Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Mostly Pintails

On what promised to be the nicest day of the week I decided to revisit Marshside RSPB at Southport.On my previous visit the foggy weather had restricted viewing and photographic opportunities but yesterday promised clear skies and sunshine. So it proved to be, very pleasant and Sandgrounders hide was busy with birdwatchers. The birds here were distant and a move to Nel's Hide was called for where the light would prove to be excellent for the hoped for flight shots of the waterfowl.
There was much more activity at this part of the reserve and good numbers of birds were present.The birds were mainly the commoner duck species such as wigeon, teal, tufted duck and pintail. There were also good numbers of shoveler, a very photogenic duck with colourful plumage and an incredible bill.I concentrated on the pintails which were also present in good numbers and provided a challenge to capture in flight as from time to time they passed in front of Nel's Hide.I spent a good hour or more trying to capture this action and some of the results can be seen above.
Whilst at Nel's Hide another birder told me that there was a good chance to see a barn owl at Hesketh Out Marsh which wasn't very far away. So it was that I finished of my afternoon session at HOM. A barn owl did appear but it was flying away and went to hunt on a distant part of the reserve and was well out of range of the camera. The local expert Colin Bushell appeared from his walk around the reserve and soon spotted a Marsh Harrier and Short Eared Owl flying near to the airfield at Warton. Again the birds were distant but still nice to see as they hunted in the last hour of daylight. The sun soon began to set and provided a colourful end to the day with a splendid sunset over the Ribble Marshes.
As the title suggests the images above are mostly of male and female pintails in flight and at rest. The colourful male shoveler shows of his plumage and amazing bill and finally a shot of the also very colourful sunset over the Ribble Marshes at Hesketh Out Marsh. A splendid end to a very enjoyable afternoon on the Lancashire Coast.


  1. We've had shovelers here in Texas this past week or two as well - they stop at our pond to forage when the weather is cold.

    That female pintail in the 2nd photo is just remarkable! What a gorgeous feather pattern! Prettier than her male counterpart, I think!

  2. Wow beautiful images. Thank you.

  3. Hi Brian,great to see your making most of the weather.Splendid images of the Pintail and Shoveler,just a shame the Barn Owl and Harrier were distant though.Let`s hope they come close next time for you!!