Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Waxwings and Raptors

Having got Christmas day out of the way and having another day together as a family but not wanting to be stuck indoors we ventured off firstly to see the Waxwings that had been around St Asaph in North Wales. Arriving at the village we soon saw a bunch of green clad people with large lenses so we new we were in the right spot.
Soon Waxwings were flying over our heads and dropping down from the trees by the river to feed in a small set of trees on the edge of the park, allowing for some great close up views even Gemma thought they were nice looking birds.

After getting our Waxwing fix we ventured off to try and see the Black Throat-ed Thrush this bird seems to keep doing a bunk and you just have to it seems stand staring at a bare Hawthorn bush in the hope it appears. After a quick look and having a five year old in tow we decided to move on to some where more child friendly in the shape of Burton Mere after a quick lunch time visit to Kinmel Bay to have our sandwiches. Around the beach we picked up Turnstone, Sanderling and Oystercatchcer.

Burton Mere didn't hold many birds to view from the visitor centre but it was warm and we could watch Shoveler feeding in the pools and Marsh Harrier drifting over the reed beds. Even a Sparrow Hawk was on show actually standing on the fringe of the reeds by the water edge before taking flight and putting all of the birds up in panic. After a quick walk around another raptor appeared in the trees just behind the toilets in the shape of a Merlin allowing for a few shots to be grabbed.

Sunday, 11 December 2016


Today me and Gem popped across to see the Dusky Thrush that had decided that this little Derbyshire village was to it's liking and had stuck around now for quite a while.
I just hope it sticks around for another week so Lesley can see it when we go to Bakewell for the farmers market and to stock up on whiskey from the Wee Dram.

It didn't take to long to find a place to park or indeed see the bird at first it was hidden in the middle of a Hawthorn hedge but did drop down to feed for a few minutes.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Haw Spotting

Numerous sightings of Hawfinch were coming out of Upper Longdon on Cannock Chase, this is a spot we have had mixed fortunes with in the past, dipping the Shrike but bagging a couple of Wood Lark.

After a lazy breakfast off we set soon as we turned up a chap was saying a bird was showing so off we plodded down the path and were soon enjoying views of this large Finch, which was soon joined by another and then more flew in soon a group of 7 birds were on show.

This was great and much better than our last views of this bird up at Cromford which was rather distant and that was a couple of years ago to boot.

I even managed to grab a few record shots which was a real bonus.

On the way back home we stopped off at the flooded fields near the Mainwaring arms and managed to see a large flock of Linnets with a few Goldfinch mixed in for good measure and a flock of Fieldfare close by.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Westport Lake

Today I decided to venture out during my lunch to try and hopefully see the Long Tailed Duck that had appeared at Westport Lake.
Not the best of conditions damp grey and drizzle didn't make for a pleasant lunch time stroll but it still beats being in work.
I was quite lucky as a kind chap pointed out the bird to me not that close in but I couldn't complain I had at least seen it and I took a couple of record shots to record the sighting.

Now I just need the Waxwings to appear again in the trees in front of the lab.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Burrton Mere

We decided to headed for Burton Mere today partly as we didn't know where else to go and partly to try out the Butty Van that has now taken up a trial residence there (we can recommend it after trying a very decent toastie), on the way we decided to firstly head for Connah's Quay Deeside Naturalist Reserve. We hadn't been there for a while and we had best get the most out of the membership.
Soon after turning up we saw around 40 Twite in with a mixed flock with some Linnet.

After lunch we went around Burton Mere firstly heading for the Inner Marsh hide which was devoid almost of life just two Shelduck were noted. At least we had picked up a Water Rail on the way there from the first screen and 4 Cattle Egret from the visitor centre.
A nice bonus was the Long Eared Owl roosting in the Hawthorn near the Inner Marsh Hide.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Booted and Suited

Lesley and me don't really do twitching the early morning starts and long drives do not fit in with having a five year old daughter and it all seems like a lot of stress, although it also does look fun at the same time.
But we do try and at least see a few new species of birds each year and with a Booted Warbler turning up on the Great Orme which is not too far to travel and means we could take Gem to Conwy after we gave it a go.

We soon located the area mainly due to the group of birds staring at a patch of Gorse giving the game away, and so we joined the group and almost straight away the bird appeared and then commenced to perform circuits around the patches of Gorse putting on a great show for everyone present.

Thursday, 6 October 2016


Back in mid September on the 17th we headed off to the Wirral coast to watch the tide come in and enjoy the wader spectacle that often unfolds before at this time of year.
Heading for the Lifeboat station at Hoylake we took up position before the tide was due in giving Gem plenty of time to collect shells and basically enjoy playing in the sand, and to be honest so did Lesley and me.

Even early on we had plenty of waders to watch through the bins and scope Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Knot, Grey Plover were all fairly close in.

Eventually the tide came in and so did the birds bring with it a couple of additions to our wader list Oystercatcher, Black Tailed Godwit, Curlew and Sanderling.

It was fantastic watching the waders dashing around ahead of the tide and finally taking to the air in large masses.

Around the Lifeboat station itself was a single Wheatear.

We ended the day at Burton Mere Wetlands seeing the long staying Cattle Egret and a few basking lizards.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Summer Holiday

Due to the joys of school terms our usual Summer break in July had to be put back to last week, this year we headed off to Cumbria, heading up on Saturday (20th) we did wonder what we had let our selves into arriving in heavy rain with the odd patch of local flooding and black skies even at 3pm didn't fill us with hope for the week.
But things did buck up and we had a great time exploring the area around Silecroft on the Cumbrian coast, it was a great base and not far from the RSPB rserve at Hodbarrow and the near by beach of Haverigg which always held plenty of waders to watch and some of the largest groups of Ringed Plovers I have ever seen often in the mid to high twenties.
We also popped down to Leighton Moss which was rather quite in the main body of the reserve although there was plenty of wader activity down at the salt marsh. I was even allowed out to see a few trains including the nuclear flask workings that head along the coast coming out of Sellafield.