Ninety Minutes Sparrowhawk

November 26, 2017 at 8:08 pm

Usually when a Sparrowhawk appears in the garden it is a quick fly-through that scatters all the feeding birds. The young male in this week’s photo did just that but then stood around in several places for more than ninety minutes. He was, of course, waiting for birds to return to the garden feeders but none appeared as they could all see him. Our bedroom window was slowly opened to accommodate my big lens and then I was given plenty of time to choose my shots. Those in the gallery clearly show the brown juvenile feathers that contrast to the blue adult plumage. The orange feathers around his breast are also beginning to show.Click here
During the week the first Woodcock have arrived on Hopwood and my local Snipe record has now increased to an incredible ninety one. Unfortunately high water levels everywhere have resulted in some Jack Snipe moving on so my hopes for better flight shots have had a setback!

Jack Snipe Challenge

November 19, 2017 at 7:14 pm

Jack Snipe
There are now so many people taking digital photos of birds that whatever photo you take someone somewhere has got a better photo. You have now got to create your own challenge and keep at it until you have a decent shot. To find a Jack Snipe is never easy but to photograph one in flight – impossible? Well, as far as I know no one has achieved it so I have been working on this challenge and finally this weeks image is a starting point. It is still very much a work in progress.
During the week Lapwings have increased in number on the local Industrial estate and have now peaked at two hundred and thirty. Some of these feature in this weeks gallery. Click here

Top Stag

November 12, 2017 at 5:18 pm

The Red Deer stag in this week’s blog stands proud in the Islay landscape. He has had a hectic time during the last few weeks and he can now rest, until next season that is. The fact he came to look at me may also mean that he now knows the season for shooting Red Deer stags finished on the 1st November!
This weeks gallery includes more of my recent photos from Islay. Geese always feature heavily on an October visit and the drama of ruined crofts adds to the scene. Judging by the number of young Whooper Swans arriving with their parents from Iceland they have had an exceptional breeding season this year. A Grey Seal pup and a Dolphin that looks like its applauding just add to the Islay wildlife scene but a hunting female Hen Harrier always takes some beating click here

Hunting Hen Harrier On Islay

November 5, 2017 at 6:48 pm

If you see any photo of a hunting Hen Harrier with Jura in the background you are bound to be on Islay.
We have just come back from our Autumn week on Islay which has been surprisingly mild but with a distinct lack of any sun. Unlike back home Islay has had a bumper crop of Hawthorne berries this year and it was good to see thousands of Icelandic Redwings devouring them with good numbers of Fieldfares – my first this winter! Whilst waiting for the thrushes both Robin and Wren posed on a fencepost by the car.
I will include some photos of the Geese and Swans next week.Click here

Hopwood Corvid Roost

October 29, 2017 at 8:37 pm

IMG_9746.The spire of Hopwood Hall college is a well known site in north Manchester. The woodlands around the hall are good places for birds but what is not generally known is that the bird-watching gets even better as the sun sets.From miles around corvids (Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, Rooks and Magpies) fly in to roost in the trees around the college spire. At peak times over winter up to a thousand are present and it represents quite a spectacle in the north Manchester urban environment. Click here
During the week four Grey Wagtails together on the canal was an unusually high number and may have been a family party on the move. It looks like we are going to have another Autumn with no Fieldfares with us before the first of November.

Redwings Arrive

October 21, 2017 at 8:04 pm

At dusk on the 2nd October I heard my first Redwing of Autumn but it took until the 19th before I found a flock of sixteen feeding on hawthorne berries. In complete contrast to last year there are very few Rowan or Hawthorne berries available to them this year so we are unlikely to see any large gatherings. Even more unlikely are visits from Waxwings and you have to say that we were spoiled by last winters phenomenal numbers of berry eating birds. The unanswered question though is how do they know from Scandinavia that we have no berries for them in Britain? Click here
The Common Snipe of last week have now moved on but on the 16th I encountered eight Jack Snipe in my local marsh, which was another autumn record. All week there have been some big movements of Pink Footed Geese and a party of eighteen Tree Sparrows was a good local sighting. The return to the garden of two Reed Buntings indicates more local bird movements.,,