Monday, 10 January 2011

Baby Briony's first watch with her Dad... and what a good watch!!!

After my first 3 days back at work since my paternity leave and Christmas, I decided that I must head out over the weekend and do a bit of wildlife watching but this time with my new baby daughter.  Seeing that Liz had asked my Mum if she wanted to go to a card making demonstration (my wife is very creative!!!) it was down to me to have Briony on my own for a few hours.  Therefore I decided to get her all wrapped up warm in her car seat, get the pram and all changing facilities into the car and head off around the Fylde Coast.

Decided first to head to St. Annes and Fairhaven Lake, thinking that the sand dunes would be a great place to start and then head to Fairhaven Lake and see what I could add to my 2010 year list.  The sand dunes were an instant no no as realised its not the best place for a pram!!! Therefore next time the carrier will be taken, so we headed off to Fairhaven Lake and what an unbelievably successful idea this was!!!

On arriving I wondered why the hell there was so many people sat pointing massive camera lenses at the edge of the lake.  There are never this many people from the birding community around Fairhaven.  So with Briony wrapped up in her pram and Dad with his thermos brew in hand, camera bag in pram basket and binoculars in pocket we headed down to see what the commotion was all about.

Red Necked Grebe - Fairhaven Lake 08/01/2010

For those of you that don't know about Fairhaven, it is a salt water lake that is positioned directly on the coast next to Granny's Bay and Stanner Bank, at the mouth of the Ribble Estuary.  And what a huge surprise to find that a Red Necked Grebe had blown onto Fairhaven Lake of all places and was causing quite a stir with a mass of bird watchers and locals jostling for a good view.  Myself and Briony found the perfect view by just sitting on a bench to then have the little beauty floating on the lake no further than 4 metres away from where we were sat.  I was able to fire off a few shots before a huge mass of avid photographers decided to stand directly in front of me without a care for being in my shot, once again proving my point that there are a fair few   ignorant people in the birding community "A POLITE EXCUSE ME OR SORRY WOULD WORK!!!!"

It is surprising to see a Red Necked Grebe on the North West Coast as they prominently winter on the East and South coast of the UK from October to March and like all Grebes it is a great swimmer and diver.  Shame that it only spends winter in the UK, as the winter plumage is usually dark grey with a silvery white tint to the feathers, whereas the summer plumage takes on its namesake with a wonderfully red neck and a bright white face with a black cap.

Red Necked Grebe - Fairhaven Lake 08/01/2010

After 20 minutes of watching the Grebe, I took Briony for a walk around the lake to see if we could anything extra to our 2010 list and with Shoveler, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen and Canada Goose added we decided to get Briony back into the warmth as it was threatening rain.  So our first joint watch was a highly successful one and am hoping my little daughter brings me more luck on our joint watches in the future!!!

Hope you all like the 2 shots I got as I am over the moon with them!!!


  1. It's a shame that you had to encounter inconsiderate idiots whilst you were out enjoying the day with Briony.

    Nonetheless, it must have been great to be so close to a Red-necked Grebe. A rare chance for sure.

  2. Tell me about it mate. It just surprises me how ignorant and inconsiderate these people are, even going great lengths to even ignore the general public just to get a good photograph of the bird. Luckily there was people like me around to tell the locals what all the commotion was about LOL.

    I must just have a face that does not fit in this community ;-)