Well back again after an almost internet free week over the holidays. I say almost, there were a couple of sites I couldn't not look at! I don't know what i'd do without the internet to hand - how did we manage before!
Anyway today we headed up to Fairburn Ings, we didn't get there until after two so we didn't have a great deal of time to wonder about. It was a pretty dull day too so the photos I did get are pretty dark.
We watched the birds at the feeders by the visitor centre. Straight away seeing Chaffinch, a gorgeous Bullfinch, three Robins, Blue Tits, Great Tits and a Dunnock. Food had been place on various tree stumps on the way to the Pick Up Hide. This made for great viewing of more Chaffinch and Great Tits.
Now just a note about walking round here in the snow - there are a lot of warning signs up about how icy the paths are - they aren't wrong! I had on pretty good walking shoes that I wear a lot in this weather. I still managed to hit the deck after slipping on some hidden ice under a thin layer of snow, to be fair I was looking up in the trees and not watching where I was going at the time! My shoulder and hip took the brunt of the fall and all I can say now is ouch i'm starting to feel it! So just beware if you are visiting and make sure you stop to look up!
The lakes and ponds were pretty much frozen solid all around with just a few watery patches round the edges. At the Pick Up Hide there was only the odd Magpie flying across. It did look pretty nice though.
Onto to the next lot of feeders, which are viewed through a boarded fence with holes at various heights so my daughter had no problem looking at all the birds. Again Chaffinch, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnocks and this time Long Tailed Tits too. I suddenly realised that the Sparrows on the feeders where actually Tree Sparrows and not my usual House Sparrows. I was very pleased with seeing those as it's the best viewing i've had that I can remember. Here are some not so great photos.
We spent quite a while here as there was quite a lot of activity and it was great to watch. We carefully walked up as the dipping pond, which was of course frozen too. We didn't walk down to it - didn't want to risk falling again.
We stopped at the kingfisher viewing point where someone very nicely pointed out a Kingfisher in the distance, we only got a brief flash of orange before it was off. We started to walk around but didn't make it as far as the Bob Dickens hide, it was too icy and it was getting late.
Hubby did take a nice photo of a Teasel though!
We saw a Peregrine Falcon fly over our heads and hover over the lake, no chance of any kind of photo but here is the lake!
We also spotted some footprints on one of the icy streams, which my little one loves, she has a thing about footprints. We think they were rabbit but feel free to let me know otherwise
As we got near to the Kingfisher stream I was lagging behind trying to keep upright. There is a path off to the right before the stream, which has a gate across and a deer went bounding across - I was pretty excited as it's the closest i've been to one in the wild. Unfortunately by the time hubby and the little one came back it had gone into the bushes. A Roe Deer in the snow, pretty good to see.
As we walked over the boardwalk back to the visitor centre my daughter stopped and pointed out a Blackbird just sat on the ground at the side of the boardwalk. It followed along the walk with us to the end before flying off.
We decided to walk down to the end of the jetty by the car park and were almost set upon by a group of Mallards obviously looking for food. There were Mute Swans, Coots and Moorhens. A group of Gulls on the ice looked to be Black Headed Gulls in their winter plumage, I hope I id'd those correctly, you can't tell too well from the picture but after checking my guide I am pretty sure.
As we stood and watched the birds I saw something fly out from underneath the jetty and off towards the reeds at the right going through the wire fencing. It was a Water Rail - this is my first lifer of 2010 and there was no doubt today after suspecting I saw one at Adel Dam last year. It hung around in the reeds a while and popped in and out giving us some pretty good views. Unfortunately not even a bad photo of it as it was too dark and too far away for the camera.
A very nice end to our little trip and a good start to 2010!