Not had a post from Pennington for a while

The hides at Pennington have never reopened since last March. Recently, I have been going for the occasional walk around the lake and through the woods to see what's about. Yesterday, was quite a nice visit, in the sunshine, if not the warmth of Spring! I'd only heard a single Blackcap up until yesterday ... when they kept jumping out in front of me.

Normally, I have to spend hours hunting them down, so that saved me some time! And immediately after, I got another, doing what Warblers are named for ...

Just look at the amount of greenery in that shot. Seems like only yesterday when it was all still bare!

I quite liked this peaceful looking scene. In fact, it was anything but peaceful with a Cetti's in the scrub behind shouting his head off. Some birds just have no respect for nature!

I did get quite a good view of the Cetti's in the end but sadly, no photo this time.

A bit further around and another Blackcap jumped out in front of me. They've all gone mad!

Not much further on and I got my first Willow Warbler, too. Someone else had spotted it first, so I can't take the credit. It was too far away for a photo. It's not only returning Warblers on display. There were loads of Sand Martins over the lake. Not so much a flock as a ravening Mongol horde, with numbers estimated to be in the high hundreds. I've never successfully photographed one that wasn't stationary, so I sat down to have a go. Much harder to get than the Swifts I did last year! For a start they were just a little too far away and I couldn't find a spot where they were reliably slowing down to turn. However, here are the best of a bad bunch ... 

That could go in photobombing, but point the camera and get 3 was par for the course as numbers were so high. I didn't do well with the next one, but unless you follow them, you imagine they just zoom about at top speed all the time hoovering up insects on the wing. They don't. Occasionally they actually stop and hover briefly to delicately pick something off the surface, which this one is doing. So, not a brilliant photo but showing nice behaviour.

Fabulous birds to watch ... if you can keep up with them and I spent ages there. Imagine the thrill of zipping about at high speed a few inches above the water!

So, still some improvements to be made photographing Martins but that's a good excuse to go and do it again. All the while, I never saw a Swallow or anything else amongst them.

Back into the woods and the Chiffchaffs had obviously heard about the Blackcaps shamefully posing in front of the camera and wanted in on the act. It had been singing or whatever it is that Chiffchaffs do, so ID is definite ... and that makes my best shot of one so far this year.

 A lovely little Willow Tit also popped up right in front of the camera.

However, someone didn't get the memo and had only disdain for me

A perfect setting and pose but just sat there, taunting me by resolutely refusing to show its face! To think, I used to like Lollipops!

Song Thrushes are much nicer!

Dunnocks, too!

To me, this one somehow manages to look like a studio set with a Dunnock in it. I don't know why, but it does, although it is completely wild.

From a photographic point of view, that was one of the more successful walks I've done for a while. I even got several additions to my year list.


Nige   Flickr

  • Nice selection and lovely shots. You're still a good few weeks ahead of us looking at the greenery, it's still pretty bare up here yet. Things are budding, but not much more.
    I'll maybe have to try a different local walk this weekend to see if there's any Warblers around, rather than my usual walk through the heather. :-)

    My bird photos HERE

  • Well done on catching all these lovley birds on your trip out, great shots, even the ones you think are not so good!

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Lovely sunny set Nige... see you finally got the Chiffchaff...patience is a virtue...all good things... etc etc :o)
    We're potentially stopping in to see some ex-neighbours on our way home from our week in Northumberland in May, and their local lockdown exercise walk is Pennington, so I may see if I can cajole them (and Mrs PB) into a stroll!!
  • Enjoyed the variety of birds Nigel, especially the Sand Martins, don't get to see those on my excursions to seaside, looks like it's a lake setting that appeals. What no Cetti's pic!!!! never mind the definite Chiffchaff makes up for that :-) Gorgeous Dunnock, I do like the little brown bird, they are busily chasing around my garden at the moment as they do each year but I can't remember ever seeing any young.

    Lot to learn

  • Thanks all
    Good luck searching for warblers, Paul - maybe you'll find a Wheatear or two, too.
    I like to be a bit self-critical, CL, as it encourages me to try for better nest time.
    Who knows, PB, the council may even have the hides open again by May. It's one of the better places in the NW for Kingfishers, but by May it should also be good for dragons.
    I also look for Cetti's Gaynor but only average about 1 photo a year. I may have already used up my quota but it won't stop me trying!


    Nige   Flickr

  • Some cracking pics the singing Blackcap..Dunnock is stunning too.....looks like you had a lovely day out...finally some sun here today without the wind, rain, hail and snow!!!!
    Thanks for sharing

    (Pardon the Scottish Accent)

  • How antisocial of he LTT!

    Seriously, all good photos Nige, and always a pleasure to view.

    As for the Martin's and difficulty photographing them, I think swallows and swifts can also be added to that list, and as you say, always a good excuse for another visit.

    I'm hoping the nearby Nat Trust will be able to open its house up in June, they have a very amiable swallow nest (just above head height, but no one looks above their heads these days, except me, and the NT staff), and the swallows from that nest often provide good photo opportunities.


    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • Nigel, Gorgeous photos regardless of your self-criticism--thanks for posting them! (I'm just catching up with some of the many posts I've missed.)

    Mike, which NT house are you referring to? We went to one years ago where the nest was just overhead but I've forgotten which place that was.

    Kind regards, 


  • In reply to Gardenbirder:

    Gardenbirder said:
    Nigel, Gorgeous photos regardless of your self-criticism--thanks for posting them! (I'm just catching up with some of the many posts I've missed.)

    Mike, which NT house are you referring to? We went to one years ago where the nest was just overhead but I've forgotten which place that was.

    The NT I was referring to is Baddesley Clinton, near Solihull in the West Midlands.

    The nest is in the gatehouse just up in the eaves.


    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • Thanks, Mike, It could well have been there. We went there several times with Mr GB's parents who lived just up the road from Solihull.

    Kind regards,