Tuesday, 25 February 2020

In the Garden

The weather has been terrible recently with two storms close together - Ciara and Dennis plus lots of smaller but no less horrible storms afterwards all managing to fall on my days off so I haven't been much of anywhere in the past couple of weeks apart from the usual commute to work (i've lost count of how many hail storms i've been caught in!). The past couple of mornings have brought snow and heavy rain right on rush hour which pretty much meant walking was done through deep slush and mini streams, not fun!

It's been good for garden watching, even when the rain has been at it's heaviest and the wind at it's strongest some of the braver birds have been hogging the feeders. We're starting to see Foxes in the garden more often now too and the Mouse is a regular in the window feeder.

A Sparrowhawk has been hanging around the garden a fair bit, i've not seen it catch anything though

Long-tailed Tits are now daily visitors and are often the last ones on the feeders late afternoon 



Feral Pigeon

We paved the area under the feeders late last year, it makes cleaning up the mess underneath a lot easier

There has been both a male and female Blackcap in the garden, at different times, both ate berries off the Cotoneaster, the only birds i've seen do this! But the male also took some big chunks off the fat balls too.

Less regular visitors are Greenfinch, Coal Tits, Wrens and Woodpigeons but all the usual birds are out in decent numbers - Collard Doves, Sparrows, Starlings, Great, Blue Tits, Dunnocks, Blackbirds. 

The garden is now full of Snowdrops, they've spread down the flowerbeds in the back garden and under the hedge at the front. The Hellebore is in full flower and lots of shoots are coming through. 

Hopefully the weather will improve a little over the next few weeks and I can be out and about as usual!

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

North Cave Wetlands

One of my favourite places to visit is the Wetlands, we managed to go when it was dull and damp but it was worth it! My husband decided to get a bacon sandwich and cuppa from the Wild Bird Cafe on site before we walked around . The lady there told us a Bittern was on the island so I went onto the platform but it had ducked down out of sight.

There's a Bittern there somewhere!


There were lots of Robins, House Sparrows and Tits around the viewing platform. Before we left the Bittern put it's head up again and we had distant views. We walked on to the East Hide and had a better view of the Bittern, it was still distant and quite hidden but still the best views i've ever had of one! We watched until it flew off into the reeds near the Turret Hide.


There were a lot of smaller birds in the trees - Tits, Finches Song Thrush, my husband spotted a Treecreeper and a little further along a Marsh Tit was in the tree with a second at the feeders. 



Tree Sparrows & Goldfinch

Long-tailed Tit

From the Turret hide we saw lots of flighty Lapwings, a small flock of Redshank and lots of Teal, a couple of Wigeon amongst them, a few Shelduck too and a single Little Egret.




Little Egret

Walking further round we heard a Cetti's Warbler calling in the reeds and there were lots more Teal on the water too.There was a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust event in the Crosslands Hide and it was very busy so we didn't stay there long instead spending a little time watching Cormorants and Oystercatchers from the South Hide. 

It had been drizzling for most of the walk and we were feeling pretty damp and chilly by now so were glad to get back to the car and warm up! 

A very good visit especially seeing the Bittern and the Marsh Tits!

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Around the Patch

A New Year and another Patchwork Challenge. I was up and out for a walk before the rest of the family (and most of the town) were up on New Years Day. It was lovely and quiet, just the odd dog walker, even Morrisons was deserted, in fact i've never seen the car park so quiet! Very good for the birds though, the Gulls, Rooks and Crows had taken over, picking at dropped takeaways.

Since then i've been all over the patch, with my walk to work, several visits to the Woods and even managed to get to the rarely visited corner that is in the opposite direction to everything!

Black-headed Gull

Collared Dove

New Years Day

Magpie & Mistle Thrush



Mistle Thrush

Pied Wagtail



The weekend of the 25th was the RSP Big Garden Birdwatch, which I take part in every year, I did my hour between 8.10 and 9.10am on Saturday morning and saw 11 species, not too bad.  There was also Coal and Long-tailed Tits later in the day. 

Blue Tit 2
Blackbird 1
Robin 1
Great Tit 2
House Sparrow 9
Goldfinch 8
Starling 8
Woodpigeon 2
Collared Dove 1
Feral Pigeon 1
Dunnock 2

Feral Pigeons

Long-tailed Tits

Snowdrops and Bluebells are just starting show in the garden, Snowdrops are in flower already elsewhere around town

The woods are full of birds and birdsong, at the moment it's around sunrise when I get there so the birds are busy, one morning I counted 3 singing Song Thrush!

Coal Tit




Great Tit


Dartmouth Park (the one I don't visit often!) it's overrun with Blackbirds, more than any other spot at the moment. I picked up my first Greenfinch of the year here with several at the tops of the trees with lots of Goldfinch. 

Another tree has come down


This bush was in full flower, not wild but part of the gardens planted there

In both Dartmouth and Scatcherd Parks there is blossom on the trees, these particular ones always flower early in the year

To date i'm up to 29 species around the patch plus various other sightings - Rats in the woods, Wood Mice in our window feeder, Squirrels everywhere, regularly calling Foxes around home, there's even been a bat flying over the garden on milder days!