06/05/2021 Audenshaw Reservoir, Manchester

Red-rumped Swallow: After a quick visit to the office in Bolton, I was quick to move once the news broke of a RRS at Audenshaw.  I have a love hate relationship with this place so wasn't holding my breath regarding my chances of seeing the bird.  

When I arrived there were hundreds and hundreds of swifts, swallows and martins hawking over the water and swarming in the sky. But within just a few minutes of scanning Paul baker picked it out, although I had to wait another half hour or so before getting my bins on it. 

The bird showed well and came close to where we were standing on several occasions before joining the larger flock and disappearing again. 

03/05/2021 Cutacre Country Park, Bolton

Whinchat: I've been looking all over the place and been dipping whinchat locally for weeks, from Leasowe, Garston Coastal Nature Reserve to Cut Lane Lancs.

With a few reports coming out of Cutacre I decided to brave the wet bank holiday weather and try my luck. 

I soon bumped into local birder and legend of Cutacre Phil Rhodes who pointed me in the direction of a whinchat. 

Hot on its heels I picked it up fluttering around a scrubby patch to the north of the site. The bird appeared to be associating with seven wheatear which were in the area. 

Finally my luck changed. 

Wheatear: The weather continued to be bad, with heavier more persistent rain moving in, so after getting my whinchat fill I moved on back to the car. 
Linnet: On the way back the wheatear and whinchat seemed to pop up as if they were following me, spritely scurrying across the pathways and perching upon the reeds I managed to get pretty close to the wheatear while the whinchat kept its distance. 
A Pair of linnet was also showing pretty well close to the horse paddocks feeding on the teasel and smaller herbs on the ground. 

There was also a singing lesser whitethroat halfway down Engine Lane, which showed at time but typically now very well.  

Wheatear: Definitely worth braving the rain and wind and getting wet, very wet actually! With some nice birds. 

Thanks again Phil for the gen. 

02/05/2021 Viridor Wood, Abram, Wigan

Common Whitethroat: Around the corner from where I live is a community woodland, with large open spaces, great views called Viridor Wood. And it's a lovely place to spend a few hours walking with the baby and Dawn. 
Viridor Woods connects to the Three Sisters Country Park and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal so you can explore further afield from here.

I had my fisrt swift of the year, some nice reeling grasshopper warblers and a fly over calling yellow wagtail. 

01/05/2021 The River Lune, Lancaster

Common Sandpiper: After a lovely morning with Dawns gran who lives in Carnforth we decided to take a little walk along the Lune. 

The Lune River lies in the Lune Valley, in the district of Lancaster and meanders gently through rolling green pastures and stone Lancashire  villages.

The River Lune derives its name from the Old English word Lon which has its origins in an Irish Celtic word meaning health giving. 
The Lune borders the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Yorkshire Dales and there are plenty of riverside walks that can accessed from Lancaster. 
I was hoping for dipper but only managed a pair of common sandpiper, kingfisher, lesser redpoll and siskin.

30/04/2021 Surrender Bridge, Swaledale

Red Grouse: I've spent the week working in North Yorkshire and before I left I stopped off for a few hours on the moors in the stunning Swaledale valley, not far from Surrender bridge. Where Ted cooper found a female type black redstart the evening before. 

I love it up here, there is something special about the wild and windswept North York Moors that I really enjoy. The open spaces and scenery surrounded by bird calls, what's not to like?

Three-quarters of all the world's heather moorland is found in Britain, and the North York moors is home to the largest expanse in England. I wanted to get one of those classic shots of a red grouse in the heather but I was a little early for the heather is its bloom which gives way to purple drifts.  
Red Grouse (female): The ridge-top roads climb up lush green valleys, lined with lichen laidend stone walls. Eventually opening up to the bleak open moors. And despite the unusually cold conditions, frost and even snow.
Ring Ouzel: Although I didnt see the black redstart, presumably a passing bird I was still surrounded by some nice birds It was nice to find a few ring ouzel amongst the heather, albeit at a distance. 
There were a couple of ring ouzel in this area with along with calling golden plover and honking greylag geese.

I managed some shot of the red grouse, in the reddish brown heather and even got myself a hen bird who in my opinion are much better looking than their male counterparts, with their mottled golden markings.  

This was an enjoyable hour or so before driving back home. 

24/04/2021 Red Rocks, Wirral

Wheatear: My goal today was to see my fisrt spring whinchat. Well in the end it was a bit of a bust but, I did manage to get some good birding in along Red Rock and Frodsham Marsh before calling it a day. 

The stretch of beach at West Kirby is just 300 metres long and is always busy when the sun and the tide are out, and today was no different. The place was packed! I didn't mind the crows of beach goers and revillers out with their children. It's been such a hard year for so many people. 

However, it's the dog walkers I can't abide, willfully ignorant walking over the salt marsh wit their dogs running wild. No wonder I didn't see any whinchat it was like a scene from Crufts. 
Still, it was nice to be out in such good weather and I finished the day of Frodsham Marsh which is now full of the sounds of spring migrants such as grasshopper warbler, whitethroats and reed warblers. I was also treated to a male marsh harrier hanging over the reeds. 

20/04/2021 Leasowe Lighthouse, Wirral

Ring Ouzel: Finally caught up with the ring ouzel at Leasowe Lighthouse, there were three male birds showing well near the yellow buckets past the fisheries.  

It took me a while to actually find the 'yellow bucket' field and spent much of time time around the usual areas of the lighthouse, the horse paddocks, kersfield and around the seafront. 

Also special thanks to Allan Conlin for the gen on the redstart, which was feeding in the paddock south of Lingham Lane.