Whos keeping an eye on me....

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Avro Vulcan Bomber B.2 XM603

The Avro Vulcan is a jet-powered delta wing strategic bomber that was operated by the RAF from 1956-1984. They were built as a nuclear deterrent and took part in conventional bombing missions during the Falklands War. A total of 134 Vulcans were produced and these were assembled at Woodford Aerodrome in Cheshire.

XM603 was set 67. 1st flight  was on November 5th 1963, pilot Tony Blackman. It was built in 1963.

I am lucky enough to see her everyday when I do a visit to my local patch which overlooks the Woodford Site.
She has been in this location for years, gradually getting more and more run down and dirty.
something changed this week.... she moved
For the first time I was able to see her number
I did a little investigation work and found a few websites that are dedicated to Vulcan Bombers. I think this is the last completely white one built . Some discussion on forums suggest that she may either be worked upon and spruced up to become a gate guard at a proposed new museum at Woodford, while others think she may be dismantled and scrapped. Well after years of inactivity she has this week moved to this new position..... not sure what this means yet but I guess over the next few months or so things may develop


Friday, 22 February 2013

HMS Illustrious - R06

Last weekend I took the chance to see HMS Illustrious  as ahe docked in Liverpool. The visit by Illustrious acted as a taster for the major celebrations taking place at Liverpool’s waterfront over the weekend of May 24 to 27 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.
The famous Liverpool waterfront buildings
Remembering Britain and The States 1944 - United at War

HMS Illustrious moored at the dockside

She is the second of three Invincible-class light aircraft carriers built for the Royal Navy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She is the fifth warship and second aircraft carrier to bear the name Illustrious, and is affectionately known to her crew as "Lusty" . Illustrious was not commissioned until after the Falklands Conflict, but was deployed to Iraq and Bosnia in the 1990s and to Sierra Leone in 2000. An extensive re-fit in 2002 prevented her from involvement in the 2003 Iraq War, but she was repaired in time to assist British citizens trapped by the 2006 Lebanon War.
Following the retirement of her fixed-wing Harrier II aircraft in 2010, Illustrious now operates as one of two Royal Navy helicopter carriers.[3] She is the oldest ship in the Royal Navy's active fleet and it is envisaged that she will be withdrawn from service in 2014 (after 32 years' service) and will not be replaced until HMS Queen Elizabeth is commissioned in 2016.

affectionatly known as Lusty

HMS Illustrious contruction started in October 1976 and she launnched on December 1st 1981
The UK Ministry of Defence announced that once she is decommissioned in 2014, Illustrious will be preserved for the nation.

Sunday, 10 February 2013


Locko Park is somewhere I had never even heard of let alone visited, but when I received a message to say "early start to Derbyshire, Drake Smew" the invitation was on, no more questions asked.

I have only ever seen the female Smew (known as a Redhead) before now, the male is something else. Although its only in the next county it was a bit of a trek, early start needed as I had work later that day.

We arrived, parked up outside the park entrance and made the very short walk through the grounds to the pool, where with a few seconds we were on it, although initially it stayed a little distant. Within an hour it had come to the southern end of the pool where the water is at its narrowest point and stared to give some stunning views.  It never came near enough for more than these record shots but what a belter the 2hr non stop crippling views were outstanding

we left as the Twitchers began to arrive in more numbers. A life bird if not quite a life species, a wonderful location, a great mornings birding

Friday, 8 February 2013

My patch - part 1

Adlington Driving Range and Woodford Airfields: Part 1 will be dedicated to the area along the lanes and fields leading upto Woodford airfield then Part 2 will document the Driving range area, pools and fields.... there is enough here to fill a few posts I think.

I enjoyed doing this, I know I enjoyed doing this as for the last couple of hours I have been deciding which images to use that will show off my patch to those who dont know it, and just as importantly to those that do.  I made a descision that while the snow lay across the whole area it would make for some nice wintery scenes, I may yet do one for all seasons!

This is East Cheshire, I live a 5 minute drive away or a 12 minute cycle away or a 25 minute walk away, of course this is all either weather dependant or shear laziness as to which mode of transport is used.

You star by entering Adlington Industrial Estate (however you can also enter at Adlington Driving Range). From here your tour begins.........

Park here! lets walk the lanes.
You soon leave the industrial units behind, but a little further up the lane beyond the hedge there is fun to be had .....

you reach the junior Quad bike race track (Quadrapheonia)

the golf course boundry is to the right beyond the gate

the football field (to keep the kids occupied when not racing). To the right is a haulage Co, while to the rear of the tree is a boggy reed bed (Harrys Moss) that is good for Grey Heron and in recent years Snipe. The end of Woodford Runway is way off in the distance.

we continue along Quad lane
and further still, the hedges come to life in the spring with spring migrants such as Whitethroat
a gap in the hedge gives views towards Harrys Moss and Hope flood

Harrys Moss with the Hauliers behind

on the opposite side of Quad lane is the acadamy Golf Course

further along Quad lane


and looking back from where you have just walked down Quad lane
The end of Quad lane and the junction of the Airfield gates, Shirdfold farm Gates out of sight on the left and the first feeding station next to the airfield gates.

Looking over towards the runway

junction of Quad lane and Shirdfold farm lane
Feeding Station, attracting Tits, Finches, Thrushes

this always makes me smile

Shirdfold farm lane with the airfield perimeter fence on the right and shirdfold horse paddock on the left, and the farm middle distance

Horse paddock

 Part 2 to come

Waxwings - an invasion

This was fairly local, fairly easy to get onto, and possibly one of my greatest birding spectacles in the UK. Reports that yesterday someone had seen 280 Waxwings on a housing estate in Stockport, unforunatly I didnt pick this up until late that evening, so in trepadation the next morning I set off on the 20 minute journy in hope rather than expectation. Straight to the location and a single Twitcher confirmed that he had seen them  a few minutes before I arrived. ASparrowhawk had flushed them. A lone tree in a front garden was still carrying a few berries, not that many though as it had been well stripped of most of them the previous day. After a search of the area and a little wait longer in they came, you can hear the wing beats as they fly in. A telegraph pole was their sanctuary for now.
this image doesnt get then all in but we counted 120 at anyone time

Of course it was the food they were after

not long after another Sparrowhawk fly past caused them to disperse again and although they did return, this time the flock was alot smaller, 30+.
Even one of the neighbours came out and made me a cuppa..... easy birding this.
Happy Day! s

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Red - crested Pochard

Very local this one 15 minute drive to Lyme Park (I would have walked if it hadnt have been tipping it down... honestly!

love this one showing the tuft caught in the wind

Cool bird