Sunday, 24 March 2019

Fairburn Ings

A couple of weekends ago the weather was dreadful non stop rain all Saturday and Sunday started off with showers, we waited till after lunch as it was supposed to ease off and headed out to Fairburn.

We got showers and sunshine on the way there and the sun was still out when we arrived. The wind was howling through the Pick-up hide so we lingered only long enough to pick out Gadwall, Mallard and Coot on the Water.

There were plenty of smaller birds in the trees and at the feeders - Great, Blue Tit, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch....



There were a few Gulls down in the big hole mostly Black-headed and a smaller Pipit type bird perched on a rock that we couldn't pin down due to the strong winds and not being able to stand still! The sun was shining though so we continued on to the Coal Tips, seeing Shoveler, Geese and a few ducks. 

A big black cloud loomed in front of us and we were hit by a sudden huge hailstorm, which combined with the wind on the open tops was not the greatest moment ever, luckily it didn't last long but we decided to abandon our walk round as the weather was just too changeable.

The hail being blown side ways 

The poor cows weren't happy!

The view of big hole 5 minutes later!!

We warmed up with tea in the visitors centre and got some food for the ducks on the lake. Of course as soon as we headed for the lake the hail started again but we just went anyway! The ducks didn't seem bothered and were straight on the food. 


It's always interesting to see the range of plumage in the Black-headed Gulls

Although the weather was at times atrocious it was good to get out of the house. On a side note the weather didn't get much better and Fairburn ended up being closed for a couple of days due to flooding earlier this week. 

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Churwell Urban Woodlands and beyond

A couple of weekends ago we took a long walk around the woods and made a little detour over the M621 too.

I didn't take as many photos as I thought, the weather was a bit dull and blustery though so it wasn't the best day for them.

A few plants were flowering by the stream, not too many but enough to add a splash of colour to a bit of a dark shady spot.

Marsh Marigold (Thanks Louise!)

The shapes of the trees are fascinating

On the other side of the motorway we saw our first Skylark of the year, it rose up over us singing loudly. Though we didn't see much else here, i'll keep doing the detour through the year to see what else it brings. 

We did see lots of blossom!

Back in the woods we walked right down to the bottom of the Pit Hill Fields where they join Churwell New Village, the stream runs alongside the field mostly hidden but opens out at the bottom, a Kingfisher and Mallards have been seen here recently but not while we where there! 

We walked a different way round the field back towards the woods, another (or the same) Skylark was now over the field rising and falling and singing, the song was the soundtrack to a big chunk of our walk! 

Lots of the trees were covered in this bright yellow lichen

View from the top of the Pit Hills, the stream runs through the trees, you can just see the M621 past the trees and the green field is where we first saw a Skylark

A few weeks back the Highways Agency started planting trees at the side of the motorway near the woods and the tunnel that leads under the motorway. The Churwell Environmental Volunteers who look after the area have been asking for this for some years so were very pleased to find out they are planting about 400 trees - Silver Birch, Oak, Holly, Hawthorn and bird friendly shrubs. 

The spot shown in the second photo already has a few small trees and we had a very close encounter with a Goldcrest there earlier in the week.

The ponds and parts of the streams were full of frog spawn, we didn't see any actual frogs though.

Lots of shoots are coming up in the water now too

The bird hide area is proving very popular with people and birds! We saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker, lots of Blue/Great Tits, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Magpie and Dunnock.

A good mornings walk and I added a Skylark to this years patch list. 

Friday, 1 March 2019

A Walk in the Park(s)

We were out by 8.30 in lovely sunshine on Sunday morning to walk up to Dartmouth Park, I hadn't managed to go yet this year. By the time we got there fog had rolled in and then soon rolled out again. In fact the two or so hours we were out another three blankets of fog enveloped us, all were followed by bright sun! A very odd morning.

There were lots of birds out and a lot of birdsong, we saw Magpies, Woodpigeons and a Starling all collecting twigs. Redwings, Mistle and Song Thrush were all foraging on the ground under the trees but were easily spooked - there are a lot of dog walkers here.

You can seen the difference as we walked round the park, the sun and fog pictures were within about 20 minutes of each other.

Mistle Thrush



The warm weather has brought flowers into bloom and there are lots of buds on the trees and shrubs

This Robin sang us out of the park

The lure of a bacon sandwich had us walking into the town centre with a detour around Scatcherd Park on the way. 

A Rook (in the fog!)

Crocus a few minutes later in the sun!

I've heard a Woodpecker drumming in the park here a couple of mornings on the way to work recently, i've not managed to see it and there was no sign today unfortunately. I've only heard one once before here so maybe it was just passing through? 

We headed through a churchyard hidden at the back of some shops so my daughter could show me a recently discovered grave belonging to my husbands great great grandparents, we also managed to spot our only Wren of the day singing nearby. My daughter pointed out a Pied Wagtail flying overhead, there is a couple of them around the centre at the moment and they are very vocal!

Back to find a couple Greenfinch in the garden, my husband had seen them on the feeder earlier in the week and they were back again, not for long but a great rare garden spot!