Friday, 24 December 2010

The little Westies

The little Westies & myself would like to wish all our readers a merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.

Early morning , and a Derwent water froze over end to end
ice now over 4inch thick and people are begining to venture onto it.

And the little rascals enjoyed every minute

Monday, 20 December 2010

Quiet days

Beech & Oak keep hold of their leaves in spite of the frost

Very little moving on the patch yesterday or today, Quiet days not good. This morning a flock of 30 Lapwings circled the flood, but only 4 landed on ice covered flood. All through the year there has been 2 to 300 Lapwings on the flood where have they all gone, maybe they are feeding nearer to the coast.

A lone Buzzard flying through a semi misty gloom, it was later mobbed by a Crow.

General view over Penrith yesterday.

Still the dominant bird on the patch is the Blackbird, always lots foraging about in the snow.
Back in the yard we are inundated with Starlings, a few Chaffinches, and on the bird table, Blue tit, Coal tit, Robin, and below one of a pair of our year round visitors.

Collared Dove

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Thrushes and sunsets

Walking the Westies up at the patch this morning in driving hail and snow, and in no time at all it was sticking on the roads. I heard a Blackbird call and saw a couple of gulls fly over and that was it, as at times it was almost a whiteout. However as the morning progressed it cleared and back home I managed to do a few small jobs on the car. Mrs W had the day off today so just after lunch we made our way over to the lads at Flusco. They had had quite a bit more snow over there and it had also started to freeze. We had just gone over the first cattle grid of their drive, when Mrs W spotted Redwings pecking about in the snow not far from the car. At first I tried to get some pics from the car, but this wasn't working, and of course as soon as I got out of the car they soon get nervous and they are away. it was the same also with the Fieldfares, altogether there must have been a mixed flock of up to a hundred.

Redwing struggling to find seed in the snow.

Fieldfare in setting sun.


One day I'll get the hang of this camera as regards sunsets!!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Keeping an eye on the patch

Carrion Crow

Still keeping an eye on the patch when I take the Westies for a walk, but there is more life in the cemetery. Even though the weather has been mild these past few days, it hasn't helped much, and only the top layer of ground has thawed out. After the top half inch of mud its rock hard so there has been no return of the Snipe to the flood. The flood itself is just a layer of water over a thick layer of ice, and there has been no Lapwings for days. I have seen very few Fieldfares so far this winter around the patch, but there has been lots of Blackbirds , its nothing to see a dozen or more in a short space. Yesterday the highlight was one lone Goldfinch, but this morning there was well over a dozen in a large Oak, it certainly brightened the morning up . Also the other morning the Kestrel was sat at the top of the big Willow near the top track, but flew off just after I got the bins on it.

 Derwentwater lake and ice reflecting the sun.
 And any time now we are heading for another big freeze and more snow, the forecasters are saying that Cumbria could get more than the North-East this time, joy!!. My scope is in the bedroom getting covered in dust, I'm frighten if it sees daylight it might melt. Its going to be a long winter.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

A trip over to Keswick

Sod off this is my post.
Just before lunch yesterday I set off again this time with my Daughter, making our way over to Keswick. The main reason to buy another thermal, and also to go down to the Ismus and have a crack with my mate Les. After calling in the main mountain shops we headed down to the lake and the boat landings. The lake was completely froze over and looked really great as did the mountains, but they hadn't had that early morning mist that we had had in Penrith , so the trees were just bare and lacked any winter decoration.

There was quite a few Black-headed Gulls round the landings on the lookout for food.

Also one or two Crows.

This Black-headed Gull is almost in summer plumage,
something wrong here me thinks.

2 views looking down the lake

Also while walking through the Ismus wood my Daughter spotted a grey squirrel, which we have yet to report.

More snow & frost

A selection of pics from yesterday morning round Thacka.
No birds at all on or near the flood.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Winter wonderland--Thacka.

Spot the rabbit.

The lapwings were sitting on the centre of the flood this morning, which was covered in ice and snow , I suppose they felt safe from predators, not realizing that the predators could reach them.

This poor chap didn't look very happy

There was loads of Blackbirds about and Fieldfares all over in ones and twos, also small flocks of finches, but didn't see and Bramblings amongst them.

Managed to catch this Fieldfare on the wing.

Looking East along the top track.

Spider's industrious work being turned into art.

The morning had started with a thick mist, and as it was still freezing the results were stunning.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Its snow good at the flood

About 150 or so Lapwings on a frozen flood.

I had to take my chance in between snow showers to take the Westies up to the flood this morning, it was beautiful when the sun was shinning and not too cold as long as you were well rapped up.

slightly different angle.

I was late getting up there because of  snow clearing before I could use the car. but once we were up there guess who enjoyed it the most ------

The Westies.
 At one point they were just chasing round in circles enjoying the snow and the wide open space.  They are glad to be back home again after 3 nights in kennels, as we took Mrs W on a mystery weekend as a present for her 50 birthday. This included a trip to London , and the best seats in the house for the Lion King show at the Lyceum. So all went down very well as she new nothing of the weekend plan whatsoever, so I got myself a few well earned Brownie  points. It was only when we got back on Sunday afternoon, we found out it had been snowing for a couple of days while we were away.  How long is it going to last?.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Our morning walk around the patch

The Westies, Kyfer in Background, & Misty in the foreground.

Most mornings I take the Westies up to the flood at Gilwilly-Thacka and they have a good walk round while I do my birding, so thought I would post a couple of pics of them seeing how they are mentioned in the website title.

Don't move that's really comfy.

There hasn't been a great deal of activity of late, at the back end of last week the 2 Mute Swans relocated to the new flood scheme and were joined by another pair, but didn't stay that long. As usual the Lapwings have been coming and going, some days like this morning there wasn't a one. Yesterday the flood was covered with gulls, a mix of Black-headed and Common. they had moved on to the flood from the new flood area as the diggers were working close to the water, I got the impression they had been to the Flusco landfill for breakfast as they were all having a good bath.
The one constant at the flood of late has been the Snipe, usually anything up to a dozen or more, they are usually on the extreme left of the flood as you look North-West.

The flood this morning looking very icy, pic below is to the left of this one

Usually hard to detect with bins (for me anyway)
but believe me there are getting on for 12 in this pic.
they are always on the uneven ground on the edge of the water.
Yesterday I also had a walk down to the settling pond, and after a while managed to find the male Mandarin, its been with us for about 3 weeks now, it will be interesting to see how long it stays.

Friday, 19 November 2010

The Patch and Penrith

Red sky at night, and we hope for another good day tomorrow.

Took my good wife to work this morning then continued on with the Westies up to the patch. Had a look at the flood, the 2 Mute Swans are still with us and there was also 0ver 200 Lapwings, 3 Black-headed Gulls and the usual 6 or so Snipe on the M6 side. Close by I found 3 Fieldfare feeding on Hawthorn berries, and a small flock of Blue tits flew over. Quite a few Blackbirds about, no doubt most of them are Scandinavian birds. Also had a look at the new site where there was a large flock of mixed gulls at a distance.

One of many Waxwings around Penrith this morning.

It was a fabulous morning , blue sky and lots of sun, so after dropping the Westies back home I had a walk round to try and locate some Waxwings, Didn't have to look far as I found a flock of around 30 in Brunswick square, 5 mins walk from the house, although they were very mobile, and it was the same later when I found ones and twos in other parts of the town.

 Depending on the weather, I may have another outing tomorrow.

Monday, 15 November 2010

A colourful splash! on the Patch.

Male Mandarin

Had a couple of interesting days on the patch ,  when I got up to the flood  Saturday morning, the first thing that greeted me was 2 Mute swans. now this was the first time I have seen Mutes on the flood, although John informed me that we have had a juvenile on there previously. Snipe continue to put in an appearance with usually 6 or so on view. The lapwings come and go but usually about 200 about. Gulls vary in numbers and also in species, but most gulls are now spending time on the new flood alleviation area, and this morning there was a mixed bag of 0ver 100.
The most unusual arrival though is  the Mandarin ducks 2 reported although I could only find 1 and it took me ages to get a pic as it was very nervous and keeping in cover quite a bit. These had arrived on the settling pond where there hasn't been much activity for a while.
Sunday morning after doing a bit of chasing around with John , we finally managed to pin down one of the many flocks of Waxwings that were roaming round Penrith, although they were too far away for decent pics.

About 50 Waxwings in this flock some off camera.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The last of the colours

Derwentwater & Causey Pike

Beech woods Derwentwater.

Had a look in at the flood these last two mornings , but its more like a small lake at the  moment consequently very little about, just a few Snipe each morning and a few lapwing, maybe half dozen of each. This morning there was a Buzzard sat on one of the pylons and 13 Waxwings flew over heading West and over the M6.

Yesterday I had a look in at the new development (the Penrith flood alleviation system) and after all the rain we have had this now looks like two small lakes and a small pond, if it stays like this it will be great, but it will take a while to mature, and there was only a few Mallard on yesterday.
On my second outing this morning I had a walk round Penrith on the lookout for Waxwings where they are usually found, but although the trees are loaded with berries no Waxwings, whereas other areas of Cumbria are doing well.
The only thing of interest this morning was this Blackbird with a partially white head.