Thursday, 11 August 2016

Churwell Urban Woodlands

I've managed a stroll through the woods before work a couple of times recently and also spent a morning exploring with my daughter.

Early morning visits mean it's very quiet and peaceful with only the odd dog walker around. Most of my time was spent down towards the Smools Lane end of the woods, it's my favourite place, you can almost imagine you're miles from anywhere (if you ignore the noise of the motorway traffic!).

The woods down by the beck are full of Wrens and Blackbirds. I also spotted Blue and Great Tits and fair few Woodpigeons. Both times I visited the sun was out which brought out the butterflies, Commas, Speckled Wood and Large Whites.

There were also lots of Hover Flies, Green Bottles and Soldier Beetles.

The flowers are everywhere. Along the beck i'm not sure what is natural and what has been planted (if anything) but it all looks good.

On the most recent visit we spent a bit of time exploring further down the field that runs along the motorway towards the bottom of Churwell.

It was full of flowers...................

..................and butterflies including some i've not seen in the Morley area before. Small Copper, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Small White and the usual Speckled Wood and Large White.

In the beck a brown rat was having a bit of a bath and in the trees above a pair of squirrels were running across the branches.

As usual we saw Wrens, Blackbirds and Woodpigeons as we walked. It's difficult to get a decent photo of the Wrens with the trees in full leaf, i'm looking forward to what's around when Autumn arrives and the leaves start to fall!

Friday, 5 August 2016

Adel Dam

Sunday morning was a trip to Adel Dam (after a quick visit to the bird/squirrel feeding station in Golden Acre. I think everything was overfed, there were 5 squirrels, a couple of Wood Pigeon, a Jay, Chaffinch and Great Tits, nowhere near the usual number around!)

From the first hide at Adel the feeders had just been filled and the birds didn't hang around for the volunteer to clear the area before they were back on the them. The usual suspects, Great, Coal and Blue Tits, Robin, GS Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Woodpigeons and Squirrels hoovering up on the floor. A Jay flew over but didn't hang around. A Magpie was making the most of the nuts.

Moving on as the hide got quite busy we sat quite a while looking out at the lake. Good job we did as we saw 2 possibly 3 Kingfishers flying around the water, I always love seeing these birds. Also out on the water/mud were Mandarin, BH Gulls, Grey Wagtails, Moorhens, Crow and a duck with chicks, I think a Gadwall.

On the feeders at the side of the hide were juvenile and adult Great & Blue Tits and a couple of Wrens flying about. 

We walked on through the woods which were very quiet today, both bird and people wise! A nice couple of hours at one of my favourite places 

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Blacktoft Sands

Saturday we headed over to Blacktoft Sands (another fruitless search for Bearded Tits, I swear they see me coming and hide) and ended up spending nearly the whole day there. It was sunny and warm for the most part, there were a few clouds but they were welcome for me I don't do well walking in the hot sun!

Stopping in the reception hide we picked up a things to see sheet for my daughter and spoke briefly to the volunteer there today.

From the Xerox hide we watched a Marsh Harrier (in fact we saw Marsh Harriers all over the reserve today!), Redshank, Black Tailed Godwit, Avocet, Wigeon and Gadwall.

The Marshland hide was fairly quiet, more Godwits, Gadwall, Avocets and Lapwings. A chap helped point out a hidden Green Sandpiper so we could tick it off the things to see sheet. We sat in there a while but no sign of any Bearded Tits of course.

A Red Admiral was flying about outside the hide and when we came back out it landed on my husbands t shirt! It was looking a little worse for wear around the edges (the butterfly not the t shirt).

Walking along the Ousefleet trail we saw more butterflies - Meadow Brown, Large White, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Skipper. I spotted our only Ladybird of the day and there were Soldier Beetles everywhere.

By the Ousefleet Screen a Reed Warbler was in the grass by the edge of the water and there were quite a few dragonflies but they were too far away to see what they were.

A pair of Linnet were on the floor out in front of the hide and the beautiful Konik ponies were out in force. We watched a Marsh Harrier and also a possible Curlew flying over.

It was time for lunch, a stop for a tea in the reception hide where we saw a large black ground beetle, which the volunteer caught in a bug id jar for further inspection. We snagged a picnic table by the car park, which was a bit of a mistake, a Woodpigeon kept flying into the tree above our heads dislodging twigs and bits of tree all over the table. It flew across to another tree carrying sticks. My daughter could only stand it so long and when it sent down a foot long twig that narrowly missed her food she was off to sit by the car instead! We sat and watched the Tree Sparrows as we ate.

After lunch we headed off to the hides down to the right of the reserve. The first hide was quiet, there were Coots, Gadwall, Little Grebes, the ever present Marsh Harriers.

Moving on the Townend hide had Green Sandpipers, Woodpigeons, Avocets and the odd Crow. We sat a while in the Singleton hide watching Swans with cygnets, Little Grebes, Herons, Ducks and of course the Harriers.

We decided to check the Xerox and Marshland hides again before we left. I'd somehow missed the Spotted Redshank so wanted to check for that as it's a new bird for me. We sat upstairs for a while and saw plenty of them, goodness knows how I missed them earlier! A Little Egret walked along the pond at the back and then I spotted something in the reeds right at the back of the pond - a Water Rail!

Sitting in the Marshland Hide we had it mostly to ourselves and sat there quite a long time. There were Godwits, Gadwall, a Heron, Little Egrets, Avocet and every few minutes swarms of Sand Martins flew in across the water, spent some time swooping around it before moving on.

It was wonderful to watch

After stopping back at the reception hide we saw a lot of Cinnebar moth caterpillars on the way out. 

A few other photos from the day