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.

Monday, 27 July 2009

In work

Not a particularly good pic as I took it using only my standard 55mm lens (no kind person has volunteered to buy me a better lens) anyway this is one of the Swallows nesting in the barn at work , they are now starting their second brood.
The Blue tits that used the box have fledged and long gone. one of my work mates has seen a little Owl in a shed close by , but as yet I have yet to verify this.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Birding local patch, plus Cumbria

Out and about this last few days , firstly on the flood at Thacker, c.100 Lapwing, c.50 Oystercatcher, Moorhen with chicks at various stages of development, also Mallard with young. Highlights have been 2 Dunlin and 1 common Sandpiper, a good find for this patch. My Daughter took the photo of the Ringlet, and what a difference from the one on an earlier post.

Other places visited over the last few days , Soddy Gap, with Swans & 5 young ,coot & young , Little Grebe, and a few tufted. At Siddick Pond the best on view was two Black Tailed Godwit, plus Heron , a few Mallard, a Great black back, and a Black Headed gull. Also while there we found the Cinnabar larvae see pic.
Next we had a look round Workington harbour, there was c. 50 Swans there, plus Oystercatcher and Redshank and a mixed flock of gulls mainly Blackheaded. A good few days in spite of getting soaked through on two occasions.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Cumbria, Durham, & Northumberland, moors

Small Skipper

Mrs W and myself decided on a ride out covering some of the north-east moors , with no particular destination in mind. We left Penrith and drove over Hartside and headed for Alston , then we took the road to Nenthead and dropped down into Weardale. At Stanhope we turned left and made our way to Derwent Reservoir. Above pics Small Skipper,Ringlet ,& Meadow Brown

We hadn't intended going out to birdwatch but well you can't resist really and we always have an old pair of bins in the car just in case. On the water there was a pair of Great crested grebes displaying , a huge raft of Goldeneyes, c. 50 Oystercatchers, c.200 Lapwings , and some Greylags. Also close to the water we found a good collection of butterflies. pics above. As we continued our journey we came across four Stoats playing chicken on the moorland road and sat watching them for a while. We also saw quite a few Red Grouse , and unbelievably a small flock of Starlings skimmed the roof of the car they were being chased by a Peregrine, it actually drove one of them into the roof of the car. We watched the pair circling overhead later. There was a lot of roadkill about and unusually a lot of young Lapwings.

An excellent unplanned day out.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Cracking day at Leighton Moss 6 July

It was raining hard in Penrith so was undecided weather to have a ride over Alston or down to Leighton. After considering the weather would probably be worse over Alston and the fact that a Wood sandpiper had been seen yesterday at Leighton , and I was betting that the weather would be better in Lancashire. So by 9-30 Mrs W and my self were heading South down the M6 and a blue sky ahead of us.
We headed straight for the Eric Morecambe hide where there was plenty to see. 3 Little Egrets , 4 Little gulls. Green shanks, Spotted red shanks Lots of Black tail Godwitts, some in beautiful summer plumage , Dunlin , looking even smaller against the Godwitts. At one point female Marsh Harrier came in really close and everything lifted off the marsh, it circled round for a few mins. before heading off in the direction of the mere.
Soon after this we made our way back to the centre for some lunch before spending some time in Lillians hide . here we saw young Reed bunting , and again very good closeups of a female Harrier.
Next we had a walk down to the public hide again good views of Harriers both male & female, then suddenly a Hobby was spotted at a good distance away perched at the top of a dead tree. this was a life first for me and I was over the moon. soon after it disappeared, and I said "it would have been nice to have seen it in flight " I had no sooner got the words out of my mouth than it came hawking right across the front of the hide , absolutely fantastic , and the sun shone all day , what a cracking day