Sunday, 22 May 2016

In the Garden

I had my first young bird in the garden this afternoon - a Starling, it didn't hang about too long but it's good to see.

My Laburnum is in full flower and always looks quite stunning and it's doing well despite being split in half by gale force winds a few years back.

It's a favourite perch for the many Goldfinch that are flying around the gardens chirping non stop at the moment.

Despite the many birds flying over the garden - Blackbirds, Sparrows, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Magpies, very few are actually landing in the garden, in fact today has been the quietest i've seen it in a while.

Of course the consolation is that the Swifts are also flying above the house and I can watch those pretty much from dawn to dusk, which is just perfect!

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Rodley Nature Reserve

Managed a couple of hours on the reserve this morning and what a morning, so many birds about and decent weather to boot.

Canada and Greylag Geese were in the field by the car park along with a pair of Herons and a fair few Magpies and Crows.

A lone Common Tern was on the Lagoon, along with the usual Black Swans, Canada Geese, Coots, Moorhens, Great Crested Grebe and plenty of Sand Martins and Swifts flying overhead.

Along the Willow Path were Bullfinch, Robin, Jay, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff.

Out of the Duck Marsh hide we saw a Reed Warbler, Herons, Little Grebe, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Mute Swan, Canada Geese and a Sparrowhawk overhead.

From the Willow Path Hide a Common Sandpiper, Gadwall, Lapwing, Coot and another Heron.

The lovely new Reedbed Hide is now open and looks great. The reedbeds themselves had several Reed Buntings flying about, a lone Gadwall and several unidentifiable LBJs flying backwards and forwards across the near reedbed, possibly more Warblers. A Cormorant was on it's the usual pylon perch.

My husband spotted a Pied Wagtail fly across the path from Tim's Field into the coppice. The field itself is looking quite stunning right now.

Watching the reeds from the screen near the gazebo we could hear Reed and Sedge Warblers, we only caught brief glimpses though.

The air by the visitor centre was filled with Swifts, Sand Martins and Swallows, I could watch these all day! But I was pressed on up to the Managers Garden only to find the Little Owl resting in the tree at the back of the feeders. Thank you to the gentleman who pointed it out when we got there! On the feeders we saw Greenfinch, Reed Bunting, Jackdaws and Magpies.

A stop for a cuppa and we watched Dunnock and Goldfinch around the feeders and Jackdaws all over the field.

Walking down the access road brought us a Whitethroat.

We can't leave without looking onto the river from the bridge, good thing we did as we saw a Goosander with her brood, which were constantly trying to climb on her back.

Here are some of my other favourites

I'm looking forward now to the first Leeds Bird Fair here on the 25th June!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Fairburn Ings

I made a Sunday morning visit to Fairburn in hope of spotting a Cuckoo, which would be a first for me, i've only ever heard them calling before.

It was fairly quiet when we got there and all the feeders around the garden and hide were pretty much deserted.

As we walked the path near the dipping pond it got a little busier with a Blackcap pair flying around the trees, Tree Sparrows, Willow Tits, Blue and Great Tits too. A Coot is nesting out on the pond.

No luck at the Kingfisher screen although there was a Wren nest in the branches overhanging the water. Overlooking the Big Hole, we could see Herons and Cormorants flying overhead with Tufted Duck, BH Gulls, Swans and Coots down on the water.

Walking on to the Coal Tips trail brought up a Kestral, Skylarks and Chiffchaffs.

We decided to walk around to the left which proved to be the best idea we'd had as after a few minutes I spotted something in one of the trees down the embankment, a closer look with the binoculars, only a Cuckoo!! It flew from tree to tree and was really out of my camera range but even the blurriest of shots you can see what it is. A second Cuckoo was a little further along again down the embankment, this one flew ahead of us and we could see and hear it along the path towards Lin Dyke. One very happy me!

The reeds were full of Reed and Sedge Warblers along with Reed Buntings, I only got the briefest of glimpses but the song was constant. Looking down at the nesting Cormorants and Herons is always quite a sight.

A couple of the Warbler photos I managed.

A little further along a guy (thank you!) pointed out a Roe Deer hiding in the trees at the bottom of the hill, it was very well camouflaged until it moved then we got a lovely view of it looking at us!

We always end up spending more time here than we expect to, which of course isn't a complaint, the time spent watching and waiting to see what appears is always worth it.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Anglers Country Park

After a couple of hours at Walton Colliery we moved on to the Country Park which was bordered by a large field of rapeseed, something that always draws the eye. After inhaling an ice cream cone we took a walk around the lake. It does get busy here but most people tend to skip right past the hides which works out quite nicely for us!

Magpie hiding out by the entrance

On the lake were the usual Canada Geese, Swan, Mallards, Coots, Moorhen with plenty of Black Headed Gulls flying over and settling on the water.

The first two hides were very quiet, Robins, Chaffinch and Reed Bunting to be seen and more Chiffchaff to be heard.

In the large Shallows hide overlooking the lake it was a little busier. Canada Geese, Sand Martins, Oystercatcher, BH Gulls, Wigeon, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Lapwing, Gadwall, Tufted Ducks.

A Whimbrel had been spotted over the past couple of days according to the sightings board and I spotted what could have been a possibility, I couldn't quite make out if that's what it was or if it was a Curlew as it flew off pretty quick but i'm thinking Curlew after looking at the heavily cropped photos.

Another Buzzard was flying high above the lake at the top end and a Blackcap was singing loudly in the trees. A Pied Wagtail flew right in front of us as we made it back to the entrance and a tree in the car park was full of Greenfinch.

Long hot afternoon but that is not a complaint!

Monday, 9 May 2016

Walton Colliery

It's been a couple of years since I've been here and last time it was below freezing! Going on Saturday in the sudden heatwave we had made a big difference.

There were plenty of Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers singing away, lots of newly green trees for them to hide in too! In addition to the warblers, Goldfinch, Blue and Long Tailed Tits, Robins and Crows were all over the park.

The butterflies were out in force, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Small White, Green Veined White

The park has several lakes, streams and ponds and they were pretty well populated with Canada & Greylag Geese, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Coot, a Great Crested Grebe, a Mute Swan and a Heron.

The swan swam over to see a guy who pulled up on his bike, obviously a regular as he whistled and the swan came without hesitation from the other side of the lake!

The Canada Geese, Mallards and Coot all had youngsters although the Coots were too far away for a photograph, which is a shame because the red heads are quite something! I did notice that there were two all black ducklings with the Mallard, not something i've seen before?

As we neared the car park at the end of our walk a Buzzard was being mobbed by a pair of crows, a theme for the weekend as it turned out!

I have to say it's a much nicer visit when the weather is a little bit warmer!