Almost Extinct

November 28, 2021 at 4:06 pm

When I started filming birds fifty one years ago the commonest moorland bird was the Twite or Mountain Linnet as it was locally called. You could walk the moors in July and come across half a dozen nests without really trying.The whole Pennine population must have been well over a thousand pairs.
Last week the RSPB announced that this year there may have been only a dozen breeding pairs in the whole of the Pennines. Its a sorry tale of overgrazing by sheep and cattle plus the loss of Hay meadows – the Twite feeds almost exclusively on seed. This weeks blog and gallery photos were taken a few days ago after constant baiting with Niger seed. Some of the birds in the flock of thirty would have come down from Scotland where they are still holding their own.www.facebook.com/gordon

Rooftop Lapwings

November 21, 2021 at 7:16 pm

The practice of Lapwings roosting on the roof of Industrial Units has been going on locally for more than thirty years. In fact it started in Manchester and has now spread throughout the whole of Britain. My local flock peaked at 350 last week and may well increase further as Winter progresses.
From the camera point of view the Lapwings frequently get spooked and fly around before landing again on the same roof or sometimes a different one. If the sun and wind are favourable you can obtain some great photos from underneath as the birds land again.See the Gallery for  last week’s photos.www.facebook.com/gordon

Wish You Were Here

November 14, 2021 at 8:10 pm

For more than thirty years we have had a week on Islay in Autumn to film the Swans and Geese as they arrive from the Arctic – but not this year. Why not this year you might ask and the answer is the stormy weather that prevails in Autumn resulting in closed roads, cancelled ferries and now Covid. It is a sad gap in my filming year for to me there is no finer sight in Autumn than to stand at the head of Loch Indaal, at sunset, and watch the Swans and Geese coming to spend the night on the sands against the backdrop of a classic Hebridean sunset.This year there is the added  bonus of a dozen Sea Eagles trying to catch them as they come to roost – perhaps next year!!gallery www.facebook.com/gordon

The Delight Of Jays

November 7, 2021 at 6:37 pm

 

As soon as the crop of Acorns has gone in the Countryside the Jays will descend on our gardens. Peanuts are the attraction and this last week we have had at least three competing for the spoils. The light has been quite poor but some photos are in this weeks gallery. www.facebook.com/gordon

Redwings At Last

October 31, 2021 at 8:30 pm

The true heralds of our Autumn are the arrival of Redwings from Scandinavia. Decades ago you could always predict an arrival by 30th September/1st October. In recent times it has been considerably later with last years date being the 13th October and this years the 16th October. I wonder how much of this delay is due to Global warming? Or is it purely a matter of prevailing winds? Something to ask the Global Warming summit in Glasgow next week!! www.facebook.com/gordon for gallery photos

A Textbook Gem

October 24, 2021 at 3:00 pm

In 1975 I filmed my first pair of Sparrowhawks at the nest. It was a wonderful experience and I have watched dozens more since then but none have compared to the male that visited our garden last week. To quote a phrase he was an absolute textbook gem – in other words he was feather perfect with no white feathers showing on his back and a superb orange breast. Ironically on the same day a first year male also visited the garden and this weeks gallery photos illustrate the vast differences in plumage. www.facebook.com/gordon