Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all, I hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday!

Hopefully in the new year i'll be back to posting a bit more.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

First Snow of the Winter

I know it's not a lot, not here anyway, but it's always nice to see (especially so close to Christmas). I made sure my feeders were all topped up today so there is plenty of food for the birds.

There have been a few in the garden today. A pair of Collared Doves have taken up residence and have been in sight every time I looked out of the window. Plenty of House Sparrows too and the Goldfinch are as noisy as ever squabbling over the seeds.

Blue Tits and Great Tits have been regular visitors and the odd Coal Tit too, though the Blue Tits chase them off pretty sharpish. I've seen my first Long Tailed Tits of the winter too. Dunnock numbers have gone up to four at times and Magpies and Blackbirds are also around often.

The Robin is often the first bird at the feeders in a morning usually before it even gets daylight properly. Today it was the last bird in the garden and there is just something so nice to see a Robin against a snowy backdrop!

Hopefully we will sneak in a walk around Yeadon Tarn on Saturday amongst the mad Christmas rushing about we will be doing. So may have more to post soon.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

A Garden Update

Well I have not been out much of anywhere recently, Christmas has taken over and i've been shopping for England! On the birding front I did see a very lovely Pied Wagtail outside the entrance to the White Rose Shopping Centre.

The garden however has been bird central. Plenty of Starlings, Goldfinch and House Sparrows. Then in lesser numbers Dunnocks, Blue Tits, and Collared Doves. The Blue Tits have grown to three on a regular basis though the Coal Tit pair haven't been around much at all. There is a lone Great Tit visiting and a Robin, who is getting very brave and is happy in the garden when i'm out too.

Our squirrel has still been around and along with two Magpies has been polishing off the peanuts.

We've also had our first sighting of Long Tailed Tits since last winter when a pair flitted around the bushes for a while at the end of last week.

The posts may be a bit sparse over the next month or so as we have so much going on but I will try my best to get the family out for a brisk walk one lovely frosty morning!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Our Favourite Little Spot

Oakwell Hall has fast become our favourite place for a walk, it's so close by and just the right walk so my little one doesn't completely wipe out! Yesterday we took advantage of the sun and headed over there.

It's quite a difference now of course with most of the trees bare of their leaves.

This is the same shot of the photo at the top of this post - big difference!

The birds were a bit scarce but it was mid afternoon and quite busy. We did see Long Tailed Tits, Goldfinch, Robins, Blackbirds, Crows, Magpies and Blue Tits.

This Gorse bush was in full bloom and looked quite striking.

This walkway doesn't have quite the same impact with the bare branches.

We came across a fair bit of fungi, which is fast becoming a favourite to hunt out - weird I know, who'd have thought i'd have such a liking for fungus!! I was very excited when my stepson spotted these Fly Agaric, an iconic fungi, which i've never actually seen before in the 'flesh'.

Of course then we saw quite a few dotted about. There were plenty of others too including these tiny little ones on a lot of tree stumps - no idea what they are though. It's not the greatest picture but if anyone has ideas?

We saw plenty of others too and though I keep forgetting I will get a guide and try and id these - it will be nice to put a name to what we see!

Thought i'd end with this giant leaf we discovered, which is next to my hubby size ten foot for a guide. I'm ashamed to say that I only think it's a Sycamore leaf and really I should know exactly what it is!

Sunday, 15 November 2009


Our squirrel has become quite a regular over the past couple of weeks. This week when I went out to top up the feeders I discovered he had not been happy at the lack of nuts on the tray!!

He's decided to have a go at the plastic instead! So now I'm making sure there are plenty of nuts on the tray, which is also pleasing the Blue Tits and a Magpie too. The Magpie fills his beak with a row of nuts and then flies off to elsewhere to eat them.

The garden is keeping busy with lots of birds and no sign of the Sparrowhawk again. The Coal Tits are visiting every day that I see my garden (don't always get to see it in daylight these days!), there have been up to three now and again. The regulars - Goldfinch, Blue Tits, Dunnocks, House Sparrows, Starlings, Blackbirds, Collared Doves - are being joined by the odd Great Tit and a Robin, which has started to appear a lot more too.

We had a Wren in the garden for a while last Sunday, it even managed to cling to the patio doors for a while so we had an amazing view of this beautiful little bird. I've had my first sighting in many months of Mistle Thrushes in the garden when a pair landed in the tree briefly last week.

So as usual with the weather getting worse, it gets better for seeing the garden birds!

Sunday, 1 November 2009


What a day today, torrential rain and strong winds. We were going to pay a visit to Adel Dam today but decided against going anywhere! The rain has brought out many garden birds though and the garden has been non stop all morning.

There are 9 Collared Doves sat in the tree right now looking very bedraggled. We have had about a dozen Goldfinch too. House Sparrows, Starlings, Blackbirds, Blue Tits and a Dunnock have been around too. A lone Magpie has been sat in the tree but can't quite bring itself to come down for the bread. They often perch in the trees but i've rarely seen them in the garden.

Earlier in the week we went over to Blackpool - purely a touristy visit but I did manage to get a couple of pictures of the large flocks of Starlings flying about over the pier.

Monday, 26 October 2009


As we haven't been out much recently due to various other commitments (like the kids having a better social life than me - even the 3yr old!) I thought i'd give a bit of a garden update.

It had been very quiet here until the past couple of weeks. The Goldfinch have been constant visitors without a day going by when there is a least one on the feeders. We had one day 15 - including several on the floor picking up the dropped seed. That was quite something watch.

The Coal Tit has also become a bit more of a regular and sometimes brings along another two with him. I've never seen that many together before. Blue Tits and Great Tits are in and out most days. Plus we are finally getting Blackbirds back in the garden after not seeing a single one in a month or more.

House Sparrows, Starlings, Collared Doves and Dunnocks are in the garden often and just this morning I had my second sighting of a Wren in the garden this year when it came and sat on the fence near the window.

Last week we had a bit of excitement when a Sparrowhawk settled in the tree next door scaring off the birds on the feeders. They left very quickly altogether about a minute before it appeared. I don't know how they knew it was coming. It's only the second time i've seen one here since we moved in two years ago. I have mixed feelings about this bird, they are stunning to see and we saw one in action a few times at our previous house. I could live without that kind of bird activity in my garden again though.

Finally a few pictures from the garden in the rain, which after a long dry spell seems here to stay at the moment.

The best picture I could get before the rain destroyed it.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

A walk in the park

Finally got out for a short walk at the weekend, it felt good to be out despite the cold! It was only to the local park and we weren't out long but I love being out in the autumn. The colours of the leaves are beautiful and there are so many different ones as the leaves change and fall.

My little one is trying to catch the leaves as it was windy and quite a few were falling. She missed them all!

It was pretty deserted too, we saw a few Blackbirds and that was it, not a squirrel in sight or even a Blue Tit, which are usually quite common around here.

Leaf carpets!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Quick Update

Well we are still plagued with illnesses here unfortunately. My stepson had a nasty cold and my little one has had ear infections and throat infections, finally she is on the mend and we are all fairly healthy - fingers crossed!

So I am determined to get us out for some fresh air at the weekend, even if it's just to the local park!

I had a very entertaining trip into work today watching the many squirrels in the gardens. Including one that was 'playing' with a Magpie. I've often seen them chasing each other but this pair actually seemed to be quite enjoying antagonising each other. Lot's of fun to watch and a shame more people on the bus don't notice what is going on right under their noses!

Hopefully I'll have something of substance to post over the weekend.

Friday, 2 October 2009


Due to a nasty cold which has pretty much wiped me out the past week or so we haven't really been out anywhere apart from work! The commute to work takes me into Headingley where there are lots of very big gardens I can see right into from the bus! The squirrels have been out everywhere I look foraging in the leaves. I even spotted a Jay on one lawn pecking at something in the leaves. I had a great view of it, the best one i've ever had - they are usually flying away from me. There are lots of Wood Pigeons and Crows too.

Going through Woodhouse Moor there are often large flocks of Herring Gulls, Magpies (i've counted up to 30 Magpies at times) and Thrush. Unfortunately I can't tell what type of Thrush they are as I fly past but they are always around over the autumn and winter months so it may be worth a stop there one weekend. Might even spot the elusive Redwing, which everyone apart me seems to see on a regular basis!

It's darker in a morning too these days so the birds are barely awake before I leave for work. The first birds at the feeder are the Robin and Dunnocks. Yesterday was my day off and the garden was quite busy most of the day. There were Goldfinch, Blue Tits, Collared Doves, House Sparrows, Starlings and a Coal Tit. The Coal Tit is not a regular visitor and it hung around for an hour or so and was very nice to watch.

Hopefully we'll get out somewhere over the weekend and see what changes Autumn is bringing.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Oakwell Again!

We headed out for a walk around Oakwell this morning to make the most of the sunshine. It was beautiful in the trees with the sun shining through.

We saw plenty of birds Magpies, Blackbirds, Wood Pigeons, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Robins and a couple of Dunnocks. The trees were full of birdsong though you couldn't always spot the birds they were lovely to listen to. There were a couple of Squirrels running about too.

There were plenty of berries about to tempt the birds including these, which I think after checking a guide is a Rowan Whitebeam hybrid, I could be wrong so let me know if I am.

Of course the leaves are changing now and here was no exception with beautiful yellows, oranges and reds.

We then came across this tree, i'm not sure what it is but it had enormous leaves, i've not seen anything quite like it before?

We walked around the garden beside the house today for the first time and found plenty of butterflies including my first Painted Lady (I don't know how i've missed them till now!).

A Comma

Red Admiral

Speckled Wood

Another good day at Oakwell.

Thursday, 17 September 2009


Well, I've noticed this week with the chill in the air that autumn is on its way. A lot of the leaves are turning to wonderful reds and yellows already. It's a beautiful time of year, great for walking and for my little one to be collecting the leaves as they drop from the trees.

I found a small tree this morning where nearly all its leaves had turned red, it looked very colourful. Unfortunately I only had the camera on my mobile so it's not the best picture.

In my garden I still have plenty of Sweet Peas flowering, along with poppies and Begonias. There are Fuscias that are still to open too.

The birds have been fairly quiet recently apart from the Goldfinch, which still come in groups of up to 10 at a time. Still have a couple of Dunnocks, Blue Tits, a Robin, Collared Doves and the odd Starling too. The House Sparrows seem to prefer the neighbours seed feeder at the moment, means I can still watch without the expense though, they are really going through some at the moment!

I'm looking forward to seeing the changes autumn brings and capturing some of the wonderful colours it produces.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Adel Dam

After a recent blog post by Kirkstall Creatures Great & Small we decided to pay a visit to Adel Dam today. We got there around 9.30 and it was very quiet around the reserve. The first thing we spot at the side of the bridle path, in the ground was a wasps nest that had been ripped apart - not sure what by, bits of it were across the path.

We walked up to the marsh hide first of all and spent a while in there.

There were plenty of Great Tits, Blue Tits and Coal Tits. A Wren was in the bush right next to the hide and hopped around a while. Then a Nuthatch flew in to one of the feed tables a few times. This is only the second time I've seen one of these and we got a really good view.

The picture though is not great! Honestly there is a Nuthatch on there!

As we were about to leave I heard a bird call and saw a flash of orange then blue - a Kingfisher, it flew right across the marsh into the trees and out of sight. A fantastic flash of colour.

We decided to follow the paths and walk around the whole reserve. My daughter was happy to find more pine cones and again I soon had quite a collection in my bag. At the gate to the reserve there are leaflets and information cards that you can pick up that give you a lot of information on the area. Including a tree id card - mostly for trees in the Chevin park but it came in very handy here too.

At the lake hide at first all looked quiet. A closer look revealed several Herring Gulls, Coots and I spotted a female Teal, which I needed to check the id in my book. The green flash of feathers helping with the ID. This bird is a first for me so I was quite pleased. There is a chart on the wall showing the various birds that may be seen but it only showed the male Teal so I was glad i'd taken my guide along.

My favourite bird flew in then - a Heron, unfortunately it settled behind a tree so we could barely see it. Not to worry as we all saw and heard the Kingfisher then. It flew across the lake behind some trees then back out to some branches in the centre of the lake. We watched it dive into the water a few times and I saw it managed to catch a small fish before it was off again. Very nice to watch.

On leaving the hide and walking off to path to the left. I saw a bird run down the beck, my immediate thought was a Moorhen but this bird was brown not black. I tried to see where it had gone but it had disappeared. I was quite disappointed not to see it again as i've never seen a Moorhen run like that and it was definitely brown, so I don't think my first thought was correct. Very frustrating as now i'll never know!

We spotted a good amount of fungi around the woods and my husband took quite an interest and few photos. Now I don't know much about them (another guide book to add to my list) but even I was impressed with this first one.

Of course we also saw plenty of Squirrels around too, they didn't seem too bothered by us and were quite happy to sit and watch as we walked by. We had a nice morning, a good walk and I can't wait to go back and see what else we can spot.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

In the Garden

The bad weather recently is bringing the birds back to the garde at the moment. Yesterday we had 12 Goldfinch on the feeders and trees. A couple of them even landed on the floor and tried out the seed tray too, something i've never seen before. There was a mixture of adults and juveniles.

Today there were 23 House Sparrows on the fence and lawn, several Starlings too. We are getting 3 Blue Tits on the feeders often too. Only one Dunnock has been putting in an appearance and we have a very brightly coloured Robin in and out the past couple of days. Collared Doves, Blackbirds, Great Tits and a brief visit from a Coal Tit at the weekend round up the bird visits at the moment. I haven't seen the squirrel around for a couple of days.

I still have a few flowers in the garden too including Lobelia, Begonia's, Sweet Peas, Poppies and a few others yet to open.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Oakwell Hall

This is a place we have discovered in Batley about 15 minutes from our home. Despite living here for over 7 yrs I didn't know this place existed until recently. We love it and have been a couple of weeks in a row. Here is the link to the website - Friends of Oakwell Hall

There are lots of little pathways to explore through various wooded areas around the hall. Then the larger Nova Wood behind the hall were a railway line used to run through.

There are lots of information boards about what you may see and a little history too. The trail running through Nova Wood is classed as a nature trail.

The first time we went we saw Speckled Wood butterflys everywhere, I don't think i've ever seen so many. We also saw Small Whites, Peacocks and Red Admiral too.

Despite the trees being in full leaf now we saw plenty of Blue Tits, Great Tits, Robins, Wrens and Blackbirds. It will be nice to come back when the leaves are falling to see what other birds we can spot.

The trees down this path have grown inwards creating a lovely triangle arch. It's very peaceful here even though the motorway runs close by.

Several ponds are dotted about the grounds, though most of them don't have much wildlife but the flora is abundant. The stream by the Hall had Mallards with their young, the stream runs around the grounds.

Of course there are lots of Oak Trees everywhere. My little one was very excited to be able to pick up a few small acorns which had been blown of the trees already. Plus there are a huge amount of pine cones too. We collected a bagful, which my daughter loves to craft with.

We will be back here often, its a great place to walk around and there is plenty to see.