The kind and sunny weather continues and almost every day offers an opportunity to get out and appreciate the bright skies and the wonderful autumnal trees.
Although summer is usually enjoyable it can be frustrating for watching wildlife and particularly attempting to photograph creatures which are hidden in heavy foliage, joyous though the sound of singing birds can be!
Now as the leaves fall things are more visible, a short local walk brought me a few good sightings.
This lovely female blackbird was feasting on the plentiful berries
A feisty little wren chattered away
While I enjoyed a coffee from my flask a great tit arrived on a nearby fence
and a sweet robin sang in the now almost bare bushes
This season brings in some lovely visitors from northern climes, redwings arrive in sociable flocks and feed on fruit and berries, when stocks of these are depleted they will look for insects and worms in the fields.
I spotted a small group feasting on the canalside berries and moved slowly and carefully within range for a reasonably close photograph...
Visits to RSPB Leighton Moss are never disappointing, making the trip the day after Autumnwatch had been broadcasting from there was a considered risk. Larger numbers of visitors was a distinct probability but we reckoned an early start would see us with at least some quiet time.
Although there were larger numbers than usual we still had a very enjoyable day, fortunate timing enabled us to be within yards of a hide when the only shower of the day, and a heavy one too, arrived without warning!
Fly agaric fungi
Sightings were a little slow early on but never one to waste leisure time I practised my flight shots on the plentiful and active mallards...
Things soon improved and we spotted a gadwall...
...and we were treated to a marsh harrier fly past
The robins at Leighton Moss almost beg to have their photographs taken!
Visitors often scatter feed seed on convenient tree boughs by the paths to encourage birds into view, this particular place attracts a good variety of birds.
and another nuthatch displaying its multi seed capacity bill
A lovely treecreeper was spotted nearby
The lively breeze ruffled the feathers of this robin
Large numbers of teal are also arriving from the north, very small ducks with lovely feathering.
The resident red deer began to appear from the reedbeds...
And to end a lovely day another marsh harrier appearance...
Another favourite place is Rodley Nature Reserve near Leeds, although small in area in attracts plenty of species and is a lovely peaceful area to visit.
Our first sighting in the garden hide was a male reed bunting..
A female bullfinch visited the feed table
While the female reed bunting tidied up in the grass underneath
We followed a small flock of birds and with some patient work we were able to get near enough for a close shot of a linnet...
Under one of the many feed stations the grass was rustling, we stood for a while and we rewarded with a close look at a cute little vole.
The dry summer has been kind to voles and mice and populations are high, this is good news for them and for the birds like owls which heavily rely on them as a food source.
On our way home we called by a site well known for red kite, they were evident but all the ones we spotted were directly into the low sun of late afternoon. Disappointment disappeared as a large and beautifully marked buzzard flew directly and close overhead!
A great privilege to see a lovely bird so close up.
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