Thursday, 29 July 2010

A Shell dropped into the flood

Juvenile Shell duck
I had two visits to the Thacka flood today, and the morning visit was fairly busy. 100 or so Lapwings 6 Black-headed Gulls, Moorhens and now fully mature young, 19 Mallard, 1 Heron, 2 Stock Dove 6 Swallows flying about, and 6 Lesser Black-backed gulls plus 3 juvenile.
          The afternoon visit was a bit more crowded, the Lapings had increased in numbers, so had the Black-headed gulls with juveniles with them. Lesser Black-backed numbers were increasing all the time, its as if they come for a wash and brush up after foraging on the tip all day. A couple of Common gulls almost got overlooked  in the mealy, and there was well over 50 Starlings mixing it with the best of em. However the surprise of the day was a juvenile Shell duck that had decided to add another tick to the flood list.
        This is the great thing about patching you never know whats going to drop in next.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Thacka flood

Parasol Mushroom, Millom beach
Had a couple of visits to the flood , last night and this morning. Not a great deal about, John was already there last night and had nothing to report out of the ordinary.
   The Lapwings are coming back in numbers now with counts of 100 plus on most visits, also this morning Black-headed Gulls 7, unusually high count of Mallard with 30 this morning, and 1 Lesser Black Back gull.
        Fine drizzle blew across at one point, but was only using binocks, didn't see much point in scoping as there as not much to about. Its quite a low at the moment after all the activity the other week with the various waders, according to John we need a change of wind direction in the hope that it will bring something good in. And as I write the sun has come out but have not got the car, knickers.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

North and South Cumbria, 22-23 July

Yesterday Myself and Mrs W headed North unfortunately as we travelled the weather deteriorated, a total contrast to yesterday. We ended up at Tindale Tarn, a bit disappointing as there was very little about, a few Tufted and Coot, 21 Swans,and the Black Swan trying to hide in the reeds. We walked the Stagsike Trail and back to the car park. The best thing we saw all day was a Roe Buck barking down the valley below Forrest Head.
          The weather deteriorated even more mist, drizzle, and a thin wind. so we decided to head for home and a late lunch.
            Mrs W had 2 days off  together, so  Friday as soon as Daughter had vacated house on the first leg of her trip to Barcelona with 5 of her friends, we too made a move as the sun was shining and didn't want to waste it.
           We headed for Hodbarrow South Cumbria. There wasn't a great deal on the lagoon  apart from a family of Tufted duck a shed load of Swans and Herons, of which  there were teens.  All the Turns had fledged and had taken up residence on the beach over the road.
Emperor Dragonfly
           We left the lagoon area and headed for the beach cafe to replenish Mrs W's stomach. This done we made our way further along the track and then on to the beach, where we spent the rest of the day birding and planting. Somebody has had the great idea to dig shallow pits at intervals close to the dunes, a place where the Naterjacks can breed and spawn, and they are also attracting other life forms including fish and insects, including the dragonfly below.


Female laying eggs
Common Sea Lavender

Also on the foreshore there was Meadow Pipits, some feeding young, and also small flocks of Linnets. We also saw a few Gannets out over the estuary.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Thacka and the flood in the SUN

Small Tortoiseshell
The day got off to a poor start, cloudy and miserable, but as the day progressed the weather improved and soon after lunch the sun got out and the rest of the day was my kind of weather, sun and lots of it.
       I decided it was too good to miss, so with camera and binocs in hand I set off walking heading for Thacka.
       Its the first time we have had such warm sun for quite a while and the area was teeming with Small Tortoiseshell, the camera going into over drive. I've been keeping clear of the flood lately because a load of gypoes have taken up residence right near the right of way so its not that pleasant. Today however was different because from a distance I could see there was some larger waders which needed closer inspection, and bingo 12 Black-tailed Godwits, everything else seemed to pale into insignificance as this was just brilliant for our little patch. However there was also 29 Oystercatchers ,this is the largest count I have had on there. Also juvenile Redshank, over 50 Lapwing.
Black-tailed Godwit

In the evening I took my Daughter out for a driving lesson, and while she was driving through Hackthorpe I spotted over 200 Swallows perched on a  telephone wire. A terrific sight.


Monday, 19 July 2010

The flood, a brief visit

Had a ride up to Thacka flood just after lunch time, haven't been out in a while because of the dogs. Poor Kyfer has had the snip, He has had his nuts removed, He is nut less. Didn't want to put little Misty through any more trauma so Kyfer was volunteered, anyway He is slowly recovering, whether He will get over it mentally is another matter.
          Anyway back to the flood, I counted 17 Oystercatchers and was in the process of counting the Lapwings (0ver 50) when a Wood Sandpiper came into view. They have been seen on the flood before but not by myself, there was quite a few Malard on and round the edges Starlings and a Stockdove.
         John has had quite a bit up there of late including Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, and Green Sandpiper.
           The Swallows are still dipping the flood, so I've put a couple of pics of one on the wing and another perched on the barn.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Lost 1 but still got 2

Haven't done a lot of serious birding lately as the family have had other things on our minds. A while ago little Misty started showing signs of being in pup, but we thought it might be a phantom pregnancy, as we thought we had managed to keep Her and Kyfer apart. By Wednesday at 4pm she started twining and looking for somewhere to nest, and this kept us up all night. Thursday morning I decided to find out for sure and took Her to the vet. where a scan revealed possibly 2 large pups at least. At 6pm she started having Her first contractions, but by 8 things were not looking too good, and I rang the vet, She said give her another hour and I will ring you back. she did so and as there was no change in Her condition it was decided to take Her in to the clinic. An examination found a pup in the wrong position, the vet turned it and drew it out. At this stage Misty was in great pain, and not surprising as the pup was nearly as big as three normal pups. It was also more than obvious that it was dead, and it was the only pup Misty had been carrying.
     Today has been a better day as She has  spent less time crying and less time searching the house for pups. After taking advice from the vet it has been decided not to breed from Her as She is so small and the same thing could happen again. Looks like Kyfer could be loosing His nuts, as its a much easier way than putting Misty through more trauma.
        On a brighter note, up a Thacka flood this morning there was a Heron, not had one on there for ages. Also the Lapwings are beginning to come back in numbers now with between 30-50 and 15 Oystercatchers, the young Moorhens are fully grown now, but no sign of any ducklings, they have all succumb to predators. Also this morning the Little Ring Plover is back and there has been a common Sandpiper about.
       No new birding pics at the mo so will leave you with a resent pic of the westies pre trauma days .

Friday, 2 July 2010

Thacka flood & river Eden

Took the Westies for their morning walk and had a look at the flood, it was pretty quiet really. I thought only 2 moorhens had survived but all three are ok. there was just one Ostercatcher and a few corvids kicking around. surprisingly yet another clutch of mallards, this time 11, 2 of which are pure yellow, (who's been playing pick & mix then).  We didn't hang around too long as I was dressed for the sun and it started to rain.

              1 female Goosander and 11 young. 

 Later in the morning I set off for the river Eden taking the footpath near Lilliput just off the A66. just after the railway tunnel there was a Buzzard above me . Next I came across 2 oystercatchers in a field of veg. acting very suspicious as if there was a nest or young about. And apart from finding the Goosanders that was about it.