tower heats up, causing the lead there to expand at a greater rate than that of the north side of the tower, resulting in unequal expansion and contraction.

This was compounded by the weight of the lead (approx. 33 tons) which the spire's bracing was not originally designed to bear.

Either way the spire looked even more impressive with a Crag Martin zooming around it!

15/10/2015 Elton Reservoir

Great Northern Diver: It took me ages to pin down this bird during my early visit to Elton res, the weather taking a turn and the winds picking up made for poor visibility and choppy water dint help!
Eventually I caught up with just as the heavens opened and I got drenched, typical. Still great bird to see relatively close in.

20/10/2015 Wells Wood, Norfolk

Red-flanked Bluetail: Great day in Norfolk with wall to wall blue skies and warm temperatures topped off with some great new company.

However with a change in the weather and winds, my major target bird the Isabelline Shrike had packed up and left the area!


Never the less the Wells Wood Bluetail put on an excellent show at the drinking pond, and the coffee shop sold me the most expensive but probably the best chocolate muffin I have had in my life!
There was a resident Robin who was making a pain of itself, periodically chasing the Bluetail away, usually just when it had settled on a nice branch in full view!

But with a bit of patience the bird continued reappear up until around 1 o'clock when it disappeared for the rest of the day!
Olive-backed Pipit: After filling my birding boots with some smashing views of the Bluetail I got a call from Jonny saying he and Danni just had the OBP so I headed straight over.

Here I bumped in to Ian Igglesden, top bloke from Liverpool.
Ian and I searched for the pipit for a little while in between some long spells of chin-wagging.

Ian and I saw Jonny dashing through the woods with intent and we thought he might have something, so we headed in that direction and started to search the area when Ian whistled me over and pointed in to the trees where the POB was sitting.

Not the views or pics I was hoping for but great to hear the bird call and see it adequately enough to tick it.  Towards the end of the day Jon Doherty and I located a Pallas's foraging among the hundreds of Goldcrests along the path between Holkham Pines and Wells Wood although I only had the briefest of views, so I'm not going to tick it, I want to see a proper Pallas's with its crown and its pale yellow wing bars so I'm going to have to wait until I see my next one.