Sunday, 9 May 2010

Geltsdale Wildlife is on the up!

One of the first Swallows of the year

The wildlife is starting to become more active now and it is great too see with a lot going on. Frustratingly for me I have been on Crutches for the past couple of weeks because of a football injury I have damaged my ankle ligaments so have not been able to get out there fully and assess whats been going on. Hopefully give it a couple of weeks and I will be fighting fit again to get amongst all the nature and wildlife as things are hotting up. The Swallows are putting on a great show in the garden but still no Swifts of yet but hopefully when it gets a bit warmer they will arrive.

New born

I know it doesn't entirely relate to wildlife put a few pictures of new lambs are always nice to see and also are associated so strongly with the spring time and are a feel good factor to look at cos you know the weather is improving and the summer season is approaching.

Twins with one black and one white but their mothers loves them equally

Smooth Newt rising for air

After a fortnight couped up in the house with my foot elevated on ice I was able to venture out into the wilderness again, with a slight hobble but never the less i was managing OK if I stuck to the paths and not go into the rougher terrain. So I went to the famous Birch woodland at Geltsdale to check out the pond life and also possible sightings of the migrating birds arriving for their breeding season.

Smooth Newt checking me out

In the woodland there is 3 decent sized ponds with a good amount of life in them. I prefer the lower of the 3 ponds closest to the track because it gets more sunlight to it as the canopy is not as dense above it so you can observe more going on in the water as it is better visibility. I got around 7 Smooth Newts and 2 Palmate Newts in the pond and a good number of tadpoles.

I checked the other two ponds but it was hard to spot much pond life as they were covered vegetation and a good amount of algae on the surface.

Male Orange tip Butterfly

A number of Butterflies appeared in the woodland with Orange tip and Small White on show in good numbers as well as small Tortoiseshell.

Silver Birch showing new green foliage up against the blue sky

One of the top native trees of the British isles has to be the Birch with its shiny silver bark and the variety of colours in its triangular leaves throughout the seasons providing great scenery all year round.

Hedge Sparrow

Geltsdale Uplands

On Sunday the 9th it was a nice evening and I had just got from work at half 6 in the evening and I was scanning the fell side from the window and within 10 Minutes I got a pale bird on the uplands which was different in flight pattern and movement so I switched from the binos to the scope and it was a Short eared Owl! they had been reported to have returned to the area so It was great to confirm that report with my own sighting. I shouted to dad "Short Eared Owl!" and he was driven away from watching his daily Hollyoaks show to come and see the bird.


As we watched it mobbing a buzzard for 10 minutes I decided I wanted a closer look so I headed up the fell trying to take it easy with my bad foot but so keen to get up their and get a decent view. On my way up the track I heard a nearby cuckoo calling so I tried to pick it up in the binos as they are normally quite hard to see after hearing their call I was delighted to see it on a nearby bush and got a record photo of the first cuckoo of the year. As watching the bird I looked up and right above me was the SEO mobbing a Buzzard along with a Curlew and Lapwing! unreal scenes as I watched for 5 minutes but could not quite get a decent photo of the event.

As I made it up to the top of Coal fell I did a round loop of the heather near the summit and got a good number of Meadow pippits and 5 Curlew as I made my way back round to the track. When back on the path I stopped and had a scan for 5 minutes and found a bird sitting on a wall in the distance and as I watched it for a couple of minutes it set off flying and I knew then that It was the owl again. I watched it hunting across the heather and then suddenly it headed my way as I was hidden behind a stone wall....

Got superb views as It flew right over my head and was looking straight at me and didn't seem to bothered by my presence. didn't quite get the photos id hoped for but the light levels were dropping and It happened so quickly.

Overall great experience and hoping for more to come.....


  1. I enjoyed the report. I've still not seen an Orange tip this year. You seem to have managed to get around injuries and all.:-)

    Ha I've never watched Hollyoaks. I'm a Neighbours fan myself! :-) Cheers. Brian

  2. Hello Brian thanks for the kind comment, there seems to be a good number of orange tips where I am this year for some reason but great to see! Yes I am nearly fighting fit again! :-)

    I used to be a big Neighbours fan myself but have lost track of it now its on channel 5! haha
    cheers, Ewan