Gambia Trip Report

Blue-breasted Kingfisher: Hello all, please check out my Gambian trip report, simnply go the the bottom on my blog and under the holiday and trip reports you will see the link to The Gambia January 2018.
Laughing Dove: I have invluded a vast ammount of images and a detaild account of the trip.
Pygmy Kingfisher: I, along with Gary, Dawn and Garys wife Elise visted several natutre rserves including Abuko Natutre Reserve, Farasutu Forest and Kartong Bird Observatory.
Hooded Vulture: We satyed at the famous Bakotu Hotel near Banjul (the one Chris Packham stays at).
Abyssinian Roller: I managed to see 193 bird spcies including 7 kingfisher species, 5 bee-eater spcies and many more. 
Red-cheeked Cordon-Bleu: Hopfully this might come in handy if someone is planning atrip themselves,  hope its hepls. enjoy.

10/03/2018 West Kirby Marina Lake

Greater Scaup: I've not seen one of these for what seems like a long time, so it was great that these birds hung around for a week or so and showed pretty well. Happy days.

There were seven scaup in total on the lake, including four drake and three female of which five of then stayed out in the middle of the lake.
Two drakes were brave enough to come a little closer and came down to at least 5 feet, foraging for crabs in the shallower water.

Great to bump in to John Tymon,  Karl Bishop and Andy Ingham.

10/02/2018 Hollingworth Lake, Rochdale

Glaucous Gull: This massive bird just happens to be the second largest gull in the world, after the great black-headed gull.  This species breeds in Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and this individual has decided to winter in Rochdale.
For the past two weeks or so there has been a very obliging juvenile glaucous gull at Hollingworth Lake, near Rochdale in Greater Manchester.
I've put off going to see it for a number of reasons, not least because I spent all last week birding in The Gambia.
Even on a grey, wet Saturday afternoon Hollinhworth Lake was busy, not only with families coming to feed to ducks and gulls and dog walkers enjoying this tranquil little spot, but parking enforcement officers!!

Beware and make sure you pay if you are staying.
When Gary and I arrived the bird was happily standing amongst the local wildfowl and black-headed gulls right off the car park on the concrete ramp leading in to the water.
The bird sat there happily and wasn't bothered by the dog walkers who came down to the waters edge as it just moved off on to the water and then came back.
The bird was almost immobile, and didn't fully take flight until a little girl and her mum came to feed the ducks.
Then the bird became very aggressive towards the black-headed gulls who were masters at steeling the bread, even in mid air.
But don't worry the galuc muscled in and got its fair share.
I never tire of seeing these birds up close like this, its a real winter treat.
The bird enjoying the company of the locals.

25/01/2018 Ashton-in-Makerfield

Hooded Crow: An excellent Greater Manchester  bird first found back in September by Damian Young in St Helens off the East Lancs Road and relocated by Collin Davies, presuming it's the same bird - two top local birders.

The bird can now been seen off Heath Road and regularly forages in the playing field opposite the Eagle & Child pub.

A great local bird to connect with.

14/01/2018 Blackpool

Iceland Gull: After getting a lot of disinterest over the week about going to see the Whitby wheatear and having no one to agree to go with me I decided to try my luck elsewhere.
 And am I glad I did!

After seeing via twitter and the @FyldeBirdClub twitter feed that the adult Iceland gull was spotted in Tesco car park in Blackpool I thought I would give it ago.
The bird is typically found on the roof of the recycling waste management building and after checking this and the car park there was no sign, so Dawn and I went for lunch and came back.

On our second visit I spotted the bird on the roof and I watched it for several minutes before a guy in an orange high-vis jacket drove by and said I can go in if I like and see the bird closer.
He stood with me while the bird flew in to the buildings open doorway and on to the waste material and back on to the roof.
This gave me an excellent opportunity to see the bird much closer and see it's bright yellow bill with red spot at gonys, it's pale coloured eye, white head, neck, breast, and belly and its classic white wing primaries.
Great local bird, and one that regularly returns each year.  I spoke with the man who said if I come back on my own I shouldn't go past the fence line. So for anyone who is going please stay on the right side of the fence.

13/01/2018 Elton Reservoir, Bury

Mealy Redpoll: It was nice to have some free time out of the office to catch up with some local birding with my first stop being the mealy at Elton Res.
Separating the two species, which freely mix in wintering flocks, is known to be not always easy, with some individuals being unidentifiable even in the hand.
However it is clear in this image that the mealy redpoll's general impression is quite different from that of a lesser redpoll. This is often made easy when the two species are side by side.
The mealy is obviously a bigger bird next to the lesser and had a deeper, crimson red poll (its colouration on the upper breast) however the mealy also has longer primary projections and darker ear coverts.

The bird is also much paler than the leasers with a greyer undertone to its plumage.
The feeders at Elton Res are a real haven for wintering finches and birds, they encourage many different species and a huge number.
So hats off to whoever stocks and manages them, brilliant work.

08/01/2017 Longford, Gloucestershire

Penduline Tit: Nice to finally catch up with this smart little bird which has been in the same area since before Christmas. Better to catch up with local lads Damion and Neil G.
The bird has taken a liking to Plot Court Nature Reserve and can be observed regularly visiting the Bulfushes to feed on the woolly seed heads.
I am always surprised to how small these little birds actually are and it was particularly interesting watching the bird using a headgerow for both feeding, preening and resting, as I thought they were exclusively reeds specialist's.
The masked bandit showed incredibly well and the crowd of toggers and biders didn;t seem to disturb it as it fed. 
If anyopne goes I would highly reccomed taking wellington boots.......its very wet and muddy in places.

20/12/2017 Undisclosed Site

Black Redstart: This week I found a black redstart during a survey in the midlands. I watched the bird for a long while finding mostly the live food they need in the micro-climates formed in the many sheltered gardens, balconies and roof valleys to be found in the town, where they are in the habit of running like wagtails (they also hop) and feeding (usually unnoticed) under lines of parked cars, often in the busy streets.

I watched as it spent its day busily picking food items from  the gable walls of houses, often hovering under guttering or facia boards, and fly-catching from favourite perches, usually near lawns, were they can take prey from the ground, always returning quickly to the favourite lookout, their fiery tails giving a welcome flash of exotic colour to otherwise drab winter streets.

A great bird to find during a grey drizzly day and a perfect bird to brighten up a typically dull survey.