Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Mere Sands Wood

Haven't spent as much time around here as i should do, lately, as it is a cracking little wildlife haven and compares favourably with it's more commercial neighbours. Anyway, this is just a general report of the state of play at this time of year on what you may expect to see, as it was the bank holiday weekend i spent all three days of it and the following weekend there, at the moment the place is awash with common blue Damselflies, i even spotted a large red this weekend

My first full day was last sunday, started with a brief view of the Kingfisher in hover mode, which i tried to capture

This was followed by a very nice view of a Fox wandering onto the island and then wandering off again, very nonchalant, i must say

Then it was Kingfisher action all the way, i will let the pictures do the talking

Other birds on show were Crested Grebe with youngster, Little Grebes nesting, Tufted Ducks, Reed, Willow and Sedge Warblers and a nice Whitethroat nesting behind the visitors centre

and a few Four Spotted Chasers

And a Heron making a meal of a very large fish

Now i'm off to plan next weeks trip to Bassenthwaite for the Osprey and three chicks
hope to report on that next week

bye for now

Monday, 11 May 2009

Martin Mere

Weather forecast eas pretty bad so i cancelled my trip to chorley for a first look at White Coppice and Anglezarke and stayed local to try and get a look at another Bogey bird, Little Ringed Plover

that went quite well i think

Scotland and Lochwinnoch

Went for a long weekend to visit my brother who still lives in the place of our birth, Milngavie is a small town, although considerably larger than i remember it. It marks the start of the West Highland Way and as i sat in the local coffee shop, i watched many a brave traveller embark on this journey, starting with a photograph underneath the signpost or by the monument that marks it's beginning.
But on to my first walk around the local area, a rather more gentle but nonetheless enjoyable pursuit. Spotted a Grey Heron fishing on the Allander river which runs through the town.

There were plenty of views of the local Dipper and Grey Wagtail population to be had

plenty of Warblers about, a couple of Blackcaps were the most notable as this bird is a bit of a bogey for me, i have great difficulty spotting it.

Barn Owls are easier to spot when you have a pet one

Spent the sunday afternoon at Lochwinnoch RSPB and in the visitors centre, first thing i saw was this male Redpoll eating rather lazily from the feeder

and the female looking a bit more laid back

Siskins were also a popular attraction

And the usual Blue Tit and a broody Starling

I then went for a walk around the reserve and was stopped in my tracks by a reeling Grasshopper Warbler, the first time i have heard one but still not seen one, furtive little blighters

Willow Warblers are a lot easier

but it capped of a superb day.

My last full day was spent at the sea life centre at Balloch where you don't expect to see much in the way of bird life but you never know what you will discover


Sunday, 26 April 2009

Southport again

This time, my main aim was to get some pictures of a bird i have not seen before, Cattle Egrets, so with map, bins, scope, camerabag and backpack in hand and bike elsewhere, i boarded the Southport bound train and then the connection to Ainsdale, so far so good, my map reading skills didn't let me down and as i crested the hill on plex moss lane i spotted a couple of birders in a lay bye and i knew i was in the right place.

As i placed my bike on the ground, i saw two white birds flying off towards the farm and disappear behind a water trough, out of sight, typical, but ten minutes later they were back in view and eventually in range for a half decent digiscoped shot

Another first arrived minutes later with views of three whimbrel, i won't bore you with the terrible pictures of that one.
After lunch in town, i headed to Marshside, in nels hide i quickly found the Curlew Sandpiper

and then another first for me, my third of the day with this Little Stint

and finally, even though i missed out on the Garganey, Spotted Redshank, and the Whinchat, i think three new birds in one day is pretty good, and this morning i saw my first Whitethroat of the year, so now i am looking forward to next weeks trip to scotland and i hope for a trip half as good as that, one last pic of avery interesting Redshank confrontation

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Yarrow Valley Country Park

My third visit in just over a week, this beautiful place is becoming a firm favourite with me. My main aim was to improve on my pictures of the resident Dipper and anything else would be a bonus, the park itself consists of bodies of water called Lodges and has the River Yarrow running through the heart of it. But my day started with an hour on two trains and a short 10 minutes cycle from the railway station at chorley, the park itself, has a visitors centre and can be very busy on weekends, with dog walkers, and families, but you can always find a quiet spot as it covers a large area.
I walked to the weir and fish pass, taking in the views and stopping now and then to watch any birds for opportunities to photograph, plenty of the garden variety and quite a few warblers around, my first pics were of the dipper investigating a pipe in the weir but they were too far away, but i managed to find an Orange tipped white butterfly.I was also lucky enough to find a pair, matingthen the Dipper turned up in a better position
Time for a change of view before lunch, so i walked up the hill in hopes, more than expectation, of a Grasshopper Warbler, no luck, but plenty of Chiffchaffs and Willow, after lunch i sat down in a quiet spot by the river for an hour or two and let the world go by.
The, a final walk back to the weir, and my best picture yet
And the Wagtails obliged too, cannot recommend this place highly enough and will be returning in the not too distant future


Monday, 13 April 2009

Sunny Southport

This being my first post, i thought i would start gently with a trip to Marshside. My intentions were to try and get some pictures of Short Eared Owls, in this endeavour, i failed miserably, still, there were some successes, Avocets a plenty, doing what Avocets do.

This was followed by a walk down to Crossens out marsh with some distant views of a male Marsh Harrier, no pics that were any good, but a nice one of a linnet along the sea wall.

The best of the Marsh Harrier shots were of interest because i managed to get three different birds into one shot
Next time, i will post some of the pics i took over the weekend