Wednesday, 24 June 2009

A hot day at Leighton Moss

A trip down the M6 today to see what if anything was on the move at Leighton. We had a look in at the public hide on the causeway first where we soon latched onto a female Marsh Harrier sitting in one of the dead trees, after a while she moved off to the right of the hide, then almost at the same time a male appeared carrying food . He entered the area where the female had been sitting, then suddenly a second female lifted up out of the reeds and for the first time (apart from on tv) we saw the food pass. The female came right under the male and with talons almost touching he passed the food to her and she disappeared into the reeds.

The Westies enjoy the walks but enjoy the puddles even more although if this weather continues we will be carrying even more water with us.

Lunch at Leighton was alfresco as the main dinning area is closed at the moment for refurbishment. we spent a bit of time in one of the hides at the centre before moving off to the Eric Morecambe hide. After parking the car we saw White Throat , then heard but couldn't find Lesser White Throat. also Goldfinches about. From the hide there was Spotted Red shank, Green shank , plus all the usual. We found an area that was covered in Scarlet Pimpernel (above) (sometimes quite allusive) and also Common spotted orchid , and a Speckled wood. A good day out and back home by 4-30

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Sunbiggin Tarn

Had a short visit to Sunbiggin Tarn today, There is usually something up there to make the trip worth while . unfortunately on the tarn itself the only things visible were two fishing boats and a pair of swans. O n the fell around the tarn there was quite a few Meadow pipits around and Wheatear. Not too far from the tarn is probably the most northerly limestone outcrops and pavement. these were attracting a couple of Ravens , and quite a few crows . Back down the road I heard a Willow warbler and that was about it , but the sun was shining so it was a good day . The Northern Marsh orchid was a nice find and every crevice on the pavement had the Hartstongue in it.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Two Good Days

Saturday June 6 and we decided to have a ride over to Fairburn Ings. It had rain through the night quite heavy, and light rain was still falling as we left home. However this was nothing compared to what we ran into at the eastern end of the A66, it rained so hard we could hardly see were we were going. We pressed on though and eventually the sun came out just as we got stuck in a jam on the A1M for an hour.We finally reach Fairburn about 11 later than intended. It was our first visit to the Ings, and while not as luxurious as some of the RSPB reserves it was interesting. There was a good variety of birds about including Common tern, there was also a good selection on the feeders, the highlight being young GS Woodpeckers.

Today the 8th we had a run down to Martin mere , and for a change had beautiful sunshine all day. There was young waders and ducklings all over the place. The was quite a few Avocet chicks, Little ring plover chicks, Redshank with three chicks. then there was the more common things with young such as Moorhen, Coot , Mallard, and Shell duck. There was also a Marsh Harrier seen from the Ron Barker hide. One of the best sightings was not a bird but a Hare as it sat just under the big windows of the Harrier hide , but moved off before I could organise my camera. I couldn't resist aiming the camera at the Moorhen chicks and the Mallard ducklings before relocating to Pennington Flash staying till 4pm before making our way home . At Pennington we missed out on the Black tern but had good views of the Garganey All for now.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Leighton Moss

Half a day at Leighton Moss yesterday was a journey worth while. I parked up at the centre, then walked it back to the public hide on the causeway. I was just about to go into the hide when a movement caught my eye on the path just beyond the hide , it was a stoat. I was just reaching for my camera when it disappeared again. I waited for a while but nothing, so went into the hide. There was plenty to see but nothing out of the ordinary, so after a while I left. I had just stepped outside when the stoat appeared again, followed by another , then another, 6 in all, young. they played for quite some time , chasing each other rolling over themselves and generally having a great time. Now at the moment my Nikon is totally inadequate, having only the standard 18-55 m. lens (I am now saving for a long lens) hence the rubbish photos. I was also wishing I had my video camera with me , but you can't carry everything.
My day was already made as I made my way back up to the centre and report my finding and log it. After a short coffee break I made my way to the Eric Morecambe hide (possibly my favorite hide), My luck was in again , as there was still three Little Gulls showing well, and this was a first lifer for me.
So it was an enjoyable few hours, but not for the Westies as they stayed at home, this was a me day. All for now.

Monday, 1 June 2009


Drigg , for those people not familiar with the name, Drigg is on the west coast of Cumbria, and has about 600 acres of mainly dunes. This extensive area of sand dune sits between the Esk estuary and the sea.


There use to be a large colony of Black-headed gulls (6-8,000 pairs) the largest in Britain. and 4 species of tern. unfortunately they have all moved on now so no big show any more .

Anyway this is where we went at the weekend, the heat haze made scoping anything at a distance virtually impossible , but we did manage to pick out a pair of Shelduck with a brood of about 7 paddling about on the estuary mud.

There was quite a few Skylarks about in the dunes and a Buzzard, also two Kestrels. In an area where there was quit a bit of gorse there were Stonechats about. On the beach itself there wasn't a great deal to see at all apart from the odd Oystercatcher, and Ringed Plover.

Kyfer and Misty enjoyed it but were glad to get back to the car for some cool water, then later some Luchinies icecream on Whinlatter overlooking Bass lake. All in all a good day out.
Ps the bird box I mentioned in an earlier post, now has Blue Tits in.