25/11/2018 High Rid Reservoir, Bolton

Velvet Scoter: Nice Manchester tick and a nice find for Phil Rhodes.

Definitely should have worn my thermals ‘tis cold up in em’hills’

22/11/2018 Brickwork Pond, Rhyl

Slavonian Grebe: I'm happy to have got this distant shot of the Slavonian grebe that has been in the floating about the Briskworks Pond for the last few days. A record shot was better than nothing as so often these winter visiting birds appear as a distant speck out to sea.

It is estimated that less than 50 pairs breed in Scotland but there have been recent attempts to breed further South, while may more are recorded around the shores of the British Isles each winter.
The bird stayed pretty far out in the middle of the pond, which is more of a lake then a pond despite its name. Even when a remote-control model boat came powering up to it, the bird still remained pretty far out.

Great find by Alex Jones, who was out on a lunch break from work when we came across the bird. Top bloke, top find, top birder.

12/11/2018 Hartlepool, County Durham

Little Swift:  Here we have the 30th record for the UK and a bird I disappointingly dipped back in June 2012, and have never lived it down.

I don't make life easy for myself!
The 2012 bird was the famous New Brighton little swift that stayed for several days before I had a chance of going up to see it and when I did it was the same day it flew off, never to be seen again.
Well, lads I now have gripped it back, and little swift is well and truly on my list.

On the Sunday the bird arrived it was spotted going to roost under the eves of a window on no.12 Cliff Terrace and when I arrived at first light the bird remained at its roost site.

It was remarkable to see the bird so close up and in such good detail.

At 7.30 on the dot the bird flew off its roost site and began forgoing along the prom at Hartlepool Headland.

A very tricky bird to photograph I had to manually focus on each frame and track the bird as it sped through the sky and hawked above our heads and at times came within just 2-3feet of us, too close to focus!!
The bird was showing unbelievably well and remained low. At times it was swooping  around the railings of the prom, right past our feet and even flying along the beach below us! Truly amazing stuff.
Supper little bird.

07/11/2018 Meols, Wirral

Pied Wheatear: The bird had been around for a day or so before there was a picture sent to Allan Conlin to ID.

It was a pied!!!

But it took me almost another full day to catch up with it as I was stuck in work plodding through a long environmental scoping assessment and feeling livid and gripped off as the streams of crippling pictures came through on social media.

I ended up taking some toil and getting up on to the Wirral for around 3 o'clock. But by then the bird had moved off the sea wall and on to the roofs of the buildings near the boating club, and here it stayed for about 35 minutes, while the light faded.

The bird did eventually decide to come down and feed along the sea wall giving the small crowed of people a chance to see it up close and personal.

The light wasn't great at this point, but that didn't matter as the bird flew right up to us and posed.

This is a real local mega bird as this is the 1st record of pied wheatear for Cheshire and Wirral and it has been 21 years since the Seaforth bird. Great find by Richard Ashford.

Pied wheatears spend their winters in eastern Africa (Sudan to Somalia south to north-east Tanzania) and south-west Arabia (Yemen). so its a long, long way from where it should be at this time of year.

Controversially there has been reports since I saw the bird of folk putting down mealworms, supposedly in order to get better images.

The reason this is so controversial is that this practice of putting down artificial food has been blamed in the past for birds becoming too tame and complacent and then being predated.

There is no need to supplementary feed this bird, as you ca see from my pictures and the vast amount taken by others yesterday there is simply no need. It comes close enough. The bird is showing well and finding plenty to munch on.

31/10/2018 Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB

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Water Pipit:  I don't often get myself across to BMW but its still a place I have fond memories of and enjoy going.

Its a place full of familiar faces and top birders.

The bird of the day by a long shot was this water pipit from Marsh Covert Hide, there were also reports of two bearded tits but I didn't have the time to look.

Still it was a nice afternoon out.