20 Feb 2008

Cinclus cinclus amongst other corny happenings.

The week started well with a large number of Corn Buntings on wires along Carr Lane, Hale. 33 - surely a record for Cheshire in recent times. A quick scan from Within Way produced a good flock of 200 + Golden Plover on the arable fields but best of all two Short-eared Owls hunting the saltmarsh. Magic.

Cinclus cinclus - the TSB's self proclaimed Mr. 'Eye Candy's' nightmare! I'd never seen the Continental race of Black-bellied Dipper before so with work taking me over to Hull it was only a short trip across to Watton where this bird has been hanging around for the past week. Unfortunately I had to contend with thick fog and -5 C temperatures so photography wasn't really an option! However the 'record shot' was duly acheived.

Once I'd crossed the Pennines to civilisation the fog miraculously cleared and a beautiful crisp evening descended. My mate Le Donis had informed the Marbury Bittern was showing pretty well in the icy conditions so another detour was in order. Unfortunately the only views I got were flight views as it came in to roost.
Another day and another potential customer to see. This time in Macclesfield. Hmm. A Cattle Egret has graced local fields at Higher Poynton for a week. An ideal oppurtunity to catch up with only my 2nd Cheshire record after the bird at Neston earlier this year. On arrival I was dismayed to hear from other people that there was no sign. Oh yes there was! They weren't looking in the right place. Another misty morning, another record shot made viewable by the magic of Photoshop.
The bird didn't come any closer than about 100 m and eventually flew out of site across the hedge to another field. A quick search couldn't relocate it but I had the bonus of a superb Little Owl.

Whilst in the Macclesfiled area it seemed churlish not to look for Dippers at Wildboar Clough and Red Grouse on the nearby moors. The Dipper was hard but the Red Grouse performed well!

One of the highlights of this week has been the appearance of Siskins on the garden bird feeders. Favouring the Nijer seeds at least 4 of these beautiful little finches have been fighting off all comers. These are the first in our garden for at least 7 years.

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