Saturday, 12 December 2009

Ice Ice Ice

Beautiful this morning, lots of frost and sunshine to go with it . So armed with just the camera and the Westies for company I headed off up to Thacka. I had a look at the settling pond first where there was about a dozen Mallard, and one Bullfinch in the trees close by. Next I made my way up to the flood , as can be seen only a bewildered group of gulls and a few Lapwings stood on the ice. The gulls being mainly Black-headed with a few Common amongst them. Three Goldfinch flew over and there was a few Blackbirds in the Hawthorns along with one or two Chaffinch.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Water, Water

A day at home for the Westies as Mrs W and my self made our way down to Leighton Moss. The sun shone the whole day but there was a thin North wind blowing. We parked first in the lay-by near the causeway and headed for the public hide watching the grit trays on the way there and also on the return but no sign of Beardies, they could be heard occasionally pinging in the reeds but no sighting.

There was still water on the causeway and there was still signs it had flooded the hide a week ago. I have never seen so much water in the Leighton area. From the hide a good mix of duck, large flock of Greylag, one Cormorant and a good scattering of Coot, 2 Buzzard circling at a distance , and that was about it. Next we made our way to the centre for a warming cup of coffee before checking the feeders and Lilians hide. as can be seen from the pics the was a good mix of birds on the feeders as well as the usual scavengers below the feeders eg. Mallard, Pheasant, and 2 not so welcome guests grey squirrels.

Next we made our way over to the marsh hides , too much water for anything significant, and anything that was there was now struggling against a strengthening wind coming straight out of the North. We didn't stay too long before making our way back to the centre for warming soup and hot chocolate. We drove home to great sunsets and clear Sky's , frost tomorrow!!!.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Out & about

Out and about yesterday during a brief lull in the wicked weather, Photo, Derwentwater in one of its quieter moments, I had a look at the Thacka flood first thing, slightly more active than of late but not overwhelmingly so . I could only find one Snipe , there was c. 130 Lapwing 20 or so Black-headed gulls and 8 Common gulls. Needed to be well wrapped up today as the was an icy feel to the wind so didn't hang around too much. There is now a dusting of snow on the lakeland fells and also the Pennines. Not the best of weather for travelling any distance, plus Mrs W has been going to work in the car due to all the wet weather and dark mornings. Roll on Spring.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Thacka flood, that's a joke its more like a small lake now and in the fields all around there are similar floods. but this is nothing compared to Keswick and the West of the county. I think everyone has by now seen the devastation around Cockermouth and Workington its heart breaking to see it .
           As regards birding at the flood, well there is very little to see, a lot of the usual stuff has either moved to the far side of the flood or other areas altogeather. With all this water lieing around they have a lot of places to choose from.  The pics are of the flood and Bowmans carrage horses.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

The Westies and Thacka flood

 As you can see this is the Westies having fun, tug-o-war over a plastic container. Second picture Kyfer wins, Third picture Misty saying please give it to me. She is 10 month old now and had her first trim, not a full cut as we just wanted her to get used to the noise of the machines. We took her up to Newton Rigg college where it gives the trainee groomers the chance to work on different breeds of dog. She has also had her first season , and wasn't that fun (not) keeping the pair of them apart. If we breed them it won't be till her third season.
 Now back to birding , up at the flood this morning pretty quiet really , 1 Kestrel, a few Black-headed gulls on the water, plus 100 Lapwings and another 150 flying over, and 7 Snipe maybe more hidden, its always a pleasure to watch them preening and feeding especially when the sun is shinning as it did this morning for a while.
       Unfortunatly it was looking very black towards the west and the Westies and I got home just before the the heavy rain set in for the rest of the day.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Sat. 31 Oct. Thacka flood

It was a fantastic morning as regards the weather, really warm and wall to wall blue sky.
When I arrived at the flood John was already there, and nothing to report. there wasn't a great deal about apart from a few Black-headed gulls and Common gulls. Then suddenly John shouted geese and 3 were flying in they were Pink footed a first for the flood. Soon after this Roy joined us another local birder and He had seen Raven and Dipper further down Thacka. Next 6 Snipe flew in and settled in the usual place amongst the sedge.
In the afternoon I went up to the flood again and found at least a dozen Snipe two of which are in the poor pic. above also a couple of Pied wagtails.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Thacka flood & Bright Tarn

A cracking morning, a fair amount of blue sky and warm sun, my kind of birding day. 12 Snipe on the flood this morning possibly more in the sedge, this one not quite got the camouflage thing. I did an initial count of 38 Lapwings but there was more cumming in all the time. Also c.50 Black-headed gulls and a few Common gulls, close by perched in a tree there was a Kestrel till disturbed by a dog walker.
Next I moved on to Bright Tarn near Greystoke moor, here there was 16 Greylags, good numbers of Teal, a female Wigeon, Mallard, and Pheasants in nearby fields. there was also Jays about and a Buzzard calling. quite an enjoyable morning.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Thacka flood & Soddy Gap 18th

I arrived at the flood to find it very quiet indeed and the only thing visible with the naked eye was a Common gull . I had just located 3 snipe with the scope, they were in the usual place in the sedge when John turned up, another local birder. The crack was good and He was telling me about the things He has seen on there lately, such as another Black-tailed Godwit, or even more amazing the 6 Whooper swans that turned up the other day. While we chatted a Great spotted woodpecker flew over.
At about 10am I left to make my way over to Soddy Gap in the west of the county. On my way over I saw 2 Buzzards one flew over the car near Threlkeld and the second flew along the road in front of the car near Gt. Broughton. I could hear the geese before I saw them , then when I reached the water there they were about 200 of them Greylags. apart from them there was some Teal, Mallard, Tufted, Coot, Moorhen, about 20 Black-headed gulls and 1 Med. gull. not a bad day apart from the weather which wasn't too great , dull with drizzle.
Pheasants feeding on winter wheat.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Mid morning round Thacka

There was a very fine drizzle settling everywhere and it showed up all the cobwebs on the local muck- heap, no idea what species of spider they could be but the webs were a couple of feet square and there was lots of them.
           The colours are begining to show on some of the trees, and it looks as though we are going to get a good show towards the end of the month and into November, providing the weather stays calm.
            The hedges were teeming with Blackbirds this morning , there was dozens of them everywhere. Also saw 3 Hedge sparrows ,2 robins , There was also a few Goldfinches about but only in ones and twos not the usual small flocks one usually sees them in.
           On the flood there was good numbers of gulls Black-headed and a few Common, but nothing like the numbers of Lapwings.  There was however 3 snipe visible and could have been more hidden in the rushes.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Pic. Mr. W overlooking his favorite lake.
Been up to the Thacka flood a few times over the last few days and there has been nothing out of the ordinary, always a good roost of Black-headed gulls and usually a few Common gulls mixed in with them. Also nearly always a large flock of Lapwings usually about 200.
The water level has risen again slightly, making it less likely that we will see any Snipe or other waders. There has been a Kestrel hunting the area , not seen one up there for a while, and also a flock of mixed finches, mainly Chaffinches . Still no sign of the usual large flocks of Redwings or Fieldfares , something strange going on this Autumn, all I can think is that the food supply in the Scandinavian countries must be very good this year , so no need to rush over here.
All for GW.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Sunday the 4th & Monday the 5th

A bit of a sad day on Sunday as we took our Daughter back to uni. As can be seen the Westies are very enthusiastic about helping with the packing. It was an early start to the day setting off soon after 6-30 am . Also a long day as it had turned 5pm by the time we got home , this was due to an accident on the M40 and we were held up in traffic for an our then turned off the motorway South of Warwick.

However once a birder always a birder and as we travelled South on the M40 we saw a Red Kite in the Cherwell area and then leaving Oxford on the A34 we saw another one. Also quite a few Kestrels as we travelled up and down the various motorways.

This morning I went up to the Thacka flood , where there was , 3 Common Gulls , 27 Black-Headed Gulls c.300 Lapwings, a pair of Mallard, and 3 Snipe . It was a bit on the cool side but the sun has shone all day , great.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Thacka flood & Beacon

The fungi is Shaggy cap.
Went up to the flood this morning , the sun was really warm again just a chilly wind keeping temps. down. There was 20 Common gulls , about 15 Black-headed gulls , 150 to 200 Lapwing, 1 Lesser black back gull & 2 immature. There was 1 moorhen and a few Starling feeding at the side of the flood , also 3 Snipe but could have been more hiding behind the rocks. Over the A6 over in the East 2 Buzzard showed briefly.
In the afternoon I took the Westies for a walk on the Beacon but as usual it was quiet up there apart from hearing a buzzard call , but it was an enjoyable walk and warmer than the morning as the wind had dropt quite a bit, not bad for the 1st of October.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Mrs W and myself had a fairly early start this morning and headed off down the M6 to Leighton Moss . We parked in the lay- by near the causeway and made our way to the Lower hide. We had close views of a Little Grebe and also a juvenile Great Crested Grebe. there was masses of Greylags on the mere and a good collection of other wildfowl including Pintail, and Pochard.
Next we popped into the public hide where the was Greenshank resting on the island in front of the hide , and there was a brief glimpse of a Kingfisher as it darted into the reeds.
By 11-30 we were making our way to the main centre and a brief look in at Lillian's before popping into the cafe for some lunch. After munching we went over to the Morecambe hide, and had the place to our selves for a while , a sure sign there is not much about. There was 20 odd Egrets, and it was reported that 51 had left the roost this morning including the Great White , but there was no sighting of it while we were there. It was a good day out though, pity about the drizzle closing vis. down a bit. The pics above are, small flock of Redshanks sheltering from the wind on the Allan pool, 7 Blacktail Godwits, and 1 of 2 Spotted Redshanks we found.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Thakcka Flood

Went up to the Thacka flood this morning taking Kyfer & Misty (the westies ) with me. A fair amount of activity too this morning , with the following seen.
2 Lesser Black-backed Gull + 1 immature, 1 Common Gull, c.50 Black-headed Gulls, 250 t0 300 Lapwing, 6 Jackdaws, 1 Stock Dove, about 12 Starling, 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Goldfinch feeding on thistle heads, and a flock of 20 flew over. There was also numerous Crows about and rooks , so not a bad morning , apart from the fact that unlike yesterday there was no sun shining but still quite mild. The picture is a bracket fungi common name Tinder fungus , which I found near Surprise view over in Borrowdale mid week . All for now GW.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Sunday 20th Thacka flood

No the Crane wasn't at the flood , (that would be something) this was taken while we were birding in Norfolk. I called in at the flood through the week and it was a bit worrying as the was nothing about apart from a Magpie coming down for a drink and a gull flew over, there wasn't even any rabbits about. This was making me think someone had been down with a gun, sometimes the local plonkers go lamping in that area, and would also have a pop at any wildfowl that was about.
But Sunday morning things were back to normal, there was 9 Snipe, over a dozen Black-headed Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull plus an immature one, also juvenile Moorhen, a flock of Starlings and Stock doves on over head wires, and a Redstart had been seen on top of nearby drystone wall. It was a very warm morning with a light breeze, there are a few birders watching the flood and as the water level is dropping I think its just a matter of time before something good drops in
All for now GW.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Penrith Beacon , & Thacka flood

Climbing up the beacon by 8-45 this morning sun nice and warm with a slight breeze blowing. There is not usually a lot of activity on the beacon and this morning was no exception. I saw two Buzzards and heard two lots of Jays making their usual alarm racket. I generally walk the Eastern part of the beacon, which is nowhere near the main summit. It is planted mainly with Scots pine and quite open , with an under carpet of various types of heather, bilberry , some Gorse. If I go up the beacon I always take the Westies with me its a large area and they don't need to be on the lead, they always enjoy being up there , and its only occasionally we meet anyone else. Misty is still only 8 months old but has nearly caught up to Kyfer in size as can be seen.

Took a few fungi pics , if I've got the names wrong hopefully someone will put me right. After the beacon I had a look a the Thacka flood, still too much water so not a lot there, just a few Lapwings, half a dozen Blackheaded Gulls, two Lesser Black-Backed , and one Common Gull, and that was about it.
Fungi , Top. Stereum Gausapatum. middle, Marasmius Scorodonius. bottom, Calocera Viscosa.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Leighton area

Had a run out with family today had a look a Warton crag on the off chance the wryneck was still about but no chance. called in at Leighton Moss for a spot of lunch, and had a short chat to two nice guys at the next table about the camera lens he is using, and received good advice.

As it was a family outing we also visited Leighton Hall, all very interesting, the only disappointing thing about the day was the weather, light rain for most of our trip.

A few more pics from our Norfolk hols. Meadow Pipit Small Tortoiseshell & Juvenile Pied Wagtail.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

A few pics from Norfolk Trip

Pics in order of decent,
Bearded Tit, Little Grebe.

Avocet, Little grebe & young.

Next 2, Green Woodpecker, and Woodpigeon.

Last 2, Curlew and Ruff.
A brilliant few days birding , with great weather, more pics to come.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Thacka flood

Still a lot of water about making it still unsuitable for waders. so not really a lot about , on or around the flood there was c.200 lapwing, 1 Black Headed gull, 1 Lesser Black back gull, 1 moorhen, and on the grass by the water a pair of Stock dove.
Up on the Beacon when the sun is out (which is not often at the moment) there are quite a few butterflies and for the first time this year Peacocks are about (pic.)

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Friday 7th , Hot day at Walney Island

Not a day for the Westies as Mrs W and myself headed down the M6 on our way to Walney , making good time we arrived about 10-30 and already the sun was hot.

It was a good mix of birding and planting , the first birds of the day was a small flock of about 15 to 20 linnets on the road just before the entrance. We made our way toward the oyster proccessing plant and the pools in that area. On the various pools there was 1 Sandpiper , 6 Greenshank, c.150 Redshank with Dunlin mixed with them. A count of 20 Cormorant sitting on posts in water , and close by 6 Canada geese. Out on the grass by the same pool quite a few Barnacle geese and with them two with compleatly white heads. We also saw a few Meadow Pipits , and a lone Gannet flew South. On pools behind the entrance there was Moorhen and in the reeds a Sedge Warbler.
The three pics are Yellow Horned Poppy, Mallow, and Caloplaca marina (orange lichen )

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Thacka birding and butterflies

Firstly has any one come across this before ? its about the size of a small white but without the markings other than the black tips to the wings.

On or near the the Thacka flood, A juvenile Grey Partridge on side of road near flood. Then c.100 lapwing, Moorhen 2 and juveniles, 9 Lesser Black Backed Gulls, 1 Sandpiper 3 Stock Dove, about 6 Mallard, 1 Heron, and 3 Black Headed Gulls. And at long last after seeing all the pics of Painted Ladies flooding into the Wirral and other places in there thousands yet leaving Penrith a Painted Lady free zone, I see a few !!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

North East Cumbria 31st July

A day of exploring , birding, and for a change a day out for the Westies. We pottered North along the A6 and made our way to Tolkin tarn (didn't find any rings,) (I know different spelling ) or for that matter many birds.

There was a mixture of ducks near the visitor centre mallard as usual being the most in number, there was also a few Coot about and Moorhen, Female mallard with newly hatched chicks, and these two ducks about the size of Teal but of unknown make or origin, maybe some kind of cross ?.

Next we headed for Tindale tarn (definitely no tin) ,this is in a beautiful area on the edge of the moors and comes under the RSPB Geltsdale umbrella. The tarn is quite isolated and quiet so attracts quite a bit of wildfowl and other things. This was our first rece of the area and unfortunately approached it from the wrong side, and so couldn't get close enough to do it justice. And as we had left the scope in the car we only had bins to scan with, the one thing of note was a Black swan which had been seen previously at Tolkin tarn and isn't that far for it to commute to Tindale. So now we know the area a visit in the Autumn is definitely one for the diary.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Eric Morecambe hide

In spite of the inclement weather I decided to have a trip down to Lancashire to see if anything was about. It was quite bad for waders on two accounts, firstly with all the rain and then last nights high tide with a following wind, it had flooded the marsh making it hard for the waders to feed consequently not many about. Secondly a Peregrine hunting over the two pools kept spooking the waders mainly Black tailed Godwits and a few Red Shank . The Ruddy Shelduck was still there and a mixed flock of Green Finch-Gold Finch kept landing on the thistles growing on the bank between the two pools, but were having trouble battling the wind.

Back at my local flood pool, Thaka, it is a similar story, with too much water and no mud showing to attract the waders. Picture is part of the Thaka flood, the horses can be a problem sometimes.