Saturday, 30 January 2016

Wirral Jaunt

Today was a toss up between North Wales and the Wirral, with the Wirral coming out on top.

First port of call was Burton Mere we didn't go beyond the Reception hide and only intended on a flying visit on the off chance of seeing a Water Rail which had been seen on occasion from the Reception hide, but no joy on that front.
We did get to see a Peregrine having a go at a Buzzard though, plus the usual suspects the high light being 3 Spotted Redshank.

Next place on the to do list was Hoylake for the Great Northern Diver, we had never seen the lake so choppy but we still found the Diver with easy as it so close into the side unlike the Red Throated Diver we saw late last year.  We watched the Diver for a while before retreating to the warmth of the car and moving on to New Brighton.

The target species at New Brighton was Purple Sandpiper I always love seeing Waders and Purple Sandpiper are one of my favourites alongside Sandling.
On first arriving the pontoons just held Redshank taking shelter from the wind,  but as the tide came in so did the birds in the end around 8 Purple Sandpiper were on show along with Turnstone and a single Dunlin.

Here are a few shots of the Mersey being whipped up by the wind.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

New Toys

During my lunch break I managed to escape the lab and headed off to the nearby railway line to see the new toys Network Rail are currently doing shake down testing on their re-engined class 73's 951 and 952 which were doing a number of runs between Derby and Crewe via Stoke.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Trentham Lakes and Hinksford

Today was my first true day out birding up to now this year with the weather and other commitments birding has focused on a brief drive to Tittesworth and garden birding although I did pick up a Kingfisher on New Years day while out helping my Dad get a few train numbers at Toton.

Heading off to Trentham Lakes we at first thought our luck was truly in and we wouldn't have to do that much walking as when we reach the cafe by the Monkey Forrest a chap was photographing a Grebe right in front of the cafe by the weir into the Trent, this though on lifting our bins turned out to be a Great Crested Grebe, nice bird but not what we were looking for.

Walking along the Lake side towards the gardens we saw Gadwall, Black Headed Gull, Coot and in the trees plenty of Tits and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

We eventually found the Red Necked Grebe half way up the lake by the miniature railway station. The bird didn't seem to mind the fact three rowing boats were ploughing up and down the lake and for me it was great at they forced the Grebe into the shore.

Heading back to the cafe we decided to grab a coffee to warm ourselves up and to watch the feeders for a while just Nuthatch, Tits and Chaffinch being noted, but we did see a Kingfisher flash past as we left the cafe by the weir.

In the afternoon I took a gamble and headed down the M6 to Hinksford down towards the West Mids to try and finally see the long staying Hoopoe which till now I hadn't had the chance to see. As we headed South the weather took a turn for the worse getting darker and eventually started to rain. I started to get that sinking feeling that the bird just wouldn't show.
On getting there and trekking through the mud to an extent I was right as a kind chap pointed out the Hoopoe which sensibly had tucked it self up in a Hawthorn bush and and hadn't moved the the last 30 minutes and with light fading I couldn't see it coming out.
A path around the back of the houses allowed me to sneak up behind the bird and although it new I was there as I had taken my time and crept up on it was quite happy for me to be within a 3 meters or so.

2015 Review

Ok no huge record was set in most birding circles but I was well chuffed reaching my target of at least 150 birds, in total 152 were achieved not bad going with a 4 year in tow, and with one or two lifers thrown in my total life list slowly increases, so roll on 2016!