Friday, 28 February 2014

Driffting high in the sky

I don't think think the following pics need any explanation, other than to say birds are not the only thing you see when you are out birding.

And if I hadn't been watching the sky I might not have seen them.

Linking to s Friday

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Gulls at the coast.

We are now going through a period of sunshine and showers, more like April than February. So its a case of get out and then get back in again out of the cold wind. Not the kind of weather to spend time pottering, and hunting things out. So bare this in mind as you view my meager offering, they are still attractive birds.

Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

Summer plumage just beginning to show.

Next up what I think ranks as one of our smartest  Gulls

Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)

And lastly more Black-headed Gulls, what a load of posers.

And again one in the advanced stages of summer plumage.
Linking to Stewarts Wild bird Wednesday-----
 Thank you for looking in.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Turnstones At Silloth

After leaving the Cardurnock area of the Solway the other day, I made my way over to Silloth, knowing that by the time I got there the tide would be well and truly in. And as I had found Turnstones there before , I was hoping my luck would be in, and I would find some.
   There is a convenient car park just by the seawall, and within a few yards there is a slipway for the local lifeboat to be launched when needed. As I approached the slipway I noted 3 Turnstones running around, and feeding, I started to ready my camera, to get my first shot when a family with children started to approach from the opposite direction.  Suddenly the kids started screaming and shouting and ran at the birds, making the Turnstones and any other birds take flight, and the parents did nothing to stop them. What can you do , I gave them black looks and moved on.
   Just past the slipway I found these little beauties-----------

A flock of about 30 Turnstones (Arenaria interpres) that had fortunately escaped the unruly children.
I spent quite a bit of time watching their antics.

Some where sleeping
one or two where preening.

Others where just on guard, and if I tried to get too close, all heads would come up, and I new not to push any closer, otherwise they would take flight.

I enjoyed them, I hope you have. linking to Our World Tuesday---

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Keith's Polecat.
An incredible female Polecat, name, Baby, what's incredible about this little beauty. Well for one thing she is very tame and easy to handle, but this is the best bit, because Keith lets her have a certain amount of freedom around the yard, she periodically takes off and goes missing. She can be away for as much as 3 days or more, and then she comes home again, at this point you may say, yes that is incredible. But the incredible bit is, every time she comes home she is pregnant, and always has a large litter exactly like their mum.  Incredible.

Linking to Eileen's Saturday's Critters.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Sunet over the patch

Haven't had one like this for a while, but there dose seem to be a touch of Spring in the air, although this morning its showery, with sunny intervals. The forecast doesn't give much hope of a major change just yet, but at least we are out of that pattern of a bad storm every other day or so.

Linking to Skywhatch Friday

Thursday, 20 February 2014

A ride up to the SOLWAY

As usual my timing was slightly out, because when I arrived on the Solway the tide was coming in, but not yet at the stage where it was pushing the waders up the shore. So each time I stopped, there was only the occasional Oystercatcher, or Curlew, I managed to pick up a few Ringed plover at one stop, but all where too far out to photograph. Even when you park up at Campfield Marsh the RSPB reserve where they have created a scrape, it too far out for the lens.
   As it happened the scrape was quite busy, with up to a 100 Teal showing, a couple of Shell Duck, one Little Egret, and a few Mallard. Had I had the scope with me, its possible I could have found Snipe too, as there is usually a few on the edge of the sedge.
    While I was stood there a car pull up, full of what I took to be birders, they asked if there was anything about, and I relayed what I had found. And also mentioned the large flock of geese I could see in the distance, too far out to ID but could guess that they where Barnies. They in turn said there was a large flock of Barnies (Barnacle Geese) further on at Cardurnock with a couple of Snow Geese with them.

This is just a fraction of the whole flock, and another flock beyond the hedge, possibly 5000 or more in total.
 I scanned the whole flock for the Snow Geese but all I could find was 2 leusistic geese. so I could only think the guys I saw earlier had mistakenly thought these where Snow Geese, they would be 5 to 6 hundred yards away.

One of the leusistic geese just showing, the other is below the bank.
I've made this a bit larger, the Barnacle marking still showing through the white, and also a black bill, whereas a Snow Goose has an Orange bill and would be pure white apart from black outer primaries.
They are an awesome sight in flocks so large, I never thought to put the wide angle lens on, (plonker)

Sunday, 16 February 2014

And the sun shone

Well the Met office was on the ball as regards the Northern half of the country, the sun was shinning the moment I opened my peepers. So time was not be wasted and by 8-30 I was on my feet, (you've got to break yourself in gently). Breakfasted , then out with the Westies, and then a cuppa before setting off again, to give the patch a bashing. I have to say it was  desperate, no sign of any small birds along the big hedge, apart from a couple of Blackbirds, which where flighty so no pics.

There would be something wrong if there was none of these on show, and it looked as if the sun was having the Spring effect on them !!. I have to say at this point that not one bird was within grasping distance of the big lens. Oh to be in Florida where the wild life jumps out to greet you, well that's not going to happen in the foreseeable future, so get over yourself Williams.

Juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull.
I think I'm right with this one, I'm not that brill with Juvenile gulls.

Same bird side view.

Black-headed Gull
For a change there wasn't many Gulls on the reserve, but plenty in the grazing fields beyond the patch.
   On the pond nothing but Mallard, the pond is an area that although not part of the reserve, I think the Wild life trust are beginning to take it under their wing.
A few Mallard enjoying the sun
Next up, and I heard it singing before I found it

Song Thrush

Rapidly followed by,

Carrion Crow, sat opposite the Thrush.
Next I had a walk up to the Flash and was pleasantly surprised to find two Oystercatchers.

I  haven't seen any of these up there for ages
And lastly I made my way up to the horse paddocks, more gulls and a few Jackdaws

After this I made my way back home, thinking I could have made better use of the day, had I had the car.  For more birdy pics follow the link

Friday, 14 February 2014

Waiting for good weather

Like everyone in the UK I'm getting just a teensy bit fed up with the weather, with just a short break after a storm, before another comes roaring in. The last one caused quite a bit of damage through-out the UK, but thankfully here in Penrith we got off lucky again with little or no damage. Unfortunately there is another on the way for later today.
   So once again I'm digging into the archives to share some pics with everyone out there. Just a couple to keep you going, hope you like them.
 Firstly when I was out climbing one day, and looked up to see this unusual cloud formation, I don't think this photo give a good interpretation of the formation, I seemed to be more impressed on the day.

And secondly, a winter sunset, looking over  the Western fell from Derwentwater.
Linking to Skywatch Friday,-------

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A few Raptors

Common Buzzard, found a few years back, sitting in the sun on the top track of the patch. A rare sight these days. (its that blade of grass again, I swear it follows me around)
Well the weather continues to interfere with the camera outings, with very cold winds, rain, and as I write, it is snowing, with quite large flakes. There is just no let up in the bad  weather, and no end in sight. However the North west has fared better than the poor souls in the Southern half of the country, where vast areas of land are under water, to say nothing of the countless properties that have been flooded, with owners having to evacuate.
    So having been trapped inside the house, it is with regret that I delve once more into the archives in an effort to keep the blog ticking over.

Two summers back I was just getting out of the car at Skinberness, and in time to catch this Kestrel

And again a few years back we visited the Red Kite feeding station in Dumfries & Galloway.

As can be seen this bird has been tagged, each Kite around the UK is tagged with two colours, one colour denotes there year it was born, the other where it was born. So if one drifts into another county it can be ID'd and recorded
More common Buzzards, again at a time when they where seen like this on a daily bases on or above the patch.

Common Buzzard

Golden Eagle, photo two years ago, when we had a full week of  scorching weather on Mull

And lastly a Peregrine, sat close to its nest on a crag in Lancashire, the photo was taken using a Nikon attached to a Swarovski 80 on full 60X zoom
Thank you for looking in. Linking to  Stewart's Wild bird Wednesday,

Friday, 7 February 2014

Scilly Sunset

The song Thrush was faster than the shutter

Linking to Skywatch Friday         Thank you for looking in.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The Three Best

The forecast had been good for today, typical, this is what happens when I'm left with no car. Well on waking up I thought yea its dull, and now I don't feel quite as guilty for playing about on the computer so much. Then at 11am the sun started to shine, dam, what to do, I don't like wasting the sun, so on went the boots, another two or three layers, the camera and the bins, and off we go, the westies giving me black looks as I close the door and leave.
     By the time I get to the patch (Thacka beck reserve) I've got a sweat on, in spite of the fact that there is a freezing wind blowing. A quick scan of the area tells me the only thing I'm going to get out of this outing, is exercise and cold. The first thing I see that's  wearing feathers. are two Moorhens. Now if you don't see these, or Mallard and Gulls on the reserve there is something drastically wrong. Believe it or not the only other birds I saw apart from the afore mentioned, was two Chaffinch, and a Crow. While I'd been  getting exited about all my finds, it hadn't go unnoticed that the sky had gradually gone black, and the next thing I'm struggling to get my camera under my jacket, and bins back in pocket, as the rain lashed down. Whoever was playing this little game with Gordon, had won,,  as I scurried for home, I said to my self, one of these days we might get a good sighting again.
    So with nothing to show for my wet outing, I have decided to share with you the best three birds we have seen on the reserve.
Little-ringed Plover
Soon after the reserve was opened, it looked very different than it does
 today. Water levels where much lower, there was shingle areas, which attracted this Plover and at the same time Ringed Plover.

Wood Sandpiper.
A couple of months later this Wood sandpiper Turned up, so now we are binning to think this reserve is going to be great. Then the rot set in and the area became popular with casual walkers, and a place to exercise dogs.

Short-eared Owl
Last but not least, a full year after the previous two birds, this little beauty turned up staying for a few days. In my opinion this bird is by far the best species we have had on the reserve, and just as a mater of interest, the Flood/Flash what ever people call it, and is totally natural, as opposed to the reserve which is purpose built, has attracted far more than the reserve has ever done.

Short-eared Owl.
We live in hope.        Linking to Stewarts Wild bird Wednesday.