Wednesday, 29 July 2015


On Monday I nipped over to Earlswood Lakes hoping the Black Tern reported there on Sunday by John Oates was still there.On the causeway I soon met up with Matt Griffiths and he told me it had not been seen at all that day.Can't win them all ! !

There were loads of Common Terns so I tried for some shots of these chaps before the rainy conditions sent me scooting back home.

On Tuesday morning I went over to Marsh Lane.It was still cool and pretty breezy.Yet again whilst in the north causeway hide I missed a getting a shot of a juvenile Water Rail which was far too quick for me.

There was some more bad news when I entered the Oak hide where Jeff Rankin had seen a Black Tailed Godwit  a couple of minutes earlier but it was now out of site.I spent the best part of an hour waiting for it to appear but it didn't. All I got was a distant shot of a Common Sandpiper and a Little Grebe. 

Managed a couple of shots of a pair of Linnets that were favouring a Gorse bush along the main path.

l also managed a few shots of a Sedge Warbler.My first shots of one of these birds for a while now.

Sunday, 26 July 2015


Having at long last solved a settings problem with my new camera (not getting any active focus points when focus has been achieved when doing flight shots) I was keen to get out there and have a go.So after lunch on Saturday I went across to Marsh Lane.

Although I stayed for a couple of hours there were hardly any birds flying around so I had no chance to test out how good the new settings were.However all was not lost because I did find a few birds to keep me busy.

At the North causeway hide the Water Rails were pretty active and at one time I saw three.One was a juvenile which I'd not seen since it was a small fluffy black chick.Trouble was it shot off and the only shot I got was out of focus.

I bet that this spot is the one that you can get closest to Water Rails in the whole country.This can be a bit of a problem if you are using a telephoto lens the Rails are just too close.Neither of these two shots are cropped.


Took one of my best shots of a Water Rail that day trouble was a part of the bird was missing.

The Shellduck chicks have very quickly grown up to full size.God knows what they are finding to eat out there.

There were 3 possibly 4 Common Sandpipers on the RW pool.

Whilst in the Oak hide a Sparrowhawk swooped down onto one of the islands but I was so slow that I only got a shot when it was flying off and then the settings were wrong.

Also from the Oak hide a Little Egret was showing a while before flying off.

Back to the CP hide a couple of Green Sandpipers were on one of the islands.First I'd seen for a while now.

Thursday, 23 July 2015


Whilst at Marsh Lane on Tuesday morning where I saw 4 Common Sandpipers on the CP pool and 2 Little Egrets on the RW pool I bumped into Glen Giles in the river hide.It was whilst chatting to Glen in the hide about the long staying Red Footed Falcon in Staffordshire that persuaded me to set aside my hatred of the M6 and go up and see it.

At 6.00 AM this morning I set off and headed for the M6 a road I'd grown to hate it in the 80's and 90's when I used to travel along it up to Liverpool and Manchester etc where we had several major projects over the years.We sometimes had to get up there twice a week and travelling with a couple of architects and a civil engineer each time made the journey even worse.Mind you in those days I was a third lane racer.Now I am first lane slow coach.

Got to J 16 in pretty decent time although the M6 was very busy even at that time in the morning.As I dropped down onto the A500 in reached for the route map I'd downloaded and it wasn't there.I'd left it at home.What a clown ! !

Having to rely on my memory I very soon got hopelessly lost and it was only with a bit of luck when I stumbled onto the A527 that I found my way to the right place.It was 7.30 AM when I parked up next to the only birder there.It was a bit gloomy and surprisingly cold.I was dressed for a warm summer day of course.

I was very lucky because my new best friend was a veteran of watching this bird and knew all of it's favourite spots.It wasn't too long before he spotted it (on the colliery fencing) and I got some shots before it flew off and of course I got a life tick.  

What a cracking looking bird.I stayed till just after 10.00 AM and during that time it showed very well but  with quite long periods when it was perched out of site.Here are some shots of it perched on it's favourite bush.

It would suddenly drop down from it's perch onto the ground where it had spotted some food.

Another of it's favourite perches was on the back of a tree that was on the fence line of the road you parked on so it was very close.The trouble was you could only get a view of part of the bird and it was gloomy in the tree.

Managed a few flight shots of this stunning bird.

Did see the Black Redstart that was near the colliery main gate but not only would it not come close it was in a pretty tatty state.

I somehow managed to get back onto the M6 by 10.30 AM and headed home.The journey was OK till I got near J10 where there was a huge jam and it took me ages to get past J8.This brought back more bad memories of always picking the wrong lane when the traffic was in a jam.The other lanes always moved faster than mine.Also when the traffic finally speeds up you can never see what caused the jam.Glad I went though.

Saturday, 18 July 2015


The Marsh Lane Limping birder is me.No surprise there then. I went to Marsh Lane a couple of times last week which were my first outings with the camera since I strained the ligaments in my right knee leaping into the car to avoid a shower there 10 days ago.

It still aches all the time but at least I am able to get around but stairs remain a problem.I also had a problem finding birds to point the camera at as I limped round on both mornings.Things were very quiet as you'd expect at this time of year and I hardly saw another birder on each visit.

The Shellduck chicks are now pretty well grown up know which is amazing considering how small they were not long ago.

The Common Terns will soon leave and head towards South Africa so I thought I'd better get a few shots before they leave.

Two Little Ringed Plover chicks (or are they Ringed Plover chicks ??) showed from the Oak hide for a while.

The only real success I had was from the North Causeway hide when A Reed Warbler flitted around in the reeds pretty close but very briefly.A Water Rail showed twice but was in skulking mode so all shots were crappographs.