Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Foulridge Reservoir

Took a walk down to my local patch at Foulridge yesterday 7/8/17.  The weather was a bit grey and there was the odd shower but we are used to those in Lancashire.  There were not vey many birds around the area but its always a nice walk.  As usual there were a lot of dog walkers about so any shy birds were highly unlikely to be easy to spot.  That said there is always something to catch the interest.

As with virtually all waterways around here there were a large contingent of Mallards

I think I counted about 30 in all across the lake.  Most of the Males have now lost their luxurious green heads and are looking a little drab at the moment but the females are still very pretty.  There were two Canada Geese way out in the middle of the lake so did not get particularly good photos of these;
 As always there were a good number of Great Crested Grebe around and a couple of young ones.  The juveniles were swimming together but a good distance from any adults so I guess they are being left to their own devices.

As I walked around the other side of the lake I found a small flock of 6 Coot feeding among the weeds;
 And among some more Mallards was a single female Mandarin Duck.  These guys are fairly rare around these parts but I generally see one (not sure if it is the same one) on most walks around the lake.  There was no sign of a male but I did see a pair in the spring and a couple of years back there was a female with 4 juveniles, I think I posted that here earlier.
In addition to these there was a Gull (Herring I think) with a couple of begging juveniles
Overhead there were a good number of Swallows and around the side of the lake were a number of Blackbirds, Wren, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, some Carrion Crow and Robins but I did not manage to get useful photos of these.

I moved up the road to the wood at Alkincoats and took a short walk around there.  There were a good few Blue and Great Tits at all of the feeders and a couple of Dunnock.  However, these had to grab what they could between visits from a couple of these guys;
They were very adept at taking food from the feeders, even those designed to prevent them from doing so :)

As I had the chance to get some photos of a couple of butterflies too I thought I would share them;

 This is a Speckled Wood (Parage aegeria).
and this one is a Green Veined White (Artogeia napi), Although I am open to correction on these :).

A very nice couple of hours out and about.

© Bernard Bracken

Monday, 7 August 2017

Swinden Resevoir

Have been back in the UK for a couple of months but got tangled up with work so unfortunately I have not really had much time to update the blog.  However, as I am now a man of leisure again for a while I thought I would catch up a bit. I have been out birding around my home in East Lancashire in the UK and have also been spending time encouraging birds into the garden so the lazy side of me can get to watch birds too :).

Anyway, last week I took a walk around a reservoir which lies a little to the south of Burnley.  The weather was not especially good but I thought seeing as I had not been to this site before I would do a kind of reconnoitre as a prelude to future visits. 

The rain eventually stopped and I started off walking along a footpath to the south of the reservoirs which are located in a small valley and is mainly fed by Swinden Water, a small river flowing down from Extwhistle Moor. Somehow I strayed off the path and ended up trying to walk on some very wet and slippery fields towards the eastern end of the lake.  The birding was not especially good on the day, there were plenty of Meadow Pipits about and on the way back I got a fleeting glimpse of a pair of female pheasants disappearing over the brow of a hill.

There were also some high flying Barn Swallow and Gulls (Black Headed I think).  However as I walked past a small group of mounds, one of which had a small cliff of large rocks on one side, I noticed a rabbit in the valley and as I approached to take a closer look I flushed this little guy;

Little Owl
He flew to the rocky area and disappeared into a burrow behind the rock on the left of the photo.  I sat for a while to see if he would allow me another look and about 10 minutes later he bobbed out.  He stood on the ledge for about 5 minutes bobbing his whole body while observing me closely.  He flew off after those few minutes but I sauntered back to the car happy as anything to have shared that few minutes.  This is the first Owl I have managed to spot in the UK and it confirms what I have aways said about birding, you should never give up even on what seems like a rubbish day, it could still surprise you at the very last minute :)

Happy birding Guys and Gals

As I was out there and he landed close by I thought I'd capture a Ringlet photo as well.  There are a fair few different butterfly species around the area and I think I will try capture the images of a few while I am on my birding trips.

© Bernard Bracken