Ponds 24th May

Another fine day, so I another visit to the local ponds, hopefully to get some shots of Four Spotted Chaser.

Plenty of Large Red and Azure Damselfly on the first two ponds I visited, but no larger Dragonfly on the favourite second pond. So I tried the third pond where there isn’t usually any action, but it was cleared last year of ingrowing vegetation. A single Four Spotted Chaser was patrolling the pond and landing, and I was able to take a good selection of photos. Here also was a single Blue tailed Damselfly.

Other wildlife of note was very little. Birds noted were Willow Warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Green Woodpecker, and Common Whitethroat

Four spotted Chaser 16x9
Four Spotted Chaser

Ponds 21st May

Back out to the local ponds, and I could see at the first pond encountered that there was now a good showing of Azure Damselfly about, with these were a few Large Red Damselfly.

I was hoping now that I could find some larger Dragonfly about, so I moved on to the larger ponds, and as I was making my way thru the brambles, I inadvertently put up a Four Spotted Chaser, as it took flight I watched were it came down, and of course, it became inaccessible, and to far for the camera.

So I moved into the larger of the ponds, and here I found more Azure and Large Red Damselfly, no action over the water, so I looked in the surrounding vegetation, finally picking up a couple of Four Spotted Chaser, out of reach and in bad positions for the camera, but the season was underway.

Bird highlights included a Green Woodpecker, Whitethroat, Swallow, Blackcap, Long tailed Tit, and hearing Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff.

Butterfly highlights were Holly Blue and the first Small Heath of the year.

Other highlights included Hairy Shieldbugs and a few Helophilus pendulus hoverfly

Hairy Shiedbug
Hairy Shieldbug


A family holiday to Seahouses up on the Northumberland coast, 4 nights 5 days,  a chance to go around the Farne islands, but no landing this year, due to the bird flu.

Seahouses Harbour holds a good-sized flock of Eider at high tide, giving great photo opportunities, coming in really close.

Around the headland at Seahouses breeding Fulmar, Kittiwakes and Sand Martins could be seen, with plenty of Swallows, Starling, House Sparrow, and Herring Gull. On the rocky areas, I found a male and female Wheatear on one occasion, my first of the year. On another day, I found a small flock of Ringed Plover and a single Whimbrel as it took flick, giving off its distinctive whistle call as it flew overhead.

Sandwich Terns, Oystercatcher, Shag, Swifts, House Martins, Pied Wagtails, we’re just a few species I found around the Seahouses Harbour.

We had a boat trip around the Farne islands on one afternoon, an hour and a half in total, no landing, to see the usual seabirds and seals. Guillemots, Razorbill, Shag, Puffin, Arctic Terns, Kittiwakes, and seals were all easily seen from the boat.

Bird List:- Arctic Tern, Blackbird, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Canada Goose, Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Collard Dove, Common Gull, Dunlin, Eider, Fulmar, Gannet, Goldfinch, Goosander, Great Black backed Gull, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Grey Plover, Guillemot, Herring Gull, House Martin, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Kittiwake, Lesser Black backed Gull, Linnet, Magpie, Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Puffin, Razorbill, Red legged Partridge, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Robin, Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon, Rook, Sand Martin, Sandwich Tern, Shag, Skylark, Starling, Stock Dove, Swallow, Swift, Turnstone, Wheatear, Whimbrel, Whitethroat, Woodpigeon (57)

Puffin and Kittiwake

Pond Visit 7th May

Another visit out to my local ponds, hopefully to get the Dragonfly season off to a start.

Birds of note today were Common Whitethroat, new in, Willow Warbler, a few House Martins going thru, with Blackcap and Chiffchaff.

A couple of butterfly species now with Holly Blue and Orange tip, alas no small health.

No large dragonflies about yet, and it took me a while to find my first Large Red Damselflies, now the season begins.

Large Red Damselfly

Pond Visit 20th April

A quick visit to the local ponds, after a few days of sun, mainly for a recce and in the hope of finding a few Damselflies.

Sadly, none were found, but bird highlights inc. My first Reed Bunting on this site, Blackcaps and Willow Warbler, were now on site.

Gorse Shieldbugs were a nice find and also a first here, and another first for site was a Green Longhorn Moth.

Hoverflies about mainly Syrphus sp

Green Longhorn Moth

Night Heron

Ossett today along the river Calder, attraction was a pair of Night Herons. Last time I saw these in the Huddersfield area was back in 2008 at Scout Dike reservoir, which I know believe was of dubious origin, so it would be good to get this firmly on the Huddersfield area list.

It was raining, there were few birds about, Mallards and Goosanders on the river, mermors from passing birders was that the one of the Night Herons had flown up river and the other was hiding somewhere in the bushes.

I didn’t find it on my first pad of the area, I was now the only one there, but I could see other birders arriving, I told them the news, and I was now wet.

I decided on another look-up river and to my relief someone had located the bird, happy days, twenty minutes of viewing the bird, a bit of video, before this one decided on flying up river too.

Other bird of note, my first Reed Bunting of the year, along with Willow Warbler and Blackcap

Video of Night Heron can be seen HERE

Cromwell Bottom Members Day

8th of April and members day at Cromwell Bottom, this takes in a guided walk around the site with a couple of people from the committee, also takes in the North loop, which is mainly a closed off area.

The guided walk was due to start at 10am, so I decided on a earlier start, before it got busy. Leaving the car park, the Heronry seemed very active this morning with quite a few Grey Herons around bringing in nesting material. Green Woodpecker was noticeable by its “Yaffling” call, but not seen. The feeders by the visitor centre were active with Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robins, and Chaffinch.

Down at the weir there was a single Grey Wagtail this morning, and nothing else, so onto the reserve. The main feeding station was a quiet today, only Robins seen with a nearby calling Chiffchaff.

A walk on down to the viewing platform were there was a male Teal and a Grey Heron. I came back via the river footpath hoping for that Kingfisher sighting, not today.

A Blackcap made itself known by its loud call around by the feeding station, a bit of a dull start, hope the walk is better.

The members walk started at 10am setting off down along the canal towpath with the aim of coming onto the reserve further down. we were off to a good start picking up a couple of Willow Warblers and three female Goldeneye, Oystercatchers and Goosanders (ski lake). Our next stop was the viewing platform where we heard a Little Grebe and found a male Reed Bunting, also a couple of Lesser Redpolls .Walking back along the river footpath a Kingfisher was heard but alas not seen.

After lunch we were allowed up onto the North Loop site, where we could see the plans being made for this area, a horseshoe shaped lagoon was was being made and eventually would be a good area for passing waders, with hopefully some stopping to breed. Meadow Pipit was up on this location with of course the breeding Barn Owls.

44 species seen or heard today

Bird List : Blackbird, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Coot, Dunnock, Goldeneye, Goldfinch, Goosander, Great Tit, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Greylag Goose, Jay, Kingfisher, Lesser Black backed Gull, Lesser redpoll. Little Grebe, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Nuthatch, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Reed Bunting, Robin, Song Thrush, Stock Dove, Teal, Tufted Duck, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren

Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit

A Day Out 7th April

Well today’s plan was for Wombwell Ings early doors then on to Thorne Moors for Adders, when hopefully the day had heated up a bit for the adders.

Wombwell was quiet, a few Meadow Pipits along with Skylarks, the Water Pipit was a quick glimpse as it flew off.

Thorne Moors produced the said Adders, we managed five today, a couple of large dark females, a great experience. Birds we managed to see on site were, Stonchat ♂, a single Swallow, Marsh Harrier, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps,

We then decided on a visit up to St Aidans RSPB, as this site doesn’t shut early, like Blacktoft |Sands. Lots more to see at St Aidans, good start was the Little Owl, in its usual spot near the drag line. A long walk then to fin the Black necked Grebes, we managed to see four birds. Gorse bushes on a sunny day had me looking and finding Gorse Shieldbugs. Bittern was heard booming but not seen, another heard was Water Rail and Cetti’s Warblers.

A great day out with 68 species seen or heard, the Adders however stole the show today

Bird List : Bittern, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Black necked Grebe, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Crow, Cetti’s Warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Collard Dove, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunnock, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jay, Lapwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Linnet, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Little Owl, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Pink footed Goose, Pochard, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Robin, Rook, Shoveler, Skylark, Song Thrush, Starling, Stock Dove, Stonechat, Swallow, Teal, Tufted Duck, Water Pipit, Water Rail, Wigeon, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren



Norfolk Trip Day 4

The return home day, after three great days birding in Norfolk. The plan was to return via RSPB Adwick Washlands on the way thru. finally arriving at Adwick at about 1pm to a full car park, so I had a wait of about 10 – 15 mins before a space became available.

Little bit of a steady walk down to the actual Marsh area, along Lowfield Lane, lots to se on the way down there, Chaffinch, Robin, Kestrel, Crow, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Canada Geese, Greenfinch, Long tailed Tit and Woodpigeon.

At the marsh area, first pool, plenty of Avocets along with Black headed Gulls, Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon, Mallards and a couple of Redshank. I then moved off and had a look at the feeders, along the hedgerow in the left field, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Reed Buntings, Robin, Blue and Great Tits all to be found.

Further down the lane, another pool, again on the right side, there was a small number of birders assembled, looking at the bird I’d forgotten about, a drake Garganey, always a nice bird to see, a summer migrant to these shores.

A nice ending to a wonderful four days birding

Little Egret

Norfolk Trip Day 3

Saturday and Day 3, the plan was to stop at Cley Marshes for the day, a place I hadn’t been to since September 2011, so long overdue a visit. A good start on arrival, I was buzzed by a Sparrowhawk as it went thru the car park. Five pound for a permit, purchased at the visitor centre, this includes the car park fee, centre opens at 10am, all a bit completed to me.

Anyway out on the reserve, my first port of call was to bishop’s hide, where there was a splendid Grey Wagtail along with a couple of Pied Wagtails. A few Ruff about, with no shortage of Avocet’s, and a couple of Redshanks in and amongst. Wildfowl included Mallard, Teal, a lot of Shovelers, Shelducks, Wigeon and a pair of Pintail, to finish off with Coots, Crows and Marsh Harriers.

After Bishops it was on to the East Bank, in the hope of seeing the star birds at Cley at the moment. The first bird was a no show on Arnolds Marsh , I walked down the bank to the call of Cetti’s Warblers, Redshanks and Curlews bubbling away, soon down on the shingle beach looking for quarry number two, they were soon located, with the help of other birders, always a pleasure in seeing Snow Buntings, Along with the SNOBS as some people like to cal them were, Meadow Pipits, who blended in nicely with the surrounding fauna.

The first of the rain moved in so I took refuge in the shelter at the bottom of East Bank, where I could look over the marsh, watching Brent Geese, Black tailed Godwits, and Ringed Plovers. After the rain ahd moved thru it was back onto the bank, looking for and finally finding the Long billed Dowitcher, very close as well. This is an American wader, a Snipe sized bird, with plumage and shape looking like a cross between a snipe and a Bar tailed Godwit. I’d managed to get some video footage just before the rain moved back in, press HERE but by the time I’d got back to the car for dinner I was cold and wet.

After a dry out, it was back over to Bishops Hide, mainly to avoid another down pour, I just made it into the hide before the heavens opened, we even had to shut the hide windows, as rain was coming in. When the rain eventually stopped I moved over to the Avocet, Daukes and Teal hides, I ended stopping here for the rest of my time at Cley, watching and photographing Redshanks, Black tailed Godwits, Ruff, Dunlin, Meadow Pipits, Avocets, Wigeon, Mute Swans, Teal, Pied Wagtail, Lapwing and Marsh Harriers and finally for the day a pair of Egyptian Geese, 41 species for the day.

Bird List :- Avocet, Black headed Gull, Black tailed Godwit, Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Great Black backed Gull, Grey Wagtail, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Little Egret, Long billed Dowitcher, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Meadow Pipit, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pied wagtail, Pintail, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Rook, Ruff, Shelduck, Snipe, Snow Bunting, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Teal Wigeon, Woodpigeon (41)

Black tailed Godwit, shaking off the rain