Rishton Reservoir - 27th September 2009

With Reece having a home match against Wigan St Judes this morning we hadn't planned anything for the day but a text from Mike just before Kick off saying there was a Red Throated Diver at Rishton Reservoir, one of our wish list birds we just had to head out in search of it. Oh the score? A reverse of last seasons result with Chorley Panthers dominating the match and winning 24 - 4. With it not being a patch we had been to before we didn't really know where to start, but with sailing on the main part of the reservoir we didn't think there would be much hope of seeing anything there so we just had a look around the smaller side. All we could see was Mallards, Coot and a single Scaup. There was a Scooter reported at the same time as the Diver but no sign of this either. We were either just unlucky or looking in the wrong place, any help with where the best place to veiw from would be appreciated as I don't work far and could easily look in during my lunch.


Inner Marsh Farm RSPB - 26th September 2009

A trip down to Inner Marsh Farm RSPB to see the Long-billed Dorwicher was the plan for the afternoon once Reece had returned from rugby training. We had missed out on it at Marshside the day before as well as the Great White Egret down at Brockholes. The thought was even if it wasn't there when we arrived at least we were going to have a good day as we've heard nothing but great things about the place. As it was it was still there and showed well for the 2 hours we watched from the hide. Reece took full control of photography today and I'm sure you will agree he hasn't done a bad job considering the overcast conditions.


And it wasn't the only lifer of the day for both of us as I sighted 3 Golden Plover amongst some grounded Lapwing and someone in the hide pointed out a Mediteranean Gull (Reeces 3rd lifer).



There were raptors a plenty with Hobby, Sparrowhawk and Peregrine taking their chances with the waders as well as 5 Buzzard above the woods in the distance. Waders included a single Dunlin, Black Tailed Godwit, Ruff and Greenshank and Black-headed and Common Gull can be added to the Med we saw.




One of the best sights of the day was of a Water Rail right in front of the hide. Thanks goes out to the guy sat next to us who said when and where it would be seen next and it turned up right on time enabling Reece to get off some good shots.


Inner Marsh Farm is a great site to visit and I would recomend it to anyone. It is what I hope Brockholes Wetland to be in coming years being a similar habitat. I take my hat off to the RSPB and its staff there, they have done a great job and I'm sure it will only improve with time.

Black-necke Grebe - Brockholes Wetland - 17th September 2009

Headed down to Brockholes Wetland for an hour tonight after receiving a text from Mike confirming the reported Black-necked Grebe was still on the main pit.



Neither Reece nor I had seen one before so we headed straight up to the top layby to set up our scopes in search of it. Luckily Mike was still there and pointed it out to us as I’m sure I wouldn’t have spotted it being so small and spending most of the time diving. Watching it I would have said it was smaller then a Little Grebe but looking in several books they state it’s slightly larger. Whilst up at the top layby I took a quick look at Pit No 1 and to my surprise was the first Little Egret I’d seen there and as I write this on the 19th I’ve just had word that 4 Little Egret were there together tonight along with the Black-necked Grebe. Other sightings of note were Cormorant. Tufted Duck, 6 House Martin, Jay, Kestrel and 1 Roe Deer with 2 Fawn.

Raptor-ous Day - 16th September 2009

I often travel down the M40 and I’m amazed by the amount of Red Kite I see along the stretch just south of Oxford. Today’s count was 8 but that wasn’t the start of it. I had a little time once I’d finished work so decided to do a little detour before checking into my hotel so headed just west of West Wycombe. I found a layby and watched 12 Red Kite gliding above the tree tops and local fields, I tried to get some photos but nothing of any quality as they just seemed to be out of reach of my 300 lens.

I then headed towards Stokenchurch, turning down Muds Bank I found a large layby were I could pull over and safely watch what was around. I counted a further 20 Red Kite, 10 Buzzard and 1 Kestrel during the time I stopped shooting off nearly 200 shots with my camera. The area is easy to find and well worth a look if you’re in the area as the birds were just very close as they flew from one field to another over the layby.

My hotel was on the lake of an area I used to bird watch when I was Reece’s age though I had nowhere near the equipment or experience he has now. I did think about taking a look around but with the wind being up and not having a jacket I viewed the lake from my balcony. In the evening were the usual Malard, Coot, Canada Geese, Greylag and Black Headed Gull. The surprise was in the morning when I saw 6 Cormorant swimming across the lake as I ate breakfast, I know they are seen on inland during the winter but I didn’t expect to see them in Milton Keynes!
Also around were 6 Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Starling and a Great Crested Grebe.
Several larger Gulls flew across the lake but without my Binoculars I had no chance of identifying them

Raven @ Cuerden Valley Park !!! - 15th September 2009

An interesting sighting as I walked the dogs tonight at the Stags Lodge end of Cuerden Valley Park with 2 Raven flying overhead and heading south. It was the call of one that brought them to my attention as I’d first brushed them off as Rook and to those who have heard the call would never mistake it for another’s.

I was also woken early this morning by a Tawny Owl hunting over the field opposite the house. It called on and off for about 20 minutes and was the first time I’d heard or seen one so close to home, the nearest being Stags Lodge last winter.

Leighton Moss & Conder - 13th September 2009

With the rugby season under way again Reece is finding it hard to accompany me on the trips out with training on a Saturday morning and a game on Sunday.
He plays for Chorley Panthers U13’s and having won their first match away I had high expectations when I received the phone call at full time for but to my dismay they lost 16-20 with Chorley having a good try disallowed! Well heads up they have a good squad this season so let’s hope that’s their only defeat. It’s a shame to he missed out on the trip as he’d have had 2 lifers but more of that later.
I headed up with a friend of mine, Howard to Leighton Moss and the Eric Morecambe and Allen Hides. There were at c50 Black-Tailed Godwit roosting in the middle of the pool with c50 Redshank scattered around mostly feeding. In front of the hide on one of the little islands sat several Greenshank and a single Dunlin made a brief appearance.
The Little Egret were around in numbers with c12 the most I’ve seen anywhere, with Snipe across both pools to a total count of 10. Teal were around in small numbers, a large flock of Greylag flew in. Raptors included a single Buzzard being mobbed by Lapwing and 3 Kestrel across different areas including one sat on a post at the far side of the pool. The star of the show wasn’t the single Spotted Redshank (thanks for pointing it out whom ever you were I would have never spotted it sleeping amongst the Redshank), it was the 2 Curlew Sandpiper that seemed very skittish and made several brief appearances during my visit.
We made a brief visit to the Public Hide more because there was very little to see than lack of time. We should have guessed as the hide was empty when we showed up and with the usual numbers of Coot, a single GBB Gull, c10 Pochard and 4 Gadwall we soon moved off. I’ve given up looking for the Bittern and Bearded Tit as having visited 3 RSPB sites that have both birds and still yet to see them both I’ve decided they’ll show themselves to me when they are good and ready.
With a little time to spare we decided to try Conder and after stopping at Glasson Dock for an ice-lolly and a cup of coffee we set up to see what was around. A familiar face was pretty much all I saw, a fellow birder that I’ve bumped into on several occasions most notably last week when he hit on the Sabine’s gull. I will get your name next time we meet. Things were pretty quiet with 3 Little Grebe on the pool along with 8 Mute Swan and not much else. The creek wasn’t much better either but the tide wasn’t due in for another 4 hours we were lucky to see several Redshank, a single Curlew, a female Kestrel feeding on a vole I’d watch it catch and again a large flock of Goldfinch by the boat.

The lifers missed out on? Spotted Redshank and the Curlew Sandpiper but never mind I’m sure he’ll catch up with both soon.

Condor Creek and Brockholes Wetland 9th September 2009

I popped into Conder Creek on the way home from work to see what was about. Not much around when I first arrived and the tide being high I didn’t really expect much as the mud banks were fairly covered. A quick glance along the creek brought views of Redshank, and a distant view of a flock of at least 30 Goldfinch by the boat. Not much on the pool either with 3 Little grebe, an increase of one over my last visit, a lone Cormorant and 2 Common Sandpiper. A Mediterranean Gull flew over and a quick look back on the creek before I left brought an Oystercatcher, 1 Whimbrel, 5+ Curlew, 30+ Redshank and a single Grey Heron.

A trip to Brockholes Wetland in the evening brought a sighting of the ever elusive Hobby (at least for me). It was sat on the shore of the Ribble side of the Main Pit not sure if it was feeding as just as I got my scope on it 2 Carrion Crow started to mob it and it flew off over the reed bed. Also on the main pit were several Cormorant, Teal and befor I arrived Garganey and 3 Snipe. On Pit no. 1 the usual mass of Coot and Tufted Duck.

Sabine's Gull @ Hoylake - 5th September 2009

A quick peruse of our listed blogs brought me to Bill Aspins visit to the Wirral to see the Sabine’s Gull something neither of us had seen before (but hey looking at our life lists.......lol!). Rare bird alert was telling me one was still around so once Reece arrived back from rugby training, we had a quick lunch and headed out to Hoylake.

Parking up near the lifeboat station we saw several birders heading our way and stopping one group they pointed us further down the promenade and said it was still showing, thanks again if you’re reading this. 5 minutes walk and we joined a slowly disbanding group of birders who informed us it had moved further down the beach after being disturbed by a photographer but no one had a sight of it. A brisk walk and a few conversations later we came across a birder whom I’ve bumped into at Marton Mere and Condor Creek whom was soon onto it and showing Reece some good views through his scope. It's not the same bird as reported on Bill Aspins blog as this one certainly looks to be a juvenile.
 It soon took to the air but settled further down the beach so we moved on to get a better view. Whilst we were there rumours were coming through about a Wilson’s Petrel being sighted and not wanting to miss out we moved onto New Brighton. Also at Hoylake we saw c300 Ringed Plover, Redshank, Curlew, 1 Little Gull and the usual gulls. I wish we had stayed around longer and had a better look as I’m sure there was a lot more out there than we saw on our brief visit.
New Brighton was a little disappointing and we didn’t stop for to long. We did spot a few sea birds out in the distance but not being experienced in sea watching we couldn’t ID any of them. There were a few Cormorant around as well as the normal mix of Gulls and a Common Tern flew through as well as a few distant flocks of Oystercatcher. Maybe we’ll have better luck next time we try our look at sea watching.