Monday, 26 February 2018

Roundhay Park

I saw on twitter recently about a Whooper Swan on the lake at Roundhay Park, it had been injured last year and once released had stayed with the Mute Swans there. So Saturday morning my daughter and I jumped on the bus and headed over there.

It was freezing but so beautifully sunny it didn't really matter about the cold. There was a park run happening when we arrived with the finish line not far from the top lake where we usually walk first so we bypassed that and went straight to the main lake.

There were a lot of corvids all over the park - Jackdaw, Rook and Crows, they were not in the least bit bothered by the people around, in fact one strutted it's way down the path towards us like we weren't even there.

At the lake straight away we were honked at by a farmyard Goose that was with all the Canada Geese along side the fence. We had bought some food from home (not bread), my daughter was in charge of you ever grow out of feeding the ducks?!

As soon as we got past the fence the swans and ducks headed straight for us and you really couldn't miss the Whooper, the bright yellow beak a stand out against the others but then the noise it made was quite unique and to be honest had my daughter in hysterics. It was quite a fiesty little thing and held it's own amongst the Mute Swans, they were all a bit nippy with their beaks. A few Mallards and Moorhens made a bit of a half-hearted effort at going for the food but they didn't stand a chance - too many long necks

I must admit I took an awful lot of photos of the Swans and the noisy Black-headed Gulls that descended, they looked quite beautiful in the sunlight.

We walked around part of the lake and saw Cormorant, Tufted Ducks, Coots, Moorhen and one Teal hidden in the overhanging branches.

On to the top lake were more Swans, Mallards, Tufted ducks, Black-headed gulls, also a pair each of Gadwall, Goosander, a single Herring Gull and overhead a Sparrowhawk.

Waiting for the bus outside the park entrance a Sparrowhawk dashed across the road in front of us and a Red Kite was flying above the trees. Perfect way to end our visit.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Patch Update

The weather hasn't changed much since my last post, we've still had flurries of snow and ice/frost most mornings but there has been a little bit more sun and the temperature even got over 5°C a couple of days! Of course it's still winter so it's to be expected.

I've added a couple more birds to the Patch list including a Canada Goose fly over. The Red Kite has been around, flying low over our house.......but typically only when i've been at work, it's early days though so plenty of time to add yet.

It's been a couple of weeks since i've seen a Fox in the evening but the food is still being eaten and my husband has seen them early morning. We hear them plenty though, they make an awful lot of noise nearly every night. 

It's getting daylight not long after 7am now, Blackbirds, Robins and Blue Tits, usually in that order, are the first birds in the garden. The Sparrow roost starts to stir not long after and the birds fly out in small groups after sitting chattering noisily for a good 20 minutes or so. About the same time the Black-headed Gulls that roost nearby start to fly low over the street looking for whatever food has been dropped overnight, I love to see their wings turn orange in the glow from the sun.

We also had another visitor one morning in the form of a Wood Mouse which leapt into the window feeder from the Budleia! I only managed to grab a photo with my phone (and yes I cleaned the window afterwards).

The park on the way to work is now full of birdsong - Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Chaffinch, Song Thrush. On Friday a handful of Redwing were back in the park, they disappeared after the trees were stripped bare a couple of weeks ago. Though walking through today they seem to have gone again.

In the woods we have again heard plenty of birdsong - Mistle and Song Thrush, Robin, Wren, Blackbird and the usual Tits - Blue, Great, Long-tailed. We've heard the GS Woodpecker drumming and seen Nuthatch scurrying around the branches. I'm told by a couple of the regular dog walkers that the Kingfisher is still around but it's eluding me! I also heard tales of Owls too, now that would be something to see, Owls are something that are missing from my patch, maybe that'll change?

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

A Day Out

On Saturday we went out with a couple of destinations in mind the first one being North Cave Wetlands. Another damp dull day for us but I think we're used to that, it did mean that I didn't make much use of my camera though.

Redshanks in the gloom

The path from the entrance past the lake was filled with birds - Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Wrens, Robins, Blackbirds, Goldfinch, all flitting around us in and out of the trees, we stopped just to watch them for a little while. It was the same on the path between the reedbed lake and the far lake with a Song Thrush there too.


 Blue Tit

At the Turret Hide two guys in there pointed out a Green-winged Teal, i'd read they'd been seen during the week but I thought after seeing how many Teal were just on the Village Lake it would be a bit of a needle in a haystack. So thank you to them! A Marsh Harrier spooked some of the birds on the opposite side of the lake and we saw it a couple more times as we walked around.

Green-winged Teal

 We saw plenty of Gulls mostly Black-headed and Common, Lapwings, Shovelers, Shelduck, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Wigeon, Pochard, Heron, Little Egret, Gadwall and Oystercatcher amongst others.




Wigeon & Coot


Little Grebe

Coot, Teal & Common Gulls

On Dryham lane we saw more flocks Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Tree Sparrows and several Dunnocks.

Tree Sparrow & Chaffinch


Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Tree Sparrows

Warming our hands with bacon sandwiches and mugs of tea from the Wild Bird Cafe we watched the birds at the feeders on the viewing platform. I spotted a couple of Lesser Redpolls in the trees nearby they were gone before I thought about prising my fingers from around the mug to take a photo though!

Long-tailed Tit

I must admit that I dropped my lens some time back and it really struggles with the light now and jams up now and again. It's fine if it's a bright sunny day (which are few and far between right now) but otherwise not so's not worth repairing as it wasn't overly expensive, I want to hold out a little longer to get a better one so for now the photos are lacking somewhat!

After our food we headed off towards Castle Howard and the Yorkshire Arboretum to try and see the Hawfinch that have been there some time. By now the rain was coming down a little more but the route between the two places is scenic and we counted Buzzards along the way - 11 in total! Including two that were in the same field with a large flock of Fieldfares, in fact we saw several fields full of Fieldfares.

I got some not great photos from the car but you can tell the difference between the two Buzzards.

We also saw Grey Partridge in some of the fields too, another new bird for me, i've seen plenty of Red-legged before. Two Roe Deer were in a field right by one of the roads we drove along, clearly used to the traffic!

After a few stops and starts to peer at various birds we arrived at the Arboretum in the pouring rain. I wasn't really sure where to go from the car park but we had a wander around, I saw a Stoat run across one of the paths and several Great/Blue Tits in the trees. Looking over the fence by the shop I saw a bird sat at the top of the one of the trees.........could it be? Yes finally, a Hawfinch! I won't embarrass myself by posting the dreadful photo I got of it but we had good view of a couple of them through the binoculars in the end before they flew off.

All in all another great day despite the rain, 3 new lifers, which isn't something that happens very often these days. (We were glad to get into the car and warm up though).