A WALK ON THE WILDSIDE---PAUL FOSTER

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Monday, 29 May 2017

Wood warbler

 For the last few weeks a Wood Warbler has been present at a local nature reserve in the Trough Of Bowland.I took the opportunity  to see this lovely summer migrant,as it was on territory and actively looking for a mate!

The bird was easily located with its trilling call,high up in the canopy and it gave a few short fluttery display flights to the lower branches enabling good close views.As I write this,the bird has been there a good few weeks now,and is still displaying.

Whether it finds a mate,remains to be seen,as they really are in serious decline .Also present, was a Tree Pipit which had returned to its patch to breed.I just love the call of this bird and again it is not at all common to the area!

Thanks for dropping by and please keep well!




Tree Pipit


Thursday, 25 May 2017

Local Tawny Owls!

Last year I made a few owl boxes for the local tawnies,I was over the moon when I spotted this adult enjoying the morning sun in late march!
A few weeks later,I decided to investigate further and was pleased to find this adult incubating!

Checking the box to see if they had hatched,I was greeted with this clutch of 4 eggs!

Again leaving it for a week or so,another inspection revealed these little fellas!

Which a few week later had grown considerably into quite large owlets.There seems to be plenty of voles about this year so they should,t go hungry for long!Not long after,literally days ,2 of the owlets had fledged and were sitting quite high up in the pine trees.A quick look in the box revealed a single healthy chick!




The adult was never too far away,keeping a watchful eye on her youngsters.I have another box too, that tawnies are using.I am hoping to go for an inspection in the next few days.This pair went down approx 2 weeks later than the first pair,so hopefully there will be chicks present.Meanwhile to complete the hat trick,I had reports of a fully fledged youngster in a separate area only a half mile away,so the local Tawnies seem to be doing extremely well in my neck of the woods at the moment!Thanks for dropping by to view the blog and I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Waxwings in East Lancs

With the influx of Waxwings being reported in the far north eastern parts of Britain,it was only a matter of time before they reached our part of the country!Birdguides gave reports, of good numbers in the Lake district before a couple of dozen or so finally appeared in Blackburn Lancashire!

Being only a stones throw away from where I live ,I eagerly got my gear together and made my way to the site!A few birders and photographers had gathered at the location and with the early morning light filtering through,I happily clicked away at the Continental visitors.The birds were quite flighty and alternated between the berry trees and some larger sycamore/ash trees on the periphery of the car park!

An enjoyable couple of hrs soon passed by,with old acquaintances renewed and new ones formed!Thats all part and parcel of the hobby,you do meet some fine folk!A couple of hundred or so images were obtained,a few of which I have put together below.So please keep well and catch up with you soon!
Actually this first image was from a few yrs back,but it is one of my favourites!

Part of a flock of 26!


Yes I did manage one actually with a berry between its bill!







Monday, 17 October 2016

A trip to the East coast!Spurn (part 1)

Easterly winds were forecast for the coming weeks, so I decided on having a few days out towards Spurn on the East coast.With these conditions forecast and it being October this cold only mean one thing,and thats lots of birds being blown across on their migration South!

I was also hoping that it would bring in one or two rarities,such was the strength of the wind.Yellow browed warblers had been recorded in excellent nos,so everything was going to plan.Redwing had began to arrive on our coasts with hundreds of song thrush and blackbirds,all coming for the autumn berries which would be their staple diet for the next few months!

October on Spurn always draws crowds of birders from far and wide,if there is a better place to go in mainland britain to enjoy migration at close hand,then I would like to know,its an absolute mecca!
 Goldcrest were constantly flitting through the bushes and numbers of these diminutive birds were high.There was always the chance of a firecrest amongst them,so you had to be on your toes!I was lucky enough to find a Firecrest up by Sammy's point,which gave a very good show of itself!
                                                   Firecrest at Sammy's Point

    Some    cracking birds began to filter through the grapevine,one such was this Red Breasted Flycatcher           below!This was discovered at Easington cemetery,high up in the sycamores!
 A first for me was this Red Flanked Bluetail also on show at the cemetery.Another of these had been found at the point a few days earlier,but I didn't fancy the 3 mile walk there and again back,with all the camera gear it wasn,t for me!

The bird was flitting about the many headstones that were in the cemetery,but always kept its distance!
Sometimes it flew down to ground level to search for insects and flies.It was only on show a few hrs after being located and when dusk approached it wasn,t seen again!

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Eric morecombe hide/leighton moss

So with good reports of Greenshanks being reported from Leighton moss,myself and Brian Rafferty decided to have a run up there to see what was about!It was a dreary morning to start but with us being sat in the Eric morecombe hide,at least we would be dry and comfortable!

On arrival the hide was pretty empty,not surprising really with the inclement weather,not many people had bothered to venture out,we were extremely glad that we had made the effort,as up to 20 Greenshank were avidly feeding in the food rich mud ,some being just 5 metres away!

We were certainly gonna fill our boots with these lovely waders.It was interesting to watch them feed in small groups quickly running through the shallow water picking at anything that they disturbed!

Also on show was a brief view of a water rail that had decided to leave the cover of the reeds,again to look for food in the brackish water.A good few hrs were spent observing the waders at close range,an avocet was also present scything the shallow water.All in all it was a productive day with the camera and as always, enjoyed in good company! Hope that you all enjoy the images and as ever keep well!











Wednesday, 6 July 2016

A few days in Suffolk!

I recently had a few pleasant days down at the Lakenheath nature reserve in Suffolk.The weather forecast looked good, so I decided to set off early morning and hopefully miss the majority of traffic.All went to plan and I was pulling up on the carpark shortly before 7.30am.A short walk and I was at the first viewing screen,Cuckoos were calling and the reeds were alive with reed warblers and Whitethroat!Birds seemed to be flitting about all over!Suddenly an otter came into view but was soon lost behind a small island..what a great start to the day.

I knew Kingfisher had been reported from this particular viewpoint,but the only one that I saw, was perched up on some reed about 50 metres away!The photos below were taken from the Mere hide lower down the reserve.
The mere hide wasn,t in operation the last time that I visited the reserve,so it was a pleasant surprise to stumble across it as I made my way along the footpath.Opening one of the window shutters,a kingfisher rapidly departed one of the perches that had been put in place!Damn,should have been more careful,anyway I had plenty of time to weigh things up and hopefully one may show again!
A fifteen minute wait and the bird returned to the same perch.Everything was in place and I quietly went about obtaining some images.This seemed to be an adult female,judging by the orange lower mandible!In all the kingfisher showed quite well,but I did have the hide to myself,and kept noise and movement to a minimum!I don,t think she would hang around long if there was a lot of people in the hide!
Below is another Kingfisher that was at another reserve that I visited later in the day,this one though entailed a lengthy wait in the hide before it showed!
Kingfishers have 2 broods and a few of the juveniles showed very well for me.I was particularly pleased that this one decided to land in a small willow tree to the right of the scrape and with the aid of some nice evening light,it made for a pleasing picture!
Back at Lakenheath the next day,I learned that the Cranes had bred and they had a juvenile with them.I was lucky to see both adults having a good fly around whilst I was there.Usually they can be seen in their favourite place, albeit 200 yes away,not very good for a photo though!You can just make out their heads in the long grass at that distance!

Garden warbler and cuckoo were evident on the reserve and a few record shots were gained of both.
One of the highlights of the day was this flyby Hobby!In early may, as many as 60 birds hawk insects over the reeds.These are fresh in from Africa and gather up at the fen, for a  few days before they disperse further north to breed.An odd pair stay around and usually fledge a few youngsters on the reserve!

With so many reed and sedge warblers about,cuckoo numbers are quite high on the fen.Each female can lay as many as 12 eggs before they leave in mid/late june back to Africa.The males seem to depart a few weeks later!I have actually sponsored a cuckoo this year called Larry.He was caught and sat tagged last year in the north west of england and has already departed on his southern migration through Italy.
I have never seen or heard as many whitethroat as I have at Lakenheath,there are really good numbers here,my local patch usually has 2 or 3 pairs maximum,which I eagerly await every Spring.This particular year they were held back by strong northerly winds and were up to 2 weeks late on site!

So that concludes my brief visit to the fens of Suffolk.Sadly the Golden Orioles haven,t returned this year and I,m led to believe that they last bred there some 5 yrs back,again a very sad loss, they used to bring lots of birdwatchers from far and wide.Maybe they will return in the coming years.I for one miss their flutey call amongst the poplar trees!Stay well,keep safe and many thanks for dropping in on my blog,catch up soon!

Friday, 24 June 2016

Whinchats of Bowland


Whinchats without doubt,are one of my favourite moorland bird.There is nothing like the sound of a male Whinchat rattling off its melodic call,atop a frond of Bracken.Usually these can be heard from midway onwards,but this year, the strong northerly winds seemed to hold them back a week or two,as previous visits had produced only a few Stonechat,welcome,never the less!

I decided to check a few known territories and was relieved, when a fine male in full song could be heard higher up the track.A quick scan with the binoculars and there he was amongst the bracken.Now it was a case of get into position and wait while he comes within range of the lens!A half hrs wait and I had him in the viewfinder.Sometimes they keep well away, but this time he was very co operative and I savoured the moment.

There was also another male about 500 metres up the gully,but he seemed to be extra wary,so I left him to settle for the day.A few Stonechat were present, feeding fledged youngsters which is always good to see on the fells.They seem to be holding their own at the moment unlike the Whinchat which for ever reason are dwindling rapidly!

This particular area not too long back,held up to 10 pairs of breeding birds,now I could find only 2.
Another site that I know didn't hold any,sad times indeed!So I'll leave you with a few shots of this iconic moorland bird,long may it continue to grace our upland fells.Thanks for taking the time to drop by and view the blog and please keep well!