Whos keeping an eye on me....

Friday, 29 November 2013

Parrot Crossbills.........

....... and a Velvet Scoter

A four hour journey to Norfolk to try and bag a new species. Chris, Phil and myself set off at stupid o`clock and arrived at Holt Country Park just in time to meet some sort of daylight. Along with around a dozen other twitchers we waited in anticipation of the quarry. Up to 11 Birds had been reported during the last week so we were hopeful if not a little anxious as an hour passed without sight or sound. Apart from the usual woodland birds a lovely Goldcrest kept us company for a short while, we were a long way from giving up hope however it was a brilliant sight to see the silhouettes of a dozen birds fly over our heads and land in some tall conifers sixty yards or so away. Sure enough we were onto our Parrot Crossbills. We enjoyed some fantastic scoped views for half an hour as they fed in a number of trees. They stayed fairly distant and with the gloomy skies and poor light they were well out of good image range..... it didn't really matter, some record shots were taken and as they flew off to feed elsewhere a happy bunch of birders left with them.

The Parrot Crossbill is a Scarce visitor to the UK mainland. 
This was my first sighting so it became my UK life bird # 233 and world Life bird # 1048
Record image of a female and male feeding on the cones



A better image of the male - taken by Phil (Cheers for this one mate)

Our plan was to enjoy the rest of the day along a part of the coast so we headed to Salthouse for a little sea watching. In the twenty minutes that we managed to endure the cold sea breeze we were able to see 2 Red Throated Divers a single Great Northern Diver around a dozen Common Scoter and another Scarce Visitor to the UK shores with a Velvet Scoter. This bird showed its diagnostic features very well and was easy to pick out against the common Scoters. Unfortunately it was too distant for any sort of record shots but it turned out to be a lovely bonus on this trip as it was another UK (#234) and World life bird (#1049) for me..... Happy Days.

We finished off the afternoon with a visit to Choseley Barns and the lovely Titchwell RSPB. I will save that report for another post.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Greenfinch - (Carduelis chloris)

The Greenfinch are all year round visitors to my garden feeders, however during winter the numbers rise dramatically with 30-40 visiting daily. Currently around a dozen are feeding mainly on sunflower seeds.

The Greenfinch is 15 cm long with a wing span of 24.5 to 27.5 cm. It is similar in size to a Housesparrow but is mainly green, with yellow in the wings and tail. The vividness of the green can vary between individual birds  The female and young birds are duller and have brown tones on the back while the juveniles are often heavily streaked on the breast. The bill is always thick and conical.

Adult male



Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Purple Sandpiper

A whistle stop visit to the Wirral to see these lovely small waders.
Three resting Ruddy Turnstone and two more lively Purple Sands

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Fridays Fence

Well, what a stunning sight.
Behind the fence is the famous white church at Nesseby, Varanger, Norway.

and in B&W

a little time away from sea watching to take this image
Showing it sat on the peninsula of Varangarfjord

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Garden Boss


Long working hours and some miserable weather has prevented me from venturing too far this past week so my WBW subject is taken from my archives during the last year or so.

Undoubtedly the boss of the garden is male Sparrowhawk. At least one male visits regularly, however I know I once had 3 individuals in the same morning, my usual un-ringed bird, a BTO metal ringed bird then this interesting observation........  a WHITE ringed bird. It would normally always be a silver metal BTO ring, however I could clearly see this was indeed white. I let my local birding group know who commented that they didn't know of any local ringing clubs using white rings. After a little internet searching I came across this Sparrowhawk ringing project edinburghhawkwatch They had sightings of their birds just across the border into England but never this far south of Scotland, So this new garden visitor was probably raised and ringed 225 miles away in Edinburgh Scotland and worked its way down into deepest England, how cool.

Anyway back to my regulars.
Watching and listening for any movement

oops he's seen me

nothing doing down there either

and doing what they do best
yes this was addressed towards me as I stood by the back door

a stunningly beautiful species


Friday, 8 November 2013

Fridays Fence

Behind the fence is Trentabank Reservoir, Macclesfield Forest, North West England.

This is the largest of four reservoirs in the forest area, it is also home to a breeding colony of Cormorants and Grey Herons.

The sign explains the Herons breeding, nesting and behaviour and is part of the Cheshire Wildlife Trust and the water company (United Utilities)

another angle, looking towards the Heronry "island"

Monday, 4 November 2013

Late Autumn - Macclesfield Forest

I had a spare day so headed up the road to Macclesfield Forest. I intended to do a little birding but succumbed to the wide angle lense to grab some late Autumn colour. The forest area has four reservoirs, this is the smallest of the four.

Teggs Nose Reservoir,
taken from the causeway with Teggs Nose Hill to the left of the image

Teggs nose Hill as a backdrop


A move to the largest of the reservoirs just as the rain clouds came in. 
This is Trentabank reservoir home to the large colony of Breeding Cormorants and Grey Herons

As a footnote I did locate some nice species of bird including 6 Little Grebe, Kingfisher, Pochard male, 3 Buzzards, a single Raven a few Jays and a large flock of Fieldfare
male Pochard
all the above images are straight out of the camera...... however this next one has had some post processing to add a little drama to it (Same image as #6 above)

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Lilac Breasted Roller

Only a few words to accompany this post, only to say that this bird is jaw dropingly beautiful.

Seen on all seven days whilst in Kruger Park.




Friday, 1 November 2013

Fridays Fence

Jail Breaker!

This Robin looks like its just about to escape........

My contribution to Fridays Fences hosted by Jan n Jer