Wednesday, 29 February 2012

White wingers and others

Its been quite quiet on the patch of late, a few Oystercatchers and Lapwings round the flash area on a good day, but most days nothing and especially now that a flock of sheep have been moved into the area. Things perked up a bit yesterday with Sparrowhawk and Buzzard over at the same time, the later being mobbed by gulls.
        I decided I had had enough of waiting for the sun to shine, so after walking the Westies I made a move to do some more serious birding and head over to the coast.
        My first stop was Harrington harbour and although there was plenty of gulls about nothing outstanding.

There was a lot of Black-headed Gulls about this being one of them.
Next I moved South to Parton in the hope that the Iceland Gull was still about, and as soon as I walked onto the waterfront I clocked it, at a distance at first.

Iceland Gull
It seemed to be a bit of a loner because if any other gulls came too close it got a bit agitated and move on.

Iceland Gull

Iceland Gull

Iceland Gull

And for the last time , Iceland Gull
I left Parton and headed North to Workington, Where the Mediterranean Gull was on show

Mediterranean Gull (stumpy)

2 Herring Gulls
An enjoyable day , two more to the year list and 1 lifer. Where to next, I wonder.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Ring ring, ring ring

Coot, 2 rings on right leg 1 metal, and another that could be pale blue or grey.
Since I posted these pics I have recieved this information about the Ringing of this bird.
The Coot was rung as an adult bird at Redesmere Lake, Cheshire.
And thanks go to Kane Brides for the info. Thanks again.

Same Coot 2 rings on left leg, pink or red over yellow.
A beautiful day today, warm sun and plenty of it, although there was a stiff breeze blowing, but still possibly the highest temps so far this year.

Another sign of Spring getting nearer, Catkins.
And I couldn't resist taking a pic of this little chap, singing his heart out another sign spring is on the way.

Reed Bunting in the hawthorns by the railway.
In the afternoon I had a wander around Cliburn moss where I met Cain Scrimgeour, (Holywell Birding) it was good to meet you at last.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Some swans in a hurry

Male Mute Swan staking his territory, his speed was such that he was creating quite a bow wave.
Well no major sightings over the last week, in fact apart from taking the Westies out I haven't done a great deal. And when I have gone after the odd lister it has usually move on to waters new. Like the pair of Smew at Talkin tarn. The pic of the swan above was taken there, on a day when most of the tarn was still coated in ice. Judging by what other people have said there could have been a Med Gull in with the pack of gulls sitting on the ice, but they were too far out to see any detail.

A trio of cross breeds, I've come across this before at Talkin.
Another sunrise on the patch,
Its just unfortunate that the Penrith industrial estate has to be in view from the patch. There hasn't been anything exiting 0n the patch for ages, the usual mix of gulls on the main pond of the reserve and large numbers of Moorhens, one morning there was a single Fieldfare feeding with Starlings by the flash. And one morning I had a look at the feeder Roy has put up by the railway path, and found a Great-spotted Woodpecker having a good go at the nuts, so I quietly crept away and left him to enjoy the nuts.

Skyline tree near the river Peterill
It never ceases to amaze me how a tree like this can be in such an exposed position and yet withstand all the storms and gales that get thrown at it , and yet  whole forests can be devastated or trees in towns and cities where you would expect them to be more sheltered, get ripped apart of blown over completely.

Snowdrops in Cowraik NR. The last two mornings I have gone up to Cowraik With the Westies and found large drifts of Snowdrops, they look really beautiful. Also this morning  2 Raven flew over, another for the list.    

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A Glossy, A Marsh, A Rail.

Keen frost again this morning, and the sun was up and about early, and so was I . A quick breakfast, a short walk with the dogs, and then I was off to Leighton Moss.
      First stop the causeway and public hide, and as soon as I walked in I got Marsh Harrier. Generally there wasn't much knocking about as every where is froze solid. I called in at the centre and after a while found Marsh Tit.

Marsh Tit

Marsh Tit in the marsh
Two more year ticks and the day was looking good, so I decided to push my luck a bit further and see if the Ibis that I mist last time would be showing today. Parking the car by the canal I walked back to the grazing fields where it is usual seen. At first I thought my luck was out again, then suddenly it appeared in a field further down the road, bingo, year tick and life tick in one go.
         There was nothing doing at the marsh hides, again nothing but ice. So on foot I made my way over to Jenny-brown-point in the hope there might be Great Crested Grebe about, but although there was plenty on show no grebe. On my way over there I slipped on some snow-ice, my main concern was my equipment, but every thing seams OK. My left wrist took a bit of a knock and didn't bother me much at the time, but since I've been home its become very sore and aching. I'm not one for pain killers but when needs must.
So with one hand I will continue. Before going home I thought I would give Lillian's hide another go on the off chance a Water Rail would ingratiate itself for my lens. I had been in the hide 10 mins or so when my last tick of the day crept out of the reeds, fantastic.

Glossy Ibis

Look at the size of the feet on this thing

Coots having to graze

Again large feet for small bird.

Water Rail.

What a fantastic day, one of the best I've had at Leighton.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Frosties after breakfast

No bird pics today, instead a selection of frost pics taken while walking the Westies round Cowraik nature reserve. Last nights fog had gone by this morning but I didn't know this as I lay in bed, so by the time I got up and realised the sun was shining it was too late for plans of a trip down to Leighton, especially by the time I had walked the dogs and done some shopping.
           After I had done all my jobs I decided to head off for Watchtree nature reserve at Great Orton (the place they buried all the carcases during foot&mouth). The place was very quiet, the only things of note was a Buzzard and a Snipe. I left there and made my way to Bassenthwaite lake in the hope of finding the Scaup.
            I had just arrived and was setting my tripod up when Ewan turned up, it was good to see him again, and a pleasant half hour or so was spent scanning the area together with Ewan helping to find the Scaup.There was a decent range of wildfowl on the lake, the Goldeneye looking particularly good in the sun. however nearly all were too distant to merit any photos.
         The following pics are a selection from this mornings walk with the Westies.

Frosted Bramble.

Frosted Bracken

Scots Pine.
Frosted Silver birch.
This and the following are looking over to the Pennines with Whins pond in the foreground.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Dipper de do da

Mrs W had to be in work for 9-30 this morning so I gave her a lift and then continued on with the Westies. Just as I was getting in the car, a text from Roy let me know I had just missed a Merlin on the patch, it does add another species to the patch list.
        Walking round with the dogs I didn't see a great deal so headed back home and had a cuppa before setting off again on my own.

Second Brambling of the winter in the big hawthorns Thacka beck reserve.
It was mixing with finches and tits as they moved along the hedge. I decided to head for the Petteril in the hope there would be at least 1 Dipper about.

On the way there I met this sheep on the track blocking my way, there was a bit of a stand off for a while but there was only going to be one winner, they can be so stupid at times.

First one Dipper then a second, then  third. and another year tic.

And this one showing secondary eyelid

                                            River Petteril.
It looks like the weather is going to change again, milder, at least in our area lets hope the sun dosn't dissapear.

Friday, 3 February 2012

On a Wander

No car today so the Westies and myself went on a wander. Starting in the little park round the corner, where there was blackbirds and Jackdaws, then up Drovers lane and eventually arrived at Thacka Beck reserve. 90% frozen with just one small area being kept open by Mallards milling around, but the gulls had so suffer the ice.

A mixed bag of gulls on the large pond at the reserve.

Common Gull. this is becoming a habit, pics of gulls standing on one leg

We walked round the reserve noting 12 or more Moorhens and a similar number of Mallard. A Stock Dove was sat on the wires close by, and a Fieldfare flew over. It was a morning of fly-overs because as we got closer to the farm a Buzzard flew over , good to see them back on the patch again !!. On our wandering we had two good fly-overs of Lapwings about 100 in each flock and 2 Oystercatchers in the second flock. We had a potter about on the Newton Rigg land finding about 6 Redpolls hedge hopping . We were just making our way through the small coppice when we met 2 young birders, they are stoodying at Newton Rigg and had just had a wander down to the petteril where they had seen dippers.

Blencathra, Sharp Edge will be in fabulous condition for ice climbing. I took a friend up in those conditions, gave him the fright of his life.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Buzzards on the patch

Firstly another pic from yesterday, 2 of the 6 Whooper Swans on Siddick ponds 
Had a wonder round part of the patch with the Westies this morning and there had been a keen frost again, which made it nice and firm under foot but cold on the hands when handleing camera and bins. The sun was shining though and it was another beautiful morning.

View over to the remains of the flash, and the sun just cumming up.
There was 17 Lapwing on this morning and 1 Oystercatcher. We walked along the top track this morning but didn't see a great deal apart from a few Blackbirds and Corvids. Next we took the path by the railway and checked out Roy's bird feeder. Again mainly blue & Great tits, with the addition this morning of a Greenfinch. Further along the path I found a Buzzard perched in a tree but it took flight before I could get the camera on it.
              On our way back along the top track however it was a different story, another Buzzard, this time sat on a post by the side of the path and very confiding allowing us to get quite close before lifting off and gliding over the field.

Common Buzzard.
That was as far as we got today , jobs needed doing, and we have spent quite a bit on fuel this last few days. and tomorrow may be another rest day as Mrs W needs the car as she is popping over to Whitehaven to see her Mother. Mind if anything big turned up close by I could always borrow my Daughters car, (maybe).

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A long but enjoyable day

A fairly early walk with the Westies this morning, and we watched the sun rise on the patch. 3 Lapwing on the remains of the flash, and that was about it.

Not Stumpy the Med Gull, but Stumpy the Black-headed Gull. Is there something in the water over on the west coast, I've also seen  Common Gull over there with a gammy foot.
Myself and Mrs W had our first stop at Workington harbour looking for Purple Sandpipers and Med Gulls, no luck on both counts.
Whooper Swans Siddick.
Next we moved on to Siddick were we saw the above, 1 Bittern, 2 Snipe and a shed load of Goosanders again.
Next we called in at Maryport for lunch before moving on up the coast finding Turnstone.



And this nice little group of Redshank at Silloth water front
We drove as far as Skinburness, where we could see at a great distance 1000's of Barnies again, then Mrs W pointed up and there was a Kestrel hovering above the parking area.

Leaving Skinburness we retraced our steps stopping only to try and get some shots of Sanderlings, but the pics are poor as they were too far out.

Our last stop was on the way home and as it was getting on for 4-45 we called in at the Broughton dump to join 4 other like souls for a spot of owling. It took a while before the show started, but when it did boy was the stop worth it. A count of up to 10 Short-eared Owls, at least 2 Barn owls, 3 Woodcocks. and an owl perched in a tree a great distance, we couldn't decided which species, but it wasn't a Short-eared.
          I left the group to see more but as temps fell below freezing in fading light, and Mrs W was sat in the car on her own, i decided to call it a day, and what a day.