Monday, 30 December 2013

Slavonian Grebe in Leigh - a rare visitor here

Slavonian Grebe in non-breeding plumage

You don't see Slavonian Grebes around these parts very often, so it was great to get such close views of this one on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal in Leigh today. Previously it had been in Ramsdale's Flash at Pennington Flash where many birders had struggled to get good views of it. But today it was out in the open and down to just six feet at times. It may stay around for a while as it was feeding well on small fish in the canal, despite being occasionally harassed by a juvenile Mute Swan.

Slavonian Grebe in non-breeding plumage

Slavonian Grebe in non-breeding plumage

The video has been highly compressed by YouTube so the quality is not as good as the original.

Slavonian Grebe in non-breeding plumage

Sunday, 29 December 2013

A Trip to Denhall Lane in Burton on the Wirral

Male Stonechat
Male Stonechat
Male Stonechat
Female Stonechat
Siberian Chiffchaff 
Siberian Chiffchaff
Kestrel on the rocks

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Glossy Ibises on Horwich Moors

This is just a quick post to put up some video and photos of four Glossy Ibises that have been near the Bob's Smithy pub in Horwich since last Friday.  I'll add some more text later.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Long time - no post

I've not posted anything here for quite a while now for lots of reasons including not finding the time after starting a new job. I've still been out a few times taking photos and I've got an even bigger backlog to publish than I mentioned in my last post, but I just had to put up these images of a Kingfisher which I took from Horrocks' Hide at Pennington Flash yesterday:

Whilst on a sponsored Bird Race last week, I'd learnt that the bird was becoming fairly regular on a couple of new tree branches put in front of the hide this summer.  Whilst on the Bird Race, we saw the Kingfisher but I didn't have my camera with me, so I vowed to return this week for some shots.

I turned up at about 8:15am which was roughly the time I'd seen it previously, only to be told by another birder that it had been around five minutes since but had not returned.  I stayed for another half hour but it didn't put in a appearance, so off I went for a walk round the other hides.

It was generally very quiet at the Flash, but I did get a glimpse of a different Kingfisher flying away from its perch at Pengies Hide.  It's thought that there could be up to four birds in this area at the moment.

Anyway, I thought I'd try again at Horrocks' Hide before leaving for another location.  I had no luck for ages and resolved myself to taking some photos of a LapwingMoorhen and finally a Grey Wagtail which landed in front of the hide.  I was just thinking of leaving when this Kingfisher chased the Grey Wagtail away and landed on the nearest perch to me. My camera was on the right settings, the bird was close and still and the light was great - I couldn't believe my luck!

So here they are, the best Kingfisher photos I've ever taken.

Thursday, 8 August 2013


Well, I've just got back from two weeks holiday in Normandy, France and as you can imagine I've got a mountain of photos to get through. But first I need to clear some of the May to July backlog that I had before I even went away! So starting today I'll be adding a few posts with photos in the chronological order in which I took them, which means you'll need to scroll down and perhaps even click on 'Older Posts' at the bottom of the page to view them.

But just as a taster of my visit to France, here's a few photos of a Spotted Flycatcher and its young which were nesting in the eves of our rented house - the two young birds fledged whilst we were there and this made my holiday.

My backlog of photos includes:
  • Doffcocker Common Terns, Cygnets, Grebe - 01/06/13
  • Hindleys Farm Swallows - 06/06/13
  • House Martins - 14/06/13
  • Bedford Canal Crow, Linnet, Mallard, Heron - 18/06/13
  • Peregrines and House Martins - 25/06/13
  • Woolston Eyes - Little Ringed Plover, Black Necked Grebe (poor quality) - 30/06/13
  • Various Peregrine days in June and July 2013
  • France Holiday July / August 2013
Short Movies to be inlcuded
  • Oystercatchers fleeing high tide at Rhos
  • Tern colony at Cemlyn
  • Peregrines in Leigh
  • Juvenile Wrens sandbathing at Pennington Flash

Friday, 12 July 2013

Day Trip to Anglesey and North Wales

I'd been promising myself a trip to see the Sandwich Tern colony at Cemlyn Bay on Anglesey all this year and, with my holiday to France looming ever closer, I decided it was now or never.  If I left it until I came back in the first week of August, the Terns would probably have left and it would be too late.

This current post is just a placeholder with some taster photos for what will be a slightly longer report when I get round to selecting and editing the hundreds of photos I took at Cemlyn Bay and South Stack Lighthouse on Anglesey and late in the day on the Conwy Estuary in North Wales.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

My One and Only Hobby Sighting This Year

The Peregrines weren't really playing out today and so I spent more time taking shots of other birds in the area such as this Blackbird, a Chaffinch and a Wren.

Before leaving I did manage to get one shot of the Peregrine though:

I decided to go the long way home from Leigh via the East Lancs Road in the hope that I might pick up a Kestrel or Buzzard over the fields.  I wasn't to be disappointed as I soon saw a Kestrel hovering and so I pulled into a layby to get some shots. However, I had only just got out of the car when I chanced upon this Brown Hare scurrying across the grass.  It briefly stopped for a snapshot before disappearing under a hedge.

Meanwhile the Kestrel had landed on a lamppost about a hundred metres away and was peering down into the fields looking for lunch.  As I approached, it took off and again landed on a lamppost another hundred metres or so down the road. As I made my way once again towards the Kestrel something flying over the fields caught I my eye and so I fired off a few shots - I was very pleased to discover it was a Hobby, my first and only sighting this year.

It was a little distant for a really good shot, but I am quite pleased to have got these shots as I don't see Hobbies very often.

The Kestrel was playing fair however, and after a while it was clear that I wouldn't be able to get close today.  Here's the best of what I got: