Thursday, 28 February 2013

Reed Bunting made the day

First of all I apologise for a rubbish set of photos, but I was experimenting with a tripod and things didn't go according to plan, (do they ever)
The Derwent returning from a fishing trip.
     Anyway another sunny day was not to be waisted, so after a few chors I made my way over to Workington in the hope of  getting some pics of the Purple Sandpipers that very often frequent the harbour area. unfortunately in spite of the tide being in there was no sign of them. The sun was still shinning but it was a bitter cold wind coming down from the north.
       So as is usually the case in these conditions I made my way over to the relative shelter of Siddick Ponds.  Now for anyone that doesn't know the area, Siddick Ponds are inland just to the East of the coast road between Workington and Maryport, and from time to time pull some good birds in, but not today as it was pretty quiet.

Male Goosander

A male and 3 female Goosander

This could be the first time I've seen Goosanders out of water.

There was also a few Teal about

Three Cormorant sunning themselves.

On the main path that goes the length of the reserve, someone puts seed down which attracts a good variety of birds. 

                                                        Above female Blackbird

And a male Blackbird giving the impression its about to gobble up a female Reed Bunting

Female House Sparrow
Two female Reed Bunting

Male Reed Bunting with a pair of House Sparrows

Female Reed Bunting 
 A guy I spoke to had just seen a Bittern fly along a length of one of the ponds, wrong place, etc.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Gulls and the Farmer

I wonder how it all started, was it just one lone gull flying over a field that was being ploughed, just happened to look down and see a bountiful harvest of grubs and worms, then spread the word to all his gull friends. Or was it a whole flock flying over that realised the profitability of following a farmer and his plough.

One thing for sure its been going on for many generations and I don't mean gull generations. I was brought up on a farm, and when I was a we kid our farm had two Shire horses, and before tractors came into use we used them to do the ploughing. Even then gulls followed the horses and plough, and as it happen not just gulls but also Pied Wagtails, and sometimes Lapwings.

So perhaps its just one of those things that has evolved over a long period of time, like the relationship between early man and wild dogs, camp following at first picking up scraps as man moved on to his next hunting ground, then slowly becoming part of the camp and a friend.
       The thing is I've not seen this gull behaviour in other countries, So if anyone has come across it anywhere do let me know.
The reserve was pretty quiet today, came across this Robin by the pond, obviously a regular perch for it.

Moorhens where in good numbers all over the reserve, with most of them paired up and ready for nesting.
     Birder John reported 50 Brambling on the edge of the reserve, and there have been reports of an Owl, Barn Owl or Tawny Owl, no positive ID.

Red Kite

We are also getting more and more sighting of these over Cumbria, AND Penrith

Friday, 22 February 2013

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Gulls and things on thin ice

Common Gull , crash landing on thin ice.
Greeted by a clear blue sky this morning, so lots of sun but also a frost so all the ponds had a layer if ice on them. It was thick enough to carry the wight of a gull but had to be careful they didn't fall through.

Two Herring Gulls.
On the main pond of the reserve there was quite a few gulls, three different species, Herring, Common, and Black-headed.

Quite a difference in size, Herring Gull, with 2 Black-headed gulls in front.

One section of a mixed group.

Common Gull preening.

ups I did say it was thin ice

Black-headed Gull in full summer plumage.

And it was nice to see a couple of Oystercatchers put in an appearance.

Slightly outnumbered, but it has back-up.

Got my mate now,

Who started to get a bit passionate, the ice and Gulls where not going to put him off.

Close by a trio of Woodpigeons where foraging near some sedge. and in the next instant this flew over---

Buzzard, the first I have seen anywhere near the reserve in a long time,

In another area of the reserve 2 Mallards where sharing the water with a pair of Moorhens, one of which could be collecting nesting material.

Snowdrops at the side of the top track, the first signs of Spring ?.

and in a horse paddock one of a few Rooks from a nearby rookery, these birds are early nesters.

And in yet another area of the reserve, a Heron, I wonder if it knows the frogs are gathering to spawn ,?