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.