Friday, 26 December 2014

Hanley Forrest Park

Well having a free day to my self with the Lesley and Gem going away to visit her parents I could choose how I spent the day, no real great plans of bombing off to some far flung corner of the country just a lazy stroll being on the cards.

With the Red Head Smew now being located at Hanley Forrest Park I thought I would go there I hadn't been there since I was a lad, looks like the park has been done up, but I didn't go far I just to stuck to the lake and watching this very showy Smew which put on a nice show, it even caught a fish while I was there. Although the poor thing did rather get mobbed by the Black Headed Gulls if they thought it had caught anything.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Something Smew

Although I had not heard any news about the Female Smew that had been spotted at Westport Lake on Wednesday as we fancied a afternoon stroll it seemed the perfect place with the outside bonus that it was still there.

When we got there a group of birders called us over (pays to where a scope on your back) and we were soon pointed in the direction of where the Smew was problem was it was the far corner from where we were. Gemma must have remembered seeing one before as she preferred to feed bread to the local ducks and coots instead.

On getting to the spot where it was last spotted it had done a bunk and it took a while to be re-found right where we had been standing which was now again the far end of the lake, this duck was keeping us fit!

But we tracked it down again only to loose it, Lesley decided to take Gem over to the park while I soldiered on in the hope of getting a shot or two, but my luck was suddenly in a it appeared in front of me by the visitor centre.

Now I just need a male to turn up some where!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Barrow Hill

Today was all about cops (that's ticks not the police) with Barrow Hill playing Host to my Dad's last 37 (37800) and a couple of 01's I still needed to bag in the form of 01515 and 01520.

On getting there using info provided via the End of the Line forum 37800 was soon bagged with it still occupying the area around the platforms alongside 20001 aka 8001.

20001 aka 8001 in BR Green at Barrow Hill

37800 part of the Euro Phoenix fleet awaiting a return to traffic 

Dad enjoying getting his hands on his last 37
Inside the depot a 37 was in full under coat and does not look too far from completion 03066 made for an interesting shot having its engine open for all to see.

Out in the yard another set of 37's were on show in a variety of liveries from DRS, faded EWS and a plain DRS Blue but with new style DRS branding.

From the bank a class 24 and 33 were on show, have to say I would have preferred if 33035 had retained Network South East tooth paste colours buts that's just me. Here I also managed to see 01520 stabled up towards the HNRC depot area.

By the HNRC depot itself 37884 in full Euro Phoenix colours and my other target 015515 were stabled up.

37884 in Euro Phoenix colours at Barrow Hill

05515 in military purple colours complete with cat badge at Barrow Hill 

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


Although it was half term week decided to braved a visit to Formby, as this is where Gem had wanted to go aka Squirrel Beach to her.
But we all love this place so we didn't object and we had a pleasant time building sand castles and collecting shells on the beach.
There were the odd Sandling on the beach, not a huge number, but with quite a few dog walkers around I couldn't blame the wildlife giving the place a miss, but I still managed to grab a few shots.

Gem didn't fancy popping down to see these little waders so I just left her to play with Mum.

Then it was time to do the good old Squirrel walk, and we were quite lucky at seeing a fair few Squirrels around, although we did make sure we headed the opposite way to a gang of noisy kids.

We headed home via Martin Mere allowing Gem to burn off more energy and for us to just chill and enjoy a nice coffee and a few birds.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Morfa Madryn

Today was a venture out to a new location to allow Lesley to pick up a life tick and me a nice year tick in the shape of a Grey Phalarope that had taken up residence at Morfa Madryn which is near to Llanfairfechan a beach I have spent many a happy time at as a kid but I have never visited the wild life reserve although I have heard plenty of good things about the reserve.

Picking up a directions off the North Wales Bird forum we were off and found the spot quite easily and were in luck as there was one single parking space when we turned up.

The bird had just left the area where it feeds in when we had arrived but was visible on a bank next to a ringed Little Egret although of the rings all I could make out was N and W so nothing to report about that Egret.

The Phalarope though soon returned to area in which it feeds by the stream up flow and gave cracking views and allowed me to try out my new Tammy 150-600 lens.

Gem was happy collecting the shells that littered the floor we even took a few home so she could take them into nursery during her so and tell which was coming up.

Grey Phalarope at Morfa Madryn 

Also seen while we were there were Red Shank, Curlew, Oystercatcher, King Fisher a Grey Plover had been spotted but we didn't see it.

We did try for the RSPB Conwy Reserve but it had just started to rain and looked rather grey so we called it a day and headed for home.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Derby 175

Today was Derby Etches Park depot open day as part of the Derby 175 celebrations, so off we set to enjoy looking at trains well two of us Lesley came along for the ride and a promise to do something better in the afternoon.

The weather Gods were smiling on us today and apart from the fact I headed for the wrong depot entrance meaning a long trek to the other end things were going fine, didn't even have to cue to get in and had a nice line of choppers to look at as we went in.

 It was a bit like 20's through the ages with the liveries on show just really needed BR Green and BRT to round off the display.

Although not really my thing seeing the two original Peaks on show was a nice touch.

 Gem loved having a sit in the bubble car Iris and it took some persuading to get her out of the unit, she thought the sprung seats were great for bouncing on.

It was then a case of looking into the depot and seeing the Meridians with one being jacked up, Gem thought that was quite fantastic seeing a whole train lifted into the air like that.

The star of the show was next in line for of viewing pleasure 08899 in Midland Purple.

08899 on display after being named at Derby open day.

 Just around the corner were a few items on display from Network rail with one of their DVT's and 97's on display.

31106 was hidden within the wheel lathe shop but made for an interesting shot

By the fuel point were a couple of grids, it was a pity these could have been displayed better.

Around the back you could just about look on to the RVEL work shops with a distant 57602 on show and some closer 37's

It was then off to a near by park I had been recommended which was great for Gem having a boating lake, play area, paddling pool, bouncy castles and Donkey rides which she loved.