Monday, 15 February 2010

Tales from the Lake District Two

Woke t0 a wet and rainy day yesterday so we packed up the car and headed off to the South Lakes Animal Park. Got some cracking photo's of some wonderful ducks and swans. The male Manderin Duck was definately trying to impress the females. Others on show were Ringed Teal, Black Swans and loads I could not even guess at identifying. A good day ended up with a quick stop at Coniston for a photo shoot and Tea at Hawkeshead. Below are some of the ones I have no idea what they are?
Today saw another wet and misty day but we headed off regardless stopping at Thirlmere and Ambleside before attempting the Kirkstone Pass to Ullswater. Brightened up a bit by then and a quick stop at the lake was well worth it. Coot and Canada Geese were abundant but to my utter surprise 2 Oystercatchers flew right by me and landed on the opposite bank. Also spotted were a couple of Greylag Geese. (I was very proud of this spot hehe) We headed to a waterfall near by and was delighted to spot a Treecreeper. A tick for me and it made the day. What a fab little bird, it was hanging around with some Long Tailed Tits and it was a real delight. Also spotted were Chaffinch, Great Tit and Blue Tit. A lovely day and the weather brightened up which made the day complete. Heading home tomorrow after a cracking couple of days and a Tick which is always nice. Will be back soon.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Tales from the Lake District

After stopping at Melmerby for a light lunch we headed to Haweswater for a spot of birding. Neither of us had been there before before and didn't really know what to expect. Very isolated and with stunning scenery you couldn't ask for much more. Not many birds today and although there is a Golden Eagle RSPB spotting post somewhere at Haweswater it proved to be very hard to find with the only directions at the car park and with so many tracks and trails we gave up. It didn't matter though as the pure beauty of the place was enough. On the lake we spotted a couple of Mallard, a few Tufted Ducks, and to my delight some Goosander. There was some Gulls near the dam but that was about it. Sat for quite a while watching the Tufted Ducks while Mike was perched on the side of some rocks trying to get the light right without shadows for a decent photo.
On the way to our acommodation we spotted a fabulous Buzzard perched on a branch right on the road side, unfortunately with nowhere to park the photo opportunity passed. Next Time!!!
Out again today - Great without the greater and lesser spotted teenagers.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Destined to remain a MYSTERY

A brief walk to Churchpoint at Newbiggin on Saturday resulted in me acting like a total nutter whilst trying to identify a group of birds. I immediately spotted a group of Oystercatchers and while watching these lovely birds I spotted something odd amongst the small gathering and immediately went into stealth mode and crept forward hiding amongst the rocks. Mike just shook his head in despair at my efforts at being a wildlife photographer. There was a small group of Turnstones and Redshanks amongst the group and I could see these small grey/white birds running to and fro. I got into a good spot, got out my bird book and tried to get a photo...I got what I thought was a cracker but once home I realised the little blighters had ducked between the rocks and I was left with 2 Redshank. Nice but no good to ID my mystery birds. In my not so scientific deduction I think they may of been Dunlin as they had a white belly and grey upper parts but despite my deductions I am probably wrong as in my book it stresses they are waders and these were amongst the rocks acting a bit like Turnstones. So the Mystery is destined to stay a mystery.

Other sightings were Heron, Gulls, Cormorant and some cracking male Eider Ducks. I was amazed to get a good shot of 2 different birds one the first one I think is a first winter male as the colours are not quite as sharp and it is a sooty colour, I first thought the bird was an eclipse male but then noticed the white chest and ruled it out. The second one is what I think is a winter male, it is much more brightly coloured with the white head but the green on the head is still a bit shabby looking. I may be totally wrong about most things related to birding but one thing I do know is that it is awfully good fun. Off to the Lake District at the weekend for a few days holiday with some birding and photography thrown in for good measure.
The birds I can ID now are still a challenge as I am wanting to learn more such as - are they 1st winter, mature or eclipse. Fascinating stuff.