23/01/2017 River Witham, Woodhall Spa, Lincs

White-billed Diver: What a day and what a superb bird. First let talk about the fog, yes the fog, this is now my third recent twitch hampered by fog. First it was the Dusky Thrush at Beeley then the Blue Rock Thrush at Stow and now this WBD.

When I arrived it was clear crisp day, but when I actually relocated the bird the fog drifted in and it was a white out!

The bird was ranging from right up to Kirkstead Bridge to about 5 miles North of on the River Witham. This is a relatively narrow river, so your guaranteed crippling views wherever the bird is found.

I remember when I used to kockabout with some young guys who they invited me on a twitch down to Devon to see a WBD in Brixham Harbour. At the time I turned this offer down and since then I thought I would only ever see a WBD at some distance in Scotland and never thought I would get such good views.

Here is one of my images I took through the fog before it thankfully it cleared up!

In the fog you couldn't really get to see how big and imposing this bird is, with it's sword like bill it is simply magnificent.

21/01/2017 North Shields Fish Quay

Glaucous Gull: From East Chevington I was keen to head back via North Shields Fish Quay in order to see the two juvenile Glaucs that have been hanging around for the past few weeks.
Take a look at this beast, can you blame me for wanting to come and see them. Those who know me know I have a thing for gulls and although I have seen plenty of Glaucs I have never had them at such close quarters.

The first bird I caught sight of was loafing aloft the roof of the fish quay docks before flying down on to the water giving me a good chance to see up close it's broad wings and diagnostic pink bill with it's 'dipped in ink' black tip.
The second bird appeared out of nowhere and began to feed on some bread that a passerby was throwing out to the birds. This is when I swooped in and got these shots as the birds came closer.
I got talking to a local who has been watching the birds on the quay and informed me that the two juv Glaucs are distinctly different in size and that there has been a juv Iceland Gull knocking about on the quay too, however this has not been around for a couple of days.
I wasn't overly disappointed with the lack of an Iceland Gull as both these Glaucs put on a real good show.

Here is another shot of the birds broad, short, narrow white wings.
Take a look at that distinct tertial step, followed by its relatively short primaries which are longer then it's tail all features of a Glauc. I've seen all these features before and picked out plenty of Glaucs from Iceland but always from a distance either at Moore NR or Richmond Bank.
This individual appeared to have a doggy leg and was limping around before laying down to rest on the quayside itself.

It was a real pleasure to get up close to a bird I have only really seen at a distance, this was great end to the day (despite any footballing upsets).

21/01/2017 Northumberland, East Chevington NWT

Pacific Diver: Northumberland's first PD and mine too! I couldn't resist the long and early drive up to add this to my list.
Although it didn't come as close as it did later in the afternoon I still had super scope views and was well pleased to add it to my list, beats a long trip to Cornwall for one!
Twite: After having my fill of the diver and seeing it in flight too I headed south from Durage Bay CP and towards Chibburn Mouth.
Here there were over 50 Twite and 7 Shore Lark hanging about, it appears that some good natured locals have been putting seed in this area for some time.
Shore Lark: I've seen several Shore Lark but never this flighty, they didn't come close and ensured they kept their distance by continuously being on the move.
Perhaps this is a sign of how busy this part of the beach was as there were plenty of dog walkers and passersby that were walking straight through them.

10/01/2017 Lightsaw Flash, Wiagn

Barn Owl: During a windy winter walk with Dawn down to Lightshaw Falsh, we were treated to some stunning views of Barn Owl.
I have seen Barn Owl several times in this area, often perched upon the posts near Warrington Road A573 near the Dover Lock pub at night, but always speeding past in my car, so never able to get a prolonged clear views.
One of the best sights that Britain has to offer, forget the Shard, the Forth Bridge or York Minster watching a hunting Bran Owl quarting over the British countryside is just brillinat!
The goahslty figures soon disapred out of view.

08/01/2017 St. Walburge's Church, Preston

Black Redstart: This female looking bird has been present on the church for a couple of days, although it didn't give me the best of views as it stayed right on top of the roof it was still showing well and sat up for prolonged periods.

The bird is best viewed from Pedder Street where the bird favours the far corner of the church.

Also nice to see the local Peregrine which can be viewed perched upon the church spires.

04/01/2017 Moore Nature Reserve

Bittern: I felt inspired after seeing Gill Ollier's fantastic images from his New Year's day outing to Moore, and thought I would try my luck to see the Bittern.

I remember when the Phoenix Hide was round and had a roof, before it got burned down, hence its name, the Phoenix Hide.
I've seen plenty of Bittern in my time but perhaps surprisingly never at Moore. I remember spending hours upon hours sitting in the old round hide overlooking the Eastern Reedbed waiting for a glimpse of the Bittern and never seeing it, well not until today!

The bird showed twice while I was there between 0900-1230, the fisrt time it flew from the middle of the Eastern Reedbed and flew in to a small cut out on the near bank. The second time I saw the bird it flew from this cut out and across to the other pool, before landing in the reeds.

02/01/2017 Venus Pools, Shropshire

Pine Bunting: Happy New Year to all my followers and to all the people who are kind enough to click on to my Blog and read through my birding adventures.

Looks like 2017 is getting off to a great start as I bag my first Pine Bunting. Apologies for inconsistent bad images as I had to use my Iphone through my scope, and at some distance.
Smashing little bird and a pretty hard bird to pick up with only a handful of records recorded for Britain. And I can see why, this is a really challenging bird to ID especially when it is in a huge mixed flock of Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer, like today.

Hats off to Simon Davies who found the bird and the old boy who pick it up today after a two hour search containing myself and about 80 other birders.

If you wish to see better images of Pine Bunting and read a little bit more about them, then I would highly recommend clicking on to the late, great Martin Garner's excellent blog post.