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Cromwell Bottom

Back out to Cromwell Bottom for a brief visit with dog in tow, surprisingly on arrival the car park was virtually empty, Friday at 14:15.

Straight around towards the feeders where i managed to see a male Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Jay. Onward we went towards the viewing platform where I managed to pick up on a small bird flock moving thru which included Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long tailed Tit, Treecreeper.

Out on the adjacent gravel pits were numerous gulls mainly Black headed along with a few common and Herring and alone Grey Heron, a little bit nearer on the canal were Mallards, Mute Swan and Goosanders (2 males and 1 female), and a Cormorant went over.

Back at the feeders I added Dunnock and Blackbird

Bird List : Blackbird, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Common Gull, Cormorant, Dunnock, Goosander, Great Tit, Grey Heron, Herring Gull, Jay, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mute Swan, Nuthatch, Reed Bunting, Treecreeper (22)

Cromwell Bottom

The first day out of the year and nice again to get out with the camera after all the Christmas business and just be able to relax into nature again. My first choice of 2022 was Cromwell Bottom mainly because its local but also for the good areas of bird feeders which give good opportunities for bird photography.

I arrived on site just as daylight was breaking and nobody else had arrived in the car park, I headed straight off to the feeding area near the bridge in the reserve as the cafe feeding area was closed. Whilst walking towards the feeding area I heard Song Thrush, Robin, and saw Crow and Magpie. On arrival at the feeding area there wasn’t any birds active in the area the only occupants were squirrels but after about 15 minutes this started to happen with Blue, Great and Coal Tits coming into the feeders along with Bullfinch, Dunnock, Robin, Jay, Nuthatch, Chaffinh and Magpie.

After about an hour I left the feeding area and headed into the reserve crossing over the bridge and headed towards the viewing platform where I could overlook the adjoining canal and onto the gravel pits from the reserve. Here I saw a pair of Goldeneye ducks along with Black headed, Common and Herring Gulls. Back on the reserve I found very little in the area I was in apart from Crows.

It wasn’t long before I was back at the feeding area, which by now was full of watchers, I stayed ten minutes basically seeing what I’d already seen so I headed off back to the car, seeing Mallard and Mute Swans on my way passed the canal.

Bird List : Blackbird, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Canada Goose, Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Common Gull, Cormorant, Dunnock, Goldeneye, Great Tit, Grey Heron, Herring Gull, Jay, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mute Swan, Nuthatch, Robin, Song Thrush.

Video of the Morning PRESS

Click on the Photo to make bigger

Great Tit

Belted Kingfisher

After missing out on the 2005 bird a friend and I decided on venturing our to see this one. I don’t know what I was most looking forward to today seeing the bird or negotiating the quagmire of the farmers field, where I had heard various stories of people sliding and going arse over elbow and paying £10 for the pleasure.

We arrived early, still dark, payed our tenner for entry into the field and ventured to the far side, without mishap, to a place we could over look the river. The crowd had gathered and were waiting in anticipation, we got brief glimpses of the bird on a couple of occasions but not good enough for that tick able lifer sighting..

Four hours into the watch having seen Robin and Greater Spotted Woodpecker for company, we eventually got a shout from from the back of us of someone having a sighting of the bird fishing the local ponds further along the river. Thankfully I was at the back of the crowd when the call happened and one of the first there, I got that tick able view of the Belted Kingfisher, 16 years in the waiting, it was in the bag. I believe it was around the 4th or 5th for Britain.

With the kingfisher seen we moved on down to Southport, where caught up with the Snow Buntings, near the pier, great views of four birds, also a female Peregrine. We popped into RSPB Marshside notching up a few duck species, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall and Pintail. Also on site were lots of Lapwing and Golden Plover, also managing to pick up Black tailed Godwits, Redshank, Curlew and Dunlin.

We moved on then to a place called Banks Marsh where we caught up with Twite mixed in with the Pied Wagtail flock. A male Hen Harrier was seen at a distance, a Great White Egret was also distant, female Sparrowhawk was a bit closer, scarce bird here apparently, a hoped for Short Eared Owl was a no show

Bird List for the day : Belted Kingfisher, Blackbird, Black headed Gull, Black tailed Godwit, Blue Tit, Canada Goose, Crow, Curlew Dunlin, Hen Harrier, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Peregrine, Pied Wagtail, Pink footed Goose, Pintail, Redshank, Robin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Snow Bunting, Sparrowhawk, Straling, Teal, Tufted Duck, Woodpigeon

Snow Bunting

Cromwell Bottom

Another visit out to Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve, mainly for time out and with the camera. Disappointingly the café was shut along with the toilet block which of course gave limited access to the feeding area but the birds were landing on the fence and surrounding trees so I had views of Blue, Great, Coal and Long tailed Tits, Robin, Nuthatch, Chaffinch

On to the reserve, I made a bee-line to the feeding area and here were Blackbird, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Robin and Stock Dove all giving great photo opportunities. Whilst here in the nearby trees I saw a flock of Siskin and Goldfinch but alas these didn’t come down to the feeders but remained high in the Alder trees.

A walk around the reserve revealed little else, nearby were Black headed, Common, and Herrings Gulls, Cormorants, and Canada Geese

Blue Tit

Cromwell Bottom NR

A very brief visit to Cromwell Bottom NR near Brighouse resulted in a few bird species seen, a pair of Goldcrest seen a displaying with the male seen with the crown raised. At the bird feeders were Blackbird, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Coal tit, Dunnock, Great Tit, Long tailed Tit, Stock Dove and a very friendly Robin.

White tailed lapwing

Week 42 saw me back with the birds and a long staying rarity in the form of a White tailed Lapwing was seen, with difficulty, at Blacktoft Sands RSPB reserve. This birds breed on inland marshes in Iraq, Iran and southern Russia with the Russian birds migrating to the Indian subcontient, Middle East and North east Africa, so a very rare bird for the UK this being the 8th for the UK but the 1st for Yorkshire. Other birds around the WT Lapwing were, Dunlin, Redshank, Northern Lapwing, Black tailed Godwit, Ruff and Spotted Redshank. There were Marsh Harriers over the reed and Water Rail skulking along the bottom of the reeds, Teal, Wigeon, Coot and Moorhens too. We also found a few Common Darter Dragonflies on the approach to the hide when we were leaving.

We then moved onto Adwick Washlands where we picked up a single Grey Phalarope close into the path area, a great opportunity to see my 2nd Grey Phalarope close to. Other birds were Bullflinch, Chaffinch, Spotted Redshank, Black headed Gulls, Wigeon, Gadwall and Teals.

After Adwick we moved on to Old Moor mainly for the reported Caspian Gull, which we didn’t see. we did however find some Common Snipe along with a single Jack Snipe, from the reedbed hide. At the new lookout hide, Common Gulls, Herring Gulls, Lesser Black backed Gulls, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard. A single Common Darter was found around the pool area. Around the feeders were Greenfinch, Bullfinch, Chaffinch and Woodpigeon

Birds for the Day : Blackbird, Black tailed Godwit, Blue Tit, Bullflinch, Canada Goose, Crow, Cettis Warbler, Chaffinch, Collard Dove, Common Gull, Coot, Cormorant, Dunlin, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Great Crested Grebe, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Grey Phalarope, Herring Gull, Jack Snipe, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Lapwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Little Egret, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Redshank, Robin, Ruff, Shoveler, Snipe, Sparrowhawk, Spotted Redshank, Starling, Stock Dove, Teal, Tufted Duck, Water Rail, WHITE TAILED LAPWING, Wigeon, Woodpigeon

White Tailed Lapwing

Grey Phalarope

Ponds Visit

Been a couple of week since my last outing so it was overdue, the weather wasn’t up to scratch overcast with a glimpse of the sun on occasions, so I got the change and here I was. A Southern Hawker was over patrolling the first pond I came to, around the edges were various hoverfly species namely, Helophilus pendulus, Episyrphus balteatus, Eristalis tenax, but i also caught sight of Sphaerophoria scripta, Myathropa florea also a new one for me in the form of Platycheirus granditarsus, along with these I also came across a Conops quadrifasciatus Fly.

Moving around I picked up on a few Emerald Damselflies mainly males hanging around in the long grasses, a few craneflies were also seen mainly Tipula oleracea. Surprisingly I also found a single Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar hanging out on the ragwort, but I also found a new moth species in the form of a Blood Vein Moth.

Checking out the Blackberry bushes Common Green and Spiked Shieldbugs were located. Very few butterflies about now apart from the single Gatekeepers.

Spiked Shieldbug

Pond Visit

A quick dash to the ponds to find out what was flying resulted in me finding Large White and Meadow Brown butterflies along with a Eristalis nemorum Hoverfly and a few Helophilus pendulus Hoverflies.

The main reason for my visit was for Dragonflies, a single Blue tailed Damselfly and a few Emerald Damselflies were the first ones I came across. Brown Hawker were still about but the main one I was looking for I found on one of the smaller ponds a Southern Hawker a definite sighting this time, after I thought I’d seen one last year it was very much welcome, plus I did manage to get a few photos to boot. Other highlights were a few Common Darters alas no Ruddy Darter, no matter how much I tried to turn Common into Ruddy, and a surprise lone Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar

Southern Hawker

Dragonfly Week

Since it was Dragonfly Week (22nd) and the sun was shining it would be rude not to have a re-visit to the local ponds again. Arriving at about 10am it was already hot, first dragonflies seen were a pair of Common Darter in the wheel position, on the same pond were Brown Hawker and Emperor. The larger pond had Four-spotted Chasers with more Emperors along with a few Common Darters. damselflies around the pools were Azure, Common Blues, Blue tailed and Emeralds. I also found a first for me and what I believe to be Common Darter Exuvia.

Other highlights included Butterflies…my first Gatekeepers of the year, Small Heath, Small and Large Skippers, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Large and Small Whites along with Green veined Whites

Moths…there was a noticeable amount of Shaded Broad Bar moths about

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Emperor Dragonfly
Common Darter Exuvia

Dragonfly Week

Dragonfly week runs from the 17th July to the 25th July get out there and enjoy I did venturing down to the local ponds where I saw Four Spotted Chasers, Brown Hawkers, Emperor Dragonflies, Broad Bodied Chaser, Common Darters, Common Blue Damselflies, Azure Damselflies, Blue tailed Damselflies and Emerald Damselflies.

Here’s a short video of that time spent at my local area ponds PRESS

Broad Bodied Chaser
Common Darter