28 Apr 2016

Iceland Gull, Hilbre

A great find by a visiting birder and thanks to Al H ringing us as we drove across to Hilbre Steve & I managed to stop and view it from Middle Eye before it flew north.

The highlight of a generally quiet day - apart from Andrea's whiskey fruitcake!!

21 Apr 2016

Marbury sur la mer

A great visit with Mark Payne to Marbury Country Park last weekend. With such a range of habitats this gem attracts a lot of attention from local birds. Within minutes of leaving the car we'd heard a Cetti's Warbler swearing at us from reeds alongside the brook. Arriving at the viewing screen we soon met up with Pod and whilst nattering about life in general we picked up an unseen Med Gull on call. It dropped in on to an island infant of us and was joined by a 2nd. The pair then proceeded to put on a display for the assembled throng with the occasional flight and a bit of bullying towards the local Black-headed Gulls. A superb sight.
 2nd calendar year Mediterranean Gull with black in wing tips.
 This bird also had some black in the wing tips but it wasn't as noticeable. This can be highly variable so this was probably also a 2nd calendar year bird.
 Courtship feeding and presenting with bits of vegetation.

Mark picked up the pair of Garganey that had been reported over the previous couple of days and they soon emerged from deep in the reed bed and swam across the pool to promptly go to sleep on one of the islands!

All in all a great little run out with my first Reed Warbler of the year as well!

18 Apr 2016


I had a nice surprise last week whilst eating my tea around 7 pm in the kitchen. Glancing up I was just in time to see a bird fly up off the lawn with a white rump. Luckily it settled in some bushes and I managed a quick photo - a female Brambling. The only one I've seen in the garden this winter period.

She didn't stay long and after a couple of minutes disappeared over the garden back towards the fields.

11 Apr 2016

A mixed bag.

A great trip to Hilbre in decent weather resulted in a few birds being ringed including a controlled Chiffchaff with a UK ring on it. It'l be interesting to see where that has come from. A few Willow Warblers had also made it to the island and we also ringed Wren, Robin, Goldcrest and Goldfinch to round off a very satisfying morning.

Else where I spent a lot of time stomping around my local patch looking for migrants with only a handful of Chiffchaffs, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Wheatear to show for 17 km of hard work - I recorded a total of 44 species on my inland patch. There has been no sign this year of the lone male Lesser-spotted Woodpecker at Stanney Woods. Still, the weather was beautiful and it was great to get out in the fresh air after spending a lot of time recently in airports and hotels in Austria.

 Local Buzzard.
 Early Comma
 Green lane
Cattle pastures.

Star bird though was the Osprey that flew over the garden being pursued by our local Buzzards whist I was working in the garden Saturday afternoon. B y the time I dashed in and grabbed the camera it had gone. Siskin numbers have diminished and I managed to catch only one new bird in a brief session Saturday

7 Apr 2016

First summer visitor.

A nice surprise in the garden just before I went away on a week long trip to Austria - a Chiffchaff. my first summer migrant of the year! A male was singing as I had breakfast but disappeared soon after.

With a few hours spare I set up a mist net to catch and ring a few more Siskins and was surprised to find the Chiffchaff in the bottom shelf a few hours later.

The bird had a small 'pollen horn' showing it had been searching for insects deep inside flowers and the pollen had collected and stuck the feathers together.

As soon as it was released the bird started singing again proving it to be a male.

1 Apr 2016

House Sparrows!

Two years ago I put some nest boxes high up in the gable ends of our house and garage specifically for House Sparrows. Until now they remained ignored although a pair of Great Tits found one of the high rise boxes to their liking last year.

Looking out a window at first light I noticed a male House Sparrow pulling nesting material from the garden. It  disappeared but within a short space of time was back wit ha female. I watched them for about 5 minutes stripping bits of dead bark off a shrub before going out to look at one of the boxes. This is what  I saw...................

This is the first time for at least 13 years that House Sparrows have attempted to breed in our  garden.