Thursday, 29 April 2010


The Goldfinch have been great practise for the camera, these beautiful birds always look good!

This is the second photo I took with it.

Then a few shots on the feeder taken from the patio doors

This one taken from a bedroom window

There are only a two or three Goldfinch around at the moment, we had up to 15 over the winter now i'm hoping they are off nesting somewhere and we'll soon get so see some juveniles again.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

New Miller Dam

Took a walk around the dam on Saturday afternoon, it was a gorgeous day so we made the most of it and went up through the woods, which we've not done before. Neither does anyone else it seems as there was hardly anyone about.

There was plenty of birdsong all around, some of which I didn't recognise. We did see Bullfinch, Long Tailed Tits, Great & Blue Tits, Chaffinch, Robins, Wrens and plenty of Crows. Butterflies were out in force too, basking in the sun and flying around our heads, Comma, Peacock, Small White, Red Admiral, Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood.

On the water we saw Great Crested Grebe, Mallards, Mute Swan, nesting Coots, Moorhens, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, lots of Black Headed Gulls and what looked very much like a couple of Common Terns too.

I made the most of the camera took a ridiculous amount of photos and overused the burst function but we got some lovely head shots of the Geese who were very happy to pose for me.

I think even managed to successfully ID some of the flowers too including these Wood Anemone, of course feel free to let me know if I've got it wrong!

Here are some of the images from the day.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

New Camera

Well, the camera arrived a couple of days ago and i've only had chance to take a few pics around the garden and briefly at the local park.

I've always had a pretty basic camera till now and i've been reading the novel (instructions) that came with it and my head is spinning with all the different functions! It's going to take me some time to get to grips with it all I think - i've been a point and click picture taker for so long, it's going to be hard to break the habit. Though no point in having a fancy camera if I don't know how to work it!

Saying that if I had the time i'd book myself on a basic photography course tomorrow, but I don't so it will be trial and error for me.

Here are a few i've taken so far.

House Sparrows

Grape Hyacinth BlackbirdFemale Chaffinch
Collared Dove
Mistle Thrush
Dunnock (have now moved the bird bath so I can get a clear shot of the feeder!)
One of the Starlings nesting in the guttering
I'll save the Goldfinch for another post, they are such beautiful birds I think they deserve their own post, plus i've taken lots of photos of them!!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Lotherton Hall

Made the most of the sun on Saturday with an afternoon at Lotherton Hall, we checked out the bird gardens and walked around the ground. There were Rooks and Crows everywhere, the Rooks were nesting in a lot of the trees.

We saw quite a few butterflies too, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell but none of them settled enough for a photo. There is a feeder station in the wood which was covered in Chaffinch, I managed to get pretty close for a photo when a great big dog ran up and scared them all off!

The woods aren't very big but looked beautiful in the sun.

The Chaffinch were everywhere and I managed to get a couple of shots as they didn't seem too bothered by the people.

Along with a Pied Wagtail who never seem to bother too much about the people.

There were plenty of Ladybirds about too including this one on some tiny flowers, which I think are a type of Speedwell? Finished off the day with another new bird for me - a Red Legged Partridge, there were a few in a field on the way home - nice to see a lifer when you're not expecting it!

Our trusty little Kodak Easyshare camera is finally starting to fail on us, in the 6 years we've had it we have taken around 15,000 photos (mostly of the little one!!) and the error messages or just not switching on is becoming more and more frequent. We have taken the plunge and ordered a new one - after working out our budget and doing a bit of reading up we've gone for a Panasonic Lumix FZ38 it should be here by the end of the week so i'm looking forward to trying it out.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Yeadon Dam

We stopped at the dam last weekend and it was pretty quiet on the water compared to our last visit. The birds that were there had been overfed on bread and I think were feeling pretty lazy!

There were Chaffinch and Great Tits in a small copse of trees to one side of the water, I managed to just get this Chaffinch before it flew of. We watched a Squirrel run about above our heads from tree to tree for a while.

There were plenty of signs that Spring is in full flow now, Coots were building nests, a group of male ducks made some very strong 'passes' at a poor female, nearly drowning her in the process and on a nicer note the trees are now starting look a lot more life like.

What a difference a couple of months makes!

Roundhay Park

Took the little one off to Roundhay Park today, made the obligatory visit to Tropical World - had to pay a visit to see the baby Meerkats!

Then we headed out into the park and explored around the Upper Lake for a change. There is a wooded area that i've never been in before and we spent quite a bit of time around here listening to the bird song.

It was quiet and peaceful and the little one was happy watching a Coot on a nest in hope eggs would hatch any minute - they didn't in fact the Coot stood up and there were no eggs at all!

Anyway there were two Robins vying for our attention one either side of the fence and both quite friendly. I spotted movement on a tree and moved closer to see my first Nuthatch of the year, it even flew out onto some branches so we watched if for a while. A very large crow came along and had a bath in the stream. The birds are obviously very used to the people and didn't seem to mind us at all. Before we left the wood a male Blackcap put in and appearance and sang beautifully for us.

On the lake there were quite a lot of Tufted Ducks, Coots, Mallards and the odd Moorhen. A pair of Swans are nesting just under the island and one of them chased off a pair of Canada Geese, not just away from the nest but right off the lake.

Onto the the main lake we passed a lot of Crows, Jackdaws and the one or two squirrels. We sat and watched a Great Crested Grebe and a lot of Black Headed Gulls for a while. A bird suddenly flew around our heads making a lot of noise - an Oystercatcher! It flew up and down the lake, the Gulls weren't impressed but it stayed around a few minutes constantly squawking before flying off again over the trees. A very nice bird to end an the afternoon and a little surprising to see at Roundhay.

Monday, 12 April 2010

North Cave Wetlands

We made the most of a trip to Newport, Hull for a family reunion this weekend and squeezed in a couple of hours birding beforehand. I asked on Birdforum if there was anywhere close by and found out that the wetlands were 10 minutes away from where we were going.

It was around 10 when we got there and we spent a good couple of hours walking around and checking out the three hides. There is a map available here and the actual reserve was easy to find and well signposted.

Our first Ladybirds of the year were found right by the first information board though they were hidden in the shade a little.

At the first hide which overlooks the village lake we were impressed by all of the information and guides on the walls. Plenty to help you make identifications of what you were seeing. We saw plenty too - there were Black Headed Gulls all over the reserve and they were certainly noisy as were the many Greylag Geese!

I got my first ever sighting here of Avocet, there were quite a few out on the lake and I was very pleased to see such an iconic bird. It's one i've always known since becoming a member of the YOC as a child! Nearby we saw 2 Snipe wading (an id I was helped with by another birder in the hide - thank you!) and a Little Ringed Plover running about on the sand.

There was no chance of any kind of decent photos of the birds so I stuck with the scenic views and will say that some of white dots on this one are Avocets!

The second hide overlooking the Island Lake was the biggest i've ever been in and very cold with the windows open too! But what a view, we could see, Avocet, Lapwing, BH Gulls, some other gulls which I didn't id but they were huge, Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Redhsank, Teal amongst others. We spent a while looking from all sides till the little one got too fidgety.

She could run off a bit of steam as we walked around the maize field, which gave me my first sighting of a Yellowhammer when two landed in the middle and ran about a while. The reedbed lake had two more Little Ringed Plovers, Redshank, Mute Swans, Lapwing and on the far side a huge number of Woodpigeons on the banking.

A nice little pathway led around the top end of the reserve and there was plenty of birdsong as we walked. Blue Tits, Chaffinch and Blackbirds were all around. Another first for this year were a few Swallows above our heads and Sand Martins over the water.

We had the south hide (which is accessed from the road) to ourselves for a while. There was a Great Crested & Little Grebe diving in front of us then a Cormorant popped up too. We had taken the scope I bought from Aldi, which i'd only ever tried out in the garden so far and though not as impressive looking as some we saw our little scope did quite well. I managed to id a Wigeon at the far side of the Main Lake and watch the Cormorant drying it's wings across there too.

The full list of birds we saw there with the lifers in bold. That 100 is getting closer!

Black Headed Gull
Blue Tit
Canada Goose




Great Crested Grebe

Greylag Goose


Little Grebe
Little Ringed Plover


Mute Swan



Sand Martin



Song Thrush



Tufted Duck


Wood Pigeon