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Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Dark Bellied Brent Goose

Over at Knott End and a run down to the Ferry in the hope a few Eider might be about... afraid not!

Dark Bellied Brent Goose

Feeding at the waters edge

Tide is getting closer to high tide

and so off into the sunset

accompanied by a female eider and a male in tow for good measure


Twite, billiy no mates....

looking east

one of three barn owls looking for an evening meal (as ever in poor light)
I think we will settle for a Dark Bellied Brent Goose, don't you? I am afraid I know nothing about Dark Bellied Brent Geese on the Fylde Coast, but I don't think there are too many around. Comments always welcome.

I undertsand this is a first for the Fylde and may be a little lost as their normal stomping ground is central and western Siberia. (Shows how cold the Fylde has been recently!). I think winter visitors are seen on the south east coast of England (i.e Norfolk/Essex area etc) and most of the Irish coast... which seems odd that more don't crop up hereabouts more often. A bird of coastal waters that seldom leaves tidal estuaries, this was in the right geopgraphical place. Feeds on eel grass, sea weed and sea lettuce... which this one seemed to be doing. I believe they have also taken to feeding short distances inland to feed on agricultural crops... which considering the huge flocks of pink-footed geese we have is perhaps where this one has drifted in from.

I have to confess it was a bit of a shock, having parked the car and walking up to the sea wall to check the status of the tide, there it was right in front of me! It seemed quite happy and hung around for about 20 minutes until the water reached the wall when it headed off into the River Wyre and headed inland, closely followed by a female Eider, who had a male for company, before it was lost to sight. As always I wish the light had been better and I had better camera equipment, while better photos would 'be nice' seeing and watching the bird was reward enough, while these record shots are a bonus.

I strolled down the esplanade in search of the Twite and came briefly upon a flock of 8. I noticed a couple of the Twite were ringed, but no details I'm afraid, and of course they were disturbed by the pram pushers, dog walkers and bird watchers...

On the way home calling in at Bradshaw Lane, three Barn Owls on Pilling Moss area, I managed to get low enough to contrast this post sitting Barn Owl with the background hedge, while two others were busy coursing the fields.  Again no more than a record shot for later reference.

Friday, 21 January 2011

As time goes by...

We've all been there... harruummphhh

M55 in t'fog 
err a dead tree

around the fylde

and all for two Shelduck thorugh the fog at Knott End

He's back again... and the SUN is OUT!

'tis a male, Great Spotted Woodpecker

Told you it was  a male... (red at the back of the head)

Great Spotted Woodpecker, 'cos I like it
as always... gone in a flash

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Where does the time go?

A selection of images from here and hereabouts... apologies for delays in posting... where does the time go? And let's face it, weather hasn't been great for photography.

That Blackcap has thrown me, despite going through my poorly organised archives, which I have still to post, I think the same male has become a regular visitor to my garden... along with the Sparrowhawk – that I have yet to see make a kill in the last twelve months... you'd think he'd sod off somewhere else (maybe the local pigeon fanciers!).

Male Sparrowhawk

What you looking at?

I like house sparrows and think they are greatly over-looked and oh look the sun is out!

This male blackcap has started appearing regularly in the garden – nice one mate.

Best in a stew, but one of the few I have seen without that awful mix a ma toes nnit

I have 10,000 rubbish pictures of Jays....

This Rooks bills seemed a little odd... any comments appreciated (ack of 'white' and 'hairy')

Female Great Spotted Woodpecker

Female Great Spotted Woodpecker

Pied wagtails seem to be everywhere all of a sudden....

He's back!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Summer Vistor or Winter Resident?

If you are wondering about the title, I'm afraid you will have to scroll to the end or read this blog to the end.

It hasn't been the best of weeks and a posting wasn't likely. However Tuesday found me out in the afternoon as the sun had appeared, so I thought a quick trip to Fairhaven to see if I could catch up with the Red-necked Grebe. I think this first photo probably reflects the week and this post.

As per usual the subject was always just too far away for me to obtain anything other than record shots and you will find much better images on other blogs and web sites. As always Fylde Bird Club members have some crackers, including one image that made BirdGuides Bird of the Week photo – well done to DM.

While being interested in photography, the interest is also in birds, so it is about bird watching and I was happy to spend some time watching this grebe go about it's business. One thing of note was the constant attention it had of one particular Black Headed Gull that insisted in following it everywhere it went – I'm guessing in the hope of a snatch and grab, should the Grebe return to the surface with a meal.

I spent some time at Fairhaven the week before and the Grebe 'didn't seem well', generally out-of sorts and spending a lot of time asleep. I have to say this week it seemed much brighter, doing much more swimming, diving and feeding, and as these record images show, grooming itself.

There has been a Pochard on the lake for sometime and I was a little surprised to see five near the island along with a Gadwall and the Tufted Ducks that inhabit the lake.

The Grebe appeared with what looked like a Stickleback, still accompanied by the Black Headed Gull.

Having circumnavigated the lake, back to where I started, (I always need the exercise), I managed a poor record shot of the male and female Red-Breasted Mergansers.

Now, early today I was somewhat surprised to manage to capture an image of this male Blackcap. As a consequence this seemed worthy of posting, so the Fairhaven rubbish came with it!

An over-wintering male blackcap, seen and photographed January 14 and 15 2011

Most birders will know Blackcap tend to be summer visitors but more and more appear to be over-wintering in the UK. So a bit of a surprise that had me thinking and effectively will lead me to my next post as I have seen Blackcap locally for the past three years, complete with juveniles, suggesting local breeding, so I may just go back through the archives and throw a post together, reviewing and collating old files...

Friday, 7 January 2011

A Day Out Part 3 (Bradshaw Lane, Swans and Geese)

Sorry about this, it's just the number of images is too much for one posting really and further illustration of the diversity of birding on the Fylde!

Of course because it was now late afternoon the sun was setting below the cloud cover and below the horizon, which again meant insufficient light for photography but over at Bradshaw Lane there were 5 Red-Legged Partridge (which I tend to consider as introduced cannon fodder), Tree Sparrow along with Robin, Blackbird, Chaffinch etc... but also 3 Yellowhammers. Another British Bird that always 'inspires' me... maybe it is the brightness of the yellow that somehow reminds me of something that should be 'exotic'... either way I do like to see Yellowhammers.

As you can see 6 Whooper Swans flew by as rain began falling, black as towards the Pennines, complete with Rainbow while the fields were 'swamped' with Pink-Footed Geese, best part of 2,000 I reckoned. I didn't have the opportunity to work through them to se if there was anything hiding there (Red-breasted for instance).

All lousy images, but captures the 'end of the day', including an image for my antipodean chums – the sun setting over Blackpool.

So from Marsh Harrier, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Red-Necked Grebe and Pintail at Lytham to Brambling, Twite, Yellowhammer, Pink-Footed, Bewick and Whoopers my friends the Turnstones, not to mention Bar-Tailed Godwit at Knott End and all the 'usuals' (I don't do lists, maybe I should start), all in all it had been quite a day and illustrated the diversity on offer around the Fylde. Shush... don't tell anyone!

But I still have to go back to the car doctor!

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Thursday, 6 January 2011

A Day Out Part 2 (Knott End, Turnstone and Twite)

Having been to the car doctor I proceeded to the north of the Fylde at Knott End. The tide was in so I hoped to catch up with my friends, the Turnstones... another freezing day when I lost all feeling in my fingers! (and if you think the Turnstone pics are 'ok', you want to see the 800 that are blurred and out of focus etc).

I was hoping the sun was going to come out mid morning but to no avail, despite the weather forecast so once again, damp grey and overcast (as well as freezing)... and then to add insult to injury the sun appeared as I was indoors having lunch. As soon as I dashed out again (indigestion) and parked the car, the sun disappeared behind a huge black cloud! One of those days!

I never 'saw' a Meadow Pipit until recently and of course now I see them everywhere... the other pipits I'm not too sure about. However I am relatively happy I encountered Rock Pipit but any confirmation appreciated. I enclose the two images because they were consecutive shots, one Rock and the other Meadow... quite a surprise for me. 

A Rock Pipit... because it was there

Along the esplanande I dropped on a couple of Twite (and another Meadow Pipit, along with Pied Wagtails). Just a bit too far away for anything other than record shots. The sun finally came out very briefly and I caught two Dunlin on the shoreline.

I think I had better add a Part 3!