Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Great Mell Fell

Spent the morning at Great Mell Fell today, we had quite a bit of snow overnight and the roads to the fell were covered, no tracks, about 4 inches I would guess.
Arrived at the fell to see its summit in the clouds, I decided to stay in the woodland around its base. As I passed the National Trust sign a Common Buzzard flew from the tree above, sounding its disapproval of me intruding. It felt good to see that I was only one who entered this way today, no other footprints, apart from Roe Deer, Fox and Squirrel, which I followed for the rest of the morning.
The Squirrel tracks didn't last long, only a short distance to the base of a old Silver Birch, the Fox tracks strayed away from the fell, so Roe Deer was this mornings track to follow. It ran along the wall for a fair distance, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-Tailed Tit, and Goldcrest could be heard feeding above, a pair of Raven flew overhead, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker showed itself through a spell of drumming. I stopped for some food on a boulder, and left the deer track there, heading up the fell afterwards.
Looping back I found where the lone Roe Deer started its day, no doubt I will be back.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Sunday and Monday at Holywell

Sunday saw me down at Holywell at half 9, it was cold with quite a heavy cloud cover, the pond was 80% frozen.

From the car 60+ Greylag could been seen in the West fields, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Starling and House Sparrow were feeding on the green. On the pond, 2 Mute Swan, 5 Teal, 23 Mallard, 21 Pochard, 6 Tufted, 2 Drake Goldeneye, 2 Grey Heron, 6 Moorhen, 8 Coot, 100+ Black Headed Gull, 20 Common Gull, 50+ Herring Gull and a lone Great Black Backed Gull. Usual suspects in feeding station.

The geese flock was next on my cards, to have a closer look incase of something different lurking amongst them. A quick look in the public hide produced nothing more. I approached the geese slowly and cautiously as they were quite close to the path, the 60+ seen from the car had turned into a 120+ strong flock, although all Greylag. Down the dene there was a pair of Stock Dove.

Monday, arrived at the hide at 17:00, with heavy snow clouds and a setting sun, it was colder -3. A 100+ skein of geese flew overhead as I walked down, joining another 100+ in the East field, again all Greylag. On the pond 2 Mute Swan, 250+ Gulls steadily increasing as I sat, 17 Wigeon, 1 Drake Goldeneye, 21 Pochard, 4 Tufted, 1 Cormorant, 20 Mallard and a lone Grey Heron.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010


Sitting in Library at the moment watching 400+ Starlings come into roost on campus, the most i've seen in a while

Friday, 12 February 2010

Wednesday with the Geltsdale Wildlife Warrior

On Wednesday I met up with Ewan Miles, the Geltsdale Wildlife Warrior, I had brilliant day out, the best day of my Cumbrian adventure so far.

Planned to meet Ewan at 10 at the pub in Castle Carrock, drove up the back road from Penrith, it was a sunny blue sky, beautiful winters day. We headed off from Ewan's at about half 10, towards Tindale Tarn. The most numerous bird we seen on the moors was Red Grouse, at one point showing quite close, providing brilliant views of this dapper bird. We reached the Forest Head road, a flash of Red could seen in in the hedgerow, we stopped and scanned further along to find a flock of at least 12 Bullfinch. In the village of Forest Head a flock of mixed finches was present, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, and a single female Brambling. At Tindale Tarn, the pair of Smew were present, this was the first time I'd seen a drake bird, well worth the wait. Also about were 2 Wigeon, Canada Geese, Tufted Duck, Coot, a Grey Heron and a strange sight of a Black Swan. The wind was bitterly cold across the Tarn towards the hide so we moved on, heading back to Ewan's, via different route, for lunch.

Reaching the Birch woodland we picked up a mixed flock of Long-Tailed Tit and Goldcrest. Back at Ewan's, he showed me his impressive hide, looking over the valley in a room in his house, with a very comfortable bar stool :P Over lunch we had Roe Deer and Common Buzzard from his window, with tales of Black Grouse, Pied Flycatcher, Short Eared Owl, Barn Owl and Hen Harriers being a regular sighting from this amazing vantage point. Over the entire day I was in awe of the amount of species, the beauty, and remoteness of Ewan's patch and home, only a dream which every wildlife loving city lad has, well my dream anyway :)

After lunch Ewan took me to a site, which he told me, should produce sightings of Long-Eared Owl. Once we reached the area we sat against a dry stone wall, 300 metres further down a couple of Roe Deer fed keeping to themselves, not giving us a glancing look. 5 Common Buzzards moved into the area above us, still hunting as the sky became a deep orange and pink, we discussed if it was possible there was a communal roost in the area, as they seemed to come in as a group. Woodpigeon, a lone Raven and a lone Jay moved into the tree's as the sun set. We moved further along, sitting against the drystone wall again, watching a gap in the tree's a single LEO was spotted, it saw us and quickly moved back into cover, we crouched further down for a while, 4 Snipe and 3 Woodcock flew low overhead. As in became darker the LEO reappeared sitting on the edge for 10-15 minutes before moving back into cover. We took this as a chance to leave and headed back in the darkening skies to Ewan's.

A really good day out, I can't wait to go back again, to have another day with another passionate wildlife enthusiast.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Just packing at the moment to come home for weekend, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Robin and 30+ House Sparrow feeding at my make shift feeding station at uni, its a nice sight:)

Monday, 8 February 2010

Wreay Woods

After sorting my house out for next year, I took a trip up to Wreay Woods.

As I entered the woods memories of Plessey Woods seem to spring up, it definitely had a Plessey Woods feeling. Heading West along the small river there wasn't a lot apart from Blue Tits, for the first 1/4 mile, the first thing to catch my attention was two Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming. Jackdaw were seen flying overhead and Siskin heard, there was also a large number of Treecreeper in the area, I counted at least 6 different birds. 1 Grey Heron rested further along at the end of the reserve. The reserve ended but I kept going heading towards M6, there was quite a few dog walkers about, scanning the red sandy river bank a set of Roe Deer tracks were picked up, I followed for a while.

After a while I back tracked, I'm glad I did, 2 Dippers and 2 Common Buzzard, made an appearance on the way back to the car.

The blog has been a bit picture-less lately, starting to be a bit text orientated. My next post will be picture filled, and hopefully it will be well balanced from now on.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Cliburn Moss

Took a friend along to Cliburn Moss today, as we approached 2 Jay were in trees just by main gate. As I was putting my wellies on a Red Squirrel was spotted running across the road.

Just the usual Woodpigeon until we reached the Eastern edge, a single Stock Dove fed in the stubble, a flock of Starlings joined by 4 Fieldfare were in the sheep field and a Mistle Thrush in the distance. We followed the path past the houses, a new route for me, a large number of Chaffinch were present, joined by Great Tit, Blue Tit, Dunnock, House Sparrow, and Robin.

As we left a Red Squirrel made it self present by making a noise up 20ft a Scots Pine, even on this small tree it was difficult to locate, due to its camouflage, that amazing orange.