Sunday, March 29, 2009

North wales,

When we arrived at Worlds End the sun had been up for an hour and we were not sure if the Blackcock would be still lekking on this bright frosty morning. Fortunately we were not disappointed as the upland was filled with the sound of the grouse. A delightful bubbling chorus accompanied the lekking males as they strutted about trying to win the females attention . We counted 17 blackcock displaying on the short turf and a couple of greyhen sitting in a small tree eyeing up their suitors. Their 'black' plumage showing hues of blue, green and purple in the morning sun set off by the lyre shaped tail . As the sun rose a little higher the cocks gradually began to disperse into the surroundings some flying a short distance into the nearby heather revealing their white wingbar and underwing. A pair of wheatears were on a stone wall nearby.
A walk along the Dee near llangollen gave good views of dipper and lots of wild flowers along the bank including swathes of wood anemone,lesser celandine and dog's mercury.

We called in to take a look at the long staying cattle egret near Frodsham on the way home.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Prescot Reservoirs,

15 sand martins braved the cold wind cuting across the reservoirs today. 2 little ringed plovers and a chiffchaff were the only other migrants on show. The red breasted goose was with the 67 banacles. Also 23 goldeneye,60 tufted duck,6 gc grebe, 2 little grebe, 23 oystercatchers and 2 buzzards.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Golden Eagle,
Copied from a painting by the Canadian artist Robert Bateman.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Leasowe and Meols common,

A 5 minute high tide seawatch near the lighthouse was well timed as 8 little gull flew north at 10.30 am. It was then inland where it was much less windy. A couple of chiffchaffs in the willows at the start of lingham lane, 20 curlew, 3 stock dove, 8 lapwings and a flock of 14 meadow pipits near the horse padocks. A walk along the dunes produced 2 wheatears, female stonechat, singing skylarks and a larvae of 'ruby tiger moth' I think .

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hoopoe in the morning sun

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mute swan at Crosby

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A watercolour of a treecreeper nest building.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Seaforth NR,

This hybrid drake ring-necked duck was a very smart bird. Arriving with a small group of tufted duck it was showing well as it was displaying with other drake tufted duck to a female tufted duck. A closer look at the wing bar revealed white secondries and it should be all grey in pure ring necked duck.
A little ringed plover and a ringed plover were on the salt water pool and a white wag and wheatear were on the long bank.
Chris D reports swallow, sand martin and wheatear at Prescot reservoir today.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Moore NR,
Beautiful sunshine tempted me to visit Moore today in search of the mythical lesser peckers. I have only managed a glimpse of one in recent months whilst others have reported crippling views. A couple of brimstone butterflies and a couple of singing chiffchaffs confirmed spring had arrived. I was on my way back to the car after a couple of hours fruitless searching when another birder was waving us over as he was watching a lesser pecker. Lovely! We then preceded to have excellent views of a male as it was excavating one of its several nest holes in order to tempt a mate. It was chased off by a greater spot but returned almost straight away continuing with its homebuilding. It was nice to hear it calling also. It probably showed for ten minutes before it dissappeared back into the wood. Just superb little birds. Up to 3 males have been seen in recent weeks but worryingly no reports of any females but maybe the females just are not as showy at this time of the year.
A quick look at the tip from Birchwood pool produced juv glaucous and juv iceland gull.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring Watercolour Sketches of some recent encounters. A male toad has a vice like grip on his mate, a pair of rooks in the stuble foraging for food and a covey of red legs sorting out some differences.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A successful peregrine
A peregrine stoops

Mica inkcap

juv herring gull


juv glaucous gull

Morre Nr
A very windy and sunny day so not good for looking at gulls and the tipping being very distant today did not help. A couple of juv glaucous gulls, a juv iceland gull and a 1stw med was the best of it. A peregrine was hunting over tip at close quarters taking a blackbird as we watched.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Seaforth Nr
An adult little gull ,a r.b. merg 6 scaup and a drake pintail today.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Costa Del Sol, Spain.
A short break for some winter sun to Benalmadena . By no means a birdwatching holiday, my bins were packed for anything that I stumbled upon. Some nice birds were seen from the hotel balcony and a roost of 300+ crag martin on the Hotel Balmoral opposite , red rumped swallow, hoopoe, spotless starling, yellow legged and med gull and black redstart kept me occupied whilst sipping a glass of red wine.
A visit to the lovely village of Mijas produced rock bunting,raven,serin,sardinian warbler, cattle egret,black redstart, a pair of stonechats and blackcap. Lots of unidentified butterflies including swallow tailed and hummingbird hawkmoth.
A trip to Marbella included kentish plover, 30 little stint, and it was interesting watching yellow legged gulls imitating gannets plunge diving for fish going compltely under and most times coming up with a good sized fish in thier bill.
Ronda is a beautiful place sitting astride of a 600ft gorge. A very windy day with a few showers and it was the first time I had seen rain going up vertical produced by the updraft off the cliff face. Lots of chough around the gorge and a couple of griffon vultures and a black kite over the town. A pod of 11 griffons were in a valley on the way to Ronda.
The only time I actually went birdwatching was on the last day when I left my wife at Plaza Mayor for a couple of hours shopping whilst I headed to a little nature reserve in Guadlarhar. A small piece of marshy land with pools and a couple of screen hides were a river enters the Med not far from Malaga airport.
The short time I was there produced white headed duck? (could be a hybrid), zitting cisticola, hoopoes,crested larks ,corn buntings, serins,black redstart, blackcap, black winged stilt, little ringed plover , marsh harrier and osprey.
This holiday was over all too quickly and what seemed like a blink of an eye I was back in the grey and cold UK.

Watercolour sketch of the Crag martins roosting on the Hotel Balmoral