Category Archives: Lapwings

Starlings and lapwings

Not to be outdone by the kestrel, the lapwings and starlings were also putting on a pretty decent display at Burton Marshes on Tuesday:

Starlings and lapwings.

Serendipitous snaps, and two new bird species

I made another visit to the RSPB reserve at Burton Mere on Tuesday.

Canada geese.

The recent prolonged spell of hot, rainless weather meant that much of the wetland near the Marsh Covert Hide was, in fact, dry-land, which meant that there weren't all that many birds close to the hide. But there were still plenty to see in the distant pool. Continue reading Serendipitous snaps, and two new bird species

Two new life-list entries (in black and white)

Plumbers, a joiner and an electrician are wreaking havoc in what was once our bathroom and will, in ‘a good week and a half at least’ (plumber's promise), be our superb new bathroom. Radio 2 and power tools have been on at full blast. The house has been filled with alarming banging. I have been exiled to the dining room. So, on Tuesday, for a bit of peace and quiet, I left for Dad's much earlier than usual, and paid my first ever visit to the RSPB reserve at Burton Marshes.

As I entered the new visitor centre, I was surprised to see my friend Carolyn's teenage son greeting visitors. He explained that he was on work experience. I embarrassed him something rotten by insisting I take our photo and text it to his mum.

A pair of dudes on Tuesday.

To test him, I then asked Carolyn's son to tell me what birds we could see in the scrape about 100 metres away. He pointed out shelduck, black-tailed godwits, lapwings, little egrets, and a few other species, then delighted me with my first ever sighting of an avocet. It was feeding in the shallows with sideways sweeps of its upturned beak. Continue reading Two new life-list entries (in black and white)

Early morning walk on the Moor

I haven't been on the Moor for a few weeks, so I asked Jen to drop me off at the golf course car park on her way into work. I was on the Moor by 7am!

After a quick visit to the urnfield (which I've blogged about separately here), I made my way up to the trig point and had a brew. Yorkshire Tea, obviously. Then it was along Sheep Stones Edge, down the hill, and back home via Keelam Edge.

I was pleased to see the cotton grass out in abundance:

Cotton grass
Cotton grass.

Continue reading Early morning walk on the Moor

Lapwing and sedge warbler

I've been busy the last week, so I haven't had time to show you the pretty decent photo I took of a lapwing in my farmer friend's field on the evening of 22nd May (my second walk of that day). Here it is:


This Tuesday, I spent another couple of hours at Burton Marshes. It was pouring down, so I decided to just sit in the car and wait to see what came along. I didn't have to wait long. Within a minute of my arrival, I was visited by a sedge warbler, which perched on some cow parsley right next to the car. I didn't want to scare it off by opening the window, but I managed to take a couple of quite nice shots through the glass:

Sedge warbler
Sedge warbler
Sedge warbler
Sedge warbler

Still busy, I'm afraid. Better dash!

A case of mistaken identity

I lay in bed yesterday morning, listening to a curlew calling from the field in front of our house.

It was calling again this morning as I went to open the gate in the unforecasted snow. So I sneaked round to have a peek. It turned out not to be a curlew at all, but a starling in our cherry tree doing a very passable impersonation (imbirdation?) of a curlew. They are impressive mimics.

Then, as I went to open the garage door, I heard my first lapwing of the year calling from somewhere in the fields behind the house.

Well, I say it was a lapwing, but, for all I know, it was another starling.

Postscript (2 hours later): I've just seen it. Definitely a lapwing. It's great to have them back! Now, if it would only stop snowing, it might begin to feel a bit more like Spring.

Where was I? (And how I spent my summer)

It has been pointed out to me that I haven't updated this journal in several months. Not that it needed pointing out, you understand: I was painfully aware of the fact. To be honest, I had been toying with the idea of scrapping the whole thing and using the domain name for some other, as-yet-unidentified purpose.

I've been very busy, you see. I've been writing my book. In fact, I've written my book, and am now looking for a literary agent. Literary agents are extremely difficult to get hold of, apparently, but it's definitely the thing to do, if you can manage it. And, if you can't, there's always the self-publishing-on-Kindle option.

And the weather has been so damn awful, you see. ‘The crappiest summer since records began,’ the Met Office said. Or something like that. So I haven't been getting out as much as I'd like.

And then there's the backlog, you see. I haven't posted here since mid-June. That's over four months' worth of posts I would have to write. Which is a daunting prospect to say the least.

So, tell you what: why don't I just post a whole bunch of photos of stuff I've seen since mid-June, with no commentary except the photo captions, and we'll carry on from there as if nothing happened. Which it didn't, I suppose.

Of course, this means I won't get to tell you about all the stuff I didn't manage to photograph, like the two female goshawk sightings in Anglesey (or, more likely, the same female goshawk twice—my first ever goshawk sightings), and the stoat that failed to spot me sitting on my favourite rock, and the peregrine falcon which flew right by my windscreen while I was stuck in a traffic jam on the M56 near Frodsham Marshes only last week. But you're not interested in goshawks or stoats or peregrines if there aren't any photos, are you?

So, without further ado, on with the pictures. First, a few shots I failed to include in my last post:

A lapwing spotted just below the Moor on a walk on 13th June.
Common haircap moss
Common haircap moss.

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Song thrush
On 25th June, on a walk around the lanes, I spotted a song thrush next to the daytime moon.

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I took another walk on the Moor on 12th July—a longer walk than usual, up to High Brown Knowl:

Mitchell Brothers' Mill
Looking down from the Moor towards Mitchell Brothers' Mill.
An unidentified caterpillar. (I am hopeless at caterpillars.)
A curlew circled above me, emitting alarm calls.

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Red grouse
I was back up on the Moor on 18th August, bagging grouse. (The red grouse is one of the stars of my book.)

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Sexton beetle
On a knackering walk with friends in the Yorkshire Dales on 18th August, I added this sexton beetle to my entomological photograph collection. (But, if you look very closely, you will see that there is more than one insect in this photo.)

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And then, in September, came Anglesey: one of my favourite places in the whole world. The photos are here, and the slideshow is here, but here are a few of my better snaps:

A rather tame guillemot.
Quite possibly my best wheatear photo so far. One of my favourite birds (and another star of my book.)
It's pretty much guaranteed you'll see a raven or two, if you visit the Anglesey coast these days.
Sandwich tern
This sandwich tern was fishing by the rocks every day. It had a newly fledged chick in tow, and was teaching it how to fish—feeding its lazy and noisy offspring in the process.
Bottlenose dolphins
I looked for them every morning, and was eventually rewarded with the sight of a group of three or four bottlenose dolphins heading off across the bay.

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And, other than a couple more walks which did not yield any photos of note, that's about it. We're up to date!