29/04/2017 Whitedale Valley, Dunsop Bridge, Lancs

Pallid Harrier: Originally when I saw that there had been information posted about a Harrier species on Lancashire heathland I thought that some one had dropped a clanger!   
However after seconds thought perhaps the RSPB who released the info are boxing clever, with such an attraction as this, the 1st ever male Pallid Harrier for Lancashire there will be more people watching this site, more publicity and more focus put on scrupulous game keepers.
And what a superb bird he is too, seriously stunning! After a very early start in order to complete a breeding bird survey I felt too tired to go driving up the hills and walking 4km to view the bird.
But once I got home and started to relax I saw Bill Aspens Tweet quote '@BillAspin More Bowland Pallid Harrier, absolutely epic! Spectacular views of a truly stunning bird. To those hesitating about making the trip, just do it!'

So I did.....
I arrived in good time and took on the long walk through the valley with gusto and connected with the bird almost straight away.

It was also good to catch up with some local faces, some of which I hadn't met before or seen in a while.


26/04/2017 Hale Lighthouse & Carr Lane Pools

Whitethroat: Hoping to see one of the Channel Wagtails that have been reglarly seen at Carr Lane Pools Gary and I decided to spend the afternoon at this sunny part of Cheshire.
Wheatear: We could only manage to pick up a couple of the standard Yellow Wags but we enjoyed watching them along with Blacktailed Godwits and Dunlin dropping in from Town Lane.

Once we were satisfied that we had searched Carr Lane Pools adequately we moved on down to the Lighthouse, starting from Within Way.
It was here we heard a Lesser Whitethroat calling on Within Way but only managed to see another Common Whitethroat. There were also Yellow Wags flittering around the crops in the surrounding fields.

Towards the shore line we picked up large flocks of Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit and some nice Wheatear.
Hale Lighthouse and Carr Lane Pools is a smashing place, particularly when the sun is out.
Common Swift: Before setting off back home I thought we would chance it again and give Carr Lane another go for Channel Wags, but again was only rewareded with the standard variety.
We were however treated to some low flybys from some Swift and bumped in to Dot, who as ever, is always a pleasure to chat with.

25/04/2017 The Quarry at Dingle Gardens, Shrewsbury

Night Heron: This was a rare chance to kill two birds with one stone today as I had to pick up a new Clulite (used in my GCN survyes) from a countryside shop in Telford which also give the chance to catch up with the adult Night Heron.
This is presumed to be the same adult bird that was seen at Venus Pools, a reserve about seven miles south of Shrewsbury, however it didn't show quite as well at Venus Pools.

As soon as I arrived the bird was just sitting in a tree on the ornimental pond in part of the local park called The Quarry. The bird wasn't phased by the growing crowd of birders, dog walkers and on-lookers who were passing.

After a two hour wait the bird became more active and started to take an interest in the pond, before bobbing its head at the water and walking out further on to the branch, it flew off it's perch and down on to the water.

There is some suggestion that the bird is an escaped individual due to it having a mark on its leg - take a look at this image.

Here is the flight shot!

The bird flew right down to our feet and started feeding, it must have been about one metre away on the pond edge.

The crowd of birders grouped together in a hushed huddle as we watched it walk right past us then out of sight. The bird was then best viewed from the opposite side of the pond where is was standing under some shrubs.

23/04/2017 Pennington Hall Park, Leigh

Blackbird: What a little beaut! I was happy to spend the morning at Pennington Hall Park searching for this striking leucistic male Blackbird
It was pointed out to me by a local birder, aptly named Paul Pennington on a L.O.S facebook page that this bird was here.

This was my first visit to Pennington Hall Park which is a lovely little public park which has  a small wildlife area near the car park and it is here this male Blackbird is hanging around.

The bird spent most of its time high up in the trees singing, but did on occasion come down to forage and chase of rival male Blackbirds, it even posed nicely along the back fence.

19/04/2017 Elton Reservoir, Bury

Garganey: Elton Res is a place I rarely visit, the last time I was back in May 2014 when there was a showy Black Tern on the res.
The Manchester Bury & Bolton Reservoir, commonly called Elton Reservoir, is located near the A58 Bolton Road in Greater Manchester, about 3 km south west of the town of Bury and is a well watched by birders.
This time I was heading over straight from work in order to photograph the drake Garganey that has been showing superbly for the past couple of days.
However when I turn up the bird had become quite flighty, when I arrived the bird was on the canal getting before flying back over to the flooded field, due to a passing dog walker.
Despite the bird being flighty and with some field craft I was able to get close enough without unsettling it and got some nice images, albeit not as good as some images I have seen of the bird.
Still its not everyday you get close to a Garganey, typically they stay distant at p;laces such as Carr Lane Pools and Leighton Moss where I have seen them before.
Little Ringed Plover: While I sat and watched the bird on the edge of the flooded field I also saw a LRP drop in. This bird didn't stay long and after a quick feed flew off.

Little Gull: The Gargenay wasn't actually on Elton res but a small flooded field in the same area. Best accessed from Bury Road in Radcliffe then down on Within's Lane and walk up past Cocklestorm Paints. Here there is a canal towpath, and there are small floods on both sides of the canal.

Once I had my fill of the Garganey I moved on to Elton Res itself where I caught up with the Little Gull that has been on the res for a while now.

This was an adult bird with striking black under wings and white upper parts and tail.
The bird was showing incredibly well at the North end and was happily feeding on insects from the top of the water.
After watching the gull for about and hour I soon gave in to hunger and moved on. I followed the public right of way over the sheep fields and back towards Bury Road.

Wheatear: It was here I stopped a male Northern Whaetaer foraging around the sheep, a nice bird to pick up and end the day with.

14/04/2017 Houghton Green Pool

Yellow Wagtail: There has been some new arrivals at the pool, including this gorgeous Yellow Wag a dozen or so Sand Martians and a few Swallow.

I was hoping to record the first Yellow Wag of the year however that accolade goes to Martyn Jones who picked it up on the 9th, with some cracking images to boot!

09/04/2017 Marshide RSPB, Southport

Meadow Pipit: Another nice day out with some stunning blue skies and warm weather - I could get use to this!

I was hoping to see Shropshire's Night Heron and spend the day at Venus Pools, however it seemed like the bird did a bunk and disappeared in the night.
Wheatear: So hoping to see my first Wheatear of the years and wasn't disappointed as I counted four individuals foraging around the sand works area. This seemed a popular spot, as there were birders all over the place.
The sand works area is directly Sandgrounders Hide on the opposite side of the road, this is a nice area for mipits, Skylark, Linnet and the odd Ringed Plover.
Avocet: After wandering around the sand works area I ventured over to Sandgrounders Hide where I was confronted by a frenzy of Black-headed gulls with hundreds of them squawking away.
Mediterranean Gull: But take your time and look through the mass of black heads and you will see med gulls. I counted four two very distant and two petty close in that were displaying to each other.
Overall It was a nice day out and I was very pleased that I left the house early as the traffic through Ormskirk towards Southport in the afternoon was horrendous, I was glad I was travelling in the opposite direction.

08/04/2017 Wiagn Flashes

Reed Warbler: I rarely  come to Wigan Flashes, I'm not sure why as on a day like to day the place is buzzing wit wildlife. Brimstone Butterflies, Redpoll, Sand Martins, Cetti's, Blackcaps, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, the place was full of things to see!
I came to see the 1st Winter LTD that was found this morning by Ken Dunning, but got distracted on the way by my first Reed Warbler of the year who was singing away in the reed bed next to Pearson's Flash.
Willow Warbler: Then by a Willow Warbler who put a supurb show singing and flycatching. 
Long-tailed Duck: Eventually I made it to the LDT who sat far out on Pearson's Flash and was busily bathing and splashing around. 

I watched it for about an hour, hoping it might come closer before finally giving up and to enjoy the sunny walk back to the car. 

07/04/2017 Houghton Green Pool

Little Ringed Plover: From Pennington Flash I decided to check Houghton Green Pool out, hoping the first Yellow Wagtail or LRP.
I struck lucky with the LRP as there were two individuls forrgaing around the edge of the pool one of which came right up to me before flying off to the other end.
My luck didn’t hold however as I was unable to locate any yellow ways, and I got some funny looks from a pair of dog walkers who were pointing at me as I lay down on the muddy banks of the pool, taking pictures of the plover.

07/04/2017 Pennington Flash

Lapwing: A pleasant day spent birding locally starting off with the morning at penny, were I was hoping to see the Drake Garganey that has been on site for a couple of days.

But alas It had I missed it by an hour or so as the bird out of sight from the spit near Horrocks Hide.
Little Ringed Plover: Still there was plenty to see, including two Common Sandpiper, three Little Ringed Plover, two Shelduck and I also had my first Swallow of the year.

Horrocks was typically busy with birders all gabbing away so much so that I was actually surprised that a LRP came all the way down from the top end of the spit right under the hide despite the decibel levels.

Redshank: Struggling to out do the guys in the hide a Cetti's Warbler was singing from the right hand side of Horrocks.
These two were getting rather frsicky!