October 2023

23/10/23 : Dawn at the Esk estuary with lots of birds in flight over the river , Muncaster, Cumbria

23/10/23 : Dawn at the Esk estuary and lots of birds on flight, of course most of them waders of some short. The river itslef was quiet with lots of Mallards on the water, and Redshanks on the banks but most of the activity was over the river which was on the waning tide.

Cormorants and Wigeon were in their hundreds, Little Egrets in dozens and everything else in ones an twos. 

Didn't see any Otters today, but the walk back was made brighter with Stonechats flying in and out of the brambles in the morning sunshine.

 

 

 

October 2023

17.10.23 : Early morning walk along the Esk estuary at Muncaster, Cumbria

17.10.23 : An early morning walk along the river Esk at the estuary, the hope was to spot the Otters out and about first thing, sadly this wasn't to be. The tide was very low and most of the water in the river was gone, and with it any hope of seeng the Otters.

All was not lost though with a couple of Roe deer walking the opposite bank, and a Goldcrest hiding in the reeds next to me. There was a flock of 12 Little Egrets, countless Cormorant flying overhead and a large flock of Mallards in the distance. On the sand banks in the river there was a Grey Heron, Curlew , Redshank and the Greylag goose with a broken wing that I saw a few weeks ago. The goose seemed to be feeding well and managing with its injury, sadly it couldnt join the flock flying overhead.

On the walk back there was a couple of Sparrow Hawks in the air, and a male and female Stonechat in the brambles.

I will come back again soon to look for the Otters , but I think I might check the tide tables first !

 

October 2023

16.10.23 : Early morining trip to Leigthton Moss RSPB to see the Stags in rutt

16.10.23 : Today was an early morning trip to RSPB Leighton Moss, to see if the Stags were showing in the rutt, I met up with another local wildlife photographer and we headed off in the dark to the Grizedale hide, where the Stags had been seen recently. A cold wait for 45 mins and we were rewarded by two hinds walking by and 10 mins later a big Stag following them. They were heading away from the hide towards the Allen hides, so we left and headed in that direction, stopping at the grit trays to watch the Bearded Reedlings for a short while.

Once in the very busy and full hide we spotted 3 stags (maybe 4) which were walkng around the pond and seemingly tollerating each other without any trouble. The big old Stag was in the reeds with 2 Hinds and was happy to remain there while the other Stags strutted around the waters edge.

Other bird life was of course the Marsh Harriers, Grey Heron, Teal, Shoveller and the other usual suspects, today however the Deer were the stars of the show.

Back at home in the evening I had a wander around the fields to see what was about, The Mute Swans on the pond were joined by 7 Greylags before the took to flight in the early evening. The Heron was back fishing, Starlings were gathering in the fields, Pied Wagtails pottering about and the wrens in the Hwathorns.

All in all a good day !

 

October 2023

14.10.23 : Quick walk before work at Bassenthwaite

14.10.23 : Misty , cold morning with frost on the grass I had a quick walk to the lake before work, so only 10 minutes to spend but managed to watch a couple of Herons flyng past and some Mallards taking off. A good start to a working day !

 

October 2023

09.10.23 : Walk along the river Esk below Muncaster looking for Otters but finding lots of other wildlife

09.10.23 : Misty, grey morning but dry, so I set off for a walk along the river Esk to see if the Otter was available for a photo shoot ! Sadly I arrived a few minutes too late with its fresh tracks still in the sand banks I had only just missed it. 

I stayed on the bank for 2 hours just incase it came back, it didnt but there was plenty of birdlife to keep me occupied. A flock of Canada geese arrived on the river, before taking flight leaving just three on the river, one of which had what looked like a broken wing. It was sad to see a bird in distress but not much to be done as it was able to swim away and was heading for the coast.

On the banks there were Greenshanks, Curlews, Little Egrets, Cormorants, Mallards and Herons and just before I left due to the weather closing in a Kingfisher flashed by and landed on a log in the middle of the river. Not great photos today due to the grey, misty weather and cloud.

I will not be put off though and I will be back to find and photograph the Otters !

October 2023

03.10.23 : Cormarant on the pnd at Parkside and a barn owl caught on trail cam

03.10.23 : A bit of a cold and chanagable day today so the first job was to retrieve the trail camera I left out last night to try and get a shot of the Barn Owl. This time unlike the last it was a success, however the camera was set at the wrong hieght meaning the infrared was burning out the image, still lesson learnt and tonight it will be in a different location, fingers crossed. The good thing however is I now know where the Owl is going at night so I can follow it with more ease.

The pond has remained quiet of late but life is starting to return to it and today there was the pair of Mute Swans, a Moorhen and a visiting Cormorant, so I got a few pictures of it before the rain returned.

October 2023

02.10.23 : Esk estuary at Muncaster and Home at Parkside, Cleator Moor

02.10.23 : Started the day with an early morning walk along the river Esk estuary under the Muncaster estate. As soon as I was on the path I spotted two Roe deer in the distance through the morning mist, they spotted me in an instant and jumped the fence and ran off. Two minutes later I was looking up at two Buzzards flying from perch to perch and I knew it was going to be a good walk ! Walking into the woods there was Longtailed Tits, Robins, Wrens, Willow warblers and grey squirrels, upon reaching  the river it seemed quiet as the tide was very low, the usual Grey Herons and Little Egrets were fishing, the Oyster catchers and Curlew on the mud flats and Mallards in the water.

While watching a Grey Heron fishing I spotted two lines of bubbles inthe water and then a head ! It was a pair of Otters crossing the river, climbing out onto the muddy bank before disappearing into a riverlet ditch. They were a long way off but its was great to watch and now I know where to find them I will be back.

At home we still have a pair of Mute Swans on the pond, and they were joined today by a lone Greylag goose and a Coot, there wasnt much else about today but on my evening wander I did spot another Roe deer in the fields, this is a first as Ive never seen one in these fields before, so hopefully it will be back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2023

25.09.23 : Mute Swans on the pond at  Parkside, Cleator Moor, Cumbria

29.09.23 : Tonight I went to look for the Barn Owl at dusk, sadly it was a no show, but i did retrieve my Trail Camera and a quick look at it I had managed to capture a Dunnock and a Magpie ! oh well , Ill try again with a different set up so fingers crossed and watch this space.

Elsewhere we still have two Mute Swans on the pond which is nice to see, and a dozen or so Mallards. The garden still has a good shwoing of all the Tits, Lesaer Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Magpies, Jackdaws and Crows. The Swallowas have also departed this week, and their calls in the evening will be very missed

September 2023

25.09.23 : Mute Swans on the pond at  Parkside, Cleator Moor, Cumbria

25.09.23 : Windy day at Parkside, spent a happy hour watching the pair of Mute Swans on the pond preening and washing themselves this afternoon. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2023

23.09.23 : Garden birds at home in Parkside, Cleator Moor, Cumbria

24.09.23 : A wet and windy day in West Cumbria today, so I stayed at home and watched the wet birds in the garden from a nice dry garden room !

The feeders were busy with Blue Tits, Great Tits and Coal tits, along with House and Tree Sparrows, and of course the ever present Chaffinches. Our resident Nuthatch was also busy on the peanut feeders, taking one nut at a time then flying to a tree a long way away on the other side of the fields to eat. He then repeated all day ! getting slowly wetter and wetter as the photos show.

Then the Starlings turned up in a small mummuration of about 150 birds, they then set about emptying the fat balls but also stripping the berries of the Rowan tree. This morning the tree was covered in berries, by the end of the day they have pretty much all gone. Its the firt time in a long time we've seen the Starlings in any numbers, and I had forgotton just how loud they are, even when roosting on the power lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2023

23.09.23 : Garden birds at home in Parkside, Cleator Moor, Cumbria

23.09.23 : A day of mixed weather and so just a short walk around the garden and the fields in Parkside, time to enjoy soome regular garden birds looking great.

Lots of Tits and Sparrows in the garden today, but not very many finches, just a couple of Chaffinches , however a Tree Creeper popped by and brighten things up.

In the fields it was goof to see that we now have two Mute Swans on the pond, hopefully the lone one has found a new mate after loosing its last one over a year ago, Mallards were flying over and a couple of Herring gulls and that was more or less it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2023

22.09.23 : RSPB Leighton Moss. Torrential rain and cloud cover

22.09.23 : An early start today as the forecast was clear and dry till midday in Silverdale, so I headed over to the reserve for dawn, and arrived to find it chucking it down! The cloud was low and the rain incessant, it never got light.

Undetered I put the waterproof cover on the camera and head out along the causeway. There were no other people around and only the odd bird on the path, in the distance there was a stag crossing the path, a Cetis Warbler singing its heart out, and Reed Buntings hiding in the trees trying to stay dry.

It was clear this was not going to be a good photography day, but it didnt stop me truly enjoying the nature, walking down to the public hide a Marsh harrier was hunting overhead and the lake was just coming to life. A family of four Otters were feeding just to the left of the hide, I passed a good hour while the rain got heavier just watching them as a family unit. Just as the rain was easing an Osprey appeared over the lake before settling down in a far off tree.

All in all a great way to spend a few wet hours enjoying if not photographing wildlife

 

 

 

 

September 2023

21.09.23 : Muncaster & the Esk estuary

21.09.23 : Break in the cold weather with a strong breeze and blue skies, so I headed off to the Esk estuary along the path at the bottom of the Muncaster castle estate, a great place with red squirrels, deer and birds.

 

 

 

September 2023

13.09.23 - 14.09.23  : Evening walks in Parkside, Cleator Moor, Cumbria, and further in West Cumbria for the Hares

13/09/23 - 14/09/23 : The gloomy weather has continued so short evening walks have been the order of the day. The fields and finaly the pond seem to be filling up with bird life again after a quiet month. The air is screaming with the calls of Swallows with a new late brood, the fields have flocks of Linnet and Wheatears and the trees are full of Buzzards and the odd Barn Owl.

The pond has also started to get back the birds  that have been missing since a spell of avian flu killed two Herring gulls three months ago. We have a single Mute Swan, two Grey Herons and a juvinle Wigeon. 

 

 

 

September 2023

07.09.23 : Evening walk in Parkside, Cleator Moor, Cumbria

10.09.23 : The good weather came to end today but just before the rain came I managed a quick walk out, all was quiet except for a lone Wheatear in a field of fresh cut grass. All attempts at Barn Owl spotting are put on hold till the rain stops !

 

 

 

September 2023

07.09.23 : Evening walk in Parkside, Cleator Moor, Cumbria

07.09.23 : Evening walk around Parkside then further afield in West Cumbria to find the hares. I went looking for the Barn Owl at dusk, but there was no sign of him, I did however spot a Grey Heron up in a tree preening before flying off into the sunset. The Swallows were out feeding again with the young from their late brood, and a lone Nuthatch was in the hedgerow, trying its best not to be photographed !

Further afield I went looking for Hares, but was only rewarded by one running away from me in the long grass

 

 

September 2023

01.09.23 - 05.09.23 : Walk at dawn around Eskmeals natured reserve on the Esk estuary and walks around Parkside, Cleator Moor

01.09.23 - 05.09.23 We've had a mixed bag of weather of late but it looks to have settled down a little bit now, meaning Ive been able to get out and about a bit. 

I took a dawn trip to the Eskmeals Nature reserve, just East of Muncaster and on the mouth of the Esk estuary. The Tide had been high during the night so I figured it would be a good morning for it. There's a firing range at Eskmeals so you have to check the flags to see if any are flying ( red shows firing and yellow that the reserve is closed ), both flags were down so in I went.

The sun wasnt really up but the vast Esk estaury was busy with Great and Little Egregrets, Grey Heron, Mallards, Red Breasted Mergansers, Curlew, Redshank, Herring Gull, Common Tern and Black back gulls in all good numbers. The dunes were a little quieter with just the odd Wheater flitting about and a common Buzzard over head.

As I go into the dunes however I noticed that the M.O.D had been and put both flags up while I was walking so I ha to cut my visit short  and make a hasty retreat, stopping only long enough to take a quick photo of a Roe Deer in the dunes !

Back at home at Parkside, I have been trying to get out each evening to find the Barn Owl, but as of yet Ive only seen it on two days, fingers crossed for more. The fields are however full of Swallows, which are busy raising a late brood, which is great to see. There's been a flock of Linnets in the field as well as all the usual Corvids. The pond remains quiet apart from the heron and the Swallows which have been feeding and drinking, always a great sight ( see the videos ! )

 

 

August 2023

30.08.23 : Evening walk in Parkside, Cleator Moor, Cumbria

30.08.23 : Evening walk to see if I could locate the nest / roost site of the Barn Owl I saw last night, turns out I was 2 minutes too late ! I did however, manage to get it leaving where I think the site is and shot off a few quick photos before it disappeared into the woods. Tomorrow if the the weather is good I'll get there earlier .

The light was fading when I came back but I did manage to watch a few Swallows which I think have had a late brood, all of which were out feeding.

What a great way to end a long day at work, watching Barn Owls and Swallows at sunset .

August 2023

29.08.23 : Evening walk in Parkside, Cleator Moor, Cumbria

29.08.23 : An early morning walk from Calder Bridge along the river bank to the Abby and back, the light was a bit dark with clouds rolling in. There wasnt much about at first till a Dipper put in an appearence, and a happy half an hour was spent watching him fish for Cadis fly lava, then just as I was moving on a Stoat ran across the path and into the hedge, two minutes later and a couply of Grey Wagtails scared off the Dipper and flew along the river.

The afternoon we took a walk around Clints Quarry at Egremont, and were rewarded by six or seven Willow warblers.

I had hoped to go looking for the Barn Owl, but rain stopped play, but I did get to see a large female Hedgehog grabbing a drink from the dog bowl in the garden . Hopefully tomorrow Ill get chance to go looking for the Barn Owl, weather permitting, this is Cumbria after all !

August 2023

28.08.23 : Evening walk in Parkside, Cleator Moor, Cumbria

28.08.23  :  Evening walk around the fields tonight, I almost didn't bother as it was threatening rain and cloud, but I'm so glad I did !

First I distrubed a flock of Linnets, first roosting in a Hawthorn tree and then the moved onto the barb wire fence. I moved so that I could get a better position and stumbled upon two Meadow Pippets on the same fence. Walking through the fields I spotted a Hare running into the distance and so I headed to another field that I knew it would end up in, and as I approached caught a glimpse of a white bird gliding across the field at a few feet, then it was gone, that could only be one thing , a Barn Owl. 

I've heard the Barn Owls here for nearly 4 years but never caught sight of one apart from on a night camera, so excited I stalked through the fields looking for where it had landed and with luck on my side I found it perched on a fence post, before gliding off to an old tree out of sight. Only a fleeting glimpse but I know where it is now and will attempt to get some more pictures soon.

What I great evening stroll !

August 2023

18.08.23 : Evening walk in West Cumbria, Hares, Swallows and Martins

18.08.23 : Slow walk this evening around West Cumbria and although windy and not mucj about, the Swallows and House Martins were out feeding in small numbers as most have already left for the year. A little later there was a lone Hare hiding in the grass

August 2023

17.08.23 : Roe Deer, Buzzards, Swallows & Sand Martins, Bassenthwaite, Cumbria.

17.08.23 : A quick Walk this morning before work at Bassenthwaite saw a buzzard by the lake and a Roe Deer in the meadow, then tonight at home at Parkside spent a short while watching the last remain Swallows of the year and the last of the Sand Martins, both drinking from the pond. Nice to see but I dont think they will be here for very long as the majority left 4 weeks ago !

August 2023

13.08.23 - Hares in wet weather , West Cumbria

13.08.23 : The peroid of wet weather continues in West Cumbria, but we have had the odd break in the weather where Ive been able to get out with the camera. However, the peroid has coincided with a seasonal malt in the bird population and the effects of Avian flu which has meant the bird life is very sparce so Ive mainly been taking shots of the Hares.

The birds on the pond have yet to return, even the resident Grey Heron has been missing lately, the mute Swan likewise has vanished, we have only had the odd Mallard and nothing else. The garden and fields have seen a large population of Jackdaws, Crows and the odd Raven eat us out of fat balls on a daily basis along with tits and finches of all sorts.

Hopefully the birds will return, in the meantime the Hares in the local area ( exact location withheld ) are doing well, the leverets are now pretty much indistinguishable from the adults, and with a bit of stalking, local knowledge and luck Ive been able to spot them almost every day. Getting a good photo though is a different matter and I will let you be the judge of wether or not Ive managed it !

August 2023

06.08.23 - Hares in the evening , West Cumbria

06.08.23 - An Evening stroll in the fields of West Cumbria to look for Hares and I wasnt disappointed! They havent been out much of late due to manyof their fields being cut for siliage, but tonight Ernie was out on his own. Ernie is the male Hare I see which has a damaged ear so he is easy to spot from the others.

I spooked him and he shot up and ran in a big loop before coming back towards me, he stopped and then sneezed and rubbed his nose, so I guess Hares also suffer from hayfever.

There wasnt much else out with many of the birds being in a malt at the moment, infact all I saw was a young Buzzard and a few Common Crows.

August 2023

03.08.23 : Ravenglass and Parkside, West Cumbria

03.08.23 : Early trip to Ravenglass, nice weather but sadly my timing wasnt great as the tide was so far away the birds were too! The harbour is a great place for waders of all types but at very low tide you need to walk over large areas of mudflats to get close, much better just as the tide is going out. 

Regardless of the tide issues, there were plenty of birds about in the distance, the highlight was watching a Little Egret trying to swallow a flat fish which was almost too big for it to eat, it kept trying and eventualy got it down.

Gulls, and the usual Corvids where there in plenty along with Oyster Catchers, Grey Heron, Dunlin and on the shoreline the Sparrows, Finches and tits were also plentiful.

Back at home at Parkside the pond remains empty of all life, even the Little Grebe and the Heron have been absent for a few days, still no gulls or ducks at all. This time last year it was brimming with life , so I can only blame Avian flu.

In the garden the tits seem to have vanished as well, so Im assuming its malting time, but the pidgeons, Finches, Corvids and our resident Pheasent were all here. The stars of the show today however were the Butterflys, the garden was full of Cabbage Whites, Little Tortoise Shell, Peacock and the odd Red Admiral.

July 2023

25.07.23 : Roe Deer at Bassenthwaite Lake Staion, Cumbria