Thursday, 29 December 2016

Fairburn Ings

On Tuesday a much needed walk was had at Fairburn, It was a frosty morning but sunny and quite lovely.

We spent a quite a bit of time watching the birds on the feeders around the reserve. The water itself from the Pickup hide was quiet, we could see Herons and Cormorants in the distance in the trees though.

Reed Bunting


 Blue Tit

 Great Spotted Woodpecker



 Long-tailed Tit


Willow Tit

The highlight of the morning was watching a Water Rail fishing right in front of the Kingfisher screen (I believe it's still there now), all the fish have piled up in the water in front of the screen for some reason and it's perfect for the Rail.

There was a moment when a Kingfisher landed further down in the trees but it was straight off again, too quick for anything other than a very blurry photo with a blue dot in the middle!

A stop for tea and flapjack and onto Lin Dyke. A Heron was hiding in the reeds across the road from the car park.The cattle were very noisy this morning, I don't think i've ever heard so much noise from them.

We saw a several birds including Teal, Moorhens, Little Egret, Shelduck, Canada Geese and quite a few Blackbirds in the hedgerows.

We only went as far as the hide, which looked like it had been used for a party, cans of beer and vodka bottles had been thrown into the water :( who does that?! It was quiet out on the water here too.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Rodley Nature Reserve

I took a walk around Rodley just before Christmas, nice and flat and just far enough for me to walk without too much trouble. Plus I can now carry my camera and binoculars the same time.......progress!

It was cold and windy and raining by the time we left but as usual the rain isn't an issue.

Robins were everywhere and never seem to be too bothered by people.

On the water we saw Wigeon, Tufted Ducks, Black Headed Gulls, Herons, Mute Swans and Moorhen.Overhead were Cormorant and Canada Geese.

A Magpie tried to hide in the field..........nice try but not quite.......

In the managers garden the  Bullfinch were out in force, 4 males and a female, along with Chaffinch. Reed Bunting, Wren, Great and Blue Tits.

A nice cup of tea to warm up and I was done with walking for the day! It was so good to get out properly though.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Round and about

Progress is a little slow after a minor setback when I slipped and pulled some of the scar tissue, plus I somehow picked up a stinking cold, sneezing is not fun!

Still I am getting out some and took a short walk around the nearby park this morning. I've still not ventured out with the camera yet but took a few photos on the phone, which are not so great but the sun and mist was too beautiful to miss.

There were plenty of birds about, Black Headed Gulls and Mistle Thrushes on the pitch. The trees were full of Blackbirds, Blue & Great Tits, Collared Doves, Wood Pigeons, Starlings and House Sparrows. It's not my favourite park but it is good for the birds and I can see the boundary from my house so there's always something to spot.

Here are a couple of other photos from my phone of the frost we've had recently, coupled with the fog it's made for some lovely school runs!

And produced some stunning sunsets!

Luckily one of the 'perks' of this time off is that I get to garden watch quite often. In fact i'm pretty much on first name terms with the Squirrel and the Robin, they are around nearly all day every day. I've been able to take a few shots with my camera from the window and out in the garden.

Apart from when the rain has been heavy the garden activity is constant, the Goldcrest is still around along with Blue, Great, Coal and LT Tits, Starlings, Sparrows, Blackbirds, Dunnock, Wren, Goldfinch, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Magpie, The skies are filled with Gulls, Crows, Thrush and number of Starling and Goldfinch that fly over has increased a great deal.

On Sunday morning I got the best views yet of the Red Kite that has been around the area for a while, right at the end of my road too. It was flying about pretty low with a flock of gulls. Of course I only had the cameraphone to hand but I just caught it as it was flying off. You can make out the shape if nothing else!

I've signed up this week for next years Patchwork Challenge so we'll see how that goes, motivation for getting out walking even if it doesn't produce a huge range of species, i'm going to enjoy it I think!

Friday, 18 November 2016


My surgery went well but now i'm stuck in recovery for some time. I'm not able to do much of anything, I can't even handle my camera at the moment, which is frustrating, well everything is frustrating, of course you don't realise how much you take for granted until your mobility is limited.

Still my garden is proving to be a distraction at times, as I type the squirrel has been hopping all over eating and burying nuts, seeing off Magpies and generally being very squirrely.

There is a constant stream of Blue, Great and recently Coal Tits on the feeders. An ever present Robin and a pair of Goldcrest have been hanging around for a couple of weeks. A Chiffchaff even settled briefly in the trees at the end of last week. House Sparrow numbers roosting at the back of the gardens seem to be increasing and now and again they try out the feeders. Goldfinch have been making an appearance again, they disappeared over the summer though I saw them flying over often enough. A Wren is often flitting around both the front and back garden. 

A brief landing from a Collared Dove in the neighbours tree is the closest visit there's been in a while. I was reading back on some old notes from 2010 and these birds were regular visitors along with Woodpigeons and Blackbirds, all three are now few and far between.

Hopefully next time I post i'll have been able to take a few photos in the garden at least.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Patch Birding

This is something I do anyway but due to some pretty major spinal surgery i'm having this week (EDIT op postponed till the 7th so a little breathing space!) i'm going to have limited mobility for a few months it's pretty much all i'm going to be able to do!

My garden is possibly going to have the most documented birds in town!

As walking is part of the recovery process i'll be able to get out locally in time so hopefully i'll be able to cover the local parks and eventually the urban woodlands too. I've considered doing the patchwork challenge i've seen others do - details here - and this may be the perfect time to start. Granted my patch is not going to produce huge numbers but at least it's something that will help keep me occupied (sitting still and not doing anything is not something i'm good at!)

Where I live has parks and my own garden has its good moments.There isn't a huge variety of species here but I figure if I included the woodlands that'll broaden the number of species I could see. 

I've figured out a patch that covers my area including three parks in town, my walk to work and the urban woodland/beck. It comes in at just under 3km²

It took a bit of fiddling but it does just cover everything. The three parks are varied, the one close to home is the smallest with the least amount of species (or the not so nice park as we call it!), the park in the centre of town is ok, it has a few little paths and hidden away areas and it has in the past produced my first (of only two) ever views of Waxwings! The third park is the best one for a walk and for the birds and is good for Redwings/Fieldfares in winter.

It's going to be a tough few months and blogging will probably be sparse but at least i'll be able to keep up with everyone else's easily enough so that's something!

Monday, 3 October 2016

Golden Acre & Adel Dam

Sunday morning had myself and my daughter heading over to Golden Acre to test out a new pair of binoculars. Nothing too fancy just some a bit lighter than the ones we already have.  The path up to Breary Marsh by the car park is all closed off. I noticed back in August that there was a sign up about the refurbishment. I'm not sure if the whole of the woods there is closed off?

Onto Golden Acre and the usual noisy ducks and gulls on the lake. Black Headed Gulls, Mallards and Tufted Ducks, Swans, Moorhen and a lone Canada Goose. Trying to get my daughter to pose for a photo (not easy when new braces are involved!) I saw flash of blue behind her, not one but two Kingfishers flying low over the water and heading in the direction of the cafe. Very nice start to the morning. A couple of Crows were flying about the grass.

We could hear Great Tits and Robins in the trees and there were a couple of squirrels around too.

The first hide at Adel Dam was already quite busy, one gentleman hoping to get some decent photos of the Kingfishers but a recent fly by of a Sparrowhawk was keeping the birds a little skittish. We did see Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Robins, Chaffinch, Woodpigeons and a Chiffchaff right next to the window of the hide, despite that I couldn't get a good angle for a photo! Speckled Wood butterflies were flying about the brambles.

Walking on to the lake hide brought us Blackbirds, a Mistle Thrush and more squirrels. Now something unusual happened in the hide, for the first time ever in any hide i've been in anywhere it was full only of women! It's not often I see ladies birding on their own, often in couples, as I do myself on many occasions. My daughter spotted a Red Kite flying about the lake and around the trees and pointed it out.

On the water were a fair few Teal, a Mandarin at the back of the lake and a Coot popped out of the reeds at the side. We sat a while and enjoyed the moment, serenaded by first a Robin then a Great Tit right by the hide.

The hide filled up so we moved on and walked through the rest of the woods not seeing much bird wise apart from a Wren and a couple more Blackbirds.

Back into Golden Acre and we could see a Heron hiding out by the lake and half a dozen Sand Martins skimming the water. A Nuthatch and a couple of Chaffinch were by the bird feeding are but there were a lot of dogs running wild by now so not much of anything else.

In a tree by the cafe a Jay was screeching loudly for quite some time, we heard it long before we saw it, an answering call kept coming from somewhere down by the lake.

Quite a few Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were around the flowerbeds.

After a little bit of lunch at the suggestion of the my daughter we walked up behind the cafe, this is the first time i've ever done this in all the years i've been coming here and discovered a greenhouse with a water feature and a beautiful garden full of all sorts of flowers and walk ways. I can't believe i've missed this till now!

A lovely way to end our morning.