Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Bass Lake, Gdale, More Starlings and Astrophotography.....

Another few local trips were in the pipeline including a few different sites in our national Park along with Longtown and Gdale. Still quite mild at the back end of November and first few days of December but starting to turn.....

Looking up Gdale valley...

A few local jollies around the fell with the dogs have produced some of my best experiences. On one occasion a short walk up the valley with the pooches and I got 2 Ravens mobbing a Ringtail. Peregrine, 6 B Grouse, 2 Stonechat and an erection.....what an hour.

River Gelt.....

Sightings of Black Grouse have started to become more consistent in the last few weeks which is a relief. It is still a worry that the large number of Red-Legged Partridge introduced in the area would have an effect on the blacks population on Gdale.

River Gelt capturing the motion...

Still dabbling with the camera and did a few slow shutter shots on the river Gelt. Loving the astrophotography as long as the sky is clear and the wind is not too strong so I can keep the tripod steady enough.

lights of Carlisle from Castle Carrock fell...

Night Sky....

A trip to the national park at the end of the month with Danny and Greevy. We headed to Bassenthwaite lake to start with as there was reports of both Black throated Diver and GW Egret on the water. We parked by the Swan Hotel and worked our way through Powter Howe woods to get to the lake side. The water was quite choppy which made it difficult for spotting. We got the GW Egret over on the far side as it just appeared from the read beds. 2 GC Grebes on show as well. It was nice to meet Gordon their another local birder and blogger. We moved on to the hide to see what we could get and we were not disappointed as we got some excellent views of 3 playful Otters (video below) in front of us. The highlight was one porpoising left to right 12 times in a row. 2 Little Grebes and a single Shoveler were other records. 8 Common Scoter were reported later in the day but we must of missed them.

We headed south to Grasmere and Rydal water but didn't stay long because we didnt want to pay for parking. Nothing of great interest with Cormorants and Goldeneye. You cant go to Grasmere and not get some gingerbread! We headed towards the famous little shop and noticed a lady working there from last year dressed up in her Victorian gown with a very serious face and it reminded us of last year when Me, Greevy and Rachel Robson went in and got giggleitus where we just could not stop laughing. As soon as me and Greevy looked at each other approaching the shop it triggered the giggleitus again and that set Danny off as well. We redeemed our selves and walked into the shop with a serious megerious face. The first 5 seconds were going so well until I just could not hack it and turned around with my back to them giggling pretending to read a fire safety notice. That made them burst out laughing so we just had to leave the shop in mid conversation to wait out side still craving for some gingerbread. The more you try not to laugh, the more you do laugh, Giggleitus is a horrible thing to have and there are still no cures to this day...

Heading back to the car was another big highlight with a male Peregrine flying straight over the car park heading towards Rydal.

Motion Starlings at Gretna and moon....

Saturday 26th and a Facebook arranged trip to Haweswater with Gary and friends to stay at Mardale bothy. Gary picked me up at 1ish and we headed down to the best place in England to meet the other lads. Heavy rain was forecast later on in the afternoon which would add to the challenge of the 5 mile walk to the bothy. As we arrived at the bottom car park the rain started coming down heavy so we got kitted out in our waterproofs and headed up the valley to the east with about 90 minutes of light left to find our destination. We had a simple map layout printed from the computer and everytime we looked at it it got wetter and soggier. We had traveled about 3 miles sticking to the route on the map and the light had dropped severely by this time and there was still heavy rain and a lot of water coming from the higher ground. We seen lights in the distance so headed towards them and ended up at a remote farm so we asked for directions and they sent us back on our selves up the valley a few miles and onto a beaten track. Carange! so we headed back up the hill which was more like a waterfall at this point. The map was paper mache now so we were going off farmers instructions to take a right at the sheep fold further up.
We arrived at the sheep fold and there was still no let up in the savage weather. We found a small beaten track so we got onto it. By this time everyone was a drowned rat. We followed it half a mile and ended up at a gate with the track finishing so we decided to cut our losses and head back to the car! On the way down nasty gusts of wind were trying to lift us off our feet and just as we were nearly back at the car I dropped my tripod and broke the head on it, more carnage! We got back to the car at half 8 after a good 5 hours lost on the fells. The lads from the north east needed somewhere to stay tonight with Gary staying at mine so we popped into the Haweswater hotel to see if there was any room at the inn. When we walked in the staff behind the desk looked at us like we had just been shat out of a cows arse. They said they were full so we moved onto Penrith.
They found somewhere in the riff so we headed back to stay at Jockey Shield bothy for the night in good old Geltsdale. We checked google maps when we got back and where we were by the gate when we turned back we were only 400 yards from the bothy in the valley haha!

Me and Rowlands Gill Birder (updated once a decade) walked round Gdale on the Sunday. It was fairly quiet but a nice walk and Gary did some panoramic photography. We went to see the Starlings at Gretna and after a slow start they got going near to the services and accompanied by a Peregrine, 2 Sparrowhawks and 2 Buzzards. Video below.

video
Otters on Bass lake...

Went to Longtown on the 2nd with Dad and the dogs. We got 12 whoopers near river and also 2 drake Gadwell on river ponds. We checked out Longtown pond roadside and spotted the sneaky female Long-Tailed Duck. Watching the LTD is like whale watching as they go down for upto 60 seconds and only surface for 5-6. Pochard, Goosander and Goldeneye also present.

video
Starlings at gretna....pushing out a few shapes

A snowy Gdale on Sunday 4th. Walked up the valley with Greevy and Danny. A good 2inch settled on the higher ground as we went up to the carins and over simmerson ridge. 2 flocks of Golden Plover seen with 35 birds in total. Also a 12 strong flock of Bullfinch high up.

Thanks for looking.....To finish with the most important bit ....A hugely important government petition regarding more protection on Englands birds of Prey, we needs 100,000 votes for them to take notice so please sign and spread the word as much as you can, thanks :-)

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