Monday, 18 February 2019

Around the Patch

The first patch update of the year and there's plenty going on.

The first bird of the year for me was a Blackbird - calling in the garden before it got daylight. I took my usual walk around the town early New Years Day and then went down into Churwell Woods just after lunch. In the woods a Grey Wagtail was pottering about in the stream - a rare visitor here though this one must like it as it's still about now.



More Redwings - this year there has been more than usual and they've stayed around several weeks now.


Black-headed Gull


Pied Wagtail



Some of the Black-headed Gulls near home



 A good start to the year with 27 species on that first day.

The garden has been busy, a constant flow of birds (and Squirrels) and it's daylight early enough in the day now that I can garden watch a little before I leave for work.


Collared Dove

Long-tailed Tit


Collared Dove - this one perched on the hanging basket by the house and had a good nosy through the window!

Not the best shot but it's all a managed to get of this Chaffinch - a rare garden visitor

We've only had very light covering of snow and some hard frosts so far this year and at the moment the weather seems to be warming up.


In the garden flowers are starting to bloom, Snowdrops have spread themselves all over my flower beds, most haven't quite opened yet. The Hellabore however is in full bloom. Bluebells have been showing for about three weeks.




Back to the birds and I had a very nice patch tick of a Peregrine back in January and it seems to have taken up residence for now, it'll be interesting to see if he stays around more permanently! Last Friday I managed to tick Pink-footed Geese from the bathroom at 10pm at night, luckily for me they were making a lot of noise as they flew over. 

My daughters swears she saw a Owl fly past the house one morning at dawn a couple of weeks ago, now we know there is a couple not too far from us, just off the patch, so it's not out of the realm of possibilities, something to try and check out further. 

So far so good and I still haven't managed to check out one of the parks properly yet! 

Friday, 8 February 2019

St Aidan's

We managed to pick the one day that the all dancing, superbly showing Bearded Tits were actually doing nothing of the sort and had clearly had enough of posing right in front of the many thousands (ish) of people that seem to have seen them recently..........basically we dipped the Beardies. You can see how well they have been showing here.

It was still freezing on Saturday, with a lot of frost and ice around it made for an interesting walk, with lovely blue water in one lake and ice on another! The weather doesn't put off the birds (apart from the Bearded Tits.....) nor did it put off a swimmer in Bowers lake brrrr!!


After hanging around for the Bearded Tits we decided to get moving to try and warm up a little. We walked around the edge of the reserve scanning the main lake as we went. There were lots of Gulls - Black-Headed and Herring and possibly Common but they were a little too far off to be sure. Herons, Shovelers, Shelduck, the usual ducks - Gadwall, Wigeon, Pochard.....

Along the path by Shan House Bridge a large flock of Siskin, Redpoll, Bullfinch, Blue and Long-tailed Tits were in the trees, they were constantly on the move but we think around 25-30 altogether, mostly Siskin.


Overhead three Buzzards, were flying about, we also saw a Red Kite and a Peregrine as well during the walk.


Walking down the causeway we checked out the ducks on Lemonroyd lake - more Gadwall, Wigeons, Teal, Mallards and a beautiful male Pintail just stepping out of the water onto the ice. It wondered for a minute or two and the took flight, a second joined it and they disappeared over Main lake.

Black-headed Gulls, Pintail, Gadwall, Coot

Pintail taking off


Mute Swan

The hedges at the bottom of the hillside were filled with Fieldfares, we didn't get close, they were very flighty.

Walking back towards the dragline a male and female Stonechat flew alongside the path in front of us. We got some hot drinks at the visitors centre and ate our lunch whilst watching the birds on the feeders nearby.

Reed Bunting

After a quick walk around Bowers to try for the Bearded Tit again (no luck) we went home to thaw out.