Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Dipper de do da.

It was one of those days, I started the day off by taking the Westies for their usual early morning walk. And its usually on this walk I start to formulate my plans for the day, because as I'm on my wonder I can take stock of the weather, and what it might do during the course of the day. Well I have to say it wasn't giving a great deal away this morning, it was alternating between sun, with dirty big black clouds circling and the odd spot of rain. Back home I thought I'll give it a while, and catch up on e-mail, and a few other jobs. By 10am  the sun was cracking, so not wanting to wast it I grabbed the camera jumped in the car and set off.
    I decided to have a ride up to  Wetsleddale  where there is a dam surrounded by high moorland, and is partly owned by the RSPB.  To reach it you can either use the M6 to Shap Which is the nearest village, or use the A6, in which case if you are driving from the North , you would drive through Shap. I decided on the A6, and hadn't been on this road long when the sun disappeared, never to be seen again for the rest of the day, daaaam.
    Long before you get to the dam there is a beck, which I always stop at just in case there are any Grey Wagtails about, as I have found them here before. As I approached the beck two birds lifted and flew down stream, too big to be Wagtails, they landed again about 30 yards away.

I was delighted to see a pair of Dippers (Cinclus cinclus) doing their usual bobbing movement.

I was cursing the lighting, not only was it dull and trying to rain, but I was looking down on them, into a little gorge.

Then there was one, they move like lightening, and one disappeared while I was altering the camera settings.
They are so well camouflaged, if it wasn't for the white chest they could easily be overlooked.
 If I approach them directly they would be off, stealth was needed, so I backed off out of sight, did a little circular, and made my approach from a different direction, this involved sliding around on my backside, and getting it soaking wet, as the area was covered with sedge and Sphagnum moss and dripping with cold water.

If only the sun had been shining, its the first time I've seen a Dipper standing on one leg, unless its only got one leg.

By now its mate had disappeared back up stream, and this one soon followed, I thanked them for allowing me into their world for a little while.

Up at the Dam I was surprised to find a large raft of Wigeon, (this is only part of the raft) with a few Mallard mixed in, and all the time the bubbling/rippling call of the Curlew could be heard coming from the surrounding moorland. I also found quite a bit of frogspawn, unfortunately it had been laid in flooded tractor tracks, so will not survive, the next tractor along, and it will be doomed
Linking to Stewarts Wild bird Wednesdayhttp://paying-ready-attention-gallery.blogspot.co.uk/

Saturday, 15 March 2014

One critter eats another critter

Cattle Egret eating the first of two lizards.

Moves it round in its beak ready for,

The grand finale

Then he finds his second critter.

Same again, reposition to get it down his neck

Its amazing the lizard stays alive, till it disappears down its neck.
 The photos where taken at Fairchild tropical gardens, Miami. How I wish I was there now.
    Linking to Eileens Saturdays Critters   http://viewingnaturewitheileen.blogspot.co.uk/  

Friday, 14 March 2014

Early morning on the patch, there had been frost
It also took a while for the mist to clear this morning, but when it did there was a Helicopter sat in a field next to me weird.
    Linking to Skywatch Friday--- http://skyley.blogspot.co.uk/

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

You expect little birds and you get big birds

Down one side of our yard, there is a low wall and it serves as a bird table, so its one of the places we can put food for the small birds. however very often we don't get small birds , we get big birds. Who would expect to get a Rook coming to seed, and in the middle of a town. Incidently on the other side of the wall is Thacka beck, because after leaving the Thacka beck reserve, a good portion of its coarse takes it under the streets of Penrith, except for a 30 yard stretch that passes our yard, before it finally merges with the river Eamont, which merges with the river Lowther, then into the Eden.

and who would have thought a Jackdaw has a speckled breast.

Slightly smaller, but still not a small bird, The Collared Dove. There are two about at the moment, and they have been nest building in the trees by the beck.

And slightly smaller again, the Blackbird.
And as long as these bruisers are around then the little birds keep out of the way.

Linking to Stewarts Wild bird Wednesday,------  http://paying-ready-attention-gallery.blogspot.co.uk/

Saturday, 8 March 2014

It dosn't look like a lizard

Slow Worm
Although they look like snakes, they are not, they are legless lizards. They have all the attributes of a lizard and none of the snake. they have eye lids and ear openings, and can shed their tails to escape predators. They grow to about 16-20 inch, the female being slightly bigger than the male. Like lizards they come out of hiding during warm sunny mornings, finding somewhere to bask in the sun to warm up before going on the hunt for food. Slow worms will feed on slugs earth worms, and certain caterpillars, they give birth to live young, usually golden in colour, and about 4 cm in length. In the photo above, there are two possibly three hiding under a tin sheet, they will find somewhere similar in October when they go into hibernation till the weather warms up the following year. (that must be nice) They are completely harmless, and beautifully smooth to  the touch.
   Linking to Eileen's  Saturday's Critters   http://viewingnaturewitheileen.blogspot.co.uk/

Friday, 7 March 2014

Ring of bright sun

A touch of ice on lake Derwentwater, there have been winters when areas of the lake have had that much ice, it would be full of people and skaters playing about on it.  In the bad winter of 62-63  we had frost from December to April, the ice was so thick on the lake, that  one person went to and from work across the lake on his motorbike. Easter was fairly early that year, and I took my first girlfriend camping for the first time, I thought it would also be the last time , but she loved it, in spite of the freezing cold conditions.
 Linking to Skywatch Friday http://skyley.blogspot.co.uk/

Monday, 3 March 2014

Maryport, A coastal visit

while still in bed this morning, I could see the sun beckoning through the curtains. However it took me some time to get myself organised, the usual early morning ablutions, breakfast, feed the Dogs, and finally we are out in the sunshine.  Aah but one more Job before we can hit the road, defrost the car. Yes it was one of those rare mornings of this winter when there had been a frost, and all windows needed to be cleared.
     Finally we have bins on the flood/flash, did I say we, that should have been "I" as the Westies have not yet found the money to buy their own bins,  only joking. There was quite a bit of activity this morning, with 3 variety of Gulls, Black-headed, Herring and Common on show ,plus the two Oystercatchers that have been with us for a few weeks now, and lastly 4 Lapwing.
     After walking the dogs I decided to make my way over to Maryport, to see what was on offer there, plus 2mins from there and I can be with my old workmate Keith, as He has now started a new carving business on his own.  follow the link to see some of his work.---- http://www.cumbriancarvings.com/  and if you see anything you fancy give him a call.
     So first stop Maryport beach, not a great deal about but I enjoyed what I found, hope you do.

Apart from a few gulls this was the best on offer, a small mixed flock of Oystercatchers and Turnstones, like myself, enjoying the sun.

The tide was coming in at a good speed , so the birds where being push further up the beach with each wave.

There's always one that's got to be different.

I like the foam in this one.

I like this, the droplets look as though they are suspended.

and in passing,

People fishing from Maryport pier, and cars are allow right to the end.
Thank you for looking in, hope you enjoy,Gordon.  Linking to Stewarts Wild Bird Wednesday.     http://paying-ready-attention-gallery.blogspot.co.uk/

Sunday, 2 March 2014

The coast, Workington area

Cormorants chilling out on Workington harbour
Had a ride over to Workington, starting off at the lighthouse where I was hoping to find some Purple Sandpiper, as there is sometimes a flock of about 30 or so. Unfortunately there was no sign of them anywhere.

Further along the dock, more Cormorants and a mixed bag of gulls.
 There was lots of gulls, but after giving them a good scan didn't find the Med Gull that frequents this area. The tide was going out, which gave enough space to be able to drop down onto the the shingle area, on the lookout for waders, but all I found was this Oystercatcher, with part of its up mandible missing.

Its not too obvious in this pic, so we'll move on to the next.

Look at that, its a wonder it can still feed

I wondered as I watched it, if it could be caught, and the bottom half trimmed off would it help.
Next I made my way over to the other side of the harbour, its the first time I have been on this side, as I wasn't sure if there was public access. fortunately there is, and maybe when the timing is right, meaning the tide. it could have potential. Today however it was pretty quiet, with just a few Oystercatchers, Redshanks at a distance, and this lonely little fellow. -----

Ring plover, way out on the sand, all on its own.
Next I moved on to Siddick ponds, but there wasn't a great deal on offer there, Good numbers of Goosander, a few Goldeneye, and Tufted Duck, two mute Swans, and the two resident whooper Swans.

Goosanders, and a Whooper in the background.

And a few of these flitting along the path, Reed Bunting.
No big rewards, but a very pleasant day out, the sun shone all day, giving us the warmest day so far this year.
Thank you for looking in. Gordon.   Linking to the bird D'pot.  http://id-rather-b-birdin.blogspot.co.uk/

Saturday, 1 March 2014

This little Critter, a HEDGEHOG Erinaceus europaeus) was rescued by my Daughter, it was in the prosses of crossing a fairly busy road. So she stopped her car, picked it up and put it in someones garden, this one didn't become road-kill.
 Linking to Eileen's Saturday's Critters     http://viewingnaturewitheileen.blogspot.co.uk/