Monday, 28 April 2014

Easter Weekend and RSPB Leighton Moss

Easter Weekend and RSPB Leighton Moss
18 & 20/04/2014
RSPB Leighton Moss, Lancashire

A terrific weekend away with Adele at Easter, saw us have a grand early morning drive over to the west coast via the Yorkshire Dales with a walk at Aysgarth Falls, followed by a day and a half at RSPB Leighton Moss

Our first port of call was Aysgarth Falls, around 8.45 am which was brilliant as we were on our own around the water falls and on the way there were lovely sightings of Roe Deer, a singing Goldcrest and a pair of Dippers under the main water fall. With the thought of just going for a walk I stupidly only took a wide angle lens (note to myself always take the camera bag!!!) which was a shame as the Dippers and Goldcrest flew in really close, but I could not get great shots with the short lens!! Still a great place, with super clean cascading water falls, blooming Wood Anemones, Blue Bells, Butterbur and sunshine.

Following another hour or so in the car (except for getting out for a few photo opportunities) we arrived RSPB Leighton Moss, which to be honest was full, which could have been foreseen as it was Good Friday and a Bank Holiday, though strangely on Easter Sunday when we returned it was nearly empty, very strange!!

On to the excellent mixture of wildlife seen, which always surprises me for such a busy place.

Mammal life was limited but included, Red deer over the Marshes, from the Grisdale Hide and Bank Voles on the side of the path, which were a first for me and quite fascinating.

Bird life included;
The general water fowl, along with a pair of distant but excellently showing Garganey Duck, Black Tailed Godwits, Avocets, Water Rail and little Egret.
The main birds of prey, which were around all the time on both days, were the Marsh Harriers and these were great to see hunting over the marshes, a pair of Common Buzzards and also of note a hiding and manly sleeping Tawny Owl, which drew a fair crowd of people just even trying to spot it due to the foliage and it's fantastic camouflage.
The smaller bird life including all the usual tits (no bearded tits see this time), various finches, Chiffchaffs, Black Caps, a Tree Creeper, Wrens, Singing Warblers including a Cettis Warbler and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

All in all with a good food, beer and company, a great weekend away.

A drive through the Yorkshire Dales

Aysgarth Falls and Woods

Wood Anemones


Around RSPB Leighton Moss


Thursday, 24 April 2014

Foxy Lady

Foxy Lady
Castle Headland, Scarborough

A damp misty evening saw me and Adele getting a little fresh air on the Marine Drive and having a quick look at the Peregrines, sea birds and the possible odd Harbour Porpoise when this old female Fox wander past us underneath the base of the cliffs looking for scraps, no doubt the visits will increase when more food becomes available from breeding birds.

Peregrines a Breeding

Peregrines Breeding
Castle Headland, Scarborough

An early morning visit to the usual viewing spot for the local Peregrine stars, saw excellent views of the same displaying to each other and then a full session of mating!!
From reports this unfortunately is happening all to often, with the female not taking to a nest site and sitting on eggs, which may have something to do with her young age.
Hopefully all good practice for next year if she doesn't manage a brood this year.

Little Ringed Plovers

Little Ringed Plover
Wykeham South Lake, View Point

After a horrible day of weather and not being able to see much, I ventured to the view point at Wykeham South Lake and in light rain and mist, was lucky enough to see the Egyptian Geese with their new family, a number of other different Geese including Canada, Greylag and Pink foot, but the highlight by far, just as I was about to surrender to the weather was the fly past and then a breeding session of a pair of Little Ring Plover more of less in front of the view point, brilliant!!!



Saturday, 5 April 2014

Tophill Low Nature Reserve

Tophill Low Nature Reserve
Tophill Low, Watton, Driffield

Another classic day out with the lovely Adele, was enjoyed, at the lovely Tophill Low Nature Reserve, Watton, Near Driffield.

Not massive amounts of raptors yet, but sightings of the resident Barn Owl on North Scrub, calls from a couple of Tawny Owls, a fly by of the odd Sparrow Hawk and a couple of distant Common Buzzards soaring over North Marsh was decent enough.

There were good viewing of our smaller birds, with Marsh or Willow Tit, along with Blue and Great Tits, Black Caps, Goldcrest, Wrens, Dunnocks, Goldfinches and Greenfinches, along with Chiffchaffs and a singing but not seen Cettis Warbler at the south marsh back to back hide.

The water birds included the usual Greylag and Canada Geese, Mute Swans along with the ducks being, Gadwall, Pochard, Shoveller, Mallard, Tufted, Teal, and Shell, also on the south marsh there were a couple of Little Grebe.

On exiting the reserve as the weather closed in and the light faded early it was nice to see some arriving Martin's over D reservoir, we thought also there may have been a couple of Swallows in the group but were uncertain.

The best show though of the day, was both the amount of Grass Snakes and a stunning little Water Vole around the North Marsh hide, with a couple of seconds only glimpse of the resident Dog Otter and with such a quick swim by through the reeds, there was no photographic opportunities possible.

All in all though, a great 6 or 7 hours at the reserve as usual.