Thursday, 29 November 2012

A brief visit to Lancashire

The forecast was for a sunny day, and that's what we got. unfortunately we also got a hard frost, so it was a very cold day.
          Nevertheless not wanting to waste a sunny day, I was up bright and early and soon heading South into lancashire, and Leighton Moss. First off a walk along the causeway where I had my first encounter----

A Robin practically begging for food.

I had to keep backing away from it as it was too close for my lens.
Also this Magpie foraging, they don't usually let you get this close.

Quite a bit of the meres where covered with ice but there was still areas of open water made so by the likes of these Swans and other wild fowl and Coots.

Two distant Swans keeping the water moving.
I had a quick look in at Lillian's hide plenty of Teal, Tufted Duck, some Shoveler, and a few Wigeon.
  There was nothing from the other hides, even the marsh pools where dead.
      So I move on to the Silverdale shore, where I found a couple of pair of Mergansers, some distant Wigeon, ditto Shell Duck , and Goldeneye.

Male Red-breasted Merganser.

A pair of Mergansers.

Looking across a misty Morecambe Bay at Heysham nuclear power station.
Back home I paid a call on Kieth at Flusco , where there was good views of  Blencathera half covered in snow.

Blencathra, the sun now starting to disappear behind the cloud that was beginning to roll in.
As I was stood talking to Kieth these two male pheasants started to face off and spar, I think they must have their seasons mixed up.

Thanks for looking in , all the best.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

West coast surprises

The weather forecast for the North West part of the country said Sunny, and first thing it looked like they had got it right, although it was more like sun through cloud, plus a cold wind blowing.
     Anyway after walking the Westies and a couple of chores, I set off for the West coast,  heading  for Workington first, the tide was in and a first scan with bins didn't reveal much. The harbour entrance had a large flock of mixed gulls, no sign of Stumpy the Med gull. After a while I made my way along the jetty where I saw a few --------

Cormorants fly by in small groups,   and one

swimming around just off the jetty.

I was just about to leave when this flock of waders appeared from the end of the jetty, I couldn't tell whether they were Dunlin or Purple Sandpiper. after asking Craig Shaw (VIB) He told me they were Purps. so that came in handy for the year list.
 I was beginning to feel the cold, so headed off  to the relative shelter of Siddick ponds, after getting out of the car, I always check the small pond first, it being nearest to the car.  I couldn't believe the first thing my eyes alighted on, only an -------

Otter calmly swimming around and diving hunting for food

Its just unfortunate it wasn't closer to the camera, but even these shots where stretching my lens a bit.

 Unfortunately the Otter turned out to be the only thing of interest, so I moved on up the coast to Maryport, where I got good views across the outer Solway to Scotland ---

Looking over to Scotland

Close by the car a Black-headed Gull preened, and

Looking South along the coast.
At this stage I decided I'd had enough of the cold and headed in the direction of home, but couldn't resist calling in at Soddy Gap on the way. It turned out there was more activity there than anywhere, as soon as I parked the car I had fleeting glimpses of Tree Sparrow, a Wren, and this little beauty---

Reed Bunting and it didn't seem to mind my presence
As I headed along the track towards the pond, I came across a flock of Goldfinch, unfortunately just as I was getting into them, from behind me came a jogger and the whole lot lifted never to be seen again. It was only when the whole flock lifted I realised how many there was, at least 200

Just a few of the flock, pre-jogger.
 Just after this I heard the sound of Geese calling, and what a sight when I looked up----

One of two batches of Pink footed Geese, these where in front of me, and there was another batch of equal size behind me, what a sight.
Good numbers of  Tufted Duck on the pond .
And Goosander numbers are building again.

Quite an enjoyable day.

Friday, 23 November 2012

A few Corvids

Carrion Crow
By 10-30 this morning we had almost a clear blue sky, just the odd white cloud. So I thought too good to miss, and grabbing camera and bins I set off.  I decided to head off down to the Eamont river to see what state it was in after yesterdays storm, unfortunately this meant a long plod through town on account I didn't have the car. However it was nice to have the sun on my face and pic up a little vitamin D. Ha.

Just on the edge of town I found a few Crows .
Then I crossed the A66 and went down into Emont Bridge, the path by the river was a bit muddy to start off but it got worse as I plodded on. In a grazing field by the river I found more Crows and quite a few Rooks, some on the ground feeding others perched up in trees .


Tree full of Rooks

And one lone Rook keeping guard

The river was in full flood and in places had been over the bank earlier.

At other times of the year it is possible to walk across the weir but to day the speed of the water was terrific.

The force of the water hear was unbelievable

A mixed group of  Gulls  Common and Black-headed where making the most of the flood.
Just after I took this photo I looked to the South-West and was shocked to see the sky was black, and heading my way. the next thing it poured down and continued till I got home, I was soaked.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Gulls and things

 With a slight improvement in the weather this morning, I was keen to get out and about with the camera, it would just have to be a local walk about as I didn't have the car. So out with Westies first and the out again after I had had a cuppa.

I'd passed the Gillwilly playing fields earlier with the dogs and there was about 100 Common Gulls resting on the football pitch, but an hour later  a lot of them had relocated to the reserve, and what was left had turned into a mixed flock of Common and Black-headed.
      The sun was trying to break through and it was turning into quite a pleasant morning, although by 1pm it was all change again and back to yesterdays weather, dull and miserable.

As I entered the reserve a flock of geese flew over, Greylags I think but bad to tell.

On the main patch of water there was quite a few gulls, this one a Common Gull was enjoying a wash & brush up, so I took the following sequence of pics as it continued.


Apart from gulls some Mallard and Moorhens there was nothing of interest, so I moved on up to the top track, and the area where the flood use to be. As I arrived there was a huge flock of Lapwing just coming in to land.

This is just a small section of what came flying in.

Its hard to get an impression from this image but there would be close on 300, its amazing the area has been destroyed and yet they still come back. again this pic only covers part of the flock.
As I was taking pics of the Lapwings a tree close by was suddenly inundated with Fieldfares about 100 altogether

One of many Fielfares in the tree. eventually they left heading in a NW direction.

And lastly I couldn't resist this Rhus Typhina, it looked great in the sun.
That might be it for a while as the weather outlook is rather grim. Thanks for looking in.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Pics from the Solway Firth

A Lapwing surrounded by Dunlin.
Another beautiful morning, out with the Westies first thing then decided to have a ride up to the Solway. The tide was just on the way out so it was good timing as regards the waders. There was large flocks of Dunlin flying round, the usual Reshank in small numbers, plenty of gulls mainly Black-headed, a few Curlew, but I was a bit limited as I only took the camera no scope so there could have been other bits and bobs.

Dunlin on the wing.

Then I drove up to the Campfield Marsh scrape area, all the shots from this location are distant pic from the road. The Great White Egret is still there plus a Little Egret, just about make out the Little Egret extreme Right
Great White Egret
There was a few Teal about and occasionally Snipe crept out of the Sedge
Moving on to Cardurnock and Anthorn I found a flock of a few hundred Barnacle Geese, I was expecting larger numbers. And also disappointingly no sign of any Golden Plover, there is usually a few hundred feeding in this area.

A small group of Mallard with a mystery duck behind the right hand two, anyone got any ideas?
Sun reflecting on the Solway , with Dumfries & Galloway mountains as a backdrop.