31st July 2015 – BEE-EATERS!!!!

Amazingly two pairs of Bee-eaters have chosen to nest in a working quarry near Brampton.

Full story here:

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Sad news…

I was saddened to learn that Cumbrian birder Ian Kinley had recently passed away.

When I first moved to the county 14 years ago Ian was the first Cumbrian birder that I made contact with through the Bird Club, and I am indebted to him for introducing me to the Cumbrian birding scene.

Being a bit younger back then I was hugely enthusiastic about the prospect of birding in this wonderful county and Ian always gave me lots of encouragement, invaluable information and tips. In fact our communications became a regular thing and I knew that I could always rely on him to be totally trustworthy and give me words of advice. This came as recently as a few weeks ago when I contacted him regarding the Ambleside Rosefinch, and as ever he replied with helpful information.

He was of course a hugely passionate and active county lister, and there wasn’t many species on the county list that weren’t also on his. I feel privileged to have been able to add a few for him in the shape of Broad-billed Sand and Semi-P, but conversely I was gutted when he was abroad for the duration of the Stilt Sandpiper’s stay back in 2008.

The Cumbria Bird Club and the County Bird Report will never be the same – in my opinion Ian’s ‘Review of the Year’ was about the only interesting and readable part in the report! He also wrote the ‘monthly highlights’ section for the current website and bird magazines, and was also a key member of the records panel. I was never very efficient at submitting my records, and he would often phone or text me encouraging me to get my finger out and get my descriptions to him!

I have many fond memories of my times with Ian, and I often bumped into him when he was up on the Solway with Ronnie Irving. Such was his enthusiasm for birding he probably visited my patch more regularly than me, even though he lived in Kendal! I always made time to stop and have a chat with him and we sometimes met up to watch skuas or the occasional rarity. We would always have great crack together and many, many laughs – I shall certainly miss our lively discussions about birding in Cumbria!

The Bird Club and Cumbria birders have lost an excellent birder and true character and it will be a far poorer place for his passing.

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12th May 2015 – Poms and Peregrines…

It’s that time of the year again and this morning I had my first opportunity to see if I could catch up with any skuas. I didn’t do too bad considering the tide was already dropping when I arrived – 20 Poms in less than a couple of hours. Happy days.

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Whilst searching for skuas I suddenly became distracted by a commotion on the shore, a Peregrine was chasing down a Collared Dove…

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Inevitably though it was all over for the Dove, and after 3 huge whacks it was game over….

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16th/17th April 2015 – Solway Aurora!

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Looking over Burgh Marsh last night…

More pics here: https://darrenrobsonphotography.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/aurora-borealis-over-the-solway-16th17th-april-2015/

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1st February 2015 – Little Owl…

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one of these in the north of the county…

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7th December 2014 – Bombers & Blackreds…

A smart looking male Black Redstart has taken up residence on Carlisle Airfield for the last week or so and with a day off today I decided to go and take a look for it this afternoon. I’d only ever seen two in Cumbria before today and thankfully it was on view straight away, favouring the area around the equally impressive Vulcan Bomber….

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No need to get out of the car here, just sit tight and wait for the fella to come to you…

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30th November 2014 – New blog….

Over the last year I’ve become very aware that many of my posts have been about fellwalking and scenery and not about birds at all.

When I started Solway Sandpiper it was always intended to be a diary of my birding trips on the Solway and my occasional delve into the dark side of twitching. More recently I have to say I’ve lost a bit of interest in birding, it can get pretty tiresome going on the patch and seeing naff all every time. More and more of my free time is currently being spent enjoying photography and fellwalking, but clearly this isn’t what I intended for this blog. So the birders amongst you will be glad to know that any waffle about fells and the like won’t be appearing on here any more – I now have a new blog which will follow my photography and fellwalking trips. Of course I shall still be posting on here, as and when I am motivated to go birding rather than walking.

Anyway, feel free to take a look at my new blog here:

www.darrenrobsonphotography.wordpress.com

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