28/02/2015 Slimbridge WWT

Common Carne: Dawn and I woke up early and decided to give the new car another big run out and with the local reports slim on the ground I thought I would try again for the fudge duck down at Slimbridge.
After a quick McDonalds and a good run down to Gloucestershire we headed straight over to the Tower Hide where the fudge was last reported.

We waited about half an hour before a familiar face turned up.
Great to see some locals so far from our stomping groups up North, Peter & Sue, a great couple from Wrexham who share the same passion for birds and Tony from Halton a great local birder with a wealth of knowledge.
Ferruginous Duck: I waited with them for about half an hour before trying our luck at another site on Slimbridge where the duck could be found.

On the way Dawn and I got distracted by some lovely Crane showing well from one of the hides.
 Then out of nowhere Tony turned up saying "Aust the birds back, com'on" so we raced back up to Tower Hide and there it was, suckling about the reeds of the Knott Pool.
We watched the bird come out in the open water and paddle across to the nearby bank, giving us all some cracking views!

Thanks again to Tony who came back and gave me a heads up, I owe you a drink mate, cheers.

26/02/2015 Pensarn, Conwy

Iceland Gull: This is by far the best view of a large white winged Larus I have ever had, I have seen many down at Moore NR and Richmond Bank but always at a distance.

This bird however was not camera shy!
As soon as Dawn and I arrived at the car park the bird was sitting on the beach within a few feet of us both.

This was before a very inconsiderate dog walker came right past the bird and moved it a bit further up the beach.
We followed it and watched it for a good ten minutes before another dog walker came crashing past us.

I mean it's obvious I am watching this bird, I have my camera at the ready and binoculars strapped around my neck - you don't have to be a brain surgeon to know what we are doing and to have the common sense to stay at a distance and not disturb the bird.

I guess this bird was less bothered than I was as it kept coming back to the same car park and even landed right beside my car!

This image shows it happily loitering around the car park. I guess it was hoping for a free hand out and to stay close to the resident gulls.

We tried for the Surf Scoter from the top of Old Colwyn but could only see a large flock of Common Scoter riding the waves.

 What a cracker!

25/02/2015 Loscoe Lake, Normanton

American Wigeon: A bird I have dipped many times last year and a bird I really enjoyed seeing. 

I feel like I am getting a little closer to 300 now!

I would like to give a huge shout out, firstly to the Doc who was kind enough to pass on some info regarding the directions to the bird.

And to Pat Hograth and Helen Keough who I bumped in to at the lake and who soon become life savers as my camera battery died on me and Pat was happy for me to use her lovely images on my Blog!

Excellent, thanks again.

(images courtesy of Pat Hograth)

22/02/2015 Parkgate

Short-eared Owl: Some days you win - last Friday I spent all afternoon watching and hoping for a good shot of a shortie with no luck, however today my luck changed!

Today Garry and I headed past all the Sunday birders and crowds of twitchers who were gathering around the old baths car park and donkey stands flash and headed up towards the golf course.
I had been told that this area is the best place for the SEOs as they have been roosting on the ground near here.

This tip paid off as in the end I think we had at least four maybe five individual birds, and three at the same time, looking at when we saw them and comparing the distances.

20/02/1015 Shotwick Fields & Parkgate

Bewick's Swan: A last minute change of mind saw me going down to the Wirral instead of Moore Nature Reserve for the day.

After dropping Dawn off at work I picked Jon up and headed down to bag some Bewick's.
Jon and I counted at least 30 birds, however there must have been another hundred further out across the fields that we couldn't get a positive ID on so there could be many more out there.
The Bewick's are the Swans with the darker bill and the Whoopers have more of a yellow wedge on their bill and have less black on the tip.
Jack Snipe: Jon and I then headed up to BMW for Jon's first LEO and then to Parkgate for the high tide.

The highlights being this Jack Snipe who was hunkered down and trying not to attract any attention to itself while it floated on some vegetation.

Southern Spain September 2014

Griffon Vulture: Please see my newly added trip report from my holiday to Southern Spain last year.
Greater Flamingos: It will cover trips to Malaga, Rio Guadalhorce Nature Reserve, Benalmádena, El Hondo Nature Reserve, El Chorro Gorge and Tarifa.
Bottlenoise Dolphin: The highlights from the trip included Wryneck, Bee Eaters, Audouin's Gull, Booted and Short-toes eagles and obviously Bottlenoise Dolphin!
Audouin's Gull: Here is the link


18/02/2015 Fairhaven Lake

Red-throated Diver:  This was by far the best views of a RTD that I have ever had.

Usually I only get to see this cracking bird through my scope looking far out at sea or sitting in the middle of a large reservoir.
I arrived early morning and the bird was a little distant in the middle of the lake before a boat came whizzing past it and pushed it off to the opposite end.
Here the bird was happily diving and coming right up to me.


17/02/2015 Filey, North Yorkshire

Purple Sandpiper: Another good bird missed, as Alan and I went up to Filey Brigg to try and see the Surf Scoter that had been knocking about up there for a couple of days.

However, and as it often is, the day I arrive the bird disappears!


We arrived around midday and waited a couple of hours while the tide came in and still there was no sign.

These purps were very entertaining as they skipped around on the rocks.

We left the Brigg around 3ish and headed over to Grindale for the resident Rough Legged buzzard.

Common Seal: It didn't take long to locate the bird as it flew low over a farm field opposite the Skydive centre.  I was about to settle in and wait for some better images when Birdguides buzzed and the Surf Scoter came through.
So we dashed back over to the Brigg and scrambled down the cliff only to be told the guy who posted the report yesterday did the same just now by mistake!

Nevermind, this brilliant Common Seal was a bonus as it bathed in the lemon light of the fading sun.

16/02/2015 Cote Stones Farm, Warton

Black Redstart: What's better than seeing a lovely black red up the road from Dawn's gran? Well throw in a scrumptious meal in a local cafe in Carnforth and finally finding a new car!

Can't be bad.
Almost as soon as I stepped out of the car the bird was spotted on top of the farm house, before flying down on the the ground in front of me.
The bird was very confiding and was happy foraging in the field adjacent to the top of the farm house and occasionally perching up on the stone wall.
Another really easy twitch and another little beauty!

15/02/2015 Forest Farm, Cardiff

Little Bunting: Alan and I set off not too early and made good time 'again' despite the road works, when I think back I can't remember the last time the M6/M5 didn't have some sort of road works.

When we arrived at Forest Farm, after getting some confusing directions to the hide from some Sunday walkers, we got lucky as almost as soon as we arrived in the hide the bird hopped out from behind a bush and started posing.

The rapid fire of a dozen camera shutters rained down on the little bird.
But the bird seemed to like the lime light and made it's way closer to the hide, well within two metres, giving us all some awesome views!

I was surprised how small the bird actually was, of course I knew its relative size after looking in my copy of Collins Bird Guide but still thought it would be notably smaller then it actually was.

What a little cracker!

13/02/2014 Orrell Water Park

Waxing: Friday the 13th and its not been all that bad I found a few new cars to look at over the weekend and I bagged a very local and very excellent Waxing.

The bird has been feeding on apples that had been secured on the branches in a front garden opposite Orrell Water Park at the junction of Lodge road and Moss road WN5 7AT.

The light was awful and for the most part the bird was high up in a tree behind the house and was regularly spooked off by a resident Sparrowhawk.

Really good to bump in to Hugo and Pete Kinsella - happy gulling dude.