18 February 2007

The past two days...

Yesterday, Lynda and I joined up with the Derby RSPB Local Group for a birding trip to Pennington Flash and Martin Mere, both in Lancashire. This was the first proper birding that we had done since the trip to Far Ings back on December 9th and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day.

As we left Derby, the weather was dry but it was very overcast and dull but at least it was not raining, I hate birding in the rain! As we travelled north, the skies slowly started to clear and, by the time we reached Pennington, the sun started to come out. By 10:30AM we had blue skies and very little in the way of cloud - much more to my liking.

Blue skies over Pennington.

Birds seen at Pennington included Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Pochard, Goldeneye, Goosander, Great Spotted Woodpecker, a single Skylark in rather early song flight, Willow Tit, a couple of Jay and some superb male Bullfinch. The light during the morning was perfect for birding and allowed me to get some of the better photos I’ve taken through my birding ‘scope.

Male Bullfinch at the feeding station - taken through my 'scope.

By 12:30PM, it was time for us to move on to Martin Mere. This was the part of the day that I was really looking forward to - Martin Mere in winter is one of my favourite reserves in the country. It has superb facilities, a large number of hides spread around the reserve that give great views of the mere and surrounding countryside and it also has the added attraction of a large captive collection of waterfowl to look around. Add to that the huge numbers of swans, geese and ducks that are attracted to the reserve and you can easily spend a whole day there.

On arrival at Martin Mere, the first stop was at the visitor centre to purchase a couple of bags of corn. Then it was out into the captive area in search of Nene. When visiting a Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust reserve we ALWAYS have to feed the Nene. These geese have to be some of the friendliest, and nicest looking, geese in the world. They're also one of the most endangered!

Nene or Hawaiian Geese.

From the Nene, we moved on to the wild part of the reserve and the birding proper. The numerous hides gave us very good views of the 1400+ Whooper Swan as well as the thousands of Pink-footed Geese that also over winter in the area. We also saw birds that included Barnacle Geese, Wigeon, Pintail, Common Buzzard, Peregrine, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Lapwing - in their thousands, Ruff and Black-tailed Godwit. Smaller birds included Stonechat, Tree Sparrow and a single male Brambling - bird of the day for me.

Some of the many wild swans on the mere.

Once again, the light was near to perfect here and that, coupled with the closeness of many of the birds, let me play around with the camera and ‘scope again. My favourite shot being of a group of Lapwing roosting in the sunset. So, all in all a great day's birding. Hopefully that will now kick start my local patch watching and I’ll be back out with the binoculars again next weekend.

Lapwing as the sun set over Martin Mere.

More photos from the birding trip HERE!

Today, I had a bit of a lie in, uploaded some photos onto Shutterfly and then did a little bit of gardening. After that, I made sure that all the bird feeders were topped up and then checked my bike over ready for work tomorrow. There is no way that I’m getting caught up in the nightmare traffic on Pride Park again unless I really have to!


  1. It would seem that after a not so terrific week the birding has made up for all the madness the two of you went through what with the traffic jams and internet problem.

    Beautiful pictures of the day's event. I especially like the one of Lynda feeding the Nene. I wonder if we might have any avid bird watchers in our area. Perhaps I'll check with the arboretum (that is if they don't decide to sell 30 more acres off to developers again). Oh the shame of it all.


  2. Gorgeous pictures !! Nice portrait of my cousin the long-tailed duck - we both love our naps.
    Bleu the wereduck