Sunday, 8 July 2012

8th July RSPB Hodbarrow and St Bees

A misty and cloudy start to the day in Wasdale, the forecast was for clearing skies and a warm day so bags packed and cameras charged we planned a two centre day.

We drove down the coast road to Millom and the RSPB reserve of Hodbarrow, we took a walk along the dunes first but there was not much wildlife to see, this spiky thistle like plant caught the eye though.

A whooshing sound of large beating wings is usually enough to draw the attention, luckily we were just in time to catch the sight of passing swans, truly a swan vista!

The walk along the coastal causeway offers the chance to look out to sea and inwards to the reserve, between the two some heathland is home to a lot of smaller birds, here a lesser whitethroat on some reeds.

Regular viewers of the blog will be aware of my regular sightings of grey herons at home, I didn't bring this one with me, honest!!

Oystercatchers are unable to keep their presence quiet, the continual peeping can be a little annoying when there are a number of them at it, this one was unusually quiet.

We watched a great crested grebe diving for food and sharing some with her chick which occasionally strayed near some swans which offered disdainful glances.

Keeping a watchful eye all around you can pay dividends as we spotted a spider spinning a web between some rocks and then a snail making patterns in the sandy path.

Linnets seem to have had a good breeding year with plentiful sightings of this colourful and stunning bird, here a male posed on some gorse and allowed me a couple of photo's.

A resting small tortoiseshell butterfly was spotted on the seaside boulders.

Bar headed geese are rare visitors to these parts, keeping its distance from other birds we saw this one just before returning to the car.

We wandered back to the car, pausing for a picture of the Hodbarrow lighthouse.

With lunch taken we drove up to St Bees, parking charges apply here but they are thankfully not extortionate. The steep path up to the cliffs was tackled and the slippery muddy track made it just a little bit challenging at times!

Lovely views of herring gulls and cormorants nesting on the cliff edges, good pix of the gulls somehow eluded me though!

Identifying distant birds on the sea is problematic, definition disappears with distance and on a sunny day like this there are reflections and glare to contend with too. As this group floated closer we managed to identify them though...guillemots.

Another butterfly shot, this one a small heath I think..please correct me if you know better:-)

A lone bird down below us attracted my camera lens, a razorbill.

What a grand day we had enjoyed, time passes quickly when enjoyment levels are high, the warmth of the sun was welcome too and we paused on the walk back to enjoy the view over St Bees village and shoreline.

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