Ten Days To Go

May 24, 2013 at 6:17 pm


I have just spent most days this week filming my regular pair of Kingfishers who have now about ten days before this years first brood of young fledge. Last Year, of course, they tried three times to rear young and on each occasion the young drowned in the nest chamber due to flooding. So let’s hope that we do not have any heavy rain in the next ten days so that their young will fledge successfully.

While I was hidden along the river bank filming the Kingfishers a Mallard passed by with her eight young and both her and a view of the river are shown in this week’s photo gallery. Click here Also on show is a view of our small back garden where we have had our best Winter feeding in over forty four years. Today the Blue Tits fledged their young but we suspect they only had a small brood due to the late Spring and consequent lack of caterpillars available.

Dipper Success

May 20, 2013 at 8:25 am


This week’s photo is of a Dipper I filmed last month that has ¬†fledged its first brood of young and is now incubating a second clutch of eggs. It appears that despite the cold Spring that we have had it does not seem to have affected the local Dippers.

In the hIlls there appears to be a dearth of voles this year which is having a detrimental effect on the Long Eared Owls. My normal seven pairs are down to only one pair and these are a month later than normal with the female still incubating eggs.

In the garden the male Sparrowhawk has reappeared after a long absence and has already taken a Redpoll as prey. We are still are maintaining our twenty plus species a day feeding rate which has been unbroken since mid November!!

During the past week I have been up Pendle Hill again and spent more magical time with a single Dotterel. I have included three photos together with Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail and male Lapwing that I have come across in my recent travels. There is also an extreme close up of the bill of the Dipper crammed full of aquatic insect life. It is not just the Puffin that can carry a bill full of prey without dropping any. Click Here

Heavenly Dotterels

May 10, 2013 at 8:09 pm


The top of Pendle Hill is about as close to Heaven as you can get in the Pennines.To be stood there at 6.30am in full sunshine, white frost and no wind with a Dotterel only fifteen feet in front of you is truly a magical experience. On the 2nd of May I trekked to the top of Pendle `hill and had an undisturbed two hours with a Dotterel that eventually was so tame it fed within five feet of my foot. It was to get even better for at 7.15am the Dotterel cocked its head to one side and gave three piping calls. Out of the sky another Dotterel landed fifteen feet away and commenced feeding – this was migration at its best and an experience I have never witnessed before. Eventually I left the top of Pendle HIll at 9am on a high and with nearly two hundred quality photos in the camera. Some of these can be seen on my facebook including one where the Dotterel was calling the other bird out of the sky.

The rest of the week has been spent searching for Woodcock but as usual none have been seen. On Hopwood Buzzard and Sparrowhawk were competing for a nest site with the expectation that the Buzzard will win. Linnets were active amongst the gorse and last years Green Woodpecker’s hole has been plastered up by a pair of nesting Nuthatches.

With the welcoming warm weather butterflies have made an appearance. Many Small Tortoiseshells are on the wing plus Orange Tips, Green Veined and even a Peacock butterfly on the top of Pendle Hill.

For some of my Dotterel photos click here

Spring At Last

May 5, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Pied Flycatcher

With warmer weather and the disappearance of the East wind Spring has finally arrived.

On the 30th April I visited Marshside, Southport for the first time in years. I have to say it was a little disappointing with most of the Black Tailed Godwits having moved on and very few of the Avocets came within camera range. I did, however, manage to obtain a sequence of shots of a pair copulating. Whilst at Marshside I saw my first Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Swifts of the year.

During the week I filmed a pair of Pied Flycatchers as they chose a nest – box for the coming breeding season. The male had a ring on its leg and as none have been ringed in the wood where I was filming we shall never know where it was originally ringed.

In the garden the Siskins have now moved on. The Redpolls however continue to increase and on the 4th we had a record eight feeding together. It is impossible to know how many Reed Buntings are coming to feed but there could well be more than a dozen individuals.

To view  some of my other photos taken this week click here