Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Peaks and Troughs like a displaying Goshawk

A high pressure system the last couple of days brought a great opportunity to be out in the field day and night. Bird song and display is getting going with all activity increasing as the breeding season is nearing closer and already underway for some species.

Sunday 17th and an early start to head out to Northumberland to look for Goshawk displaying. Myself, Dad and Guy picked out a nice vantage point and were treated to a raptor fest starting with 3 Buzzards and a Kestrel then minutes later the chattering of a Goshawk which seemed to trigger three birds into flight performing display sky dives. Another bird seen getting mobbed by a small raptor Sparrowhawk or Merlin but disappeared too soon. It wasn't to end there as I picked up a Male Hen Harrier in the scope! what a morning session...thanks very much Dad.

A break in the afternoon to watch Leeds loose (another normal weekend) then it was up Gdale valley with Dad and the dogs to see what was going on. The highlights were a good count of Ravens, 3 Hares which we nearly ran over (Hare today gone tomorrow!) A Tawny Owl fly by and a booing male Long-eared Owl.

Had a quick plate of fodder before I headed out east back to Northumberland to keep Cain company while he shot another time lapse sequence for his dark sky project. Headed to Gilsland Spa to consentrate on Crammel Lin waterfall with a nice 50% moon crescent on our backs. Cain gave me a couple of pointers to improve my astrophotography and I managed this result of the falls. The moon dropped just after one oclock which should give the time lapse a nice effect. Saturn appeared to the east shortly after as we viewed it in the scope and it just looked like a planet with Galileo described it. Job done at 4ish after a good night shift and I seen a Tawny owl and a stunning Badger on the way home.

Another interesting thing that happened on the way home was driving through Narworth Crossing which is a famous haunted location in the area and I had my heaters on red hot and the car was like a sauna and when I passed over the crossing the car went chilly cold in temperature for a couple of seconds. I thought it was a bit strange and was fully aware of the famous train crash which happened in the early 1900s killing a lot of young families which apparently can still be heard in the woods. Now I dont believe in any that drivel as it seems ghosts only came into fashion in the 18th come you never see caveman ghosts or dinosaur ghosts? Anyway thought it was worth mentioning. here is the link to the hauntings of Narworth...            

Crammel Lin waterfall...Gilsland Spa

HB! Cain the Hollywell Birder...He miss spelled it a few times but got it right eventually

Spelling out GWW on long exposure...
The following day with glorious sunshine continuing I decided to head south to Penrith and onto the our national park. Waxwing was the first port of call outside the restaurant establishment of... Mcdonalds. They have been seen feeding on the mass berries on a couple of Cotoneaster trees and after looking for half an hour and getting slightly stressed with the traffic noise pollution and general hustle and bustle, I heard the high pitched trill as the birds landed on top of a Birch and all the stress went away immediately...what a bird. As I watched them and photographed them I heard the Gulls been disturbed overhead and I looked up and there was a Red Kite soaring right above my head. No wing tags to be seen but a nice record as a good few miles from the recent release site.

I moved on west to Keswick to look for displaying raptors either side of Bass Lake. Bought my usual sausage, fish and chips from the town and took them up to the raptor view point where I got Ravens and a female peregrine with prey in her talons (Wood Pigeon). A Pair of Buzzards and then just like London buses...a male Goshawk showing over the woodland! 

I dropped down to Powter How wood where I seen a Red Squirrel on route and as I parked up I possibly heard a Green Woodpecker briefly but not counting it. Headed down Lake side with a good number of duck showing from the hide. 50 plus Wigeon, 30 Goldeneye, 40 plus Tufties, 6 Goosander, 8 Teal, 6 Little Grebes. I really enjoyed watching the courtship behavior between three Goldeneye right by the hide with the drake doing strong displays and the two females acknowledged him before a lot of splashing and interacting took place. As I was walking back out the hide I heard a Water Rail calling from the thick scrub and Willows which was a great finish to the day which was topped off my a magic sunset looking back from the A66 on my way home. 

Drake Goldeneye leading on two females...
Waxwing in Penrith

Black and white of Bassanthwaite lake...Goldeneye in the foreground

Red Kite over Penrith....No wing tags seen

"You Beauty...Time to reel her in"

Sunet from the A66 on the way home...

Thanks for looking...


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