Welsh Redpolls

January 27, 2018 at 6:44 pm

Not a subspecies of the Redpoll but a small party of Common Redpolls found feeding last week  in Wales.
We have just returned from a snowy week in the Berwyn mountains alongside the River Dee.
Crossbills were quite common and I managed a few photos of one bird as snow was falling. If you compare the bill with the Parrot Crossbills of last week there is a significant size difference. Click here

For anyone wishing to visit this part of Wales, with the luxury of a hot tub and a wood-burning stove, then I cannot recommend the cottages at Rivercatcher enough. www.rivercatcher.co.uk

Who’s A Pretty Boy?

January 19, 2018 at 9:28 am

There are few birds more colourful than a Parrot Crossbill. This winter several small flocks of Parrot Crossbills are in Britain and one of these is to be found deep in the Derbyshire Pennines.This is a bird I have never even seen before let alone taken a photograph of so it never entered my plans at the beginning of the year. However, following a tip off and four hours under a camouflage cloth, in freezing conditions, I was able to obtain many photos of up to eleven Parrot Crossbills. They are very similar to Common Crossbills but have enormous bills that don’t cross over at the tip and their necks are much bulkier. It was a fantastic unexpected session to start the year and they will be a hard subject to follow.Click here

Global Warming?

January 13, 2018 at 6:30 pm

Common Sandpiper
When you walk around a moorland reservoir on the 5th January the last bird you expect to see is a Common Sandpiper. This bird should now be enjoying the warmth of Africa not the ice and snow of the Pennines. Whether it will survive the extremes of winter weather forecast for the end of next week remains to be seen – lets hope it does.
During the last week Roe Deer have been active in the local woods and on Monday I came across one that was resting in the winter sunshine. This is in the gallery which next week will feature a new bird for me, being the most colourful winter visitor to the Pennines. click here

All Steamed Up

January 7, 2018 at 7:12 pm

This weeks photo shows Lapwings that appear to be deliberately roosting in the steam outlet from our local Industrial estate. It is another example of how Lapwings are taking full advantage of our central heating system in cold weather. There have been as many as three hundred Lapwings on this roof and they are perfectly happy to have the warm steam from the unit below blown over them. click here
During the week in fields near Heywood I came across twenty eight Tree Sparrows feeding on grain that had been put out for them by the local farmer. It is the largest number of Tree Sparrows that I have seen locally for many decades. A pellet and droppings on a post nearby indicated that the local Barn Owl had also been feeding on the mice and voles that would have been present on the grain overnight. A clear example of how one farmer can provide a great benefit to his local wildlife.