25/01/2015 Neston Sewage Works

Water Pipit: Today I finally bagged one of my bogey birds, I can't tell you how many hours I have spent looking through the fence at Neston Sewage Plant.

I arrived around 11.20 and waited with two other local birders who where there 20 minutes before me. The three of us spent about 40 minutes searching and only finding Pied and Grey Wagtail foraging around the circular treatment systems.

I decided to stay and wait another hour after the locals left for Burton Mere, I am glad I did as not long after they left a Rock Pipit turned up with a single Water Pipit. Almost as soon as I picked the water pip up it flew off but landed on a fence within the plant. I watched it for a few minutes while it fed just to the left of the fence that it was perching on, until it flew up on to an old lamp post then off out of sight. 

24/01/2015 Pilling Lane Ends, Lancs

Pomarine Skua: Its really good to be back from my weeks trip to Morocco, despite the cold winds and grey skies of Lancashire. I was really pleased that the long staying Pom was still showing well.

Thanks to Alan McBride for the directions however he didn't say that there would be a mile long walk involved!  When I arrived the bird had been spooked off yet again by another dog walker and it flew off right down to the bottom end of the path.

I didn't have to wait too long as the bird seemed to appear out of nowhere from the marsh and land a few yards in front of me as it took shelter behind a large piece of drift wood. Soon a small crowd of birders gathered around me and we watched it for about 45 minutes before it took off.

The bird flew out of sight and back down towards the dead bird it has been feeding on for a few days now. We all followed it back down the long path where it was feasting.

It's been a long time since I last saw a Pom, Shetland back when I was a Student, but I never had views like this.

04/01/2015 Rossall Point

Shore Lark:  I was hoping I would get another chance to see Fleetwood's Shore Lark before my festive break finished and I had to go back to work.
This was a lovely day trip with Gary and his better half Elise. I was keen to help Gary bag a few new birds and help him increase his list so we headed to Blackburn for the Great Northern Diver.
From there I drove across to Blackpool and with a small detour to check out the waste management roof for some nice white winged gulls.

We arrived at Rossall Point early afternoon and walked up past the receding high tide towards the bird which was more or less in the same place I saw it last time. 

However this time the bird came right up to the sea wall giving us all the best views. 

02/01/2015 London Wetland Centre

Ring-necked Parakeet: My first post of 2015 and there is no little Bustard or Harlequin Duck, but I can offer some nice London locals.

After a super New Years Eve watching the London fireworks then the London day parade Dawn and I headed across to Barnes to the LWWT.
Upon arriving the first bird we saw and heard were RN Parakeets, these were shooting around the visitor centre like one of the previous nights green fireworks.

Bittern: Our target bird was the Bittern that has been skulking around the reedbeds there for ages and once we had our parakeet fill we headed down to the Wild Side Hide where the Bittern can best be viewed.

After a short wait it was Dawn who picked up the almost invisible bird trying hard not to be seen.
I thought LWWT was great and well worth the visit however maybe because I am from the North or grew up with it, I think Martin Mere is better, the wildfowl and Swan Link Hide in my mind make Martin Mere WWT a really special place.

30/12/2014 Moore Nature Reseve

Glaucous Gull:  This would be my third trip in as many weeks to Moore, however on this visit I had more time so spent all day watching the gulls.

After spending two hours at Birchwood Pool I wandered over to Pumphouse Pool where I found a juvenile Iceland Gull, unfortunately not long after I picked it up the bird took off and I was unable to relocate it.

After losing the Iceland Gull I headed over to the upper hide on Pumphouse Pool with the hope of settling in and scanning through the building numbers.
Not long after I arrived Mike Mulholland turned up and it was from this moment that I simply spent the rest of the day chatting away with mike, no gulling, no birding.
I can however tell you some stories about Mike that includes a Frankie Goes to Hollywood T-shirt and Morocco, a lads weekend in Ibiza and a surprise visit from a Leatherback turtle in Conwy!

After we finally stopped gassing we spent some time looking through the gulls when I picked up a nice white winger amongst the flocks.
At first the Glauc in my mind was a bit small, however comparing the birds general size and bill size and next to the local argentatus we concluded it must be a Gluac and not the short legged, short billed, long winged Iceland Gull I spotted earlier.

On my way back I stopped off at Birchwood Pool where the gull numbers were much larger than earlier in the day it was here two young birders told me they just had a juv Gluac, juv Inceland and an adult Med Gull in the past hour or so.

(first two images where digiscoped)

24/12/2014 Hanley Central Park, Staffordshire

Smew: A nice little Christmas Eve treat!

Before the big day and the Christmas family trips and visits I decided to try and get some better images of a Smew after only getting very poor images from Cheshire's bird.

So I drove down to Hanley where there had been one knocking about for a few weeks, however the sun today was awful and the light on the pond was terrible.

So todays results were a little better than last week, but there is still a lot of room to improve.

By far my favourite sawbill, but I'm still chasing the snow white male!

21/12/2014 Pugney's Country park, West Yorkshire

Blyth's Pipit: Due to work, weather and a lack 'umph' its taken me this long to go up and see the Blyth's - but I'm glad I waited.

One of the things that has been putting me off is the idea that the only views would be a brief fleeting glimpse of the bird as it occasionally leaves the deck and takes to the air.

But not long after arriving, and after getting a little lost on the way, the bird spent around 15-20 minutes perching in a nearby willow.

It did take to the air and called a couple of times which was really good to hear. 

The other highlight of the day was Pugney's car parking charges, 60 pence for two hours, cheap and a lifeline after searching my penny tray and looking under the junk in the back I managed to find three shiny heptagonal-ish shaped coins!

19/12/2014 Newchurch Common, Cheshire

Smew: Nice to catch up with Cheshire's female Smew, with it being literally on the way to work, and December being such a manic month I haven't had the opportunity 

It was also nice to catch up with Rob Morsley who like I spent some time scanning through the big flocks of Wigeon and Coot in search of the bird. 

After a long and muddy walk around the lake we finally pinned the bird down - if however a little distant.