Whos keeping an eye on me....

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Shuttlingsloe and a Little Grebe

A short Christmas walk with Steve & Matt took us through Macclesfield forest to the summit of Cheshires highest peak, standing relativly small at only 506 mtrs its shape and prowess still dominates the area above the forest.

Yesterday the sun shone only very briefly just allowing us to witness the cloud and thickening fog surround the peak.....  giving a stunning perspective of a winters morning

although this was the scene from the same spot looking back towards the forest, the fog is rolling in at a pace

of course once at the top the only thing in sight was the Trig point... the usual stunning views were down to a few meters

meanwhile its no better back down at the frozen Ridgegate reservoir

although this Little Grebe found the only patch of unfrozen water in a small overflow pool.
Little Grebe.. at work

at Rest.....

and Play ....

finished off with lunch at the very welcoming Leathers Smithy public house 

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Winter Thrushes

Berries must be harder to come by now as the Thrushes have started to come to the garden to feed on apples.
A single Mistle Thrush stole the show on Christmas eve with his stand and fight attitude of saving the precious apples from anything that dared get too near

although he did eat a little every now and again

the poor Redwings usually took the brunt of the aggression, but with a little percaverence did get to share

and voice their opinions

Fieldfare have now started to arrive in the garden, add the large numbers of Blackbirds the recipe for the remainder of the winter looks to be boiling up.

Garden highest count of 21 Redpoll on Boxing day and a brief showing for a day of a female Blackcap that flirted with the now resident male Blackcap

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Decembers full moon

Taken early this evening.
Last Decembers full moon was December 30th

The winter vistors keep on coming...

This male Blackcap made a first ever appearance in the garden this week and has settled in so well that he has returned daily. This is one of the new breed  of over wintering birds that refuse to fly to the south of Europe.

The Redpoll numbers continue to rise with a garden hightest count of 17 very early one  morning, although they all seem to be Lesser Redpolls (image below) I may have had a Mealy Redpoll, unfortunatly no image to clarify its true ID.

The Greater Spotted Woodpeckers are now almost daily visitors, although 2 males appeared together this afternoon

even the Moorhen has made a few further visits

as has this Grey Heron who often sits atop of the neighbouring houses keeping watch over the estate

 add a superb sighting of a pair of Goldcrests, Mistle Thrush, Pied Wagtail and huge numbers of finches its been a busy start to the winter.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Unexpected garden visitor

Matty disturbed this Moorhen from the front door this morning, it then flew over the top of the house and spent the next 4 hours feeding and preening in the sunshine. It has come searching for food as the local pool a mile away is well and truly frozen.

it closely inspected the feeding tray and certainly felt comfortable enough to sit and relax in the sunshine

this is this years 50th species to visit or flyby my garden in 2010, but will it return.......

Monday, 6 December 2010

White out

The Cat & Fiddle road had been closed for best part of a week so when news came through that the road was now open I decided on Sunday morning to try and get some Red Grouse images. I was met by thickening fog and very heavy damp air..... not the best siyuation for getting photographs. Add a closed track that crosses Axe Edge moor, It didnt bode well..... the gates may have been open but certainly no access, I didnt fancy treking on foot, its bleak on there at the best of times

Anway I percevered for an hour or so in hope that the Grouse would come to me, although they didnt come and shake my hand they gave good views even if a little distant. At one point 13 Grouse flew over my car as I parked up. However the only shots I was able to use were of a couple that ventured just close enough.

The fog eventually forced me off the moorland. Further down the only wildlife were a few Carrion Crows and a single Raven. The not so wildlife are hardy old souls, and this sheep was more than happy to see me as he bounded down the hillside

as were these Red Deer that were all huddled together on a farm lower down the valley

This if fabulous walking country... just not today!

you just dont know how deep the flurrys could be....

Monday, 29 November 2010

Temperatures fall but no snow yet....

Brrrr..... wrap up warm and stay local was the best I could do this weekend. Both Poynton Pool and Higher Poynton canal were both frozen (and look like being so for a while now as the nightly lows reach around -8c). Plenty of Gulls on the pool with a nice couple of Common Gulls in with the Black Headed.

However the gulls didnt take all the limelight, as a couple of Kingfishers flew from one side of the pool to the other, fishing in the sheltered parts under the tree branches that shade parts of the waters edge

The Grey Heron didnt fancy being on camera! so it retreated to a quieter corner

Plenty of woodland birds along the pathways including a small flock of Long Tail Tits

and an inquisitive Wren

whilst this mother and Juvenile Morehen forage for morsals on a less slippery surface

up at the Canal the usual Mallards made use of the very little water that wasnt frozen

 and along the towpath berries are still in abundance, as are the Thrushes. Good numbers of Mistle Thrush guarding the food laden trees

from the dozen or so nervous Redwings that were easily chased off

Other local birds were very visible while foraging for food in the sub zero conditions

now for the new Garden visitors when the snow eventually arrives!!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Tuesdays moon

not full and not quite the clear skys needed for the extra sharp detail, but this is how it looked on Tuesday evening over East Cheshire....