Friday, 25 January 2013

Tophill Low - Part 2

As I mentioned in my previous blog, it was extremely snowy last Friday, but definitely worth the journey to THL.

After watching the birds near the feeding station I went on to North Marsh hide which was well and truly frozen over, no chance of Kingfishers today unless they had an ice breaker!

All was quiet for the first half hour with only a Wren feeding amongst the frozen reeds just in front of the hide for company.  After a while I was aware of some movement on the far bank, but was not sure what it was with it being partly obscured some bushes, could it be a Barn Owl?  Then ten minutes later it came back in full view, if only the light had been a bit better, still a great sighting though.

I was busy enjoying watching him and was vaguely aware of movement to my right and there was a Fox trotting down the bank and over the ice!  My first sighting of a Fox, this day was just getting better and better.

Before I left the hide the Barn Owl flew from behind me right over the roof in the middle of a blizzard.

As I opened the door to leave there he was again in the trees just to the left of the path. I saw Barn Owls on five occasions throughout the day, the last on being near the drain on the way down to the river.

When I got down to the river there were several Redwing in the bushes in the middle of the river keeping out of trouble...

or so they thought, when suddenly they scattered and a female Sparrowhawk landed right where the Redwing had been just seconds before. What a fantastic end to a great day.

That is the great thing about wildlife watching you can make plans, have high hopes and try to get yourself in the right place at the right time to see our wonderful wildlife, but you never know what each day will bring.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Tophill Low Nature Reserve - Part 1

It was an adventure on Friday, the road to Tophill Low had not been gritted, so driving on the snow & ice had to be done extremely carefully.  With temperatures barely above freezing all day there was only 2 other intrepid nature watchers at the reserve.  Persevering with the cold and the poor driving conditions certainly paid off though.

On the drive to the car park I could see lots of small birds moving around in the trees. Goldfinch and Lesser Redpoll were busily feeding on the Lagoon Alders.

These Blue Tits were busy alternating between feeding and fighting in the snow!

As soon as I parked up the car, I heard a Woodpecker tapping away, and looked over to the trees near the picnic benches and saw him immediately, a great start to the day.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

There weren't many takers for a picnic today though!

On the walk around D res these Long Tailed Tits were trying to scrape a living on the wall and there was also a Wren nearby trying to find something to eat.

D res hide in the snow

The feeders in the woods are very popular in the bad weather and I spent an enjoyable half hour watching them flit in and out.

Blue Tit

Coal Tit

Great Tit


Robin in his Christmas card pose

There were plenty of Coots, Wigeon, Gulls and Mute Swans on the small patch of water left unfrozen on D res, and there was still even more excitement to come on North Marsh and beyond!

Monday, 21 January 2013

'Warter' good Raptor day!

Following my previous visit a couple of weeks ago, I was determined to improve on a Red Kite photo and the day delivered .....

As I was driving down the road I saw a Red Kite perched in a tree next to the road. I turned around to try and get a picture but, unfortunately he flew off. So once the car was parked I started off on my walk and low and behold not long afterwards a Red Kite flew directly overhead!

I went on to see Red Kites on another four occasions throughout the day. These really are truly magnificent birds.

It was another snowy day, with an abundance of raptors on show.  A Kestrel was next.

Followed by a Buzzard, waiting patiently for his lunch!!

Lots of Woodpigeons to choose from!


Red-legged Partridge sheltering from the cold or hiding from all those raptors?

The wood was full of small birds which I always enjoy watching including;

Marsh Tit

Coal Tit

A Robin - eating, not sure - is it an eyeball or a snail?
Blue Tit

On the way back to the car my final sighting of the day was this Red Kite sitting quietly in a tree - lovely!

To end the blog, some snowy scenery photos of the Wolds

I was only out for three hours, but had a great time with some amazing sightings.

Sunday, 20 January 2013


Well, it certainly snowed here, so I thought a quick walk was a good opportunity for some photographs in the snow. At the top of the tree in the distance I could just make out six or seven Goldfinch.


A bit further along a Blackbird had her feathers fluffed up against the cold

It is amazing how the snow transforms everything.

Tracks in the snow

Path through the woods

There weren't many birds about unfortunately, but it was nice to get a walk in the fresh air and it certainly was quite fresh! On the walk back however I did see this Magpie.

A Christmas tree complete with snow, just a bit late for the big day! I saw Reed Bunting in the hedge nearby, but they were too far in to get a shot of them.

It is just a shame that there was no sun out this morning as the pictures always look better with a bit of sunshine.


A Sunday morning walk along the beach towards Sewerby was absolutely glorious, it didn't feel like winter, with the sun out. 

This Cormorant was showing the favourite pose having trouble with the neighbours!

The kids made a stone castle!

Black-headed Gulls on their lookout posts

Crow on look out

Meadow Pipit

and in flight

The kids found this lobster shell amongst the seaweed, the blue is very bright

Oystercatchers flying overhead

I thought the sunshine was too good to last, the sea mist came in

This Turnstone was happy to let me get close