Friday, 27 August 2010

Mostly Sanderling

More high tides this week and I returned to the coast at Southport to find the wader roosts again. The tides were not as high as on my previous visit and the large flocks of knot were very distant in the vicinity of Formby Point and were being harassed by a pair of peregrines which I could see sitting on the beach but too far away for a decent  shot.
I spent my time close to the tide line following the groups of sanderling which were busy as only sanderlings can be in their quest for food. They really are one of the most engaging little shoreline waders and at times allowed a careful approach..mostly on my knees.. and I was able to obtain some nice close up action shots. Their sensitive bills are able to detect food items as they probe into the wet sand.One of the images above shows a sanderling with what looks like a row of small eggs which it had extracted from the sand.
It was an enjoyable experience and was well worth the wet and sand covered knees.Dunlin were also present and I have shown a couple of dunlin shots showing nice reflections on the wet sand and one adult bird almost seems to be admiring itself. More big tides are due in a couple of weeks when I hope to return for more close encounters with these delightful birds.    

Friday, 20 August 2010

Leighton Moss....Little Egrets

Yesterday Mike and I paid a visit to Leighton Moss and found it strangely devoid of birds. We went to the salt marsh pools at the Morecambe and Allen Hides. Conditions seemed ideal for waders but apart from a redshank and a greenshank nothing else was seen. These pools are usually teeming with a mix of lapwings.. godwits..redshanks and various assorted birds but on this visit it was unusually devoid of birds apart from Little Egrets. Ironically a few years ago it would have been quite an event to see a little egret but nowadays they seem to be everywhere and I understand that record numbers are now roosting at Leighton Moss.
We did have a brief visit to the Lower Hide area but again there was not much birdlife in evidence. A hobby had been seen recently and it was an ideal warm afternoon with dragonflies on the wing but the bird didn't show during our visit. We didn't visit the rest of the reserve but I understand it is generally quiet at the moment. I have posted some images of the little egrets which were a delight to watch as they fished and preened in front of the Eric Morecambe Hide and a shot of the lone redshank that briefly dropped in.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

High Tide...More Waders.

Following on from my last entry I just thought I would show some more of my images from last week's high tide wader roost at Southport. More of the same with Knot in their red breeding plumage, which will soon be replaced by their rather drab  grey winter plumage.More of everybody's favourite seashore wader the sanderling. There are presently good numbers of these delightful little waders scurrying around the sands. They are a delight to watch as they dash around like little clockwork mice in their quest for food. I have also shown a general view out across  the sands to the north west showing an angry sky with heavy downpours heading for the Preston area. Southport managed to miss most of the rain with just a few drops which didn't spoil what had been a wonderful couple of afternoons in the company of thousands of Ribble Estuary waders.

Monday, 16 August 2010

High Tide...Wader Spectacular

Last week had seen a succession of 10 metre and 9 metre + tides. These very high tides are always good for watching waders as their normal feeding grounds are covered and they are forced into large roosts to await the falling back of the tide. Under these conditions a visit to the Southport coastline can provide excellent opportunities to get close to various species of wader and obtain some exciting action shots of the comings and goings.
So it proved last week and I made two visits to the Southport sands to locate the large wader roosts. Many of the waders,particularly the knot,had recently returned from their breeding grounds in the High Arctic and were still sporting their breeding plumages and were living up to their name of Red Knot. I had a very enjoyable time and hope I have captured some of the atmosphere and action from this seaside spectacular. Many hundreds of images were taken and I hopefully have weeded out some of the better ones for the blog. I may post some more on my next entry but hope my followers enjoy the ones shown above. The images show mainly Knot performing their aerobatics over the incoming tide and a passing party of oystercatcher and a group of sanderling a few of which are also showing partial breeding plumage.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Blackpool Airshow

Yesterday Kath and I decided to join the estimated 100,000 people lining Blackpool Promenade to enjoy the spectacle of the annual Blackpool Airshow. It was a beautifully sunny and warm summer's afternoon as the display began around 4pm. The conditions were perfect for flying and the thousands of holidaymakers and day trippers were treated to over an hour of spectacular flying from vintage and modern aircraft.
First up was The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight consisting of a Lancaster Bomber accompanied by a Spitfire and Hurricane. Nostalgic aircraft which of course had played a major part in our victory over the German Air Force during the second World War.This flight was followed by the Breitling Wing Walkers who performed some daring acrobatics perched on top of their beautiful Boeing Stearman biplanes. The show was brought to a conclusion with a big finale as the RAF Red Arrows Formation aerobatic display team took to the skies.
It had been a wonderful display and unlike the neighbouring Southport Airshow was free !! Well done Blackpool and judging by the vast crowds it would have brought a lot of money into the town. I have shown above some of my efforts to capture the atmosphere of the afternoon showing the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the Breitling Wing Walkers and of course the magnificent Red Arrows Display Team.