31/12/2013 Hindley

Glossy Ibis: When I arrived back from Audenshaw, showered and ate I checked Manchester Birding Forum to find that this bird has been found just a few minutes up the road.

So I grabbed my keys and jumped in the car still leaving the housework behind

The bird has been present and showing well from 12:55 close to the road at the side of 23 Firs Park Crescent by the gate to the stables.

When I arrived at 15.20 the bird was still in this location.

31/12/2013 Audenshaw Reservoirs

Black Throated Diver: A wet start to the day took me to Audenshaw, probably not the best move as I had a ton of house work to do and as soon as I arrived at Audenshaw the heavens opened.

A pair of wet jeans and cold hands by far a good price to pay for a BT Diver.

The bird was on reservoir no.1 and feeding right out in the middle of the pool, hence why these pics are rubbish! Far too far.

It was also nice to meet Keith Mills - hope you relocated the bird.

30/12/2013 Pennington Flash, Plank Lane Canal

Slavonian Grebe: I saw and had some good views of this bird yesterday at Penny Flash from  the reed beds but today was something else!

Dawn and I made it down just before the last of the light disappeared and although the light could have been a lot better the bird looked awesome as it came fantastically close to the footpath alongside the canal.

A great local bird to end the year with!

29/12/2013 Southport Marina Lake

Great Northern Diver: OK its not a White Billed Diver but still very much a great bird.

The bird showed really well despite the bad light, it was actively diving for food and coming close to the prom at times.

However I never saw it with a catch, it never once came up with food,  I might be wrong but I don't think it will stay too long on the lake as hunger might just force it back over the dunes and back on to the sea.

Other highlights of the day included meeting the old Southport faithful and I'm sure we will cross paths again. And seeing the Slav Grebe at Pennington Flash.

28/12/2013 Budby Common

Parrot Crossbill: After turning down yesterdays  mega twitch to see the White-billed Diver and Brunnich's Guillemot as I have been unwell over Christmas. I was feeling sorry for myself so I decided to go see these Parrot Xs which have been hanging around Budby Common all month.
After heading down the M62 which was chaos due to an earlier accident and then getting stuck on the A1 with more congestion,  myself, Alex Jones and Tanmay came across a group of birders who directed us straight to a flock of 6 high up in a pine.
We enjoyed some cracking views of the flock feeding before flying off in to the wood.

A nice surprise to the end of the day was spotting a very Great Grey Shrike.

P.S Thanks to Scott and Liam for the get well text messages showing me the awesome pictures of the Diver and Guille - this did not make me jealous at all, and I was not effing and blinding.

Nov 2012 Cyprus Trip Report

Finsch's Wheatear: I have finally had the time to go through all my pics from my winter trip to Cyprus, have a look guys!
Black Redstart: The link at the bottom of this post will take you directly to the trip report.

Spur-wing Lapwing: One of the many great birds I saw during my trip.


23/12/2013 Moore NR

Iceland Gull: Its always worth braving the winter storms when you find an Iceland Gull.

(1st winter bird)

I have recently made a few trips to Moore and Richmond Bank for a spot of gulling and it was great to finally be rewarded this time.

There were gulls everywhere, Birchwood pool and a few hundred and I spent a couple of hours there scanning over them before admitting defeat and trying the nearby Pump House Pool.

There was even more gulls on Pump House and as the clouds rolled in bringing sheets of rain and gusty winds I found a single juvenile bird.

 Apart from finding my first Iceland Gull the other highlight of the day was coming across this brand new interpretation board of the site.

Look closely and you will see TWO of MY photographs on show with my name below. The small yellow flower (Birdsfoot Trefoil) butterfly (Brimstone on Bluebell)


Nice surprise to come across.

22/12/2013 West Kirby Marina Lake

Redshank: Before I started my last shift for CWT before a nice long Christmas break I decided I just had to make the most of the really good sunshine, especially knowing that the next few days we won't be seeing the sun anymore!

Turnstone:  So I headed down to the Marina Lake hoping for a good gull, but only seeing Black Headed and a few Herring loafing around on the pontoons.

The marina was busy with the local sailing club, so there where no birds on the water. However I did stumble across a small flock of Turnstone and a couple of Redshank on the rocks on the far side.

Some of my favorite waders close up looking brilliant in the morning sun.

21/12/2013 Conwy, Abergele

Hoopoe: After ticking off my first BBP down on Burton Marsh myself and Tom Marshall decided on having a look at this Hoopoe in Conwy.

This is probably the same bird I saw a few months back over the way in Rhyl, but this time I got a lot closer!
It has been suggested that the bird has been looking a bit sick and won't last the winter, but looking at it feeding underneath the caravans and flying between the sea wall and grass verge it looked fine to me.

I like this picture, Hoopoe look like an exotic sexy bird, strange to see within the backdrop of the A55 and the green traffic sign.

21/12/2013 Burton Marsh

Buff Bellied Pipit: I'm not going to get too exited over this bird, its not the sexiest I have ever seen. But as LBJ go its pretty cool as its a mega especially for Cheshire.
I was feeling a little rough (to say the least) after Cheshire Wildlife Trust staff party the night before, but after some excellent views I soon felt better.
Good company and good birds made for a very good Saturday afternoon!

16/12/2013 Patrington Haven, E. Yorks

Ivory Gull:  What a STUNNER!

After dipping the Northumberland birds only last week, it made seeing this bird even more special to see.

When we arrived we were told that the bird had just been on the fish and flew off on the mud flats, I was fuming as for the rest of the day we stood in the cold, and at one point wet, waiting for the bird to come back to the fish.

The wind had picked up and the temperature continued to drop and the bird remained far out on the mud, it could have been mistaken for Little Egret or even a supermarket carrier bag it was that far away!

At one point I wanted to head back and grab some food on the way home, but Scott was still upbeat and adamant the bird was going to return to the fish.

Scott was right and the bird flew right over our heads and circled the crowd of gobsmacked birders before landing on the pile of fish giving us all some AWESOME views.

I also had a chance to meet some of the hardcore Next Generation Birders, which was a pleasure and I am sure will see again on some other future twitch.

11/12/2012 Marshside RSPB

Long Tailed DuckAfter seeing the Baikal Teal I headed off to Junction Pool to see the juvenile Long Tailed Duck. It was showing well although this low winter sun did me no favors.  

On the way back to the car I spotted the GW Egret on the marsh,  not bad for an hour at Marshside. 

23/11/2013 Walton, Merseyside

Ring-billed Gull: Not too bad for my first day back in the UK from Cyprus, my first Ring-billed Gull, this second-winter bird true to their nature turned up at a very busy Saturday Asda car park -  probably one of the worst places I've been birding!
The bird was seen in the morning and again picked up in the afternoon hanging around with the local Black Headed Gulls. When I spotted it high up on a lamp post it was very flighty.

10/11/2012 Collingham Pits, Notts

Pied Wheatear: OK it's not a male or the most exciting Wheatear, but still a cracking little bird!

Just bear in mind its like the 69th UK record.

We got lucky when we arrived as the bird was only 50 yards away before working it's way to the far side of one of the pits.

Thanks to Alan McBride for the lift, good company as well as a good bird, cheers.

Oh and Dawn for giving up our couple day for a spot of twitching, cheers babe.

02/11/2012 Hayle Estuary

White Rump Sandpiper: Hermit Thrush mega dip!

Mark Payne and Pod were kind enough to invite me down to Cornwall in hope of seeing the Hermit Thrush.
After a very early start and a very long drive down south we ended up dipping the bird along with a huge amount of Balearic Shearwater and an Albatross fly by!

OK we didn't go down for anything else apart from the Thrush but after dipping that and seeing on bird guides that we missed some other cool stuff, well it was extra salt in the wound.

Bar-tailed Godwit: We did however head across to Hayle Estuary in search for White Rump Sands.

I was really impressed with Hayle and after a longish wait we finally caught up with a couple of white rumps.

Hayle also had a family of Barnacle Goose and a hand full of Med Gulls all viewable from the roadside.

Deeper in the mouth of Hayle we also spotted a Black Necked Grebe.

It was also great to meet Tom Whiley who we picked up on the way and chatted about cameras and birds! My favorite topics.

27/10/2013 Gronant

Grey Phalarope:  This was my second visit here in two days as yesterday Dawn and I took a trip to see this little cracker, but we were on a tight schedule and we only had an hour or so.
Within that hour the bird didn't really move from the farthest end of the pool. Needless to say I was gutted as we had to go and I knew if I put some proper 'birding' time in the phal might of come closer.
But today I had time to wait and the wait paid off!

The phal came incredibly close, constantly swirling and feeding.
Before the bird came close another birder spotted a Lapland Bunting in the sand dunes, but after a quick look we only had a fleeting glimpse and a short call.
What a bird!
Well worth muddy knees and elbows and the embarrassment of showing my bum crack to the world, while laying on the ground, camera poised!
It was also nice to bump in to all the old BMW regulars and catch up with Paul Brewster, Rhys Richards and Bob, hopefully these autumn storms will blow something special here and we will all be out doing a local twitch next weekend.
Ring Tail Hen Harrier: Always nice to see where ever you are!