Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Beauty in the beast at Pennington Flash

So the "Beast from the East" arrived today and what a beautiful and dramatic day it was.  Bitterly cold for most of the day with an easterly wind which cut right through you, but wonderful squally snow showers and bright blue sunshine made it the best day of the year so far.

We might still be in the grip of winter but Mediterranean birds abounded at the flash today, the highlight being two pristine adult Mediterranean gulls which didn't seem to care about the cold and were displaying right outside Horrock's hide, with a third adult on the spit. Another species of gull more at home in the Mediterranean, the regular 3rd winter yellow-legged gull still harasses the coots for mussels, whilst three little egrets flew over the spit which held two snipe and four oystercatchers. Male goldeneye were displaying on the flash and several goosander drifted past.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Mediterranean Gull on the Leeds-Liverpool canal, Leigh

There's been a cracking adult Mediterranean gull on the Leeds-Liverpool canal  for the past two weeks, between Leigh bridge and the Atherleigh way. This is undoubtedly one of the birds which roosts at Pennington Flash, but it shows a bit better here!

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Overdosing on the hooded crow in Ashton

A few more photos of the hooded crow in Ashton-in-Makerfield. In bright sunlight such as today the pale grey in its plumage looks almost silvery, in fact it's a really smart bird.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Glaucous gull, Hollingworth Lake

For the past week or two there has been a very obliging juvenile glaucous gull at Hollingworth Lake, near Rochdale in Greater Manchester. I've put off going to see it for a number of reasons, not least because I don't like the place and the traffic can be very bad in that area, but also because I didn't really want to see the bird surrounded by the massed ranks of photographers no doubt trying to feed it meal worms or fish and chips or some such thing. However having heard one or two encouraging and reassuring reports, today I finally succumbed, and when Elaine announced that she'd liked to go for a walk, I suggested Hollingworth Lake.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

A week at the roost 27th January - 2nd February 2018

Caspian gull - © John Tymon

Another week at the Pennington Flash gull roost and not much has changed except that gull numbers have gone down considerably, especially the larger gulls. The Caspian gull is still around, seen on four out of seven nights and the Mediterranean gull was seen most nights. The Iceland gull has become very intermittent, only seen on three nights this week and even the yellow-legged gull has become unreliable and a bit more difficult.

When the Caspian gull does appear it can come in quite close and sometimes relatively early, as can be seen from John Tymons excellent photos here. Although at a distance its bill still seems quite dark, in fact at close range it now has a distinctly pink base.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Hooded crow, Ashton-in-Makerfield

This morning I called in for another look at the hooded crow at Ashton-in-Makerfield. It was my first visit to the site since last Wednesday when I had a run in with a photographer which left me a bit disillusioned and depressed. I didn't even leave my car today, I simply pulled up at the side of the grass, with the sun behind me, put the window down and waited. After a few minutes the bird duly obliged and landed just a few metres from my car and I was able to take a few photos without chasing it or causing any disturbance. Eventually it was inevitably flushed by a photographer who decided to walk straight across the grass towards it, at which point the bird flew up into the trees and I left. No doubt this chap got some half silhouetted shots of a bird looking down from a tree, appearing harassed and afraid, which he's probably filed away under the heading wildlife photographs. Meanwhile, I'll have to content myself with these photos of the bird on the ground, looking relaxed and natural.

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