Thursday, 24 March 2016

a great 45 minutes at the river and fields

Apologies for absence first of all - busy in work and have not seen anything at all. So this morning I made it my mission to take my daughter to the local fields and river before the weather sets in. Overcast again with a cool, gentle breeze. We were armed with our binoculars and I had my 400mm lens on my Canon camera.
Firstly we heard a Mistle Thrush singing in the the distance, then one closer by alarm calling.
Several Great Tits, Blue Tits and Goldfinches also calling.
As we proceeded to walk over the river bridge I heard an alarm call I have not heard for a while. We spotted the bird up in a tree - of course, it was a Nuthatch. These are cute little woodland birds - a gorgeous blue back and head, peachy-pink breast, white face and black eyestripe.
My daughter saw the Dipper fly past us over the river. I missed it but I didn't think it went far. We crept along the riverbank trying to be camouflaged among the trees and spotted a Grey Wagtail in front us, which spooked as soon as I took its photo. 
At the same time my daughter shouts out "Sparrowhawk, 2 of them". I turned to see one land in a tree ahead of us. More photos! This was a female as it is larger and more brown than a male. I don't kow if there was a second or whether she was chasing prey.
We then relocated the Dipper also right in front of us, and as I started to take photos without scaring it we spotted a second one. It was a pair. They are amazing birds. We watched them for about 20 minutes, flying back and forth across the river, preening, feeding, and doing their little swim to catch food and gave us a typical Dipper pose on rocks. 
On a return walk across the bridge there were 3 Woodpigeons on the grass and one up in a tree. Several fresh molehills were spotted by my daughter and generally the trees are all coming into bud and leaf.
All of this in 45 minutes total. Just goes to show you don't need long to explore the local wildlife.   


Grey Wagtail




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