Saturday, 25 August 2018

A Weekend Out and About

A couple of weeks ago we let our daughter pick a seaside destination we hadn't been to before and she picked Cleethorpes - I'm not sure why but we went with it and headed off for the day!

My first time going over the Humber Bridge - the view is amazing!

Gorgeous weather and at first Cleethorpes was deserted apart from roughly a million ladybirds (give or take a few........) which were everywhere and landed on us wherever we walked throughout the day.

We saw lots of birds on the beach as the sea is so far out you only know it's there because of the ships on it! Oystercatchers, a Curlew, Herring, Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a couple of Little Egrets and Crows. There were plenty more in the distance I couldn't ID without the binoculars, which i'd left at home!

Where the water had collected in pools on the sand there were lots of tiny little fish and a few crabs too, the beach is full of shells and we collected a few as we walked.

At the far end of the beach past the leisure centre is a boating lake which has a couple of resident Turtles which were dumped there some years back, the one we saw was huge so clearly doing well. There are a lot of Geese and ducks and you can buy food to feed them, i'm thinking some of the geese aren't wild.........

Behind the leisure centre/lake and by the beach are various boardwalks and grassy areas leading onto the sand and in the distance the lighthouse. This is the Humber Estuary and there are a few information boards around detailing the how important the area is for wildlife, of course with the tide still way out we didn't see waders, I should think it's good spotting them as they come in with the tide, plus it looks good for migrants too though I don't know the area bird wise. It could be worth a visit to see and to explore further.

Unfortunately by this point we didn't have time to explore too much but as we did we were surrounded by Swallows and House Martins, Goldfinch flocks were in the grass along with lots of Crickets too (not forgetting the Ladybirds, which I somehow managed not to take a photo of).

We made our way home (after prawns, ice creams and 2p machines - seaside staples) and counted deer in the fields along the way.

On the Sunday we went to St Aidan's to help out with the litter pick that had been organised. Quite a lot of people turned up so we split into two groups. We picked our way around the edge of the reserve and dug up bottles, cans and crisp packets amongst others. It wasn't as bad as when we did it last year as the RSPB volunteers/staff have had other picks and keep on top of the litter, it's a big place though and open to the public all the time.

Which brings me to another 'littering' poop, we spent most of our time watching were we were walking in some areas especially around the edges of the reserve because people seem to think it's ok to let their dogs poop anywhere they like and then walk away. Never mind giving dogs training I think some owners could do with a course or two in dog care!

We didn't have time to walk the whole reserve with everyone so ourselves and another lady cut down the Causeway and picked our way back to the visitors centre. I didn't catch the lady's name but it was nice to chat as we walked. Of course we kept our eye on the birds too and managed to spot a few Yellow Wagtails with the Pied, they flew over the path and landed on the fence, a new bird for me.

I didn't take many photos but did get a couple of one of the Kestrels on the dragline and a distant shot of one of the Wagtails.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Yeadon Dam

I stopped at the dam last week on the way to my parents, I didn't have much time to linger but did take a few moments to watch the Swallows and House Martins flying over the water.

People were feeding the ducks as usual, I counted over 80 Mallards including a few farmyards ones as I walked round, along with the usual Coots, Canada Geese, a couple of Tufted Ducks, a Swan family but only 1 Moorhen.




There were lots of Black-headed Gulls after the food and sat at the far end of the dam, I found a couple of Common Gulls with them.

I only saw a handful of Sparrows and Goldfinch in the trees around the water, it was pretty quiet, I did see a Buzzard in the distance though. A couple of Squirrels were chasing each other around the trees.

A nice little walk, it always is here, brings back childhood memories when I spent so much time here!

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Churwell Urban Woodlands

The woods had a brief reprieve when we had a couple of days of rain about 10 days ago, the pond filled up and some of the streams too.......not for long though!

There are birds everywhere at the moment and the new feeders and viewing screen is proving popular. You can just see a little of the stream from the screen and we watched a Blackbird and a Greenfinch drinking from it one morning.


Flowers by the dipping pond

One morning this female Blackcap was chirping in the bushes

There are a lot of young Tits - Great, Blue and Long-tailed, it's difficult to leave and go to work when you have the place to yourself and are surrounded by birds!

Blue Tit


I spotted a Song Thrush nest with at least one chick, the nest is empty now and my daughter spotted what looked like a fledgling nearby. 



Great Tit - the usual shot I get as the flocks don't stay still for long!

Long-tailed Tit

A Hedgehog 

Last week I had a day off so we took the extended walk around the woods, which takes you over the motorway bridge and by a couple of farms. I was doing a Big Butterfly Count along the way.

Speckled Wood

Green-veined White

Speckled Wood

I saw my my second Red Admiral of the year

The views are great 

Blackberries are starting to ripen but are still a little sour as my daughter found out!

Common Blue

Last year the Pit Hill fields at the end of the woods were fantastic for butterflies but of course there was the fire, which resulted in the whole lot being ploughed over. Although the grass has come back lots of the flowers that were full of butterflies and bugs has not, I don't know if that's partly down to the heat this year too but we didn't see a single butterfly which was really disappointing. I'm not sure it will ever be quite the same now.

This tiny flower, which I struggled to get a photo of was right in the middle of the path so maybe there is hope for the area......

Common Field-speedwell

On a happier note as we were walking in the field I could hear a bird calling and after a bit of searching managed to spot it on top of the bush........a Yellowhammer! I haven't seen one in a while and now it's a new patch tick, as we watched it another flew in and joined it, amazing!!

We watched until they flew off and we headed off back through the woods and home. My little patch just keeps throwing out surprises!