June 2023

27.06.23 : A wet week in Cumbria

After a few weeks of great weather and long evening walks, the rain has come back and the light gone, so Ive only managed a few short walks out. The garden keeps on with the song birds slowly increasing in number after the nesting season, The Lesser spotted woodpecker is back, tree creepers and Goldfinches. The pond has been quiet ever since we lost two Herring gulls to what we assume is Avian flu everything seems to have stayed away, just the Grey Heron remains witht he odd visitor. The Sparrow Hawk has been around most days this week, taking anything it can find but of late its been having a lot of Reed Buntings.

The garden is buzzing with dragon flies however and theres even been an odd wagtail. Fingers crossed the weather improves and I can get out with the camera again soon.

June 2023

22.06.23 : Evening hare walk after work

Took a short walk after work to look for the hares, a local farmer was collecting bales and making a lot of noise which spooked all of the hares but I managed to get a couple of shots in the distance, a paracender then went over head and that was it, birds, hares everything ran away ! Still a nice walk out

June 2023

21.06.23 : Evening hare walk and then a stroll around Parkside 

The longest day today so a good one for an evening stroll. Parkside was full of feeding Swallows, and Martins, the Heron was feeding on the pond, the Oyseter catchers were out with 2 fledged juviniles and the Pied Wagtails were flitting about. A lovely evening so I also headed further afield and looked out for some Hares, today there was only one, a female Ive called Diamond due to a shape marking on here head.

June 2023

19.06.23 : A walk along the Calder river and evening Hare walk

Today I wanted to see if there was any sign of the Night Heron I spotted on Ponsonby tarn last week, since that day it has only been seen by twop other people and no one has seen it since. I thought that if it had moved it may not have gone very far and the river Calder is close by with dark shaded, woody banks that might suit. So I started of walking from Calder Bridge up to the Abby and then back along the river all the way to the coast, for good measure I also did one last look around Ponsonby tarn. Sadly I saw no sign of the Heron, save a glimpse of a white bird taking off through the trees at the tarn, on balance though I think this was probably not the Heron.

Regardless of the lack of rarities, it was a nice walk, the Wrens were chirping in the trees, Buzzards were soaring overhead, Dippers flying fast and low over the water and  wagtails bobbing along the rocky banks.

At home in Parkside the Lesser spotted woodpecker is still visiting,  a pair of Tufted duck visited the pond, the Martins, Swallows and Swifts are still feeding in the evening and the Curlews are in the fields. The garden is full of all the finches, Rooks, Ravens and Jackdaws, and of course Sparrows. 

The pond has the resident Grey Heron of an evening and a few of the young Mallard are still hanging around, although Mum has long since given up parental duties. We have had a couple of Herring Gull deaths, no clear signs of predation make me think they may have fallen foul of Avian Flu, and since they died the normal crowd of sixty of so gulls that spend each day on the side of the pond have departed so its somewhat quiet.

Elsewhere in Cumbria the evening Hare walks have still continued to show large numbers of flourish hares and I have identified at least 4 breeding pairs in the area I patrol

June 2023

15.06.23  Parkside round up  and West Cumbria explore

Another Hot day, and evening in Cumbria, by the pond at Parkside there was a visiting Lapwing by the Pond, only stayed for an hour or so before heading off North. The cycle track was alive with songbirds, Wrens, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers.

As the sunset the Swifts, Swallows and Martins returned for a drink and the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker made a fleeting visit at the Feeders in the garden.

Another walk elsewhere saw a few of the local Hares out and about but not wanting to look down the lens of the camera so the perfect picture will need to wait for another day

June 2023

13.06.23 - 14.06.23 Parkside round up  and West Cumbria explore

The hot westher continues and with it the birds are returning after nesting so its geeting busy again. In the garden we are seeing all the finches return ( Gold, Green, chaffinch and Long tailed) we have seen a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, a first for our garden, Jackdaws, Rooks and Ravens are busy feeding and the Starlings along with all the juviniles are back and fighting over the fatballs. The freshly cut grass fieds are loud with Oyster catchers and Curlews and the pond is busy with Swallows, House Martins, Swifts, Grey Herons and of course the Mallards with 19 Juveniles in tow, all fledged but still staying togethor.

 

Further away the Hares appear to be doing well, I have now identified 8 different adults and 3 Leverets, mostly they are now feeding alone apart from the odd mother and Leveret. Im looking forward to seeing the numbers grow now, o watch out for more photos coming soon !

June 2023

09.06.23 - 12.06.23  Parkside, Cleator Moor, and Ponsonby Tarn, Gosforth, Cumbria

An evening wander in the West Cumbria fileds saw a female Hare and leveret in the long grass, the female soon took off when she spotted me but the leveret just hunkered down and hid. I was amazed that even though I knew exacty where the leveret was hiding, I just could not see it, it wasnt until I was 6 feet away I saw its eye. Brilliant camouflage in the fading evening light, I wonder how many times I've been out looking for hares, and just walked past one without even knowing?

This morning the day started hot and hazy so I thought I would head to Ponsonby tarn  and see what was hiding in the woods, at least it would be shady in the heat. Ponsonby is currently being harvested for its trees so it resembled the Somme in place, but no one was working and inbetween the abandoned machinary was  a dozen or so Blackbirds and Wrens. Approaching the tarn I heard a vaguely familiar bird call but I just couldnt place it, it was only when I saw a Night Heron on the pond I realised it was from my trip to Australia !

I've never seen a night Heron in the UK, so this was a first for me, and made my day. Coming back I spotted a couple of Red Squirrels on a feeder and headed home just in time to see the Curlews on the field! Not a bad morning really :)

Click below for location of the Night Heron

https://goo.gl/maps/A9Gsc9Phm4oA2Yt29

June 2023

08.06.23:  High Leys quarry, Rowrah, Cumbria

Short walk out today as I'm getting over a chest infection, but the short trip was worth the effort. I visited High Leys Quarry to see what was about. A perfect sunny day and the site was full of Herring Gulls, Cormorants, Jackdaws and Carrion Crows as normal, but sitting on one of the high cliffs was a Peregrin Falcon. 

I only saw one and no evidence of a nest but it was using the cliffs to spy for prey, sadly for him though everytime he launched he was mobbed by the Jackdaws so I didnt see any successful hunting. On the walk out there was a couple of Curlews in the field, a Pied Wagtail and the obligatory fighting Chaffinches.

June 2023

04.06.23:  Hares out and about in West Cumbria

The birds may have been quiet in this nesting season buyt there Hares are out and about in force. Ive been following one, that Ive called Ernie, he is easy to spot as he has a bit missing out of one ear and a few notches out of it as well. He is often in the company of a female and a Leveret but is easier to spot on his own when he moves about his large territory. The shots of all togethor are often long away in the distance, but with patience and lots of waiting I can often get closer to him on his own.

June 2023

03.06.23  :  Out and about in West Cumbria

Hot and sunny day today, with the majority of the birds absent on parenting duties, but the farmer decided to cut his grass for sillage and this meant it brought out a host of birds looking for any tasty treats left behind in the tractors wake. The Herring gulls and flocks of Carrian Crows were following the tactor and a Buzzard swooped in and sat in a tree keeping and eye out for anything it could grab.

 

June 2023

01.006.23  : Parkside Cumbria and further afield for hares

The birds have been somewhat quite of late at home, in the main due to the amount of them nesting and looking after the young. The lone male Mute swan is back on the pond and the Mallard duscklings are now almost all fledged, we have had a very good year with 22 young Mallards fledging and only 2 predated.

The Hares seem to be having a good year, I have to go further afiled to see these, and I dont reveal the location due to the problem with Hare coursing, but happily this seems not to have been a big problem this year and in the area I visit there are 4 adults with one Leveret each.

I keep on trying to get the perfect Hare shot with them running towards me, this is tricky and Ive spent many hours lying in the grass and waiting, I'm getting closer but Im not there yet !

May 2023

30.04.23  :  RSPB Leighton Moss, Sliverdale, Lancashire

Early morning start and a trip to Leioghton Moss to get there before the half term crowds descended and so glad I did. The Eric Morecambe hides were alive with bird call and Black headed gulls , Aovocets, Godwits, Little and Great Egrets and shoveler duck. There was aloso a spoonbill, but too distant to be able to get a picture, but perhaps the saddest thing was the number of dead birds, gulls mainly dotted around the pools, victims of the avian flu that still rumbles on.

A trip to the main reserve and the Grisedal hide rewarded me with views of the Marsh harriers hunting and feeding the young with many attempts to pass voles or mice in the aire. The grey Heron was back and forth over the water and the Greylag geese with young were also around. A quick but very rewarding trip out the this perfect place

May 2023

29.04.23  :  Drigg Sand dunes and Beach : Skylarks

Took a trip to the nature reserve and Drigg and had a wander through the  dunes and onto the beach to see the Skylarks. A  hundred or so larks were nesting and taking to the sky to call as soon as we got remotely close. These birds rise almost verticaly to about 30 feet and call loudly to distract attention from their nest which are on the ground above the dune grass. Good to see so many flourishing here once again this year

May 2023

 24.05.23 - 29.05.23  Wanderings around home and West Cumbria 

Spring is well and truely here with all the birds nesting and lots of young about. The Swallows, House martins and Swifts are all back and with young. The pond is full of Mallard duckings and most have survived, to date we have counted 21 young Mallards make it through to fledging. We have even had a Gooseander brood of 7 this year for the first time, and two Oyster catchers.

Further afield in West Cumbria the Hares seem to be doing well with at least five adults and three leverets at my favourite spot.

Good to be back in the UK and looking forward to any more finds in the upcoming days

May 2023

16.05.23 - 24.05.23 - Wanderings around Cornudella,Spain 

Went for a five day trip to Cornudella, Spain for a family wedding, of course I took my camera and snuck out early mornings for a wander around the local reservoir, then up into the mountains, and in the evening from the flats balcony. The village  set at about 1000 feet above sea level was lined with narrow streets, often not even wide enough for vehicles, and tall three or four story houses. This meant it was the perfect place for nesting Swallows, Swifts and House Martins, the evening air was full of them screaming and calling as they hunted in large numbers. We spent a good few hours sat in the square drinking coffee watching the house martins feed their young, while I tried to get a perfect capture!

The local reservoir was very low with little water in it, but the surrounding area was a great area for a wide vairety of birds, often hard to spot in the heavily woooden surroundings. Serin were perhaps the most prevalent along with the swifts and Martins, but a little watching yeilded Black Redstarts, Golden Oriels, Bee eaters, Warblers and many more.

Definatly an area to explore more if the time was available.

May 2023

08.05.23 - 16.05.23 Parkside, Cumbria and Surrounding area

08.05.23 - 16.05.23   :  Parkside, Cleator moor, Cumbria and surrounding area

While the garden has gone quieter with birds nesting the pond has become busier, this year all but two of the Mallard ducklings have survived so far, much better than the same time last year. The Geese are still stoppiong over once a week, but no sign of young. 

May 2023

01.05.23 - 07.02.23 Wanderings around West Cumbria, Bees, Birds and Hares

01.05.23 - 07.05.23 : Wandering around West Cumbria

The first week of May and Spring is very much here in Cumbria, along with that the birds are in full mating plumage, the bees hungry after Winter hibernation  out and foraging, and of course the Hares are out in numbers. Sadly the weather has been hit and miss, and life commitments have meant Ive only been really able to get out in the evenings and one early morning. The evenings have brought Hares out and at least one young leveret feediing on its own, Geese and Herons at home, and of course ducklings on the pond. The morning walk brought a full chorus of songbirds, Black caps, Chiffchaffs, Goldfinches, Chaffinches and Willow Warblers and many more, but as is always the case most of them hiding in the trees branches which are now covered in leaf and blossom so I only managed to photograph a Willow Warbler or two,

No sign of the Swifts return as of yet , but there are reports of them having arrived not too far away, so Im opptomistic, and who kknows maybe they will use our newly installed Swift boxes!

April 2023

30.04.23  :  Evening Hares on a misty day

30.04.23 : It was a wet and misty evening and I was just too late to see any birds, but an evening walk meant I could look for my favourite Hares. I know of three in this location and tonight I saw all three, but the only one that was willing to stay still long enough for me to lift my camera to my eye was this lone female with a battered ear.

The only way to get a good shot of them I feel will be to set up a hide and wait, so thats the plan ! watch this space......

April 2023

24.04.2023 - 25.04.23  : Sunset Hares and morning Swallows

24.04.23 - 25.04.23 : The evening of the 24th was cold but clear so I took a trip to my Hare spotting location and had a look out, managed to get a few shots at a long distance just as the sun was setting and the temperature dropping. I will go back and set up a hide here so I can get some close up shots, watch the space.

Back home and in the morning on th 25th the sun was bright and the sky clear following a frosty start, the Swallows were busy over the pond and one kept stopping for a rest on an old branc at the side.

April 2023

23.04.2023 : Some nice weather so a early morning walk and an evening wander.

23.04.23 : The weather has been a bit hit and miss in Cumbria in the last few days, not ideal for photography at all, so this entry is a collection of grabbed shots taken as and when it was possible. The hares were a great addition , even if i didnt find them till the light had pretty much gone, the Heron was also a late evening shot on another day, and the Tree Creeper was in the early morning sun.

April 2023

20.04.2023 : An evening stroll to look for Hares

20.04.23 : Went for a evening walk to look for a lone Hare I've been following for a while. Just as the light was going I happened upon him and flushed him out, he was fast ! I managed to find him again and get just close enough to get a few more long range shots. I hope he will find a mate soon and will return to see any progress. Sadly Hare coursing is still a problem in Cumbria, so I'm not going to give the location in the hope he will be left alone to get on with his natural progress, I will also be keeping a close eye on him and do what I can to protect him.

18.04.2023 : Cogra Moss, Ennerdale Cumbria, early morning

18.04.23: Trip to Cogra Moss at sunrise, cold and clear. Walked around the lake looking to see what was about but inparticular trying to get a shot of the Willow Warblers. The air was full of them singing but as normal they were hiding in the thick trees and scrub, took a full hour and a half till I found some on too of the Christmas trees m many fanning their tails in a courtship display, which is why I guess they were all in such good voice. Never seen or heard to many of them, so much so I almost missed a Chiffchaff hiding among them, it was only the black legs that gave it away and then of course I heard them calling, I nearly missed it the warblers were so loud. There was a few other birds about, Geese on the lake, a distant Buzzard lloking for breakfast, tree creepers, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Wrens but it was mainly a warbler day .

April 2023

18.04.2023 :High Leys Quarry, Rowrah,  Cumbria.  A quick trip on my way back from Cogra moss in the morning

18.04.23 : A lovely day and the quarry was full to the brim with Herring gulls, but amongst them flying high was a Kestrel, great to watch and I spent a happy hour. Nothing much there today but it was a welcome trip on my way back from Cogra Moss

April 2023

17.04.2023 : Parkside , Cleator Moor, Cumbria. Evening stroll around the pond at Dusk

17.04.23 : After a wet and foggy day, the gloom lifted today just as the sun was going down! So on the off chance I headed out around the fields to see if anything else was out. I quickly spotted a hare, sadly it had spotted me as well, so we stalked each other all around the fields until it finaly ran out of sight. During the chase I also came across a family of Mallards and a Stonechat, so I quickly got a few pictures, all a bit rushed and dark due to the rapidly fading light but still a nice way to end a wet day.

April 2023

14.04.2023 : Parkside , Cleator Moor, Cumbria. Bright, cold and a nice sunset

14.04.23 : Not much happening tonight after work, with just a lone swallow over the pond, so i spent my time installing the signpost bird feeders I made. Just a way of making them blend into the garden a bit better!

April 2023

11.04.2023 : Parkside , Cleator Moor, Cumbria. Very wet and windy and gettingt towards dusk but lots of Swallows !

11.04.2023 : The end of a day out and about looking for birds and then in howling gale and rain storm the Swallows appeared. They only arrived back two days ago, about ten days after the Sand and House Martins and the weather has been so wet I've not managed to get any photos until today. 

I wouldn't have gone out in this weather normaly but about a month ago when the pond was high I pushed a wind fallen branch from one of our trees into the edge of the water , in the hope that the Kigfisher that visits when the river is high might use it as a perch, well today it was used by not by a Kingfisher.

Looking out from the kitchen I could see a dozen or so Swallows swooping over the pond and then one landed on the old branch, within a few minutes there was nine. They came and went, hunting over the pond then resting in the rain on the branch, so i grabbed my camera and went out in the rain for 10 mins to get some shots.

April 2023

10.04.2023 : High Leys Quarry, Rowrah, Cumbria and the River Ehen, Egremont Cumbria

Video Shows High Leys Quarry, Rowrah, Cumbria