The Last Commas

October 14, 2018 at 1:43 pm

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During the exceptionally warm days of last week I was out locally looking for late butterflies. Several Commas were encountered plus Large White, Speckled Wood, Small Copper with just a single Red Admiral. With a max. temperature of 24degrees it is not surprising that some butterflies are still on the wing, but for how much longer? Click here
On the 9th October I found my first Redwing and migrant Long Eared owl so as soon as the wind moves from its recent southerly direction the Autumn/Winter migrants will flood in.

Reflections Of Summer

October 7, 2018 at 5:58 pm

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Todays blog photo is of a Green Woodpecker sunbathing on a standing stone. Most nights last summer as I was on my way up onto the moors to film the Owls this Green Woodpecker was sunbathing on the top of a standing stone. It is only a record shot, as there was no way of getting any closer, but it shows that we were not the only inhabitants of the Pennines to enjoy that fabulous weather.
On the 7th October I flushed the earliest Jack Snipe that I have ever recorded. Ironically at the same time I still had a Chiff-chaff singing before leaving for Africa. Last winter I found only two Jack Snipe that didn’t fly off first so this weeks gallery is to remind us what we are looking for in the months ahead! click here

Storm Driven

September 30, 2018 at 3:38 pm

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The wind and rain that we experienced in Wales last week had its effect on a species of bird that was already migrating south from its Arctic breeding grounds. Grey Phalaropes breed in Spitsbergen and two were blown onto the Lancashire coast. One turned up at Crosby and the other, featured in this weeks blog,  spent three days at a Lancashire moorland reservoir. I could hardly resist going to have a look at one of my favourite Arctic birds. Having filmed them in their red breeding plumage in Spitsbergen and Alaska it was hard to believe that the bird I was now looking at in the foam and scum of a Lancashire moorland reservoir was the same bird. Click here
I wish it well and hope it survives to return to Spitsbergen next summer to breed.

Golden Rain

September 23, 2018 at 8:06 pm

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Last week to celebrate our Golden Wedding we stayed in our favourite cottage along the river Dee at Rivercatcher , near Bala. On our wedding day fifty years ago it rained all day and last week over two days we had five inches of rain!! Swallow Falls looked spectacular in the floodwaters but our attempt to reach Wales highest waterfall was thwarted by roadside debris which ultimately cost us two new tyres!
The Berwyn mountains had only Kestrels instead of Hen Harriers. The forests this year have a very heavy crop of cones and whilst we did see Crossbills there should be more as we progress into winter. The RSPB reserve at South Stack on Anglesey produced a pair of Chough, in a raging gale, that literally blew you off your feet. The cafe at South Stack was a welcome refuge as were many others along the A5 during the week. Most had bird-feeders and at one there were more than forty House Sparrows present.Click here

Golf Course Bonus

September 16, 2018 at 6:26 pm

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There is little doubt that Golf Courses are in a prime position to provide a very special bird-habitat. The planting of Gorse, as a hazard for golfers, is a perfect nest-site for Long Tailed Tits and Linnets. This week’s photo, taken on my local golf-course, is of a superb male Linnet – one of more than six pairs using this hazard as a nest-site.
September is the quietest time of the year for my camera which is having a rest this week! Therefore  no gallery!

Skulking Whitethroats

September 9, 2018 at 4:07 pm

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As you walk along the hedgerows of the Pennines there are any number of Warbler type birds that are gobbling up the abundance of Blackberries. Of those that I have checked out all but one have been Whitethroats, the other was a Blackcap. They must literally be eating their way south!
During the breeding season the male Peregrine provides the female with prey for their young. Before he passes it to her he plucks the feathers off it on a rock near the nest called a plucking post( Sparrowhawks do the same). Whilst on Islay in June I came across the most spectacular Peregrine plucking post that I have ever seen. Photos of it are in this weeks gallery. If only it was possible to photograph the male as he plucked the prey against the backdrop of spectacular Hebridean scenery! Click here

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