Friday, 30 June 2017

30 Days Wild Update

Today is the end of 30 Days Wild, it's been a lovely if rather busy month and the blog posts didn't happen as often as i'd hoped. I've spent a bit of time each day checking out the hashtag on twitter, the response to it has been fantastic.

I spent most of the weekend out and about, some of which i've already blogged about, with another coast blog to follow. Other than that due to work and illnesses (again) mine this time though (who gets a cold in summer?!) it's mostly been garden watching and a quick walk in the woods.

House Sparrow & Blackbird in the woods

We haven't mowed the lawn in a while and this Self Heal suddenly appeared, it's only very tiny little plants and I struggled getting a good photo, I should have waited until the sun moved!

The Lavender and what's left of the Foxgloves have been buzzing with bees.

There's finally been a few juvenile House Sparrows in the garden, we watched them being fed by the adults right by the window. The feeders i've hung by the front door are very popular with them. The juvenile Starlings are still mob handed at the feeder in the back garden, a Squirrel has been turning up regularly again and the Fox has been cleaning up around the feeder on a night. We had brief visits by young Blue and Great Tits and a Robin too.

I found this amazing Vapourer Moth Caterpillar in the garden, i've never seen one before.

This past week i've also contacted my local council about turning part of a neglected roundabout at the end of my street into a meadow. I'm not sure if anything will come of it especially as since the email i've noticed new sponsored by signs go up on it but it's worth asking as there's plenty of room to create a sizable patch on there. I'll post if anything should happen!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

A Day at the Coast Part 1

We took our annual trip to Bempton on Sunday morning. We picked a good day, it was windy (of course) but the rain held off and the sun even came out a little.

As we turned on to the lane towards the cliffs a Hare jumped out of the grass at the side of the road and leapt in front of the car, we were going slow and luckily the Hare was going very fast, it ran across the road into the verge at the other side. It's been a long time since i've had such a close encounter with a Hare!

Walking down to the first viewpoint we spoke to one of the RSPB staff who had a telescope set up on a Puffin, we spotted another on the cliff but both were a little difficult to pick up through the grass. Still it was a good start, I mean we love the cliffs and seeing the huge numbers of birds is amazing but spotting that first Puffin is a little special!

Spot the Puffins among the Guillemots!

They weren't are only ones during the day, we saw quite a few on the cliff faces and flying backwards and forwards to the sea. We saw the same lady again at another viewpoint and this time she had a clear view of a Puffin on the scope and called us over to look. The are such stunning little birds.

Lots of the birds had chicks, though most were hidden amongst the adult birds legs these three Kittiwake chicks were a little more showy!



Kittiwake (with a Razorbill in the foreground)

A pair of Fulmar were huddled together on one of the cliffs.

Away from the cliff face there were plenty of birds about, we saw Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Linnet, Whitethroat, Tree Sparrows, Reed Buntings and the ever present Jackdaws. At the visitors centre these Swallows were getting lots of attention, I don't think they'll be far off fledging, they were trying out their wings.


There were a few butterflies around, Ringlet and Small Tortoiseshell but they were almost constantly on the wing.

We had lunch by the car and then headed off to Filey for the rest of the day, more to come on that!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Leeds Birdfair

I've been a little lax with posts the past few days, it's not that i've not being doing anything it's just there's not been enough time in the day to post about it!

Saturday was Leeds 2nd Birdfair and we headed over in the morning to check it out. It was already busy with people arriving when we got there around 10 so we decided to walk around the hides first.

A Sedge Warbler was singing outside the lagoon hide, flying about in the grass putting on quite a show!

I could see Great Crested Grebe chicks across the lagoon, they're quite big but the stripes are just still visible. A Cormorant was stood with it's wings spread on one of the islands. A Black Headed Gull flew up from one of the rafts and chased a Heron right off the lagoon, I noticed it had a least one chick on there. In front of the hide a Coot and two chicks were picking at the algae.

In the trees by the willow path Great & Blue Tit youngsters flew about. A Reed Bunting and Robin were on one of the feed tables. 

My daughter spotted several Damselflies as we walked around the reserve, there were quite a few about though not many at the actual dragonfly ponds!

I did however spot a Reed Warbler at the edge of one of the ponds, of course it stayed just enough out of sight I couldn't get a good shot, we stayed and watched till it flew off.

We walked through the hay meadow for the first time in years! We were buzzed by Swallows and Ringlet Butterflies at every turn. I didn't realise there was a viewing screen part way around either, there was not a lot to see but we could hear a Chiffchaff calling. A Large Skipper was hanging on a leaf, the only one we saw all day and a Meadow Brown was hidden in the grass.

On to the visitors centre for a much needed cup of tea and we also got a couple of Canadian molasses cookies that someone had home baked for the fair. I didn't take a photo because I ate them too fast, they were absolutely delicious, I ate my daughters too as she wasn't keen! We wondered around the stalls and had a chat with the local RSPB group with a view to joining. The practicalities of me getting to regular meetings at the other side of Leeds aren't great unfortunately but i'm going to look into it further as the trips are appealing.

I managed to restrain myself and only bought one book from the book stall and my daughter picked out some jam from the Calverley Beekeepers as we got some last year and she loved it. After a couple of jacket potatoes from the food stall, where the people were working flat out serving food we had a walk up to the managers garden.

A detour off round the Poplar field where we saw more Ringlets and several bees.

We sat at the garden for a little while and watched Jackdaws and around a dozen Stock Doves, the most i've ever seen in one go before, possibly some juveniles there? A loud noise signaled the arrival of 3 Jays, I think a couple of youngsters and an adult, the feathers were sticking up on two of the birds heads. 

Unfortunately we had to leave just after lunch, I wanted to stay for the Birdsong walk but we had other plans. Roll on next years!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Amanda from The Quiet Walker contacted me about doing a scavenger hunt she'd found on pinterest - great idea and i'm quite happy to take part. Ragged Robin is also taking part and her post can be found here. Amanda's post is here.

So here goes -

Something Fuzzy - this fern in the local park

Two kinds of seed - Dandelion and Sycamore

Two pieces of man-made litter, in the local park

Something straight - the cut through this tree that was damaged in the winds

Something round - one of many daisies in my lawn

Something smooth - if you look past the edge of the Holly leaves

Something rough 

Two different types of leaves - Oak & Sycamore

Something that makes a noise - the constant stream of juvenile Starlings in my garden!

A chewed leaf - a Foxglove in the garden

A beautiful rock - I struggled with this one and picked this monument in the park dedicated to animals that lost their lives serving in wars

Something you think is beautiful

A pinecone

Something green - so much to chose from

A stick - there are lots around the park after the recent winds

Something you think is a treasure - the urban woodlands in Churwell