Sunday, 16 April 2017

Bolton Abbey

Our traditional Easter visit to Bolton Abbey took place on the wettest day of the Easter weekend - great planning there!

I spotted my first Swallow of the year though as we turned onto the estate.

I thought we'd be a little early for some of the stars of the woods there - the Flycatchers, Redstarts and Wood Warblers although a gentleman we spoke to had seen one Pied Flychatcher and a couple of Redstarts. We thought we saw a Redstart but didn't see it for long enough to be sure, no Flycatcher though, it's a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack I think!

Not that it matters it's always a great walk around, even in the rain. Off the bat we spotted a Treecreeper by the river and there were lots of Tits around too. Pied and Grey Wagtails flitted about the rocks up and down the river, we saw plenty up to the Strid. A Mandarin sat on a rock and a Goosander and Cormorant flew past.

Once past there we saw Nuthatch, Song Thrush, heard Chiffchaff and saw a couple of Common Sandpiper. Nearer Barden Bridge we finally saw our first Dippers of the day, followed by a pair of Goosander. On the fields we saw Oystercatchers and Redshank. A few Sand Martins were flying about the banking.

The sun came out a little and it warmed up. The walk up the side of the river to the little hut was positively summer like! Though everything is still very wet.

Spot the birds!

We stopped at the hut for lunch with the birds who were out in abundance, along with a couple of mice who were running around the bricks. A lovely moment when we were joined by a GS Woodpecker that hung around for a while. We ended up sitting there almost an hour just enjoying the view and the birds.

We took a little detour up towards the Valley of Desolation but my back was screaming a little by this point so we ended up turning back before we got there. We did see some black rabbits around the edges of the fields and heard a couple of Chiffchaffs.  Of course the lambs caught our eye, you can't miss them!

I spotted a large bird of prey high up over the hillside, actually two but I only got a decent look at one of them, first thought Buzzard because of the size, then I realised it was not Buzzard like, too much white underneath, the wings were mostly bent, It stayed pretty far away and went behind the hill a couple of times, I snapped few really bad photos, I had an idea what it was but wanted to double check first, managed to tidy up the photos just enough to get confirmation on the bird ID group on Facebook - Osprey!! My first one ever! To say i'm pleased is an understatement!

What a great end to our walk!!

That and my 11yr old constantly talking about how amazing it was that she got such close views of the Woodpecker made my day!


  1. How lovely that the 11 year old enjoyed it so much - and how lucky you were to have an osprey on top of everything else you saw that day!

    1. She really did, her enthusiasm is contagious! I was so pleased with the Osprey!

  2. Great selection of photos Pam and well done on the Osprey :) Lovely to read how excited your 11 year old was about the Woodpecker :) Spotted my first Swallow last week too.

    1. Thanks :) It's great she's not lost her excitement for us taking her out on long walks, bodes well for her sticking with wanting to be a zoologist!

  3. Nice Osprey Pam, especially good when unexpected!

  4. I love that place... it's the only place I've ever seen a lesser spotted woodpecker.

    Also, innit great when you see an osprey? I remember my first one and the excitement of seeing such a mythical bird! Thankfully they're a bit more common now than they used to be.

    1. That's a bird i've never seen!

      It certainly is great! The excitement of seeing a new bird increases a touch when it's one so spectacular!