Whos keeping an eye on me....

Friday, 4 December 2015

Red Throated Diver -Gavia stelatta

A winter bird has been at West Kirby Marine Lake for just about a week. A trip to North Wales meant only a minor detour to see this bird. A gloomy day didn't help with the Photography but I guess a virtual Black and White shot for a Black and white bird doesn't do any harm


also on the lake
Great Crested Grebe, again in Winter plumage

As is this Red Breasted Merganser

All three species look stunning in the breeding seasons.

while a few miles further down the coast this Common Scoter found itself on an inland pool rather than the high seas


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Crested Tit - Lophophanes cristatus

A mammoth 726 mile return journey to the Scottish Highlands to try and locate Crested Tits. A little planning and a back up plan of an overnight stay just in case we didn't get to see them on the first time of asking.

A 02.00am start and we arrived at Loch Garten at 08.30am. Chris and myself had the reserve to ourselves which is probably no surprise as the Ospreys have long since left for the winter and ..... well, the winter had set in with a glorious dump of snow over the previous few days and nights leaving the approach roads precarious even if the surrounding landscape looked fabulous with its blanket of deep snow.

We had three species that we were keen to see Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill and Red Squirrel.

We were first entertained by the incredibly friendly Coal Tits. Over 100 followed us up from the car park to the feeder area (almost checking out our pockets for food). We arrived at the closed visitor centre and located the feeder which was trying its best to keep 100+ Coal Tits, 3 Greater spotted Woodpeckers and a number of other woodland species happy.

We soon had a Red squirrel on the feeder aswell...... there was certainly not enough room for everything.

I went back to the car for some bird seed and the party started. Chris had 4 Coal Tits feeding from his hand, then later on 3 perched ontop of his Camera Lens, one on his hat while dozens were happily to come and land inside the seed tub. An entertaining encounter.

The two Red Squirrels showed well all morning around the feeder area.

However we were really here for the Crested Tit. We had been waiting in freezing temperature for over 2 hours and we had only heard a single call from somewhere within the forest, then at 11.00am a distinctive trill came from almost immediately in front of us and there picking its way through a low bush was a wonderful Crested Tit. It joined the Coal Tits on the feeder and Chris and myself high fived and spent the next 3 hours enjoying this charismatic small bird. During the afternoon we were fortunate to have a second Crested Tit in front of us.


We had certainly cleaned up on the Red Squirrel and Crested Tits and had no sightings of any Crossbills. We knew the weather in the Highlands was going to turn even more wintery over night so made the decision to set off for home before early evening while the roads were still drivable.... a good decision as it turned out.

All in a days work!