Tag Archives: short-eared

2010 – A Year at Willington GP & one or two other places

One way or another 2010 wasn’t a brilliant year, but hey I’m still here.

On that positive note I stride out into the cold to see what 2011 has to offer in the way of birds 😉

Below is a Blog of things which caught my camera’s lens during 2010. Browse through it all, or just pick the months that interest you.


Lots of Derbyshire sightings [I missed most of them] – see link to DOS – January 2010 .

A trip to North Norfolk in January is a must really. The weather can be unpredictable, as can be the birds seen. However, there always seems to be something to see.

At home, the weather got bad enough for Fieldfare to come into the garden.

Sadly though, after feeding on nearly all of this apple, the bird was taken by a hungry Sparrowhawk – but that’s nature!

Short-eared Owls were thin on the ground at Neston/Parkgate this year.The foul weather and driving Northwesterly brought the tide right in, but the weather conditions were not ideal for piccies.

Hungry Black-headed Gulls patrolled for voles, struggling to reach dry land.

Back at Willington GP, a 4x Egyptian Goose flyby was the order of the day.


Lots of Derbyshire sightings – see link to DOS –  February 2010 .

A slow month, with little chances to visit places. A chance encounter with a Raven at Willington GP was welcome.

Lapwing were displaying at Willington also, against the blue sky.

A quick trip to Martin Mere WWT, produced a few decent images.


Lots of Derbyshire sightings – see link to DOS –  March 2010 .

Another visit to the Wirral and to Neston for the high tides. Better weather prevailed, but the number of mammals was low. there was still some action though.

There were several Raptors about, including an elusive Merlin and this accommodating Ringtail Hen Harrier.

A visit to Cromford Canal in March provided me with some non-avian photography – specifically Water Vole’s.

A quick trip to Milldale – nesting Dippers and a lovely Grey Wagtail.

Back to Willington for a day or so, to bag some flight shots in the blue sky.

A lucky encounter to see a pair of Great Crested Grebes performing their “weed dance”.

At Willington, another remarkable encounter, as a hungry fox takes a Mallard straight from the water’s edge.


Lots of Derbyshire sightings – see link to DOS –  April 2010 .

Staying local this month, Willington action hots up!

Capturing Great Crested Grebes in flight is a real challenge. Getting up early is a must, as these birds are very flighty early in the day.

Sparrowhawks cruise the skies.

Willington has a lot of Mute Swans, which visit from time to time. Yes, I know they’re not Whooper or Bewick’s, but they are one of the most graceful birds in the UK. Capturing the sheer gracefulness and beauty of these birds has been a personal challenge for me in 2010.

Fighting ensues as breeding pairs fight for nesting space and territory. This Black-headed Gull took a dislike to a stray Common Tern and almost drowned it. In fact, the Black-headed Gulls pretty much put paid to breeding Common Terns at Willington this year.

Waders started to pass through and stop-in. Little Ringed Plovers are always a joy to see, especially in breeding flight displays.


Lots of Derbyshire sightings – see link to DOS –  May 2010 .

Migration is in full swing, so there’s always things to see.

This Sedge Warbler flew high from the reeds regularly, but was difficult to capture.

This Sandwich Tern, was off-course and drifted through Willington GP.

A “cream crown” Marsh Harrier dropped in, only to be mobbed instantly by resident Crows.

In between, I managed a short trip to Norfolk.

One of the Derbyshire  highlights of May [ there were 3 of them! ], was the arrival of the Great Reed Warbler, at Ilkeston, Straw Pond. This bird attracted 100’s of birdwatchers and photographers, from all over the country. It also attracted its fair share of the stupid/insensitive type of photographer AND birdwatcher – shame really.

The second May highlight was the Black Tern at Willington.

The 3rd and final Willington highlight occurred on the 29th May – the arrival of an immature Spoonbill to the Canal Pit.

This bird arrived in appalling weather and even as the text arrived, I was thinking, it’s not going to be there when I get there and I’m going to be soaked – but I went anyway and was one of the lucky ones to see it.


Lots of Derbyshire sightings – see link to DOS –  June 2010 .

Aside from a week in Speyside, June was spent locally, mainly at Willington.

The Black-headed colonies were well under way, with constant fighting amongst themselves.

I was fortunate to acquire a longer lens this month and spent much time learning how to use it!

This short trip to Croxall Lakes provided me with this lovely portrait of a Little Ringed Plover.

more fighting at willington – a bloodied victim flies off. After a spell apparently moribund on the ground, this bird got up and was seen a few times afterwards.

A young Willington Sedge Warbler takes his first look at 2010.

An ever-present Reed Bunting.

A young Reed Bunting.

A friendly Scottish face, on a trip to the Aviemore area.

Fish and chips anyone?


Lots of Derbyshire sightings – see link to DOS –  July 2010 .

A trip to Northumberland, on the way back from Scotland, allowed me a chance to catch up with some of my favourite birds – Little Terns.

Back at Willington, Lapwings and Common Terns provided some BIF [birds in flight] chances.

A Black-tailed Godwit, was one of two which flew into the gravel pit at platform 3.

As did this Greenshank.


Lots of Derbyshire sightings – see link to DOS –  August 2010 .

August was quiet as usual, everything breeding had bred and fledged. Buzzards patrolled the skies.

33 Black-tailed Godwits dropped in – count them.

A welcome Little Egret drops in.

A nice Willington surprise on the 29th – a juvenile Little Gull.

A Garganey displaying its flight feathers.

A touching moment between parent and chick Common Tern.


Lots of Derbyshire sightings – see link to DOS –  September 2010 .

Hobbies, Hobbies, Hobbies !

A surprise mid September when two Wrynecks [or the same one] visited Carsington Water and Heanor.


Lots of Derbyshire sightings – see link to DOS –  October 2010 .

A Kestrel back lit by the evening sun.

Pochard with Tufted – fly by.

Kestrel fly-by.

Reed Bunting on reed stem.

Common and Black-headed Gull fight over food.


Lots of Derbyshire sightings – see link to DOS –  November 2010 .

Had a week up in Scotland, for the Geese – spent the rest of the month locally.

Whooper Swan feeding at Caerlaverock WWT.

Barnacle Geese on a moonlit night.

The almost “annual” Green-winged Teal at Caerlaverock.


Lots of Derbyshire sightings – see link to DOS –  December 2010 .

Stayed local and a good job too – December turned into a bit of an Owl-Fest at Willington. Elsewhere in Derbyshire, and for much of the country, the invasion of Waxwings continued unabated.

At one point there were at least 6 owls on site – 2x Barn Owl, 2x Long-eared Owl, 1x Short-eared Owl and 1x Little Owl.

I have already blogged on Waxwing and the owls, but here are a few images captured this last month of 2010.

Oh, and this bittern provided me with one of my last images of 2010 – a full-framer as well!

I hope you have enjoyed browsing my review of 2010.

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(all images © 2010  Richard Pittam – WildApertureImages)

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