Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Clouds Go On Holiday

Sun was forecast for today. The early morning mist looked different, a prelude to a hot day? Wishful thinking, no, a breeze got up, the mist went, it became a sunny day.

I walked out of the shower and Wolds-End Tom appeared wanting attention. After a good fuss he walked off and went under the bed (his hideaway), strange, he loves being outside, especially on a day such as this. Walking into the back garden I discovered the bird table had "fallen over" . Something had been going on, but thankfully there were no feathered of feline injuries other than perhaps a shocked Tom who was now recovering having a catnap.I had plenty to do, but this day was too good to miss. 

A camera was grabbed, a summer shirt ironed and off I went for a quick walk. A few hundred yards down the road and I decided to extend the route I had planned. There is a small nature reserve on the edge of the village which I have only visited a couple of times.The air was heavy with the almost honey like sweet smell from the oilseed rape. The blue sky and bright yellow flowers added much welcome colour to a landscape that had been grey and brown for too many months.

A Wood pigeon met me on the track to the reserve.

There is a pond in the nature reserve and as I arrived a fish, perhaps a pike, swirled in the margins. It had gone before I could see it but later I saw a Roach of maybe 3/4lb. A pair of Grey wagtails were collecting food and disappearing into some hawthorn to feed their young. They were not disturbed by my intrusion and I managed some photos by keeping my distance and using the long zoom on the bridge camera I had with me.

A damselfly caught my attention and a photo was secured for identification later (a female Azure?).

I had discovered another path around this tiny reserve which led to me discovering another section with some more wildflowers.

Pond Water Crowfoot

Germander Speedwell

Cuckoo flower

I left the coolness of the tree lined pond and headed back into the increasingly warm day.

There was also a landscape shot that I had tried to take on another day but the sun had hidden as soon as I lifted the viewfinder to my eye. I liked the composition but not the lighting so I put it down for another day and today the lighting would be good.

A hen pheasant did a poor job of trying to hide from me in an open field.

Walking along the lane to the wood I nearly secured the shot I wanted. Although better lighting, as there was not a cloud in the sky, there was some heat haze in the distance so another visit will be required.

There were plenty of Orange-tips about but none stayed still long enough for a photo. A Green-veined white did though.

The shadow of the woodland drew me towards it. A Speckled wood fluttered past. 

I practiced macro shots with this Dandelion clock.

A Willow warbler (if my ID based on the colour of its feet is correct) landed in a nearby tree.It was obviously feeding young and did not wish to give their location away so it waited for me to pass before flying to the nest.

I took the long path through the wood, doubling back to enjoy the coolness before leaving and passing yet another bright yellow field.

On reaching home Wolds-End Tom appeared. The nap had restored his confidence and he felt safe outside again. We both sat in the shade having lunch, his from a bowl, mine from a plate and a blackbird joined us taking seed from the re-positioned bird table. He only got a brief glance from the previously naughty Tom - it was too hot for anything else.

Monday, 14 May 2012

A Trip to the Tip

Today I had to go to the coast. Not a bad thing to have to do. 

Driving through the Wolds, passing through the calm villages of my ancestors, bathed in sunlight, with fresh green leaves on the trees, bright yellow in the fields, blue sky with white clouds as clean looking as freshly laundered bed linen, was a pleasant thing to be doing on a day like today.

Reaching the coast the weather was still good. Slightly  darker clouds were forming, but plenty of blue sky remained and I doubted the clouds could get together and muster up a shower.

Tasks completed and lunch had, I decided it was too nice to head inland again.
Pulling into the cliff top country park at Filey I was surprised it was not busier until I paid for my parking, there is free parking not too far away, I think most had chosen to use that. 3 hours would be plenty of time but it was 2 hours or 4 (why do they do it, would it not be fairer to pay on exit for the time used). Now I don't mind paying for parking but I don't like to have the threat of exceeding a time limit spoil my walk.  Time goes so quickly and miles slowly if I have a camera and plenty to point it at.

I decided on 2 hours and a quicker pace and set off. Shortly after reaching the cliff top I wished I had given myself more time as the views were worth spending time with. Oh well no time to wait for the perfect lighting as the sun chased the shadows around the bay.
Tiny figures moved about Filey. The tide was in and the bay was full.


No time to go along Carr Naze and watch the waves crashing on the Brigg. 

Approaching the rocket pole there was plenty of Common scurvy-grass.


As I headed along the cliff a Meadow pipet was collecting food on the edge. It must have had hungry mouths to feed.

 Close by was a Pied wagtail


I stopped at various places to admire  the view towards Scarborough and my pace slowed.


I realised now I had plenty of time.

I spent some time watching Guillemots and Razorbills bobbing on the water. There was a strong breeze but it was warm. Time the to head inland and walk down by Filey Old Tip. 

Much better than it sounds as this is now a nature reserve. As I reached the perimeter a Whitethroat flitted from branch to branch in the hedgerow.

Moving on,  the sound of Skylarks over the meadow proved that one of the aims of the reserve had been met. 

A row of trees surrounded by oilseed rape caught my eye. These rich yellow fields will soon start to become green as their flowers go.


Leaving the tip I moved into Parish Woods. The memorials on the trees made me feel I was not alone, then the sound of a dog walker calling her dog proved I wasn't. I walked back along roads lined with bungalows. I nearly popped into Filey to the shops, but no, the parking had not got that long to go so I headed back. Back at the car the clouds had broken up even more and I left a wonderful day at the coast as I drove back inland.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Hidden Mandarin and Sneaky Fox

A lovely sunny day encouraged me to head towards the coast and I decided to have a quick visit to Filey Dams. Driving through the Wolds I was enjoying the combination of blue sky and bright yellow oilseed rape fields. It was not to stay like this though. As I neared the coast I could see that a sea fret was covering the coastline. I had a few things to do first and by the time I arrived at Filey Dams the fog was beginning to lift.

A birder who was just leaving told me a Mandarin duck could be seen in the reeds and directed me towards the right hand hide. On route I saw this Wood pigeon

and this Cuckoo flower

Following the instructions I had been given I did manage to catch a glimpse of the Mandarin but it was well hidden and it was only afterwards looking at my photos that I saw part of it between the reeds. If I had not been told it was there or what it was I would have been non the wiser. It was on the far side well away from the hide and as I had forgotten my binoculars I had to rely on my camera lens.
This area did though have a Little grebe who was a little more willing to appear in the open even though it was nearly as far away as the Mandarin which can just be seen to the left and slightly above the grebe (it is only given away by the tiny part of it you can see being darker brown than the foliage).

Moving to the other side of the hide there was not much about close up other than this Mute swan

I decided to move to the other hide

The sun was continuing to break through the fog.

I watched some Tufted ducks who came close to the hide

Taking my eye from the camera viewfinder for a moment I was surprised to see a Fox out in the open moving along thin strip of land directly in front of the hide. It seemed to be totally ignored by all the other wildlife until it ran close to some pigeons.

With the sighting of a tiny part of a Mandarin duck and a good view of a Fox in the open it had turned out to be an exciting visit.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Surprise over the canal

The local canal runs through agricultural land and is a haven for many species of wildlife. My last visit was too long ago and so I decided it was time for a quick trip ( these quick trips usually turn into longer adventures).

I arrived mid morning and set off with the intention of walking to the first bridge which is a mile or so from the car park. Each section of the canal has a character of its own with different wildlife being attracted to different sections between the locks. One stretch where I usually find nesting swans had a much lower water level than usual and this year it looks as though the swans have moved elsewhere.I did however see a Grey wagtail in an area I saw them last year. I managed a couple of photos before it was disturbed by paddling dogs. 

Apart from the dogs and their walkers there was nobody else about and I enjoyed the sound of the Reed buntings and a Willow warbler.

A little sunshine appeared which brought out a few butterflies including this Orange-tip.

A few sedge flies could be seen clinging to the backside vegetation.

The white dead-nettles were in flower as was this Garlic mustard (also known as Jack-by-the-hedge). 

There were also the yellow flowers of Lesser celandine.

The water in the canal is generally very clear and the pads of the Yellow water-lily could be seen rising up. In one place these had reached the surface and an early flower was appearing.

On the far bank of the canal a moorhen was busy feeding young.

The canal is a special place and often presents me with a surprise. It could be a hare running up the towpath, a sighting of Roe deer in the fields or the flash of blue as a Kingfisher flies past. 

Today however my surprise although experienced at the canal was not realised until I had returned home. I saw what at first I thought was a large gull but then as it turned towards me I decided it was a buzzard as they are a common site in this area. Now some may have guessed already but I was non the wiser until looking closely at my photographs something nagged me about the id. Closer inspection revealed some white on the birds head and it dawned on me that what I had seen was Osprey. I did later hear of one that had passed through the area.

Once again the canal had managed to surprise me. I look forward to my next visit.