Thursday, 2 February 2017

 Ground Squirrel , California
Heermann's Gull , California

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Dipper de do da.

It was one of those days, I started the day off by taking the Westies for their usual early morning walk. And its usually on this walk I start to formulate my plans for the day, because as I'm on my wonder I can take stock of the weather, and what it might do during the course of the day. Well I have to say it wasn't giving a great deal away this morning, it was alternating between sun, with dirty big black clouds circling and the odd spot of rain. Back home I thought I'll give it a while, and catch up on e-mail, and a few other jobs. By 10am  the sun was cracking, so not wanting to wast it I grabbed the camera jumped in the car and set off.
    I decided to have a ride up to  Wetsleddale  where there is a dam surrounded by high moorland, and is partly owned by the RSPB.  To reach it you can either use the M6 to Shap Which is the nearest village, or use the A6, in which case if you are driving from the North , you would drive through Shap. I decided on the A6, and hadn't been on this road long when the sun disappeared, never to be seen again for the rest of the day, daaaam.
    Long before you get to the dam there is a beck, which I always stop at just in case there are any Grey Wagtails about, as I have found them here before. As I approached the beck two birds lifted and flew down stream, too big to be Wagtails, they landed again about 30 yards away.

I was delighted to see a pair of Dippers (Cinclus cinclus) doing their usual bobbing movement.

I was cursing the lighting, not only was it dull and trying to rain, but I was looking down on them, into a little gorge.

Then there was one, they move like lightening, and one disappeared while I was altering the camera settings.
They are so well camouflaged, if it wasn't for the white chest they could easily be overlooked.
 If I approach them directly they would be off, stealth was needed, so I backed off out of sight, did a little circular, and made my approach from a different direction, this involved sliding around on my backside, and getting it soaking wet, as the area was covered with sedge and Sphagnum moss and dripping with cold water.

If only the sun had been shining, its the first time I've seen a Dipper standing on one leg, unless its only got one leg.

By now its mate had disappeared back up stream, and this one soon followed, I thanked them for allowing me into their world for a little while.

Up at the Dam I was surprised to find a large raft of Wigeon, (this is only part of the raft) with a few Mallard mixed in, and all the time the bubbling/rippling call of the Curlew could be heard coming from the surrounding moorland. I also found quite a bit of frogspawn, unfortunately it had been laid in flooded tractor tracks, so will not survive, the next tractor along, and it will be doomed
Linking to Stewarts Wild bird Wednesday

Saturday, 15 March 2014

One critter eats another critter

Cattle Egret eating the first of two lizards.

Moves it round in its beak ready for,

The grand finale

Then he finds his second critter.

Same again, reposition to get it down his neck

Its amazing the lizard stays alive, till it disappears down its neck.
 The photos where taken at Fairchild tropical gardens, Miami. How I wish I was there now.
    Linking to Eileens Saturdays Critters  

Friday, 14 March 2014

Early morning on the patch, there had been frost
It also took a while for the mist to clear this morning, but when it did there was a Helicopter sat in a field next to me weird.
    Linking to Skywatch Friday---

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

You expect little birds and you get big birds
Down one side of our yard, there is a low wall and it serves as a bird table, so its one of the places we can put food for the small birds. however very often we don't get small birds , we get big birds. Who would expect to get a Rook coming to seed, and in the middle of a town. Incidently on the other side of the wall is Thacka beck, because after leaving the Thacka beck reserve, a good portion of its coarse takes it under the streets of Penrith, except for a 30 yard stretch that passes our yard, before it finally merges with the river Eamont, which merges with the river Lowther, then into the Eden.

and who would have thought a Jackdaw has a speckled breast.

Slightly smaller, but still not a small bird, The Collared Dove. There are two about at the moment, and they have been nest building in the trees by the beck.

And slightly smaller again, the Blackbird.
And as long as these bruisers are around then the little birds keep out of the way.

Linking to Stewarts Wild bird Wednesday,------

Saturday, 8 March 2014

It dosn't look like a lizard

Slow Worm
Although they look like snakes, they are not, they are legless lizards. They have all the attributes of a lizard and none of the snake. they have eye lids and ear openings, and can shed their tails to escape predators. They grow to about 16-20 inch, the female being slightly bigger than the male. Like lizards they come out of hiding during warm sunny mornings, finding somewhere to bask in the sun to warm up before going on the hunt for food. Slow worms will feed on slugs earth worms, and certain caterpillars, they give birth to live young, usually golden in colour, and about 4 cm in length. In the photo above, there are two possibly three hiding under a tin sheet, they will find somewhere similar in October when they go into hibernation till the weather warms up the following year. (that must be nice) They are completely harmless, and beautifully smooth to  the touch.
   Linking to Eileen's  Saturday's Critters

Friday, 7 March 2014

Ring of bright sun

A touch of ice on lake Derwentwater, there have been winters when areas of the lake have had that much ice, it would be full of people and skaters playing about on it.  In the bad winter of 62-63  we had frost from December to April, the ice was so thick on the lake, that  one person went to and from work across the lake on his motorbike. Easter was fairly early that year, and I took my first girlfriend camping for the first time, I thought it would also be the last time , but she loved it, in spite of the freezing cold conditions.
 Linking to Skywatch Friday