Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Black grouse, osprey and a protective avocet.

Had to collect daughter and youngest granddaughter from the Isle of Man ferry on Sunday so decided to make a weekend of it. Set off from York on Saturday morning in the rain. Rain eased slightly as I travelled up the A1, however the road was closed as Catterick due to geese on the road. Diverted via Richmond to get to A66. Never been to Richmond so thought that I would stop for a while, however the rain started again so I continued on my way.
Reached the A66 and thought I might call in at Smallways reserve but again the heavy rain put me off. Signs at the side of the road indicated that horse drawn carriageways could be on the road and eventually traffic came to a halt. I diverted again through Barnard Castle and by this the rain was torrential and at one time I had to resort to using the pavement as the road was flooded!
The rain continued and when I got to my first planned stop I had my car windscreen wipers on full speed. I did manage to see one black grouse in the rain

 and one red grouse. In the area I also saw lapwing, snipe

, curlew,

meadow pipit and black headed gull. The rain water was pouring down the road so I decided that the best course of action was to leave before I found myself in water too deep to drive through.
By the time that I had reached Brough the rain had stopped and the sun was starting to shine.
At RSPB Leighton Moss I had an excellent bowl of soup before going onto the reserve. The hide on the causeway was my first stop and the first thing I saw was an otter fishing!
Great crested grebes and their chicks were fishing.

Then an osprey was overhead

There were decoy common terns in front of one hide.
I then visited another part of the reserve

I returned on Sunday morning when the sun was shining. Godwits were close

redshank and oystercatcher

Avocets had chicks and were chasing other birds away

One of the birds they were chasing was a male ruff in summer plumage.  Sadly it was never close to the hide.
A butterfly was close to the hide.
A very pleasant visit to this reserve.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Sounds and sights of summer at N.D.C.

Plans for the day went slightly wrong which left me with a couple of free hours in the afternoon so I went to North Duffield Carrs as it was the closest place. Various birders came and went without hearing or seeing a corncrake.
Shortly after I arrived I could hear a cuckoo calling and about 20 minutes later it flew over the reserve and started to call from behind the hide.  Snipe were drumming and redshanks were calling as they flew across the grassland. Curlew had some young chicks and were keeping a watchful eye, often from the sky.

Swifts were swooping low over the water and grass hunting insects
and they were joined by swallows, sand and house martins.
Meanwhile on the small pool of water in front of the hide a swan was on its nest and a pair of coots had two young. Three mallards dropped in for a drink and a wash but the coot soon saw them off.
 Black headed gulls were busy on part of the river
and a common tern was flying up and down the river as well. A  pair of blue tits were busy catching food for their young in the best box near the hide. A buzzard flew over the reserve and was mobbed by crows and lapwings. A pleasant hour with a list of 34 species including 7 summer visitors.

Wood warbler, black tern and little owl.

A day out with Chris. Sheffield was our first stop as we headed for Rivelin Valley in the hope of seeing wood warbler. This was our first visit to this location so we were not too sure about which route to take. The information board was useful and showed that not only might we see our target bird but possibly crossbill and dipper.
We slowly walked along the track , listening to the sound of willow warblers, chaffinch and blackbird. There is a very useful map on twitter which helped us locate our first bird. It was singing from the trees above our heads.
We walked further down the track and just after a junction in the path we came across our second bird. Singing like the first bird this one was at a better height for us to view, although the light conditions were not good for pics.

We then returned to the car park and agreed that it was a site worth visiting another day.
Anglers country park area our next stop.
Canada geese and young

mute swan and young
Common terns were fishing over the lake and one was perched on one of the rafts.

geese in the fields
orchids near the path
St.Aidans next where we walked across the causeway.
The black headed gulls were using the pathway as their preening station. From the causeway we were able to watch a black tern fishing. Some poor pics of it.

We then drove around the site and parked near the visitor centre. Our last bird of the day was this little owl

My thanks to Chris for the planning and driving.