Whos keeping an eye on me....

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Bewicks Swans

A phone call as I got ready for work to say 2 Bewick's Swans on my patch. Hopping to the car with bins in one hand, camera over the shoulder and a right shoe still not tied I dived in the car put the  phone on speaker to receive the exact location and off I drove in a general direction of Woodford....... 5 minutes later directions received I was parked up.

Now remember I am ready for work,  shoes on (now tied)... not Boots! I jump over a style, master the quick step across two very muddy fields and hey presto!

A good image for ID purposes Vs the similar Whooper Swan. Smaller rounded head shorter neck and smaller yellow beak patch

Whooper Swan for comparison (Taken at Martin Mere)
A few ramblers were heading this way, the swans got nervous and sure enough they flew

I managed all but a brilliant 5 minutes with them before they flew off probably back to Arctic Russia, but that's not a bad way to spend a few moments before going to work! even with muddy trousers and shoes.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Black Redstart

Life bird No 779.
This had been a bit of a bogey bird, I hadn't been up and down the country looking for it over the last few years but I have been to enough good locations to perhaps have stumbled across one, but never did. So this was a concerted trip to nail one.

I received a message that a female had been seen in Neston. So to get one in my home county was worth the 60 minute drive.

Another bitterly cold day with frozen snow making it a little precarious under foot, but at least the location looked good under the white blanket.

Neston Marsh
Harp Inn on the Old Quay side

Black Redstart

It was a busy morning with dog walkers so she flew to the sanctuary of a nearby tree

Supporting cast of my first year sightings of Wheatear and Chiffchaff and Rock Pipit!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Black Grouse and moorland mist

An early morning trip to witness a Black Grouse Lek. Mission accomplished .... just.

We left home to relatively bright early morning light and as we progressed through the county it even threatened some sunshine, alas this was all a very false dawn. As we neared our destination the rooftops were now all dusted in snow..... up on the moors the dusting had changed to a few inches . The moorland road was virtually impassable but we were lucky to see 6 male Black Grouse in a clearing that we managed to drive close to.

The moorland mist had already made sure that any photos would be record shots only


the six males seemed to  pair off to set about their courtship dance to the hidden females (they apparently sit tight in the undergrowth and watch this display before picking the prime male). We were close enough to even hear all the bubbling noises that accompany the Lek
the mist rolled in lower and thicker 

after 40 minutes they were spooked probably by a fox and quickly flew off.
We were in ever falling snow so had no choice but to call it a day.
The light was poor but the mist failed to dampen the spectacle.
For good measure 2 Red-Legged Partridge were added to my year list.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Male Sparrowhawk

A handfull of Siskin still hanging around the garden however a male just became a cropper!
I havent seen the ringed male Sparrowhawks for ages, so they have moved on, the female Sparrowhawk seemed to push this fella off territory for a while but today he is back with a vengance.

Just a pity the winter weather returned today so high iso adding to the noisy image
oh well, still a great sequence of shots from the master garden preditor


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Smew Redhead

Finally caught up with a smew in my own county of Cheshire. A little laziness on my part as I could have got the species at a number of sites over the last few winters. Anyway a trip to Moore NR got this female Smew. She was distant and quickly went out of sight but a few record shots nonetheless.

Saturday, 2 March 2013


.... yes you read the title correctly.

A smashing LBJ, and a species that I have only ever seen once before, and a glimpse was all I got on that occassion. So an hour or so drive to North Wales to see if I could connect with a reported flock of 40 + birds. I did!
The flock that came to the lone tree by the carpark all seemed to be females, there certainly seemed to be two flocks with eacc sex sticking together

the males on a feeding frenzy