Thursday, 27 May 2010

Pied Flycatcher return and Adders appear at last...

Swallow having a rest from collecting nesting material

First Swift seen on the 28th of the month, I tried to lure it in using my iphone call but there was no sign of it.

I headed up the new water valley to check the woodland birds and to see if our reptile friends had appeared yet. It was a scorching hot day in mid May so I was pretty confident of seeing some snakes. When I got to the woodland I got Crossbill, Pied Flycatcher pair and Lesser Redpoll.

Common Shrew venom attack by Adder

As I approached Snake territory I came across this fresh Vole kill that had been tagged by an Adder using Venom and the Snake will be back later to feed on it.

Female Adder

After scanning the fell side for around 45 minutes I found 4 Adders which is not bad going. I still have large areas of the fell to check for the snakes as well as Common Lizards so I will keep you posted with how I fair.

Pied Fly

Lesser redpoll

Redpoll in flight

Pet Newt for the day

My dad had a surprise for me when I arrived home.....a Smooth Newt in a jam jar! Not everyone's ideal present but I was delighted with it. I checked out its features and played with it for a while and then did the right thing and release it back into its natural environment as it is far more rewarding to watch any living organism in their natural state and surrounding.

Speckled Wood


A Goldie eyeing up some dandelion seeds in the garden. It shows that if you let your garden grow a bit and don't try and maintain it and crop it short and tidy like every Tom, Dick and Abdul do then you can attract a great abundance of wildlife

Brown hare

Geltsdale sunning it up!

A lovely hot spell of weather on the 3rd weekend of May and I made the most of it playing golf, swimming in the river Gelt and out looking for wildlife and photo opportunities. Got some great views of Short Eared Owls on the sunny evenings

Lone Ash Tree up on the Greens Moorland

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.....