29/09/2013 Horwich Moors

Glossy Ibis: There has been four glossies hanging around the moors of Horwich particularly around the Bob Smithy pub.

So after a 6am start today and an hour wait on a windy Horwich moor without any sign of the bloody birds, I went to work, but came back!
Once I arrived I spotted two birds feeding just a few metres away from me. They were oblivious of the long line of photographers and birders until they decided to stretch their wings and fly a bit further up the field.

In the end they disappeared around the corner and across the road to a farm field. Where I was shooting in to the sun so decided to put the camera down and enjoy these awesome birds!

It was also great to bump in to David Shallcross from Leigh Ornithological Society (or L.O.S.) and some other great guys from the group.



17/09/2013 Brockholes

Black Tern: OK so I turned down a trip to Suffolk for the Lesser Grey Shrike and this goes against rule number one! Never say no to a twitch. But I made up for it a little by getting my first Black Tern at Brockholes.
This has been another one of this years bogey birds, dipping at Pennington Flash, Eccleston Mere and New Brighton, but one which I have been looking forward to seeing for ages.
When I arrived a local birder pointed it out to me as it roosted on the island in number one pit - as I think they call it. I then got the briefest of views before I got a call from Paul Brady regarding some work stuff then subsequently I lost the bird.
I searched for well over an hour and a half dodging the autumn showers before finally stumbling upon the bird on the Ribbleton Pool.


16/09/2013 North Wirral Shore

1st Winter Mediterranean Gull: Despite the wind the sand and the rain showers I had an excellent day out on the wonderful North Wirral shore.

First I headed across to New Brighton where I huddled against the life guard station with a gang of birders, trying to shelter from the gale force winds.
Here I spotted my first of five LEACH'S STORM PETREL and ended up spotting five birds.

As the cold started to penetrate my thermals I decided to go for a wander to warm up and was told I just missed some Storm Petrels.....gutted!

Adult Winter Mediterranean Gull: I did however spot a 1st inter Med Gull on the grassy field behind where we were standing.
And I spotted this adult Med Gull on West Kirby Marina Lake, this bird has been hanging around here for a while now. Well worth keeping an eye out if you're passing.

Unfortunately I didn't get any shots of the Leach's but Zac did check this out http://zacswildlifeblog.blogspot.co.uk/

10/09/2013 Billinge Hill

Yellow Wagtail:  This was my first visit up the highest point in St Helens and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was Paul Brady who invited me for a spot of patching and we met Damain another local Billing Hill patcher.
Pied Wagtail: On the way up we spotted a few Yellowhammer a single willow tit and a female Sparrowhawk. One the way down we spotted a load of Tree Sparrow, Yellow Wagtail, Whitethroat and a few Common Gull passing over head.
Wheatear: As we approached the fields near the horse paddocks, on the hill. Paul and I spotted at least 10 Wheatear bouncing around. This was the highlight as it was a little unexpected.

We then had a call saying that a Black Tern had made an appearance down the road at Eccleston Mere so me and Paul raced over but had no luck although we did have some great fly-buy views of the Kingfisher there.

I was very impressed with Billinge Hill and St Helens in general and will be making an effort to bird that area now that I am a local Wigan lad.

09/09/2013 Pennington Flash

Lesser Scaup: With autumn the changing winds bring with it American migrants, like this diving duck that migrates across the pond.

In America it is colloquially known as the Little Bluebill or Broadbill because of its distinctive blue bill.
Here its called a Lesser Scaup! Well I think I prefer Little Bluebill.

This bird has taken up residence at Pennington Flash and has been showing incredibly well due to its appetite for bread.
So on my way to penny I stopped off at Morrison's and picked up a brown loaf, when I arrived on the far side of the flash the bird was enticed in by a few slices.
I thought this behavior was very unusual as the rest of the Tufted Ducks it was flocking with never came close to the bread. And the only other Lesser Scaup I had seen last year at Burton Mere was very flighty and you could tell it would never come for the bread.

I am assured its not an escapee, no ring! And people were telling me this behavior is not all that unusual, someone even told me they were feeding Goosander bread the other week.

31/08/2013 The Great Orme

Dotterel: A cracking visit to North Wales relived some awesome  birds. First stop was  up the very Great Orme in search of a juvenile Dotterel.
Myself, Scott and Alex walked right past the bird while it slept upon the limestone pavements, but once spotted it was showing incredibly well.
From here we headed across to the Little Orme for a spot of sea watching, although the winds were not really on our side Alex spotted a single adult Med Gull and we saw a few Manxies flying past along with a good number of Gannet.

We then decided to give Llanddulas a go and instantly spotted a large raft of Common Scoter, but the highlight was two Arctic Skua cashing Terns, giving us a great display.

It was on our way home we got a call from Phil Woollen and Mark Payne who told us a Stilt Sandpiper has turned up at Newmans Flashes, Cheshire.

With a big smile on our face Scott picked up the speed in his car and we shot off to see a new bird, a good bird, we were told this was the first record of a Stilt Sand in Cheshire for 29 years.