Orange Tips In Abundance

April 27, 2019 at 7:12 pm

The hot, sunny weather of Easter has had an amazing effect on butterflies especially Orange Tips. A short walk near Heywood produced a record 22 Orange Tips, 13 Peacock, 12 Small Tortoiseshell and 4 Speckled Wood butterflies. The following day, over new ground, another 20 Orange Tips were seen in just half an hour and photos of these are in this weeks gallery with two mating.
summer visitors continue to flood in with the change in wind direction and these have included Cuckoo and my first ever local Hobby.Click here

Singing Bramblings

April 20, 2019 at 9:03 pm

A Brambling in full song is normally only heard on its breeding ground in Lapland. This last winter brought many to Britain and the return passage has been delayed due to the weeks of easterly winds.The recent warm weather has encouraged them to start singing which is what the male in this weeks blog is doing.They are one of the most colourful birds that visit our shores as shown in the gallery photos.Click here

Spot The Tree Creeper

April 14, 2019 at 1:02 pm

Without the white feather this weeks Tree Creeper is superbly camouflaged against the background tree and would be very hard to spot. Like the Long Tailed Tits of last week Tree Creepers like white feathers to line their nests with. Unfortunately Tree Creepers nests are much more difficult to find than Long Tailed Tits nests. I was fortunate last week to find one and spent a good hour in their company as they came back and forth with any feathers that they could find, especially white ones. Click here

Searching For Feathers

April 6, 2019 at 7:04 pm

One of the most delightful events in March is filming Long Tailed Tits as they bring in feathers to line their nests. In many years I start my breeding season off with this activity and this year I have been spoilt for choice having found ten nests that were all ready for lining. They are wonderfully tame subjects and with some pairs you don’t even need to be covered up to obtain your photos although generally I like to be under a camouflage cloth. White feathers are their preferred choice but in this weeks gallery you will see one bird bringing to the nest a feather from a Snipe. Click here
The recent cool weather has ensured that some of our winter visitors are still with us and on the 1st April I encountered my latest ever Jack Snipe. In stark contrast on a lake nearby were more than one hundred Sand Martins desperately trying to find food.

Last Night’s Fish Supper

March 31, 2019 at 7:08 pm

Late February’s superb weather encouraged Kingfishers back to their nest-sites and thoughts turned to the breeding season ahead. I spent a glorious ten hours watching a pair that included the bird in this weeks photo. Suddenly she appeared to be choking which, having witnessed this before, I knew was the start of her regurgitating a pellet of fish bones. Like Owls Kingfishers swallow their prey whole and at a later time the bones, in the form of a pellet, are coughed up and discarded. The sequence of this action is included in this weeks gallery photos.Click here
This is a great time of year to be involved in wildlife with the overlap in the seasons. One day this week I went from a Chiff-Chaff singing in the garden to Long Eared Owls, Woodcock and Jack Snipe in the hills. The following day I encountered fourteen Peacock butterflies enjoying the sun!

Rough Seas

March 24, 2019 at 8:58 pm

While up in North East Scotland last week we paid a quick visit to the Moray Firth hoping to film Long Tailed Ducks. None came within reach of the camera but the rugged coastline did provide good views of Turnstone and Purple Sandpipers battling the wild surf. The Caledonian forests around Loch Garten provided good views of Siskins and the illusive Crested Tits that had already paired off and were busy excavating nest holes. The bird of the short break had to be the Brambling with one field at Boat of Garten having a feeding flock of 200 which never came close to the camera ! The Waxwings that had spent all winter in the area had already left for Scandinavia three days before we arrived !! You can’t win them all! Click here