Tuesday, 2 July 2013

29th June - 1st July 2013..Home and away

A good few years ago I watched a wildlife programme on TV that was hosted by Bill Oddie, he expressed the view that we should all try to have a "local patch". Ideally containing a waterway and woodland, the key locations for many species, for those who live in urban areas it may be difficult but rarely impossible to find somewhere like that where you can walk often enough to notice and absorb the little changes in nature's behaviour that are so important.

With the choice of so many great areas near to home it was difficult to narrow down what would become my local patch, eventually I settled on an area not much bigger than a square kilometre. River, canal and woodland are all there and it is next to a moor, I'm lucky and it has paid large dividends with buzzard, red kite, kestrel, kingfisher, little grebe, roe deer, stoat and many many other wonderful creatures witnessed.

If I have only a couple of hours to spare I usually head here, so it was on Saturday morning I set out.

Sightings are difficult at the moment with heavy foliage on the trees but the sun was shining and it was pleasurable walking...I soon encountered swans, the lady of the family rather inelegantly having some weed dangling from her mouth..

I touched on predation in my last blog, one of those classed as a rascal is the magpie, they really are not any worse than many others and they do have magnificent colours when seen up close..

Two other non too popular birds are crows and rooks, oft confused as well...the easiest way to distinguish the species in my opinion is the beak colour...crow always black..

Rook, grey...

I took a break to enjoy a coffee from my thermos, sitting quietly I had some beautiful visitors as juvenile swallows took a break from their flying lessons...

One of my usual companions, the moorhen...

There is a small copse of immature trees in this section, always worth checking out and often frustrating as I hear lots and see nothing. Perseverance brings rewards though and today I found a willow warbler finding food for its youngsters..

A strident but tuneful song and no bird??? Often a wren, it was and for once I located it :-)

 A cheeky and chirpy chaffinch rounded off my walk, a good couple of hours...

Family stuff dictated a late start on Sunday and it was nearly lunchtime when we set off for Leighton Moss RSPB reserve. I knew good photographs were unlikely under the prevailing dull skies but it was dry, we had waterproofs packed just in case though!

We caught sight of a moorhen chick...

A young marsh harrier sailed past at distance..

And a little egret stalked the shallows...

A flock of black tailed godwits flew in, gorgeous birds with their brick red summer plumage..

We had a break for a snack and then made our way to another hide, black headed gulls were numerous and prominent..

Yes I know the head is more chocolate coloured than black but I didn't name them!

A juvenile..

The marsh harriers continued to appear and we had some lovely sightings through the scope and binoculars, just too far away for decent photographs on this occasion.

Right on the edge of what I consider to be the range of my camera I found great crested grebe..

Swifts were hawking busily, not a great shot though...

The afternoon and early evening had passed quickly and all too soon it was time for the journey home.

I had a couple of spare hours on Monday, I visited the river Wharfe and the sand martin colony...many attempts at flight shots resulted in frustration at the lack of quality...I resorted to hiding myself away near the nests, careful not to cause disturbance, at last I managed a decent photograph of one of these beautiful birds..

1 comment:

  1. Another delightful selection Dave, your patch is a very productive and entertaining one ! You are getting better and better at capturing birds in their natural habitat, a joy to see.