Friday, 9 November 2018

First Frost of the Season

On the 29th the temperature dropped low enough for a frost. I love how it all looks as the sun comes up and everything glows white.

Luckily I was able to have a quick walk in the woods before work so managed a few photos while it was still early, the sun was making short work of the frost though!

If I stay really still they can't see me......

This Robin was singing it's head off

Great Tit

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Rodley Nature Reserve

After seeing the Crossbills we called at my parents for lunch and then on to Rodley for a couple of hours, timing it very well as it rained twice and both times we dodged it by being in a hide!

There were lots of Canada and Greylag Geese in the field by the car and a flock of Black-headed Gulls too. A Buzzard was being mobbed by a couple of Crows overhead.

There were Gulls on the lagoon, Black-headed, a few Common and a couple of Herring. Lots of ducks too, we saw Mallard, Teal, Tufted, Wigeon and Gadwell plus Little and Great-crested Grebes. A bird flew low across the water into some reeds - a Water Rail! 

Black-headed Gulls

We counted 7 Jays flying about and there were lots of the usual Tits along side the Willow path, along with Robin, Wren, Pheasant and overhead a Red Kite, which flew around a while, quite low over Tim's field. 
Great Tit

In the reedbeed hide (where we dodged a quick heavy shower) we spoke to some guys who'd also tried for the Crossbills this morning, but it seems after they flew off they didn't put in another appearance. As we sat there I saw something flying low in the distance up the reedbed and thought Kingfisher at first till it got closer, it was a Green Sandpiper!

On the riverside walk I watched a Magpie and a Buzzard have a bit of a tussle, the Buzzard had been sat on the bank at the other side of the river, it flew up into a tree. We warmed up with tea and hot chocolate in the visitors centre and then made our way back to the car to head home.

Greylag and Canada Geese

Friday, 2 November 2018

Chevin Woods

After reading about the Crossbills at the Chevin Woods on Amanda's blog I decided to pay a visit on Sunday.

We got there just after 9 and right away I spotted a guy taking photos of something at the top of the tree - Crossbills and right where they'd been described! We chatted to the guy and watched both males and females at the top of the tree. They were a bit distant for the camera but perfect through the binoculars, it was a gorgeous day and they looked stunning in the sun, a lifer for me. They were there around 20 minutes or so before they were spooked and flew off - 8 altogether.

This Chaffinch called above our heads whilst we watched the Crossbills, probably miffed we weren't paying it any attention!

Lots of sheep in the surrounding fields

The sunlight in between the trees was beautiful, my photos don't do it justice. We walked around a big chunk of the woods.

Where the woods opened out the views across the valley are stunning

A Kestrel flew overhead 

Arncliffe Crag

There were quite a few birds in the trees, Goldcrest, Coal, Great, Blue Tits, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Song Thrush and Bullfinch, none however were willing to pose for a photo. A Red Kite flew over at one point too.


It's been years since i've been in these woods I think the last time was probably about twenty years ago and it was at night to watch shooting stars over the valley (I saw two!). It was well worth the visit, I need to make more of an effort to go more often.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Around the Patch

I don't think i've done an update for a while, it was summer in the last update and it's most definitely autumn now!

I've had plenty of walks in the woods including the extended walk over the M621, which does take me off the patch slightly. I was trying to see if I could adjust my area for the Patchwork Challenge to include this extra walk for next year but it'll loose at least one of the regular places if I do. Maybe it could be stand alone patch?!

On this most recent walk we spotted a flock of 20+ Linnets and lots of birds in the various trees which are full of berries - Mistle Thrush, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Jay, Blue/Great Tits - it would be a good little patch!

Mistle Thrush

Back to the patch, on the same walk a Kestrel was hunting over the Pit Hill fields at the end of the woods and a Buzzard was being chased by a Crow. The woods themselves have been full of Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits still, plus Blackbirds, Dunnocks, Robins, Woodpigeons, Magpies. The GS Woodpecker has been around too, though speaking to some of the regular dog walkers a second Woodpecker had been found dead on one of the paths, which is shame. A Sparrowhawk had been seen in gardens nearby and early in September we saw it on a few morning walks in the same patch of trees.


Great Tit


Great Spotted Woodpecker

In the parks the Thrushes disappeared for a while and have just started putting in an appearance again, with Mistle Thrush being the most common on my walk through to work. More Black-headed Gulls are back in town too, with numbers building up slowly near my house and in the centre. One morning last week a flock of 168 Pink-footed Geese flew over the park, I grabbed a photo on my phone and counted them later! The week before that 7 had flown over the house one evening.

In the garden the birds arrive in fits and starts, all the usual visitors - Sparrows, Starlings, Robin, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Blackbird, Goldfinch and more recently a pair of Coal Tits, Dunnock and a Wren. A brief visit from a Chaffinch was the first in months. We've had both Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers passing through, usually with the Tit flocks over the past few weeks.


Blue Tit


Long-tailed Tit

House Sparrow


Blue, Great & Long-tailed Tits

Coal Tit


Collared Dove

A Squirrel visits regularly as does the Hedgehog on an evening. A couple of Bats have been flying around the garden most evenings and over the past couple of weeks a Fox has been in a few times. We didn't see one at all over the summer.

Back in July our front garden was covered in Cinnabar Moth caterpillars

The warm weather brought the moths out in droves and every night after dark we watched them flying around the Buddleia by the window.

Silver Y Moth

*edit* Willow Beauty, thanks RR!

Up until last week we were still seeing Butterflies in the garden - Holly Blue, Large & Small Whites, Commas.
Large White



Holly Blue

This Shieldbug sat on the leaf of one of the pond plants in the sun for a while.

So summer's done, bring on the Autumn birds, i'm looking out for my first Redwings in the park!