Friday, 18 November 2016


My surgery went well but now i'm stuck in recovery for some time. I'm not able to do much of anything, I can't even handle my camera at the moment, which is frustrating, well everything is frustrating, of course you don't realise how much you take for granted until your mobility is limited.

Still my garden is proving to be a distraction at times, as I type the squirrel has been hopping all over eating and burying nuts, seeing off Magpies and generally being very squirrely.

There is a constant stream of Blue, Great and recently Coal Tits on the feeders. An ever present Robin and a pair of Goldcrest have been hanging around for a couple of weeks. A Chiffchaff even settled briefly in the trees at the end of last week. House Sparrow numbers roosting at the back of the gardens seem to be increasing and now and again they try out the feeders. Goldfinch have been making an appearance again, they disappeared over the summer though I saw them flying over often enough. A Wren is often flitting around both the front and back garden. 

A brief landing from a Collared Dove in the neighbours tree is the closest visit there's been in a while. I was reading back on some old notes from 2010 and these birds were regular visitors along with Woodpigeons and Blackbirds, all three are now few and far between.

Hopefully next time I post i'll have been able to take a few photos in the garden at least.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Patch Birding

This is something I do anyway but due to some pretty major spinal surgery i'm having this week (EDIT op postponed till the 7th so a little breathing space!) i'm going to have limited mobility for a few months it's pretty much all i'm going to be able to do!

My garden is possibly going to have the most documented birds in town!

As walking is part of the recovery process i'll be able to get out locally in time so hopefully i'll be able to cover the local parks and eventually the urban woodlands too. I've considered doing the patchwork challenge i've seen others do - details here - and this may be the perfect time to start. Granted my patch is not going to produce huge numbers but at least it's something that will help keep me occupied (sitting still and not doing anything is not something i'm good at!)

Where I live has parks and my own garden has its good moments.There isn't a huge variety of species here but I figure if I included the woodlands that'll broaden the number of species I could see. 

I've figured out a patch that covers my area including three parks in town, my walk to work and the urban woodland/beck. It comes in at just under 3km²

It took a bit of fiddling but it does just cover everything. The three parks are varied, the one close to home is the smallest with the least amount of species (or the not so nice park as we call it!), the park in the centre of town is ok, it has a few little paths and hidden away areas and it has in the past produced my first (of only two) ever views of Waxwings! The third park is the best one for a walk and for the birds and is good for Redwings/Fieldfares in winter.

It's going to be a tough few months and blogging will probably be sparse but at least i'll be able to keep up with everyone else's easily enough so that's something!

Monday, 3 October 2016

Golden Acre & Adel Dam

Sunday morning had myself and my daughter heading over to Golden Acre to test out a new pair of binoculars. Nothing too fancy just some a bit lighter than the ones we already have.  The path up to Breary Marsh by the car park is all closed off. I noticed back in August that there was a sign up about the refurbishment. I'm not sure if the whole of the woods there is closed off?

Onto Golden Acre and the usual noisy ducks and gulls on the lake. Black Headed Gulls, Mallards and Tufted Ducks, Swans, Moorhen and a lone Canada Goose. Trying to get my daughter to pose for a photo (not easy when new braces are involved!) I saw flash of blue behind her, not one but two Kingfishers flying low over the water and heading in the direction of the cafe. Very nice start to the morning. A couple of Crows were flying about the grass.

We could hear Great Tits and Robins in the trees and there were a couple of squirrels around too.

The first hide at Adel Dam was already quite busy, one gentleman hoping to get some decent photos of the Kingfishers but a recent fly by of a Sparrowhawk was keeping the birds a little skittish. We did see Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Robins, Chaffinch, Woodpigeons and a Chiffchaff right next to the window of the hide, despite that I couldn't get a good angle for a photo! Speckled Wood butterflies were flying about the brambles.

Walking on to the lake hide brought us Blackbirds, a Mistle Thrush and more squirrels. Now something unusual happened in the hide, for the first time ever in any hide i've been in anywhere it was full only of women! It's not often I see ladies birding on their own, often in couples, as I do myself on many occasions. My daughter spotted a Red Kite flying about the lake and around the trees and pointed it out.

On the water were a fair few Teal, a Mandarin at the back of the lake and a Coot popped out of the reeds at the side. We sat a while and enjoyed the moment, serenaded by first a Robin then a Great Tit right by the hide.

The hide filled up so we moved on and walked through the rest of the woods not seeing much bird wise apart from a Wren and a couple more Blackbirds.

Back into Golden Acre and we could see a Heron hiding out by the lake and half a dozen Sand Martins skimming the water. A Nuthatch and a couple of Chaffinch were by the bird feeding are but there were a lot of dogs running wild by now so not much of anything else.

In a tree by the cafe a Jay was screeching loudly for quite some time, we heard it long before we saw it, an answering call kept coming from somewhere down by the lake.

Quite a few Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were around the flowerbeds.

After a little bit of lunch at the suggestion of the my daughter we walked up behind the cafe, this is the first time i've ever done this in all the years i've been coming here and discovered a greenhouse with a water feature and a beautiful garden full of all sorts of flowers and walk ways. I can't believe i've missed this till now!

A lovely way to end our morning.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Round and about

Just a few notes from the past month around the garden and local parks.

We've had an influx of Long Tailed Tits recently up to 11 flitting around the garden a couple of times a day, you can hear them calling long before they appear.

A couple of Blue and Great Tits visit the feeder regularly and a Robin has started making an appearance again. A caught a couple of Warblers in the trees on two separate occasions Chiffchaff for one and possibly Willow for the other but I didn't get great views. The Magpie family I noticed earlier in the year are all still around I hear them in the trees and they spend a lot of time in the disused factory across the road.

A spider took over the bug house for a while.

Walking in the park about a month ago it was already looking a little autumnal.

We got caught in a rain shower there and saw Bees and a Pellucid Hoverfly, quite lovely.

A couple of visits to the urban woodlands near the end of August before work and I was surrounded by birds in large numbers, Blue & Great Tits, Warblers, Blackbirds, Bullfinch, Woodpigeons, Robins and a rat along the path. It was a lovely moment and certainly a great way to start the day.

There have been a few moths around.

Including this one in the bathroom at work (for which I was mocked mercilessly when I headed in there with my camera, however everyone did concede it was pretty!).

The garden is filled with cobwebs and sun catches them beautifully.

I even managed a little birding at the West Indian Carnival watching a Buzzard of all things above the trees in Potternewton park. The BBQ smoke looked quite stunning in the sunlight.

Up until Sunday there were still a lot of Speckled Woods in the garden, the most we've ever had this year......

....and a couple of weeks ago the first ever Painted Lady i've seen in the garden was sat right outside the front door .

Then this morning leaving for work a charm of around 30 Goldfinch flew overhead, I don't think i'll ever tire of hearing them.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

A Day at the Coast

We took a trip to Bridlington on Saturday, mostly to do the seaside thing whilst there is still a hint of summer, with a little birding thrown in!

Of course the noisy Gulls are the birds that you can't miss and there were plenty of them, mostly Herring and Great Black Backed.

Along the edge of the beach and in the harbour (where the tide was out) there were plenty of waders. A lot of Turnstone, also Redshank, Oystercatcher and a lone bird that caught my eye, which looked different to all the others. My first Purple Sandpiper, I almost missed it too, it was quite well camouflaged initially.

We walked along the beach a couple of times & I watched a small flock of Terns constantly flying about the waters edge, they'd land for a short while then be off again. I took a few (not great) pictures and with some help from the Yorkshire Birders group on Facebook (thank you!) I had them id'd as Sandwich Terns. Another new bird for me.

I also spotted a couple of Cormorants flying over the surf whilst waiting for the family to catch me up from their shell collecting.

As we were close by and hadn't been before we made the trip up to Filey Dams, this time with directions, the one time we tried before we didn't have goods ones, got lost and gave up!

This time we had no problem and had the place to ourselves and stayed about an hour. Right off we had great views of a Green Sandpiper in front of the hide along with a Dunlin, again I had the help of the Yorkshire Birders on the Dunlin ID. I do struggle with some of the waders.

All around the ponds were Greylag Geese, noisy as always. We counted 5 Herons, a lone Lapwing, a Black Headed Gull, several Teal, Gadwall, Mallards, Moorhens and Wigeon. Woodpigeons were everywhere and a Little Egret flew out of the reeds and off the reserve.

I really liked it here and was slightly envious of the houses that backed onto the Dams, if only I could live that close to somewhere like this! Apparently I can't check out how much a nearby house is up for sale for because commuting to Leeds just won't work..........