Tuesday, 6 December 2011

A feast of geese.

The sun was shining first thing, but when I made a move to take the Westies for their walk, work was needed on the car to free it of last nights snow and frost. Nothing on the flash just a few gulls feeding in the field close by, mainly Black-headed, and a couple of Common. Roy has seen Little grebe on the reserve but not much has been happening on there either.
Back home weather still fine so decided to head off to Soddy Gap on the off chance that the Long- tail duck would still be there. I had just got onto the A 66 heading West when  a text came in I pull into the next lay by to read it, it was from Roy saying 93 wf geese between Langwathby & Little Selkeld. Also 5 w swans & 4 Barnacles, consequently I never got to Soddy.
In fact on arriving at the field Roy was still there, and as well as the above listed , there was  also the odd Greylag, and Pink-footed mixed in, only 3 or 4 short of a full house.

In view Whooper Swan, Barnacles, and White-fronted

2 Whoopers and White-fronts
It was a terrific sight and in fact there could easy have been up to 100 White-fronts, spread across 2 fields,

Just looks like the Whooper is guarding the White-fronts

One snap shot doesn't give the whole picture, there was masses of them.


Juvenile Whooper, with Barnacles and White-fronts

View from high ground Penrith looking over to the Lakeland fells this morning.
Hopefully the weather will be good tomorrow and I might make it to Soddy, toodle pip.

Friday, 25 November 2011

It's been a long time

Male Mandarin on the pond, Thacka.
Well Sky finally sorted my phone and more importantly my Internet out, which I have been without since the middle of October. So what's been happening in the mean time, well as it happens as regards the patch very little. As can be seen the Mandarin is still with us although shy and elusive, nothing of great interest on the Thacka beck reserve, apart from Mallard, lots of Moorhen, and gulls.
        As regards the Flash, well for weeks that has been a disaster area, since it has been drained leaving a lot less water than previously, and the surrounding area looking like a building site nothing has been near the place, no Lapwings nothing . That is until yesterday, when for the first time in well over a month there was 100 Lapwing back on view, and again this morning with over the 100 mark. Also good numbers of gulls mainly Black-headed, with a few Common gulls, and also a few pairs of Mallard.

Last week near the Flash in thick mist

Cloud over the Ullswater fells on Tuesday, From Little Mell Fell

Top of Little Mell Fell as the sun started to set.
Yesterday I had a ride over to Bassenthwite lake to see if the Black-throated Diver was still there and the Great White Egret, but only the Egret could be found and that was on the far side of the lake. It was over a thousand yards away hence the poor photos.

Great white Egret.

We have stood side by side with these in Florida, the wildlife there is very approachable
There was also some Common Scoters reported but I didn't find them, it was very windy and quite a chop on the lake, that's my excuse anyway.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

No net

Just a short post from a friends computer , the reason being we have no Internet at home, or phone line. This is due to a big cock-up between Sky and BT , and we are going to be off line till at least the 10 of the month. This is very frustrating not just for myself but also the rest of the family, especially my daughter. So no photos for a while. I just wanted to let people no that I am still around  and hopefully Sky will sort thing out for me sooner rather than later.

Saturday, 15 October 2011


Had early morning text from John, saying female Wigeon on the reserve, and also hundreds of Fieldfares and Redwings flying over.
          Mrs W is working up at the rugby club today, so I gave her a lift there then went on with the Westies to Cowraik nature reserve, the Westies enjoyed the early  morning sun.

The view across the vale of Eden to Cross fell the highest of the Pennine range
As can be seen it was quite misty looking across to the Pennines, but it was lovely and warm in the sun. Also there was lots of  Red Admiral butterflies enjoying the sun, and they were still looking good.

Red Admiral
I heard but didn't see Great Spotted Woodpecker,  and also Ravens overhead, as well as Crows and Jackdaws, but that was about it apart from the occasional Robin.

The Oak trees are loaded with acorns, in fact everywhere I go I see the hedgerows loaded with fruit, Apples, Sloes, Hawthorn, Rose hips, and Elderberry. such a rich harvest for the birds.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Thacka area

Thacka beck reserve , high water levels
Photo of part of the Thacka beck reserve, not a great deal about apart from a count of 11 Moorhens visible, possibly more in vegetation. Also a few Black-headed Gulls present, and 1 Common Gull .

Common Gull in the company of Mallard, 
Up at the Flash this last few days, there has more signs of infill going on, yet some days there has been as many as 200+ Lapwings still around. There has also been more Blackbirds about so maybe some early arrivals from abroad.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Birds on the Isthmus

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Spent the day on the Isthmus over at Keswick with Les, a good variety of birds about today including this woodpecker. Quite a few Nuthatches about and Treecreepers, then the more common such as Blue tit, Great tit, Coal tit, Crows. and on the water Greylags Goosanders, lots of Mallard and Black-headed Gulls. The weather was pretty grim very low cloud covering the fells down to about 500ft.

Great tit
Haven't been on the local patch for a while , but a text from Roy yesterday said the male Mandarin is back on Thacka pond.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Disaster on the patch

The only water left on the Flood

When we arrived back from our hols.  a walk up to the Flood revealed a quite shocking scene, a massive reduction in water levels. Apparently the land owner has decided to drain it and fill it in, this is a very upsetting situation. You only have to look at our patch list to see the amount of birds this area pulled in over the last few years. Its nothing short of a disaster both for the wildlife and anyone that has been watching the area.   I'll keep you updated on the situation.

One of the many House Sparrows I fed from our accommodation

And a juvenile Herring Gull in rubbish bin , Tenby

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A break for Hols.

Two views of Pembroke castle

This kinda gives  it away as regards where we spent our holiday, Pembrokeshire,
Quite the touristy type holiday and little or nothing on the birding side of things, the only highlight on  the birding front was a flock of 12 choughs in one area we visited.

2 of the 12 choughs
I did put a load of bird food outside the self catering we were staying in, and this attracted about 24 or so house sparrows, a couple of Great tits a Hedge sparrow, and this little creature

Mr or Mrs Rat, in fact sometimes 2 appeared. 
However we saw no sign of the Badger that had apparently been seen, even though I stayed up late some nights camera at the ready.

A type of  Garden spider, but not sure what kind, was found while Mrs W was paying for the car parking,
As regards Pembrokeshire, it has a beautiful coast line but move inland and it all gets a bit mundane and flat. the trouble is we get a bit spoiled living in Cumbria. It dose make up for that as regards its history and there are numerous castles to visit if that's your thing. The weather didn't help as it was pretty grim while we were there, and then we come home and have a heatwave.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Young above and below

Keith's bantam hatched 8 chicks
Yesterday I went up to the Flash first thing giving the Westies a walk at the same time. The flash has been drained considerably, possibly to stop it flooding the near-by farm. In doing so it has completely changed the dynamics of the area, it has made it less attractive to wildfowl but more attractive to waders.
       This morning however there wasn't much of anything, apart from a count of approx. 100 Lapwings, the gulls seem to be spending their time on the new reserve.
        Later in the day I went over to see Keith and it was a nice surprise to find his bantam had been successful, as can be seen from pics

While I was taking pics of these I heard twittering above me and looking up I found these 2 young Swallows looking down watching me.

At one point while stood chatting outside a Crossbill started calling from a Larch tree above us, then flew round to the back of the house and lost to view.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Another sunny morning

Juvenile greenfinch
Had a walk along Thacka lane this morning heading for the motorway tunnel, and taking the Westies for a longer walk for a change. The sun was really warm again but even so the time of year shows a slight decline in insects about.

However this hover fly, which I now know to be a Marmalade, was enjoying this Geranium in the grass verge.
As we past the farm there was quite a few Swallows about and House Sparrows.

A family of house Sparrows, there was quite a few more than this flying about.
A sign of things to come, this is a species of Maple I found in the wood by the M6.
If we get the right conditions it could be a colourful Autumn, fingers crossed.
 Still no Buzzards about but 2 Kestrels in different parts of the walk. Again looking at the Flash from a distance there didn't seem to be anything about. May try and scope it in the morning, weather permitting.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Its Birds and Cattle

Long horned cattle

Had a walk round the Thacka Beck nature reserve this morning, and it was a nice surprise to see the cattle had finally arrived, all three of them. To be honest I was expecting a few more than three, but at least its a start and shows CWT mean buisness. I had only just set foot on the reseve when 2 Raven proncked overhead, its good to hear them.

There wasn't a great deal on the pools apart from these Moorhens  getting annoyed with the Mallard and a about 12 or so  Black-headed Gulls mainly juveniles. Most of the pools had a few Mallard on but that was about it.    
Just as I was getting back to the car  Roy arrived, so I walked up the big hedge with him, we found Goldfinch, Chaffinch, and this Whitethroat.


There was also Blackcap but unfortunatly it was camera shy.  It was a very warm and sunny morning, making for a very pleasant hour or so.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Sounds different

Speckled Wood
The Westies and I had a slight change of scenery this morning making our way up to the Cowraik nature reserve, its found just off the Beacon Edge road, and use to be a quarry.
           We had just entered the wood when 2 or more Jays started making their usual alarm calls, then 2 Ravens flew over. Its interesting to listen to the Robins at the moment as there is a definite change in their call/notes/song, its always another sign of Autumn.
            In the horse paddock next to the reserve I found 21 Common Gulls which I thought was unusual, also a few Jackdaws and Crows.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Selfheal (Prunella Vulgaris)

Been having a wander about this last few days, one day I spent  a bit of time over at Bassenthwaite Lake.
         I had a count of 18 Mute Swans, 17 Greylag Geese, 1 Heron, 2 Goosanders, numerous Black-headed Gulls, a Lesser Black-backed Gull and a few Common Gulls.
         Spent some time on the Isthmus with Les but nothing much about apart from hoards of gulls and geese being fed by tourist over by the boat landings.

A couple of pics. of the Westies enjoying a swim in Derwentwater.

Little Misty has a better idea of what to do than Kyfer.

On our patch, there has been good numbers of Lapwings on the Flash, although this morning Mallard far outnumbered anything Else, but Lapwings have numbered well over 200 at times.
      Roy has had a least 3 sighting of Kingfisher,  twice on the Thacka beck reserve and once on the Pond close by. Also Lesser Whitethroat which is a new addition to the patch list.
        The one thing that concerns me at the moment is the fact that I have had no sightings of  Buzzard for a long time, and there was always one or two about. In fact in a previous post a couple of years back now, I mentioned the fact that I had 6 overhead at the same time, and pics to prove it. I'm wondering if someone is shooting or poisoning them. very sad if this is the case.

PS. The Match 8-- 8-2 poor Mr Arson

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

This could be interesting

This is looking very angry already and its only cat. 2 at the moment, but they are predicting cat. 4 by the time it hits the US East coast.
           On the home front over 200 Lapwings on the flash this morning viewed from a distance as gypos are still in residence. Also Starlings beginning to move around in large flocks, not long now before they start heading for the usual roosts, if not already.