Monday, April 8, 2013


I broke my recent scarce bird dipping duck with, well, a duck! An American Wigeon to be precise. The bird was present on the saltmarsh pools at Neston, Wirral for a few days and gave reasonable 'scope views but was far too distant for photography. A visit to North Wales on Saturday also produced sightings of Hawfinch, so things are definitely on the up as far as birding is concerned. I arrived early in the morning by the small church in the village of Llanbedyr-y-Cennin in the beautiful Conway valley. No sooner had I left the car than I spotted a Hawfinch high in a leafless tree but it soon dived for cover in an adjacent Hornbeam. The sun was shining and I was happy to stand for a few hours as small parties of Hawfinch flitted through the trees uttering their sharp tack calls and occasionally flying overhead revealing broad white wingbars. I took some distant "record" shots of birds perched high in the trees, but managed some more acceptable photos of a bird on the ground feeding on a handout of seed.
After a pleasant lunch at Conway RSPB I drove home via Llanddulas beach were vast flocks of Common Scoter were 'scoped along with a few winter-plumaged Red-throated Divers and a pair of Goosander.
I ventured up to Blackpool yesterday to run the Blackpool Marathon. Conditions were excellent with blue skies and only a light breeze. As this was only a preparatory run for my attempt at the Manchester Marathon later this month I took it easy but steady, and despite a recent stomach bug, I crossed the finish line in 3 hours 12 minutes with plenty of running left in my legs. I even got a "year tick" during the race in the form of a Wheatear seen on the grassy slopes north of the tower. I celebrated at home later with a few well-deserved beers.

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Marsh Tits at Leighton Moss

Short-eared Owl

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