Saturday, 28 September 2013

An evening on one of my patches.

The pit is a local 20 acre lake created during the building of the M42. I have over the last 30 years spent some considerable and always enjoyable time there. Mainly angling, but more recently, birding.

As autumn kicks in, the path around the lake looks picturesque and, as I remember when these trees were no more than saplings, I'm reminded just how long my association with one of my most favorite places in the locality goes back.



It has over the years thrown up many surprises, mostly piscatorial and a few ornithological. These pockets of water and green are important both to wildlife and to us. A place to get away from it all. To enjoy the views, to walk the banks, to watch the wildlife and occasionally, to cast a float.


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Year tick on the Moors

After what seemed a long day at work, I got home, got changed, and whistled up Taz. By 5pm we were out birding. I decided to head to the Moors looking for some more year ticks. I also hoped I may see a Wheatear or Redstart. Unfortunately, that didn't happen!

What did happen though was a new year tick for the Moors. I accessed the Moors from the Stables and walked along the river Anker.

Just before the farm, a little Egret got up and flew along the river channel, eventually finding itself a tree to perch in. Much to the distain of the Rooks that were in the area. The Rooks put in several swooping attacks, but the Egret stood its ground.

I was hoping it would, as I wanted to get photographic proof of our first Little Egret that wasn't a flyover.




Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Lookout.

The RSPB hide opened to the public this week at Middleton RSPB. The code to the combination door had been made available, and I couldn't resist going to have a look.

Unfortunately conditions for waders were not great this morning as the water levels on the North Pit and Jubilee Wetlands were high and still rising. I had met and wandered around with another birder this morning, and as we approached the hide, we put three Snipe up. I was hoping some may be present in front of the hide to photograph, but not this morning. We did however spot a Solitary Turnstone in front of the hide. It didn't stop long though and soon moved on, flying North. It did look like it may have dropped again some distance from the Lookout, but I didn't manage to relocate it.

Anyway, here are a few pictures showing the inside of the Lookout.

The locked door
The code entered

I was told today that if you are first to arrive at the hide, open the combination door, and secure it in the open position.

On entering Lookout, close the second door behind you. On leaving, if you are the last to leave, close the main combination door behind you.


My attempt at a panoramic picture of the interior

I really like the stools and chairs seating arrangement. Much more comfy to the individual than those usual wooden benches we find in most hides. I was impressed.

Lookout Logbook
All windows are tinted
Posh window clasps
One of the views from the hide


I look forward to using this hide in better conditions. I'm hoping for some decent Wader photography opportunities.

On leaving the Lookout and locking up after myself, I went to investigate the rate at which water was entering the reserve via the stream that runs in from the Tame. Water was flowing in quite quickly and the inlet pipe was submerged. The water above the inlet pipe was entering the pipe at a sufficient rate to cause a vortex and create some loud gurgling noises.

It's a shame the water levels on the reserve are high at the moment, especially during this ideal time for passage waders. I guess we will have to take the rough with the smooth. But I understand this has already been one of the better years for waders dropping in. I'm hoping more will grace us with their presence soon.


Saturday, 7 September 2013

Blithfield Birding

I cannot manage my usual Sunday morning birding this weekend, so thought I would treat myself to Saturday morning at Blithfield to make up for it.

On arrival, I headed to Blithe Bay as there is a lot of exposed mud there at the moment. The first birds I paid real attention to on my first scan about with the scope was a flock of nine Curlew Sandpipers. Two soon vacated, leaving the remaining seven feeding well. They were just too far out to get decent pictures with the camera, so. Tried with the scope and iPhone.

Once I got the phone out and started iscoping, I just carried on snapping. All the wading birds here are around 80 - 100 yards away.

Curlew Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper
Three Greenshank having a break
Black-Tailed Godwits.
Black-Tailed Godwits.

All decent record shots with iPhone 4S handheld to scope eyepiece. Today I used my HR66 GA ED with the HDF 28x fixed eyepiece.

As I wandered about, I carried on taking a few pictures with the phone. It produces very acceptable pictures to record your day, and ideal for displaying on the Internet.

View over Blithe Bay this morning.
There is plenty of wooded habitat too.
Looking over Tad bay.

I stopped off by the bird feeding station on the return journey to the car. It was very busy on the feeders. Here, I got my SX40 bridge camera out and tried for a decent shot or two. I will put my best up later when I am not so pushed for time. They are still on the memory card in the camera at the moment. I'm hoping I have a decent Woodpecker shot.

The Great-Spot Woodpecker shots off the camera.

SX40 Bridge Camera. 25 yards.


SX40 Bridge Camera. 25 yards.

The end of a very enjoyable mornings birding.