Friday, 13 February 2015

Getting up to date 13th February 2015

A spell of settled weather with little disruption from wintry elements has seen me out and about most days of the week, with photographs to view and edit on my return I have found it difficult to summon the necessary mental energy to do the compilation and editing that a blog update requires.
Rather a good problem and one I must try to find a way round, maybe updating more often making it a smaller task will be the way forward.
The five weeks since the last update have brought many exciting sights, a few nature reserve visits and a lot of local walks, we have been close to both west and east coasts and seen a wide variety of wildlife.
Leighton Moss brought me a first successful shot of a bittern in flight.
These secretive birds are tough to even see so I was delighted with this one!
One of our regular Wharfedale wanders, though on a slightly different route to normal, and we found a great spotted woodpecker peeping around a tree trunk...
...and a nuthatch in a not too dissimilar pose.
A look over Airedale as the sun goes low in the sky.
The first bullfinch I have seen locally for quite a while.
This was taken on the way to my little owl site, this is now very reliable except when I take someone else, how do they know ???
Another Wharfedale outing, the dippers begin to sing their rarely heard but joyous song at this time of the year. It took a while and a fair bit of craft to get close to one, the light was not great and in those conditions distant shots are extremely difficult.
There was a light covering of snow which seemed a good backdrop for this jackdaw.
I managed to get a little closer to the owl, I may have to dress as a sheep and graze the fields to get closer, I only hope the tups have been removed!
The enduringly sweet blue tits seem to find so many food sources that winter hardly bothers them and their chirpy song adds cheer to any day.
Long tailed tits suffer badly in a prolonged cold winter and it is gratifying to see so many about just now.
Treecreeper populations have been stable for a good many years now, probably suggesting that habitat rather than weather is most important for them. Lovely little birds that feed on insects and larvae in the bark on trees, only ever seen feeding as they ascend trees as the nuthatch is the only british bird that feeds in descent of trees.
The UK's smallest bird by a mighty small amount from a wren is the goldcrest, firecrest are the same size but they are pretty rare and I have not been blessed with their presence yet. Always on the move and tough to get in focus!
The local roe deer stags are in velvet (Antler covering) at the moment, I was lucky to get quite close to this magnificent specimen.
Our local red kite site usually offers good sightings and on this occasion only the light let us down a little...
My local path by the canal has suffered from a lack of frost, slithering through mud is not much fun with a steep bank on one side and water on the other.  I may leave this walk for a while now!
A female goosander...
and a Carolina wood duck, escapee from somewhere as they do not breed over here but a lovely looking bird.
Robins seem to be everywhere at the moment!
This was taken at Fewston reservoir.
Out in the fields were redwing...
and fieldfare...
We spotted siskins up in the trees...
A visit to Old Moor RSPB reserve near Barnsley and Rotherham and our first good sighting, another redwing...
A stunning yellowhammer
A female bullfinch
Blue tit
Male bullfinch
A lovely willow tit (A first for us!)
And most recently a trip out to the far east, well near Goole! Blacktoft Sands RSPB reserve is home to one of my favourite birds..the marsh harrier. The largest of the harriers in this country and some of the species head south for winter, more are staying on the Humber estuary year by year, great testimony to the work this tremendous reserve does.
We were blessed with sunshine, harsh light makes exposures difficult but it least enables decent shutter speeds!
Female marsh harriers are largely chocolate brown with occasional straw coloured feathering, mainly round the head.
Kestrels were evident during the day.....

The male marsh harrier is a spectacularly coloured bird, the graceful hovering over the reedbeds is entrancing...
A really special day with these beautiful birds.
A really special time is not too far away now, birds are pairing up and gathering nest materials, maybe nature is slightly out of tune but spring is not too far away.
Many sincere thanks to those who read and especially those who take the time to comment, don't forget if you do comment they come to me first for moderation.