Sunday, April 29, 2012

Grey morning at Low Barns

I had a walk round Low Barns Reserve this morning. Very grey and cold with a strong wind. Half way round the reserve I met a group out birdwatching and asked them if they'd seen anything. "No nothing about", came the reply.
It seems that this commonly received reply actually means nothing totally exotic or 'tick worthy'. 

I noted the following as I walked around. 

31 species
Greylag Goose  5, Canada Goose  2, Mute Swan  1, Mallard  2, Common Pheasant  2, Great Crested Grebe  3, Grey Heron  1 Coot  6, Oystercatcher  1, Wood-Pigeon  2, Great Spotted Woodpecker  3, Magpie  1, Carrion Crow  8, Marsh Tit  1, Great Tit  6, Blue Tit  3, Long-tailed Tit  1, Nuthatch  1, Treecreeper  1, Wren  1, Willow Warbler  6, Chiffchaff  2, Blackcap  2, Robin  2, Blackbird  3, Song Thrush  1, Dunnock  1, Reed Bunting  5, Chaffinch  7, Goldfinch  1, House Sparrow  1

Alright, nothing exotic, but I enjoyed watching all of them, especially the Great Crested Grebe which I watched catching and swallowing a fish. (Click the bottom image to see a video)

Perhaps if people stopped looking only for the rarities they might enjoy themselves more. 

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Holiday in Scotland

We have just returned from a weeks holiday in Scotland staying in Rothiemurchas on the way N and S and at Poolewe in the Western Highlands for 5 nights.

We had cool but mainly dry weather and excellent visibility.  The scenery was superb and we saw a wide range of interesting wildlife including Golden Eagle and Peregrine Falcon in Findhorn Valley, Common Dolphin and Common Seal in Gair Loch and White Tailed Sea Eagle, Red Breasted Merganser, Great Northern Diver and Otter in Loch Ewe.

Most of the wildlife refused to pose long enough for photographs apart from the dolphins which came so close that the telephoto lens was too long!

Chris did manage to have an otter feeding on crustaceans on the bank just in front of her (needless to say she didn't have a camera).

The bottom shot is the view from our campervan.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

South Bank of the Wear

Chris and I walked east along the south bank of the Wear to Bradley Cottages and back.  Forestry work has reduced what was a large wooded area near the river to an open clearing. It will be interesting to see how it regenerates.  The squirrels are active foraging among the fallen branches.
A cold day with a fresh westerley wind.  No birds in evidence apart from Curlews calling over the fields and some noisy Rooks.
On the way back we spotted several clumps of Stonecrop growing near the roots of the low shrubs.  We last saw this near White Kirkley in a very similar microhabitat.  Same soil, same bedrock, same aspect, just a few miles further west.
The blackthorn blossom is fully out providing a welcome splash of pink and white in the mainly black and green hedges.