Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Waterton Countryside Discovery Centre

After seeing signs for this place on numerous visits to friends in Wakefield we finally made the detour to check it out. We walked around the lake at the Anglers Country Park. Despite it being early afternoon and packed in the car park once we were walking there was enough space to enjoy the afternoon without being too crowded with people and dogs. The park is full of information boards which our little one always checks out.

There are two hides on the site, one overlooking The Pol and one overlooking an area of the lake called The Shallows. The one at The Pol seemed a little overlooked by a lot of people as it was hidden down a boardwalk, which was fine by us! It was pretty quiet with a couple of Moorhens and a few dragonflies, we did hear we had just missed a Water Rail though.

The Shallows hide was a great spot and is in a reserve area of the lake where some of the land is restricted, our friends told us that part of the are was cordoned off earlier this year when the birds were breeding.

As we walked to it there was quite a few Swallows overhead, they turned out to be nesting nearby and we actually saw 3 or 4 chicks with their wide open mouths being fed by one of the adults. Our little one loved seeing that the best I think.

From the hide we saw many Lapwing and Canada Geese, both with lots of youngsters. Three Cormorants sat on a raft and a fourth flew in while we watched. There were Crows and Starlings by the waters edge too. A Heron stood on the furthest island with it's back to us the whole time! Again there were Moorhens, with Mallards and Coots too. We saw a pair of new birds for us - Greenshank.

Our walk also produced House Martins, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Great Crested Grebes and a lone Pied Wagtail.

We will definitely be back, it will be interesting to see what other birds may turn up in The Shallows over the winter months.

Here are some of the other things we saw.

Not sure what this caterpillar is but we saw them at Rodley too.

Ruddy Darter (?)

Plenty of flora too

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Rodley Nature Reserve

Rodley had a summer fair yesterday, which deservedly seemed to be well attended. We took a walk around the reserve too of course.

We didn't see much on the water though we didn't really expect to - mostly Coots, Mallards, Moorhens and a family of Swans on the waters edge. There were 3 or 4 Herons perched in a distant tree and Cormorants on the pylon again.

Despite the people we managed to see some little birds in amongst the plants in the field between the Willow Coppice and the ponds. There were plenty of them and after hanging around a bit I got some good views, though no photos, they were too quick for that. Good enough views to id them as Willow Warblers - yet another new bird for me and what a gorgeous bird too, so tiny and perfect looking with their olive and yellow colouring.

When we had parked our car we immediately saw a very large dragonfly, which turned out to be a Brown Hawker. We soon saw plenty more around the reserve and the ponds were full of all sorts of dragonfly.

Brown Hawker

Common Blue Damselfly

Here are some of the other things we spotted.

Harlequin Ladybird (Conspicua)


Smooth Newt (I think)

Water Snails

Small Copper Butterfly (edit)

If i've got any of the id's wrong feel free to let me know!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Out & About

Here are a few photos from Yeadon Tarn, Oakwell Hall and a field!

At the tarn there were between 40-50 House Martins in the skies and flying over the water along with a few Swallows. These are the best shots I could get of them.

There were also huge flocks of Starlings flying about - most of them landing in some bushes at the top end of the tarn, which was already full of noise from the Starling already there. I've not seen so many here before.

Of course the usual Mallards, Coots, Moorhens and Canada Geese were there too. Most of the youngsters now where almost as big as the adults, it was only the plumage that set them apart. One of the Moorhens still had three tiny chicks that they were feeding. I noticed that a lot of Gulls are coming back inland now and there were Black Headed Gulls everywhere.

At Oakwell Hall it was pretty busy which scared off any birds apart from some Moorhens. We did see plenty of butterflies and dragonflies. They were mostly red and this is the best shot I got of them, I'm not sure on the id but maybe a Common Darter?

The ever present Speckled Wood

The field is locally known as Parkinsons field in Guiseley where I (and hoards of others) used to play and sledge as kids. It has now been left to go wild and I hadn't been in about twenty years.
A little work has been done recently on tidying it up - Parkinsons Field - I must admit I was quite shocked at just how wild it has become!

It's a nice little walk to get there.

It was full of flowers and butterflies, the only one that stayed still long enough was this Gatekeeper.

I'm not sure what will happen to this space now, but hopefully with a little looking after it will become a little haven amongst all the new houses that are being built around it.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Fairburn Ings

We spent Saturday afternoon at the Ings, it's our first visit in a while. For a change we started at the Lin Dyke area - we've never been here before as we've always run out of time. On the walk down to the hide we saw plenty of Speckled Wood and Meadow Heath butterflies.

We also saw plenty of these - which I think are Blue Damselflies but I'm definitely no expert so if anyone knows otherwise feel free to let me know.

From the hide we saw plenty out on the mud and water - juvenile Pied Wagtails, Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, (I had to check id's on Birdforum for some of these so thank you for the help there!), Lawing, Mute Swans, Coots, Moorhens, Mallards and a Kestrel hovering overhead.

Outside the hide we had a quick glimpse of a Whitethroat before if flew off into the scrub. So far a good day - three new birds for me - hitting and passing the 100 mark in the space of half an hour! A Common Tern flew over head making a lot of noise along with several Black Headed Gulls.

Walking as far as the bridge we saw Cormorants, a juvenile Great Crested Grebe and so many Coots the place was over run with them today! Up to the main car park by the visitor centre I saw a couple of Linnets.

There were quite a few juvenile birds around on the reserve feeders - Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blue & Great Tits, Robins and Tree Sparrows.

The plants were covered in Ladybirds, which the little one loved (though she did get her first ever nettle sting whilst looking at them - no doubt causing every bird in a three mile radius to disappear at her wailing!).

She also spotted this spider hanging under the fencing, looked quite spooky against the sky.

At the pickup hide I saw another new bird for me - a Common Sandpiper

It was pretty quiet here though - a lone rabbit, Moorhens, a Heron and a Woodpigeon that walked into the water for a bath!

The water levels all round the reserve were pretty low and it really showed as we fed the birds from the viewing platform. The swans dipped their heads in the water to get the seed and their heads came up black from the mud.

A few last shots from the day.