Let me know when that tide's coming in won't you

Let me know when that tide's coming in won't you

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Wheatears and Weasles

Today with the weather so good I just wanted to be outside for as long as I could. I headed to Macclesfield again for a look at the Crossbills, but found myself spending more time watching a couple of different pairs of Dippers along the river Dane. Dippers always entertain me, and when I get the chance to watch them at close quarters it's even better.
Highlight of the day though was a single Swallow flying low across the slopes of the moors at Danebower. A nice sight to see to remind us that Summer is coming. Again, as at the weekend there were plenty of Wheatears and Meadow Pipits around. A couple of Red Grouse blew there cover and there were 3 Stonechat knocking around as well. A stoat freaked me out a little as it appeared from nowhere just a few feet away, to stare at me for what seemed like an age, while I froze. Would have been a great photo, but I couldn't get to it without spoiling my own view of it.

Northern Wheatear

 Meadow Pipit

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Macclesfield Forest

By 6.30am on Saturday I was up at Standing Stone car park in Macclesfield Forest. I was on the hunt for Crossbills. A bird that I have tried and failed to track down on too many occasions. Today though, in bright Spring sunshine, my luck was in. Within minutes of arriving 3 flew to a tree in front of me, two males and a female. Others kept coming and going, but I managed to get a few half decent pics. They aren't great, but they are proof that I finally saw them.

I really have no idea how they pick anything up with a bill like that.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Little Owl

A couple of months ago I saw a Little Owl on my patch in Woodford. Not unusually, it saw me and flew off across the field to the other side. My viewing consisted of watching it in flight and getting smaller into the distance. What it did do though, was to alert me to the fact that they were in the area and I have been searching them out ever since. I had heard from several different people that they were certainly in the area that I was looking. Then just recently one was being viewed on an almost daily basis. I kept looking and got another flight sighting at dusk time. Certainly no good for a decent shot with the camera. Today, after another tip off, I got to find it in good sunshine, and this one was in a much more obliging mood.

Thought I'd play around with some black and white. Here, I've just left the face in colour. Same shot is in colour on the right.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Woodford (Back on the Patch)

I've been spending a fair bit of time recently back on my patch in Woodford. Along Church Lane each winter, a very large puddle, or flood (for want of a better word) occurs. This year has seen a very good array of wildfowl and waders. I finally got to catch up with a Redshank today that had been putting in morning appearances on and off over the last 2 weeks. It was soon joined by a Dunlin, but that didn't stay long at all. Others seen on my journey around Old Hall farm included Skylarks, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Kestrel, Linnets, Lapwings, Reed Buntings, Bullfinches plus plenty of Fieldfare. It should only be a week or two now until the Sand Martins return and the Northern Wheatears stop over for a few days. Roll on Spring, it's my favourite birding season.

A Lesser black-backed gull drops in at Church Lane.

One of the Oystercatchers.

A Reed Bunting hiding on top of a hedge on Old Hall Farm.(but I can see you..)

A mixed flock of Starlings, Fielfares and Redwings on a brighter evening this week.

The sun looked really large on the 14th. Here it is from Church Lane

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Pennington Flash

A windy drizzly start to the morning, but it quickly turned out be quite decent. Starting at Horrocks hide there were an incredible 24 Snipe at the very end of the scrape. These were joined by 12 Oystercatchers and 2 Redshank. Goldeneye were still around and some very handsome looking Great Crested Grebes.
At the Teal Hide was a Green Sandpiper (my first of the year) 6 Shovelers and 3 Goosander.
The usual suspects were to be found at the Bunting Hide. These being Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Reed Buntings and a lone Pheasant. A good mornings birding, but just needed a little more time to get around more of the site.

Goosander (female)

Another Bullfinch, but I find it hard to ignore them.


Reed Bunting (female)

Another Robin, but this picture shows that Spring is on the way with buds bursting on this tree.

Saturday, 3 March 2012


Last weekend at Fishers Green in the Lea Valley, a Sparrowhawk silently glided past my Dad and I. No sooner had I picked up what it was that was going past me that it was gone and out of sight. Unfortunately, most of my Sparrowhawk sightings follow this same trend of spotting them and then they're gone. Just after Christmas though, I was lucky enough to get up close and personal with one, from a hide owned by Charlie Owen. It gave me the best views I've had of a Sparrowhawk and some good shots too. Here are a few of them.

 There's something very encapsulating about those piercing yellow eyes. Scary.