Saturday, 16 April 2016

Wanderings around my UK home patch March 16

While home on a visit to the UK I had the opportunity to take a few walks around my local area and had the great pleasure of meeting up with some great birds. Most were in and around my home in Colne in Lancashire but a couple of the pics are from the Medway Estuary where I had a spare hour.  I also had a delightful visit to Bempton Cliffs, but will make another blog about that later.

My new garden has a nice number of residents and this Collared Dove greets us every morning on the tree outside the bedroom window.
In the river at the end of the garden a pair of Goosander have taken up residence.  They appear to be quite happy there, I wonder if they will decide to breed there instead of nearby lakes.
A bit of a distant shot but the Dipper is a fairly common sight around the river.  There are about 3 or 4 pairs have their territory along our stretch of the river.  Always a delight to watch their bobbing and skilful scurrying around in the rapids.
 The Long Tailed Tit has come around much more often now its worked out where the feeders are located.  I have only ever seen 2 or 3 at a time though there are a lot more in the area.
The Sing Thrush was an occasional visitor to the feeder also but compared with the other birds was quite shy.
The Pheasant is very common around the area at the moment, these two are regular visitors to the field at the back of the house, one actually came into the back garden at one point, although as ever, I had no camera to hand.
Another regular visitor is the Magpie.  There were 5 or 6 who were regular visitors but far more in the wider area.
The Blackbird loves ur lawn which after the rains must provide lots of easy to get at worms.

The Jackdaw used to be very common around our area but this year I noticed far fewer than I expected.  Hopefully they were just in other places.
Down by the lakes there were a dozen or so Coot, these guys are never particularly easy to get close to but this one was close enough, somehow I don't think it spotted me.
As always the Mallards were on every available patch of water, indeed I have seen them on small flooded areas of fields
Both Male and female are easy to spot and in many areas about the town are very tame.

A keen observer on every birding trip in our area is the Robin.  Its almost like they accompany you on all birding sessions.
The Great Crested Grebe were around in good numbers at Foulridge lake.  I spent quite some time watching these delightful birds conducting their mating dance along the lakeside.  A truly amazing spectacle.
A first for me was the Goldeneye.  This male was diving continuously as I watched but are a gorgeous bird to see.
This was a very distant shot but I think it was a female Goldeneye.  There were a couple of pairs about but this is as close a I could get to any of the females.
Another first for me, not a great shot but the first I have ever managed to take of a Wren, trouble is they are such flighty little buggers and mostly in the undergrowth.  However at least I now have one photo of them :).
A large Mute Swan as perched on the walkway around the lake.  I had to make a bit of a detour to avoid it and even at that he hissed and flapped at me, honestly, some birds are never happy.
My short visit to Rochester I spotted the fairly common Black Headed Gull.  They were everywhere on the mudflats.

The weather was very dull and overcast so my photo of the Redshank is not great but a nice spot.
Back in my garden there were quite a number of the lovely Dunnock, they graced us with their presence almost every day.
Wood Pigeons were also quite common in the garden, these are actually a big bird especially when you see one up close.
On a walk around the lake I spotted this lovely Kestrel in the trees.  He did not stay around for long but was nice to see him.
Along the outflow from the lake was a pair of Mandrin Duck.  I saw a female with a few young on the lake last year but this is the first time I saw a pair on the lake.  I have spotted these three years in succession now around the town.
In the nature park at the top of Red Lane I noted a number of Chaffinch including the female above.
and a pair of Bullfinch on the same feeder
The Male Chaffinch in all his glory.

and finally this lovely Blue Tit, what can you say about this bird, the prettiest of the lot.  There were a number of other spots like the Oystercatcher and Great Tit but never managed to get a good enough photo.  Anyhow, more to come on my visit to Bempton Cliffs in a storm.

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