Saturday, 8 January 2011

Otter and Smew kick the year off strongly!

Happy New year and good health to all readers in 2011 :-)

New years eve had a nice surprise with a fantastic interview with the one and only John Miles in the Cumberland news making the front page of the Life section with me somehow managing to mingle my way into the photo as well!

A fantastic read and in a nut shell if more people had the passion, drive and enthusiasm as him then the world would be a batter place to live in. Print the photos out and stick them on the couch to keep the dogs from jumping onto the sofa.

I don't really make a song and a dance about the new year coming in, just another day another dollar, well it was more than a dollar for me cos I was working on the bar at Brampton Golf club so earning money and not spending! I am officially the worst barman in the world and its mainly to do with the fact that I don't care and have never been a fan of drinking and i'm not interested in learning all the drink names and combinations cos its a waste of brain space! (Lets just hope the steward of Brampton Golf club isn't a reader of my blog!) Anyway a couple of incidents on Friday night the first being a customer complaining cos I gave them a Gin and Tonic in a pint glass and the second being serving a gentleman a pint of froth instead of heineken! It paid for my ticket to watch Leeds United at Elland road the next day anyway so move on....

Anyway back to the wildlife as the blog is not called Moron Barman Warrior! My sightings and happenings in the last few days......

Ice berg right ahead! John and I went to Gretna to look out to the Solway and see the icebergs which made national news. They made a fantastic sight and its funny having ice bergs a half hour drive from home.

John was here a few days earlier and had Peregrine overhead.

Nice light by this point, Looking out to the Solway in freezing tempretures could of mistaken you to think you were in the Arctic tundra but when you turn around and see the back end of Gretna it brings you back to reality!

looking out from the Old Graitney near Gretna, Two Ice bergs visible behind the boat

Otter in Carlisle boom...done!

I had time to kill in Carlisle on Wednesday so I went for a wonder down the river Eden at the back of Tesco, With in seconds of arriving at the river bend I looked to my left and had an Otter 30 yards from me! What a delight! I had not had these good a views during my time up in Mull!
I followed the mammal down stream for 10 minutes before leaving it on its way.

The excitement continued as I got Brambling 2 Little Grebe and Goosander along with the Otter in a short space of 20 minutes by the river. Its fantastic that two minutes from the city centre you can see wildlife like this on a lovely stretch of the river Eden, Wildlife Rules!

Lovely Twighlight photo taken by G Storey he rocks!

Gary Storey came over for a couple of days on Wednesday and after a late night messing around and watching a part of Napoleon Dynamite we slept in in the morning until noon missing 4 vital hours of wildlife warrior light! we headed out in the early afternoon up Gdale valley to see what beasties we could see and hoping for some Owls later. Kestrel, Buz, Fieldfare and R Grouse kicked it off. When we got further up the valley we witnessed a Buzzard dropping and tagging a Mole and then feeding on it. The Mole didn't even see it coming! G and I got good views in the scope.
Stargazing live had been broadcast on the BBC and knowing that it was going to be a clear sky on the night we were looking forward to some sky gazing and what could be seen. Jupiter was the first thing on the menu and good views of our largest planet before it dropped down below the horizon. The night sky was so clear that it seemed like every star was on show. Shooting stars continued to show and a couple of whoppers! We did some research on Comets visible and discovered Hartley 2 could be seen through Jan / Feb in a southerly direction but after scanning hard in the area we just could not pick it up in the scope! After studying the awesome iphone app 'Planets' we were aware that Saturn would be appearing in the east at 0033 hours and before our second biggest planet arrived we were admiring the consolation of Orion when Gary Steven Hawkins Storey picked up something in the middle of Orion which was in fact Orion's Nebula! A Nebula is a huge cloud of dust and gas which often form star forming regions when components clamp together and collect other matter to form stars and planet material. Thanks very much Gary for spotting it and providing knowledge on the topic, Legend!

Saturn was above the horizon (according to the iphone) but still wasn't visible at 0115 because of the light pollution of Hexham over the fellside so since it was towards the east we decided to go inside and view from window with scope and a nice cup of hot choc. It appeared shortly afterwards and Gary got the scope on it and booom! "You can see the ring" he shouted. After having a shmieggle my self it was superb! the ring was clear and it was an amazing sight!
Bed time soon after and ready to wake up the next day just in time for deal or no deal.

Nice effect, Gary is the man!

Half 11 we arose from our pit, were not the laziest bird watchers in the world but were in the top one! no wonder we always end up deciding to go looking for Owls every time! cos we miss all the day time feeders! The plan was to go to Talkin Tarn to see the two Drake Smew and then head up the Gdale valley for a second attempt!
Freezing cold it was, worse than the day before and he covered a few different spots to see what we could find. 5 Roe Deer on way up and usual Raptors Buz and Kes. When inspecting a mature Oak woodland we came across a couple of bird carcasses being a Crowe and Thrush we think. Also large droppings and a huge pellet that could only of being Eagle Owl! Gary will be back in a few weeks and we will try again up the valley as its a huge vast untouched area!

Two Drake Smew on Talkin tarn

Thanks for reading.....Next blog will be my 50 best photos of 2010 :-)

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