Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Outing in Icy wind

Common Gull
  Juvenile Common Gull

The day started off on the patch in an icy NE wind eyes streaming and struggling with the bins. However there was a few Snipe about, 22 Mallard , and to start with 4 Lapwing , then the usual 100 or so started to arrive, but didn't settle for long, as the next thing to arrive was a Buzzard and immediately all the Lapwings lifted again.

Just before lunch myself, wife and daughter headed over to Keswick, and after my daughter had completed her business we made our way down to the lake. There was the usual congregation of Mallard and geese waiting for food, also quite a few Black-headed Gulls, bur no Meds amongst them, but a couple of Common Gulls were present.

Teal X.

Greylag Goose
 In Calf-close-bay we found more Mallard and also Goosanders and Mergansers, we took the shortest route back to the town centre and then home to thaw out.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Snipe are back

At last the ground has softened enough for the Snipe and yesterday I counted 8 in their usual place on the M6 side of the flood, but as I have said before the ground is very uneven there and they can very easily conceal themselves. There was also 60 or so Lapwing, getting on for a dozen Mallard, 2 Black-headed Gulls, and a few Starlings. I didn't hang around too long as the weather was grotty. And this morning it was far worse, heavy rain with a South est wind, plus it was still dark as I had taken Mrs W to work for 7-30 then continued on with the Westies.

I got a text from Roy at one point saying there was a few of these little fellas in an area of Penrith, but I was otherwise occupied so couldn't go looking, plus the weather wasn't conducive for photography.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Shrike all great and grey

Went up to the flood first thing with the Westies, typical yesterday I gave the scope its first outing for a while and there was very little about. just 4 Lapwing 2 Black-headed Gulls, a flock of over a hundred Starlings with 9 Fieldfare mixing in with them. This morning about 100 Lapwings gull numbers up, and I was wishing I had the scope because I was detecting movement where the Snipe usually hang out, but a bit much with bins and dodgy eyes. The was also a few mallard on the water. So hopefully with the thaw and milder weather more birds will start to move in.
Great Grey Shrike, distant shot.

By 10-45am Mrs W and myself set off for Long Marton in search of reported Great Grey Shrike. We arrived at the area where it had been last seen, but there wasn't much room for parking, so I decided to move further up the road to the junction for Knock and as I was turning Mrs W   said what is that bird on the phone wire? I grabbed the bins and sure enough there the little beauty was, job done and a life tick, thanks Roy!!!.

It very kindly hung around to get these few record shots , Fantastic not half way through January yet and 2 life ticks.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

At last, there's life on the patch

Up at the patch this morning with the Westies and it was good to see the Lapwings back. There was about 100 milling about on the grass at the far side of the flood. At the moment the whole of the flood is covered with ice with water lying on top. and a dozen gulls were standing on the middle there was an equal number of Common Gulls and Black-headed. 3 Fieldfare came into a tree by the top track, and well over 100 Starlings were flying around the flood. No sign of snipe yet ground still too hard for them by the flood.
           After lunch my Daughter and myself had a ride over to Ullswater and took the road along the East side to Sandwick. At various points we found the following.
Pair of Mute Swans

Couldn't resist, this Robin came to the car when we parked up.

Tufted Duck

Cormorant in silhouette.

And the hardy Herdwick by the roadside.

On our drive home through Tirril large flocks of Starlings were beginning to come together, a pre-roost gathering. And at the same time large flocks of gulls were going to roost, looked as if they could have been heading for Ullswater.


Thursday, 6 January 2011

A good start to the New Year.

Red-necked Grebe winter plumage.
There has been nothing on Thacka flood for weeks now, about 4 Lapwings standing on water covered ice one day and that was about it. Small flocks of Goldfinch from time to time, one or two Fieldfare now and then, and occasionally a Kestrel has been about and that's about it. Lean pickings indeed, so a change of scenery was on the cards and in spite of the weather being poor in Cumbria first  thing I decided to head off down to Fairhaven lake in Lancs. to have a peep at this little beauty.

It was bad driving over Shap on the M6, but as usual drove into sunny weather in Lancashire. in fact anyone taking pics of the grebe were up against the sun as it was putting the bird in shadow  so patience was needed.

No one had cause to complain though, but I did overhear an argument going on as to whether or not the bird was an adult or first winter young, (give me strength) its a Red-necked Grebe and that's enough for me.