Wednesday, 30 March 2016

In the Garden

Only a brief post but I had to share that we had a Heron in the garden this morning. A first for me, I've only ever seen a couple flying over before.

I obviously disturbed it opening the curtains as it was flying up out of the garden, not easy to do around the trees in our small garden in a rush! It went round behind the conifers at the back of the garden and off into the distance.

Not a chance of a photograph with it all happening so quickly but the sight of my favourite bird, seeming like a giant compared to the regular garden visitors, will be etched on my mind for some time!

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Rodley Nature Reserve

Spent a couple of hours at Rodley on Saturday morning, it's the first time we've been since the floods, what a mess they've left behind with all the rubbish from the river but you can see where the hard work has gone with the clear up, especially when you see the photos of the flooding that are up in the visitor centre.

The field by the car park was full of Canada and Greylag Geese and a lone Oystercatcher. A pair of Bullfinch followed us down the road to the Lagoon. On the lagoon there were Cormorants, another Oystercatcher, Canada/Greylag Geese, Black Swans, Coots, Tufted Ducks, a pair of Great Crested Grebe and Gadwall.

Part way down the willow path I spotted something in the coppice, a Warbler flitting about and I managed to grab some distant photos - the first Chiffchaff of the year, not that you could tell as it didn't make a peep the whole time I watched!

There were also Wrens, Dunnocks, Great/Blue Tits, Robin, Blackbirds and a Reed Bunting. We could hear a Woodpecker but it never made an appearance. 

Back on the water at the duck marsh more Gadwall, 5 Herons, Mute Swans, Coots and a Moorhen. There was a flock of Linnets flying about over Tim's field.

At the managers garden we watched a couple of rats under the feeders, lots of Reed Buntings, a couple of Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Blackbird, Great Tit and a fair few Woodpigeons and Magpies flying about in the field behind the garden.

In the visitor centre one of the volunteers asked if we'd seen the Sand Martins on the lagoon, we hadn't so after a cuppa to warm my hands on we stopped by to check. Of course we had our eyes on the Sand Martin nest block across the lagoon, couldn't see a thing till we realised they were actually flying about above our heads!!

A few signs of spring, always good to see!

Monday, 21 March 2016

Bolton Abbey

The first day of spring on Sunday and it was a gorgeous day too. We spent part of it walking all around the woods at Bolton Abbey. It's lovely there, some good long trails to walk, plenty of birds to spot and the river, there's just something so nice about walking next to a river!

Starting off early at the Cavendish pavillion where it was still nice and quiet we straight away saw a pair of Goosander on the river, one of a few pairs we'd see through the morning. Shortly followed by a pair of Dippers flying down river and Grey Wagtails on the rocks along the sides.

As we stood watching the Wagtails my husband spotted something way off across the river and after some time with the binoculars we realised it was a Woodcock, my only 2nd ever sighting of one, the first being up in the woods near Barden Bridge a couple of years ago. It was beyond the range of camera unfortunately as you can tell by the dreadful photo below! But still photo or not it made for a great start to the day!

We saw a few more Dippers and Wagtails on the river, every year I seem to see more and more Dippers, which has got to be a good thing. We kept hearing a woodpecker but it stayed ahead of us out of sight.

After passing the Strid Wood Tearooms a nice gentleman pointed out three Mandarins coming down the river, these are such beautiful birds and again seem to be increasing in number over recent years. In the fields further up past the aqueduct there were Greylag Geese and a pair of Oystercatchers. There were yet more Dippers, Wagtails and Goosanders on the water.  A bit too early yet of course for the Sand Martins that nest in the banks here.

Starting up into the woods we could see 3 Buzzards circling overhead through the trees, quite stunning birds.

We were hoping for a seat in stone hut at the very top to stop and have a bite to eat. It's a gorgeous view and has non stop birds, which have grown accustomed to the people thanks to handfuls of seed left along the edge of the path and even on the edges of the hut itself. We were lucky and spent a good half an hour in here watching the birds and I have to say it was just about my favourite part of the day.

Funniest thing there was a pair of Mandarins sat in a nearby tree that had clearly sussed the food source and kept flying in to the path. The male of course is quite stunning but the female should never be overlooked (as they sometimes can be) as the markings are just as beautiful especially the face.

I think having the Nuthatches come right up to the hut close to where I was sat was just the most lovely of moments.

The walk back down to the Cavendish pavilion is of course a lot easier but also by now a lot busier and we were glad to be heading out as a lot of people were heading in!

I'm determined to make it back later in the spring to try and see the Flycatchers and Redstarts.

Driving back over hills we saw Curlew and Lapwings flying overhead and got caught up in a little traffic delay Yorkshire style!

Birds seen today

Grey Wagtail
Blue Tit
Coal Tit
Great Tit
Greylag Goose
Black Headed Gull
Carrion Crow


Sunday, 6 March 2016


I've not managed to get out much of anywhere recently for various reasons.

I did however visit Wakefield a couple of weeks ago and spotted the Peregrine pair that will hopefully be nesting on the cathedral. One on top of the spire and the other just peaking out of the nest box on the side of the building. My photographs are not great to say the least but if you look really hard you can just about see them in the distance!

You can see updates on Youtube and on Twitter though.

I also found out this week that there are Peregrines at Leeds University. I passed by on Saturday but they remained out of sight for me, i'll try again. They also have updates on twitter.

In the garden the Blue/Great Tits and Sparrows are constant visitors along with the Robin and now several Blackbirds too. I've seen the first Dunnock of the year, they used to be a regular visitor all year round but not recently, which is a shame. Also the first Wren this year has been around the garden a couple of times, I don't see them too often but they do pop up all year round.

This Blackbird took advantage of the coconut feeder that's fallen on the floor (before I tidied up the rubbish that's been blown in the garden!).

The snowdrops have been out in force for a while now

I noticed a lone Japonica bud about to burst this morning

The wintry weather recently has lead to many a morning defrosting the bird bath, this morning though it defrosted itself.

A few photos from Fridays short lived snow covering.