14 March, 2016 – Pennington Flash

I revisited Pennington Flash with only two hours available, so divided my time between the Bunting Hide (with feeders) and the Teal and Tom Edmondson hides (for water fowl).

The Bunting hide was lavish in its food offerings, with perhaps the cheekiest little bird being this cute long-tailed tit.


Long-tailed Tit

In fact there were lots of these tiny little birds – they really are delicate little things, and very attractive.

160315 long tailed tits 4 Pennington Flash

Long-tailed Tits on feeder

Food tables were also well attended:

160315 blackbird Pennington Flash

Blackbird (male)

160315 bullfinch m&f Pennington Flash

Pair of bullfinches (male at left)

And even a moorhen had hopped onto a food table

160315 moorhen on bird table Pennington Flash

Moorhen, unusually at food table

Other passerines were around the feeding area: chaffinches …

160315 chaffinch f Pennington Flash

Chaffinch (female)


Chaffinch (male)

… a nuthatch …

160315 nuthatch Pennington Flash


.. a cheeeky reed bunting …

160315 reed bunting m 4 Pennington Flash

Reed Bunting (male)

… and a Blue tit.

160315 blue tit Pennington Flash

Blue Tit

Water fowl seen included: shovellers

160315 shoveller m&f 2 Pennington Flash

Male and female shovellers

… teal …

160315 teal Pennington Flash

a teal

.. and, skulking in the undergrowth, a water rail …

160315 water rail 3 Pennington Flash

Water Rail (half hidden}

… who eventually revealed himself

160315 water rail Pennington Flash

Water rail out in the open

Finally, as I was leaving, I saw a male gadwall swimming on the big lake at the entrance.

160315 gadwall m Pennington Flash

Gadwall (male)


21 February, 2016 – Tophill Low

I went with the Stockport local RSPB group to Tophill Low, south of Scarborough on the Eastern Yorkshire coast. It was a pleasant outing but very overcast and it rained all day. In between the rain showers I was able to take one or two photos.

tophill Low

Tophill Low nature Reserve

This was a mixed site – woodland and wetland – but I only really saw water birds. Here’s a male goldeneye taking to the skies.

160221 golden eye 2 Tophill Low

Goldeneye taking to the air

And here again, with a lady friend

160221 male and juv female golden eye Tophill Low

Male and juv female Goldeneye

A Greylag Goose, one of many we saw ..

160221 greylag goose Tophill Low

Greylag goose

Plenty of curlew around today …

160221 curlew Tophill Low

Curlew at the water side

The highlight of the day was a pair of scaup on one of the reservoirs – we knew they were there, but were also –with the aid of spotting scopes– actually able to find them. Here’s a male scaup quacking up a storm about something.

160221 scaup m (foreground) & f Tophill Low

Scaup in the distance

There were plenty of teal on the water – here are a few on a mudbank, with other assorted ducks and swans.

160221 teal (Anas crecca) Tophill Low

Mixed waterfowl on a mud bank – mainly teal

Swans a plenty too – here’s a Mute Swan cygnet from last year in juvenile plumage and black beak.

160221 mute swan juv 2 Tophill Low

A juvenile mute swan

And to finish off, a bit or mallard woohoo – clearly they thought it was spring already.

160221 mallard woohoo Tophill Low

A pair of mallards engaged in a little woohoo

18 February – RSPB Leighton Moss

It was a sunny day and I decided to take the train up to Silverdale, to visit RSPB Leighton Moss. I spent a few hours there and took one or two pictures (see below).

Nothing special, and this is just a photographic record of the some of the birds I photographed on this day (I saw many more species which I did not record).

160218 great tit RSPB Leighton Moss

Great Tit

160218 black-tailed godwit RSPB Leighton Moss

Black-tailed Godwit (in foreground) with Redshank in rear

160218 black-tailed godwit 3 RSPB Leighton Moss

Again, Black-tailed Godwit (in foreground) with Redshank in rear. This time the Godwit has something to say for himself.

160218 redshanks 10 RSPB Leighton Moss


160218 redshanks 34 RSPB Leighton Moss

Redshank again

160218 marsh tit 2 RSPB Leighton Moss

Marsh Tit

160218 marsh tit RSPB Leighton Moss

Marsh Tit again

160218 tufted duck 12 RSPB Leighton Moss

Tufted ducks on the prowl – the second from the right is a bit manky, probably a hybrid.




Martin Mere, 29 January 2016

As always, click on a photo to see in slide format, or scroll down for normal view.

My first birding outing back in the UK was to Martin Mere, near Southport. I suppose the plat du jour was the recently hatched Grey-crown Crane:

160129 grey crowned crane juv Martin Mere

Juvenile Grey-crowned Crane, Martin Mere

Here’s a reminder of what mother crane looked like, with a close up below of the colourful plumage.

150807 Grey-crowned crane 2 Martin Mere

Grey-crowned crane – adult

160129 grey crowned crane feathers Martin Mere

detail of feathers, grey crowned crane

Here’s a Northern Pintail – looking crisp as the weather I experienced on this visit …

160129 northern pintail Martin Mere

Northern pintail

… and a few friends from Argentina, first the Southern Screamer …

160129 chaja Martin Mere

Southern screamer

and below, the Chilean Flamingo …..

160129 chilean flamingo 2 Martin Mere

Chilean flamingo

… and finally some Muscovy Ducks.

160129 muscovy ducks 2 Martin Mere

Muscovy ducks

Moving outside the collections area, I didn’t stay very long on this visit as I mistimed train connections, but I did attend feeding time for the Whooper Swans, a main feature of Martin Mere. Below a close-up.

160129 whooper swans 1 Martin Mere

Whooper Swans

160129 whooper swan 2 Martin Mere

Whooper Swan, close up

Other wild birds I saw included a snipe  about his business …

160215 snipe 2 Martin Mere


A glorious robin singing his heart out ….

160215 robin Martin Mere


A shelduck …

160215 common shelduck Martin Mere

Common Shelduck

A greenfinch …

160215 greenfinch Martin Mere


Quite a few reed buntings

160215 reed bunting female Martin Mere

Reed Bunting (female)

160215 reed bunting male Martin Mere

Reed Bunting (male)

And, back on the shoreside, a lapwing

160215 lapwing Martin Mere

[Northern] lapwing

A grey Heron …

160215 grey heron Martin Mere

Grey Heron

And a ruff, sadly not in breeding plumage but I’ll be back!

160215 ruff 4 Martin Mere