Sunday, 20 March 2016

Getting things on a firmer footing!

The last few weeks have seen a welcome change of weather, drier and calmer conditions and some much needed warmth have arrived. The ground has dried, paths have recovered and are now much more pleasant and safer to walk.

The wonderful arrival of Spring, the season of renewal and rebirth and the season when great migrations take place and our wonder at the instincts of birds that return to nest sites thousands of miles away from their winter grounds is magnified.

A little domestic bird is one of the harbingers of Spring for me, when the robins start to sing their cheerful melodies the heart and spirit lift and smiles are none too hard to find!

Being a child of the moors two of the most iconic birds are lapwing and curlew, their haunting calls have been with me from my youth and I never tire of them. Their arrival back from the coast where they winter is much appreciated and respected.

Of course welcoming back some means saying goodbye to others so I have been spending time with the short eared owls, hopefully at least a pair will stay and breed but others will depart for the coast or perhaps foreign lands. Their presence in such numbers and close proximity has been superb, I am so grateful I live so close to areas that attract such beautiful birds.

One of the big finds this year has been barn owls, from only brief and usually distant sightings I have been able to build up quite a catalogue of photographs of these beautiful creatures.

Quite an experience I promise you, never take wildlife for granted and appreciate the good fortune you occasionally get.

My raptor watching paid off with sightings of a female sparrowhawk, distant and heavily cropped.

...and a bonus of lapwing and curlew in the surrounding fields :-)

Roe deer seen near home....

More short eared owls....

Then we had one of "those" moments, a walk by the Leeds Liverpool canal in an area we have come to trust for sightings of kestrels, buzzards and occasionally merlin. They share a habitat with another bird which hunts small mammals and at 3.30pm we spotted a barn owl hunting, absolute magic!

Our native corvid populations holds one of nature's most intelligent birds, big and bold and often noisy the magnificent raven is identifiable by its long beak and diamond shaped tail.

Dippers are already nesting by the streams and rivers, love these little beauties...

Green woodpecker, always a delight to see and hear...

 And so the new year of growth awaits, I will watch and witness with my usual exuberance and enthusiasm. I never tire of loading up the photography and watching gear, nor the long days when not much is seen. The understanding of habitats in relation to expected species is growing as are my bird identification skills.

Many, many thanks to all who take the time to read the blog, please remember if you do comment that they come to me first for moderation. Cheers folks I really appreciate your support!