I had a lovely time at South Stack on the island of Anglesey in later Spring. There was a lot going on, as birds were busy pairing up, nest building and some were only just arriving to these shores following their migration.
The weather was perfect and it was a joy to be in amongst some lovely looking birds in all their summer finery.
On my way back from Anglesey recently I stopped off at Gronant along the North Wales coast. The area is well known for its nesting Little Tern colony, and is one of the most important sites in the UK, holding over 10% of the UK breeding population. It is also the only breeding colony in Wales.
They migrate here from West Africa and make their nests on the beach. Special wardens keep a watch over the nest area 24 hours a day to deter would be predators.
For the smallest of our Terns they do make a lot of noise. If you can't see them overhead you'll certainly hear them.
At the end of April, I made a visit to Burton Mere on the Wirral. There were a few different waders about, but probably the most striking and colourful were the Black-tailed Godwits. Many were in their summer breeding plumage, or close to it, and when they were huddled together they looked superb.
As good as they look individually, they certainly look better in a group.
The Stonechat is a stunning little bird. Especially at this time of year when the male is in his full summer breeding outfit. The black head is much darker at this time and the orange breast nice and bright. The female is not so colourful, but still a lovely bird to watch.
I watched a really lovely pair at Beeston a few weeks ago, but didn't have my camera with me, and I was a bit gutted because the male gave some really good views in the sun. Then just a week later I came across another pair at RSPB South Stack on Anglesey. The light was even better and they came really quite close to me.
I'd only seen one so far this year, but last weekend I came across several pairs in one day. A few visits to the Goyt Valley had come up trumps yet again. Now, I've still not seen a Pied Flycatcher this year, but the Spotted Flycatcher is now well and truly ticked off.
Not a bird that makes it too easy for you to find. More often than not I've picked them out flitting up in the canopy of the trees, as they do their fly catching.
I did however, after watching a pair flit about in a wooded area, discover a nest site. I was absolutely thrilled as I watched one carry nesting material to a nest.
Fingers crossed for them, and I hope I am able to monitor it over the coming weeks.
On the nest after dropping off some feathers and moss.
I've had a pretty successful time just recently tracking down difficult birds. The Chough was another one of those birds. They aren't in many parts of the UK, but a few times I've missed out somehow, even when making a concerted effort to go and find them.
At South Stack on the island of Anglesey, these birds breed and my luck was in. I only had a few minutes watching them, but it was better than nothing. Love the red legs and bill.
I've searched for this particular bird species up on the moors of Cheshire for years now. I hear their calls echo around, but I've never found one up here. I see them quite frequently in Norfolk but it was always a bit of a bogey bird for me. I knew that they would be breeding, but they've always been elusive. I've sat in my car waiting for hours. I've wandered the moors of Axe Edge and nearby, but to no avail. Just recently though I had a bit of a tip off, and followed it up. As I got out of the car, that eerie ghostly call was picked up immediately. I could see at least half a dozen or so in fantastic breeding plumage. I walked back and along the public footpath to get a closer look.
Such a stunning little bird. I was just so pleased to see them here, and now I know for future, I should have more success in locating the little blighters.
A special bird turned up yesterday at Burton Mere on the Wirral. A Buff-breasted Sandpiper seems to have lost its way from North America. We do get the odd one or two each year, but it's quite unusual to have one here in Cheshire. It was not a bird to miss. Chances are I might not get to see one again, and as it was only 30 miles down the road, off I popped.
Usually when there is something rare at Burton it is at the hide furthest away, and involves a trek with scope, camera, binoculars and tripod. This time, as luck would have it, it was showing well from the first hide. A real bonus.
I was put onto it straight away by the very helpful RSPB volunteer in the hide.
What a treat, and what a bird.
A target bird of mine when I visited Burton Mere was the Little Gull that had been around for a good number of days. Thankfully it was staying in a particular spot that wasn't too far a walk.
It was busy picking insects off the water and taking the odd flight, never straying too far from the same spot.
A nice size comparison with a Black-headed Gull (behind).