Monday, 31 December 2012

A Great End to 2012 at Frodsham Marsh

I had a visit to a new reserve today called Parkgate, there wasn't much there since the tide was out; however there were a few Curlew, Teal, a Deceit of Lapwing joined by 2 Black Tailed Godwits, a few Mallards and a solitary Redshank. I plan to visit here a lot more in the New Year, especially during the high tides when the raptors go hunting.

We soon moved on to Frodsham Marsh (after enjoying our picnic), however we had to call back home, as dad had forgotten the camera.

When we eventually got to the Marshes we were joined by 4 species of wader; Lapwing, Golden Plover (a first for me), Redshank and a few Curlews; duck wise there were 2 Pintail, Teal, Mallard and a couple of Pochard.

We kept seeing Cormorants flying over the car quite low, and then when we looked into No.6 tank we found out where they had gone.

My favorite duck species were out today, this male Teal was rather close to the bank. 

This Buzzard was looking a bit confused in which way to go. 

This Kestrel was doing quite well to defend it's territory from this Buzzard who was at least 5 times bigger.

Raptors were everywhere today, especially Buzzards, they were everywhere you looked!!!!!!!!! 

We met a local farmer on the track who said that he had been clearing a ditch so all the flood water from the fields would run in to it. He could then put the cattle back in the fields, because he didn't have enough food stored up for winter. 

I spotted a pair of active Stone Chats perched on a dead thistle. I think the male are one of the most colorful birds. 

It was getting quite dark so I couldn't get any more bright pictures, but I did like this Grey Heron flying home.

Well that's it for 2012, it's really been a brilliant year.

I hope you all have great 2013 full of birds and nature!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Meeting Sharon & Gary at RSPB Burton Mere

I was really looking forward to my visit to Burton Mere today, not just because of the bird life, but also to see Sharon and Gary for the first time.

In the past I am sure you have seen a picture of the three ducks that Sharon has painted for me, so today I met up with Sharon and Gary to do a bit of bird watching and to collect my painting. Thank you ever so much for the fantastic painting Sharon, I would love to meet up in the New Year some time with you both again.

As you can see, it is a brilliant painting; in fact, from my point of view it is as good as any other professional painting. 

The pool that you can see from reception was teeming with birds, however at the second hide there wasn't so many.

I think I am now seeing more Chaffinches than House Sparrows, they are pretty much everywhere you look!!

I prefer to get birds in trees so it looks natural, however with Goldfinches I just can't resist taking photos, especially when they are staring right at the camera.

 I kept trying to get good pictures of Nuthatches; me and Gary were having a little competition to see who could get the best photo, I think I did quite well, but Gary won by far.  In fact I have just seen Gary's Nuthatch pictures on his blog from today and they are amazing.

This is my brother Harley's Coot picture. I thought it was quite good, since I think it was his first time with the camera, so please give him a bit of praise.

In the afternoon we went to Frodsham Marshes, but more about some fabulous sightings there tomorrow!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

RSPB Conwy - Fire & Bittern

Today I visited RSPB Conwy to see what was about even though it was a really wet day. The Little Egrets were every where today; there was at least one on every pool. I went on the guided walk and eventually at the last hide met one of my blog followers Phil Gatley who was really helpful and kind. Phil volunteers at RSPB Conwy and has done so for the last 5 years - a great thing to do.

 I was about half way through the reserve when I noticed 2 small round birds that were dashing back and to through the brambles, and when I eventually got them through my binoculars I realised they were Fire Crests.   We had seen them earlier in the day on the guided walk, but it was great to spot them again without any help. When I got to the next few hides all there really was was a number of duck species (Pochard, Gadwall, Teal, Tufted Duck) and a few waders (Little Egrets, Curlews, a single Oystercatcher, Lapwing and a Snipe).     

Robins were everywhere as well, and I got rather close to one of them.......

Me and my brother were holding out a little bit of seed for the Robin and after a bit of patience I finally succeeded in getting it to come to my hand and feed off it. 

Another bird that was showing quite well were the Red Breasted Mergansers, a member of the Saw Bill family (the one below is a female). As I was walking back with Phil to get some lunch, I noticed a small heron shaped bird flying over the coffee shop; at first I thought it was a juvenile gull but when I looked at it through my binoculars I realised it was a Bittern, it was great to see one actually flying.  

The Estuary beside the reserve didn't have much on it apart from a few wagtails, Red shanks  Curlews, Gulls and Oyster catchers. 

What a wonderful day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just one last thing, it was great to see two other young teenagers enjoying the reserve today.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Grandma's House in North Wales

 Since it was Christmas I took a visit to my Grandma's and I wasn't surprised that it was a nightmare getting there. Many of the fields were flooded and the rain had eroded big ruts in the track. When I got settled into the house I soon started opening my presents and got lots of useful, exciting and interesting stuff, including a bird counter

There were plenty of birds about dashing in and off the feeders; the Great Spotted Woodpecker was showing up quite well today. (My Grandpa Peter even saw 3 all together at one point). This is the most common woodpecker in the UK. This male Woodpecker was attacking the nuts really energetically.

Sorry about the pictures they are a bit hazy because of the weather. The Nuthatches were occasionally visiting the feeders, same with the Coal Tits. There were only probably a couple of Nuthatches visiting the feeders, however I still got some good views . 

There were plenty of Chaffinches dancing across the floor and unfortunately 1 or 2 had a disease called bumble foot.

Robins were everywhere today, mostly feeding off scraps of seed that my Grandpa had put out.

This Coal Tit was using the nut feeder for a change, since most of the time they are either in a bush hiding away or fluttering up onto a seed feeder then dashing off into a bush or tree.

In this picture you can obviously see my Grandma and Grandma get a lot of bird life, especially Tits. 

Goldfinches were thriving, however no Siskins.

Back home again now and having another look through my presents.

I have lots of birding planned for the rest of the week though!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Five Christmas Wishes

Today I have decided to tell you about the 5 wishes that I want to happen in the New Year (2013). I am also adding in 5 of my favourite pictures from 2012. Here they  are:.....

  • I would like every one to at least have one bird feeder the garden, since in the hard Winters birds will struggle to find food. Also, if people feel that excitement when a bird first lands on their feeder, they might just learn to love nature a bit more.
  • Try and keep factories and new building sites away from the county side, so pollution won't infect the wildlife in these places. 
  • I would like more people to realise how important nature really is, because every body really needs every part of it. I learnt that even wasps play an important part after watching The Secret Life of The Sparrowhawk by David Culley. The wasps clear the nests of the left over scraps of meat that are fed to the young Sparrowhawks.
  • I would like no further discard, because dead fish are just being thrown away when really they could be used for useful things. I don't understand how throwing dead fish into the sea is protecting them.
  • And finally I would love Kingsmead FC to win the cup final without it going to penalties.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Spot the Bittern

Today I had an enjoyable visit to Marbury Prak and as soon as I got to the first hide there was a very secretive bird lurking in the reeds.................. a Bittern.

Can you spot it?

What a lovely bird to see on the last day of the weekend. I am one of the first people to see one here this Winter, so for me it is quite an achievement, however I wouldn't have viewed it so well if it hadn't been for a helpful man and his telescope.

As I was walking back to the hide I was originally in, I spotted a feeding party of Long Tailed Tits. I recon if this Tit didn't have this lovely long tail, it might be as small as a Goldcrest, as it's body is tiny.

The Heron was stalking in the reeds today since the lake was frozen.

And when I got to the first hide I noticed three Mallards skidding about on the ice.

I saw loads of Robins today at Marbury; however I saw a few more in my garden. Infact there were three at the same time fighting and squabbling. I almost managed to get one to feed out of my hand.

I just wanted to mention the other great bit of the weekend, my football yesterday. It was the semi-final of a cup match. Once the game had finished, we were drawing, so that meant extra time; however it was still level pegging when extra time was finished, so we went onto penalties - a bit scary as I am the goalkeep. I saved two penalities and the other keeper saved one. So we are through to the final. I hope we win the cup.

Our World Tuesday

Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Guest Blog for Mark Avery

It's been another exciting week, as I have been giving a brilliant opportunity to do a guest blog for Mark Avery.

In case you don't know, Mark Avery spent 25 years fighting for birds working for the RSPB. For a long time he was Conservation Director with the RSPB.

I am really interested to know what people think about my ideas and see what they think will happen in the future.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Nature Days In Primary Schools - Can You Help

Today I had an enjoyable visit to Burton Mere even though there wasn't too much birdlife about apart from the odd Black Tailed Godwit and a few Redshank. (No Smew). 

I saw for the first time at Burton Mere a few Siskins which were really nice, but I wonder how many children and adults would know what one is? Since watching the recent David Attenborough programmes I keep thinking more and more about what wildlife will still be around when I grow up. I no longer just enjoy wildlife, I now really want to protect it too.

This wonderful male Chaffinch was just sitting fluffed up on a branch; you may think they loook a little boring since they are common, but the bird world wouldn't make sense without them.  Sadly it looks like this one had quite bad bumble foot on both feet.  I learnt all about bumble foot at a recent BTO ringing demonstration.

I saw plenty of rats, which were nice to see even though people dislike them. Every part of nature has a part to play in natural life cycles; trees, birds and even ants. People shouldn't dislike rats as they are an important part of the food chain. I bet a few raptors would like a juicy rat to chew on!

Possibly one of my favourite garden birds, the Great Tit was really thriving today.

As I was walking round today, I couldn't help think about the nature days in my school which I am trying to set up. I have already told my head teacher about it and I am really interested in getting young people  interested, not just for the fun of it, but for the future of it too.......... 

Would anyone like to be my first guest speaker in school to help me really get this going.