Monday, 30 April 2012

Sandpiper save the day

Went up to the Flash with Westies first thing mainly to see how the Graylags were getting on with the 2 goslings, only to find out they had gone . I looked round the whole area and no sign, their disappearance was just as mystifying as their appearance. Ten mins. later I meet Nick and he informed me that they had found their way down to the Thacker nature reserve, now this is a hike of over a quarter of a mile quite a journey for 2 little goslings, plus the parents would have to get them through the fence, at least they are still OK.
       Back home I had a quick cuppa before leaving for Soddy and Broughton Moor, plenty of warblers of various kinds but apart from that it was a bit quiet. So after a good tramp around I headed for Siddick Ponds. On the small pond there was a Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Swans, on the main pool 2 Herons a few pair of Swans, 2 Cormorant, Tufted ducks, the usual coots and Moorhens, and I thought that was going to be the lot until I found a Common Sandpiper flitting about on the edge of the pond.

Common Sandpiper, Siddick.

It was picking insects from the waters edge.

A very thoughtful Cormorant, shading the Swan from the sun.
It was only the Sandpiper that made the outing worthwhile. Swallows and Swifts added to the year list.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

A Sparrow surprise

Up fairly early this morning, breakfasted then out with the Westies I had just got them out of the car when I spotted a guy with a lab, about to take the same route, so I took a left turn where I would normally take a right to let the guy get ahead of us and in doing so you get a different angle on the Flash. If I hadn't have done so I may not have seen the 2 Greylags with 2 fluffy young. This is strange because there has been no sign of  them anywhere near the flash till now, and even when the female was sitting, the area is so open someone would have seen the male on guard somewhere, but no not a sign, strange.
      Later I called round to see Keith at Flusco and while He was making a cup of tea for us I was looking through His office window at the feeders and suddenly 2 Tree Sparrows came onto them. Luckily I had my camera with me and fired a few shots off before they disappeared.

The images are a bit fuzzy as they are taken through double glazing

And this cheeky little fellow (a Robin on a horse) keeps coming into the boat work shop on the Isthmus over at Keswick.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Short visit to Leighton

Out and about with the Westies first thing, with a walk round the Northern part of the patch. I have been in the area most mornings but I have had little or nothing to report. In the last week the only thing of note has been  Common Sandpiper, apart from a couple of clutches of Mallard, all of which have been predated mainly by Lesser Black-backed Gull. Roy has seen Redstart, and I have had Blackcap and Willow Warbler up at Cowraik NR.
     By 10am I was on my way to Kendal to purchase a new lens for the Nikon, (not a Nikon lens I quickly add) the coffers wouldn't stretch that far, then having done so I continued on to Leighton Moss.
        Calling in at Lillian's first I was greeted by the screaming hoard of Black-headed Gulls and little else.

Part of the screaming hoard.

The weather wasn't good, showery and a strong wind blowing, I quickly moved on to the Eric Morecambe Where the was a large number of these showing

Black-tailed Godwits, 500-600 at least

These 2 Little Egrets where at a good distance but looked good as they waded and fed.

There has been a lot more about but not today
Strangely marked Black-headed Gull. seems to have black under chin

Quite a few Avocet about, I think they would have been happier with a bit less water.

One lone Oystercatcher.
 And a few Shelduck about

And finally this Blackbird singing its heart out in spite of the miserable weather

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Migrant visits the patch

It was an effort dragging my self from under a nice warm duvet at 5am this morning, but I wanted to be on the patch early. And this to catch the early bird you might think, well no, the reason for this and previous unearthly early starts was in the hope of seeing the latest visitor to the patch, an Otter. It has been with us now for the best part of a week, with John the birder having found it, and also having had the best views of it, usually at first light. Although on the occasion I managed a fleeting glance of it , the time was 12-15pm. So far there has been no opportunity for pics. By the time I arrived John was already on station with his trusty spaniel on its lead, and his wife on another (its the only way he could get her there at that hour), needless to say this morning there was a no show. However all was not lost as John and his wife went to look at the rest of the reserve leaving me on Otter watch with instructions on how to attract his attention should said beast pop into view. The next thing it was John attracting my attention, and to get to his position ASAP. and the reason for his excitement, a Little Ringed Plover had just dropped in, and another for the year list. After a while we made our way up to the remains of the flash, and unbelievably John finds another, fantastic. unfortunately both birds were far too distant for any pics.
        Back home for breakfast and a few jobs before heading off to join Les on the Isthmus. The first bird  to be heard as I got out of the car was this

Nuthatch one of the pair that was nest building last week
The Great Spotted Woodpecker was knocking 7 bells out of a branch near-by and the male Chaffinch was also singing close to the nest they were building last week. On various parts of the lake viewed from the Isthmus, there was Canada Geese and Greylags, a few Coots and a surprising number of these

Red-breasted Merganser

This time 1 male 2 female

This time a pair.
Next a Pied Wagtail started feeding on the edge of the lake

And looking very fresh and smart.

Looking over to the West from shore side, Causey Pike, with part of the Isthmus and boat sheds front right.

The remains of last years bull rush on the patch. (Great Reedmace)

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Real estate on the Isthmus

Saturday and another trip over to spend the day with Les on the Isthmus. unfortunately the day got off to a sad start, as news came over to us that all the launches had been broken into with windows smashed and the CD players stolen from every boat. So as soon as forensics had finished doing their work, Les had to start sorting repair work out. Carl  went over to Penrith to get glass for the windows, while Les set to cleaning all the frames and preparing for the glass. Even so two launches went out before the glass arrived,  time is money but it would be a  drafty ride to say the least.
         Eventually every thing was put right and we could get back to birding, and real estate, yes 3 nests so far one already occupied, and 2 under construction.

Female Mallard all snug and warm in her own knitted duvet sitting on a clutch of eggs.

Nest number 2 in construction, female Chaffinch, she kept bringing nest material then shaping the cup with her body.

The outside consists of moss, lichen, and cobwebs, and she was lining it with feathers.
And nest number 3 also under construction. Right where does this bit go?.
OK pass the next bit up, we are running out of time.

Does my bum look big in  this?.

Tight squeeze but it'll have to do.
Sure this is a good idea ?, its looking like rain
And through it all we did have a bit of rain, not too much with a little sun. unfortunately the forecast  for the next few days looks poor, so this could slow the listing quest down.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

And we shall have snow

Well here in Cumbria today we have had snow , not a great deal and certainly not the amount Scotland have had. But I got to thinking about the new borns that I have seen on my recent walks when we were basking in Med. temps.

I'm frightened Maaaaa

Day glow ears

Corr, doesn't half make you thirsty this weather.

This is probably nice and warm in the barn now.

but these little fellas won't be.

Oh my god it was colder than I thought.
This is what happens when there is a lack of birds on the patch

Monday, 2 April 2012

Sand Martins on the Patch

For nearly a week now we have had a Starling like mini roost of Sand Martins coming in at or just before dusk. Tonight it was about 8pm or just after. with a count of about 200.

The first pic. I had zoomed in so didn't get the full flock.

This is virtually the whole flock, try counting them.By the time I took this shot it was almost dark, and because of the shutter speed I was using I had to lighten it up on the computer.