Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Ready for BGBW

Next weekend is the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch. So last saturday i did a quick 1 hour birdwatch to get ready for the real thing.
It. began at 12 and finished at 1. Throughout the hour it hailed three times and the there was an overcast of snow clouds. However this bad weather didnt stop the birds coming down to feed on the mixture of seeds.
First of all there were a few flyovers; Buzzard, a few Black Headed Gulls and a Herring Gull. There was also a large flock of about 80+ Starling with 15+ Redwing mixed in. 2 grey squirrels and a male Pheasant also made an appearance.
All in all we had;
17 House Sparrow
8 starling
7 Ferel Pigeon
4 Blackbird
3 Robin
3 Dunnock
3 Blue Tit
3 Collared Dove
3 Redwing
2 Magpie
2 Great Tit
2 Long Tailed Tit
2 Carrion Crow
2 Jackdaw
1 Woodpigeon
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Goldcrest
It was a good surprise to have some redwing and a goldcrest in the garden, as they stayed a bit longer then they usually do. So i managed to get a few pictures of them.

Dont forget to join in with the Big Garden Birdwatch next weekend, there's more information here

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Falconry Centre

Me and my dad went across to Yorkshire on his bike on the 21/9/2014. We saw some bikers we knew and then went further on to get to a place my dad had heard about.
We were off to the Falconry Centre in Settle http://www.falconryandwildlife.com/  The views from the centre were amazing, and then add a falcon flying through the scene it goes that one step further.
We began by walking around, looking and photographing the birds. Some were stood on branches in some well designed caves which gave them shelter for the day. Others were in cages. These were the bigger birds though. However the cages and the other onlookers didn't stop them from making a noise.
There were Vultures, Harriers, Hawks and Owls. the place is really well set out and you are able to see all the birds even when they are under shelter. There are special offers you can get which allow you to hold most of the birds there and have a personal guide to tell you about them, but we just had a look around.
Throughout the day there are displays, which allow you to get up close and personal with them, you literally have to duck when they are flying, which is amazing! Some land on the fence you are stood at which allows you to get some great portraits of the falcons. They don't only just bring one falcon out, they bring a range of falcons out, so you get to experience a variety of behaviours.
I was busy snapping photos of their Buzzard flying over with the valleys in the backdrop, but quite a few people got up and had Barn Owls landing on their arms.
One of the Barn Owls there, had been on Emmerdale. At the start of Emmerdale in the introduction when the owl flew through the graveyard. It had also played a role as a sick Owl in an episode. As this owl however was healthy, beforehand they fed him quite a lot of mice, and this did the job (he was totally fine with it).
After the display we had to head home. My dad took me through some valleys which he had planned a route on before. the path we were on had cliffs on one side and on the other were deep valleys. Sheep were dotted amongst the scragged landscape and Kestrels were hovering and diving amongst the valleys.


Moth Trap 7/1/15

The other night as it didn't rain, I was able to put my moth trap out. I've been wanting to put it out for a while but there has been so much rain and frost I couldn't risk it, even though they are waterproof. It was put out at 10:30 and my nan turned the light off at 7 in the morning, and I was hoping to get some good species to start 2015 off.
I went to check what I got at 8 and I was really surprised. Turns out this year doesn't want me to catch any moths. Yep, didn't catch a single moth, not even a fly. I will have to try again and hope for some to start the year, probably when the full moon isn't out.
But here are three of my favourites I managed to trap last year.



Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Best of Cockerham birds

I wasn't expecting to see this Osprey fly over. I knew exactly what it was because I really wanted to see one. I made my sister who isn't into birding stop what she was doing, to look up, so she could say she had seen a wild one. And I'm glad I made her. my favourite sighting there by far!
Black Swan
This again was unexpected as it was in the middle of no where with a large group of Whooper Swans. it was purely wild as well as it had no ring.
Whooper Swan
Great names, enough said
Red Breasted Merganser
A really smart bird. mainly seen on the River Lune with a few others when the tide is going out, so they were at a distance
These are some amazing birds. they kept together as a small group whilst flying amongst some trees
I love Skylarks, because they are great to watch hovering whilst singing above fields.
Sedge Warbler
This warbler was calling from some reeds when me and my nan were on a walk.
Little Owl
This owl lives in an abandoned barn at Cockerham

There have also been Tree Sparrows, a lot of Little Egrets, Ringed Plovers, Little Ringed Plovers, Curlews, Bar Tailed Godwits, Wheatears, Goldcrests and many other bird species. It really is a genuinely brilliant place.  

Friday, 2 January 2015

garden birds

 My house is surrounded by fields and we are situated near some countryside. Fortunately this makes it a good place to see the 'usual' garden birds, as well as some good treats!

We have had over 40 species in the garden, with 15 other species close around the area or flying over. I hope the list will increase during 2015, hopefully with Redpoll and Brambling.

The best birds which have visited the garden are; Fieldfare, Redwing, Tawny Owl, Bullfinch, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Harris' Hawk (however it was an escape, but still a good sight). I managed to find one of its tail feathers, which took quite a while to identify.

The best species found in the area are Tree Sparrow, Kingfisher, Common Tern and my favourite which I found myself in the field behind my house is Woodcock. I flushed it when I was birding and it zigzagged away.

We also have Pipestrelle Bats which fly around at dusk. I bought a camera trap two years ago and have managed to get pictures of the Fox at night. In the garden we have grey squirrels, hedgehogs, house mice, wood mice, brown rats and bank voles on a daily basis.

Back in April 2013, a Sparrowhawk had got hold of a young Collared Dove and then flew away leaving it. I looked after 'Dipsy' for a few weeks. He stayed in my treehouse until his wound had healed and then when I thought he was tough enough to fly, I let him go.
 He stayed around for a while, however because he grew his collar i cannot tell him and the others apart any more. Although there have been two collared doves visiting are garden for some time now and have nested a few times both successfully and unsuccessfully. But it is a reassuring thought that Dipsy is one of the pair.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Cuerdon Valley Park

Happy New year!
For new year day as a tradition my parents, my sister and I go on a walk. Usually we go to Beacon Fell, Brock Bottoms or Trough of Bowland. However this year my dad decided to take us someone new and different, Cuerdon Valley Park.
There wasn't much wildlife there but there were many dog walkers around. It was also raining, so at them time it didn't feel a good place to start new years off. But don't get me wrong, it was good to visit a new place. It is run by the wildlife trust and is surrounded by fields and small woods. There are two ponds and I managed to see quite a lot of old nests.
To kick of the bird year list I saw; Robin, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Great Crested Grebe and Buzzard. I also found a Tawny Owl feather.
As we walked round we came to two stone walls forming a three foot wide walkway. A lady told us that the people who had lived in Cuerdon Hall had the walls built, so that they couldn't see the commoners walking to the market.

It had been renovated by some lottery money, however nature is fighting back. Moss, ferns and fungi filled the holes in the wall.As it was raining we had our picnic in the car. It was a good day, but unfortunately I don't think we are going to go back. They are having a bird watching walk with a local bird expert David Beattie on the 18th January at 1pm. He his giving a walk and talking about the winter birds around the area.