Park Hall Country Park

I've spent the last couple of weekends at a fantastic local nature reserve called Park Hall Country Park. It's an amazing place, based on a sandstone ridge and provides 333 acres of heath, woodland, secluded vhttp://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/index.asp

It's such a varied habitat for wildlife and at only a 15min drive from home, I can't believe that this was the first time I had visited the place.

I had heard that it was a great place for viewing Owls, so my friend Anthony (equipped with Canon 30D and Sigma 50-500) and myself with the digiscoping gear set of to try and find them.

Luckily we were accompanied by Anthony's Father-in-Law, Peter, a keen birdwatcher and digiscoper, who knows the area very well, without his knowledge we would have never spotted the owls. The Long-eared owls are a winter roost group of approximately six. We spotted four perched high in the Scots Pine, with the naked eye the shape of the owls could be just made out, but with the aid of the scope you can see above that despite the thick foliage, you can see the Owls features including head feathers often referred to as ear tufts.

Other sightings included Little Owl, perched on a ledge over on Play Canyon, again we would have missed this tiny grey dot if it wasn't for Peter's knowledge of the Park. The Sandstone Canyon also plays host for nesting Kestrels which will be well worth a visit later on in the year.

At the visitors centre, a feeding station attracts a variety of birds including a large number of Bullfinch - I counted eight at one point, all of which seem perfectly happy just a few feet from humans. Other birds at the station included Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, and a beautiful Yellowhammer.

At the top meadow beyond Play Canon we were treated to the site of a large flock of winter feeding Golden Plover and Fieldfare. I also spotted Siskins and Linnets throughout the Park.

For me, Park Hall is one of the richest habitats I have visited, made all the more appealing due to its locality, and as the seasons change, I'm looking forward to all the treats, especially the summer migrants that Park Hall has to offer.


Play Canyon, Park Hall Country Park
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Long-eared Owl


Spot the Little Owl!
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Bullfinch at feeding station
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Ox-Iron Wood, home to
winter roosting
Long-eared Owls


09.02.08 | Spent Saturday on the Welsh coast, making the most of the good weather.

On Saturday, I decided to head off to my nearest coast line to see if I could get some good shots of waders. I headed of to the RSPB reserve of Point of Ayr, near Flint in North Wales. I arrived at high tide with a hope that the birds would be brought closer in to shore, but although there was plenty to see, the birds were a little too far out for worth while digiscoping. Sightings included Shelduck, Pintail, Oystercatcher, Curlew and Cormorant. I then decided to travel further along the coast and visit RSPB Conway, the weather was glorious, it was still high tide along the estuary, so the waders had moved into the small costal lagoon so I was able to get a few shots of Redshank and Curlew.

On Sunday, I headed off down to Belvide, again the weather was preed-bunting-pop4.html day down at the reservoir, very peaceful. I spent a while in the hide using my DSLR and took a few shots of the smaller birds using the feeding station. There were lots of Long-Tailed Tits about, but I still haven't found one that will remain still enough in order for me to get a picture - shame, because the Long Tailed Tit always seems to strike the best pose.

Walking back to the car, I habelvide-hide-popup-anthony.htmlr Redpoll, I found the bird in the scope, got focus on the camera and as is often the case, just before pressing the shutter it flew away. It was a real shame because I think it would have made a good picture, the lighting was spot on. Never mind, may be next time.


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Blue Tit, Belvide


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Reed Bunting, RSPB Conway


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Point of Ayr


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RSPB Conway


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Belvide


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Redshank and Curlew



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