Friday, 30 November 2007

Swan for the road...

My first trip of the year to the Wirral peninsula.
First stop, Inner Marsh Fam RSPB SJ304744, reports of an easy Green Winged Teal to dip - Yep, I Dipped, for the 2nd time on this species in 6 days. On the way down to the hide, A large number of Bramblings made themselves conspicuous amongst Linnets. A single Black tailded Godwit, was the only bird of note on the lakes - poor. Over on the other (Welsh) side of the reserve, we found 4 Bewick's Swans, amongs Whooper's and Mute's. All three white swans together- a rare sight.
Neston Old Quay SJ2876, chance of stuff here. Lots of Little Egrets, A Peregrine snapped up an unfortunate duck, no sign of Water pipits, or Owls. Poor.

180 - Bewick's Swan.
Nail biting times.

Monday, 19 November 2007

A Grey day in the North West.

Up with the birds this morning, even they was later than usual. Outside, I see evidence of the seasons first dusting of snow. Through the grey light, the peninnes are looking splendid with their new white caps.
Clitheroe, Waddington Fell SD715475 : A Great Grey Shrike, - A bird I last saw in this country 16 years ago - has been seen since Friday. And I’m off. The moment I arrive, I scan the quarry for the Shrike, and notice a Female Kestrel swoop at a fast rate along some conifer tops. Nice to see. I then ask a birder, has the Shrike been seen lately. The reply “That Kestrel has just chased it off the conifers”, Bugger! It took 15 minutes, in the rain, before the bird was located someway down the valley, but was very skittish. No chance of photos in this light.
Only 45 miles away from Marshside SD3520. Green Winged Teal to get. Here it’s just as grey. With no sightings by the birders I meet. I wander, along the banking, checking all the Teal I see. Nuffin! From a reedbed in front of me, a pig squeal is heard, then another to my left. Water rail – must be two, Yes One swims across to meet the other. And that was it for Marshide, poor again.
Down the road at Ainsdale sands, SD294124 , I need the 6 Snow Buntings. Easy directions, get me there in good time. A flock of birds drop down about 50 yards away, quick scan with the bins – 20 Finches. Erect the scope in double quick time, located the Finch flock. All Linnets. Bugger!. I stayed till dark, no sightings of the Snow Bunts. Can’t get them all. Back home in the dark, to my sun lamp.

179 – Great Grey Shrike

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Wigan Flashes Local Nature Reserve

Wigan Flashes Local Nature Reserve SD5803.
After a week off from birding. It's once more back in to the saddle. Tons of stuff on the East coast - again, but you gotta get there before dawn. Alarm set for 3:30am. At that time, there is a Hoolie of a gale blowing outside. I couldn't motivate myself to leave the warmness of the bed. Thinking I will get them sea birds another day. ("Regrets..I have a few...but then again..") back to pushing zedz up.
It's 10am when I emerge from the pit. Remembering that I had once told myself that, "I will catch that bird another day...", well there is a bird not to far away in Wigan. "You get them from your back garden". 35 mins in the car, and I am in another wooded area, with half a dozen birders - "should have been here 10 minutes ago greetings - as usual"
About an hour later, Two stunning Firecrest's are putting on a great show for us all. I must quote from a yorkshireman I once met many years ago, describing the close views he got of a Nightjar that day, "they where that close..they could 'ave crapped on our heads", and that's how close we got to them. Two of Britains smallest birds, Flitting above only a couple feet above our heads. Fantastic.
Total 178
7 weekends left - nailbiting times.