Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Rodley Nature Reserve

We spent Saturday morning at Rodley.  A Jay was at the gate to greet us, my camera was still in my bag so I only just managed to get it out and grab a shot before it was gone. A Red Kite was overhead, my first one this year.

Yet another dull day and windy too but we were prepared as usual. From the first hide we watched Goldeneye, Pochard, Black-headed Gulls and in the distance a Kingfisher was sat on a tree near the Sand Martin bank.

Walking on we lifted up one of the flaps where we usually find frogs, today though we inadvertently disturbed a nest of mice, they had dragged a bunch of dry grass under it and 5 or 6 shot out, we carefully placed the lid back down after we made sure the mice were out of the way of the hinges!

Looking out from the screen over the lagoon the Kingfisher sat on one of the rafts by the edge and then flew up onto a pole.

We saw Teal, Gadwall and 6 Herons huddled on the reedbed.

It seemed to be getting darker as the morning went on instead of the other way round. I thought I saw a few Linnets over Tim's Field but they were gone too quick for me to be sure. Stopping at the visitors centre for two cups of tea to warm up we watched Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Tits, Robins, Dunnocks and Reed Buntings.

Similar birds in the Managers Garden but with Greenfinch, Stock Doves and Woodpigeons too, had to bump up the ISO on the camera so the shots are grainy but I really like the one with the three different finches.

Another good morning despite the weather!

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Adel Dam

On Saturday morning we took the bus to Golden Acre for a nice but cold walk around the park and Adel Dam. The Gulls were barely awake (just like my daughter!!) and still huddled up on the grass. The ducks of course were straight up to have a nosey.


Black-headed Gull

Mute Swan

Tufted Ducks

We walked straight through to the dam and went the 'wrong' way round, we always start off by going to the hide and then on in a circle via the lake hide, my daughter suggested going the other way for a change, which worked in our favour really as there were some big cameras heading towards the Marsh hide, which is quite small, they were gone by the time we'd worked our way there.

In the woods we saw a couple of flocks of Bullfinch in the trees. It was not a good day for photos, very dull and grey! We also saw a couple Jays and Great Spotted Woodpeckers too.  We had the lake hide to ourselves. As we walked in a Robin was sat on a bench in the hide and a Sparrowhawk had been sat right in front of it (the hide not the Robin), it flew across the lake.

Distant Bullfinch!



We watched, Teal, Mallards and a Shoveler on the water and off to the side at the feeders Long-tailed, Great, Blue and Coal Tits, 6 Robins - there were a few ructions there! A charm of Goldfinch flew over the lake.

Blue Tits


Blue Tit

Moving on we stopped at the marsh hide, all the usual birds were at the feeders plus Nuthatch too. Lots of squirrels were around the bottoms of the feeders. We didn't see any Mandarins today, which is unusual.

Walking back through Golden Acre we stopped at the little feeding area for a while, more squirrels, Chaffinch, Tits and up in the trees Jay and Woodpigeon. Eventually everything was scared off by several dogs so we made our way out of the park.

We did see some fungi as we walked around including Dead Mans Fingers, spotted by my daughter, the first time i've seen it.

Monday, 31 December 2018

Patchwork Challenge

An end of the year look back at the patch and the patchwork challenge. It looks like at the moment i'll be finishing 64th out of 79 on the Inland North league and 389 in the National League, with 53 species and 54 points, this is two more species than last year but the same amount of points!

I think the birds suffered around the woods this year somewhat, due to the stream and pond drying out completely for a few weeks over the summer with the heat and lack of rain. The number of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs there were definitely down on last year.

The flip side of the weather this year of course was the 'Beast from the East' in February, this caused a lot of bird disruption and brought flocks of Lapwings over the patch and Fieldfares and Mistle Thrush to the garden. Also one morning  a flock of several hundred Starlings filled the sky as I walked to work, a highlight of the year, quite an amazing sight!

I managed to add a new bird to the patch the first day of the year with a Treecreeper and then only added a further two new ones the whole year - Skylark and my favourite - Yellowhammer!

Not for want of trying though, I spent a lot of time walking around this year, I now know where and when to expect certain birds through the patch and really anything else is a bonus. I think i'll be staying around the same number of species again next year (unless someone decides to create a wader lagoon instead of the 500 houses planned on the farm in Churwell!!).

I'm still birdtracking all over the patch, mostly the walk to work, i've just checked i've submitted 366 patch lists this year which has surprised me, I didn't think i'd done that many! I've kept up with the garden birdwatch too, sitting with a cuppa and watching the garden come to life first thing in a morning is still one of my favourite things to do.

So despite the low numbers compared to many patches i'm pleased there's some consistency with last year!

The full patch list (in order of sightings)

1. Blackbird
2. Black-headed Gull
3. Robin
4. Wren
5. Pied Wagtail
6. Goldfinch
7. Greenfinch
8. House Sparrow
9. Starling
10. Carrion Crow
11. Great-spotted Woodpecker
12. Magpie
13. Treecreeper
14. Coal Tit
15. Great Tit
16. Blue Tit
17. Long-tailed Tit
18. Collared Dove
19. Woodpigeon
20. Feral Pigeon
21. Sparrowhawk
22. Pink-footed Goose
23. Mistle Thrush
24. Redwing
25. Herring Gull
26. Rook
27. Jackdaw
28. Song Thrush
29. Dunnock
30. Chaffinch
31. Goldcrest
32. Nuthatch
33. Jay
34. Canada Goose
35. Grey Heron
36. Buzzard
37. Bullfinch
38. Stock Dove
39. Lapwing
40. Fieldfare
41. Siskin
42. Cormorant
43. Chiffchaff
44. Blackcap
45. Swallow
46. Swift
47. Red Kite
48. House Martin
49. Skylark
50. Kestrel
51. Lesser black-backed Gull
52. Yellowhammer
53. Willow Warbler

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Out and About

This will likely be my last post before the holidays as life seems to have been overtaken by Christmas and crazy work busyness (not to mention the stinking cold that has struck, at the worst possible time as usual!!).

Even though the days are short at the moment i've managed to get in some garden watching and the birds and Squirrels are non stop all day long. We only get one or at the most two Squirrels but recently we've had four. We have an old hanging basket by the patio doors so have been putting nuts in there, it's been popular not just with the Squirrels but Coal Tits have been using it and sneaking in when the Squirrels aren't looking.

Not everyone's favourite but I love watching them

There is a good roost of Sparrows by the garden still and they spend the day by the bird bath and devouring sunflower hearts from the feeders.

There has been an increase in numbers of Goldfinch, Blue and Great Tits, they seem to be in the garden from dawn till dusk. We've had the odd Goldcrest, Wren and Dunnock too. Blackbird numbers have increased and they spend a long time picking at the lawn. A Sparrowhawk tried to grab one of the Blue Tits early one morning, it failed but gave some beautiful views as it sat on the fence for a minute.

Some of the Black-headed Gull flock that roost near the house

Down in the woods it's been a bit hit and miss with the birds, we've seen a Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk down by the Pit Hill fields, lots of Woodpigeon, one morning had both Song and Mistle Thrush in the woods

There's been some beautiful foggy mornings

The resident rats

We took a walk in Dartmouth park one morning and noticed one of the trees had lost one of its main branches, it was full of Blackbirds.

There's a tree nearby that is full every year of berries and if you time it right it's full of birds - Blackbirds, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, it's lovely to watch.

The walk to work has also been full of birds, the Gulls that roost near the house spread out and most seems to head to Morrisons spending their time hanging about the lamposts along with Crows, Rooks and Magpies. In the park there's often a large charm of Goldfinch, up to 40 at times. I finally saw my first Redwing back in the park last week though none since. Two more days of commuting and that's it till the New Year!

A couple of the photos taken on my new phone from the walk to work, believe it or not without any filter!