Whos keeping an eye on me....

Monday, 28 January 2013

RSPB Big garden birdwatch

Turned into a bit of a disaster....2 cats and 3 Squirrels ensured that not many birds would be around so an abandonment to do some chores and returned later in the day with marginally more success.....

Woodpigeon 3
Rook 2
Greenfinch 2
Magpie 1
Blackbird 2
Blue Tit 1
Collared Dove 2
Carrion Crow 1
Jackdaw 2
Chaffinch 1
Robin 1

and another reason why it wasnt a roaring success...

Sparrowhawk 2

loads of regulars missing for this hour, Dunnocks, Great Tits, Starlings, House Sparrows, Redpolls, Coal Tits etc
Certainly my worst contribution for a few years

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

New life bird (or at last a view that is now tickable)

A whistle stop trip to Germany for a work meeting brought me a new species for my life list.

Ring-necked Parakeet Psittacula krameri 

The status of this species in the UK is (Bou Catergory C1 - introduced breeding species), I have seen this species once before in Richmond Park, London but never felt comfortable ticking it as it was very distant, through the bins in poor light and flying away from me..... some would argue about ticking them even if they were sat next to you!

Anyway I could hear the distinctive call while doing a tourist walk through Dusseldorf on Tuesday afternoon whilst waiting for a flight home and after a 5 minute walk I caught up with a couple of large flocks totaling 60+

Friday, 18 January 2013

First snow

The snow had already fallen on the high ground, so yesterday I decided to drive upto the moorlands of the Cat & Fiddle for some photo opportunities. The snow is forecast to hit the lowlands tomorrow thus ensuring the snowfall will close the Cat and Fiddle road for days to come

Sheep feeding at the base of Shuttlingsloe - The Matterhorn of Cheshire

a Majestic peak even if its not quite the same as the original Matterhorn

roads cutting through the landscape are still passable

Red Grouse in flight
Danebower Chimney - part of the old Slate Mine

Looking towards Threeshire Heads

Boundry stone of Cheshire
 (the other borders of three shires are Derbyshire and Staffordshire)
The iconic Cat & Fiddle Inn

leaving the Matterhorn in the distance

Dropping towards Macclesfield you pass White Nancy

Tomorrow the snow hits home!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Scottish Sparrowhawk project! Have I seen the bird?

An intresting observation in the garden today. A male Sparrowhawk landed in the feeder tree, nothing unusual about this as I have a male visit very regularly. However today I noticed this bird had a ring on its right leg. What was really unusual was the ring colour..... WHITE. It would normally be a metal BTO ring, I could clearly see this was indeed white. I let my local birding group know who commented that they didnt know of any local ringing clubs using white.

Well after a little googling I came across this Sparrowhawk ringing project edinburghhawkwatch

So my new garden visitor may have been born and ringed 225 miles away in Edinbugh Scotland. Now I know I can not be 100% sure without seeing the number \ letter ID combination on the ring, but best guess is this is a Scottish project bird.

Needless to say I hope it returns to allow me the chance of getting the scope on the leg ring. I have advised the project of my sighting.

Sunday, 6 January 2013


A trip into Derbyshire to try and see the returning Hawfinch. Just over an hours drive, including a quick stop to meet up with Jeff and we were soon parked up. Not more than a few minutes later and we were indeed locked onto the target.... 11 of them. Although quite distant we were more than happy. The fog rolled in which made photography near impossible..... for Jeff! I have my camera in for a clean and havent yet got it back so it was always going to be impossible for me to nab a picture!! so the following images are from Jeff... cheers mate :)

A single bird came fairly close to feed but again the poor light and fog made the chance difficult.

They really are a fine bird

The flock dispersed soon after and for well over an hour we couldnt re-locate them, then just as we were packing up a flash of white tail feather flew fast overhead, 6 in fact. A twitch had now incurred and plenty of preying eyes soon found the birds. They came a little closer and gave some fantastic views while they fed.