Thursday, 12 March 2015

Warmth returns as Spring approaches

One of the delights as we begin to see the back end of winter is the opportunity to cast off a layer or two of the waterproofs and fleeces necessary in the colder months. Also the wildlife becomes more visible as birds begin the rituals of display and pairing up ready for breeding.

Maybe the biggest bonus for outdoor activities is the drying out and firming up of paths that have become quagmires during a wet winter such as the one just drawing to a close!

I have returned to the otter site a couple of times with no sightings but plenty of patience and many visits will be necessary to ascertain whether the family have a holt in the area. The youngsters may well be encouraged to leave by the female as she will be on the look out for a breeding partner, by their size they look well equipped to make a life of their own.

There are plenty of other things to see at the location, mistle thrushes feed in the fields.

Dunnocks appear on and by the walls...

Plenty of kestrels in the area too.

The fieldfares have not begun their return migration yet...

In the nearby woods the nuthatches are calling loudly and are easily visible...

A big problem with people scattering food for the birds is the attraction of rodents, mice and voles have been seen regularly but recent sightings of rats are not too welcome...

That hole is in the middle of the path!

Many birds are now in fine plumage, great tit..

...and blue tit

Wandering quietly through the woods I spotted a wren...

...and slightly larger, a roe deer just feet away from me

A pair of oystercatchers were by a small flooded area...

On the moor edges a lapwing

A lovely couple of visits in warm (ish) sunshine...

After the splendid kingfisher sightings of my previous report we just had to return to Rodley before too long.

At first most of the birds seemed to be in the distance and whilst there was some good variety it was at a range where photography was not too worthwhile.

I spotted a kingfisher fly into the edge of a reedbed, amongst many efforts to get a clear shot as the reeds swayed to and fro in a gusty breeze I managed this one...

It seemed none to happy with the fishing prospects on this pond and soon flew out of sight!

We made our way in the general direction of its flight and settled in another hide, this was worthwhile if for nothing else for this lovely clear sight of a little grebe.

Patience was rewarded soon after as the kingfisher flew in quite close and treated us to a lovely display of its fishing skills, and its ability to properly stun its catch by giving it a few brisk whacks on the perch it was using...

During the day we had been joined by a couple we knew via the internet and wildlife photography and we offered to lead them to our red kite site in the afternoon. Heading back to our respective cars for lunch we saw linnets in a tree, bad direction for light unfortunately!

Deborah and Eric spotted a bee on the path, fearful of it being trodden on in its lazy state we moved it safely away. A friend of Deborah's later kindly identified it as a tree bumblebee..

Making our way the short distance to the afternoon site it did cross my mind that the red kites had better be visible!

No need to worry as we approached the parking spots the kites were already gliding just above the car roof and we were treated to some spectacular displays, buzzards joined in the fun too, great stuff!

Red kite


Red kites

and another buzzard, happy days!

A photographer friend is currently visiting Haweswater regularly in an effort to get some photographs of the elusive golden eagle that is resident there and I made plans to join him one day.

We did get a brief sighting near the top of Rough Crag which leads up to High Street, by a process of elimination of what it could not be due to size compared with a walker who trod that path soon after, wing shape and posture, and adding in our collective experience we are pretty certain it was the eagle.

Chatting to a gentleman who joined us, he was last year's warden at the watchpoint, we were given some fairly specific details of the perches the bird likes to use so future visits may pay dividends.

The sun shone for most of the day and happy memories of hours spent climbing the various fells around the valley flooded back.

Riggindale, the home of the eagle...

Red deer on the horizon

and Haweswater

Many thanks to all who view the blog, please do not forget that if you do comment it will not appear immediately, they come to me for moderation first.  Happy Spring everyone.


  1. You've had some good days there, Dave, and some excellent photos. You are making me quite jealous!
    Pity about the otters but you never know.
    I had a mink yesterday on Hornsea Mere but not quite the same!


  2. The birds look really fluffy in their smart plumage at the moment, some gorgeous photos of small birds on the first half of this blog, plus fascinating shots of the delightful Kingfisher with its catch. Kites are such graceful birds, what a fine display they put on for you. Hope you get a full sighting of the Eagle on your next visit to Riggindale.