Monday, 26 November 2018

Slavonian Grebe at Close Quarters

This little beauty has been the star attraction at Brickfields Pond in Rhyl for over a week now.  Although it wasn't a Lifer for me having seen a similar bird on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal near Pennington Flash in 2013, it was great to get some decent closeup views and photos of this little cracker in its winter plumage.

The light was challenging all day as was the distance to the bird -  it did come close once or twice but the sun was behind it and so all the detail was in shadow.

However, with a bit of better light at times and some processing, these shots have turned out OK.

Here are two examples of the bird being close but in shadow, giving a bluish tinge to the shots.

And finally the most usual view we got of the bird today - in the middle of the pond.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

A Sea Duck Visits Bolton

I really should have been working on the presentation I'm giving to the Leigh Ornithological Society this Friday, but when the opportunity arises to have a close view of a bird that is normally way out to sea, you just can't ignore it.

I'm not a great fan of sea-watching: the birds are normally just distant specks on the horizon, your scope is wobbling in the wind, your eyes watering and it's often bitterly cold as winter is the best time to do it.

High Rid Reservoir has produced a number of good birds for me over the last few years.

Another 'Lifer' ticked, I went back home to resume work on my 'Adventures in a Birdmobile' presentation.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Crazy Bittern Dance

Here's a short video of the now famous 'Crazy Bittern' dancing at Sprotbrough Flash near Doncaster.

No-one is quite sure as to why this bird is doing these movements - it's obviously not the breeding season so it's not a mating display (and there's no booming anyway), there are no other birds anywhere nearby so it's probably not an alarm or territorial display.

So perhaps there are some magic mushrooms hidden in the reeds or else it must just feel like dancing!

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Pied Wheatear at Meols on the Wirral

This Pied Wheatear was a recent celebrity bird at Meols on the northern end of the Wirral. A life tick for me and many others, the area was swamped by the birding paparazzi for several days but the bird was unperturbed and continued to perform regularly.

The age old issue of whether it's OK to feed mealworms to vagrant birds like this raised its ugly with so-called 'true birders' moaning on Facebook, blogs and other social media platforms, but only after they'd seen the bird up close and got their own photographs.

I personally don't lure birds with food or sounds of any kind, preferring to wait for them to come to me. But in a crowd of people like this you just have to accept it and I don't believe it does the bird any harm - it can always fly away and frequently does! The hard truth is that many of these vagrants will never make it back to where they should be, which in this case is Eastern Europe.

But if it were down to the moaning people like this there'd only be hand-drawings in bird ID books and David Attenborough programs would be full of animations.

These aren't my photos but they shows the sort of crowd scene that can be expected at every rare bird find nowadays - that's the power of the internet grapevine for you.