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Thursday, 16 December 2010

Turnstone, one of a number by the carpark!

Lying flat on my belly allowed me this shot!!

Feeding amongst the seaweed.

Busy Sanderling.

Ringed Plover
I decided to return to Fleetwood last week on the strength of there being some high tides forecast.It was a lovely bright morning as I arrived and I pleasantly strolled along the shoreline looking out for the Sanderling that feed there.They were easily located feeding amongst the seaweed, a small flock of about 25 birds were present and they allowed me to approach to within 15 metres undisturbed!They really do scurry along the waters edge, dodging the waves and spray.Amongst them I noticed another small wader with the busy Sanderling,it was a Ringed Plover,it too dashed about looking for food.You never know whats going to be there when you arrive, so its well worth the effort scanning the birds with the binoculars.There had been reports of a few Purple Sandpiper present, but I couldn`t locate these .I think they had moved further along the shoreline towards Rossall Point.It was an enjoyable experience with the waders and I must thank my good friend Bryan Rafferty for putting me on to them and hope you again enjoy a few of my images!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

More Winter Visitors!!!

Immature Great Northern Diver !!

It really struggled to consume this small flounder.Wrong shape I suppose..

Male Red Breasted Merganser....

Drake Goldeneye,a few pair breed in northern Scotland!

Amazing bottle green head and white cheek patch!!

Makes a change when you have some nice light to work with!!

The small marine lakes at Fleetwood were recently on the birding grapevine due to the appearance of an immature Gt Northern Diver.Many bird enthusiasts and photographers took the opportunity to visit and admire this winter visitor at really close quarters.The Diver sometimes came to within a few metres of the side of the lake and didn`t seem at all bothered by the possee of people gathered around.It was a dream to photograph and I even managed one shot of it trying to swallow a small flounder it had caught.It seemed to struggle with its meal, but eventually it managed it .Other birds of note were some Red Breasted Mergansers which continually dived looking for food.They all seemed to hunt together as a team.The males looked nice in their winter plummage and again gave good views.On another visit there, after the Diver had departed, a few Goldeneye took up residence.With the lake almost frozen, they were coralled into a small section of open water.You usually can`t get anywhere near these to photograph, so again I made the most of the opportunitywith the lens and in very good light too.They really are a gorgeous looking bird,dont you think!Just over the ridge was the beach and on a high tide, it pushes small groups of Sanderling close in.I took some lovely images of these arctic waders of which I`ll post about in my next blog...

Saturday, 4 December 2010

They came from the East

Plenty of berries were to be found by the birds.

Hungry birds, red berries and blue skies...fantastic!!

Oops I`ve dropped one!!

During the last month or so, we have had the good fortune to experience a massive influx of Waxwings into the country. Initially they were reported in North East Scotland around Aberdeen, but slowly they started to drift down the country to the Borders, then further into Northern England.I had awaited their arrival with great anticipation, knowing full well they would offer fantastic photographic opportunities,when they descend on to the berry laden trees to feed!
About 150 birds had been reported locally nr Clitheroe, and a twenty minute drive found me amongst the throngs who had come to observe and photo the Waxwings.The morning light couldn`t have been better with brilliant blue skies and trees laden with bright red berries,a perfect combination and a pleasent few hours were enjoyed in the company of some good friends.More people were coming by the minute,cars were stopping to ask what the fuss was about and locals all played their part,asking questions about the birds.It was as if a film star had been spotted with all the tripods and cameras about and the camaraderie was excellent.As I type this now some 3 weeks later, the birds are spread from North to South giving pleasure to many people across the country.I indeed never tire of these birds and some absolutely fantastic images have been posted by all and sundry.I hope you enjoy some of my attempts at capturing these great birds!!!!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Algarve continued

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker searching for insects.
This ones a female noticable by its lack of red on its nape.

Juvenile Little Stint!

Arctic visitor stopping off en route to Africa!

Constantly probing the soft mud.

As we are gripped in the throes of Siberian tempretures,I thought I`d conclude my time spent in the Algarve earlier on in the year.How distant this now seems, with roads frozen all around, public transport in disarray and no sign in the let up of these freezing conditions! Anyway back to warmer climes and the first few images are of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker I stumbled upon literally 50 yds up the track from our apartment.I could not believe my ears when I heard it calling from a small dead tree.I was quickly into position with the camera and managed quite a few images before it took flight and disappeared towards a large clump of trees in the distance.Even in the Algarve they are not common and I felt very priveleged to have seen this one feeding close by.
The next set of photos are appropiately of a juvenile Little Stint! I say appropiately, as it is a visitor from the Arctic tundra,this one no doubt on its way to Africa for the winter,only wish I could do the same as I write!!!It was feeding at the side of a lagoon I was walking round.At first I didn`t know what type of wader it was, but a quick check in the fieldguide and its small size gave it to me instantly.They really are small and diminuitive,quickly running to and fro, constantly probing the soft mud for invertebrates.It was oblivious to my presence and at one stage came within a yard of me.It had definately never come into contact with humans before and carried on its feeding as if I wasn`t there.The sun was low in the sky, so I made the most of the opportunity to photograph this Starling sized bird!I am already planning another trip to the Algarve in Spring next year when I`ll be able to spend a full week there.I`ll let you know how it goes on my return!!!!